Fringe, you have me worried. And not in a good, edge-of-my-seat, how-will-they-make-it-out-of-this-one kind of way. Friday’s episode, “The Last Sam Weiss” sounded very promising, and I was hoping for a lot of awesome revelations that raise more tantalizing questions. Instead, I felt that we got a bit gypped. Sam Weiss is descended from other men named Sam Weiss – he mentioned that the fifth wrote “The First People” books and that he remembers hunting down important clues to how the Device functions with his dad. It’s all about the Device. We get it. He and Olivia ran around looking for more clues, although I really don’t buy his whole ‘I don’t want to mess with fate’ excuse as to why he didn’t bust open that secret box before now. He knew exactly where it was. Maybe Olivia had to be there? Murky at best. Including Olivia in a corresponding ancient drawing was a nice touch that seemed out of place given the ending of the episode, but I’ll get there in a minute.
What was the point of having Peter wake up with mixed up memories if he just remembered stuff about Over Here properly, as soon as Walter and Astrid show up? The Device clearly threw him off, but why/how/do we really care since it was resolved in a few minutes? I am hoping there is some significance in his buying the silver dollar and writing down once again that he is going home, but I feel it was poorly done. This whole episode felt really disjointed and not at all what we’ve come to expect from this generally excellent season. Not to mention that (here is where I step up on my soap box) this is a really recycled plotline from The X-Files. Seriously. Go watch the finale of season 6, “Biogenesis” and the premiere of season 7, “The Sixth Extinction I & II”. Mulder is in the hospital because a piece of an unknown device with weird symbols on it is making him essentially catatonic, he wakes up totally disoriented while Scully is off searching for the origin of the device with the help of a mysterious source, among other things. Obviously Fringe has different goals to accomplish than X-Files did, but I felt that season 1 too often looked to the X-Files for plotlines and now is not the time to start using them again. Especially when it has been so good at creating and balancing its own mythology. For shame!
As for the time jump fifteen years into the future, I don’t see how this helps matters. The viewers are more interested in the here and now, not a fifteen-year jump. I’d like to see the consequences of having both Devices on Liberty Island on both sides, Peter’s entrance into the machine, and not have to lose Walter as we know and love him; not to mention time jumping ages Peter’s son with Fauxlivia to an semi-acceptable age of interaction and can kill characters offscreen without giving us a satisfying goodbye. The rumored deaths in the finale can now potentially be something like, “oh Astrid was killed when this occurred five years ago” – a line of dialogue is not an effective way to give a character closure. Astrid from Over Here is my guess for a death, by the way, since we saw Peter at the edge of the water at a funeral and Olivia, Walter, and Broyles were all still around. It remains to be seen what they do next week, but like Scully, I remain skeptical!
One last note: Fox, I am tired of your brutal and pathetic product placement. It’s passed into the territory of the disgusting. We get it. They use Sprint phones and Ford cars. Maybe the creative forces behind Fringe hate this contract requirement so much that they are making it disgustingly obvious on purpose to enrage fans, so that they complain and it’s yanked. Fringe is the only show I watch on Fox besides Glee – does anyone know if the other shows on Fox have this kind of awful nonsense? Fox sucks. I base this opinion on their hatred of good scifi television and this current abuse of the genre’s fans.