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All Episodes Talk: You Are My Favorite Thing, Fringe, My Very Favorite Thing

A place to discuss particular episodes, arcs and moments from the show's run. Please remember this isn't a complete catch-all topic -- check out the forum for character topics and other places for show-related talk.

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Just dropping in to welcome Tara and Dave to the cult! Good times ahead. (I suspect my avatar indicates my bias/commitment level to my favorite thing ever on teevee...)

 

So, Episode 1! Plane full of goo-people! Things that still get me, years later:

  • The co-pilot's jaw-dropping...jaw, dropping off. Yeeeaaahhhguurrggh.
  • The rooftop chase, and jump. Olivia, being a total badass.
  • Conversely, Olivia having a quick, fierce breakdown in the back of the ambulance. Anna Torv won me over at that moment, without so much as a sound.
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Wait, Tara has only watched the pilot so far?  Um, wow, you REALLY don't know what you're in for, do you?

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Tara and Dave, if you are reading this, have some patience with the show.  You will begin to notice things happening with it around (if I'm recalling correctly--but its been a lot of years) Episode 5 or 6.  Before that it will suck.  Around that you'll get breadcrumbs.  

 

By the END of season 1 you won't even recognize it as the same bland monster of the week mess it seemed to start off as. The very last episode of Season 1 I'm going to be VERY careful here in talking about it.  The problem is that I fear what happens in that episode may have "leaked" into your consciousness over the years. If it somehow hasn't?  Your mind may still be blown the way the minds of all the viewers back then were. Although even if you aren't spoiled, I think it may be inherently less effective now no matter WHAT simply because to the viewers back then we knew Fringe as an initially bad-seeming show that unexpectedly got a good deal better, but we had NO idea that in the span of one season finale episode it would go epic.  And even if you have no idea HOW it does that specifically, just from hearing vague descriptions of the show's later seasons you'd at least go into viewing it having a vague pre-knowledge that it DOES turn around to something people crowed about for YEARS as epic--ergo you are at the very least not going to be shocked at the scope of the show's transformation.  You'll be spoiled on the fact that these folks have balls, even if not on how specifically they let those balls hang.  Whereas we watched it that first time having no CLUE they had balls.  The mere fact that they DID have balls was part of the shock--and that's impossible to recreate for you as a late-comer.

Edited by Kromm.
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Yes, it's a near-universal chorus from oldbies to newbies... "Stay with it past Season One!  It gets better!  Really!"

 

Specifically, I think the biggest changes from Season One to Two is simply that the episodes went from 50 minutes to 43.  The show calms down and gets a lot more focused, without losing any of the fun stuff that makes Season One enjoyable.

 

We'll explain Episode 121/211 when you get there.  (It's episode 121 if you're watching on Netflix, episode 211 if you're watching on DVD.)

Edited by Jipijapa.
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Initially, I gave up on it during S1 but my OH stuck with it and by S3 he convinced me to come back (as part of a deal: I'll come back to Fringe, if you watch Rome!) - we both were glad we took that deal! :D

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I didn't watch Fringe during its run on tv, but decided to rent the dvds from Netflix last year.  I think that there were 3 episodes on that first disc.  I was disappointed in them, and wondered if I wanted to continue with the series.  But I stuck with it and I was so glad that I did.  It really picked up and got better after the first few episodes.  By the time I was almost through with the series, I delayed in renting the last couple of discs because I didn't want to see it end.  I was sad as I watched that last episode, knowing that there would be no more.

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And once you (generic you) do get through the whole thing, if you haven't seem them all already, hearing the quote in this topic title just may bring tears to your eyes.

 

That said, I seem to be the oddball here.  I liked this show from the very beginning.  Yes it continued to evolve and grow but I think season 1 is a great foundation.  Even things that seem stand alone really aren't.  You just can't tell right away.  But even when I didn't know that, I liked it.  But I'm always able to just sit, enjoy and let things unfold as they will w/o worrying and or assuming things are going to go a certain way.  I'm really good at wait and see.

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Yes, it's a near-universal chorus from oldbies to newbies... "Stay with it past Season One!  It gets better!  Really!"

Except it's really "stay with it past the first five or six and it's gets better, and then make sure you watch the last few of Season 1 and it gets amazing (and then doesn't stop being amazing for several seasons).

