Fringe: Across the Universes

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Fringe totally went there. By "there," I don't mean "over there," into the alternate universe, even though they did that, and it was really cool. I mean "there," into the cheese shop. Despite the number of mind-blowingly awesome events that transpired during last night's Season 2 finale, my jaw dropped only when I heard Olivia (Anna Torv) say to Peter (Joshua Jackson), "You have to come back because you belong with me." That hookup was so cheesy—and so atypical of Fringe! Then again, they were mackin' in the alternate universe. Maybe all bets are off "over there."

I've warmed to the idea of the Olivia-Peter pairing, mostly because the show didn't travel the cliche URST route this season. That's why this moment made me so mad—it was a big fat cliche! But you know what? It had to happen, and I've accepted it. I guess it was kind of cool that Olivia grew a pair and expressed her emotions. Maybe it was her newly-dyed hair that gave her the courage. Or maybe it was the fact that she was in an alternate universe. Anyway, without this love story, there would be no reason for Peter to return to the alternate universe. Peter and Olivia do actually belong together, even if their on-screen chemistry isn't setting anything on fire. They're pawns in a dangerous game between universes, and they're much more powerful together than apart. And now Peter has to travel back to his "home" to save her, to lead the Fringe Division into battle against the forces on the other side—and presumably to become the focal character of Season 3, much like Olivia was the focus of Season 1 and Walter (John Noble) of Season 2.

Actually, Peter has been the focus of Fringe ever since the "Peter" episode—and, if you've noticed, the Fringe Division hasn't been solving as many one-off cases since that episode aired. In "Brown Betty," Walter tripped out on drugs and told a story; in "Northwest Passage," Peter solved a case independently of the team; and in both parts of "Over There," everyone was busy traveling between the two universes. So does that mean Fringe is abandoning the "procedural" format that it began with? It's risky, but it could work. Fringe has used the single-episode cases of its first two seasons to build a complex mythology, and now that mythology is looking strong enough to stand on its own in Season 3, especially with the introduction of several "new" characters.

Walternate and Alt-livia have been set up as major forces of evil in Season 3, since Walternate is holding Olivia captive and Alt-livia has infiltrated our universe. Yet Walternate is also turning into a sympathetic character: He's pissed that Walter took his son away and he alluded to the devastating damage that Walter and William's experiments caused to his universe. If Season 3 teaches us more about the effects of inter-universe travel, reveals ass-kicking Alt-livia's motives, and shows us more of Alt-Broyles (Lance Reddick) in his tight black T-shirts, we might just have more than enough reasons to side with the alternates. Plus, the alternates have Alt-Charlie, and the world needs more Kirk Acevedo.

It's just a shame that William Bell (Leonard Nimoy) had to be all benevolent and martyr-like and sacrifice himself to guarantee the team's safe return to their universe. He was all grandfatherly and nice! And he had that awesome gun! And he shared such an adorable, bickering-based friendship with Walter! But when Leonard Nimoy wants to retire, it's wise not to stop him. So long, Spock.

What did you think of the Season 2 finale? And what do you think will happen in Season 3?


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