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Jipijapa

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Seriously.  Has Anna Torv fallen off the face of the planet?  Where the heck IS she?  This Ryan Murphy driven "Open" thing apparently has gone nowhere and she doesn't seem to have anything else lined up, other than an Aussie based miniseries we're never going to see on this side of the planet, and some Indie film.  Has effing Ryan Murphy ruined her career?  #@ing Ryan Murphy.

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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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Around this time on the show-as-aired, it was widely thought among fans that Peter was not being given enough to do, which sort of had the side effect of making him seem a bit pissy (even though he really wasn't). 

 

I'm sure Tara will have and express some sort of opinion on Fauxlivia very very soon... :-)  it's unavoidable.

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She didn't really have that much to do in the finale, but since that story went up we've watched the first three episodes of S3 and...yes, I will have more to say. Here's a preview: get off Peter's face!

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Well, here's the boring Fringe love storyline your Marathon Diarist had hoped would never come. And no, the fact that it's a love triangle with two versions of the same lady doesn't make it any more compelling than the usual.

Read the story

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It seems clunky now, but has a great payoff in the rest of Season 3 and in Season 4.  And it never really is a triangle, as you'll probably soon see.  I honestly found this development a bit tedious too, but it has the curious effect of making Peter and Olivia seem like an old married couple that you actually care about, much later on.  They never do get "back to normal" which was a brave thing for the show to do IMHO. Suffice to say, Peter and Olivia do NOT follow the same tired old "love, marriage, baby carriage" formula that every other TV couple does.  Oh, no.


Oh, and PS... don't worry about the baby. :-) Heh heh. 

Edited by Jipijapa

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I'll be VERY interested to know what you think about these relationships the farther you get into season 3 and season 4. Some friends and I are convinced that in both seasons the relationship planning took huge left turns (like, that the writers were obviously planning on going in one direction and then suddenly changed their minds), but I also think there's a chance to those decisions have aged better/don't seem as random when watched all together.

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I don't for a minute think that the writers "had everything all planned out" (and indeed there are telltale signs of sudden gear-changing at the end of Season 3, but they happen to be beneficial decisions IMHO).  However, at the time the show was on, I was only mildly irked by the Peter-Bolivia affair and possible baby.  (I'm not sure where Tara ended up in Season 3, so I am reluctant to say much more).  Other fans hated it.  But once events unfolded, I think most fans reacted with relief and a sense of ongoing interest.

 

I, personally, HATE the dreary old formula of how couples get together, face obstacles, and then get on with it.  It always winds up with a wedding (often delayed endlessly - see Castle) and then the heroine's pregnancy and a new baby blah de blah.  Suffice it to say that Fringe subverts -- or at least ignores -- nearly all of these tropes.  Whether it was the result of writer rejiggering, or just the writers wanting to avoid the same-old same-old, doesn't matter to me really.

 

Where Peter and Olivia are at the start of Season 5, is interesting and grownup (and, of course, a little WEIRD), and it's a wonder they managed to get to that place after just four seasons.

Edited by Jipijapa

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I always liked Peter and Olivia as a couple but maybe because they didn't follow the rules. First comes love than comes marriage.....the things that do get in their way are unusual enough to keep things interesting and yer dont play like a soap opera.

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I don't want to spoil Tara too much either, so I'll just say that one of the things that made the course of Peter and Olivia's relationship quite palatable to me was Walter's perspective on and level of investment in it. Walter always makes for good teevee. :)

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Don't get me wrong: I don't WANT Peter and Olivia to get together. I just find the push-pull of them trying to get over this hump, or not, so boring to watch. Every TV show does it. Make a decision one way or another and live with it, GOD!

 

As for where I left off: we had gotten to "6B" before I wrote today's post, and then we watched the second 1985 episode last night.

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I'd have been perfectly happy if the writers had kept things between Peter and Olivia platonic and, like Tara, I thought they would for the first two seasons. Olivia's line about Peter belonging with her is still my least favorite moment of the entire series because I felt like it came out of almost nowhere. It was awfully melodramatic for two people who (I thought) had barely even flirted with one another.

That said, I agree with the other commenters that once the writers did get them together I didn't mind it nearly as much as I thought I would (how's that for enthusiastic praise?).