 

Again, I think in a way it actually handicaps people in a DIFFERENT way knowing that.  Sure, it means they stick to it, because we tell them to.  But it also lessens the surprise factor, which was the biggest element in the end of the season (particularly the last scene--which we WON'T describe) making viewers into raving lunatic fanboys and girls.  Nobody screams "What The Fuck!" (what I literally did when I first saw it back in 2009) as loudly as people who aren't expecting needing to say that as even being a possibility.

 

And although people (rightfully) talk about John Noble's acting, it was Season 1 that won me over permanently to the Anna Torv fan club.  I read people on the Internet complaining about her acting seeming wooden back then, and shook my head, because what I saw (and it got proven out to everyone eventually I'd argue) is fierce containment.  Season 1 Olivia Dunham was deliberately acted as being very buttoned up and self-contained, and the acting was all in Torv's eyes. Her acting in those episodes should be taught in acting classes, it's that good.

Edited by Kromm.
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I liked Anna Torv best when she was on screen by herself.  Not damning her with faint praise or anything, but I honestly never felt she was comfortable acting alongside other people.  I'd have to see her in other things to make that sort of judgement.  But she just became more watchable to me when she was by herself.  I honestly thought the only time she seemed really comfortable in scenes with others was when she was with John Noble (or maybe also Kirk Acevedo).

 

And she and Joshua Jackson just had no chemistry together, which made it pretty amazing that I came to care about Peter and Olivia's relationship a lot.  It was all due to the characters and what they went through together, though.

Edited by Jipijapa.
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Not only does this show get better after Season 1, it just keeps getting better all the way (for the most part)!

 

Season 5 Episode 1 was my favorite of the series and (SHAMELESS PLUG) I submitted it for the canon not-so-long-ago. Hope you guys get around to considering it ;-)

 

Oh, and thanks for the reports Tara! Looking forward to the rest

Edited by marsman.
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haha, for the record, Dave still isn't watching. But I am! Here's my report on Episodes 2 through 5.

I'm really going on old memories, but my recollection has always been that Ep 7 is around the break point where the show starts showing it's real potential.  So you don't have far to go.  It's a tentpole episode written by J. J. Abrams & Jeff Pinkner.

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I just finished rewatching the 1st season on Netflix and the things I remember are how much I enjoyed the friendship between the characters from the start.  The first few episodes were a little monster of the week but once you got to about the halfway point shit began to get real.   (I actually forgot about Olivia's sister and neice.)   I did notice in the beginning Peter was there mostly as a "Really Walter!"  and to dumb down explanations for the audience but that quickly changed as his feelings for his father began to change.  I remember really liking Olivia from the start and liking the fact that she was the star of the show.  (I know the show becomes  an ensemble later in the series but I do enjoy the fact that the series had the guts to make a woman the central lead).  Fringe started as a monster of the week but as it the mythology began to become prominent I remember liking the show more and more.  (The first half of the s series took me a couple days to get through but I trucked right through the second half).  

 

Now on the the second season. 

Edited by Chaos Theory.
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I'm enjoying reliving the first time of Fringe through your eyes, Tara. :)    I didn't start watching until the middle of Season 2 and I was instantly hooked.  Had to buy Season 1 and then Season 2 so I could see everything that I had missed. 

 

Fortunately for me, the first 2 episodes that I saw contained no violence per se, not much blood or guts, but lots of excellent Olivia, Walter, and Peter!  When I went back to the start I LOVED the 2-hour long pilot episode (I've watched that episode so many times I can almost recite it line for line. "I knew someone would come.... eventually...").

 

I MISS THESE PEOPLE...   um, I mean.... CHARACTERS!!!    lol

 

P.S.  Contrary to my name, Fringe is a show that I love to love. <3

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Well I just finished rewatching season 2 the season where we learn the horrible horrible truth.  It is All Walter's Fault.   I love the beginning of the season where Walter is obsessed with Peter's childhood.    Hey and we finally meet William Bell.   This is the season where the shit hits the fan and...Walternate!    Welcome to the other side people.  

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So you think "The Equation" is the most interesting episode so far!  Dingdingding.  CORRECT ANSWER!  You have passed your first Fringe newbie test.   You may pass GO and collect $200.

