Friday, April 02, 2010

A break for pop culture "A blast into the past...FRINGE!"

(Season 2 Episode 16 Reviewed):
Rarely does a backstory grip like this one--where Water tells the tale of going to the other universe to steal Walternate's Peter. Not out of a perhaps expected selfishness--missing his own lost child--but initially to save the child and return it. This episode is moving and explores various emotional levels of the psyche and backstory of the characters we know so well, but it also presents in subtle ways lines of intrigue waiting to be unraveled--where was William Bell really during all of this in 1985? How does the loss of a hand effect the personality of a future superdiva? And what will be the reactions--legal, moral, personal and professional of our agent supreme to this story?

Now that this window into the other universe has been presented, I expect to be seeing its use in forthcoming episodes. For who could, if they had such an opportunity, not want to look into the alternate lives of ourselves? It is doubtful we could suppress that urge and not look, but what might be the ramifications of glancing into that fascinating alterself universe?

And so, it is with great pleasure the next and the next episode of Fringe are awaited. No, Fringe does not have the same police-style gripping plot as many shows are making use of to keep viewers hooked these days, nor does it use the Lost-layering techniques of stacking on each week more unweildable (but often exciting) mysterious lines to lure spectators back, instead Fringe draws viewers back and back again to see an unexpectedly human exploration of the sci-fi world, the entanglements and disentanglements of Peter and his father, Peter and Agent Dunham, Bell and who we now realize was his old partner. Where will this highly imaginative peculiar new fantasy-sci fi ultratech now and alternow lead these characters? Inquiring minds certainly do want to know!

This FOX TV show has in fact outdone its initial self--moved past the flashy action-packed filmic pilot with fairly generic characters (woman agent betrayed by man agent, crazy Dr Frankenstein-like Walter Bishop and his politically shady unstable son) to a show which grips watchers on both a character and character-development level. These characters are humans fighting a sort of classic comic-book style fantasy with the mad skills of advanced/fantasy-level science. Like a classic comic hero, they are supposedly in search of protecting people, striving to make the world a better place to live in. However, they find themselves doing this often through slightly morally compromised means. Here, Walter does not return Peternate to Walternate--and now we shall see what are / were the outcomes of this. In a most peculiar way, it is as if Walter hurts himself, his alterself--and that, too, is intriguing. More to come, and more reasons to hook into Fringe.

(FYI: Season 1 available on dvd, season 2 ongoing.)

No comments: