A student of the other and the unexplainable, the scientific and the far-fetched, I jumped at the opportunity to watch Fringe when two words were uttered to me, parallel universe. For some reason a topic buried deep in my subconscious and very close to my heart, it is always sure to pique my interests and I cherish nothing more than the chance to pour over film and television’s ability to make the barely fathomable a reality, sitting considering the endless possibilities of ‘what if’, and so far Fringe has not let me down. Following a team investigating, you guessed it, fringe occurrences, we’re exposed to the day to day life on the outer limits, perhaps comparable to the X Files in that great leaps of believability are a given, but without the nauseating suspense that would see me hiding behind my hands, willing myself to go on. Conceived and made reality by J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, the men responsible for bringing us Lost, the most recent Star Trek adaptation to big screen, Cowboys And Aliens and Super 8. These names are nowadays synonymous with interesting and engaging science-fiction, and their recent resumé reads like a checklist of must-watch media, their involvement and reputations already a seal of quality or at least a benchmark in what to expect.
Each week presented by a new mystery to make sense of, the fringe division of the F.B.I consisting of Walter Bishop, a brilliant and eccentric (and previously mentally unstable) scientist, his son, Peter Bishop, Agent Olivia Dunham, Special Agent Phillip Broyles and Junior Agent Astrid Farnsworth, work towards discovering the larger story arc, The Pattern. This consists of ever-increasing, science-related anomalies occurring more and more frequently, pointing towards something bigger and even more incomprehensible a foot, and it is in the team’s pursuit of The Pattern, we discover how deeply rooted the suggested mysteries run and how truly entwined the core cast members really are.
Before he was committed, Walter Bishop along with his lab partner William Bell (now one of the richest most powerful men in the world) carried out numerous experiments in their Harvard laboratory, which amongst other things, included discovering a technologically advanced parallel universe that on the surface is almost identical, but possesses a different reality and history to our own. In this reality, we each have a dopplegänger, and in making this literal break through, we have weakened the divide between the two and made the structure of this reality less stable. In our reality (Blue Universe), Peter dies of a genetic disease as a child and so to prevent the same thing happening to the other Peter (Red Universe), Walter kidnaps him to cure him, bringing him up in our world as his own. Furthermore, it materialises that as a child, Olivia was a part of tests conducted by Walter, as she has the ability to travel from one universe to the other.
Now in season three, we find our Olivia (Blue Universe) being drugged and probed by a team of scientists under the command of their Walter, “Walternate”/Secretary Bishop, in order to make her believe she is their Olivia (Bolivia) to be reintroduced into there Fringe team, so she can aid them in coming to our universe. Whilst Bolivia is here, undercover, acting as a double agent, building a close bond with Peter and guiding him on a path to collect and assemble the pieces to a doomsday device to see her side’s ends met, the destruction of our world, which for as confusing as it sounds, it is not, I assure you. What is so spectacular about the idea of the parallel universe is essentially that there are two television shows in one, seeing one cast acting out two separate story lines, the different realities of each universe allowing for fringe investigation of varying feasibility. The Red Universe being a science-fiction reality possessing accelerated healing techniques and medicines that far surpass ours, with airships commonly seen across the skyline and a Fringe team very much in the public eye where ideas totally alien to ours seem commonplace.
With engaging and engrossing storylines capturing the uneasy tension that terrifies as it thrills, as well as oozing with the far-fetched and the so weird it could be true, Fringe provides a fresh take on the science-fiction genre, providing both lighthearted moments of goofy slapstick comic relief, alongside the world as you know it is moments away from destruction. Perhaps at times revealing itself a little too predictably, but isn’t predicting what’s going to happen next apart of the fun, leaving you wanting more as each episodes draws to an end and ever eager to discover what wild plot twist will next turn your world upside down or split it in two.
Season Three is available on DVD and Blu-Ray September
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