Fringe, Ep. 4.11, “Making Angels”: Uneven episode helped by long-overdue focus on Astrid

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Fringe Review, Season 4, Episode 11: “Making Angels”
Written by Akiva Goldsman, J. H. Wyman, and Jeff Pinkner
Directed by Charles Beeson
Airs Fridays at 9pm (ET) on Fox

This week, on Fringe: AUstrid and Astrid bond, Fauxlivia thaws Walter, and the Observers are not happy

Nicknames for this episode- Olivia/Fauxlivia, Astrid/AUstrid

After seasons of underuse, finally Jasika Nicole gets a spotlight episode. “Making Angels” gives us our first details about Astrid and goes so far as to introduce us to her father. Nicole does well and bringing AUstrid over to hang with the gang makes for a lot of fun. Of course she and Walter get on famously, but it’s her instant camaraderie with Astrid, and vice versa, that stands out. This is the first example we’ve seen of two doppelgangers actually getting along and liking each other. It seems everyone likes Astrid- including herself. Their initial meeting is very well played by Nicole, who is helped by the scene’s writing, which allows the audience, and characters, to piece her statements together themselves rather than spoonfeeding everyone the cause of AUstrid’s distress.

Bringing over Fauxlivia to get AUstrid gives Anna Torv more to do this week, as well as letting her cut a bit loose- it seems Fauxlivia’s the fun one in this timeline too. While she’s entertaining, she feels somewhat out of place in the episode, given nearly nothing to do besides point Olivia towards Peter and get Walter to forgive her. If the episode has a particular weakness, it’s this last point. Their interaction is nice, but they make up far too quickly, given the extent of Fauxlivia’s betrayal. Yes, we don’t know just what happened in this timeline, but given what we saw in the original one, which the beginning of this episode seems to emulate, bribing Walter into friendship with some Other Universe candy is too easy.

Confirming Olivia’s capture and replacement with Fauxlivia in this timeline also opens up a Pandora’s Box of questions- how did Olivia recapture her memories, without Peter to guide her? How did she get home, since she doesn’t know of her ability to cross universes? Why did she cross back over, allowing Walternate to catch her, after the mission if there was no Peter to bring home? Perhaps these are questions better left unasked, but if that’s what the writers want, they shouldn’t remind viewers of them.

The case of the week is interesting enough, though the resolution does feel somewhat half-baked. While Peter and Olivia spend most of the episode hunting down Neil, the addition of so many extra characters leaves little time to develop this thread. He remains a complete question mark ‘til the end and, while well played by Chin Han, his final scene becomes little more than an expo-dump to his mother. More interesting is his connection to the Observers. The decision to explain a bit of their how is a risky one- if not properly handled, it’ll be midichlorians all over again. For now, we have an idea of how they experience time, but not much more than technobabble explaining it. Let’s hope it stays that way.

The promise of conflict between the Observers is promising, however. This has come up only briefly in the past, but each time it’s been delicately handled, by the characters and the writers. It would appear they’re going to play a more prominent role this season than ever before, but while they have been interesting in the past, increased exposure doesn’t necessarily seem like the best choice- these are characters who rely on mystery. Stripping them of this leaves us with hairless suit-wearing automatons (for the most part). Far less interesting.

Much of the episode feels fairly straightforward visually, but one scene in particular warrants note. The opening, in which a man gets some bad news from his doctor, is well framed and features beautiful cinematography. This melts away somewhat in the rest of the episode, but the time taken to set the tone at the beginning is appreciated. Less appreciated is Seth Gable’s continued absence. We don’t get to see Lincoln’s reaction to AUstrid, for example, and for a character so prominent early on, he feels rather hastily shoved aside, particularly in regards to Olivia. On a whole, however, the time spent with AUstrid and Walter makes up for any of this week’s shortcomings, giving us a fun and entertaining episode. Fingers crossed that the PtB see the potential pitfalls ahead and have planned accordingly.

What did you think of this episode? Did you enjoy getting more AUstrid and Astrid this week? Post your thoughts below!

Kate Kulzick

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