Fringe: You Should Get That Mole Checked Out

Fringe S04E18: "The Consultant"

There is a scary truth we all need to face even though we don't want to hear it: Fringe might only have four episodes of left...forever. And that point was driven home in "The Consultant," Friday's great episode. We've been through a lot this season, seemingly more so than in others. Much of it was spent figuring out where Peter was, where he belonged, and which Olivia he should be going home to. There have also been hints of a shapeshifter war on one or both universes as maestro'd by David Robert Jones, but only now do we have a clear sense of an endgame: DRJ wants to collapse both universes like empty soda cans. I'd say that's a pretty universal problem that all Olivias, Astrids, and Walters can get behind to stop.

One thing that made "The Consultant" work so well was the way it unfolded, moving from a (relatively) simple case to the exposure of Broyles as the mole to the episode's bombshell ending. There was a lot to cover, and it was all done without feeling patchwork in any way, and that's a product of the build-up that's taken place over the last several episodes.

But let's start with the episode's case. In our universe, a jerk boss found himself tossed in the air just as he was Trumping an employee, but the wounds that killed him didn't match what'd happened. Soon Walter figured out that the guy's death was linked to the other universe, and sure enough, a quick text to the Other Side confirmed his man's injuries, along with the injuries of a few other people, were consistent with injuries that occurred to their counterparts in the other universe. Basically, what affected these folks in the other universe (a plane crash) also affected their doppelgangers in our universe. The needle on our implication meters bounced so hard that it broke the darned thing.

Later, a similar event took place in reverse; a woman traveling via taxi in our universe plunged over the guardrail of a bridge into a river, and her counterpart on the Other Side drowned while shopping in a pet store. As if being gouged by the price of gourmet dog (or domesticated badger) food wasn't enough.

Both instances were orchestrated by DRJ, who's created devices that can auto-tune the frequencies of a nearby area to match those of the other universe so that the effects of what happens in one universe also exist in the other. The reach of the devices isn't yet clear; in this week's cases they were attached to a plane and a cab, and only those vehicles were affected. But holy moley! That's a pretty nifty way to increase efficiency if you're planning on killing two universes. David Robert Jones may be a bastard of epic proportions, but at least he knows how to save time.

We've known for some time that DRJ had a mole in the other universe's Fringe Division, and that Colonel Broyles was somehow in his employ. What we didn't know was whether Broyles was a shapeshifter or not, and that answer has now become clear. Broyles isn't a shapeshifter, he's just another dad trying to help his kid. DRJ has been supplying Broyles with medication for his son in exchange for Broyles tipping DRJ off so he can stay a step ahead of the Fringe Division. It's pretty standard television storytelling, the ol' "bad guy keeping someone's loved one alive so he can have that someone in his back pocket" trick, but things went off the rails at the end of the episode when Broyles turned himself in. If you ask me, that's pretty hardcore. Broyles' kid was just getting a taste of the popular life at school, and I never thought Broyles would do anything to jeopardize his son's good fortune. We all know it's wrong to keep one kid alive while the rest of the world suffers, but we've been conditioned by television to think that parents' love for their children is insurmountable, and that they'll do awful things to protect them. But not so with Colonel Broyles, who said, "Sorry, kid!" and turned himself in. Good work, Broyles...even if your kid gets picked last in kickball, then I'd say it's a good trade. Hook Walter up with a phat joint and some Peruvian psych-rock on vinyl and he'll whip up a concoction that will be even better than what DRJ was giving you. There's no need to jump in bed with the enemy's pharmacy when you have top scientists at your disposal.

Also of interest was Alt-livia's fiery drive to catch the persons responsible for Captain Lincoln's death. The Other Side has always been looking for a strong central character, and an Alt-livia motivated by revenge is just what it needed. In partnering her with our Lincoln, the writers have established a greater connection that's transformed the Other Side from "cool gimmick" to "essential element of the show." And that's going to be more and more important as the two sides work together.

"The Consultant" was a grand set-up for what's likely going to be Fringe's end. It seamlessly jumped from universe to universe, answered lingering questions, and most importantly, established an endpoint. Next week is the season's "weird episode," but after that it's going to be a three-episode bullet train to the end.



