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Fringe: A Short Story About Love

“It’s every human being’s right to know love.”

Alan Carr locked his victims in what appeared to be an iron lung crossed with a ricer in order to distill their pheromones and experience the love of his victims’ partners for a few brief moments. While his deeds were despicable, it was impossible not to sympathize with him and his silent, conversation-less existence: he rarely spoke and was rarely spoken to. He was quietly, desperately, lonely.

His parallel in this episode was Peter, who had very few lines and spent most of the episode following the Observer’s scavenger hunt for the glowy phallic object rather than cause more trouble for Olivia, who is—final verdict!—“his” Olivia. Carr killed the men for their pheromones and the women so they would not have to live in grief, aware of what they had lost. Peter, now, can finally and with full confidence embrace the woman that he’s been so conflicted about for so long. No grief for him!

Lincoln, on the other hand, had a subtle tragic-love moment. I’m not a Peter/Olivia shipper any more than I am a Lincoln/Olivia shipper: I want as many characters to be happy as possible, in whatever forms that happiness takes. But I did feel pity for Lincoln, slipping so easily into the “just-friends” mode with Olivia. Does she even remember their almost-relationship? Surely Lincoln hasn’t forgotten his conversation with Fauxlivia, and her dismissal of the other Lincoln Lee’s attentions. Lincoln’s parallel was, rather obviously but still touchingly, Sutter’s wife.

Like Lincoln, Olivia saw herself in Sutter’s wife. It’s no surprise, really: isn’t that the dominant emotional arc of this show? Each character (except maybe Astrid) has shut him or herself off from love since the beginning of the series, and we want them to find that hopefully possibility again. Walter admired Peter for being willing to leave this Olivia behind, and was reminded of his own unwillingness to do the same for Peter and other-Peter. He’s opened himself to this new Peter because he has the possibility of hope—hope for redemptive love in Peter’s eyes, which he seems to be finding.

Olivia said, “If Peter was going to be with me, then I didn’t think about the consequences. I didn’t care.” But now she is: the price of love is the mind that loves. At first, Olivia didn’t want to lose herself, her memories, her entire life (of love, hate indifference, etc.) to gain Peter. Now, though, she wants to avoid closing herself off and open herself to a life that isn’t hers, just to have the possibility of love.

As we’ve left it, she does not know that she has made the right decision. (Which makes it all the more right, I suppose.) And we do not know that this means for the reality that she is slowly forgetting: did it never happen? Will it linger if enough people want it to remain un-erased, the way Peter lingered? While the romantic heart of the show has been repaired, the mythological ramifications are yet to be fully explored.

Organic Ocular Suggestion:

• The Observer: “You could not be fully erased, because the people who care about you would not let you go, and you would not let them go. I believe you call it love.”

• I fully expected dehydration-victim Sutter to spring back to life like the victim in Se7en.

• Did the credits look browner this week, or was it just because I watched this episode on a different screen? And what color do you think they’ll be next week?

• Speaking of a different screen: my DVR didn’t record this episode, and because I hate watching TV on my laptop (yes, I’m old), I put it off... long enough to realize that Fox has a bizarre policy of only releasing episodes for a day, then unreleasing them for the next eight days. Grr!

Four out of four teddy bears.

Josie Kafka is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)

5 comments:

  1. Josie :

    quoting you "......, the mythological ramifications are yet to be fully explored."

    Yes indeed, 7 eps or so won't be enough to answer the myriads of questions still out there...

    b) SOB ! You were right about the color ! Less and less yellow, more and more brownish. Completely missed that ! Good eye ! (or you ere putting more attention than most of us)

    A good part of this season I would call "intimate". Those great actors portray their characters' inner thoughts, fears, frustrations, etc. to a sublime level, making the viewing great, even with standalones eps.

    They keep telling us that they'll bring a good conclusion in May if the show is not renewed, but at the way it is going, we badly need 20 or so eps to really wrap this beautiful mythology....

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  2. Haha, i was wondering the same thing about the credits. the blue ones were the best... Now that we know that this timeline is the one where the (hopefully) season finale will play out, i want the blue one back.

    Anyone else delighted by how much affection Olivia is showing? Remember the wooden version that kicked off the series? I'm so glad we've grown past her.

    7 episodes? Heck no they won't be enough. This show's mythology is one of the richest i've ever seen.
    After last week, i'm glad there's still much to explore in the Observer territory... They shut him out? How does that work exactly? How did he get shot? Is September a rogue agent now?

    Ok those are my incoherent thoughts on the topic.

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  3. Loved the Observer's secret apartment with the old hi-fi and the newspapers. Didn't love the gagworthy iron lung stuff. Happy that Olivia is Peter's Olivia, though, and I wish we'd known that sooner.

    Terrific review, Josie.

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  4. This was another episode I had mixed feelings about. I enjoyed everything with Peter, Olivia and the Observer, but found the the case-of-the-week plot boring. And was the villain really called Alan Carr? How am I supposed to take him seriously with a name like that.

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  5. "......, the mythological ramifications are yet to be fully explored."...understatement of the year! But I won't do a "Lost" list and try to name them ALL.
    I guess my biggest question is...if this is "our" Olivia, is this also "our" Walter, "our" Astrid, etc? And will they start to meld their current memories with their other world memories?
    I know another season is unlikely, but gosh I'd really love to see it all truly played out.

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