Mark Watches ‘Fringe’: S04E06 – And Those We’ve Left Behind

In the sixth episode of the fourth season of Fringe, time begins to slip out of place and the Fringe team believes it to be Peter’s fault. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Fringe.

(Just a heads up: I’m not sure this counts as a trigger, and I want to make sure they’re used as they’re meant to be used, but I will briefly need to discuss Alzheimer’s in a personal way later in the review, so if you need to skip this, just giving you an advanced warning.)

So, this particular episode had the lowest ratings of the entire series’ run, and that terrifies me that there’s not going to be a season five, and then I hate the way the ratings system is run because it’s archaic and not at all indicative of the quality of this show or how many people are actually watching it.

All Taken From Episode 4×06

  1. This show has managed to find a balance between story-of-the-week and overarching mythology that is pretty much unlike anything else on television right now. It’s highly serialized, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for one-off stories.
  2. Stephen Root guest stars. That is reason enough.
  3. Mark Sheppard hasn’t had a guest appearance on the show yet, and no science fiction show is complete without Mark Sheppard on it.
  4. The actors and actresses in this show have all played multiple versions of themselves, sometimes with subtle differences between them, sometimes with gigantic variances in portrayal. The amount of talent on Fringe is exponential compared to anything else on network television right now.
  5. The writers are not afraid of taking their characters to increasingly uncomfortable places. In the case of Peter Bishop, “And Those We’ve Left Behind” has him facing the idea that there appear to be only two options for what’s happening to him: either he must be “corrected” in this version of the universe, or it’s the universe that must be “corrected.” By the end of the episode, he starts to realize that this entire world has been functioning without him, and while it’s not spelled out directly, I think that despair settles over him in a way because he’s seen how an entire universe can just exist without him. Yes, all of this is happening on a television show and it is goddamn beautiful.
  6. John Noble is on this show. Have you seen him act?
  7. The fandom for this show is incredible. Artistic, clever, loving, generally drama-free, and then they post shit like this: This is what Fringe fans notice in episodes, and rarely do they pick up things that don’t mean anything later. You need to watch this show because it’s still fun when the episode is long over.
  8. The writers routinely give us subplots, sometimes without a single main or secondary character in them, that are touching and charming, that give us insight into our own world. In this case, the story of Kate and Raymond Green, in which a husband uses his wife’s theoretical physics to build a time bubble so he can visit her four years in the past and have her complete the math needed to permanently keep that bubble open. JFC THIS SHOW.
  9. Walter Bishop on a swing. Sorry, your argument is invalid.
  10. Lincoln Lee, a character introduced in a parallel universe who has a radically different depiction in our world and wears cute-as-fuck glasses and has this incredible sense of empathy for the people around him.
  11. There’s a scene near the end of “And Those We’ve Left Behind” in which an underwater tunnel slowly begins to not exist, threatening to drown people trapped inside, including Lincoln. This show repeatedly gives us nightmare fuel and this is a perfect example.
  12. The writers are big fans of re-contextualizing things in fascinating ways. In this episode, Peter learns that Walter had visions of him, and Olivia dreamed of him before he showed up in this world. We had just assumed that Peter was doing this on purpose, but he insists he has no part in such things. So, something we’d just accepted has a new context: If Peter was not “haunting” Olivia and Walter, what was that?
  13. Time deplacement! It’s not secret that I love stories that fuck with the very idea of time, but this one in particular is especially bizarre. If you’re looking for plots that aren’t necessarily straight-forward or need a bit of work to decipher, Fringe is challenging to watch. At the same time, the writers are fantastic at never dropping the audience into something incoherent. Even when dealing with multiple universes, it’s always clear where we are.
  14. Did I mention that Fringe fans have a wonderful propensity for picking up clues and parallels and references to the past? I love this fandom.
  15. This show can destroy you with a single sentence. Case in point: “Well, I hope that you get back to her.” AHHHHH OH GOD BUT SHE’S RIGHT THERE. oh god this goddamn show.
  16. “Raymond, I love you. How you repay me…Just love me and live your life.” Destroyed forever.
  17. This show did not treat Alzheimer’s disease as a quirky joke or a mere pinion in the plot. My father had Alzheimer’s, and there are so many things I saw in “And Those We’ve Left Behind” that were frighteningly similar, from the vacant stares to the looks of panic when my father couldn’t exactly remember who this person was. At the same time, Raymond’s actions, while extreme, were just as familiar to me, too, especially the marked frustration with the idea of time passing. Ultimately, what made me feel good about this portrayal was that Kate was the one who got to make a choice about how she would live, even if she did have the disease.

I know that we may soon have to get used to the idea that this might be the last season of Fringe, which is unfortunate. I am shocked that this show is not doing better in ratings because it is just so terribly wonderful. There really isn’t a single show like it on the air, and everything about it is quality. Still, we can hope, and we can put messages like this out there so that others get interested in Fringe and possibly start watching it, too.

Please don’t go away, Fringe. 🙁

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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14 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Fringe’: S04E06 – And Those We’ve Left Behind

  1. Anseflans says:

    19. Walter Bishop has a Spiderman fannypack.

  2. ballpoint says:

    I love this show, and your reviews for it. Thank you Mark for getting me into watching one of the best Tv shows I have ever watched. <3

  3. Dent_D says:

    I am sooo scared Fringe is going to be cancelled and then the writers will need to squash the plot into too few episodes a la Dollhouse (sexist issues aside, I did enjoy the concept presented by that).

