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Fringe, “Neither Here Nor There” (4.01)

An FBI agent’s partner dies after his skins turns transparent. He then discovers the existence of the FBI’s Fringe Division. No, this isn’t the Fringe pilot. Yes. It’s the Season 4 premiere. I know. Read the review after the jump…

“They can never know the boy lived to be a man.” – An Observer

You Are Here: Blue Universe

How’s Lincoln?

As I explained above, Lincoln discovers Fringe Division in a pretty similar way as Olivia did. Olivia even references the similarity at one point. This probably was a creative choice but I’m not sure if it was a good one. The story also lacked Fringe’s usual emotional touch despite Lincoln’s connection to the case. It might be because there was another pretext to him losing his partner (more on that below). At least Lincoln’s pretty clever, as he’s able to find Walter’s lab and makes a few key discoveries on the case. It’s not clear if he’s going to be Olivia’s new partner or just an occasional guest character or if this is the last time we will meet this version of Lincoln again. That said, I do like how he and Olivia work together and wouldn’t mind seeing him again.

How’s Walter?

He’s more messed up than usual. It appears that in this rewriting of the universes, poor Walter doesn’t want to leave the lab. He has Astrid go around with a bluetooth webcam headset to investigate crime scenes. He’s also haunted by visions a certain son who no longer exists…

Where’s Peter?

It seems Peter is not quite gone. He keeps popping up here and there. That’s cool. I’m OK with a few teasers. The problem is that it doesn’t stop with a just few ghostly apparitions. Throughout the episode, people make all kinds of comments all alluding to someone missing, clearly meant to remind you that Peter isn’t there. It was like the Fringe writing team has a loss-related double-entendre contest and decided to throw all the submissions in one episode. They weren’t really subtle and took me out of the story.

Ooo! Observers!

While we’re talking about story arc teases, our favourite bald enigmas are back. They need to clean up after Peter’s sacrifice because of Peter’s aforementioned poppings of the upward manner. They put the Observer who saved Peter and Walter from drowning on the job. That was probably a bad idea since he doesn’t have the balls to go through with it. Why can’t he do it exactly isn’t made clear, but I’m sure we’re going to see more of him and the rest of the bald gang throughout the season.

Hey! Shapeshifter!

Our favourite copycats are back too, but as Version 2.0. Now they’re kind of transparent and more “human” than mercury-consuming machine. The crew did nice work on the special effects, by the way. Walter is pretty dead certain that it’s Walternate’s work again, but nothing has been confirmed. Something else to look forward to.

In Conclusion

This didn’t do it for me. The constant teasing to the missing Peter and the setting up of other season arcs took up too much time and none of it was fully engaging since none of the arcs had any sort of conclusion in this episode. Peter is still missing, the Observer chickened out of his task, and the purpose or origin of these new shapeshifters isn’t explained. There really was nothing here to grasp on to, just stuff happening. Not to mention, there was a criminal lack of cross-universe crimefighting. There’s about two scene where Olivia and Fauxlivia get into a bit of a catfight, but that’s it. It was disappointing.

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