Nothing As It Seems let me feeling a bit out of sorts. Not so much with the actual story itself, in which we get to re-experience the human being transforming into a giant porcupine on a plane situation, but in how the new timeline continues to be connection in a manner of which makes me scratch my head in a why the hell throw that reference in. We also get some weirdly lazy plotting which maked me scratch my head, not to mention the rather satirical way in which the show has tried to turn this season into a weird sort of reboot season one, including transforming Lincoln Lee into a sort of replacement for the much missed Charlie Francis.
So how did this all go down?
The episode starts off similar to the first season ep The Transformation did, except for the fact that the Marshall Bowman scientist character changes after the plane lands. We learn that it is indeed Ventus Air Flight 718, which rather implies that either our characters are in the process of re-experiencing portions of events almost exactly as they occured in season one, even though the timeline in some ways has moved beyond season three. I’m not sure if there is any real point to this, other than applying ‘tv level continuity’ which involves more twinks to the audience, and being cool, than it does actual making sense.
Certainly there is quite a bit of evidence that David Robert Jones had been a lot more active in this timeline than in the original, but it seems entirely half assed. Also, considering that Olivia now has a great deal of specific memories of events which may still occur (some of which would be rather catastrophic), you’d have thought Fringe division would be pretty eager to exploit this, as opposed to put Olivia on vacation for not having the same memories as she used to. On the other hand, even if Olivia feels she is a better person, her alternate timeline sister is still married and has two kids. Yep, apparently this universe produced a better Rachel. Go figure.
This to is played out rather lamely, and her status is rebooted pretty much by its end, as far as Broyles and the 10th floor is concerned (we are treated to a bit of ’Fringe division loves Olivia’ moment at the end. This, of course is classic TV behavior. And, hell, they’ve given Peter a gun and as far as they are concerned he didn’t even exist a few months ago.
As such, with nocturnal flying porcupine man-bats viewed as an advancement of the human species, and numerous twinks to season one events, coupled with Linc and Walter as a kind of experimnetal virus comedy team, this episode comes across as rather silly, remiding us how clunky this show has historically been (not to mention presently). But then, these sorts of homages usually are rather silly in their need to offer up fan service. But, hey, at least Peter gets a lifetimes worth of birthday presents in one day! And Walter is practically back to his old self (even if he doesn’t have his memories from the other timeline like Olivia does)
Rating: 3.5 out of 5