ships: John/Aeryn, Kara/Sam, Leslie/Ben, April/Andy, Jeff/Britta, Hanna/Caleb, Holmes/Watson, Brian/Justin
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“For four seasons, the Bishop Boys provided plenty of emotional highs, and certainly drove a lot of the narrative. But Olivia’s role in “Fringe” as a whole was central. She was the one experimented on as a child. She was the one bred for war without her knowledge. She was someone designed as a pawn but has vast reserves of inner strength that provided her agency. She was vitally important by every conceivable metric. But her cortexiphan-laced biology was NOT the thing that made her special. Her resolve, her compassion, and her moral purpose helped keep everyone in check. Once her cortexiphan reserves were drained in the Season 4 finale, the show pushed her further and further into the recesses of the show, often keeping her offscreen for long periods of time while Walter and Peter figured out how to proceed. The Olivia we once knew was gone, replaced onscreen by a shell of that entity.
There’s no reason each character need stay the same over the course of a show. Things ebb and flow as story dictates. But Season 5 of “Fringe” isn’t the same as, say, Season 4 of “The Wire”. McNulty’s relative absence that season made sense. Olivia never went away this season to that extent, but she certainly disappeared in terms of overall importance to the story. Only when re-injected with the drug was she re-injected into active engagement with the storyline, allowing her to make four jumps to and from the red universe and then smash Windmark with a car after draining the power out of New York City. Cool? Sure. But Olivia Dunham was great without the active use of cortexiphan for years. Bringing it back now only served to show how underutilized Anna Torv has been this season.”
-Ryan McGee, HitFix
As much as I’m in love with events in “Liberty” and the moment we’d all be waiting for in the finale re: cortexiphan powers, it bums me out that, at the end of the day, it feels like a consolation prize.