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Fraying Fringe

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There are a select group of individuals would refer to me as "nitpicky" or a "nitpicker." I wholly disagree with those people. I prefer to think of my looking at minutiae as the same sort of keen observation that made Sherlock Holmes so successful as a consulting detective. Of course, I may be somewhat biased in that opinion.

Last night, Fringe, opened the episode in New York City, the New York City from an alternate universe (this is Fringe, after all). In giving the location with those massive 3D letters the show is known for, they identified the location as "Manhatan." I will grant you that someone suggested – without telling me why – to pay close attention to the opening, but noticing that odd spelling completely disturbed my watching the rest of the episode.

At first I thought it was simply a mistake, an error that no one saw or fixed. However, as the show progressed and it became clear that we were in an alternate universe, I began to wonder, and it was that wondering that hindered my enjoyment. The question I couldn't answer – that I still can't answer – is whether or not the spelling was intended. After all, in an alternate universe, a New York City with an island of Manhattan may have chosen to spell it differently. And, even if that wasn't the original intent of the producers, even if the spelling was initially a typo, who is to say that at this point the show won't continue with it and pretend as though it were their intent the entire time? If Richard Nixon can be on the silver dollar in the alternate universe, Manhattan can certainly be spelled differently.

I actually think that last night's episode was a pretty good one. Much as with The X-Files, I enjoy the episodes of this series that deal with the overall mythology (and I won't be spoiling the excellent ending we got yesterday). They have managed to create a compelling storyline, one that is wholly different from that of Mulder and Scully's and yet feels as though it pays homage to the earlier show. It is, as pointed out above though, not a series without odd moments.

Another odd moment from tonight is when Walter mentioned the appearance of a car from the other universe several years earlier. The car's appearance and location on Harvard's campus was attributed to a prank by MIT students, we were told. Walter, however, knew differently. He stated that he knew the car was from the other world because it had a CD player, an option which was not available in our world at the time. Now, what sense does that make? How could Walter be the only person who recognized that there was a CD player in the vehicle and that it absolutely should not have been there? The event occurred in (or the car was from) 1986, the CD player having been invented a few years prior. Perhaps it was an after-market add-on to the vehicle, done by a home tinkerer with money and time. There are a myriad of ways the CD player could have been there, and if I'm wrong, if all those ways are completely impossible, if the CD player could never, ever have been in that car, a car which was noticed by a whole lot of people, the presence of the player should have been noticed by others besides Walter.

I am sucking the fun out of the whole thing though, aren't I? It was an enjoyable episode with one or two oddities and due to those oddities I'm destroying all that made the show fun.

Would it make it worse or better if I suggested that Walter's 5-20-10 lock combination is almost certainly a date, the date of a big event on the show, and the date of this year's finale?

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About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.
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