Fringe Episode Review – 4.07

Wallflower

The Need To Be Seen
 ~~~

“The hours I spend with you I look upon as sort of a perfumed garden, a dim twilight, and a fountain singing to it.  You and you alone make me feel that I am alive.  Other men it is said have seen angels, but I have seen thee and thou art enough.”

George Moore
~~~

Timing is so important.  One can take all the proper steps for THE big date; be dressed to the nines, bring a big bouquet of roses, and a box of chocolates but if you show up at the wrong time all your preparatory work can go for naught.

How many refills is this?


Such is the fate of, ‘Wallflower.’  It came on the heels of the previous fantastic installment, ‘And Those We’ve Left Behind.’ Tough enough.  But then to become the unintentional Fall Finale, due to the pushing out of the airing schedule by one week because of baseball’s World Series, is truly a cruel twist of fate.


‘Wallflower,’ also came at a time when expectations were that major traction in the Peter story arc were about to commence.  Instead in this installment Peter was relegated to the sidelines to pin up drawings, provide courting help to Lincoln by giving him glasses fashion advice,  and go on a shopping trip to get various sundry items including underwear.  Not exactly the material of big things hoped for in the Peter story arc.

Though I did love and laugh out loud at the Peter/Olivia – “Hey/Hey” – moment.  

Further to the seeming paralysis in the Peter story pace; the Observers have been lost since the start of the season.  What is going on with September?  What ramnifications of his decision to not eradicate Peter had with the other Observers?  Is September on the road to becoming another August?  And where is the expansion of the Observer mythos promised by the showrunners before the start of the current season?

Episode ‘Patterns’: Add your own in the comments.

  • Olivia suffering migraines has a prescription. How long has this been going on?
  • Lee & Olivia in the diner. Lee freaking out about Fringe events.  Olivia phlegmatic.
  • man attacked and de-pigmentized by Invisible Man – ended up looking like Brent Spiner
  • Peter gets to go on chaperoned shopping trips & gets an allowance
  • Walter munching on beer battered Onion Rings
  • Astrid talks to a shrink everyday about her job.  Olivia’s self worry increases.
  • Eugene in elevator listening to his ‘girlfriend’ most apropos small talking about fall and the changing colors
  • Pigment = Death = Eugene’s desire to be seen = Suicide
  • Walter with the mice – John & Invisible Yoko – made visible with UV Light
  • Facepalm moment – Olivia searches for Eugene alone
  • Eugene’s monologue to Olivia about being seen, being recognized, and connecting emotionally with someone encapsulates Olivia’s issues
  • Eugene makes that connection with Julie in the elevator and then dies
  • Olivia confesses to Nina her doubts and whether her exposure to Cortexiphan has stunted her emotionally
  • Olivia feels she should know her place in life by now, Nina tells her that is not necessarily so
  • Peter gives Lincoln styling glasses.  ‘Trust me.’
  • ‘Hey!’  ‘Hey!’
  • another awkward Olivia/Lincoln moment as they stumble to make a date
  • spurious observation: for her ‘date’ with Lincoln – Olivia decides to keep her hair in a ponytail.  For her ‘date’ with Peter in Season Two’s, ‘Jacksonville,’ Olivia decided to keep her hair down.  Significant? Or not?
  • Nina ruins the ‘date.’  Olivia is gassed and given cortexiphan.
  • Is Nina evil or taking desparate measures, a la Walter, to protect Olivia?


All of the above factored into my initial viewing of the episode.  My expectations were so preset that my initial viewing of ‘Wallflower,’ left a bad taste.  And the preview for the real Fall Finale episode did not help.  Fortunately after a couple of days had passed, I was able to regroup, rewatch the episode, and judge it on its own merits.

And found ‘Wallflower,’ a solid episode.  Much of the mystery surrounding the cold Olivia of this timeline is explained.  My criticism of what Peter was given to do still stands.

The character/case of the week Eugene is borne with a mutation not just on the physical level but on an emotional one too. She has no connections emotionally and even worse, is rarely affected by the Fringe events she is consistently exposed to.   Something that Olivia of this timeline has begun to really wrestle with.  Even more so oddly, or perhaps not oddly at all, since the injection of Peter into the Season 4 timeline.

The reveal that Nina has continued the cortexiphan injections on Olivia explains much. It also, in typical Fringe fashion, raises new questions.  For those that have harbored a long standing distrust of Nina were given vindication.  Nina is evil!

Or is she?