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Hells yes, "The Equation." Such great performances! Plus if we're playing Hey, It's That Lady, there's brunette, eeevil Gillian Jacobs from "Community." Took me several years and rewatches to realize that.

And while I respect Fringe's commitment to the gaaah, gross! moments, the standout in this episode for me is when poor Walter's trying to soothe himself to sleep, trapped back in St. Claire's, and...hallucinates or imagines or possiblymaybe sees himself/another Walter come in and sit down on the foot of the bed, grimly disapproving. The show was still playing its mythology pretty close to the vest, then, but that moment was just SO unsettling and disturbing on multiple levels. Something was happening under the surface, something even weirder than the Venus Hearttrap and OldManBaby and killer butterfly MsOTW they'd been dishing up, and I was hooked. Hooked like a large-mouth bass, I tells ya.

 

Also, one of my favorite throwaway lines: "What's up, Chachi?" :)

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Well the reason why this episode worked for me (the first Fringe episode to really work, IMHO) was because it was the first time we got to see Walter as more than just a scary crazy old guy full of weirdness.  You know, we got to see his inner life.  And, it's not really a spoiler to say that the show just takes that and runs with it.  So, while you have to go through some more of those frenetic Cases of the Week in Season 1, this episode was the first glimmer of what the show would become.

 

As for Other Walter I don't think it was ever revealed exactly WHO that was, although my theory is that it's the Walter with all his brain pieces.

Edited by Jipijapa.
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Here's a question for you guys: What would you say were your 5-10 favorite episodes of the whole series? And how would you rank all five seasons from favorite to least favorite?!

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...I'll attempt to answer my own question :) 

 

Season 2 has become my favorite by a surprisingly wide margin. For me, it's the ideal blend between fun and creative cases of the week with intriguing (and not excessively convoluted!) overarching mythology. I may love Olivia more this season than any other, but the heavy focus on the Walter-Peter relationship warms my cold, cynical little heart. The characterizations and overall tone feel more established and consistent than they did in S1, but yet everything is still fresh and novel for me. S2 just happens to have a lot of my personal favorite episodes and surprisingly few that I skip. And S2 gives us the glorious Brown Betty! That alone might propel S2 to the top of my list ;) 

 

S1 comes in second for me. I have a surprisingly strong emotional attachment to it. S4 has improved significantly with repeated viewings for me, while I like S3 less than I did initially. S4 is close to earning my silver medal, actually, which I never thought I'd say when I first watched it. I haven't rewatched S5, but for now it's my least favorite of the five seasons. 

Edited by mstaken.
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S2 is probably the best season, but the best EPISODE is the last one of S1 (which sets up S2, so that makes perfect sense if you think about it).

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I am less attached to Season 1 because I only watched it after the fact (started watching during Season 2, then caught up on Season 1 over the summer before Season 3 started).  The longer episode lengths of Season 1, I find a little hard to get through.  I'm not a fan of the John Scott arc (opening arc of the show, the first 13 episodes).  That said, Season 1 had some of the funniest and grossest stuff.

 

I'm also more attached to Season 4 than many others might be, as I never had a problem with its premise and never felt like it was "negating" what came before.  This season vastly improved after the halfway mark (once they returned to you-know-where).  Also, I think the "two worlds working together" was one of the show's more successful storylines.  And, how could you not like Lincoln Lee?

 

Season 2 would be my favorite, and also the first half of Season 3.  I felt that Season 3 went a little crazy toward the end and that the more focused storytelling of Season 4 was a welcome relief.  The last half of Season 3 had some memorable episodes and moments, but it was all so... overheated.  And there was a run of 3 or 4 episodes that just weren't much good (I'm thinking of "Reciprocity" through "Stowaway," excepting "Subject 13" which was good.)

 

Season 5, while better than it had a right to be, suffered from a lower budget and some worldbuilding vagueness.  They were down to only four writers and it showed.  But, most would agree, it ended in a good place.

 

I'll rank the show by HALF-seasons:

 

1. Last half of Season 2

2.  First half of Season 3

3.  First half of Season 2

4. Last half of Season 4

5. Last half of Season 1

6. Season 5

7. First half of Season 4

8. Last half of Season 3 (yes! shocker)

9. First half of Season 1 (which wasn't even "bad")

Edited by Jipijapa.
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Season 2 This is the season where everything begins to come into focus for the Fringe crew.  I loved the scenes where Walt was obsessed with Peter's childhood and his horror when he realized everything was his fault.  

