Fringe Review: A Short Story About Love ~ Fringe Television - Fan Site for the FOX TV Series Fringe

Fringe Review: A Short Story About Love

      Email Post       3/26/2012 05:42:00 AM      

“It’s every human being’s right to know love.”

Alan Carr locked his victims in what appeared to be an iron lung crossed with a ricer in order to distill their pheromones and experience the love of his victims’ partners for a few brief moments. While his deeds were despicable, it was impossible not to sympathize with him and his silent, conversation-less existence: he rarely spoke and was rarely spoken to. He was quietly, desperately, lonely.

His parallel in this episode was Peter, who had very few lines and spent most of the episode following the Observer’s scavenger hunt for the glowy phallic object rather than cause more trouble for Olivia, who is—final verdict!—“his” Olivia. Carr killed the men for their pheromones and the women so they would not have to live in grief, aware of what they had lost. Peter, now, can finally and with full confidence embrace the woman that he’s been so conflicted about for so long.

Lincoln, on the other hand, had a subtle tragic-love moment. I’m not a Peter/Olivia shipper any more than I am a Lincoln/Olivia shipper: I want as many characters to be happy as possible, in whatever forms that happiness takes. But I did feel pity for Lincoln, slipping so easily into the “just-friends” mode with Olivia. Does she even remember their almost-relationship? Surely Lincoln hasn’t forgotten his conversation with Fauxlivia, and her dismissal of the other Lincoln Lee’s attentions. Lincoln’s parallel was, rather obviously but still touchingly, Sutter’s wife.

Like Lincoln, Olivia saw herself in Sutter’s wife. It’s no surprise, really: isn’t that the dominant emotional arc of this show? Each character (except maybe Astrid) has shut him or herself off from love since the beginning of the series, and we want them to find that hopefully possibility again. Walter admired Peter for being willing to leave this Olivia behind, and was reminded of his own unwillingness to do the same for Peter and other-Peter. He’s opened himself to this new Peter because he has the possibility of hope—hope for redemptive love in Peter’s eyes, which he seems to be finding.

Olivia said, “If Peter was going to be with me, then I didn’t think about the consequences. I didn’t care.” But now she is: the price of love is the mind that loves. At first, Olivia didn’t want to lose herself, her memories, her entire life (of love, hate indifference, etc.) to gain Peter. Now, though, she wants to avoid closing herself off and open herself to a life that isn’t hers, just to have the possibility of love.

As we’ve left it, she does not know that she has made the right decision. (Which makes it all the more right, I suppose.) And we do not know that this means for the reality that she is slowly forgetting: did it never happen? Will it linger if enough people want it to remain un-erased, the way Peter lingered? While the romantic heart of the show has been unbroken, the mythological ramifications are yet to be fully explored.

Organic Ocular Suggestion:

• The Observer: “You could not be fully erased, because the people who care about you would not let you go, and you would not let them go. I believe you call it love.”

• I fully expected dehydration-victim Sutter to spring back to life like the victim in Se7en.

• Did the credits look browner this week, or was it just because I watched this episode on a different screen? And what color do you think they’ll be next week?

• Speaking of a different screen: my DVR didn’t record this episode, and because I hate watching TV on my laptop (yes, I’m old), I put it off…long enough to realize that Fox has a bizarre policy of only releasing episodes for a day, then unreleasing them for the next eight days. Grr!

Four out of four teddy bears.

(Josie Kafka reviews episodes of Fringe, Awake, Vampire Diaries, and Game of Thrones for Winter is coming!)


Blackbelt4 said...

Good recap. Thanks.

Old Darth said...

Solid episode that missed a great opportunity with Peter's character.

Loved how Olivia made a conscious choice to embrace her new 'old' memories even if Peter would not end up with her. Disappointed that Peter had to ask Sept how to get home. Would have much rather had had their conversation structured so Peter arrived to the correct conclusion of his own volition.

The case of the week (COTW) detracted instead of enhanced the Peter/Olivia love story for me. It added a creepy factor that diminished what was transpiring between them.

If there was ever an episode where the show could have broken formula and discarded the COTW, this was it. Would have much rather seen Peter and Olivia interacting through the episode to resolve the problem together.

The callback to S1 with the beacon was great as was the better man reference.

As to answering the question of whether Peter was home or not, the show gave the most logical answer. Much like they did with the Observers. I appreciate honest storytelling like that. Have to wonder if any of the other characters are going to get their memories back too?

Finally, the last scene between Peter and Olivia was fantastic. Loved it.

Dennis said...

The 8-day delay for watching Fringe on or Hulu has been going on all season, unless you are a Dish customer, then you can watch the next day.

Of course, you can always purchase the episodes the next day on iTunes or Amazon... sometimes even sooner than that!

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else think the acting in this episode was extra spectacular! The emotions just flooded from every character's eyes and words. Even Astrid's sympathy for Olivia was brilliant. As well as the "Be a better man than your father" scene with Peter and Walter. Walter's "I'll think of something" scene with Olivia seeing his sympathy for Olivia as well..

Moments I loved besides the above:

- ALL the scenes with Olivia and Nina.
- The scene where Walter mistakenly reveals Peter was leaving and the look on Olivia's eyes as if she were about to cry.
- Lincoln's half dimpled quick smile (which gave me goosebumps) when he told Olivia he was there for her.
- Of course, the "UNITE" ending. :D (Wish they didn't cut the kissing short tho..)

Unknown said...

I loved this episode, to be honest everything about this show has careful planning, down to the colors they used... anyone else noticed how 'green' this episode was?

When I first saw Michael Massee's I instantly knew it was him. "Oh Funboy" keeps making appearances in my favorite shows. =)

jophan said...

I recall seeing an interview with the showrunners around the time the ep was in production, and they called Carr "one of their most compelling characters ever" or something of the sort. Uh, not for me. I'm with Old Darth. When I rewatched the episode I skipped the whole COTW and I didn't miss it a bit.

wetcat said...

the cotw bothered me for some reason. either it was too morbid/disturbing by contrast or I just hated the rest of the story being interrupted. I was more interested in Peter's beacon quest. glad they cleared up Olivia's identity: Peter needed to be absolutely sure and so did the audience, so I didn't mind the spelled-out answer. the scenes with Olivia/Nina and Peter/Walter were a real treat and good paralleling plotlines. I will be re-watching the scenes from the Observer's apartment for clues (loved the Scooby/Shaggy clip).

Zepp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zepp said...

I thought this episode, very good, dense of drama, suspense and mystery, which is already a mark of Fringe. For me the episode was done in very different plans, with the main characters, from one side to Olivia and Peter on the other side. Olivia finds himself grappling with the serial killer, who subdued the victims in order to achieve some remnants of a sick pleasure, which he called, "love." The guy was just a crazy foolish, kind of a "reptile from the shadows," disfigured in every way. And Peter, in turn, turns looking for something with an address that was in his eye, but after coming and going, eventually finding her "protector Observer," September, in a very peculiar, unexpected, a beautiful scene, very characteristic of a science fiction.

I see no other love than that between Peter and Olivia in this episode, and with a nice climax at the end, with that wonderful meeting of the two, with that classic "movie kiss", which could not be different . The love between these two, has long promised to happen, rising gradually appearing more strength, then disappearing again, almost not existing, and finally re-emerging now with all the disruptive power of corresponded love, which I hope, finally, that this is now an established and frankly love that should really happen hereafter. Of course, for what I know of Fringe, every event or occurrence is very volatile, unstable, and it may be that something happened, perhaps never happened, but ...

pMaestro said...

Part of the poignancy of that final scene was created, of course, by the equally poignant soundtrack.

(The rest of this posting deals with music theory speak so read on at your own risk.)

Peter and Olivia's theme is in g minor staring with a descending five-note motif in a distantly related key of E flat major that goes to g minor, then an E flat 6th phrase to F major, finally cadencing back home to g minor. What was so amazing about the final scene was that the final cadence went not to g minor but to the relative (and psychologically happier) key of B flat major. Talk about an emotional and dramatic resolution.

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