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Yeah, that was my reaction as well, Lindsey.  From the start of the show you could see Peter and Olivia with a big flashing "DESIGNATED COUPLE" sign over them, and I disliked that.  Also, I never felt Joshua Jackson and Anna Torv had much on screen chemistry (and they certainly had no offscreen chemistry if rumors are to be believed).  But by the end of the series, I genuinely appreciated them as a couple just because of all the shit the writers put them through.  I mean, they basically strangled their love story (such as it was) in the cradle and took it through infidelity straight off, then of course there was all that other stuff that comes later on.  Also: 

I sort of loved the fact we never saw their wedding and really the only domesticity we got to see was a grainy videotape for 5 seconds, but that Season 5 was all about the problems of a married couple

.

 

And I also agree that Walter is a big part of it.  The attraction is not the Peter-Olivia ship, it's the Peter-Walter-Olivia ship.  I think John Noble once called it "incestuous" (in an emotional sense) in that they really were a fucked-up little family unit.  Walter wanted Olivia as a daughter as much as he wanted Peter as a son.  I found it entirely fitting that

the first time we see Peter and Olivia in bed together, Walter is walking around naked downstairs. ha

Edited by Jipijapa
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Amazon US is having a sale on the complete DVD set today, it's 50 dollars compared to the usual 140.

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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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Seriously? I had Olivia for all of these and I watch both shows but then I am biased. Fringe is a five star sci fi show and Haven is a three and a half so you can't really use me as a judge.

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Lincoln!! I think he might be my favorite non-Walter character on the show? He became very voice-of-the-audience as season 4 went on, although not in an obnoxious way (more like, Walter telling him they're taking the cow on a field trip and Lincoln just going "Sure?")

I'll be interested to see what you think of how the resolve the Peter situation.

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I actually disagree that this was the last good season. People tend to be too harsh on the rest of the show especially the lady season which had its moments especially to those who were Olivia and Peter shipper and hell shippers of Olivia/Peter/Walter/Astrid as a family

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This is Capital-R Relevant to my Capital-I Interests right now. I marathoned both of these shows this year--guess I have a thing for blonde FBI ladies and the hotties who love them, too. I think you came out on the right side of this one at every step.

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I honestly wasn't sure who I'd want to win this one, so I'd be happy either way. Olivia has a more interesting universe to live in, but I think I'd rather hang out with Audrey, which carries a lot of weight with me. Olivia has a lot going on under the surface but it can come off as aloofness, which is why I think Anna Torv got such a bad rap in the first season for being "wooden." The writing and acting overcame that eventually (I would still point anyone who thinks Anna Torv isn't an amazing actress to Stowaway and that Nimoy impersonation), but I still think Olivia was often less compelling than the characters around her. Then again, it might just be that Walter was so great any the other characters were doomed to being overshadowed.

Damn it, I still don't know who like better.

Edited by Lindsey

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I remember being much more interested in Lincoln and Fauxlivia than I was in Peter and Olivia, who I didn't mind as a couple but I also wasn't particularly invested in.

The Universe A/Universe B switch didn't bother me much at the time. I might have been annoyed that I wasn't getting the continuation of the previous week's story for about 30 seconds until I got sucked into the current episode. Mostly I was happy to be along for the ride.

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I can't even take this comparison seriously.  Olivia Dunham is for real (on a fantastic show).  Audrey Parker and Haven are not even in the same ball park.

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Seth Gabel's Blue Lincoln (known by fans as Our!Lincoln) is one of the pleasures of Season 4.  Also, it was amazing (to me) how the fans wholeheartedly embraced him as a regular, even when Peter was out of the picture.  (Aw, I loved the Fringedom.  Best fandom ever.  They just unquestioningly loved nearly every fucking thing the writers threw at them; Bolivia perhaps being an exception, although she had her fans.)

 

Of course, the premise of Season 4 itself was probably the most divisive in the fandom - and some viewers stopped watching because of it.

 

My favorite Lincoln moment in Season 4 was when Walter had him drink some concoction, claiming he'd put something in to cover the bad taste, and Lincoln takes a swig and says "It didn't work" - just Seth Gabel's worried delivery of these hapless put-upon moments, was continually funny.  I enjoyed his nebbishy Lincoln more than Red Lincoln.  There's a particularly crazy episode later on in Season 4 (which I don't think Tara has gotten to yet, "Nothing as it Seems") where he really shines in that regard.

 

Season 5 has to be looked at in context... it was a forced wrap-up season.  To some extent, everything from mid Season 3 onward was about hurrying to finish that season's story, because the threat of cancellation was very real; thank Gawd that the Season 4 finale was not the series finale, because it would have been a weak ending.  Given only 13 episodes to both "be Fringe" and to bring these characters some closure, on a tiny budget no less, I think they did fine.   Oh, and everyone looks *fabulous* in Season 5, the music is fabulous, and there is one moment in Episode 509 which should never, ever be spoiled for a first-time viewer.  :-)   (And also, one of the most beautiful and imaginatively staged flashback sequences I've ever seen on any TV show.)

