A new day in the old town
Night of Desirable Objects
Of Human Action
What Lies Below
The Bishop Revival
Olivia. In The Lab. With a revolver.
The Man from the Other Side
Over there (part 1)
Over there (part 2)
The second season of Fringe improves over its first, answering the critiques around the sometimes complicated stories or disjointed storyline to deliver one of the finest seasons of sci-fi TV in a long time. A more direct overarching plot is woven cleverly through the episodes, giving the characters clear motivations and a chance to deepen the relationships between the characters.
Season 2 answers these emphatically with a much more direct plot interwoven throughout the series. This one is all about the impending war between alternative universes; ours and theirs if you will. This direct plot makes understanding this Series a lot easier and more enjoyable in the long run.
The season starts where the first left off, with the Fringe team desperately searching for Olivia after her disappearance. When she she suddenly appears out of thin air (flying out of a car windscreen to be more precise) the fringe team find her and discover things are not what they seem. Hunted by shape-shifting assassins, the Fringe team desperately try and make sense of what’s happening. As the two different Earths begin to collide with an imminent war between the two alternative universes, dubbed “ours” and “theirs”, its used to clever use to put a good spin on some cases and episodes. Continuing with the episodic format from before, the cases are as bizarre as always and to reveal any of them would be doing this series injustice so I’ll just stick with saying they don’t disappoint. It is worth noting as well that there are a few episodes focusing solely on Peter and Walter’s relationship and a shocking revelation that leaves it strained. There’s a lot more emphasis on the relationships between our protagonists this time around and it makes the Season all the more stronger for it.
Walter Bishop is once again the stand-out here though. At times it looks as though his many different roles throughout the Season might leave his character a little stretched but he navigates the complex character to perfection. Whether it be comedic insanity or a grief-stricken Father, each is acted to perfection with a real sense of belief and conviction to each one. On the subject of characters, a hinted romance between Olivia and Peter is teased, shown in a believable way that doesn’t feel rushed or thrown together like so many other shows are guilty of. This actually makes the relationships between the three a lot stronger and makes us really care about each character.
The only negative here, and it is a minor one, is the odd inclusion of a musical episode. Its a quirky episode with some good acting but it does feel oddly disjointed compared to the relatively dark tone the rest of the series follows. It is worth noting too that the finale that follows this episode is by far one of the best with a blood-chilling shock at the end.
Season 2 of Fringe is a near flawless follow up to the first series. The writing is good, the characters have some complex arcs and the relationships between the three protagonists are given the chance to really grow. This season irons out a few of the niggling issues holding the first season back and each of the episodic stories are excellent. The more direct route with the over-arching story is a welcome change and the one thing that makes this stand out more than any other. With sublime acting to complement all these positives, the only negative is the musical episode but that’s more personal preference than anything else. With Season 3 a certainty after the finale, it;ll be interesting to see if the show maintains its focus to knock it out the park again but for now, this Season is most definitely a home run.