Unquestionably Nina’s methods are reprehensible.  But will we find out that her actions are not nefarious in goal but rather driven by her belief that this is the only way to protect Olivia?  The answer is unclear and certainly there has been enough evidence to paint Nina in a bad light this season.  On the other hand is this another scenario, much like Walter’s crossing over to the other universe to save the other Peter?  Time will tell.

The most impressive accomplishment for me in this episode is that I am now truly emotionally engaged in what happens to this Olivia and Walter in this timeline.  This has been a big point of contention for those that believe these characters are superfluous because they will be wiped away when things are set back to their proper places.  After the direction that has been laid out in these seven episodes it is clear something more amibitious is definitely in play.

Eugene’s final scene in the elevator with Julie was beautifully done.  His joy at achieving recognition, even at the price of death, was truly touching.  As Eugene slid to floor, Fringe music composer Chris Tilton, skillfully composed the emotional underpinnings and poignancy of those final seconds.  

Connection made.

In his last moments who was Eugene meant to parallel then?  

Olivia? Peter?

Maybe both.  Or maybe that moment was his.

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34 thoughts on “Fringe Episode Review – 4.07

  1. Jake

    I think U-Gene was supposed to mirror Olivia but it should have mirrored Peter. I mean Peter should have been there to talk to the guy and sympathise with him, because Peter is the one who no one in this universe wants to know. He is all alone, whereas Olivia has Broyles, Astrid, Nina, etc. Peter has no one. I think this show is suffering like Chuck does…they keep on trying to tell us every season that this is the Olivia/Walter show and that Chuck is the Chuck show. By doing that they really have limited their storytelling ability a lot.

    There are periods on Breaking Bad and Mad Men and even The Wire (season 4 especially) where the lead actor is not present and that feels right for the story. Bryan Cranston, John Hamn and Dominic West allowed for their shows to limit them for sometimes whole episodes to explore other characters and that is what makes them deeper and better overall. Why do we have to keep having the first third about Olivia and Walter? we have had 3 seasons of that…why cannot every episode this season be about Peter?

    I sometimes think that this show is basically a procedural that got lucky in season 3 or early season 3..they cannot string an arc together and they cannot share the character growth either. I think NCIS does it better than them and that says something.

    It pains me to say this but this show should be going for broke in what seems like their final season, why they are wasting their time on this weak crappy stories on characters we will see for a maximum of 15 more episodes is pointless and futile and diluting thier effectiveness. The ratings are at 1.1 from a 1.5, they are not helping themselves at all and it is time to stop reminding us who show it is…we get it! it is Anna Torv and John Noble…but come on and move it already.

    Sorry for the rant.

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  2. No apology necessary.

    We will have to agree to disagree on the show's ability to carry an arc. They have been doing that brilliantly since the pilot.

    Also believe that these characters will survive in some form with the 'other' characters from the previous seasons.

    Also believe we will discover the show is going for broke in the remaining episodes of this season.

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  3. Jake

    Based on a couple of leaked scripts which I will not spoil, I do not think the show intends to go full out on the mythology. It will be one Peter episode next and then a break for quite a while.

    I have nothing against Olivia or Walter but I would like some Peter momentum and I just do not see that happening. It is kind of odd to say this but why did they not just release Joshua Jackson if they had no intention for using him for the whole of season 4?

    I mean is it a budget issue? clash of egos between the actors? a problem with the show runners/TPTB? Fox? The WB?

    What is stopping them from going all out and trying to parrallel everything to him since he is the last vestige of the previous 3 seasons?

    The actors and show runners came out in interviews and said the right things about how Peter is important but the material on screen is completely opposite to that, are they in damage control since the “Wheres Peter” campaigne at the end of season 3?

    I realise it is their story to tell and they can go down whatever route is possible, I just wish they told us upfront that they have no interest in telling any Peter or mythology episodes then the remaining fans who hold hope for it can check out and not hold out breath for it.

    A little honesty would be fantastic from them, it would restore some respect that they have lost from fans and certain critics like McGee, Sepinwall, Ryan, Fienberg, McNutt, etc.

    Food for thought.

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  4. Have to take at face value what you are saying since I have not heard of or seen any chatter about upcoming scripts.

    On the face of it though, it makes no sense. Why set up such an elaborate story arc only to ignore it?

    Colour me majorly skeptical.

    As for honesty, the Fringe showrunners have been the most upfront of any show I have ever encountered.

    Pretty bummed out about how the critics have treated the show.

    Really hoping Pinker and Wyman prove them all wrong.