  4. LucyGoosey says:

    Whenever I try to get people to watch Fringe, the word I always use is "ambition". The only other show on TV I can think of that is as ambitious as this one, would be Community, and as a comedy, comparing the two is not only difficult, but wouldn't do any good.

    Fringe really excels at subtle, understated heartbreak. I heard a complaint from a fan on another board, that she didn't feel any "drama" from the situation because all the characters were being so reasonable. But I'll take characters behaving like people over melodrama for the sake of "story" any day. An actor who can get their face to silently crumble (see also: Marionette) to me shows more talent than any amount of soap opera hysterics.

    • @lula34 says:

      This is the most accurate description of Fringe, so THANK YOU.

      I have a friend who loves to report on the show's ratings each Saturday, usually with a, "Quit getting so attached–your show is gonna be canceled" note. Or, "Really, Lula…no one is watching this show–it's too exclusive for Fox to keep it on the air, regardless of its critical acclaim."

      I feel like it's Battlestar Galactica & Friday Night Lights all over again, as–for me–they're the two finest shows no one ever watched, tremendous critical acclaim aside. (Lost is my all-time favorite show in the history of ever–but Lost was broadly watched, of course.) I beg & plead for my friends to give Fringe a shot, urging them on with:
      *It healed my Lost Has Ended & I'll Never Be The Same Again-wounded heart.
      *Peter Bishop will make you forget that Joshua Jackson was ever Pacey.
      *I enjoy alternate universes & unexplained phenomena more than most things. ('Cept time travel, but that's my urging for Why Folks Should Watch Doctor Who.)
      *WALTER BISHOP and ANNA TORV are pretty much the most captivating, brilliant actors currently on television programming.
      *Jasika Nicole as Astrid. No explanation necessary.
      *I've cried in each of the six episodes that have aired this season. My tears don't flow for any old mess, mind you, so this is saying a lot of somethings.
      *Please, please, please just watch Fringe. Give it a shot. PLEASE!

      From now on I'm going to use your word…"ambition." Excelling at subtle, understated heartbreak is the hallmark of Fringe, you're so correct. That–combined with brilliant storytelling & supremely solid performances from its cast–is why I'm tuning in to Fringe each week.

  5. redletter_ says:

    Time weirdness is one of my most favouritest things ever. So, an episode like this is just heaven. But then I read things like the "the lowest ratings so far," and my stomach starts hurting with worry.

    PLEASE DON'T GO AWAY FRINGE. I need you in my life.

    I think we all need to remember that last season, around the time Fox was making the renewal decision, it was getting poor ratings and came back anyway. I just want them to at least reach the 100 episode mark.

    Also, I wasn't the only one to think this, right?

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  6. Hotaru_hime says:

    How perfect was this episode? Breaking my heart every goddamn time.
    This show is beautiful. It's full of feeling and good writing and just genuine awesome.
    John Noble is reason enough to keep this show on the air but anyone with an ounce of sense can see that the nuanced performances that all the actors bring makes it worth it.
    Eff the Nielsen ratings, what do they know?

  7. Emgett says:

    I'm really quite picky about TV shows– Fringe is quite probably the only show I have ever seen that is intelligent, keeps continuity, incredibly well acted, and full of characters that feel and develop like people rather than plot devices or caricatures for comic relief. In every other show I've gotten into (not to mention the ones I dismiss after watching a segment), a seemingly out of place detail can be written off as the writers/ showrunners/ whoever messing up… only for Fringe do those little details consistently mean something. Finally, close analysis is paying off!

    It will be absolutely heartbreaking for me if Fringe isn't renewed. Why don't people want TV shows that make them think?

  8. Stella says:

    Hearing news like that reminds me of when Pushing Daisies was canned. It sucks to see quirky, inventive shows like that die on American TV.

  9. @anwen says:

    Oh god, I really hope it doesn't get cancelled, EVER. No more Walter Bishop? UNPOSSIBLE. Also, oh god, I kind of figured what would be in the book (probably everyone did?) and that just made it more heartbreaking, I think. Also: I think it seems to be suggesting that the standard SF line of "oh, you can't go back and change your past because PARADOX" may not apply in this show? Which would be AWESOME. I mean, logically that makes sense and everything, but I think it would be SUPER EXCITING to have a world in which actually, you can, it just makes things COMPLICATED or whatever, just because doing things differently = interesting. Anyway, caught up now, hooray!

  10. canyonoflight says:

    The way ratings are counted are so outdated, not to mention the Neilson boxes go to families who watch stupid shows like Two and a Half Men and not young adults (and apparently rarely a family) who watch things like this. Also, who watches tv when it airs nowadays? Not a lot of people now that we have OnDemand and dvr and hulu. Does count towards ratings? I feel like I heard they at least attempted to update how ratings are counted. Hell, even when I watch a show at the time it airs, I usually wait about ten minutes so I can watch it on DVR so I can fast forward through commercials.

    Edited: to delete a curse word, jic.

  11. SecretGirl127 says:

    While the prospect of Fringe being cancelled makes me want to crawl up into a ball and suck my thumb, I have a more pressing issue to address.
    So, ever since Peter was pulled from the lake I have not seen an Observer. Am I missing it or are there really no Observers in this world anymore? I know the gang didn't know what an Observer was, but we know they've been in this timeline because they tried to wipe Peter from the universe once and for all. Where did they go?

  12. Kit says:

    …how is the airplane Peter bought as a kid in Walter's house?

  13. mkjcaylor says:

    How is there an HDTV in a house that's apparently really really old? Am I missing something?

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