Thoughts on the Fringe Series Finale – Liberty / An Enemy of Fate

by Amy Yen

fringe finale

Of course.

I mean, of course it was a white tulip. The moment you saw it–the last image of Fringe ever–you knew it could never have been anything else. (It’s kind of like Lost in that way.) There were a lot of things wrong with “Liberty” & “An Enemy of Fate,” the series finale of Fringe, but Joel Wyman got the last moment exactly, perfectly right.

I’ve watched every episode of Fringe and consider it one of my favorite shows ever. To me, it wasn’t a perfect finale, but it got enough of it right that I can say goodbye the way I wanted to. I think it’s all we can ask for.

What I loved about the episode was all of the last hurrahs for the staples we’ve loved about the show for five years. One last crazy trip across universes. One last gruff but well-meaning Broyles exchange. One last Walter & Astrid moment in the lab. One last bad-ass Olivia sequence. One last Walter & Peter father & son moment.

“The time we had together, we stole. I cheated fate to be with you. And I wouldn’t change it for the world.” Isn’t this what it comes down to? The original sin of the entire show was Walter tearing a hole in a universe to take a son that wasn’t his. Now that he knows the damage he caused, if he had it to do all over again, would he?

How could he not? Maybe that’s what Walter is actually asking forgiveness for. Not that he did this horrible thing. That he would do it again. Without question.

fringewhitetulip

So what does the white tulip mean? September took it from the original timeline to give Walter strength. Walter sends it to Peter when he knows he will disappear from the timeline. I think it can be interpreted a number of ways, but I took it to mean he’s found his forgiveness, his peace with what he’s done & what he will do, because one led to the stolen time he got to have with his son and the other to the time his son will get with his daughter. That’s an ending to these characters I can live with.

In the end, I stand by my admiration for this show because of its fearlessness to completely disrupt the status quo, even when maybe it didn’t need to be disrupted. To tell the story it wanted to tell, and never mind anyone else. There’s probably not ever going to be anything else like it.

If nothing else, it definitely had the highest average number of acid trips shown on screen per season ever. I’m willing to bet on it.

One last thing. It’s clear that the writers went out of their way to include callbacks this season, like little gifts for long-time viewers. But while many of them have felt simply like inconsequential Easter eggs, I thought the attack on the Observer headquarters was fantastic: a lovingly assembled greatest hits of the show’s grossest of the gross. So fitting because Fringe was about many things–identity & humanity & fathers & sons & love & loss–but it was also about showing the weirdest & most disgusting images you could possibly get away with on network TV, & doing so in the most entertaining, gleeful way possible.

I really am going to miss the hell out of this show.

More random thoughts on “Liberty” & “An Enemy of Fate”:

