Entertainment Magazine

Review #3252: Fringe 4.10: “Forced Perspective”

Posted on the 30 January 2012 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: John Keegan

Considering the subject of the episode, perhaps calling this return to more stand-alone fare “inevitable” is too on the nose. But after a couple of episodes that were devoted to major changes to the status quo, including the introduction of the true villains of the season, the writers were going to have to return to more standard situations sooner or later.

Review #3252: Fringe 4.10: “Forced Perspective”

That’s not to say that this episode is a complete stand-alone. If anything, it’s a story that is designed to allow the writers to explore some of the fallout of the revelations that have come our way. Specifically, this is the perfect scenario for Olivia to deal with her psychological response to September’s dire prediction, and for the audience to cringe as Nina continues to manipulate her “daughter”.

Emily’s ability allows her to “see” when someone is about to die, and she is compelled to try to change this apparent fate. How this works is not at all clear, but considering that Peter comes right out and says that the Observers appear to transcend time, one can speculate that there is a potential for that ability in the human race. (Especially since we still don’t know where the Observers come from, and it could be humanity’s future, in some unforeseen timeline/universe.) What is apparent from the start of the episode, however, is that the ability is slowly killing Emily, which makes the end of the story tragic in its inevitability.

But given that Olivia is haunted by September’s prediction, and that we still don’t know quite what September meant, Emily’s ability taunts us almost as much as it does Olivia. The writers kept teasing us with the possibility that Emily would say something, anything, that would hint at Olivia’s apparent imminent demise. Far from a crutch, Emily’s ability becomes the vehicle for exploring the depth of Olivia’s anxiety.

We also got to see of the implications of Nina’s true nature. In the original timeline, the Nina of Fringe Prime was in charge of Massive Dynamic as well, and initial hints and allegations seemed to indicate that she had ulterior motives and questionable moral standards. In fact, for some time, it wasn’t out of the realm of possibility that they were secretly behind ZFT. Taking that further, we can guess that Nina might have been working with David Robert Jones, and only switched to the side of Fringe Division when Mr. Jones was killed in the first season finale.

But in this timeline, David Robert Jones successfully found a way to cross into Alt-Fringe, and so that more devious and sinister characterization of Nina from the first season seems to have evolved into what we see here. Nina does a masterful job of admitting just enough to allow her to twist the truth to her own ends when all is said and done, playing on Olivia’s trust without a hint of regret.

In the end, this is the sort of episode that seems like a step down from the whirlwind of the previous two episodes, but it was necessary to follow up on those events from the characters’ perspective. And with the emphasis being on Peter so much since his return, it’s good to see the writers bringing the focus back to Olivia. After all, while the Bishops are definitely intrinsic to the plot, the first three seasons made it very clear that Olivia is the central character of the story.

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

Final Rating: 8/10

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