Notes From the Other Side

– It was great to see Walter get back in on the action and take on a role of importance. But ever since he accepted Peter there's been a lack of gravitas on his part. I love seeing Walter walk around in a robe and make eggs, but there's been such a focus on his lightness that he's almost become a caricature of what he used to be.

– We have now seen a fifth version of Olivia. Alcoholivia!

– How adorable are the two Astrids together? They should totally be BFFs.

– There wasn't a mention of the fate of the black cab driver. But a white woman drowns and a multi-universe search party is dispatched!


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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hiii
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Henry -> Henrietta! :)
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I like Bolivia/Fauxlivia with Lincoln! She is awesome with Walter too! I have grown fond of her, so much so, that I have a sneaking suspicion that its the Bolivia/Fauxlivia that will end up dying instead of Olivia... Maybe that is why the writers are making her more likeable, so that when she is gone we will feel the loss even more?

DRJ wants to collapse both universe so that he starts a brand new one, that is probably why he is making his "Noah's Arc"...

Hope there will be a season 5, whether its 13 episodes short or longer!



I keep reading comments on a spin-off, is it just rumors?

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I don't think we should be so hard on Fox. They backed this show for 4 seasons, even through the low ratings. Probably because it's just so good. Also I think it will do very well on DVD sales, and also syndication as a complete package.



I say good on Fox and WB for bringing Fringe to us in the first place.



And I will also give whatever J J Abrams creates next my full attention. Whatever day it's on.
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I just loved this Walter-centric episode! His one liners were as good as ever! Kudos to Mr. Noble, Ms. Torv & Ms Nicole, they were excellent!



The show does feel like it is ending! If so, I just hope it ends with a Bang!
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First off all i'd lke to say that i'm really sad that there might be only four episodes left. I'm in equal parts mad at the Fox people who don't believe in such a good show. Actually i'm pretty sure that the people who want to cancel it never watched it, because if they did they wouldn't. But it's all about money and not quality, they just care about numbers...



Regarding this weeks episo, i think it was one of the best yet this season. And we were presented once again with great performances from the actors - Anna Torv waswonderfull - i'm i the only one who really likes Bolivia? Since the beginning of season 4 she has been different in a good way, right? Maybe that's because what happened while the Olivias were switched (without Peter in the middle) wasn't so bad has the "first" time. And she and Walter have a really great relationship, i love seeing them together :)



The Broyles part was very good also, i really thought he was a shapeshifter! And turning himself to our Broyles was a very important to the character because it proved that even after everything he did he knows what's right and it was a nice game changer!





For what's to happen next i'm very confused... For the first time i don't have any theories... But I guess we will be seeing some time travelling or people freezed in the ambar for years. Next episode could be revealing and probably will change everything... as usual :)
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I get the feeling DRJ exists, or is doing what his doing, because of the main trio of characters.



In season 3 finale, when future Peter went in the machine, the arrvied in the present, he said he understood now - that Walter, Olivia, himself were the first peoples (as stated in the book)



So, doesn't that mean the book, ZFT, and all that was because of those Peter / Walter / Olivia?



If so, that means the same most likely applies to DRJ.
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What the hell is DRJ's plan? I don't get it (maybe I'm slow). If he destroys both universes where does that leave him?!? He seems smarter than this, but I don't see what the end game is for him.
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yeah this didn't quite make sense to me. I feel there's something more to this whole plan of his that they haven't quite let on! Plus he probably is a megalomaniac/psychopath/crazy-evil-genius but WHY does he want to do this! There must be some reason!!!
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That was my first impression, too.



But the ultimate weapon is ultimate power in the hands of a megalomaniac.



The only thing is, if someone called his bluff "Dude, if you use it, you are as toast as we are!" I get the impression he is twisted enough to use it out of spite.
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A very good set-up for the final four episodes (of the season, hopefully.) I can still see this going anywhere, but at least we have an idea of what the main threat is.



