Mysterious bald people with abnormal abilities? Check. Characters sometimes submerged in water to focus their minds? Check. Precogs able to predict deaths before they happen? Check. Tom Cruise using a jetpack? Umm nope. This week's Fringe episode may have many things in common with Spielberg's 2002 film Minority Report but thankfully no one had to lose their eye balls to save the day.
With a minor milestone episode Fringe hits their 75th episode for the show and reverts to familiar theme from the series beginning. Much like season one's "The Ghost Network" (1.03), this episode centers around an individual (Emily) that is haunted by premonitions of deaths days or moments before they happen. Emily grabs the Fringe division's attention her sketch drawing of a victim in freak accident comes true in incredible detail. Olivia still obsessed by her run in with Observer believes there might be a connection between him and Emily's visions.
"Forced Perspective" is a kind of pause or step back episode, in terms of the total path towards the season's main focus or end. After discovering just how big of a threat David Robert Jones was last episode you would think the show might follow up with at least a scene or two discussing said villain. Instead, Jones is never even mentioned and the focus turns back to Olivia and her encounter with the Observer. The episode does have those 'breadcrumb' moments where things are hinted at or you can tell certain groundwork is laid out for future episodes, so "Forced Perspective" wasn't a complete step in the wrong direction.
I was a bit torn by certain aspects of this episode. Part of me was glad things between Peter and everyone else in the main universe resembled the previous time-line, yet it just seemed a little too quick of a transition for me. The show obviously doesn't ignore the differences in the time-line, as Peter always seemed to be pointing each subtle differences, but at times it felt like the actors just fell back into their regular Fringe groove. Also I initially had a problem with the reusing of a precog themed story for the episode but after they worked it in with Olivia and her fear of the Observer's warning it became a non-issue. After all since the show is in a different time-line they technical aren't repeating past formulas per say; but I hope it doesn't become a habit.
With so much of "Forced Perspective" focusing on Emily and her gift/curse, when that chapter of the episode comes to a close, not much else notable happens. There are a few minor scenes with Nina and Olivia where the only thing discussed is that Olivia has been having some bad headaches. This for those who don't remember is because of Nina's covert drugging of Olivia just before the show's Christmas break in "Wallflower". So far the audience is still in the dark about what Nina actually did to Olivia and the only thing that makes this interesting is the new time-line dynamic between the two. With Nina and Olivia being like mother and daughter in this new reality I am curious how that will effect Nina and Jones' evil schemes once they become known.
The biggest fault for the episode has to be it's ending. There was none. Nothing was really hinted at or teased at to lead into next week's episode. Its no secret Fringe's future hopes for a fifth season pickup is still in that lobo period, probably leaning on the nay side as of right now, so it was confusing there wasn't even a little bit of a cliff-hanger to drawn viewers back for next Friday. Rumor has it if Fringe can make it to a fifth season J.J. Abrams will return to direct at least one episode. If that's not an incentive to step your game up I don't know what is.
Andrew Burns loves film and comics, and can be found writing about when those worlds converge. You can follow him on Twitter at @myAndrewBurns.