Episode Review: FRINGE (“Subject 13″)
Hello, ladies and gentleman. I hereby think that the FRINGE writers made a big mistake in having another flashback episode telling the story of how the two universes eventually started crashing together. Either the writers were forgetting that Olivia didn’t know Walter during the series premiere, or they expecting us to believe that something happened between the events in this episode and the pilot.
First off: I love – LOVE – the retro intro. I almost wish to have another flashback episode, just so I can see it again. Second: I can understand why the episode looked like produced in the 80s, but the producers overstepped the boundaries – the blur, the imaginary dust in the room, the bright lights which seem to fill the whole screen, it really hurt my eyes, and it destroyed the fun of the episode. Third: The episode build on some character backgrounds, which were completely missing in the 57 episodes before this. Why are Peter and Olivia not remembering that they had an encounter when they were children? Why did Olivia not recognize Walter in the pilot, even though she intensely took part in his study in 1986? Why was Peter in the first two seasons not remembering that he was from the other universe, even though he was realizing the difficulties, even though he was always talking about Elizabeth (Orla Brady) not being his mother for two whole months? Somehow, the whole background story shown here doesn’t fit with the background story already known from previous episodes. Of course I could explain those things with brain washing or simple forgetting, but in Olivia’s case, she has a photographic memory, so why did she forgot the events in this episode?
So, when the episode wanted to deliver answers, it instead delivered even more questions, as you can see. Either the writers have planned something big for the rest of the episodes to close the gap, or… I don’t know. But the rest of the episode was exceptionally good. I actually loved the idea to have young Olivia (Karley Scott Collins) in the focus of the episode, showing how she came to possess the ability of crossing universes. And it explained what happened in Jacksonville. Especially the video recordings showing Olivia alone and somewhat scared was creepy as hell, when she suddenly burst into flames (though I wonder how young Nick Lane (Liam Smerchinski Mackie) survived the fire without burn marks). There really was a goosebumps moment, when the picture was suddenly flickering. And it was sweet to see that young Peter (Chandler Canterbury) helped Olivia to her “right path”, finding her, helping her.
Even more great things: The episode connected some additional information from previous episodes. I always wondered when Olivia’s step-father (Chris Bradford) was appearing in the series, after she got a birthday card during the first season. And the white tulips returned, as well as aforementioned young Nick. Not to mention that Karley and Chandler completely rocked this episode and had no troubles to carry the episode by themselves, even though Walter (John Noble) was mostly in the focus of the story, even when the episode was jumping to the other universe, telling the story of Peter’s disappearance, as well as Walter’s and Elizabeth’s troubling marriage from their point of view (which was actually more interesting than anything else shown here.
The ending was nice too. So, it was Olivia who brought Walternate to the idea of the existence of an alternate universe. Another little creepy scene, when Olivia was realizing that something wasn’t right. And when Walternate had the answers he was looking for all these months.
With the exception of the questions I asked, it was a great episode. But since I can’t understand why the writers intentionally made the roads of Peter and Olivia very much bumpy, I can’t say that the episode was great. It was filled with expendable mistakes. 5.5/10