sprocket: The trusted assistant at work (Astrid Fringe)
[personal profile] sprocket posting in [community profile] fringe_rewatch
I suggested to [personal profile] wendelah1 that the rewatch would benefit from splitting "Liberty" and "An Enemy of Fate". The two episodes aired back to back, but have different writing and directing credits.

There's a software development aphorism about the first 90% of the code taking 90% of the development time, and the last 10% taking the other 90%. What I take away from this, as I watch "Liberty", is that sticking the landing is hard. The final episodes of a serial TV show have to be integrated into what has come before, closing the gaps between where viewers are when the writing room begins to break the final scripts and where the viewers ideally should be when the closing credits roll. "Liberty" is the last chance to resolve anything that is not "finale" material, and to set up the board for the final moves of the series.

At this point, the Plan has been revealed and its assembly is underway. But before it can be executed, the Fringe team has to rescue Michael from his detour into the Observers' hands. Meanwhile, Broyles' safety is brought into question and Windmark makes a trip to his superior in 2609 that says more about Windmark than about the information he communicates.

Viewers have already heard about Michael's uniqueness from September. Windmark gives that uniqueness and Michael's role in the plan a new spin, highlighting once again the dichotomy between the "emotionless" Observers and their apparently emotionally motivated actions. When Windmark identifies that Michael may be part of the Fringe team's plan to destroy the Observers, he is right... but he does not embrace the other possibilities Michael represents.

Commander: It would be to our evolutionary advantage to continue to study [the anomaly] further.

Windmark: A more prudent path is to destroy it. There is no greater danger than that which is unknown.


Is that intelligence or fear speaking?

Meanwhile, Walter Bishop, the poster child for recklessly turning the unknown into the known, is not the person to suggest a trip to the altverse. Olivia is. Kudos for the person taking the biggest risks being the person to suggest the risky plan. I have some ambivalence about the writing set-up, but I 100% approve of a check-in with the altverse. Despite some unusually ragged shots and cuts throughout the episode - someone was having an off day when they set up the blocking, or edited after shooting? - it was great to see the other side one more time.

I'd like to say that "Liberty" closes out Olivia's arc, but honestly, I'm not sure there's much to resolve at this point. Olivia came to Fringe a whole (if somewhat self-contained) person, found her assumptions about her colleagues and her own history shattered over the course of Fringe's run, and put herself back together while figuring out these "family" and "love" things that keep cropping up on this show. Although Olivia's done many things, she's been pretty much the same person since the pilot: a confident, assertive woman who is willing to go where the truth takes her. It's Peter and Walter whose histories are fraught, and who struggled to grow as people. When the two Olivias meet in this episode, there is recognition, and parallels, but they're not in conflict. Each Olivia knows who she is, where she stands in her world, and what her goals are in that world.

(Unless someone brings it up in comments, I'm deliberately leaving discussion of Broyles' part of the plot for "An Enemy of Fate", where Broyles gets more screen time.)



Writer: Alison Schapker
Director: PJ Pesce
Originally Aired: January 18, 2013

Synopsis: The Fringe team hatches a risky plan to recapture Michael from the Observers.

Most Memorable Quote:
blueverse!Olivia: You have a beautiful family.

redverse!Olivia: Thank you. Go save yours. Get your daughter back.

Links:
Transcript
A. V. Club
Den of Geek
HitFix
Pop Culture Nexus

Fanfiction: [personal profile] raspberryhunter wrote "Somewhere Over", a post-ep tag in the altverse. Full disclosure, I beta read this story.

If you're interested in fanvids, Slippery Slope is the Olivia Dunham vid that will fill the missing hole in your life.

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