Season 3  and season 4 run about even for me.  I loved the two universes storylines.    I am a ban of large scale stories like Fringe did and when done right they really do work for me more then episode of the week stuff that gets really boring after awhile.  

Season 5 simply because unlike many shows this one understood that it had fans that had remained loyal from the start and it was a thank you to the fans and not a fuck you like some shows are   Yes it had some world building weaknesses but they were minor flaws that I was able to look past very easily for the emotional story that it was trying tell.

Season 1 (Which isn't bad suffered from too much early on Monster of the week which I really do not care for,)  

Edited by Chaos Theory.
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Awww...the S2 love warms my heart. I'm feeling the need for a rewatch coming on! How about your 5-10 very favorite episodes of the series? And, of course, the 5-10 episodes you'd most merrily do away with?

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The half season ranking actually makes sense in a way.  Admittedly Fringe did mega-arcs divided by full season, but I think like most shows in recent years between production runs that tend to split seasons up, and the way long seasons are padded, you can often see differences in how first and second halves are done.

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By the way, if picking 5-10 all-time favorites is too ridiculously hard, feel free to select your 2-3 favorites and least favorites from each season. Though even that is ridiculously difficult... 

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My favorite episodes:

 

1. The Firefly

2. One Night in October

3. Over There Part 1

4. The Plateau

5. Jacksonville

 

Five I could do without:

 

1. Midnight

2. Concentrate and Ask Again

3. Reciprocity

4. The Recordist

5. What Lies Below

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I've been rewatching the episodes lately, from the start, and loving the hell out of them. 

 

The first time I watched the show, I felt like it filled an X-Files-shaped hole in my TV viewing life, and didn't really care whether it hung together on its own. I didn't even particularly care if it turned out to be good or bad, as long as it was sort of science-y and soaked in conspiracy, and doled out gross monsters. Both Olivia and Peter annoyed the hell out of me in the first season, for reasons I no longer really remember. But: gross monsters! A cold virus the size of a hoagie! I stuck with it, and ended up liking the show and the characters on their own merits. Plus, I got to recap it for TWoP a few times. Woohoo!

 

But this time, I love everything from the start. That part where Walter can't remember where his safe deposit box is, and Peter finesses the info out of him, and they're both so very pleased with his method? I just watched that bit and clapped and made ridiculous "AWW!" sounds.

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Tara, liked the diary.

 

Without revealing much, let me say that if you're starting to think Olivia is secretly the most interesting character on the show, you ain't seen NOTHIN' yet.  (Livvie has a LOT more coming)

Edited by Kromm.
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Yes, "Bad Dreams" is a key episode...

 

Things you'll see less of going forward:

 

--Less John Scott

--Less gratuitous threatening of helpless female victims (something I never really liked about Season 1)

--Less obvious X-Files references, although a very famous X-Files location makes an appearance early in Season 2.

Edited by Jipijapa.
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Yes, "Bad Dreams" is a key episode...

 

It's definitely one of my three favorite episodes of Season 1. 

 

I've been rewatching the series and am falling in love with the show far more deeply than I did when I first saw it. It's just such engaging, thought-provoking, emotion-evoking, imagination-stimulating awesomeness! The show has me dreaming of parallel universes and other fringe-y phenomena. I really love all three main characters beyond the telling of it and have placed Peter on my sadly short list of TV boyfriends. I'm sure he's profoundly honored ;) 

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I'd like to rearrange my "Episodes I Could Do Without" list.  I need to put "Concentrate and Ask Again" as #1 and give "Midnight" a bit of leniency and put it as #2.

 

The premise behind "Concentrate and Ask Again" was not terrible, but it was just such an aggressively dopey, boring episode (not something Fringe was known for).  And you could have switched it out with "Reciprocity" and would anyone have noticed the changed episode order?   What springs to mind with "CaAA" is a scene where Walter says something about military experiments and Olivia responds, "The U.S. military?"  (NO!  Obviously, the Serbian military....)  No excuse for dialogue that dumb, three seasons in.  Also, random road trip to Vermont.  Also, Walter peeing.  Also, terrible Olivia evening gown.  Also, not showing enough of Peter in a tux.