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  5. Jake

    I think the critics are spoiled for choice these days with Homeland, The Wire, Breaking Bad, etc…that they can just call Fringe on what they are doing. I think Lost has a part to play in that too, we all hurt from how Lost strung us along and never really paid off the mythology. I loved Lost, please never think that I was not over the moon with the character payoffs because I was, but Fringe is like Lost in that it is a JJ Abrahams show and there are some parallels to be found.

    I think as great as Lost was it sometimes did not hold together as a series because they left too much on the table and the investment was not entirely met. I think Fringe is doing that too, I mean can they ever payoff Peter being a father or learning that he is a father, can they ever recapture the moment where he finds out he is not from this universe and explore his emotions and feelings, can they ever really recapture the momentum they had last season when they decided to reset it for this season, etc.

    I realise with Budgets going down and the shows uncertain future it is hard to recapture lost moments but maybe for critics the series is at a cross roads like Lost and there is just too much to reconcile and that is why it either answers everything ala Breaking Bad, Mad Men or The Wire or it does not and we are left with a series that was good but never great.

    I know that you love the show and are a little bummed at how the critics are treating it but they are being equally hard on Homeland, they have said already in this first season that if they keep on jerking us around with whether or not some things are real or not then they are out as well.

    This day and age I suppose tv is in a golden age and you either get it right or you do not. But I suppose OD if you love it then that is all that matters, but I am a little skeptical and worried that they are going to struggle to pay everything off in the end.

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  6. For me, Lost ended brilliantly. The non-importance of the mythology in the end versus relationships was exactly what I hoped for.

    The mythology was merely the story engine to feed the relationships. In the end the mythology was shown to be ultimately unimportant- which it was, to me.

    Something that is very tricky to pull off and I totally empathize with those for whom the mythology was the raison d'être for watching the show. For me it was always the characters and the payoff given was fantastic.

    Look at BSG. The show had both. And in the end, for me, it failed to pay either off satisfactorily.

    Fringe has always had a strange relationship with critics. They admire the show but they also seem to turn on it very quickly.

    Look at the Ryans for example. They cut Chuck – admittedly a very different show – miles and miles of breaks yet Fringe introduces one story element they disagree with and they automatically dismiss it.

    That does not seem consistent, or frankly fair, to me. But hey, how we react to a piece of entertainment is a subjective, emotional process and response fluctuate accordingly.

    And yes, I love Fringe. I also love genre shows that create new worlds etc because that process is both incredibly difficult to birth and maintain. Shows like Homeland etc have it easier because they are working within the bounds of reality.

    Nothing wrong with being skeptical. On the other hand, Fringe's track record in the other seasons speaks for itself so any worry I have is negligible.

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  7. Jake

    I think some of the breaks chuck gets is dye to it being a walking and talking potential cancellation victim since season 2. Living on half season orders has not done their shows health any help. I mean since season 4 you could see the show starting to fail to connect two half seasons into one…… BUT they at least try and pay off som things, even if some payoffs are half baked (especially the mythology) I think the attempt gets them a lot of credit. Chuck like lost at least gets the characters right I think, but fringe has not done either and so probably gets chastised for it.

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  8. Ouch! Here we have total disagreement. Chuck has done a horrible, often self-contradictory job of its mythology. And the characters are plot puppets.

    Chuck gets the breaks it does because the cast has off the chart chemistry – at least in the earlier seasons – and is a cross genre show.

    Fringe has consistently paid off the mythology and its handling of characters is top drawer. Fringe payoffs are often of a subtle nature.

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  9. Amrit

    Well to be fair chuck has had only one full season ordered early enough for them to create a fullness and we all know how that turned out…..one of the greatest season in tv history! So I can forgive them a lot, oh and the chemistry this season between chuck and Sarah has been awesome….some of the early series kinda awesome ( I know you quit so you might have to take my word for it). Fringe has had four full seasons and we still wait for answers….ce la vie.

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  10. The proof will be in the pudding for S5 then, won't it? 13 episodes ordered. No extensions. Can the show carry off a mythology coherent season? My money is on absolutely no way.

    We each watch shows with our own built in subjective criteria. Chuck and Sarah may have oodles of chemistry but if their actions run counter to what we are shown then it all rings more than a little hollow. ie we are told consistently that they are the best spies yet shown constantly that they are bumblers that make Maxwell Smart look like James Bond.

    Might as well do clip shows of cutesy Chuck and Sarah moments. Far more satisfying.

    A show needs balance and believability within its own universe to keep my interest.

    Fringe has given answers. They also raise new questions. They do evolving story telling. And Fringe explores the consequences and impacts of actions on characters.