  • My God. How did they get through these two episodes without a single major character getting killed? (Unless you count September?) Not even Astrid! And I was terrified that Fauxlivia or Lincoln were going to end up as collateral damage.
  • Speaking of whom, it was so great to see the red-verse again! I really have missed them. I’m so glad to see Fauxlivia & Lincoln getting their completely adorable bad-ass Fringe agents happily ever after.
  • “You deserve all the happiness that you got.” So great to see Seth Gabel back, however briefly. That little moment when he first sees Olivia again & lets out that little breath, it’s so terrific. I like that there’s still that awkwardness between them, after all this time. And I like the moment between them where she tells him it’s okay that he got to be happy. Like their own white tulip moment. Lincoln was always one of my favorites.
  • I also loved the easiness between the two Olivias, which is remarkable when you remember all they’ve been through. Even if you discount the original season 3 timeline, remember just how much they hated each other at the beginning of season 4? Now they’re like old friends.
  • I think that overall, the scavenger hunt nature of this final season didn’t really pay off. I wish the different pieces of the puzzle came together in a more clever way, instead of just being random components. As it is, the pieces could have been anything.
  • What is it about “this era” that makes the Observers–all of them, as it turns out–develop emotions? If it’s being among our humanity that causes it, couldn’t it have happened in any era?
  • “It’s a beautiful name.” “What is?” “Astrid.” So wonderful. It’s funny, all these years, they never ran out of awesome names for Walter to call Astrid. It’s such a nice moment for a character that meant way more than her development ever gave her any right to be.
  • Also lovely to see Gene the cow one last time. I found it to be a way more emotional moment than I ever thought any moment involving a cow could be.
  • “Because it’s cool.” Nice moment of levity. Also another cool callback to another standalone Fringe case (“Os” from season 3).
  • “It’s not about fate, Walter. Yours or mine. It’s about changing fate. It’s about hope and protecting our children.” You know, while I like the nice parallels between Walter & September, I kind of see September’s & the Observers’ expanded role this season like the Jacob/Man in Black stuff in season 6 of Lost. It’s just a little too disconnected from the rest of the series, where it doesn’t quite feel like this was the inevitable endgame. But I do like this moment between two fathers.
  • Nice parallel imagery of Walter holding hands with Michael, walking into the wormhole, calling back to him walking with Peter through the door back to the blue-verse, back when this whole thing began.
  • Lovely Tilton score through the entire 2015 sequence.
  • Did you catch the bloody handprint on the wall during the attack sequence? It had six fingers like the glyph. Nice touch.
  • Among the callbacks in the attack sequence: the orifice-sealing bio-toxin from “Ability,” the giant cold germ from “Bound,” the killer imaginary butterflies from “The Dreamscape,” the exploded head from “The Box,” the bone-disintegrating powder from “Concentrate & Ask Again” & possibly the grossest of them all, the horrible tentacle worm parasite thing from “Snakehead.” Bravo, Fringe, you’ve really made me regret eating dinner quite a lot in the last five years.
  • Can’t go without saying the performances were, as usual, outstanding. I mean, hey, why not, one more John Noble Emmy moment for the road.
  • PS: If you’re a total Fringe geek like me, be sure to check out TVGuide’s oral history of the show, EW’s extensive podcast about its history and of course, my mythology episode guide & standalone episode picks, should you be so inclined.

One last time, thank you cast & crew of Fringe. It’s been an amazing ride.

J.H. Wyman, Anna Torv, Lance Reddick, Jasika Nicole, John Noble, Joshua Jackson

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Thoughts on Doctor Who Series 7 Mid-Series Finale: The Angels Take Manhattan

by Amy Yen

Best. Companion send-off. Ever.

I read that on Twitter after I watched the mid-series finale of Doctor Who, “The Angels Take Manhattan,” the much anticipated (and dreaded) goodbye for Mr. and Mrs. Pond, & I can’t disagree. It wasn’t a perfect story, but it was a perfect ending for them. Even if the Doctor can’t see it right now.

I have to say, I’m so relieved Moffat did these characters justice. It’s been, let’s just say, not my favorite series, & the main reason is that, for a series that has been leading up to their inevitable departure, I’ve felt like the first four episodes were the least effective use of the Ponds yet. Not one of those stories even came close to featuring them as well as something like “The Girl Who Waited,” or “Amy’s Choice.” Luckily, when it came down to it, Moffat went back to the one thing that was always consistent about Amy & Rory: they will always, always choose each other.

The two choices that were made in this episode — Rory & Amy choosing to jump off the building in blind hope that the paradox would erase Rory’s fate of a life without Amy, and Amy choosing to let the Angel zap her back in time in blind hope that it would save her from a life without Rory — were consistent with every other choice we’ve seen them make. Amy choosing the frozen TARDIS timeline when she realized she would lose Rory in the Leadworth timeline. Rory choosing to stay by the Pandorica to guard Amy. Amy choosing to let her older self die so her younger self could grow old with Rory. In the end, when the Angel took Rory and Amy had to choose between trying to be with him or staying with the Doctor, it never was a choice at all.

The Doctor does not take it so well. It’s interesting, the Doctor hates endings & he’s desperately afraid of losing Amy. That’s why he dropped her & Rory off after “The God Complex.” He’s “saving” them, so says Amy. But he can’t give them up any more than they can give him up, so he keeps coming back (as if to keep making up for not showing up the first time). Here, he is selfish. He tells Amy he doesn’t know if the Angel will send her back to the same time as Rory, when he does full well that it does. That’s why Billy Shipton winds up in the same time as Ten & Martha. He begs Amy not to do this, not to leave him, asks her to “come along, Pond” when he knows it would mean she wouldn’t see Rory again. It’s all very human of him.

What the Doctor can’t see in his grief, in this moment, is this is really the best possible outcome for Amy & Rory. Maybe they didn’t quite go out on their own terms, but they went out together & they lived. And considering how often each of them has died (especially Rory, who, hilariously, died again this episode…one more for the road, yes?), this is a borderline miraculous ending.

