Fringe: Season 4
DVD | Box Set
Fringe: The Complete Fourth Season
Wrapping up another mind-bending season, the acclaimed Fringe continues to explore otherworldly cases with endless impossibilities. Set in two parallel universes, the FBI’s Fringe Division focuses around Special Agent Olivia Dunham, eccentric "fringe" scientist Walter Bishop and his jack-of-all-trades son, Peter – supervised by Special Agent Phillip Broyles and assisted by Agent Astrid Farnsworth. Simultaneously, the universe "over there" is populated by alternate doppelgangers including a scheming "Walternate," seductive "Fauxlivia" and a parallel Fringe team armed with advanced high-technology. In both universes, the teams investigate unusual incidents that defy human logic and unimaginable events that threaten our very existence on a universal scale.]]>
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Season 4 has a number of twists to it, most especially the attempt by Peter to return to physical world, one which seems to have forgotten who he is, or more accurately, never knew him. Or... did they? His saving of both worlds and his strange disappearance at the end of Season 3 was a twist which seemed predictable to a degree. However, having to reboot with him lost and not in anyone's mind is a very strange way of handling the series. The Observer, September, was supposed to completely erase Peter from history now that he saved both dimensions. He balked and Walter saw Peter's face in the TV, as he saw him in the lab. So, where is Peter?
As with everything in this series, the science within the series is accurate and real to our non-fictionalized world to a very distinct point. Then, JJ Abrams takes off into the unknown and shows us a world or two on the fringe of our world. The "monster of the week" is quite entertaining and Abrams has twisted these stories within the lives of the characters so each episode needs to be viewed in series in order to understand the entire "mytharc".
Enjoy season 4 and a short season 5 which concludes the story.
Seriously, watch this if you can. We don't get these kinds of shows as much as we should anymore.
This would usually be the segment of the review where I would outline the plot of this season, but it is so sophisticated, so involved, that even the most general outline will ruin the surprise. What I can say is that season 4 doesn't skimp on genre defining episodes. "One night in October" and "Welcome to Westfield" are just a couple of my personal stand outs.
The Blu-Ray version boasts the series usual spectacular visuals and dynamic sounds. The entire cast, once again, go above and beyond with their performances, but John Noble continues to give Emmy award caliber performances. I know this review doesn't offer much in the way of "content", but knowing how much I enjoyed the twists and turns offered by this amazing season, I simply couldn't live with myself if I deprived potential viewers the same experience,just to pad my review. I will close by saying Fringe Season 4 continues the impossibly high standard of quality the show has set, and it is must see TV. A modern classic and a must buy.
When Season 4 first aired, fan feelings were decidedly mixed, particularly at the beginning when we introduced to the same characters (except Peter) but all living different lives because, in this new timeline, Peter died as a child in BOTH universes, not just ours. This is soon revealed to be the handiwork of the Observers, those mysterious bald-headed guys in the black bowler hats (and always carrying a satchel -- what's up with that?) who apparently decided on their own that, to reset history to its "proper version"...well you get the idea.
WARNING: *** SPOILERS AHEAD! ***
And we didn't like it, because our beloved friends from Seasons 1 - 3 were so -- different! Walter is a sad recluse, hanging onto his sanity by a thread (and sometimes losing his grip altogether); Olivia is back to the guarded, closed-up person she was through much of Season 1; Nina Sharp is now Olivia's "foster Mom"; and our universe's Lincoln Lee (ably played by Seth Gabel) becomes Olivia's new partner and potential love interest! And William Bell (Leonard Nimoy) is officially dead. What's not to hate?
Turns out our patience was rewarded beyond our wildest dreams. By the end of Season 4 we had been treated to a variety of excellent stories, and gotten to know our friends all over again, AND saved both universes one more time, although Walter had to kill Olivia to do it. (Sorry, you'll have to purchase the season to get the answers to that one.) We were also treated to the return of David Robert Jones (from Season 1) as the main villain, and he delivered far beyond anyone's expectations. And yes, those rumors of William Bell's untimely death? Sorry, you'll have to find that one out for yourselves as well.
Whichever medium you choose to purchase (DVD/Blu-Ray/Online) you'll still want to see every episode, because even the "weaker" ones were critical to the characters becoming a family again -- and let's be honest: the real secret of Fringe's ongoing success has been the family unit centered around Olivia, Peter and Walter, plus Astrid (and all the names Walter still calls her) and Agent Broyles. But in this season, as opposed to how things went in Season 3, the alt-universe characters play key roles as well, even "Walternate" (the Walter Bishop from the other universe) and "Fauxlivia" (also played by Anna Torv) who gets to show us she's not all that different from our Olivia after all. In fact, the best episodes are the ones where both Fringe teams are involved -- still leery of each other at first, but fighting together against the threats posed by Jones. And we can't fail to mention how much Lincoln Lee's expanded roles (in both universes) was a key element to this season's success.
(It's hard to pick favorites from this season, but the two episodes (#17 and #18) that I keep watching over and over again feature BOTH Lincoln Lee's in pivotal roles, as the full extent of David Robert Jones' plan is finally revealed and Walter visits the other universe for the first time (in this new timeline) since his initial incursion back in 1985, when his crossing over and back set all these events in motion. Also, episode #17's opening scene includes one of the most memorable "bad employee getting fired by his angry boss" scenes you'll ever see on television, and in #18 we get to see how Alt-Broyles makes another sacrifice, equally tragic but unexpected, to save his world.)
And yes, this season's Episode #19 ("Letters of Transit") was in fact the "pilot" for the fifth and final season of the series, but that's another review for another time(line).
SO WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR??? (You won't be sorry. "Trust me; I'm a scientist.")