Mark Watches ‘Fringe’: S04E17 – Everything In Its Right Place

In the seventeenth episode of the fourth season of Fringe, Lincoln travels to the alternate universe to help on a case that reminds him of one on his side. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Fringe.

I do wonder if everything is in its right place.

I’m lost right now when it comes to Fringe, but I’m okay with it. I don’t blame you if you’re not. I still don’t know how this is all connected: Peter, the alternate timelines, David Robert Jones, the monsters on that ship at sea, the shapeshifters. They’re all part of something, but what that thing is stumps me. It’s like we’ve just been given a 10,000 piece puzzle but without a box. Things look similar and we can link them together from time to time, but the big picture is still lost on me. Obviously, the writers are leading us to a very specific place with the last five episodes of season four, but I enjoyed them momentarily slowing down the story to focus on a character who’s remained peripheral for most of the show.

I think that what I enjoyed most about the expansion of Lincoln’s characterization is that it’s a remarkable parallel to Olivia’s own journey towards accepting her own identity and self-worth. In a way, I think “Everything In Its Right Place” acknowledges that Lincoln has mostly been in the background of a lot of these stories. Where does he fit in? What happens now that Olivia is reverting back to her original past and, in the process, ensuring that she never falls for Lincoln? What sort of role does he play with the Fringe division?

I also feel that the case was the best mythology tie-in of series four. “A Short Story About Love” suffered (in my opinion) from featuring a Fringe case that tried real hard to draw a parallel to Olivia’s life, but ultimately, I didn’t feel it as much as I did this one. It was Lincoln’s ability to empathize with Canaan that saved the man’s life and helped turn him against David Robert Jones and alt-Nina.

PS: Alt-Broyles WHAT WHAT WHAT ARE YOU DOING. Why would you hate Lincoln anyway? Look at his cute face!

PPS: Alt-Nina, you just look evil. You can thank make-up and wardrobe.

A lot of this episode was a bit uncomfortable to watch, but that’s not a complaint. I don’t need to tell y’all that I love and adore stories about feeling left out and alone, so there were multiple points along the way that made me feel a very close kinship with Lincoln and what he was going through. That’s a large reason why I find Olivia to be such a stunning lead character for the show, and why I’m happy that so much of Fringe is filtered through her perspective. At the same time, that’s also why it’s so refreshing to have a story about Lincoln. We see that while he may not literally be disposable to the Fringe team in his universe, we do get to experience how Lincoln perceives his contributions to the group. He’s still a newcomer. He’s not a part of things in an intimate, emotional way, and this has been a common theme in his life. (I must admit that while I loved his backstory with his friend Robert, I’m still distracted by any casual use of the name Danzig. What if Danzig was on Fringe? The quality of this show would skyrocket from the awful.)

This is about Lincoln finding some way to anchor himself. While alt-Broyles is a complete and utter dick to Lincoln, I do think that Lincoln’s desperation to find a place in the world was what made him rush to any conclusion that would keep him involved. Yes, he was right, and I don’t want to ignore that. But he genuinely didn’t want to return to his world. What did he have there? I know that Gene’s grazing is deeply important and how dare you say otherwise, but I think it was a fascinating way to show that Lincoln still wasn’t grounded in his world.

So, I’m sure y’all will want to talk about that thing. I’m still kind of upset, to be honest. It’s weird that this show can kill off a pretty major character, but it doesn’t matter because the actor still has another version of himself to play. I watched this episode with someone who had never seen the show, and it was so impressive that Seth Gabel played such drastically different people. I mean, the same goes for all the actors on the show! (Now I’m wondering what an alt-Peter would be like.) Still, I just felt so numb after alt-Astrid came up to Broyles with tears in her eyes. I didn’t cry out or make a scene or say anything. Captain Lincoln Lee was gone, just like that, and it was entirely off-screen. That might be the worst part. I’d forgotten he had been shot, and now he’s dead?

I don’t know how I feel about Lincoln/Fauxlivia. I agree with some of y’all who are weary, but just want the people on this show to be happy. That’s how I feel. I can’t imagine that this isn’t strange for Fauxlivia. Her best friend is dead, and here’s someone who looks exactly the same as him, yet isn’t, right at her side. Am I ready to ship them? No, not yet. Fauxlivia needs to grieve. She needs her space. But that final shot of the episode jus felt right, and I can’t explain it any other way. Is this the right place for both of these characters? I don’t know yet, but I’m willing to find out.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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