More random thoughts on ‘The Angels Take Manhattan”:

  • “To save you, I could do anything.” Don’t doubt it. He’s got two thousand years to back it up. Rory Williams truly is among the most romantic figures in recent pop culture. And to Amy, for Amy, he’s every bit the hero the Doctor is.
  • It’s fitting this episode read like a book, considering Amy Pond’s story has always had a little bit of fairy tale to it.
  • The Weeping Angels really hold up. They’re still every bit as terrifying as they were in “Blink,” & I like that we see them in their original flavor here. I always thought the zapping-people-back-in-time thing was way more interesting than what they did in “Time of Angels.”
  • So. The Statue of Liberty is a Weeping Angel huh? Of course she is.
  • Look, I really liked this episode, so I’m going to choose to ignore a bunch of plot holes here, like why the hell the Doctor wouldn’t take the TARDIS to go to the hotel instead of stealing a car, or where the hell the Angel went after it zapped Amy at the end, since neither the Doctor or River were looking at it, or since when could the Doctor just heal injuries with regeneration energy?
  • “Just you wait when my husband gets home.” While I don’t know that River was really essential to this story, it’s appropriate she’s here, since it is her parents & all. Plus, it made for a whole lot of awesome flirting between her & the Doctor. Especially loved the Doctor checking his breath & straightening his bow tie before seeing her. Aw.
  • Speaking of River, it’s nice that she was pardoned for that murder she didn’t actually commit (which I’m still kind of appalled by, so hopefully this is the last we’ll hear of it). Yet another convenient side effect of the continuing Doctor-erased-from-everything sub-plot. And there’s that pesky Question again. Hidden in plain sight.
  • I thought for a while, when Amy & Rory were on the ledge about to jump, the Doctor would end up saving them in the TARDIS, like he’s done with River a few times. But I like that the Doctor was so powerless in this episode, that he couldn’t save them & they had to save themselves. This story isn’t about the Doctor.
  • So lovely to see little Amelia Pond again. A lovely touch to end where it began. Amelia, unlike Amy, will never grow old.
  • I’m so not a fan of these split seasons. These series are not long enough to split…there’s barely any momentum & it’s over again. Now we have to wait all the way until Christmas to meet Oswin or Clara or whoever she is.
  • I can’t go without saying, Matt Smith & Arthur Darvill & especially Karen Gillan were all terrific this episode. “Raggedy man, goodbye.” Argh! Just heartbreaking.
  • Did you notice the newspaper Amy is reading in the park at the beginning of the episode? The headline reads “Detroit Lions Win Super Bowl.” And if that wasn’t an indication they were in some bizarre, Fringe-like alternate timeline, I don’t know what is.

Thoughts on Doctor Who Series 6 Finale The Wedding of River Song

by Amy Yen

“I got too big, Dorium. Too noisy. Time to step back into the shadows.”

It’s because of that line I can’t completely dislike “The Wedding of River Song,” the series 6 finale of Doctor Who. It’s the same thing I liked about “A Good Man Goes to War,” although that story was infinitely more satisfying. It’s gotten increasingly uncomfortable, in Steven Moffat’s Who, that the Doctor is so universally known, so feared & more disturbingly, that he doesn’t mind it. Like I’ve said before, it’s fun to watch Matt Smith show off, to yell at the skies, “Remember every black day I ever stopped you!” But that isn’t the Doctor, not really. And so, it’s nice to see him realize that.

It’s also fitting that it’s River calls him out that first time, that she realizes it too. I liked the way the wedding played out, the meta nods to the endless speculation about who River Song was. “The woman who marries him or the woman who kills him.” Although, honestly, it’s still a little off to have the Doctor, so long removed from all romantic entanglements, be so overtly committed. And anyway, I always found the fun in the Doctor & River’s interaction to be more in the mystery & promise than the melodrama (“I can’t let you die without knowing by so many & so much, and none more than me”).

