Stars: Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble, Lance Reddick, Jasika Nicole
Writer:
J.R. Wyman, Jeff Pinkner
Director: Charles Beeson
Network: Fox, airs Friday nights
Original Telecast: Friday, January 21, 2011

The fall finale of FRINGE, left much to be desired. Instead of going out with a bang and giving us a blockbuster way to remember the show leading up to the return, we got a rather mundane episode where the ultimate bottom line was Olivia (Anna Torv) ending her relationship with Peter (Joshua Jackson).

Of course, who could blame her, given he continued right along with the relationship with the alternate Olivia without even a clue until she contacted him. That might give someone pause in any relationship.

Those same feelings carried over into “The Firefly” as Olivia and Peter tried their best to remain colleagues no matter what personal problems had come between them. It was all about the Observers and their weird fascination and inclusion in the lives of the Bishops – most of which we know little reason as to why.

For Peter, this episode was more about trying to find out what the Observers want with him and why they have had a hand in his fate since the time the one saved Walter (John Noble) and Peter from the lake. Peter knows they want him for something or know he will do something, perhaps involving the master machine designed by Walternate to destroy universes, but they aren’t telling.

While this episode was more of a putting the chess pieces in place rather than any big reveal, we do know that the Observers have some sort of role to play in the grand scheme of scheme of things, but we just don’t know what that role will be. They obviously know the future or numerous futures that may happen and that by doing certain actions they impact those futures, yet we still don’t know what or who they are. Walter says they aren’t human so does that mean they are aliens? Evolved humans from another time or the future itself? Or genetically engineered much the same way the shapeshifters were made by Walternate? If so, do they come from “over there” or were they created “over here?” While we learn a little bit more about them every time they appear … we still know so little, it is hard to fathom if we will learn everything we want to know about them.

The good news for FRINGE is that just as many people watched the show on Friday as they did on Thursday. That’s an excellent measure given that most audiences drop off considerably. However, The CW may have led the charge in terms of how to do it. Move proven shows that have proven audiences to Friday because you know the fans will follow regardless – both SMALLVILLE and SUPERNATURAL resided on Thursday for years but back-to-back years the network moved both shows to Friday and the audience didn’t drop. Now, the same may be said for FRINGE, which has a solid core audience that loves the show.

And it still is one of the best things on TV by far, even with a few hiccups here and there after the major alternate universe storylines that were fantastic. I think as long as they get back to delivering what they did in the first half of the year with a few of the monster-of-the-weeks mixed in the audience should indeed stay. And that bodes well for the show, since Fox only wanted the same numbers it got on Thursday.

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