 

And oh!  I forgot "Stowaway."  Again, not because of that Thing That Happened to One of the Main Characters (I was OK with that because it didn't last long).  But because of the dopeyness of the Freak of the Week.  OK, replace "Reciprocity" with "Stowaway."

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Tara I think you forgot one critical thing. Leonard Nimoy. LEONARD NIMOY!

Edited by Chaos Theory.
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Hi, guys!  I can't remember if I've posted on these boards yet or not, but joined the boards at TWoP when I watched Fringe for the first time a couple of years ago.  I recognize a few of the names here.  *waving*

 

So......hubby and I started a Fringe rewatch last night.  It's going to be interesting watching again knowing the "big" plot points that are coming, while not remembering much at all about the minor stuff.

 

Have only rewatched the Pilot so far.  I'm glad that John Scott wasn't in the show for a long time.  I remember being upset that they started off with two Agents already in a relationship together, because if I'm going to watch something like that I want to feel like the characters earned the right to flaunt the rules.  I'm persnickety like that.

 

I was actually holding my breath a little bit, waiting for Walter to turn around and see Olivia for the first time.  Then I squealed "Walter!  Oh, Walter.  I've missed you."

 

It was a lot more fun this time seeing Walter start digressing about the butterscotch pudding, knowing how much he loves food and the role food plays in the show.  To Olivia he had just started wandering off into lala land, but food actually is that important to him.  Heh.

 

Astrid, Walter, and Peter sitting on the couch watching SpongeBob with Jean watching over Walter's shoulder just totally made my day.  So awesome.

 

Hubby and I were both snickering like mad over Broyles deliberately trying to rile Olivia up.  "Sweetheart" and "Honey" and all that.  You know she wanted to tear his bald head off.  Hee hee.

 

I had forgotten that they were building up to a big William Bell reveal/climax even this early on.  Interesting how they're kind of downplaying his relationship with Walter right now though.  "Shared a lab" almost makes it sound like they just happened to be in the same class at college or something, very subdued.

 

I miss the days when it felt like Peter really did have an IQ of 190.

 

Since I am also currently re-reading The Hunger Games, I noticed a lot of similarities between Walter's state of mind and Mrs. Everdeen's in the books.  Walter truly only remembers who he is when he's in his lab, just like Mrs. Everdeen when she's working on a patient.

 

There's more I could say but it all has to do with how things tie in with stuff that happens later in the show, so I don't want to spoil it for the ones that are watching for the first time. 

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I'm rewatching too, and another thing I'm grateful was dropped after Season 1 was Peter's shady past. Who cares? Also, Peter was a lot more shrill than I remembered, especially when it came to Walter. I love him, but he and his storylines just irritated me for most of S1.

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I actually kind of like that S1 Peter is so sharp, snarky and prickly. I love Peter throughout the series and do think it made sense that he'd soften a bit, especially in relation to Walter, but he seemed to lose most of his edge, intelligence and uniqueness as the series went on IMO. 

Edited by mstaken.
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Hi Taryn! (waves back)

 

I liked Peter's prickliness in S1, but agree that it was perhaps trotted out a little too often.  We will never know what the deal was with Big Eddie, and I don't care about that either.  (Although I would still like to know who this Tess chick was because she and Peter seemed pretty hot together.) 

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The Same Old Story and The Ghost Network -

 

I wish I could remember what Walter remembers about things that come up later at this point, because there are times I swear from his expression he knows exactly who Olivia is.  It's like he knows it's not going to be able to be kept secret forever, and once she knows then it's all going to change and she's never going to look at him the same way again and that makes him sad.  Oh, Walter.

 

Wow, they were dropping hints already about Peter's ....different.... childhood, huh?  Interesting.  There's so much I just didn't pick up on the first time watching, because I was trying to absorb too much information about all of the characters, never knowing who we could trust and who we couldn't.

 

Charlie:  I wasn't gonna tell you this, but....he said he loved me too.  *snicker*  I miss Charlie.

 

The hand in the jar!  Egads!  "Friend of yours?"  BOY. HOWDY.

 

So, Walter has been in an institution for the past 17 years, yet all of his worst experiments have obviously been carried on and improved upon, and it doesn't occur to anyone that maybe someone he worked with way back when is the one continuing them?  Okay.  I know they keep "investigating" Massive Dynamic and keep asking after William Bell, but you would think they'd be storming the place with warrants by now.