A lot of my dissatisfaction with the episode comes from the solution to the Doctor’s death. There was a lot of speculation that it would turn out to be a flesh Doctor & when the Teselecta reappeared early in this episode, I even momentarily thought this might be what it was, but I think maybe I was expecting, or hoping, for something just a little more clever than that from Moffat. It seemed like the easy way out. Maybe that’s unfair. But I also think if that was the solution all along, they should have planted more clues. When we saw the Teselecta Amy in “Let’s Kill Hitler,” the robot clearly didn’t act like Amy. It acted like a robot. But when we see the Doctor through this episode &, even more significantly, in “The Impossible Astronaut,” he is clearly acting like the Doctor. Even in the tiny nuances & the moments where no one else is looking, it’s clearly the Doctor. I mean, we’re talking a straight-up legit looking beginning of a regeneration. Could the Teselecta really be that good, even with the Doctor inside? In a way, it would actually make more sense if it had been a flesh Doctor, since at least then it’s already been established the flesh is basically just like the real thing.

Finally, we get the Question, the oldest question in the universe, hiding in plain sight. “Doctor Who?” Yeah, I don’t understand. I mean, I get it, it’s obviously the question. What else could it be? But how it is oldest question? Obviously the Doctor is old, but the universe is much older, so how can the oldest question possibly be related only to him? And why will silence fall if it’s answered? I’m guessing the whole “fall of the Eleventh” thing means we won’t get the answer until Matt Smith turns in his bow tie.

More random thoughts on “The Wedding of River Song”:

  • So I guess we do still have to see the Doctor tell River his name, otherwise what did she tell Ten in “Forest of the Dead“? I was trying to think if it would make sense for River to tell him that she knew he didn’t die at Lake Silencio, but it hadn’t happened to the Doctor yet. Plus, we still have to see him give her the screwdriver, so we know this isn’t the last we’ll see of River.
  • Cute callbacks to Rose Tyler & Jack Harkness in this episode, but the loveliest moment is the nod to Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart, as a goodbye to Nicholas Courtney.
  • “I’m his wife.” “And I’m his…mother-in-law.” HA!
  • “And Doctor Song? Imprisoned all her days?” “Her days, yes. Her nights, well. That’s between her & me, eh?” I can’t tell you how much I want to see about 3-6 more episodes about the Doctor coming to whisk River away from the stormcage to go on random adventures together. I wonder how many of these we were cheated out of seeing in the 200 years between “The God Complex” & “Closing Time.”
  • I would totally go to a live chess tournament.
  • “I can remember it. So it happened. So I did it.” On one hand, I’ve never been a big fan of the unwritten timeline, when something is solved by making it so that it never happened. But I like that the show doesn’t usually ignore that the characters are still affected by it, even when it technically didn’t happen. Like Martha & the Year That Never Was, or Rory’s 2000 years as the Lone Centurian. Amy would feel conflicted about Madame Kovarian, even if it was an awesome move. I also like that it calls back to River killing the Dalek in “The Big Bang.” “River Song didn’t get it all from you, sweetie.”
  • So, the Doctor really did send those envelopes just so he wouldn’t die alone? That’s kind of messed up. Or is it just because of the time paradox that exists because the Doctor knows he & the others receive the envelopes so he knows later on that he has to send them?
  • I love the idea of River visiting her parents after her adventures (although, didn’t she go straight back to jail after the Byzantium? not that that’s stopped her before). River says explicitly to Amy this episode that she has had to pretend she didn’t know she was her mother, that she didn’t recognize the spacesuit. But all that still feels like lazy retcon for the lack of continuality. Supposedly Steven Moffat told Alex Kingston who River was long before anyone else. If they knew, I don’t really see what the excuse was not to plant more clues earlier on. Or maybe Moffat should tell more people what the plan is so they don’t have to retroactively explain things away. Just saying.
  • “You took my baby from me & hurt her. And now she’s all grown up & she’s fine. But I’ll never see my baby again.” Well. I guess that answers that question. On one hand, it’s not like I was ever clamoring to have a baby on board the TARDIS. That would have seriously put a clamp on all the life-risking adventures. On the other hand, I remain completely underwhelmed by the lack of exploration they’ve done on how losing their baby affected Amy & Rory emotionally. Besides “Let’s Kill Hitler,” they’ve basically acted like they’re totally cool with the fact that they were robbed out of raising their child (& “raising” Mels doesn’t count, come on). I think it’s one of the big failures of this series.
  • I’ve read several reviews that suggest most people liked the finale more than I did, but I want to point out this one from io9, which does a particularly excellent job of laying out the major flaws in River Song’s story, including many disturbing bits from this episode that I’d somehow forgotten about. (“You embarrass me.” I can’t believe that was a real line of dialogue.) It also has an interesting analysis of how Moffat plays with time & where the whole Question storyline might be going. Highly recommended read.

