Entertainment Magazine

Review #3147: Fringe 4.7: “Wallflower”

Posted on the 21 November 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: John Keegan

Written by Matthew Pitts and Justin Doble
Directed by Anthony Hemingway

“Fringe” has been getting the short end of the baseball-sized stick in recent seasons, but it has never affected the flow of the season arc quite so much as it has this time around. Not only did it force a longer than usual pause after the first four episodes, but it means that this episode is now the fall finale, rather than the episode originally designed as such. While it’s unlikely to have a major effect on the ratings, it does undermine what the writers and producers intended.

Review #3147: Fringe 4.7: “Wallflower”

There’s no way this was meant to be a fall finale. It’s not a terrible episode by any means, but the narrative construction in terms of the season arc was not leading to this as a major pause or turning point. Even so, it reintroduces another of those first season concepts that had been set aside for far too long: the questionable practices of Massive Dynamic, and Nina’s role as the architect of those practices.

Some people have wondered whether or not Nina’s decision to adopt Olivia and her sister after the collapse of the Cortexiphan trials was as altruistic as it seems. We now have the answer, at least in part: Nina really wanted Olivia around as a resource. This is a nice spin on things, because for the most part, Nina Sharp in the “normal” Fringe Prime timeline had been rendered a bit soft.

There is the obvious question of just what Nina was trying to accomplish by drugging Olivia. Is she trying to ensure that any evidence regarding experiments conducted by Massive Dynamic is left unexplored? Or is it something more sinister? Could Nina and Massive Dynamic be working with whoever unleashed the Shapeshifters 2.0? The introduction of this layer to the mystery leads me to believe even more that Peter’s solution to his quandary will not wipe out the new timelines, even if he gets “home”.

Meanwhile, there is the case at the center of the storm, so to speak, which was an interesting direction to take. Eugene’s condition is intriguing in that his attempts to restore some semblance of normalcy is the very thing that is killing him. He’s literally dying (and killing) to be noticed. There’s a certain sympathy that the writers evince for Eugene. After all, how many people feel like they struggle to be noticed in the world?

There’s a bit of a counter-point to this notion in the subplot involving Olivia and Lincoln. Peter, of all people, pushes Lincoln to come out of his shell and respond to Olivia’s thinly-veiled interest. (I still struggle with the notion that anyone would fail to response to Olivia’s come-hither routine!) It doesn’t quite mesh as an overall theme, but it does reveal just how convinced Peter is that this is not where he belongs. If he felt that this was his Olivia, on any level, he’d never try to get Olivia and Lincoln together.

All in all, it was a reasonably solid episode, but it suffers from carrying the weight of being a fall finale, when it was never intended to be in that position. On the other hand, “Fringe” fans can look forward to the high probability that the first two episodes upon the show’s return in January will be a powerful two-parter.

Writing: 2/2
Acting: 2/2
Direction: 2/2
Style: 1/4

Final Rating: 7/10

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