Fox, 23 September
As the two worlds agree to collaborate, Olivia investigates the case of The Translucent Man, recruits Agent Lee to Fringe Division and begins to feel there’s someone missing in her life…
So, the ‘new’ Fringe is not all that different from the ‘old’ Fringe after all. With the two worlds connected and co-operating, we get a new orange tinged title sequence (melding the previous year’s separate white and red titles). Peter’s absence (he was written out of history in the previous season finale) doesn’t seem to have changed much about this Fringe universe. This is the same trick that Eureka pulled off very well when several characters returned to an altered timeline, although (based on what we’ve seen so far on Fringe) they took a few more risks with the well-known characters. None of the main folk in Fringe seem all that different without having had Peter in their lives, which seems like a missed opportunity.
Peter is still around (and presumably returning) flitting in and out of existence and freaking out Walter. Meanwhile, everyone who talks to Olivia feels the need to drop great big metaphorical clangers about the fact that her life is lacking… something. It’s enjoyable, but maybe a bit too on the nose, especially as every such utterance is accompanied with a great big close-up of Olivia. Speaking of which, doesn’t the other side’s Olivia seem like a lot more fun than ‘our’ version (based on the two glimpses in this episode)?
The ‘case-of-the-week’ is fine and may have resonance later in the series. It allows for the reintroduction of Seth Gabel as Agent Lee as a regular this time, but wastes Stargate Atlantis’ Joe Flanigan in a throwaway guest role.
Verdict: A good start, allowing subtle changes to the show rather than a radical overhaul.
Episode 1 ‘Neither Here Nor There’: 8/10
Brian J. Robb