Hey, Fringe, remember when I wrote last week that I was on board for this scavenger hunt story line because I love the characters so, but I also require complex and smart plots? This episode ? Didn’t improve in the ‘complex, smart plot’ department. In fact, the plot was pretty humdrum, though there were still some great moments with our Dunham-Bishops, and I can’t complain about the casting (or acting) of Paul
“Dr. Beckett” McGillion as the main guest star. The actor playing his son was also cute, and I bought their family relationship. But for the episode overall, I might even go so far as to call part of it – namely, the bark-skin disfigurement that the hidden recorders suffer from – absolutely nonsensical. It was like the writers thought, “Ooh, wait, we have to show that we’re still about weird stuff apart from the Observers. I know, let’s recycle S2′s mediocre ‘Johari Window’ but make the disfigurement contagious, except there’s never actually any real danger of our heroes catching it so, um, at least it looks interesting?” I honestly can’t think of any reason for that to have existed. The peril in going into the cave to get the Magic Rocks of Walter’s Plan could have been so many other options that made any sense.
And – still no update on Etta’s life after she was lost. Again, I understand that these people are fugitives and on an Important Quest, but surely Peter and Olivia must have asked by now? Sigh. On that note, though, Olivia’s confession to Peter that she thought losing Etta was a punishment for her conflicted feelings about being a mother? Killed me, and is such an Olivia Dunham thing to feel. And they could have had Peter say a variety of other things in response, but it was perfect to have him assure her that he never, ever doubted her love for their little girl.
I also continue to like the glimpses of Etta getting to know her family, especially her mother. Her admission that Olivia surpasses her expectations tied in nicely with little River’s hero-worship of the whole Fringe team. And then Peter encouraging Olivia to take full advantage of this second chance of their family was excellent and I hope she takes it to heart.
However, re: this show’s unexpected chance to finish well, with an entire (if shortened) season, a rather slow-paced episode with a plot that felt recycled at best is not how I’d have chosen to go. We were promised that we wouldn’t get filler episodes, and while I don’t think I’d go so far as to call this one, it was too close for comfort. I still enjoyed this episode, I love you guys, and I’ll miss this show next week, but please do better from now on, okay?