Thoughts on Doctor Who Series 6 Spring Finale A Good Man Goes to War

by Amy Yen

“He’s not a warrior.”
“Then why is he called ‘The Doctor’?”

River Song says it best in the end. Is this what The Doctor thought he would become? Feared? Stories about him whispered between soldiers? It’s not like he doesn’t know it’s happening. He says as much in “The Pandorica Opens,” stands on a rock at Stonehenge & says to his enemies above him, “Remember every black day I ever stopped you!” And finally, thankfully, somebody says aloud what we’ve all been thinking.

Is this The Doctor? Because the Doctor I remember doesn’t ever use his sonic screwdriver as a weapon, pointing it tip-first at flesh-Amy. He wouldn’t let Jack Harkness use his gun on Futurekind trying to kill them, so he definitely wouldn’t insight a gun battle between the cleric soldiers & the Headless Monks. He wouldn’t pantomime guns as Danny-Boy destroys the Demon’s Run communications array. He wouldn’t force the colonel in this episode to give the order to “run away,” just to humiliate him.

I don’t know who that is, but that is not the Doctor.

“Look, I’m angry, that’s new. I’m really not sure what’s going to happen now.” It isn’t new, not really. Remember what Ten did to the Family of Blood? I don’t know when exactly it happened, because it wasn’t simply when Eleven took over (remember he still pointed his screwdriver up to malfunction the Silurians’ weapons & even his disdain for all his enemies’ “silly little guns” in the aforementioned “Pandorica Opens” speech), but at some point, the Doctor became less empathetic, more okay with violence, okay with being feared, maybe a little too in love with being the Oncoming Storm, the last time lord. And because it’s mostly fun to watch him show off, we mostly just went with it, but I for one am relieved that it appears this was at least partially intentional, or at least that Moffatt & the producers are aware of the discrepancy, the change in this very, very established character.

River Song calls him out, in his darkest hour. And then she tells him her secret. Brings the spark back into his eyes. Makes him know, instantly, what to do next. Gives him hope.

Hopefully, it will also signal a return to the Doctor we know & love. Because it’s not like I didn’t like this episode or the first half of this unfortunately split series. But the Doctor’s empathy & kindness & mercy is what makes him a different kind of hero, & it’d be sad to lose what makes him special.

More random thoughts on “A Good Man Goes to War“:

  • So River Song is Amy & Rory’s daughter after all. Even though this was probably the most popular guess of any of the theories out there, it still gave me chills to actually hear it. Although, how does this “change everything” with the Doctor & River’s relationship? If anything, you would think it improves it, now that he knows. Then why did she spend so much time last year apologizing for when the Doctor finally finds out who she is?
  • Don’t forget, we still don’t know who it is she killed to get sent to prison. “A very good man.” Maybe one that went to war?
  • “The only water in the forest is the river.” I always thought that Amy’s last name being Pond & River’s name being River had to be significant somehow. Nice to see this pay off.
  • A lot of callbacks in this episode to previous one-off characters, much like the beginning of “The Pandorica Opens.” Of course these callbacks weren’t really that cool, since they involved sub-par episodes like “Victory of the Daleks,” “Cold Blood” & “Curse of the Black Spot.” It was kind of fun to see Dorium, the black marketer that River Song tricked into giving her a vortex manipulator last series.
  • Lorna Bucket turned out to be kind of a disappointing one-off character. Not because of anything she did, just because I kept waiting for her to turn out to be someone important, someone maybe that we already met (maybe a younger River Song). Too bad the Doctor remembered their encounter in the Gamma Forest, or else I’d think we’d see that adventure yet. As it is, I guess she’s just there for the Doctor to be sad over & to give Amy the clue that eventually reveals River’s identity.
  • The Headless Monks are not scarier than either the Silence or the Weeping Angels in concept, but in execution, they are creepy as hell.
  • Rory was kind of really awesome in this episode. Yes, having him be in the Centurion outfit is kind of random & silly, but it’s also still kind of cool. His showdown with the Cybermen was a nice moment, as was his meeting with River (although the best part is her reaction to seeing him, especially on the second watch-through when you know what she knows…this is her father).
  • The bit at the beginning, with Amy telling her daughter that her father is coming…”He looks young but he’s lived for hundreds of years”…was that really necessary? Just for that little moment before she says The Last Centurion when you think, WTF? Seriously? They’re really going to go there with it being the Doctor’s kid? Really? I just thought, OMG give it a rest already. The more they try to put tension in the Amy/Rory/Doctor “triangle,” the more irritating I find it. Just let them be! I promise you, you will find that all three characters can stand on their own now. Really.
  • Autumn 2011. Ugh!

