Fringe 4×19: Letters of Transit

21 Apr

I actually did not enjoy this episode as much as I thought I would. In fact, I found it kind of disappointing. I don’t know if this was supposed to be just some sort of ‘what if’ story fragment that we’ll never revisit, or an actual glimpse into where the show is headed (because there WILL be a season five, there WILL), or something else, but it just didn’t really work for me. By the time they finally went to get Peter and Astrid out of the amber, I was looking at the time thinking, really? There are only five minutes left? Is this an extended episode? It wasn’t, of course (like Fringe would ever get an extended episode), so now I don’t know what to think. Am I supposed to be wondering what happened to Olivia? Or why William Bell is still alive (just another change from the no-Peter timeline or something else?)? Or waiting to see what happens next generally? Or am I supposed to think, oh, hope that future doesn’t happen, guess I’ll never think about it again? I think the episode would have been really good as the start of an arc, but as a fragment of maybe-future-maybe-not it just didn’t do it for me. Also, as much as I love a good dystopian future story, I couldn’t really buy into this one. I needed a little more convincing as to why the observers would suddenly, in not very much time, go from a strict no interference policy to a taking over the whole world policy. Especially since they’ve never seemed to have totalitarian ruler ambitions or tendencies. I also thought it wasn’t very believable that none of the observers would know what Walter looked like. Or, even if none of them were alive 20 years earlier and none of them had ever seen a picture of him or anything, wouldn’t they have been able to read his thoughts or something to tell who he was? I don’t know, it just didn’t add up for me. I know I should have suspension of disbelief and all, but it took me out of it a bit.

I will say, though, that once again this show has done a very good job at making me care about brand new characters immediately. Maybe it’s just residual Desmond love, but when Simon went into the amber I actually didn’t want him to go in.  I was invested in Etta too (I also knew basically immediately that she was Peter and Olivia’s daughter though). And when she and Peter were reunited I did have some feelings. I just wish the story itself had been more satisfying. Or at least more clear as to its intent.

Also, if this was the real future, and Henrietta was four when Peter and Olivia were ambered/died/vanished/whatever happened to Olivia, and that was in 2016, and right now it’s 2012…Olivia’s probably pregnant right at this very moment. So I guess if she doesn’t end the season with a big announcement I’ll have my answer about if this is all what we’re heading toward or not.

Last thought: If in season five (stay optimistic!) everything from this is explored more and all the loose ends get tied up, I reserve the right to completely change my mind about how I feel about this episode.

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