Uncomfortable moments: those are the two words I would use to describe the current season of Fringe.
We are at about a quarter of the way through the fourth season of the show, and yet I still find it equally fascinating and uncomfortable to watch. It is as if I had found the most beautiful, comfortable pair of pants except that were stitched just a little, tiny bit off centre. The most surprising moment of this week's episode, when Astrid asked who the Observers are, felt like a readjustment of said pants…in the wrong direction. And this, despite the fact that this timeline is not aware of the Observers; after all, September did not dive into the lake to save Peter and so, did not reveal the existence of his race.
The other question that continues to puzzle just about every character both fictional and otherwise (except, perhaps, Walter) is where Peter came from. Do the laws of the universe as Fringe ascribes to allow not only for alternate universes, but also for alternate timelines? And what of the existence of yet another timeline? The producers of Fringe, Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman, both repeatedly admitted the existence of other universes. However, they did deny and sometimes quite vehemently the introduction of another universe in the Fringe mythology. But we are forced to face the possibility of a plotline related to a third universe by none other than Walter. What if the producers were not planning for this, but that this is where the show is inexorably taking them?
Another uncomfortable moment occurred when we found out the nature of Nina and Olivia’s relationship in this timeline. While it was nice to know that someone took what seems to be good care of Olivia and Rachel after the latter killed their abusive stepfather (another previous uncomfortable moment in this timeline), I can’t help but wonder if Nina took in the girls out of the goodness of her heart, or if it was for more sinister motives, such as keeping the shining star of the Cortexiphan trials under close watch.
Another deeply uncomfortable moment, albeit for different reasons, was Bell’s ethical concerns regarding Truss’ research project, which, in light of everything Massive Dynamic has done, seems a little hypocritical (assuming that in this timeline, the company’s evolution followed pretty much the same path as the one in the previous one.) Truss worked on cellular replication, trying to develop a method to replace damaged cells with new ones. He was shut down by Bell because “Some things are not meant to be tampered with. Some things are God’s.” I highly doubt that, in this timeline, Bell is very different from the one we have come to know, and once again, my nerves were grated by the man’s arrogance.