Feb. 6th, 2015

wendelah1: (Walter reading From Outer Space)
[personal profile] wendelah1
"And Those We've Left Behind," is the inevitable time loop episode, with a Fringe-y twist. The best known example of this science fiction trope is "Groundhog Day," but the concept dates back to science fiction stories from the forties. The X-Files episode "Monday" is another well-known example. The Fringe plot is a reworking of an old episode of Stargate SG-1, "Window of Opportunity," in which a scientist creates a time machine to see his dead wife. In the process, the scientist inadvertently traps the inhabitants of 14 different planets in his temporal loop. Raymond Green, the engineer in "And Those We've Left Behind," has a similar motive: his wife, Kate, was a brilliant theoretical physicist who is dying of early onset Alzheimer's disease. Raymond uses her ideas and his knowledge of electrical engineering to build a machine to return them to the time before she became ill.

This episode works well when it's focused on the plight of the Greens. Raymond has no idea of the damage he is doing to the world. He just wants his wife back. Even when confronted with the evidence, Raymond is too consumed with grief and guilt to do the right thing. Fortunately, Kate understands what is happening, to the world and to Raymond. To prevent her husband from moving house and rebuilding the machine, she erases all evidence of her scientific breakthrough, leaving behind only this note: "Raymond, I love you. How you repay me... Just love me and live your life."

This is a compelling, gut-wrenching scenario, and I was moved by how the writers worked out the Raymonds' fate. Their story certainly fits into the Fringe thematic continuum: Walter crossing universe to save Peter, Olivia crossing universes to save Peter, etc. But I don't see how the romance of Peter and Olivia is in any way comparable to the suffering of this ordinary, middle-aged couple. It's almost like Peter and Olivia haven't earned it yet. Don't get me wrong--I like Peter and Olivia just fine, as a pairing and as individuals--but so far, I can't see them as an epic romance, let alone one that literally transcends time and space.

 photo 79b3a844-6361-435a-866a-d2fe0310f314_zpsd26631ea.jpg

Writer: Robert Chiappetta and Glen Whitman
Director: Brad Anderson
Originally aired: 11 Nov 2011

Synopsis: The Fringe team investigates multiple time anomalies that are causing destruction and panic in the greater Boston area.

Most Memorable Quote:
RAYMOND GREEN: I can't go on without you. I don't want this for us. Kate, when you got sick, it happened so fast. And all the things that you were for me and all the things that you did for me... I didn't have a chance to be that for you. I thought we'd have more time.

KATE GREEN: This isn't living, Raymond. Living is what's beyond this room, beyond this house, out there in the world where you're supposed to be.

Links:
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EW Fringe Recap: Bursting Bubbles
Polite Disent

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