TV Review: Fringe 4.15, 'A Short Story About Love'

rating: 4

So after another hiatus, which seems to happen an awful lot with Fringe, Olivia (Anna Torv) and the team return to hunt down one of the more disturbing serial killers of this season, a troubled burn victim (the awesome Michael Massee) who tracks down couples in love, murders the male partner and extracts his pheromones, then taunts the female partner with the scent of her lover, before murdering her as well. A warning to anyone who is yet to see the episode, the opening murder is pretty damn grim. While this is going on, Peter (Joshua Jackson) goes on a solo treasure hunt of sorts involving everyone€™s favourite Observer, September (Michael Cerveris) and Olivia also deals with her multiple memory syndrome. To kick things of, we learn that Olivia is now losing her true memories (or false, depending on how you look at it). They are being replaced by the memories of the original Olivia, the one who loved Peter. She decides that this is not what she wants, and agrees to consult Walter (John Noble). Walter however, is distracted by a new toy, a teddy bear camera he installed in the lab to catch an M&M thief, but which inadvertently recorded the incident from the last episode, where September was lying unconscious on the slab and then disappeared in the blink of an eye. Using some fancy new F.B.I. equipment, he is able to slow the footage down to show, as you might have guessed, that September doesn€™t teleport away, he is in fact carried off by two other Observers moving really, really fast. Before leaving though, September manages to do something to Peter€™s eye, so Walter calls Peter into the lab. Peter, who was in the process of getting away to New York, returns to view the footage and Walter removes a tiny artifact from his eye (would love to know how they did that shot!). The artifact contains a message, an address, which sets Peter off on his solo mission. Back to the case at hand€ Whilst our killer stalks new victims, Lincoln (Seth Gabel) shares a moment of what could€™ve been with Olivia. Remember they kind of set him up in the beginning of Season 4 as being the new Olivia€™s love interest, only to have that shoved aside once she started getting memories of the original Olivia. He€™s clearly frustrated by the whole situation and I feel a little sorry for him, because it echoes the alternate Lincoln as well. In the earlier Seasons, there were moments when Alt Lincoln expressed a little more than friendship towards Fauxlivia. It seems like this guy just can€™t catch a break, in any universe or timeline! Walter isolates a particularly rare ingredient called castoreum from the pheromone extracts of the victims, enabling the team to pinpoint a likely suspect for the murders. The F.B.I. raid his serial killer lair and find the next male victim, so all that€™s left to do is track down the next female and trap the killer. When they arrived at the victim€™s wife€™s house and got her to pretend to watch TV so they could trap the killer, I didn€™t need to wait for Olivia to realise that this was not going to be the victim, and that obviously, the husband was having an affair. The purpose of this scene is therefore about Olivia listening the to story of the wife, and how she had let go of the possibility of finding love. Olivia sees herself in this woman; how she shuts people out and doesn€™t allow her feelings to grow. This is brought up towards the end of the episode but I€™ll get to that in a second. As you may have guessed, Olivia and the F.B.I. team then catch the killer red handed at the girlfriends house, despite having wasted what was probably a good couple of hours waiting at the wife€™s house, and with no account for the distance between the two. She could have lived on the other side of Boston for all we know! Oh TV, your ability to teleport characters from one location to the next without reference to time or distance is truly outstanding! So as the killer explains to Olivia his motives that I don€™t care about, I€™m left wondering how he got his massively disfigured burn face? I€™m glad they never told us however, because I hate it when films and TV shows try to explain every tiny detail. I think it€™s an important aspect of storytelling to leave some information to the viewer€™s imagination. Anyhow, getting back to Peter€ The address implanted in the artifact in Peter€™s eye leads him to September€™s house. A very sparse, organised home, which is exactly where you€™d imagine an Observer to live. As Peter rummages through September€™s briefcase he finds a kind of directional tracking device. The tracker leads him to the middle of nowhere basically but he doesn€™t have to wait there long for an old Observer device to poke its head out of the ground. We haven€™t seen these mysterious tunnelling cylinder things since way back in Season 1, Episode 4. Some of you may have made the connection with the strange binoculars that were also in September€™s briefcase. When Peter takes the object back to the house, it activates, and September appears once again. He explains that the object is a beacon of sorts, and that the other Observers had cut him off from the universe (they also appear to have healed him, or could he be an earlier version of September?). In any case, by activating the beacon, Peter allowed September to return. Now comes the kicker, Peter wants to know how he can return home, to his timeline, but September proclaims that he is already home and that it is his Olivia. September has a theory, that the love Peter shared with those around him prevented him from being completely erased, and allowed him to €˜bleed through€™ back into the universe. That€™s all Peter needs to hear as he leaves to go find Olivia. Olivia meanwhile is telling Nina (Blair Brown) about what she learnt from their victim€™s wife. As I mentioned earlier, Olivia has come to the understanding that she is much like the other woman, and has shut out the possibility of love. She just hadn€™t known it until she started getting the memories of the original Olivia. Having previously decided to find a way to reverse the process, she now believes that this Olivia is a €œbetter version€ of herself, and that she now wants to let the transformation run its course. For the first time in four seasons, I actually felt something akin to sympathy for Nina, who is visibly heartbroken by Olivia€™s decision to essentially forget their life together. It doesn€™t last very long however, because the moment we€™ve been waiting for all season is finally going to happen. In classic, vomit inducing, Hollywood style, Olivia and Peter, now assured of their love for each other, meet across a street and run into each other€™s embrace. Sick. I thought they could€™ve come up with something a little more creative or subdued than that, but whatever, the important thing is that it€™s done. You could almost imagine the series ending there but obviously it doesn€™t, because there are still at least seven episodes and gods be good, a fifth and final season to go. Not to mention a resolution to the massive war between two parallel universes that has kind of been forgotten for the most part of this season. Rest assured, with seven episodes remaining this season, it€™s not over yet, and I€™m forecasting trouble in paradise fairly soon. I€™m still not even 100% convinced that this is in fact the real Olivia, and that Peter is indeed home. We are after all, going entirely on September€™s word about this, and it€™s not like he€™s never made a mistake before€
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