wendelah1: (Etta Bishop)
[personal profile] wendelah1 posting in [community profile] fringe_rewatch
It's no secret that I didn't care for Fringe season five. Before this, I'd watched it once--while it was airing. Until now, I hadn't purchased season five and I'm a completeist. But a rewatch is a rewatch. I'm going to do my best to stay objective and not let this devolve into a hate-watch. For all I know, there are fans out there who thought this was the best season yet.
 photo ad428c3f-7aa9-49fe-b015-3bf58082b776_zps918ghxhy.jpg
After Fringe was renewed, TV Guide interviewed the executive producers, Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman, asking them what the fans should expect from this abbreviated final season.
"They are coming!" Can we assume that the "they" is the Observers, and you're lining up with what we saw in 2036?
J.H. Wyman: Yes.
Are you going to stay in the current timeline, or will we see some flashing forward and backward next season?
Wyman: Well, let's say that basically 2036 is extremely important to Season 5. It's crucial, but having said that, everything that you have seen in Fringe from Season 1 all the way to 4 is really, really, really, really important to what's going on in Season 5, and 2036 is part of that. It's a 13-episode sprint; there's no filler episodes. It answers some very bold questions. It culminates with a very satisfying type of crescendo that really is so important for the fans, that's the biggest thing. That's the only thing that's really important is to make sure that they feel absolutely satiated.

Emphasis is mine. That word, "satiated," bothers me. And what a strange criteria to choose when planning your final season. Here's one more quote.
Now that you know this will be your final season, what are you guys doing differently in your approach?
Wyman: The main concern is in no way shape or form are our fans going to be let down. That makes us feel really good that they're going to be able to see a conclusion that is emotional, that is epic, that is going to make sense, that they can emote with and go through our characters and watch them on their final journey and put this show away in a manner that is worthy to all the hours they've invested in our characters. The only thing it does is make the pencil be a little bit more sharp, that's all.

"Make the pencil be a little bit more sharp." So, they plan to make the writing crisper? More thoughtful? Better planned perhaps, since this is it. There will be no more. Well, let's see how they did, shall we?

Writer: J.H. Wyman
Director: Jeannot Szwarc, Miguel Sapochnik
Originally aired: September 28, 2012

Synopsis: Just as Olivia is liberated from her Amber prison, they are betrayed and Walter is taken prisoner by the Observers. They manage to free him but not before he is harshly treated and had his mind probed by Captain Windmark. When Walter puts on the Transilience Thought Unifier, the tech that Olivia had ambered herself to protect, they discover that his recent memories have been wiped, along with the plan for defeating the Observers. Etta suspects that her grandfather's memories were destroyed during his ordeal, and that they will never be retrieved.

Most Memorable Quote:
CAPTAIN WINDMARK: But there is no hope... for you. Nothing grows from scorched Earth. You seem much more interesting as a human being - than as a vegetable. But, quite frankly, all things being equal, I don't mind which one you end up. The choice is yours.

Links:
Transcript
A.V. Club
IGN review
HitFix.
Photo Recap at Pop Culture Nexus
Future Shock Blues - EW. That EW title is my review in three words.

Fanfiction:
Strangely, I'm working on something. But it's not done.

Please leave your suggestions in the comments.

Date: 2015-04-19 03:09 am (UTC)
sprocket: Red and yellow leaf image (Default)
From: [personal profile] sprocket
Last season, here we go!

The hitfix reviews sum up a lot of my critical reaction. Sometimes I think Fringe isn't so much a single continuous show as much as it's about six different shows that just happen to use the same actors cast and recast in similar roles across slightly different genre remixes. 5x01 opens with what may be the last reboot, the shift to 2036 and the final abandonment of procedural tropes. Goodbye case of the week, adios Walter at the autopsy table, au revoir to arresting (or not arresting) the perpetrator of this week's crime.

The fifth season embraces a different set of tropes, this time reaching for war and La RĂ©sistance. It's not a choice I'm entirely comfortable with. On the one hand, rebelling against the monochrome white guys in suits who are destroying the world for their own first-world comfort is a little subversive. On the other hand, I'm surprised Fringe would unquestioningly dip into the well of insurgency tactics and asymmetric warfare in a post-9/11 world, especially after Charlie's speech in the pilot and some really complex work humanizing both sides of the S3 conflict. To go from seasons of shades of gray into a "them/us" mindset is... quite the shift. There's a difference between streamlining for time and collapsing into an entirely different story. This is my first full rewatch of the fifth season, too, so I'll be watching to see if the Observers get developed along the lines of the other side.




Trivial observations:

I will forever be torn between "Etta was four three and change when the Observers showed up, surely someone had some impact on her between four and twenty-four" and "holy crap, Peter and Olivia made a person! A really cool person!"

The first season did such a good job laying breadcrumbs for the Peter reveal, I was convinced the three/four years discrepancy was going to be an important plot clue. Not so much.

Why Markham? Why make Markham even smarmier? Why.

After the great drama of the War Between the Worlds, the (at least temporarily) successful invaders are... the Observers. ZFT was pointed in the wrong direction.

Amber was invented to lock down problems with the fabric of the universe. What good does it do in a fight against the Observers? As Etta and Simon demonstrated, it's not that hard to get someone (or something) out of amber, if you have access to certain equipment and knowledge. One line - one handwavy phrase - about amber having a negative impact on Observers would have been nice. Or one shot of an Obvserver or two frozen (or moving very slowly!) in amber. Something to cover that plot hole.

What happened to Rachel and Ella in this future? We get a Markham check-in, and no Rachel? For a season concerned with not letting the fans down, that's... not the choices I would have made.

Welcome to the future, which is desaturated. Wonder if that was a production or design decision?

Fic rec: "Thanks For That", rainier76, Etta/Astrid. 1203 words. There is no beer, precious little alcohol - but where there's Walter Bishop there's narcotics. A lighter take on Season Serious Business.

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