Tuesday, May 10, 2011

TV: Fringe - The Day We Died

Now we haven't covered "Fringe" just because the blog was started mid-season and I'd rather not begin covering a season of TV at the mid point leaving behind any of the good and bad. For future reference, I shall be covering Fringe season 4 when it premieres in September.

However, I wanted an area to vent my thoughts on the season finale of this season of "Fringe." It's left a two sided debate on whether or not it was actually good or not. Upon first viewing, my reactions were also mixed; I had yet to take a side, but after my second viewing, my opinion had formed towards one side. Find out some brief thoughts after the break.

After my first viewing, I loved it, but at the same time, when it came to processing what I had seen, I did feel that there was an underlying problem and it was that I sat there for nearly an hour waiting to see five minutes of setup for the next season. Last week we were teased greatly with a look into the future, rather than another look Over There. I was excited, but also questioned why we jumped there in the first place.

Exposition was heavy in this episode, particularly from Walter. There's an issue when you realise that you have to skip back and forth to understand Walter's reasoning behind the machine's appearance at the beginning of civilisation. The problem I see stemming from this is that the writers have over extended themselves by overloading the audience with a little more mythos (see: skipping back and forth to understand Walter's reasoning.) The show's core audience is passionate (I'm one of them) and are willing to accept slight missteps in the delivery of said mythos, however when an episode dedicates it to a brand new world and characters then it becomes a problem. Because the writers are expecting the fans to accept it - if they don't, the show dies.

The episode played out with the future Fringe Division trying to patch holes in the universe, but it's no different from Over Here and Over There. It's cool to see the shows interpretation of events to come, but when it all peaks to the last 5 minutes with an blatant explanation of what just happened then it feels like the writers had some doubt in what they were creating and they needed to clarify areas that they know viewer's would have an issue understanding. Sepinwall makes a good point in saying this episode will indeed be a topic of conversation among screenwriters in regards to the "show, don't tell" rule within the medium and it really is - this was an easy way out and I didn't particularly like that.

Ryan McGee made note that this is more of an episode where the writers can experiment with different realities in a way that could potentially undo all the narrative work done over the last two seasons. In doing that detracts from the emotional attachment we have established with Over Here, and Over There. It's a good point made, because now that the writers have created all this new information (Walter sending things back in time, talking heaps, Peter's very existence) and now have to incorporate it; if not they run the risk of having gaping plot holes which people WILL notice.

In my eyes, this episode was more of an escape from what we've been treated to this past season, now whether that is a good or a bad thing is up to a fan's interpretation. On one hand, you can view it as an interesting look into the future and what our heroes face, but at the same time, we've just wasted an hour watching what's going to happen and in the last five minutes have our heroes say "we have to stop this."

My opinion? It was great, but given all of the character and other world exploration this season and in season two, this seemed entirely unnecessary. I completely forgive the writers, because they have made some truly brilliant stories and characters. I loved the idea of the future, but at the same time didn't think it would be touched, because it just isn't needed. I know a lot of people will be hoping we don't travel there, unfortunately, I'm one of them.

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