This show deserves better. It should have at least one more season, knowing when it's going to end so it can make up a suitable one. Get it to 100 episodes.
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I think this episode may be foreshadowing why Peter and Olivia's baby was important, and why September told Peter that he had his son with the wrong Olivia. Maybe David Robert Jones is working for the other Observers, to try and find a way to merge two people's Universe-Frequencies because that's the key to their eventual-existence. September messed up by distracting Walternate in 1985, which led to Baby Henry, which led to The Observers messing up by erasing Peter after he built the bridge because now Olivia is fated to die in any possible future. Peter and Olivia's baby would've had both the Redverse and Blueverse frequencies in him..which is most likely the key to the Observers coming to fruition.
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This comment triggered something. I've been kind of wondering what the deal is with the baby, since it's hardly been mentionend since the delivery. Could DRJ be the baby?
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The baby has to be somewhat important to how the Observer's come to be. I don't know how they become like tyrants in 2036 but I guess we'll see on Friday. I dont see how DRJ could be their baby though..unless hes from the future but I sure hope they dont take that angle.
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Well, I imagine that either (A) the store customer is the one that caught the attention of Fringe first... or (B) there were reports of "lights" and other weirdness just before the taxi crashed and THAT caught the attention of Fringe.



It's possible that the poor taxi driver died in him home without anybody noticing, like 1-2 of the people on the plane that were found in their home(s).
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Thanks for mentioning the characters without the need to use their race. It is not important at all and I don't know why it is such a big deal to some people.
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After all this time am still not sure how much (of what we know) has been affected by "Peter's Universes reset". Seeing Broyles' son made me think of the man who Olivia was told will kill him, and the fresher warning "You must die" from the Observer. Is he still the guy who will kill Olivia?
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The man on the blimp WILL return.
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Did the taxi woman drown? I could see her having the same injuries to her lungs from her counterpart drawing, but where would the water come from on the Other Side? Also, the cab didn't seem that wet...
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Why oh why won't people tune in? The story's getting so good and everyone already knows Fringe is in danger, so where the heck are all those Nielsen viewers from a couple episodes ago? We got a 1.2 for episode 16 and a 0.9 for episode 18? What? This world... I bet the Other Side is more logical.

Okay, now that I'm done ranting, I have to say that that was one of my favourite episodes of the season. Excellent stuff from Anna Torv, John Noble, and Lance Reddick. Honorable mention goes to Jasika Nicole for that little scene between the two Astrid. Loved seeing Diane and Christopher Broyles again, and that taxi scene where the woman went flying backwards? Simply Fringey! I'm glad Alt-Broyles turned himself in because that just shows how different he is from Walter when it comes to his morality, though I'd hate to see him stuck in that cell for long.

#FightTheFuture this friday!
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I still think that Fringe will get picked up for one last 13 episode season.
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Really hope it does but the ratings are really poor :( Needs a miracle!
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It just popped in my head while reading this review (BTW, great one), what if DRJ have listened too many watcher's stories as a kid and now he is just trying to make contact with the fascinating 'fantasy' characters or just plainly wanting to become one....he sure is smart and driven enough to be the first generation of watchers.
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wow. i actually really liked fauxlivia in this episode! impressive how fringe can do that. i sympathized a lot with her. and that scene with walter and "alchoholivia" was great, loved the sherlock holmes discussion as well. good thing alt-broyles turned himself in, that way we don't have such a tarnished image of him..this was also a surprise because i rapidly assumed episodes ago that he was a shapeshifter and not the real alt-broyles. the fact that he was the real broyles created a great personal struggle between choosing the health of his son and the health of the universe.
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My biggest concern is with the writing. IMO as a writer in the position a show like Fringe is in you have 3 options:

1) You write like you're being cancelled and deal with it if you're being picked up. (Buffy did this in Season 5)

2) You write like you're being picked up and leave a lot of loose ends if you're cancelled. (TONS of shows have this happen to them)

3) You write some where in the middle where things are ambiguous and the ending can go either way. You can also possibly even film two endings and then play one or the other based on whether you're picked up (the show Sports Night did this)



Option 1) is pretty easy, but leaves you with the possibility of writing yourself into a corner the next season and having to break your back (or the rules of your universe) to make it work. I wouldn't advise trying this one if your name's not Joss Whedon.

Option 2) is also pretty easy, but if you are cancelled you leave the fans very sad and wondering "what might have been"...ultimately anyone that watches the show in syndication will be disappointed.

