Sunday, December 12, 2010

Fringe, Season 3, Episode 9: "Marionette"

I appreciate your patience in waiting through the weekend for me to catch up. I wanted to talk about the episode itself, then the season to date, and then the upcoming move to (GASP! FRET!) Fridays.

As for"Marionette," it might have presented my favorite monster storyline of the season so far (which is saying a lot, as I think the season has been awfully strong when it comes to the freaks of the week). That moment where the organ thief is making his prospective Frankenstein dance with the assistance of pulleys and levers? Horrifying, sure, but also deeply sad. And kind of beautiful. Fringe manages to pull off that particular convergence of moods more often than it gets credit for.

I also really dig that the development of Broyles's alt-world doppelganger (R.I.P.) has now been extended to our world's Broyles. Knowing how his mirror self sacrificed himself -- and also his family-man status -- looks like it's going to have an effect on Broyles going forward.

As for the Peter/Olivia stuff ... I know the A.V. Club really liked it, and it did give Anna Torv a lot of room to show once again that she's been damned excellent this season. But I don't know, I have to admit I don't have much patience for this hand-wringing over Peter sleeping with Fauxlivia. I understand why Olivia is bothered by it, and I understand why Peter's not in the wrong. It's emotionally complex and fraught, but I really have so little interest in seeing them go through these motions.

But overall, definite thumbs up for "Marionette."

As for Season 3 thus far: this is the first season where I've watched them episode-to-episode. I used to save them all up on the DVR and then watch in chunks. I expected watching the season unfold one hour at a time would be frustrating, but thus far I've been pretty well riveted. If you've been reading along with these recaps, you should know that the biggest triumph of the season, in my eyes, has been the establishment of Alt World as a place that's worth our care and concern. Fringe Team Red has won my heart, and I am incredibly anxious to get back to them at some point. When this whole Doomsday Device thing comes to a head, I expect that our collected affection for Alt World is going to pay off in a serious way.

Also, as I've mentioned, the care with which a character like Alt Broyles has been written has rubbed off on Our Broyles, who up until this season has been the one major character who I didn't much care about one way or the other.

My guess is that the red world is going to be set on a back burner to simmer while we deal with the Observers and our world for a while, but it's all going to come together by season's end, and damn it, I'll be ready!

Which brings me to the move to Fridays, starting January 21st. Yes, it returns with an episode called "Firefly." Yes, crazy internet people are taking this as a bad omen, since we're all the post-traumatic children of the one Joss Whedon show not to make it to a second season. Look ... by the time this show comes back on the air, we're going to be in 2011. Friday nights need not be the no-man's-land we once feared. Think about it: Dollhouse got two seasons on Friday nights, and NO ONE WATCHED THAT SHOW. I can certainly see Fringe setting up camp on Fridays for a couple more seasons with its core audience. All I want is one more season past this one, anyway. This isn't a season that needs to go seven or eight seasons. Anyway, my point is this: stop freaking out, you guys. You're embarrassing us.

Your thoughts on the episode? Season? Fridays?

More Fringe on Low Res:
Fringe 3.1 "Olivia"
Fringe 3.2 "The Box"
Fringe 3.3 "The Plateau".
Fringe 3.4 "Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep?"
Fringe 3.5, "Amber 31422"
Fringe 3.6, "6995 kHz"
Fringe 3.7, "The Abducted"
Fringe 3.8, "Entrada"


Jamie said...

I'm surprised that Astrid and Walter didn't bug Olivia about what their alternate personalities are like. I would not be able to resist asking even a post-traumatic person that.

I wonder if we're going in a nature/nurture direction with Peter and Olivias. He gets along better with Fauxlivia (perhaps because they're of the same world), but has a shared culture with Olivia. That's a complicated love triangle. Although how Olivia didn't pull her gun when Peter reminisced about how the other Olivia is better I will never understand.

I for one am psyched for the move to Fridays. Figuring out the DVR schedule for Thursdays was starting to feel like advanced algebra.

Kris McN said...

Omgomgomg! I'm SO glad you write about this show! First of all, the show runners get serious props for engaging me in a way that lets them creep me the fuck out. Turns out I have a strong visceral reaction to INVOLUNTARY EYE REMOVAL SURGERY. It causes me to crawl up the back of my couch with my hands over my mouth repeating, "Don't walk around without your eyes! DON'T WALK AROUND WITHOUT YOUR EYES!" And nice call-out to the Blair Witch scary-guy-standing-in-the-corner visual which means I won't be getting up for a glass of water in the middle of the night any time soon. Even the way Walter kept smelling the "dead" people. Hilariously creepy or creepily hilarious? You decide.

You are so right - that whole steampunk Re-animator scene was horrifying and sad and ghastly and affecting.

Oh, Olivia. Half nonsensical (that speech about how she held on to Peter and he was only a figment! Guh?) with good reason; traumatized, angry, and so hurt. Anna Torv tore it up. I don't want Olivia and Peter to be a couple, but as a seed around which her angry and hurt crystallizes, I'm good with it.

@Jamie "how Olivia didn't pull her gun..." Seriously. "I slept with her because I thought she was you. Well, a nicer, smiley-er, freer version of you anyway, which made me suspicious because you're a total grumpy-boots, but did I mention the sex? P.S. Sorry about your traumatic experience." No, I don't think Peter was wrong necessarily but Dude, shut. up.

Broyles is going to bale to alt-world and insert himself into alt-Broyles family life, I feel it in my bones.

As for the move to Fridays, meh. That's what Baby Jesus invented DVRs for. I'm not entirely sure what night and time it's on now, to be honest.

Robin said...

I've always appreciated that Fringe is a show that is willing to be sad and show how much sadness and love can be intertwined. I'm still thinking about the final scene with Peter and Olivia.

Kirk Hamilton said...

So yeah, I really dug this MOTW. Mainly because it didn't go down how I was expecting at all... there was that amazing scene with the marionette, and then she came back wrong, they caught him, and... fin.

There was no surprise final act, she didn't run off and have to be chased down, nothing like that. Just a sad, fucked-up story about a sad fucked-up guy, and it went wrong, and then it was over.

And it was used to underscore the whole "He knew, why didn't you?" thing, which yeah, I don't care for the Peter/Liv drama, but at the same time am hopeful that the writers will use it as an opportunity to keep them apart romantically, maybe for good.

I'd love it if Peter could be there for Liv eventually, she could get over her trauma and forgive him, but never be able to be with him. And then if they REALLY need to include romance on this show (not sure that they do) they could introduce a few new characters to the mix.

Or hell, they could just tell a tale of autumnal romance about the two characters with the best chemistry, Walter and Nina. I for one would watch the hell out of that.

(Also, nice to finally see Lance Reddick get something he can sink his teeth into. I never could get used to hearing him clench through crap lines like "I don't need to know about it. Forget protocol, just get it done." Finally, he can show off his rockin acting chops.)