Seriously, if someone who had never watched Fringe tuned in for the first time last week, well, that would be bad. Oh, it was a fun and fine episode (and more proof that Paula Malcomson should continue getting work), but newbies would have laughed their asses off while simultaneously being very confused. Let’s just say that having Anna Torv do a sustained impression of Leonard Nimoy is more than just risky — it’s ludicrous. And yet, it was kind of interesting to see in a surreal way. Oh, and new character alert? Hmmm. Anyway, as noted in prior Power Rankings!, Fringe is always entertaining. It’s never a wasted hour. And that’s a welcome gift on Fridays.
TVLine.com Ask Ausiello brings some interesting and SPOILERY info, including the season finale episode titles. Stay away if you don’t wanna know yet 😛
Question: Two weeks in a row with Fringe scoop. Keep the streak alive! —Jeff
Ausiello: OK, we’re now three-for-three, because I happen to have found out the titles of this season’s last two episodes, and at least one of them sounds VERY ominous. (And you know when I do “very” in all caps like that, I mean business.) Let’s start with the penultimate episode (3.21), which is called “The Last Sam Weiss.” I previously reported that Kevin Corrigan would be back as Olivia’s bowling alley counselor/confidant, but what’s intrigued me now is that “last” bit. Before you hit the comments with your theories, grab a seat, take a hit of oxygen, and behold the title of the season finale: “The Day We Died.” Go ahead. Take a moment to process that. [Beat] Moment’s up. It sure sounds to me like we’ll be down one universe if when Fringe returns in the fall, right?
Fringe has been giving Anna Torv an acting working out lately. After tasking the Emmy-deserving actress with channeling the spirit of Leonard Nimoy’s William Bell via FBI agent Olivia Dunham over the past couple episodes (a very credible Old Spock croak, I think), the ratings-challenged Fox series will be making her go Pregnant Fauxlivia on us again in Friday’s new episode, set within the “over there” parallel world. EW has scored the first look at a new movie-style trailer for “Bloodline” created by the network’s hard-workin’ promo department. The first half of the spot recaps the Peter/Olivia/Fauxlivia love triangle from Fauxlivia’s perspective. The second half of the spot is full of intriguing, ominous images from the episode. Looks to me like Walternate’s machinations for both Peter and his gestating grandson are about to make Fauxlivia’s life more complex – and scary — than it already is. Parse the rush of cryptic bits (like that shot of Walternate with a time stamp on it) and theorize the significance. Go!
Go to EW.com to watch the video.
Science-fiction shows have always faced an uphill battle at the Emmys. Monsters, spaceships and vampires who drink blood just don’t seem to excite Emmy voters in the same way as mobsters, courtrooms and ad men who down scotch. Sci-fi series rarely even get nominated, and when they do, they never win. None of this bodes well for TV’s hottest show in this genre — “Fringe” — but there is hope.
Over the first sixty-two years of the Emmy awards, one major exception to the sci-fi boycott was “Lost.” Nominated four times over six years, ABC’s sci-fi masterpiece about destiny, time travel, smoke monsters and moving islands took home the award for Best Drama Series in its inaugural season (2005). Series co-creator J.J. Abrams also prevailed that year for directing the pilot. And two of the show’s veteran performers would go on to win their Supporting Drama Actor bids: Terry O’Quinn in 2007 and Michael Emerson in 2009.
Welcome to the Alt-verse, Season 1
Up to this point, Fringe had been doling out tidbits about an alternative universe that seemed to be conspiring against ours. But it wasn’t until the end of the hour, as the camera pulled back from the building Olivia occupied to reveal that the Twin Towers were still standing, that we realized she had ”crossed over.” How the hell did she do that?! —Ken Tucker
Sorry I couldn’t post recaps earlier.
How much you enjoyed this week’s Fringe depended on how much you’re enjoying watching Anna Torv do her Leonard Nimoy impersonation. Me, I think her act is aces, very wry and amusing. But you may feel as Peter did when the William Bell inside Olivia said he might be using her body as a host for weeks. “Weeks!” yelped Peter. “Not a chance!”
Josh Jackson did a fine job of conveying — through averted glances and various facial expressions of distaste — how creepy it is that his true love’s body has been taken over by the consciousness of a wizened male genius.
The Fringe Division case involved a woman (Paula Malcolmson, from Deadwood, Caprica, and Sons of Anarchy) who seemingly could not die, even as she desperately wanted to do so. All around her, deaths were occurring while she remained unscathed. The investigation brought in the Lincoln Lee of our universe: Seth Gabel as a horn-rimmed FBI nerd.
It was a night for novel pairings: Peter and Lincoln working together on the case, enjoying each other’s theories; Walter thoroughly enjoying the time he was spending with the Bellivia mash-up, as they shared a joint and competed to solve word puzzles.
It’s become increasingly clear that one of the things that will distinguish Fringe in the annals of first-rate sci-fi TV is that, unlike every such show, from The Twilight Zone to The X-Files, every single one of its “cases” will prove to have been related: They all end up being examples of the our-universe-is-unraveling theme. Thus once again this week, when Malcolmson’s Dana Gray told Peter, “I’m stuck here,” and Peter told her, hey, believe me, I know what you mean — it wasn’t a metaphor for Peter’s dual citizenship in the universes; she was a variation on the magnetism theory currently running through the show. In this case, her magnetized molecules (hit by lightning twice and survived) were super-bonded, sealing in her life force.