Option 3) is the safest one, but also the hardest to write, because you have to walk a tough line. A line that few (if any) shows have been able to walk (I'm sure there have been some, but I'm just not thinking of any off the top of my head) A line that can easily end up conflicting or negating things you might want to do if you're picked up and on that can feel cheap and rushed to your fans if you are cancelled...but it's also the hardest to write and have it be good.



What will Fringe do? I don't know, but my hope is that it ends up being anywhere near as exciting and satisfying as the ride to it has been.
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Our beloved writers have got 2 plans.



First we DO have 2 endings.Which ending to be aired depends on the show's fate.



Second writers will plant the seeds of Season 5 in the next episode instead of the season 4 finale which means if writers want to, they can wrap up everything in Season 4 and begins a spin-off based on episode 19 in season 5.
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Then I hope they pull it off...I'd ask you to link that so I could read up on it myself but I just hate spoilers, and generally this is why I don't seek those sorts of things out.



So I guess I hope you're right.
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Here's the news

http://seriable.com/fringe-season-4-finale-game-plan-revealed-two-endings-season-5-story-arc-in-play/
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Made a mistake in the wording : "begins a spin-off in season 5 based on S4E19"
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I don't mind if Fringe ends. Just as long as it ends excellently with a completed story.
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Nice review, even if it was a little late... Each episode that passes, I like Bolivia even more. She's definitely on the side of the good guys now, and we're seeing different aspects of her personality, like when she drank but all she managed to do is get a little sick. I liked the way she worked well with the team. She duped Nina into confirming Broyles was the mole, but only after Lincoln raising the possibility there was a mole and Walter directly suggesting it could be Broyles.



By the way. Universe B: no black box, no coffee, no Batman, no Sherlock Holmes... And they call themselves civilized?



As I've mentioned earlier, I'm wondering where RDJ plans to be when the universes collapse. That could be the key for the whole multiverse issue.
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Although DRJ has done some dastardly deeds, it is possible that they were done for the greater good. If you destroy both universes you have no place to sit and enjoy it and I'm sure - smart as he is - DRJ knows that. He's a bit eccentric, like Walter, but surely not suicidal. The writers seem to know what they're doing and I'm expecting a hellava ride to the finish line. Don't Lost me down boys and girls.
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The point being, where is he going to be? In a third universe? In the Observers' Country Club?
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I'm probably missing something, but didn't we see a dead Broyles near the beginning of S3 in the alt. universe? Or was that the real one who killed the shapeshifter?
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When Peter was erased from the timeline, so was the event where Broyles helped Olivia escape and was murdered for his "treason" and his mutilated corpse was sent back to the Blueverse when they swapped it for Fauxlivia'.



I would assume since Peter never existed, he wasn't Olivia's "guide" to find her way home, thus leading her and AltBroyles down a different path.
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Nevermind, just realized the future changed lol, thanks Hungry_Homer, even tho your reply wasn't directed at me, it still helped *thumbs up
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so excited for desmond, btw.
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One of the few things that I've been missing in this otherwise fantastic season is the parallel universe goodness, which they seemed to promise a couple times earlier in the season, but didn't really deliver on. But these last couple of episodes have done a great job of filling in that void left by the rest of the season, and I absolutely loved it. I think this episode did a great job developing the new-timeline versions of alternate Olivia and alternate Broyles. I loved the scene between alternate Olivia and Walter, and seeing how far their relationship has developed since the beginning of the season. In a strange kind of way, it seemed like Walter was developing a parental relationship with her, to go along with his newly developed family with Olivia and Peter. And of course it was great seeing alternate Broyles' story develop in this episode. Before this episode, I pretty much assumed that he was a shapeshifter, but I think this was a great twist, and the writers did a great job making his character sympathetic despite working with Jones. Honestly, I think the writes have done a fantastic job of developing these new versions of the characters, and playing with the dynamics throughout the season. Even if it does get renewed, it's still a shame that a show this good is this close to being cancelled.
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Broyles is a shapeshifter isnt he ?

