On Facebook, I posted brief thoughts on my initial WTF reaction to Fringe last Friday. The majority of the episode was entertaining, but the last five minutes of the show made me cringe.
Warning: Spoilers ahead.
I’ve read in various places that the show finally jumped the shark. I don’t view it as such. Fringe is the type of show where if you have any intelligence what-so-ever, you realize the science behind the plots is pretty bad. Sure, there are stable concepts on which things are built, but you pretty much have to take anything with a grain of salt. If I wanted a show based on real science, I’d watch Discovery or the Science Channel. I don’t tune into Fringe for the educational value. I faithfully watch every episode because it’s fun. It’s a great story.
It’s a show that relies on its viewers to suspend belief in reality, while still utilizing their core intelligence. I admire it for that purpose. I wouldn’t know what the hell Walter was doing or saying if I wasn’t a well-read individual. Sure, it would look cool, but if I weren’t a fan of those basic and much expanded on theories of science, I would miss half of the show.
Where the writers ruined it for me was Bellivia. If you’ve watched last week’s episode, Walter is desperate to bring William Bell back. He feels stunted in his current role to help save his version of the universe. Long story short, William worked on a project called ‘soul magnets’. According to the ‘conservation of energy’ theory, energy can neither be created nor destroyed. Working upon those principles, Bell and Bishop theorize that human souls are made up of that same energy. Therefore, when you die, your soul remains somewhere in this universe. They then hypothesized that if there were some way to draw that energy back to an object, you could re-awaken the consciousness of said person, technically bringing them back from death.
See, the concept based on scientific principle and yet stretched for entertainment purposes. That’s what I love about the show.
Bishop rings a bell and he and Nina wait patiently for William to show up. Meanwhile in Olivia and Peter land, Olivia pauses as Bell’s consciousness is drawn into her body. Again, one of those, “He must have set this up when she was a child,” moments. I could have lived with this. I knew what was happening. I am not stupid. Yet, the writers felt they had to take it a step forward and have Anna Torv act out Leonard Nimoy’s voice as well, just so that the audience was sure it was his.
I could see this as a necessary step in a radio play. You don’t want to confuse the listener. However, Anna Torv is a pretty versatile actress. She could have pulled it off without resorting to vocal histrionics. My bullshit detector immediately went off. It was something I wasn’t willing to forgive. For everything that Fringe relies on me to believe, this was one thing I just couldn’t. Pulling in a floating consciousness would probably result in odd mannerisms, but the voice is part of the body. A body which no longer exists. Speech patters would definitely be there, but the voice really bugged the shit out of me.
Perhaps it comes down to one simple fact — Since Fringe relies on me to be intelligent to fully enjoy the show, why did the writers think I wasn’t smart enough to get that Olivia was instantly transformed into Bellivia? Please don’t lump me into the same demographic that finds Jersey Shore appealing.
Anyway, I usually give forms of entertainment a three strike policy. That episode for the reasons explained above was the first disappointment. Hopefully, it’s the last.