'Fringe' recap: Epilogue
Last week, I went on and on about how “Entrada” was the end of the first chapter of “Fringe” this season. It did bring the story to a close. Peter finally figured out Bolivia wasn’t Olivia, but she jumped back to her universe right after he captured her, and our Olivia rode the loud sensory deprivation tank home. Everyone is right where they belong. End of chapter. Time to move on. How about some bugs popping out of people’s brains?
Then comes “Marionette,” the perfect epilogue to that first chapter.
I’ve always wanted to see more of what happens after the ending of a big action movie. Sure, we’ve defeated the evil alien mothership and saved mankind, but all our cities are blown up. Or we’ve fallen in love while escaping the malfunctioning homicidal robots, but whose side are we spending Christmas with? It isn’t often that you get to see how people move on from these huge events, but “Marionette” gives us just that. Bundled with a retelling of the quintessential horror/sci fi story.
After all the dust has settled from all the universe-jumping, Olivia tries to go right back to work. No one seems to think she’s ready, which goes to show how much they don’t know Olivia (no wonder Bolivia managed to fool them so well). Olivia made a promise to the alternate Broyles to try to fix their two universes peacefully, and she wants to get right on that. Plus, what else is she going to do? Sit at home in her apartment where Bolivia had been living her life?
I apologize if this sounds at all sexist, but I think I loved “Marionette” because of how female the episode was. (Is that sexist? If not, I’m sure I’ll end up saying something sexist before too long). The best example of what I mean comes about halfway through. Olivia is in her apartment after taking a shower and notices Bolivia’s tattoo on the back of her neck. She goes to her closet only to pull her clothes off the hangers. She strips her bed and takes the sheets to her washing machine only to find a load already there.
How many guys would be that upset that someone else was wearing their old college shirt? None. Most use it as a napkin. But when Olivia holds it up, it is heartbreaking. An incredible detail about how she had been violated. A complete stranger (worse, an enemy) took over her life. Opened her mail. Had a relationship with the man she loved. Olivia’s reaction in this episode made her seem like an honest, real woman. Which you don’t see often in sci-fi television. I think the credit goes to the episode's writers Monica Owusu-Breen and Alison Schapker, who also brought us “The Plateu” (one of my favorites from this season).
Not that great female writers only give us character depth and emotional drama. They also think up some of the creepiest stuff you’ll see. The original reanimation of dead tissue story was written by Mary Shelley herself. These ladies take it to the next step. A depressed genius falls in love with a young dancer in his support group. After she kills herself and donates her organs, he collects them and puts her back together. That not creepy enough for you? How about a complicated machine he uses to make her dance? Disturbingly beautiful, like Cirque de Soliel. That not creepy enough for you? How about the crazy-eyed blank expression the girl has when this lunatic gets her back and running. I might need to go back and watch an episode written by guys just so I can get some sleep.
Olivia’s final decision could have come off as a cop-out. She can’t be with Peter because Bolivia got there first. Coming from some female characters on TV, this might have made me roll my eyes (I’m looking at you Sookie Stackhouse). But after watching her deal with how much of her life had been tainted by her evil twin, her choice makes sense. When Olivia told Peter this is how it had to be, I felt just like he did. Like saying, “I’m sorry.” While sitting in a chair in the backyard of a crazy man’s house. Has to be one of the worst breakup locations ever.
Extras –- A few things I have to mention that didn’t really fit in anywhere. 1.) Did anyone else notice the heavy "Dexter" influence our crazy man had tonight? 2.) Walter craving pickled herring? My family has some Norwegian roots. Enough that Christmastime to me always means pickled herring. I need to run out and get some. 3.) The video chat product placement did stick out a little. Not painful. Hopefully they’ll find smoother ways to let us know how great Android phones are. 4.) They rush into a suspect’s home, but only check out the basement after they hear a noise? Really? These are insane scientists we’re working with. The basement would be the first place I’d check.
Astrid Action -– This is the episode where Broyles and Astrid seem to really become major characters in “Fringe.” They both seemed far more into the investigation than they had been in the past. Broyles making raids with Peter and Olivia. Astrid coming into Broyles' office with them for a debriefing. Then they also both got deeper, personal scenes. Broyles when he questions Olivia about his alternate universe life, and Astrid as she comforted Olivia and answered her questions about Peter with Bolivia. Even Gene the cow got a shout-out that seemed completely natural with the crazy science involved. Maybe all my whining to get these characters more screen time has paid off. What should I whine about next?
Spot the Observer – He wasn’t all that difficult to spot this week, but wow. What the heck was that all about? And who do you think the Observer was talking about? “I’m looking at him as we speak. He’s still alive.” Who? Peter or Walter? Just last week, I was saying that I’m ready for another episode about the Observer. Now it looks like the whole next chapter is going to be about bald watchmen. Can we just skip ahead to Fridays in January? Please?
Photo: Walter (John Noble, left) and Peter (Joshua Jackson, right) investigate a victim at a crime scene. Credit: Fox Television