 

In hindsight, I'm a little less forgiving about Joel Wyman's sole stewardship of the show during Season 5, after Jeff Pinkner departed.  (I'd also heard talk that Wyman was really creatively doing most of the showrunning during Season 4 as well.)  Wyman, IMHO, was a great episode writer responsible for much of what made Fringe great, but as a sole showrunner, he was a bit of a wet noodle... a suspicion confirmed by "Almost Human" (and no the problem was NOT the episodes being run out of order.)

Edited by Jipijapa

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Yeah, this was the last good season. I finished out Season 4, but they actually lost me halfway through --

when they decided to NOT go back to the "Blue" universe (the universe of the first 3 seasons).

Edited by Trini

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I'm just reading along, enjoying your newbie journey through one of my favorite endearing/heartbreaking shows, when all of a sudden:

Jimmy has fear? A thousand times no!

Is melancholy glee a thing? My sister started watching our Newsradio dvds again (we go through them two or three times a year), and just... aw, Mr. James. :-)

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I'm happy to see that you're enjoying the "Amber Timeline" (but not Amber Tamblyn, that would be wrong). It was the object of a lot of flak from fans at the time, but I have to say that I liked it a lot. It raised so many fascinating issues about the nature of choices, of the subtle effects of different possible paths, of identity, and in a markedly different way than the alternate universe did. Treating it as a timeline (a different set of outcomes in essentially the same "universe") rather than a whole universe, where the environment and everyone in it is affected, just brought the exercise down to a very personal level. I found it quite affecting and had little trouble with the whole "how/when will he get back?" dilemma.

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I was always kind of impressed with the show for getting me to the point that I was okay with the Peter/Olivia pairing, considering that when the show started I was almost as opposed to the idea as I was to the idea of a Liz/Jack pairing on 30 Rock. That's a long, long way to go. After that I figured these writers could get me on board with anything, so I was up for whatever crazy story they came up with.

Walter's pain in these episodes was so hard to watch. I've never wanted to give a fictional character a hug more.

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 Treating it as a timeline (a different set of outcomes in essentially the same "universe") rather than a whole universe, where the environment and everyone in it is affected, just brought the exercise down to a very personal level.

 

Ah, but then there's the theory that different universes actually ARE different timelines, as Walter explained back at the end of season one, with his diagram about decisions forking off into different outcomes.  Theoretically, the blueverse and redverse were once the same universe, until some sort of ur-decision was made that split them.  (Gazillions of these timeline/universes thus exist, but we only get to see two)  Under that theory, the "yellowverse" in Season 4 is really made up of a yellow-blueverse and a yellow-redverse that were born when September failed to save Peter from drowning.  (Of course, that would mean that the blueverse from seasons 1-3 still exists... but without Peter!  Oh gawd, that's too sad to contemplate)

 

(I could continue speculating, but that might get into spoiler territory for Tara if she's reading.)

 

I think I get your point anyway though.  The changes between blueverse and yellow-blueverse are only subtle, perhaps because the split happened just 25 years ago.

 

But, back to the mushy stuff.  I, too, appreciated Season 4 - it is a kind of comedy of manners, or about people repressing their feelings because they are not "proper" to have.  Peter's in the wrong timeline, but will he embrace this or keep trying to get back?  (I also liked the whole thing with him and his not-mother Elizabeth, as they danced around their mother-son feelings that logically they weren't supposed to or allowed to have.)  The whole crazy thing about Fringe, is that at this point, nobody is in the right place.  The Peter that Walter kissed goodnight as a boy, is not the Peter that Walter obsessed over in Seasons 2-3, and now that Peter is dealing with a different Walter (Yellow Walter).  That's the whole point of the show, IMHO.  It's about living with life's sci-fi craziness and accepting the relationships you have. 

 

Except...

...when the craziness becomes grievously intolerable, as in Season 5 with Etta's death, and a setting-things-right is the only cure - although, one with a very high price in the end.

Edited by Jipijapa

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Would anyone be interested in participating in a rewatch?  We could post one episode a week.   Also, I think the rewatch rule is not to mention anything that will happen beyond the particular episode being discussed in order not to spoil new watchers.