 

I liked Roy McComb (from Ghost Network).  I thought he was a very sympathetic character.

 

We've been having fun looking for the Observers.  Hubby usually spots them before I do.

 

I feel like I should have more to say about these episodes, they were both pretty good.

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The Arrival -

 

September!  I was giggling the whole time he was ordering and eating his freaky sandwich. 

 

When I was watching, I got too caught up in Walter's story about him and Peter falling thru the ice to notice, but that story was supposed to be in response to Peter wanting to know how he knew the cemetery was where Walter hid the capsule.  Um, huh?  There must be a connection from later that I'm not remembering at the moment.

 

I'll be glad when they're done with the John Scott stuff altogether.  He's kind of getting on my nerves, popping up into the story all the time.  I don't even remember why he's significant.

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I liked Anna Torv best when she was on screen by herself.  Not damning her with faint praise or anything, but I honestly never felt she was comfortable acting alongside other people.  I'd have to see her in other things to make that sort of judgement.  But she just became more watchable to me when she was by herself.  I honestly thought the only time she seemed really comfortable in scenes with others was when she was with John Noble (or maybe also Kirk Acevedo).

 

And she and Joshua Jackson just had no chemistry together, which made it pretty amazing that I came to care about Peter and Olivia's relationship a lot.  It was all due to the characters and what they went through together, though.

Considering Anna was probably in more scenes than anyone in the series, I don't think the series would have worked if she didn't have chemistry with others.  I think she had more chemistry with the rest of the cast than she had with Josh.    One of the highlights of S3 was Olivia on the other side partnering with alt Lincoln and alt Charlie.   She also had a good chemistry with the actor who played Frank.  She was great with Lance. The kids she worked with too. 

 

Olivia and Peter became one of my favorite couples but I agree that Anna and Josh never really clicked as actors together.  The dialogue didn't seem to flow naturally between them. 

Here's a question for you guys: What would you say were your 5-10 favorite episodes of the whole series? And how would you rank all five seasons from favorite to least favorite?!

Favorite:

Marionette

Peter 

Over There

Subject 13

Jacksonville 

 

Seasons

S3

S2

S1

S4

S5

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Power Hungry - Decent ep, with again a sympathetic "baddie", but I'm already starting to get tired of the vague references to "The Pattern" in all of these completely unrelated incidents.  Since I have seen the show before, I know where they're going with it and I understand that they have to build up to it, but at this point in the show it just feels like they're trying to fit pieces of a puzzle together that really don't go together.

 

I'm also finding that it's a little bit irritating that Walter is the only comic relief in the show right now.  Not that what they're doing is all fun and laughs or anything, but it just feels like everyone is taking themselves a bit too seriously or something.  I don't know how to describe it.

 

Eh....even though this wasn't a bad ep, I really don't have that much to say about it.

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It's nice to know others are still watching, even though I'm still just trying to keep up with a few current shows. Reading this thread makes me sad in a good way to recall hunkering down each week with my Fringe Glyph page loaded on my iPod Touch, ready to record each glyph at the beginning of each scene to spell the word for the episode (usually a clue to the next episode).

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Here's a question for you guys: What would you say were your 5-10 favorite episodes of the whole series? And how would you rank all five seasons from favorite to least favorite?!

 

Episodes are hard for me not because I just can't choose but they all kinda run together for me now. So I'll skip that.

 

Seasons: season 2

season 3

season 1

season 4

season 5

 

Seasons 4 and 5 are pretty much equal to me but I really like a lot of the latter half of season 4, especially "Welcome to Westfield" or whatever it was called, so I gave it the fourth spot. I was not a fan of the finale for season 4 at all though. Season 3 is kinda of a cracked out mess, but I love a lot of the character moments. Well, the first part of the season was great, all the way up to "Marionette" I want to say. Then it reached the nadir with the bowling guy (I forget his name) suggesting the fate of the world depended on who Peter lurved more. And then it got better after that but there were just too much random stuff thrown at the wall and some of it was good and some it wasn't.

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I decided to do a rewatch and I'm almost through Season 1. I'd forgotten how gross a lot of the Season 1 episodes were. And what was the point of bringing in Olivia's sister and niece?

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