Skip to main content

Hard Choices: An Advance Review of Tonight's Winter Finale of "Fringe"

"There are times when the only choices you have left are bad ones." -Phillip Broyles

Throughout the season and a half run thus far on Fringe, the Fringe Division has managed to contain several deadly threats against this world. Mad scientists, alternate universe soldiers, and bizarre phenomena are just par for the course for the loose collection of associates-turned-dysfunctional family members witnessed on the series. Season Two of Fringe has done a sensational job at crafting taut and often terrifying mysteries of the week while also focusing week to week on the evolution of the relationships between the core characters of Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) and Peter and Walter Bishop (Joshua Jackson and John Noble).

Tonight's fantastic winter finale of Fringe ("Jacksonville") finds the team grappling with their toughest and most dangerous case yet as the walls between the two worlds are seemingly becoming thinner and thinner when two buildings--one from "our" world and the other from the alternate universe--collide with deadly consequences.

A race against the clock to prevent this tragedy from unfolding again forces Olivia to come to terms with a dark period in her childhood that she has seemed to block from her memory and comes face to face with the truth behind Walter Bishop's experiments.

I don't want to say too much about the plot of tonight's truly amazing installment because half of the fun of the winter finale is in seeing the plot twists unfold. But I will say that after tonight's episode some relationships will be changed in unexpected ways and others may be fractured forever.

The cozy and familial atmosphere developed between our core troika of characters is built on a bed of lies. Olivia might see Walter as a bit of a doddering father figure but that perception is severely tested when Walter takes Olivia back to the Jacksonville of the title, the small Florida town where, as a helpless child, Olivia was experimented on by Walter and his then-partner William Bell and treated with a drug called cortexiphan.

This period in Olivia's childhood was dealt with in two previous episodes ("Ability" and "Bad Dreams") but the subplot is brought into sharp focus in tonight's episode as both Olivia's abilities, cortexiphan, and the childhood incident alluded to in "Bad Dreams" is dealt with head on.

For the members of the Fringe Division, there have never been easy choices. After all, they've been tasked with safeguarding the country--if not the entire world--against any number of threats to reality itself. Nearly every choice is a hard one and that's never more clearly felt than in tonight's episode, which pushes several of the characters to their breaking point.

The result is easily one of Fringe's best episodes to date, a gripping and engaging thrillride that takes us deep into the characters' backstories but also points towards the future of the series, once it returns in April. In other words: miss this crucial episode at your peril.

Fringe airs tonight at 9 pm ET/PT on FOX.


AskRachel said…
Okay, you've got me totally excited about tonight's episode. Fringe has had its ups and downs but when it's good it's really good and it looks like this one is going to be good!
Jenni Lou said…
I'm very excited! After a number of satisfying MotW episodes, this mythology-laced one is bound to be awesome!
Page48 said…
Wow, your pre-game warmup is more exciting than most episodes of "Fringe", which is often akin to paint drying.

Popular posts from this blog

Katie Lee Packs Her Knives: Breaking News from Bravo's "Top Chef"

The android has left the building. Or the test kitchen, anyway. Top Chef 's robotic host Katie Lee Joel, the veritable "Uptown Girl" herself (pictured at left), will NOT be sticking around for a second course of Bravo's hit culinary competition. According to a well-placed insider, Joel will "not be returning" to the show. No reason for her departure was cited. Unfortunately, the perfect replacement for Joel, Top Chef judge and professional chef Tom Colicchio, will not be taking over as the reality series' host (damn!). Instead, the show's producers are currently scouring to find a replacement for Joel. Top Chef 's second season was announced by Bravo last month, but no return date has been set for the series' ten-episode sophomore season. Stay tuned as this story develops. UPDATE (6/27): Bravo has now confirmed the above story .

BuzzFeed: Meet The TV Successor To "Serial"

HBO's stranger-than-fiction true crime documentary The Jinx   — about real estate heir Robert Durst — brings the chills and thrills missing since Serial   wrapped up its first season. Serial   obsessives: HBO's latest documentary series is exactly what you've been waiting for.   The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst , like Sarah Koenig's beloved podcast, sifts through old documents, finds new leads from fresh interviews, and seeks to determine just what happened on a fateful day in which the most foul murder was committed. And, also like  Serial  before it,  The Jinx may also hold no ultimate answer to innocence or guilt. But that seems almost beside the point; such investigations often remain murky and unclear, and guilt is not so easy a thing to be judged. Instead, this upcoming six-part tantalizing murder mystery, from director Andrew Jarecki ( Capturing the Friedmans ), is a gripping true crime story that unfolds with all of the speed of a page-turner; it

BuzzFeed: "The Good Wife Is The Best Show On Television Right Now"

The CBS legal drama, now in its sixth season, continually shakes up its narrative foundations and proves itself fearless in the process. Spoilers ahead, if you’re not up to date on the show. At BuzzFeed, you can read my latest feature, " The Good Wife Is The Best Show On Television Right Now," in which I praise CBS' The Good Wife and, well, hail it as the best show currently on television. (Yes, you read that right.) There is no need to be delicate here: If you’re not watching The Good Wife, you are missing out on the best show on television. I won’t qualify that statement in the least — I’m not talking about the best show currently airing on broadcast television or outside of cable or on premium or however you want to sandbox this remarkable show. No, the legal drama is the best thing currently airing on any channel on television. That The Good Wife is this perfect in its sixth season is reason to truly celebrate. Few shows embrace complexity and risk-taking in t