    Far more satisfying story telling to me.

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  11. Amrit

    I guess we shall see if they can nail both the character and mythology. Although I would have preferred to take that “bet” in season 3 & 4, when the show was fresher and had time to create fuller arcs when they did not have to blow their load on potential series finales, I will still go for it now.

    But it is kind of a moot bet since you quit watching 🙂

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  12. Amrit

    I heard that podcast and it is a very subjective view to be honest. He said that Season 4 would be awesome and it was a little bumpy. So he could be wrong, but it is all down to execution. As I said, I would have preferred to take that bet when they were in season 3 or 4, more 3 than 4 simply because they could have built something very solid from season 2. Right now the show is like a boxer who has had to fight 3 rounds with one hand tied behind his back….it is a big battered and bruised mess.

    But I have faith that they will get it right somehow in the end.

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  13. Amrit

    Yeah the ratings are getting really abysmal at the moment, I mean the only show that they are beating overall wise not the key demo is Fringe. It is really sad that Chuck is going down like this, it is not dignified at all. Just over 3 million viewers….they are not even bothering to stream it online anymore.

    I would have hoped that this season would be remembered more than just a season meant for monetary purposes….at least the cast seem to be having a blast and that is a great thing I think.

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  14. JJ

    Going back to Fringe, do you have an idea when we will get a Peter POV? I mean do you think that we will get an emotional freak out from him that shows he has a pulse like Olivia and Walter?

    4 seasons in and no Peter POV. I do wonder what he thinks and feels now that he is a person who is probably the most alone person in the world than any tv series ever on tv. I mean there is not even an electronic trace of him to show that he is part of a system let alone human connections.

    Does he not fear that he may not be able to get back or people may not want him to get back or any feelings or emotions or anything. Do you think they will deal with this or not?

    I know the show has always had a Peter problem and never knew what to do with him but is there a chance they can finally find an answer?

    We have had an Olivia season (season 1 and 3), a Walter season (season 2) and now we have a Walter and Olivia mini arc in seaosn 4 and we have no season of Peter yet in the whole series….can this be fixed or is this a ……funny how his story has played out in a comic book, that says a lot.

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  15. Mike

    There are two types of show: cable quality and network quality. Network can never compete with cable for many reasons. Fringe is a network show……enough said.

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  16. DK

    Talking about podcasts, the host of Geek Furious noted that Josh Jackson (which I did not know) has the most experience of film and Tv than either John Noble or Anna Torv and he said it is confusing that they refuse to use him considering his experience and fan base.

    The Spoiler Tv Podcast guy went on a 10 minute rant about how in the comic books between season 3 and 4 there is a tonne of stuff that happened with Peter and that it makes no sense that Peter would not tell them any of his journey and that they would rather stall and give out these weak episodes than deal with the current situation, he said it makes no sense Peter would not speak up.

    I have to agree on all counts, it makes no narrative sense that the show would not off the bat answer these questions: where has Peter been, What does he feel that he does not belong in the blue universe because he was stolen and not from there, he does not belong in the red universe because he does not know that place and he does not belong in the amber universe. What does he feel that he he has no home and no belonging….does that not make him want to cry, shout, curse, curl up into a ball….die? Not only does he not know where he is, he is a prisoner that is trapped in a tiny house in a world that does not want him and views him as a scientific anonymally.

    Such frustration….instead of answering these questions we get episode 1, 3, 4, 5 and 7…very weak episodes that makes no sense at all and are just filler.

    There is no time for them to answer all the above questions and more that I have not thought of. They also have to fix the observer problem, over there problem, the potential war, the other big bads of this season…this has to be crammed into 15 episodes and then they have to come up with a fitting series finale….I just do not understand why they have wasted so much time and not been in answer mode from the get go. I just have a feeling that the show is going to great pains to sideline Peter. They put him in hospital, they have only one of him so they do not need him in two universes…they vanish him from the timeline so they do not have him and now they have him shop for Lincoln…why are they going to such great lengths to push him to the side?

    This is not going to end well.

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  17. All this frustration will probably prove to be groundless once the next episode airs. 4.08 was the real Fall Finale and based on the preview looked to be Peter and mythology heavy.

    There is definitely merit in the complaints about the underuse of the Peter character. I suspect part of that is because the character is so intertwined with the Observers.

    My mid season grade: three great episodes – 2, 4, 6, three good episodes – 1, 5, 7, & one middling episode – 3.