the red universe Broyles died when he helped our olivia escape

didnt he ?
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Supposedly, none of that happened after Peter changed everything and blinked out, but yeah, I'm sure the writers wanted us to think that...
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No. September messed up when he distracted Walternate when he was trying to find the cure for Peter, and then later saved Peter from the lake, so things played out differently than the Observers' future's history (if that makes sense :P) was changed. To make up for the changes in that "history," the Observers made it so that Peter died in the lake, and this made things play out differently than before. That's why some people act different now (Walter being depressed and mentally unstable until Peter comes back for example), why David Robert Jones is still alive despite being cut in half by Peter when he was crossing into the other universe, and why Olivia's abduction played out differently, so that Olivia didn't get alternate Broyles to help her, leading to his death.
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Loved it when Walter walked out in that robe. It was awesome. Also great was Alt-Astrid's reaction to the coffee:) That is how I feel when I wake up before the sun is up.
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Perhaps a shapeshifter? I didn't even think about it before you brought it up.

Really, who is she? Just Alt-nina (or Meana), or shapeshifter nina?
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One thing that got me was Alternate Nina said to Faulivia "your world is going to get much worse". So where is this Alternate Nina from ?

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I dont know if that was a clue or if she just meant, instead of worrying about DRJ's plan she needs to worry about her WORLD. But nice catch..didn't even bat an eye at that remark
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There's hope!!!!!



http://www.tvwise.co.uk/2012/04/exclusive-fox-to-renew-fringe-for-fifth-and-final-season/#comments
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I really hope it gets renewed!!! 13 episodes would be perfect instead of 22. The story will progress faster and be more intense! A bit like Lost!
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This would be so awesome. Maybe 13 episodes can even be better because in the final season they can get rid of certain procedural elements not necessary to tell the end of the main story archs.
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If you're a fan then you should read this. It's pretty good news...really.
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sweet
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Again, I know you're not directly/solely responsible for Fringe's now seemingly likely renewal, but I just need to say, I LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU, I FREAKING LOVE YOU!!!



Oh, man, I know I shouldn't get my hopes up, but I can't help it! This would be the greatest TV renewal of my life!



I can't contain my joy! I need to let it out through cap locks and exclamation points! Here I go:



FRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINGE!!!!!!!
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Done
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What a great episode! Love the way the alt-universe took center stage.



The only bad thing is the thought that we may not have the chance to follow more of these awesome universes next year.....
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pls... one more season.... defintely needs some more closure... and i really like to see more :)



fringe .. MY second lost :)
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We've all thought a bit melodramatically when comes to Fringe, right? MY-GOD-what-if-they-cancel-it-what-will-I-do-with-myself-type-of-thing? Cause that's how I feel. I really can't imagine a season without Fringe. And what makes it that much more unbearable is the fact that FOX has so many different options to try and save the show. How about a different time slot? Terra Nova is gone, Alcatraz is looking bleak, House will be gone...why not put it after Idol? A huge lead in...



I'm sorry, I know we've all probably thought of this. I just really, reeeeally hope this season isn't the end of things.



One of the best episodes, The Consultant. I've shown Fringe to my girlfriend and now she won't pick up my calls cause she's hooked on it :-D



Fringe is a masterpiece. And masterpieces should not be disposed of like this. Just my opinion...
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The sad fact is that it's WAY to late for a new time slot to do much. New viewers, if they were to be had, would have to learn 4 years of backstory to make sense of anything. There just aren't enough people out there who're going to put that kind of effort into watching a show. (The alternative, retooling the show so that knowing the backstory isn't necessary, would probably be tough for the current fans to take. )

No, Fox isn't moving Fringe out of the Friday night timeslot of death. The question taht will truly determine Fringe's fate is "can we draw Friday night numbers around waht Fringe draws with something cheaper to produce?" If the answer is yes, Fringe is a goner.
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yeah, I guess you're right...I'm dreading the day I open up tv.com and the biggest headline will read : say bye to Fringe...or something like that...I hope that won't be this year...
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Is anyone else irritated that they haven't used two different colour openings to differentiate the universes this season? Yellow/amber can only represent one universe, not two!
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Well yeah, but this season, both universes are linked, they are both co-dependent, so to speak, they work together...that's why the amber...
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OK, that seems pretty reasonable, though I'm not sure I totally agree. For one, surely the amber represents the deletion of Peter rather than the completion of the bridge between the universes. And the fact that the two universes are just as different from each other as they've ever been would indicate to me that they should get different intros. Thanks for the comment.
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Oh and...it's just color play...at least I think so...blue and red give you this color...but I guess this observation falls in the category "You don't say!?"...
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yeah...I started writing something and then realized that it doesn't make sense at all :-D :-D :-D man, I love this show
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Also, episodes cross back and forth freely, and single episodes aren't either/or.
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Right; in season three, we (by and large) had exclusively red or exclusively blue universe episodes. Here, we're (by and large) seeing the two interacting thoroughly.