Thoughts on The Vampires Diaries Season 2 Finale As I Lay Dying

by Amy Yen

Slow clap, guys. That was kind of…incredible. I will admit it, I thought it was probably going to be a mistake not to make last week’s insane sacrifice episode the season finale, but once again, Kevin Williamson & Julie Plec proved me wrong. “As I Lay Dying” was a breathtaking end to a fantastic season and against all odds, The Vampire Diaries has truly become one of the most compelling dramas on television.

Where to start? I thought the Damon storyline was handled really well. I’m so glad, besides the obligatory moment where, in his delirium, he bites Elena while flashing back to his time with Katherine, they mostly avoided retreading the Rose arc, with Elena being in danger. The final scene with Elena & Damon was quiet & lovely & just perfect. It so wonderfully captures why we would root for these two. I know Twitter basically exploded because of “the kiss,” but it was really well-done, as usual, on Nina Dobrev’s part. She was saying goodbye.

Meanwhile, the Stefan and Klaus storyline sets up nicely for season 3. It’s a really interesting place for the character to go. We saw a glimpse of Stefan-on-human-blood back in season 1 (I remember him being about 3.5 times more interesting than normal). It will be really interesting to see whether the show dares to keep him away from Mystic Falls for long & how Elena will react to Stefan, unleashed. Remember, it wasn’t that long ago that Elena admitted that, as much as she loves Stefan, she doesn’t want to commit to forever to be with him. Stefan, like this, in a way embodies what she must fear the most about becoming a vampire.

Two more storylines I want to touch on (SO MUCH happened in this episode!). Jeremy getting shot…wow. Did not see that coming. I liked that it was the sheriff that did it, as much as she drove me crazy this episode. At the end of the day, John’s ring isn’t going to help stop a bullet from a gun being held by Liz Forbes. There’s something so grounding about that. I didn’t see the Anna & Vicki thing coming…consequences! I’m glad it looks like Jeremy will get his own supernatural subplot next season. Like he said, there’s only so many times he can tag along & be worried about Bonnie & get shut out of the action just because he’s just a human.

The only subplot that bothered me was the sheriff & Caroline. I was really skeptical about the whole Matt & Liz subplot in the last few episodes, just because of how removed it was from everything else happening. I thought they did a decent job weaving it in, just by throwing another complication into a really packed finale. But it still felt like kind of a retread on that wonderful scene earlier in the season (Caroline even references it) when Caroline tells her mother everything & her mother accepts her & she has to compel her to forget anyway. I half-expected the sheriff to stake her when they hugged (tells you what kind of show you’re watching), but instead it just felt kind of disconnected. I half want to see more follow-up on this, but mostly I kind of just want them to move on. Still, it will be interesting to see how they deal with all these people now knowing what they know next year.

I want to conclude by addressing the American television viewing public, which is forever ignoring all the great advice I’m constantly trying to give them & spending their time watching an alarming amount of terrible VH1 reality shows. Please ignore the CW’s criminally awful attempts at marketing The Vampire Diaries. Yes, it looks like a Twilight knock-off. Attractive vampires fighting attractive werewolves, attractively. (To be fair, this was an actual storyline, but I swear, it was really well-done, I SWEAR!) I was skeptical too. But the show is actually really fun, moves at a break-neck pace, has strong acting & complex, complicated characters and is just really good, really compelling drama.

So yeah, come season 3, make it a part of your life.

