Fringe, Ep. 4.10, “Forced Perspective”: Treads water instead of gearing up

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Fringe Review, Season 4, Episode 10: “Forced Perspective”
Written by Ethan Gross
Directed by David Solomon
Airs Fridays at 9pm (ET) on Fox

This week, on Fringe: The Newninverse catches up, re:Observers, Olivia and Nina bond, and Emily can see dead people

At this point in Fringe’s fourth, and very likely final, season, it’s time for the arcing storylines to kick into gear. Yes, we’re less than half-way through the season and we’re far from the final push, but on the whole, season four has been glacially paced and it’s time for that to change. Yes, we needed several episodes to get to know the new versions of all our characters. Yes, we needed a few episodes for Peter to find his feet, and yes, the two-episode excursion to the Other Newniverse was worthwhile in establishing the rest of this new landscape. However, after nine hours in this setting and the introduction of an interesting and credible threat, it is time for some action this week. Instead, we get a by-the-numbers standalone episode that, despite its visual flair, does nothing to move the storyline forward or otherwise earn its air time.

Alexis Raich is good as Emily, the Freak of the Week (she draws people’s future deaths), but from the moment she pops on screen, genre-literate viewers will know her exact trajectory. There’s a slight mislead with her relationship with her father, but otherwise, it’s pretty much beat by beat. There is a nice visual effects sequence as Walter takes Emily into her memory, but even that is something we’ve seen on the show before. The developments we see with Olivia and Nina may pay off in the future, but while their interaction feels far more natural than their previous ones this season, it feels like too little too late. Also, any development in Olivia and Lincoln’s relationship seems utterly halted- Lincoln is barely in this episode, relegated to Astrid-levels of background work. Taking an episode away from the larger arc isn’t a problem, so long as it gives us insight to the characters or at least a compelling one-episode story. “Forced Perspective” does neither. This is by no means a poor episode, but Fringe has shown itself capable of much better than mediocre or forgettable storytelling, no matter how well-executed. Hopefully, with Autstrid showing up next week and more Newniverse blending, things will get back on track quickly.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Looking forward to Astrid’s reaction to her counterpart? Post your thoughts below!

Kate Kulzick

3 Comments
  1. Kate Kulzick says

    Jaspio and Roberto- Glad you liked the episode more than I. Jaspio, I completely get being happy to see the group function well as a team and you’re right that the production values set the show apart. Roberto, I hadn’t thought of the series ratings situation as an allegory to Emily’s journey. Interesting parallel! Thanks for your comments!

  2. Roberto says

    Probably no bigger critic than me of where the series went after Season 3. Clearly we’re never going back to that universe with it’s wealth of relationships and problems. But the Newniverse is transforming into a better version of the other….. And though I also far prefer the big picture episodes, this stand alone stood out as one of the better in that vein I believe. Of course after last week’s story line, which normally would have played out over 3 episodes, this seemed to dawdle. In the context though of time running out for the series, and how much I will miss characters in both universes, next week’s storyline is obviously where we want them to go. I just got this image that the series reminds me now of someone who’s terminal. It’s like they still have to do the everyday mundane things of paying bills, cooking dinner, walking the dog, etc., sadly to the exclusion of contemplating what it was all about, reflecting on what was really good, and coming to terms with what lies ahead. They could take a cue from Emily. She knows her time is ending soon, and takes in the quiet beauty of a lake. Living her last moments in order to find serenity and maybe do something special. As a series metaphor, I guess that’s why I liked this episode better than I should have.

  3. Jaspio says

    I am pretty on the fence about the whole Of this season too. The beginning of this season has been lacklustre and every bit rudderless. It seems obvious to me that the writers have no idea what so ever on how to progress the story arc ( or in their defence, maybe all of their ideas may have been shot down). I was delighted to see an episode that escapes the arc and just showcase how great the Fringe team can work together. I was especially impressed by the great pace and wit. The scene with the bag on the cabinet had me rewind my DVR just to catch a glimpse of it. Nice catch, Olivia! The guest cast was pretty strong too, and although you could tell that their characters we’re written vaguely, the son Father and daughter really jumped out of the screen.

    I had actually lost interest in Fringe (especially after episode 9), but the production values alone may be an indication that The show might be able to get itself on the rails again.

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