And it would be a mistake to separate out the talk of the life-force that held the woman’s body together from the philosophical jaw-boning Peter and Bellivia engaged in about fate, destiny, and synchronicity. “She needed to be here to save those people,” it was said of Dana. Just so, perhaps, Peter needs to be where he is to save the universe(s?), his dilemma called to our attention when Bellivia spotted the doomsday machine drawing in Walter’s lab. And both Dana Gray and Bellivia are, in Lincoln Lee’s phrase, “soul vampires,” albeit in different ways.
At the end, church bells rang and for a second, Olivia reentered — er, herself. But only for a second; the mini-cliffhanger was when Bell quickly re-gained control of Dunham’s body and said this finding-a-new-host thing was going to take longer than he’d thought.
• Broyles’ authoritative bark was used for rare comic effect when he said to the Bell inhabiting Dunham: “I want you out of my agent!”
• It was Gene the cow’s biggest episode ever, as Bellivia contemplated transferring himself into a bovine host… in the horny hope that Astrid would milk him. Icky ha-ha.
The Daylight Saving Time demons, in tandem with the NCAA, conspired this Friday to knock Fox’s Fringe down a peg. As a result, the stellar sci-fi drama dipped to a 1.3 demo rating — its lowest to date in the Friday slot.
Yet… I will point out in a glass-half-full way, Fringe inched up a barely perceptible (and thus, wiser men than I will argue, statistically insignificant) amount in total viewers, to 3.8 million.
But really, aside from Anna Torv and her Emmy-caliber work, there were no winners this Friday, as folks either retired to the backyard to play Jarts or immersed themselves in March Madness. Yet you’re here and I’m here, so:
* CBS’ aforementioned college hoops coverage averaged 4.52 million total viewers across its three-hour prime-time run, scoring a 1.5 demo rating.
* The series finale of ABC’s Supernanny drew 4.45 million viewers. Now stop teasing your sister, Jeremy! And put down those matches!! (From here on it takes a village, people.)
* NBC’s Dateline was Friday’s (faint praise alert!) most watched program, averaging 7 million viewers. Fox’s Kitchen Nightmares meanwhile netted the night’s “best” demos, delivering a 1.6.
Another amazing episode and Anna showing how versatile she is! And again, she was trending on Twitter, along with Astrid, Lincoln Lee and Leonard Nimoy!
Screencaps from the episode:
Viewers of Fox’s Fringe (Fridays at 9/8c) were left to utterly geek out at the close of last week’s episode, when William Bell’s “soul magnets” theory proved legit, and the late great scientist inhabited Olivia’s body.
Make no mistake, Anna Torv herself was agog when she first learned of the twist – one that forced into her repertoire a third Fringe characterization. “This is not one I had been asking for!” the actress admits with a laugh. “I was in shock for the first day, and then I think I hyperventilated, and then I called John Noble to say, ‘Can you please help me?’”
Torv’s reasons for turning to Walter’s portrayer were twofold. “When you are about to do something you’re kind of freaked out about, you want to be able to look up and know there’s a safe place to go to – and it’s there in John’s eyes,” she explains. And because Noble was in most of Leonard Nimoy’s scenes as “Belly,” Torv says, “I wanted to know what that relationship was like.”
Because she is Australian and already affecting an American accent for her portrayal of Olivia/”Bolivia,” Torv studied tapes of Nimoy’s Fringe work as well as consulted with the show’s dialect coach. Ultimately, though, she had to just jump in with both feet. “I’m no good at doing voices, mimicking people, so once I realized, ‘S—t, I can’t do this,’ you just take a deep breath and go for it.”
Bell’s most unexpected and equally unorthodox “return” promises to have a significant impact on the “machine” storyline that has Peter fretting over his fate as well as that of this universe. As Torv notes, the late genius “has a lot of information that we don’t have, so he’s an awesome resource for the team. And for Walter to have someone to work with is another [advantage].” Or could it be a liability…?
And as one might imagine, Olivia’s “possession” puts a pin in her nascent romance with Peter. “Well, yeah,” Torv confirms with a laugh. “I don’t think Peter is going to want to go to bed with William Bell!”
In other words, it’s business as usual for that oft-interrupted relationship. “Every time they sort of get it together,” Torv says, “something gets in the way.”
As if Torv taking on Spock wasn’t enough for this week’s Fringe, viewers will also finally meet this universe’s iteration of Lincoln Lee (played by Seth Gabel), who “over there” is one of Bolivia’s partners in crimefighting.
“See, that’s what I’m so excited about. You just don’t get to do that on other shows,” Torv says of Gabel’s own turn at double duty. “Seth on this side I think is just awesome. The Lincoln Lee of our world is a very cool character.”
Cool characters are obviously something the Fringe writers are never in short supply of – even if several of them seem to be played by a certain Aussie beauty. But Torv is thrilled, as an actress, to have such a wild sandbox to play in.
“It’s been a really fun season, particularly with the Bell stuff,” she says. “To work from the outside in, when I’m usually much more focused on what I’m thinking, has been great. I’ve never had the chance to play like I have this year before. I’m so grateful to the guys to keep giving me stuff to do!”
And if they have something even wilder waiting in the wings for (cross your fingers) Season 4? “I’ve made a decision,” Torv tells us. “I’m just going to go with it!”