Monday, February 27, 2012

Review: Fringe "The End of All Things"

Just a short word to start off this review, I missed the beginning of Fringe when Season 1 first aired. I saw the television commercials a few episodes into the first season, checked out a random episode, and instantly fell in love. I'm very particular about how I watch my shows though, so I waited until the blue ray came out, and watched it in proper order. The show was incredible, and the direction that Abrams brought it was not only surprising, but completely refreshing as well. I've been watching ever since.

The series pilot, appropriately titled "Pilot", has long been my favorite episode. It was longer than the typical episode meant to fit into an hour slot, but what really grabbed me was the story they were able to tell within the limited time frame. They introduced most of the main cast members, started off with a mysterious case, and introduced the world to what would eventually become the Fringe division. The special effects were amazing, and it hooked me like few shows have done in their first episodes.

Anna Torv, I have been slowly falling in love with you for the past four years.

I bring up this episode because I would like to compare "The End of All Things" favorably to "Pilot". It would be impossible to adequately describe the twists and turns the series has taken between these two episodes, but I can't help but feel that this is THE biggest turn yet. This episode was pure storyline from start to finish, with absolutely no filler. Not only was it fast paced, but it was compelling and intriguing at the same time.

I've evolved past the point of needing eyebrows.

The teaser following last week's episode summed up nicely the main role this episode fulfilled, and that is answering the question, "Who or what are the observers? And why are they interested in Peter?" We don't fully understand either question, but at least now we have a pretty solid idea as to what their overall goal is. There is still plenty left to the imagination though, and I can't wait to see the role Peter plays in what eventually becomes history for the observers.

I think the greatest strength of this episode was in its pacing. No time was wasted introducing a sub-plot, and the episode took off right where last week's left off. Peter has evolved into a complete badass, and Joshua Jackson has offered consistently excellent performances all season long. In fact, I think the entire cast deserves mention here, for it's not often that people commend the actors in this show for the actual acting talents. I think John Noble is one of the most underrated actors on television currently, and when he began to play his second role as the Secretary of Defense, I was completely convinced of his acting prowess.

Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, Lance Reddick, and Blair Brown have all impressed me from the very start, but the character I have grown most fond of over the course of the fourth season is Astrid Farnsworth, played by the lovely Jasika Nicole. While this was not the best episode for her to showcase her talents, I've only just begun reviewing the series and felt that it was worth mentioning how much she has impressed me recently.

Season 4 has really seen the growth of Astrid as a character.
 I am saddened by the recent news of Fringe's poor ratings, and all I can do is hope at this point that the show will continue for at least one more season. I'm cautiously optimistic that this will happen, as Fox really has nothing that would perform better in its doomed Friday night time slot. The problem with this show, is that it is impossible to get into without seeing every  episode in chronological order. While this makes it less accessible to the average viewer, it is the very reason that Abrams has been able to create such a brilliant show. I hope at the very least he was prepared for the worst, and is able to reach a satisfying conclusion at the end of the fourth season. I have a terrible instinct however, that he will not resolve the story in a satisfying manner unless he is renewed for at least a partial fifth season. Here's to hoping one of my favorite shows can get just one more chance.

   -Chris (Fringe Unit Special Agent)

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