Saturday, April 21, 2012

Did Fringe just "Jump the Shark?"

So I'm watching last night's Fringe episode "Letters of Transit." And at the end, I almost threw my popcorn at the TV. Did Fringe just "jump the shark?" Now "jump the shark" means a moment in a TV series which marks the decline of quality in the series and the show never recovers. The answer to this question is "no", but it could be the end for the series as viewers may give up if they don't resolve this episode.

"Letters of Transit" is a wild episode. As Fringe goes, it's so crazy that the show starts with a narrative crawl like Star Wars as exposition. In 2015, the Observers come back from the future. They decide to take over the planet and rule it in a totalitarian way. Walter Bishop (John Noble) and Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) "freeze" themselves in amber so they can be revived in the future to help mankind defeat the Observers. It has something to do with building a machine. What? Another MacGuffin?

So what's the problem? First, let me say this episode was smart. And it was emotional. But it ends abruptly without any conclusion. There's no "To be continued..." for next week. In fact, next week's episode seems to have nothing to do with this one. I've read a couple of reviews to make sure that I've got this show right regarding the ending. Here's Laurel Brown's review with spoilers. So, Fringe leaves this strong show without an ending. Part of bigger plot arc? Maybe. But very risky. Fringe is already in ratings trouble and something like this could send it to cancellation. Of course, if this episode never resolves itself, expect angry fans. At least this fan will finally have something to complain about in this excellent series.

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