Jan 282012

This week’s episode of Fringe, Forced Perspective, puts the season arc slightly back on the backburner as the team deals with a girl who sees horrible futures and draws it. Not only is this, of course a blatant and uncreative ripoff of a certain ability from Heroes, it also follows the classic plot trap that many scifi character with precognitive abilities fall into. Certainly a weaker super-powered kid with a problem story. As expected it highlights Olivia’s feelings about herself, and that is really the only thing that pulls the episode above its formula. Even John Noble can’t really make this stuff more than momentarily thought provoking.

*spoilers warning*

There’s a well used trope in SF, where in a short story, or one of TV episode, a character who can foresee the future forsees his or her death, and as fate will out, is dead by the end of the episode. This ep follows this plotline to a tee. Emily, the girl who sees people being killed in gruesome ways (and therefore has her family hiding out from Massive Dynamic and the evil Nina) is busily putting the finishing touches on the scene of her death throughout the episode.

Of course, this gets Olivia emotionally involved, as she was abused in a lab somewhat as a child and is freaked out by her recent fate based chat with Observer September. It turns out that the observers have been seen all over the place in this timeline as well, but given that Peter hadn’t been saved by one, Fringe Division had paid them little interest.

We also get some movement as expected regarding the infernal machine and Walter’s beginning help to get Peter back home, as well as some subtle maneuvering by evil Nina. But, despite a fairly awesome 3d still of a massive explosion, this episode is rather generic and formulaic. No surprises here at all.

Lastly, is there some kind of rule in Hollywood that crazy things happen to kids when they are 11 years old. We have co-kidnappings of 11 year olds in Alcatraz this week. Jacob, the ‘magical child’ in Touch is 11 and the precognitive girl here started seeing gruesome future deaths when she was 11. Weird coincidence eh? But of course, all these timey-wimey fatey-waitey sort of shows would insist, there are no coincidences.

Rating: 3 out of 5