Edited by Luckylyn

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I fully agree with this. To me, the events of Season 5 (and Letters of Transit) would have been better left to fanfic. I love Season 4, which is maybe a slightly unpopular opinion, and it's a perfect ending to the series for me, so that's where my rewatches will end.

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I finished my first watch of Fringe a week or so ago, and liked season 5. Of course, by then I was more invested in Peter and Olivia as parents rather than Peter and Olivia, world savers. I was intrigued by the way their relationship had changed, after Etta was taken but prior to the ambering (all the things we never saw, but were discussed). Etta herself bugged, but I understood what she represented - the way the world changed, the consequences of feeling orphaned, etc. And like Tara, I understood why Peter took the Observer's chip - and I really loved the way Josh Jackson played that, and the rage beforehand. 

 

I pretty much mourned the loss of Lincoln Lee and the Alternates in s4, and I think was made more emotional by that than by  the series finale. But that scene (Walter in car listening to Only You in s5) absolutely had me sobbing.

Edited by ScullyInApt42

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Yes, but technically Season 5 DIDN'T happen... see, that's the awesome thing about resets. (Yes there's the small matter of Walter not being there, but WE CAN GET HIM BACK!)

 

As for Walter having to go... this actually perfectly kept to one of the very few principles on Fringe that stayed constant:  the idea of "balance" and that Someone Always Has to Pay.  It wasn't so much Walter punishment, but rather, it was a necessary adjustment.  All through the series, there was the consistent concept that There Ain't No Such Thing as a Free Lunch.  Take all the various ways of crossing over to the Other Side: several different methods, but all of them exacted a high cost.  If you used Walter's door, it resulted in terrible fringe event damage.  If you used Walternate's method, you either almost died, or you had to chop someone up (alt-Broyles).  If you used the cortexiphan method, you had to drug innocent children.  And in order to bring peace between the universes, Peter literally had to be erased (a point made in "Back to Where You've Never Been" where it was noted he could only be the go-between because he did not belong to either universe), with all the pain that caused.  This concept remained very consistent throughout the series so I think it's fitting that there had to be another painful exchange - Walter this time.

 

Season 5 won't go down in history as Fringe's finest hour obviously.  I guess you had to be there: after two bruising seasons of constantly fighting to keep the show alive, this felt basically like a victory lap for everybody.  Season 5's worst sin was that it was inconsequential and kind of half-baked (the Observers could read everybody, except when they couldn't, etc).  Oh, and it was a reset.  I mean, technically speaking, the characters (sans Walter) are all left where they were at the end of Season 4.  And, BTW, I *do not* think the ending of Season 4 would have been a great ending.  I mean, MEH... in a hospital room?  What sort of ending is that?  "Brave New World" Parts 1 and 2 were among the worst episodes in the series.  The only good thing about them was that William Bell turned evil.  (We could always bring Bell back for a big World War III science war vs. Walter.  That would be fucking awesome.)

 

This may still be taboo to say, I don't know, but... while I love Joel Wyman's script writing contributions to the show's greatest episodes, as a showrunner he didn't really know what he was doing.  I give him props for bringing it in by himself and not completely fucking it up.  And honestly, criticizing Joel is like kicking a puppy.  It's not something I even want to do, especially since he was partly responsible for so much of what made the show great.  But - all it took was a few episodes of Almost Human to make me realize that he just isn't sole showrunner material.  Around Season 4 is when the show started to get a soft gooey center and I think that was all Wyman... I heard he was pretty much running the show himself creatively by then and that Jeff Pinkner was mostly running interference with the network.

 

Let's talk about the "real" ending episode of the show... Season 4's "Worlds Apart"... which was so perfect and so earned.  Because, here this show had embarked on this really risky and weird course where they were going to have alternate universes (in Season 3), and alternating episodes which made the network very nervous.  And here we were watching them close the bridge and really feeling SAD about it. 

 

On that note, I do respect Fringe's Season 5 for going out on that limb.  The execution may not have lived up to the audacity, but that was Fringe for you.  The show never really played it safe.  And keep in mind this was a horrifically low-rated broadcast network show, constantly near death, not some cable darling.  And honestly... in the end, they really didn't burn any bridges.  Nothing fundamental about the show was wrecked; you can easily imagine some sort of Season 6 where the alt-U comes into play again and where maybe Walter makes contact with his loved ones and... really, it could have gone on if only it hadn't been 99th in the ratings or whatever.  All the mysteries were answered, but the characters and situation still remained interesting.  Take that, LOST.

