Reaction: Fringe (4×11)

I think Astrid might officially be the best thing about Fringe. She’s always ranked pretty high, and that she’s been used slightly less this year has been disappointing. I know there’s Big Stuff going on, but I love the touches of calm Astrid always brings. She tempers Walter well, even in this version of the world where she’s his eyes and ears out in the real world.

I’m not sure how I feel about the mysterious, all-knowing Asian mercy killer. How do others feel?

Sooo, that guy is a brilliant mathematician and he’s got all these formulas and stuff on the wall, but he’s also a devout-to-the-point-of-woo-woo religious person who thinks he’s doing God’s work. Okay, I can get that. Those things are not mutually exclusive. But what did all the scribblings on the wall have to do with it when the reason he had this precognitive ability was because the Observer (September) lost his little doohickey and that was what enabled the fortune telling? Did I miss something? I might have. I often do.

The last bit about the main case: soooo, Peter and Olivia know from the spinal injury guy that Nick (that was his name, right?) had a little doohickey, but when they don’t find it/look for it at the cabin and find him at his/his mother’s home, they just shoot the guy and then don’t look for it again? I … what? They want to know how he did that thing he did, but not enough to follow through. I hate writing holes like this, Fringe. I know it was so we could have the Observer chat session at the end with … who was that, March and December? They all look like Powder to me.

Poor Alt!Astrid. What a sweetheart she is, and as I alluded to above, she and regular Astrid made this episode really shine. Alt!A’s interactions with everyone were very touching, especially with her other self. I wanted to give them both huge hugs, especially regular Astrid, when we found out that she fibbed about her relationship with her father to Alt!A to make her feel better. Because she was right: if Alt!A’s father didn’t love her “enough”, it was not her. It was him.

Alt!Astrid putting it to Walter that he might be mad at Peter because he loves him was astute and sad, as was her saying that it might be better if Walter pretend Peter is his, so that he can be happy. Oh, Alt!A. (((hug))) Watching Walter snap and treat Peter like an annoyance was both amusing and heartbreaking. Peter seemed to take it in stride, though.

Faux!Livia is amusing and so cheery it almost feels like she’s trying too hard. I don’t know what I mean by that. I loved her little war with Walter, and the tentative truce at the end.

Comments

  1. Azzy says

    The plot was pretty meh. The villain felt played-out (I’ve seen mercy-killer characters dealt with in more interesting manners). This episode was clearly all about the characters, however, and in that department it excelled. The Astrids were delightful, each in their own way.

    Also, runner-up prize goes to the Walter/Alt!livia interactions, for cracking me. I wonder if Alt!livia was acting so cheery just to mess with Walter? Or maybe she was just in a good mood.

    Anyway, the final scene with Astrid and her father made me wibble a bit. Not just because I realized that Astrid had lied, but because by the look on Astrid’s face when she was hugging her dad, I got the impression she was facing the fact that his love might have been conditional–that if she’d been more like Alt!Astrid, her father might have also been far less demonstrative. It was just sad.

  2. says

    I reeeeally wanted the twist at the end of the episode to be Observer interference at the shooting to take the device before Mercy Killer got shot/after it is ensured he will be shot (and we see him get shot) so it wouldn’t be in the house at all by the time Peter and Olivia investigate… and for it to be significant because of Mercy Killer establishing formulas/tech that set up the creation of the Observers. They have to protect significant historical occurrences, since they’re uniquely outside of time in a way where, paradoxically, they exist without having been made yet. Also, it’s just their “thing”– but ensuring your continued/beginning existence is pretty high up there in quantum multiversal historical priorities, too.

    I loled when Walter called Altlivia Mata Hari. Also at the “Kirk out!” line, because I’m a giant nerd, and also, JJ QUIT TAUNTING ME.

    Azzy,

    See, I had been kind of bummed at first when Astrid lied because I thought the alternative of our Astrid and AltAstrid sharing family dysfunction and each dealing with it in different ways would have been more interesting– but if the writers don’t use this as a cop-out to make our Astrid “Generic Normal Good Girl Who Is Good With Feelings,” then I think you’re really on to something. Idk, I just wanted the “it wasn’t you” line to be coming from Astrid’s own experiences– and who knows, maybe it was. It seemed like she really turned an analysis of AltAstrid around into being about AltAstrid’s father… or maybe our Astrid is really, really good at performative neurotypicality/emotional masquerading and she was sad at the end because she knows that about her father already.

    …The moral is, we need more Astrid. It’s like a lot ridiculous how much more Astrid backstory I could stand to hear/see. :3

  3. sbg says

    Azzy,

    Thank you for putting to words what I meant re: our Astrid’s reaction to Alt!Astrid’s father not loving her because she was the way she was. At first I was all “Awww, Astrid’s dad is awesome.” and then I started to go “But now she knows that he might not have been had she been more like her alternate.” It was that subtle, wrenching look on Jasika Nicole’s face there. She did a fabulous job.

    Also totally agree about it being about the characters. The plots lately have been pretty iffy, if I’m going to be honest, but the characters remain solid.

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