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Fringe: The Last Sam Weiss Review

Fringe (TV series)

Image via Wikipedia

By Tyler Dinucci

I’m (almost) willing to overlook some issues within this episode thanks to its amazing final quarter and a poignant moment between Walter and Olivia. However, I’m not quite sure if that’s fair – dramatic television, after all, is an hour-long endeavor.

With a title so provocative as “The Last Sam Weiss,” there are obvious questions that arise: Why is Sam the “last”? How does he have such intimate knowledge concerning the state of our universes? Can we trust him? (How soon we forget A DEMON TWIST RUSTS). And what do these “First People” have to do with Sam? While the jury’s still out on Sam’s loyalty, I was less than impressed by other revelations concerning Sam. Pinker and Wyman (and, admittedly, fans) have built him up over two seasons as an almost mythological figure within the Fringe universe; the glyph code for the season two finale was even “WEISS.”

Turns out, he’s nothing more than a glorified plot point (treasure hunter) in order to propel Olivia and Peter’s story forward. While the revelation that Olivia, too, has some connection with the Wave Sink Machine was welcomed, Weiss’s actual connection to the Fringe mythology barely registered. This then begged other questions: if Sam’s revelations are so mediocre, will other mysteries also have less than fulfilling results?

That particular question was answered, in part, during the episode’s conclusion. The ending is, as many Fringe twists usually are, jaw-dropping and game changing. Many have noted that this particular conclusion could have acted as a season cliffhanger. True, but this episode was written at a time when there was still some uncertainty about the show’s future; having a series end this way (similarly to Terminator: The Sarah Connors Chronicles) would be torture. Is this future dystopia a permanent setting for the series’s narrative from here on out? There are conflicting reports on the matter, and I assume even next week won’t provide a definitive answer. Peter’s entrance into the Wave Sink Device, an entire season coming, was prefaced with a disturbingly emotional montage of the past three years. Where would this device take our protagonists? What would it mean for the future (literally, I guess)? And in the end, it took us to a place that few expected.

Olivia and Walter also share a touching moment mid-episode, returning to her telekinetic abilities first exhibited in the season one episode, cleverly titled, “Ability.” Olivia’s shame and fear have become more apparent as we viewers have become more intimately knowledgeable about aspects of her past. Unlike many “broken” television protagonists, her storylines serve as more than mere Emmy bait. Olivia’s fear is intrinsic to her actions and decisions: she’s fearful of men, fearful of being close, fearful of opening up. Yet Walter instructs her to embrace this “brokenness,” and become truly “special.” It’s a touching moment that not only highlights many of the show’s themes, but also the relationship between Walter and Olivia. He once saw the world’s future in her – now he sees it again.

With only a few shows premiering this summer, it’s a great time to catch up on Fringe. Buy the DVDs. Stream it on Netflix. Join the faithful and get weird.

Grade: B+


One Response

  1. […] Fringe: The Last Sam Weiss Review (networkexposure.wordpress.com) […]

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