Fringe Benefits

So I’ve seen 18 episodes of Fringe now, and a comment from Mark prompted me to blog about how it’s going.  I’m still compelled to watch each week (which is good), and while there are dips of ‘odd thing which Walter solves’ there are also highs of ‘really odd thing which explains some stuff and asks more questions’.

It’s worth saying again, this is not a programme which intends to depict fringe science as anything but totally made up.  The writers take a thread of what might be a possible thought about the existence of some concept in fringe science and then turn it into something totally outlandish.  Don’t watch it for the science.  It’s an FBI / Weird-Shit-Goes-On investigation programme.

So are we any nearer to knowing things?  Yes and no, during the season we’ve learned something things about Olivia, we’ve had some hints about Peter, both his past as a child and maybe his past as a young man.  We’ve learned a little about Walter, but mostly there are still many questions.  In the last few episodes it feels like we’ve had some deeper revelations but JJ could just be toying with us.  I’m pleased at how the relationship between Olivia and her boss (Phillip Broyles) has improved.  It grated on me that they didn’t trust each other at the outset.  I’m pleased as well that we’re seeing Olivia unravel to some extent, she’s seeing a lot of weird shit and it needs to have some impact if we’re to give it any kind of credibility.

If you like detail – then you’ll like the series.  Most of this goes over my head, I’m just in it for the story and the characters, but JJ makes sure there’s a lot of detail.  For example, the colour motif (red, yellow, blue) shows up for several episodes, several times an episode.  A line of M&M’s, a poster in a nightclub, lights in a room, even the gore on a body.  The fan forums are full of people discussing the deeper meaning of the tiniest things like that, I scan them every now and then but I don’t need them to enjoy the shows.

Threads sometimes get dropped and never resurface (we’ve not heard anything about the odd egg-shaped things travelling through the earth from an early episode), and sometimes they do come back (the glass discs).  Links are starting to appear, but as I said, JJ is likely to be messing with us on some level.

In general, I feel that it’s been worth watching, I’ve enjoyed most of the individual episodes for what they are, I’m starting to enjoy the arc that is forming and I’m interested in knowing where it goes.  I’m hoping that JJ won’t annoy the shit out of me with a huge cliffhanger ending to series 1, but somehow I think I’m going to be upset.