More random thoughts on “As I Lay Dying”:

  • Elijah, you fool! You’re lucky you’re so pretty, because for someone who is so calm & reasonable-seeming, you have an emotional weakness you can drive a truck through. Luckily, it’s clear this isn’t the last we’ll see of him, or Katherine for that matter.
  • I really liked Alaric in this episode. I liked that he was bitter about being shut out of the goings-on last week, even though he has to know there was probably nothing he could have done to save Jenna. I liked his continued strange, strong friendship with Damon (“Neither of us are drunk enough for this conversation”). I really liked his moment of lightness with Jeremy at the end. Even though Katherine is no longer stuck in his apartment (which I thought would have been a natural device to drive him to move in to the Gilbert house), I hope that Alaric becomes Elena & Jeremy’s legal guardian next year. I feel like at this point, he should have more stakes than just his loyalty to Damon. Alaric as a character has so much potential, I really hope they give him more to do before killing him off, as seems inevitable at some point.
  • Really, Gone With the Wind screening, complete with cosplay? Really? I know Mystic Falls is in the south, but seriously, do places where stuff like this actually happen actually exist?
  • I just want to say, I never really liked Bonnie that much. Or, I should say, I never really liked Kat Graham. Something about her interaction with fans when the show was first becoming popular rubbed me the wrong way. But seriously? She killed it this season. Her scene tonight, with Jeremy lifeless in her arms (“I love him”), was played just right. She’s totally won me over.
  • The music in this episode was ridiculous, even by CW standards. At times it was so loud, it was drowning out the dialogue. A good score can be its own character, but they’re trying way too hard to sell CDs & it’s just another reason why I hate that this show is on this network.
  • PS: I think I’m going to write a post after the finale, but just want to say, Parks & Recreation right now? Could. Not. Be. Better.

Thoughts on Fringe Season 3 Finale The Day We Died

by Amy Yen

What…just happened?

Fringe is a remarkable show in that it asks its cast to play multiple versions of themselves, and not just wearing wigs to varying degrees of success, but as fully fleshed-out characters. By the time we reached the end of season 3, I felt like I knew Fauxlivia & Walternate, & Alt-Charlie & Lincoln Lee, their motivations, their passions, their relationships with each other, just as well as I knew our Olivia, Walter & Peter. What’s more, I liked watching them just as much.

So as much as I enjoyed getting a little glimpse at yet another set of characters, the black-verse, otherwise known as blue-verse circa 15 years in the future, what was ultimately a little disappointing about “The Day We Died,” the Fringe season 3 finale, was that we spent so little time with the two sets of characters we actually already cared about.

It’s not to say that if we spent a season in the future, I wouldn’t care about those characters just as much, but I didn’t have time to. That’s why, besides the brutal way it happened, the death of Future-Olivia failed to either move me, or surprise me, considering we knew the death of a major character was happening this episode. It’s why, besides the lovely moment in the lab with Walter, reminiscing about Gene the cow, Future-Fringe Agent Ella Dunham failed to make an impression. It’s why Peter & Olivia being married didn’t mean nearly what it should have to me.

In a way, the future-verse was a little bit of a love song to the show we do love. Suddenly, we’re back in the pilot & Peter’s getting a bearded Walter from incarceration. They’re going back to the Harvard lab (“So much has happened here. So much is about to”). Peter gets Walter Twizzlers & calls him ‘dad.’

All of those moments are lovely, but they are still rendered pretty much meaningless unless we go back & spend more time in that world. Otherwise, the only thing that matters is Walter’s revelations about the wormholes in time & them being the “First People” who send the doomsday machine back to ancient times to be buried. All that really matters is the part of the episode I liked the least, because I don’t understand it.

Peter served his purpose. He never existed.

What? I can’t even count the ways that doesn’t make sense. If he never existed, Walter never would have gone ‘over there’ to save another him, therefore none of this would have ever happened. If he never existed, the two Walters, the two Olivias never would be where they are, or else they’d be there because of a completely different set of events. And how about like, if Peter never existed, then Fauxlivia never would have had her baby? What about that? And also, do the Observers mean he’s erased his existence with his actions? Or, do they mean he literally never existed, as in they fabricated him to move things to where they are now?

This is why the more I think about it, the more convinced I am that “The Last Sam Weiss” should have been the season finale. That episode ended on a huge twist, but not one that completely leaves the reality of everything that’s happened so far in jeopardy. Could they really be pulling a Lost season 5? Exploding a hydrogen bomb to make it so the plane never crashed?

In Pinker & Wyman we trust, right? Right?

