TV Review: FRINGE 4.1, 'Neither Here Nor There'

The fourth season of Fringe returned to our screens last night in the UK, but with more of a fizzle than a bang.

rating: 3

The fourth season of Fringe returned to our screens last night in the UK, but with more of a fizzle than a bang. Following the excellent third series finale, I was expecting this opening episode to have a bit more oomph. Instead this episode sets up the new world without Peter, it looks the same but it's not. The episode begins a week after Peter brought the primary (here) and the alternate (over there) universes together. They continue to work together, despite feelings on animosity and distrust. Again Peter€™s removal raises numerous questions concerning the repercussions of playing with time (which I discussed in my earlier Fringe Season 4 Preview). However watching this first episode raised even more questions like, if they are not working against each other who exactly are they fighting? Why do the two universes hate each other? They are no longer at war following the kidnap of Peter. Olivia it seems was still kidnapped and replaced by Faux-livia, which suggests that she still crossed over, but why? Originally it was to save Peter and bring him back. Also I thought Walter crossing over lead to the Fringe events over there, as it caused soft spots in the universe and the Fringe events here were attacks by Walter-nate? So who or what is now causing the events fringe division are investigating? Plus many more questions that will hurt your brain. I€™ll say it again time travel/messing with time is confusing. Fringe division is carrying on with work as normal (avid Fringe fans will notice they seem to be investigating events we've seen before, an effect of the shifting timeline perhaps?) Olivia is even more serious than usual; with Peter gone there is a 'hole in her life', although she doesn't know what the cause is. She seems even more committed to her job, with no semblance of a life outside of her work. Walter is stranger than ever without Peter there to support him he has become even more eccentric and unusual, he has nothing €˜to tether him to the world€™, although still quite brilliant. He is now living in the lab at Harvard under constant FBI supervision. Through out the episode he is haunted by the reflection of an unknown man, who of course we suspect is Peter. A suspicion that is confirmed at the end of the episode where we glimpse Peter staring out at distraught Walter from the TV screen. Most exciting was the reappearance of Agent Lincoln Lee from here, who we last saw in the €˜Stowaway€™ (season 3, episode 17), it seems I was right Seth Gabel is moving up to series regular. It looks like he will be taking Peter€™s place in the team during Peter€™s absence. Agent Lee meets up again with Fringe division following the death of his partner at the hands of a transparent man (again this should be sounding familiar to any Fringe fans). However he has no memory of his first encounter with fringe division, another of the ripples caused by Peter€™s removal from the timeline, which is explained by one of the omnipotent Observers. Despite Olivia€™s initial reluctance Agent Lee helps Fringe division in their investigation, which leads them to discover a new type of shape shifter. The original shape shifters were designed by Walter-nate and the discovery of this new kind doesn€™t do anything to help the trust issue between the two sides. The episode ends with Agent Lee being fully inducted into the fringe division and taken to the hanger where the two universes have merged. I wonder if he will get to meet his double, the alternate Lincoln? I think what€™s wrong (and I use that word loosely) with this episode is the fact it feels like we're starting over again, as if they are aiming it at new viewers with no knowledge of series by explaining everything again, who the characters are and how the show works. We are back where we started and things aren€™t quite different enough. Even the 'monster of the week' is reminiscent to the very first episode where Agent Scott was infected by a chemical which turned him transparent. I know Peter's erasure from the timeline has caused ripples, but I hope it doesn't mean were going to continuously see old plotlines rehashed. Fox have done well promoting and trailing the new season with the tagline 'Where is Peter Bishop?' but this excitement doesn't quite translate into the episode as he's simply gone. I think the problem lies in the fact that Peter's not missing in the traditional sense, he has been wiped out of existence, and the other characters do not remember him and are therefore not looking for him. So no real sense of urgency is created in the episode, as viewers you can't even speculate on where he might be, were not even given a hint in the episode (unless of course when you cease to exist you€™re trapped in your television set) Hopefully this will be resolved in the coming episodes, I€™m looking forward to when the characters catch on more to the fact something is wrong and start investigating Peter€™s disappearance. So overall a bit of a slow start to the new season, but as an avid fan I have faith, so I€™ll pass it off as unavoidable part of establishing the new timeline. Fringe remains one of the most interesting shows on television and hopefully season four can live up to its promise. What did you think of the first episode? Fringe continues Fridays 9/8c on FOX (US) and follows on Wednesdays 10pm on Sky 1 (UK)
Director: Joe Chappelle Writer: J.H. Wyman (teleplay & story), Jeff Pinker (teleplay & story) & Akiva Goldsman (story) Cast: Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble, Seth Gable, Jasika Nicole, Lance Reddick
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