And technically, we'd need two new colors, right? One for blue-universe-sans-Peter and one for red-universe-sans-Peter.
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Man this show is just the best. Like everything I could have wanted in a science fiction TV show and a relationship study and a cool nerdy vibe all wrapped up into one. How sad is it that the viewership is so low? Ugh, TV audiences.



-We need Walter + Mr. Secretary Walter squaring off about how to combat DRJ in the upcoming episodes. That'll bring back some of Walter's gravitas.

-Alcoholivia is awesome. More of her (except not because that would take away from what little time this show has left).

-I wasn't sure whether I should laugh, cry, or just revel in both Astrid's. And props to Jasika Nicole, did you see the way she lit up when she passed herself that can of coffee? How cute was that?

-The passenger in the cab is almost always more important than the driver when it comes to TV and movies. I'm going with that rather than any sort of sinister racial issues.
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also Col. Broyles could possibly get our Walter to work on an antidote in the mean time.
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I also loved Walter in the robe, lol
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The only part of this review I don't like is the reminders that such a great show may be reaching its untimely end.



Which is obviously not Tim's fault. So A+ to you, sir.
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Tim,



I have got to say that you have a knack to identify and write pretty compelling reviews of shows, especially the ones you really like. This was a great explanation of what happened Friday night and I truly hope that not only others read this, because if they don't watch Fringe now, your episodic breakdowns should motivate them to do so, but the people at Fox so that they see that with intelligent shows there are intelligent viewers. Good for you!



Fox used to be the network who would ride a show out and I think their confidence in Fringe has paid off, at least a little. Friday is usually such a crappy TV night that mediocre ratings should keep shows on the air.



I live the dual universes! It's really odd seeing the WTC in the other world and the Brass Statue of Liberty should have some additional meaning, but I haven't come up with anything as of yet.



I have always liked John Noble and didn't realize that he and Anna Torv were both in the series Young Lions. If you have mentioned that, I didn't see it. But I tripped over that show and thought it was interesting.



I just hope that if we are to approaching the end of Fringe and I don't think we are, I hope they let DRJ end both worlds! What an ending! It would go down in the annals of TV history!



Hopefully we will get to read many more of your inciteful and often very funny reviews of this truly great piece of TV.



Thanx



Just my thoughts!
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Agree with you on Tims reviews. Im gutted he's not reviewing Magic City.
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It was great episode. Connections of men to their doppelgangers in other universe were great and exciting thing. So Effed up) One thing though we didn't get much our Olivia and Peter second episode in a row. I'm glad to see Altlivia but it was too much. And why our Peter and Olivia not even kissing each other every time? not even cuddling a bit. I'm a not a miserable shipper I swear) it just kinda feel off not realistic. They not even kissin' when leavin' each other. And so much longin' before that? I'm just want plausibility. Why that lovin' looks that Olivia was givin' to Peter if there is now a calm city between them like theyre just friends. C'mon give us some heat)
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They have said that not all people in one universe have doubles in the other. So it is possible the black cab driver did not have a double and it just wasnt mentioned, but yes i thought of that too when i watched the show
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There wasn't a mention of the fate of the black cab driver. But a white woman drowns and a multi-universe search party is dispatched!



i think the cab driver was more like blackxican than plain black

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WHOO! YEAH! Fringe review, baby! I'll be back with a more in depth comment after I finish putting up my "Hot-livia" wallpaper in my bedroom.
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yo, post a link to that wallpaper, I'd like to get one :)
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Sometimes I think YOU should be writing these reviews.
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Someone please make a Hot-livia wallpaper...
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