Edited by Jipijapa
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I agree with that "take that LOST" bit. Fringe is the anti-LOST (and that's a compliment of a high order if anyone is wondering).

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I agree that the "evil Observers" thing didn't really work. I feel like it would have worked a lot better if they had seen themselves as benevolent overlords, a la Jasmine from "Angel." At this point in the series, all three of our leads had almost destroyed two universes--it would have made perfect sense for the Observers to believe that humans could not be trusted to run the planet themselves, and needed a strong guiding hand to stop them from destroying themselves. This would have made them much more interesting villains, because they would have had a point. Instead, they were so cartoonishly evil that they literally had machines that had no other purpose but to pump CO2 into the air. Subtle.

They could have even tied this into the deleting of Peter. Think about it: without Peter, Walter is a complete mess, Olivia doesn't have any control of her powers due to the limited amount of Cortexiphan and no exposure to Peter, Henrietta will never exist, and no one even knows about the Observers. By changing time so that September didn't save Peter, the Observers basically created the perfect environment for invasion, since their opposition is so much weaker. This makes much more sense as an explanation for erasing Peter than "We had to stop Henry from being born because reasons, and the only point at which we could do this was 25 years ago" which is what we were given in the otherwise excellent "The End of All Things." And it would link Season 4 and 5 in a more organic way; as they stand, they both feel very separate and gimmicky.

And while we're on the subject, I'm still a bit bitter over Peter's reaction to finding out Henry was deleted. (You: "What reaction?" Me: "Exactly!") Just as I fanwank the real reason for the Observers invasion/deleting Peter, I also fanwank that Henry and Henrietta are somehow the same person (perhaps due to September transferring Henry's consciousness to the Fetus!Henrietta through soul magnets? And then telling Peter about it? This explains why he is a-OK with his son being erased from existence, on a show that is entirely about parents not being able to let go of their children.) Come to think about it, we never even saw Peter tell Olivia about the son he had with Faux! Aaarg.

So while I have fond memories of this show, and still enjoy many parts of Season 4 and 5, there were some major dropped elements that could have easily been picked up in an organic way, and the story would have benefitted from it.

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I too would have liked to have seen Henry addressed as something more than just "He Who Should Not Have Existed."  If there is ever any sequel to Fringe, I want Henry back in existence somehow.  Think of the delicious complications...

 

Many missed opportunities, IMHO, had to do with Fringe constantly being on the bubble.  The rhythm of each season became more and more rushed toward the end, because the writers had no real idea if they'd be back or not.  (There's also evidence that Season 4 was originally conceived as something quite different; see the abruptly dropped "First People" business from Season 3.)

 

However, on some level Peter must have been thinking about this because why did he name his daughter Henrietta?  That didn't just magically happen.  (The real fanwankery involves whether or not he told Olivia about Henry/Henrietta... because Olivia would have had her own reasons for naming a child Henry - ie, Henry the cabbie who helped her, and of course, also helped Bolivia deliver her child.)

Edited by Jipijapa

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I don't know if they ever thought they might expand on Liv's sister and niece, but I think they were only there to give her a personal life, and to show the differences between Agent Dunham and Liv. With John dead, she doesn't have anyone else to ground her life outside of work, to make her seem like a whole person. Walter and Peter were getting to know each other again, so their personal/professional lives were intertwined, but Liv didn't have that (and in Season 1, Liv is clearly the main character, where in later seasons, it becomes almost a three-lead show). I thought the sister/niece thing was entirely unnecessary, but tonally, Season 1 was still getting its footing. Once Walter, Peter, and Liv formed tighter bonds with each other, they didn't need spend time on outside relationships to lend emotion to the show.

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The interesting thing is that the episode, in production order, actually WAS the 21st episode of Season 1.  (Filmed after the season finale, episode 20)  So ironically, Netflix is showing it in proper order.  But of course, it makes no sense because the show's plotline changed (by the start of season 2) before they had a chance to air the episode.  There IS no proper place to put this episode.  

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Just so you guys know, Science Channel seems to be showing a few Fringe episodes per week at ungodly hours (at, like, 4:00 AM on Saturday!) They're on to the beginning of S2. I'm really looking forward to recording it, as I haven't seen the show for a very long time. 

 

I thought the sister/niece thing was entirely unnecessary,

 

I like s1 a lot more than most do and found a lot of the cases of the week really interesting and entertaining, but, yeah, the niece/sister stuff always felt forced to me, and I rolled my eyes through Peter's short-lived 'thing' with Olivia's sister. 

Edited by amensisterfriend

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