Sunday, May 8, 2011

I ♥ Confusion

To all the great mothers out there, Happy Mothers Day! I haven't a clue why you'd be reading a post about Fringe, a show know for gruesome images and depressing cliffhangers. I'm sure that they're some of you out there, even if the show has been sadly tanking in the ratings. The finale drew in a depressingly low 3.3 million viewers, and the long term consequences of moving to Fridays have had their effect. For my part, I have never missed an episode. I know how important it is to tune in to watch it live. Unfortunately I must predict that things will only get worse for the hit science-fiction show, not in terms of quality, but because of quality.

The show took a huge risk with Friday's episode, offering us an eerie and depressing note to end the season on. For a show that has always been about hope, the portrait of a bleak future where things are as bad as they're ever going to get struck deep. While there was an optimistic note of the two worlds working together to fix the torn universes, it was instantly overshadowed by the confounding revelation that Peter never existed. For many, the idea of time-travel has added an overly complicating shroud to the show. At this point it's impossible to see new viewers picking it up, but there's also a tension to whether or not the loyal fans will return.

This isn't at all an outrageous leap, because people are typically unhappy with being left in the dark for a long period of time. There are four months between us and Fringe's return, and my immediate thoughts, like many others, were of anticipation. I wanted answers now, and for me that serves as further reinforcement to tune in next year. For others, it's a reason to just give up and disassociate themselves from the show. I'm almost certain that's what is going to happen. There's nothing that makes me happier than to have my heart sink into my chest at the prospect of something I don't understand emotionally, and that's what the writers have done.

The end of Season 1 was a tease at the direction of the next season, offering powerful iconography of a still standing World Trade Center. Season 2 did something different, leaving our Olivia trapped in a cell in the alternate universe. That opened up some interesting story prospects for Season 3, which we knew was going to be the best yet. Season 3 doesn't give us a clear idea of where Season 4 is headed, other than the two universes trying to resolve their differences. We don't know what adventures are ahead for our team, and that's a frightening prospect. We don't know if they will eventually pull it off in the end, but this certainly got us talking. That's what I dearly was hoping for on Friday, and it came in an unexpected way.

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