More random thoughts on “The Day We Died”:

  • Black credits! Among the items listed: Thought extraction. Brain porting. Chaos structure. Wow, we’re intense in the future.
  • FutureAstrid’s hair is B-A. FuturePeter’s hair is a tragedy.
  • I would love to get the story behind “what happened in Detroit” & Senator Broyles’ eye…
  • In this world, everybody knows Walter Bishop’s name. It’s an interesting idea, people demanding someone to blame for the end of the world.
  • “Will Astrid be there?” Aw. Really wished we could have seen those two together, although it’s cool to see Fringe Agent Astrid in the field.
  • Bummed we didn’t see the alt-Fringe team at all this episode. I suppose the bit at the end of “Bloodline” with Lincoln & Charlie realizing the Secretary is hiding things from them is just set up for season 4, but it’s disappointing there wasn’t time to build that out this season. The red-verse better not get destroyed before we get some resolution on our alt-Fringe friends.
  • Also bummed we didn’t see Sam Weiss again. Hopefully he shows back up next year because otherwise, I feel like he was definitely hyped more than he paid off.
  • The light bombs set off by the End of Days group go red, red, red, green, opposite of those other lights we’ve seen before.
  • So, Pinkner & Wyman say that Josh Jackson is still under contract for season 4 & I doubt they’d write out one of our main three leads for long. I guess this is why I’m not sold on this twist…I just have no idea whatsoever where they’re going to go from here. Like, I can’t even guess.
  • “It can’t be worse than this.” Why did you say that? Of course it can be worse than that!

Thoughts on Fringe Season 3 Episode 21 The Last Sam Weiss

by Amy Yen

WHAT?! But how can…wait, does this mean…WHAT?! OMG I CAN’T EVEN!!

And to think that about halfway through this episode, I was thinking it was getting too ridiculous to buy into, even for Fringe. Turns out I am a fool. Obviously I should just put my complete & utter faith in Pinkner & Wyman, sit back & shut up, because the end of “The Last Sam Weiss” was amazing. In retrospect, all of “The Last Sam Weiss” was amazing.

Obviously, the part I was having trouble with was the drawing of Olivia, which, besides triggering all sorts of Alias flashbacks, seems just kind of way too coincidental. Besides the ‘fate’ explanation, how in the world does all of this happen to come down to our heroes, Peter & Olivia? But once they got to the scene at Liberty Island, with the two of them holding hands with total belief in each other, I had a really hard time remembering just what was so wrong with the ‘fate’ explanation to begin with.

Plus, the whole situation ended up being yet another completely unexpected & wonderful callback to a seemingly forgotten first season episode, this time David Robert Jones’ light-box test from “Ability.” The fact that this keeps happening (from the amber in the bus from “The Ghost Network” to the accelerated pregnancy from “The Same Old Story“) proves the writers clearly know what they’re doing & I should just stop doubting & enjoy the ride.

More random thoughts on “The Last Sam Weiss”:

  • In fact, the whole episode had a ton of awesome callbacks, the two best being “I am going home,” what Peter leaves on the hospital bed reflecting the note his younger self wrote his mother in “Subject 13” before almost drowning in the lake trying to go back to the other universe &, of course, “Be a better man than your father,” the phrase that William Bell has Olivia repeat to Peter upon returning from the other universe the first time.
  • The callback to the light-box test is also interesting because it seems to strongly suggest most of us were right: Olivia being able to do these things — to turn off the lights, to type the messages, to turn off the force field on the machine — has to do with both her & Peter being there together, like they were at the light-box. Oh, fate.
  • Also nice to see the typewriter again & get a more detailed explanation on how it works. Unbelievably, it makes sense now.
  • So, Sam Weiss turned out to be a lot less mysterious & sinister than we all thought. He’s more of an observer (not that kind…or is he?), a keeper of a bunch of information passed down through his family, but he is greatly concerned about the consequences of his interfering with events. But if he really doesn’t know any more than he’s saying, what’s with the “A Demon’s Twist Rusts” (Don’t trust Sam Weiss) business in “Over There, Part 2”?
  • “I work in a bowling alley.” Just because he didn’t turn out to be an actual live First Person (as far as we know), doesn’t mean he wasn’t kind of totally awesome in this episode.
  • Speaking of interfering with events, is the final twist in the episode, Peter getting transported to the future, what was meant to happen? Also…what universe is he in? That isn’t the red-verse’s Fringe badge.
  • Totally random, but anyone notice the hash tag #Fringe in the corner of the screen? Nice.
  • OMG this promo!