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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fringe is "Neither Here Nor There"

    FOX's Fringe is back! The fourth season premiere, "Neither Here Nor There," finds Olivia (Anna Torv) and Fauxlivia (also Torv) exchanging Fringe files. Olivia is interrupted from studying them when an agent is killed. The agent's partner is Lincoln Lee (Seth Gabel, now a series regular), whose alternate version works with Fauxlivia. Olivia and Lincoln track the killer, who claims many more bodies. They are disturbed to discover it is a new type of shape shifter, casting doubt on their truce with the other side. Also, the Observer (Michael Cerveris) is tasked with wiping Peter (Joshua Jackson) completely out of existence when a flash of him keeps appearing to Walter (John Noble).

     It is a little odd to not have Peter on Fringe. Yes, it's only going to be temporary. And sure, while Walter and Olivia are a bit different without ever having had him in their lives, they are still recognizable characters. But what Peter brings to the team, the compassion, and calming influence, is missed. He is more than just his effect on people. He is an important element in solving the Fringe cases. Without him, Olivia may still save the day, but she won't have as easy a time of it.

     Perhaps that explains why Lincoln joins the Fringe team in "our" universe. Besides already being a familiar face, he has some of the same characteristics as Peter. Plus, there wasn't a Peter on the other side, so fans have already gotten to see what Lincoln brings to the table. Surely he is a welcome influence. He won't be the same as Peter, of course, and doesn't share the history with Walter. But he does care about others, something Olivia needs in a partner.

     It is likely there are other things that are different without Peter around that aren't immediately obvious. What those things are is hard to predict, but they will probably show up little by little as this season plays out.

     The Observer was tasked with making sure Peter served his purpose, and then was gone. Since the first part happened, but the second didn't, is it possible that the Observer has something to do with why Peter keeps appearing? Might he have done something improperly to preserve Peter, intentionally or otherwise? Could he have formed an attachment to the man he has watched all of these years? The Observer seems to be readying himself to wipe out Peter once and for all, but maybe, just maybe, he has another plan.

     And what of these new shape shifters? Is Walternate (Noble) moving against "our" universe, or is there a new villain that has not yet been revealed. Either possibility is intriguing, and could have far reaching consequences. The thing with Fringe is that it is never predictable. Which is fine, because it certainly keeps stories interesting.

     Plus, cool new yellow theme song!

     Watch Fringe Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on FOX.

     To catch up on the Fringe you missed, buy DVDs or watch episodes instantly on Amazon.com

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