    With only a third of the season aired it is still way too early to state where this season will rank against the others. Still so much to be explored. Really surprised at the pace. Expected the time line issues were going to be resolved by the eighth episode. Looks like it will be much longer now. Maybe half the season? Or, GASP!, the entire season?

    15 episodes still stands as pretty ample space to fulfill all the story needs from my perspective even if a series and not season finale has to be addressed. They are likely closely intertwined.

    'This is not going to end well.'

    Based on the track record of the show's previous three seasons my outlook is still very positive.

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  18. DK

    Oh and the best part I forgot to mention, the showrunners Whyman and Pinkner say in interviews that they are frustrated that they cannot write more for Peter….well dudes if you are frustrated then why not just write for him?

    That must be the most dumbest thing a show runner could say…we know fans are frustrated and so are we..?

    Hey my name is Chris Fedak the year is 2010 we are in season 3…we know fans are frustrated with this b/s will they wont they and so am I…this is where I will give Fedak credit…at least he admitted flat out that he was just scared that all the fans would leave his show before he got to tell the Chuck hero story if he put them together, lol.

    No such luck from the two idiots above.

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  19. Jake

    You have faith based on the past 3 seasons…faith that they will reconcile the show, Olivia/Walter or Peter?

    The first two I can understand your optimism, the last one though…..I do not know.

    Also the previews for episode 8 does not say that this is a heavy Peter episode and if it is a heavy Peter episode…is one episode out of 8 enough to constitute an arc? I do not know.

    I suppose one episode per season is better than nothing.

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  20. James

    Peter is on the show because Joshua Jackson is “under contract”/

    Simple, no more no less. He will barely be in the series and he will only be there because he has to…this came from the mouths of Whyman and Pinkner.

    So relax peeps, Peter may be a plot device, a contrivance generator, a non entity, etc…but he will be on the show in some form because he is “under contract”…not that they want him or have any use for him or want to explore him but because he is “under contract”.

    So as the host of this site says…there is no point in getting frustrated….just accept what the show runners tell you and move on.

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  21. 'He will barely be in the series and he will only be there because he has to…this came from the mouths of Whyman and Pinkner.'

    Source of this information? I do not believe they ever say anything remotely like that. Why would anyone say something that blatantly stupid?

    No show runner(s)would ever sign a character to a long term contract for top billing in a television series and then deliberately not use them.

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  22. Jake

    I think why man and pinkner said that Josh Jackson is not going anywhere be ause he has a contract. They said that, which in it's self is stupid because it sounds very informal, but they did not say they will barely use him.

    I think some of their responses may be not well thought out and rude because some fans are throwing a lot of abuse at them, during comic con when they did video interviews they clarified that this Peter storyline is not a salary dispute or that they do not want Josh Jackson on their show….obviously some fans implied that for them to have to give these answers. Also during comic con jeff pinkner said that fans should ask Josh Jackson about this storyline because it is his idea and so they have passed on the responsibility to him.

    There are multiple reasons that Josh could not be in this season that we do not know about. He may be on a 10/13 contract because that is all their budget can afford. Anna torvs uncle owns fox and probably only renewed it for her and so the stories have to revolve around her (geek furious speculated this in his last podcast and he has sources at fox and the wb so maybe that is it), fox made them put in the worst scene in the history of the show where the observers noted that Peter did not exist at the end of last season….who knows what fox executives ask for in their notes. Maybe Josh Jackson is not well or wants to spend more personal time which is his business and so wants a lighter work load. Maybe the writers and show runners just realised they have no ideas with regards to Peter and that can happen….you neglect a character for that long it can happen….they are human after all and humans make mistakes.

    There is a host of reasons why Peter is just not being used and may never be used and to solely blame whyman and pinkner is a little unfair. Their responses may come across as frustrating and I'll thought and I'll conceived and maybe immature and egotistical and other things but who knows what pressures they are under. As Todd van der werfe sais in his community review of critical film studies ….. You may know a person very well but you can never know what it is kike to be them….what scares them the most, what ultimately makes them happy, what failures they experienced even if those failures were in their head…..so give them a break.

    Everyone take a breath and give the show a break, it may be healthier for you in the long run. I know I have been hard on them but it is what it is.

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  23. Jake

    “To a certain extent, Peter is the MacGuffin of the show,” Jackson told The News. “So we have this ensemble cast and he's the guy who lots of things are about, but who doesn't get to do a lot of things. That's who he is, that's what the character is, so I can get frustrated all I like, but it's not going to change.

    http://articles.nydailynews.com/2011-09-30/entertainment/30244679_1_alternate-universe-producers-vow-serial-killer

    Please release Joshua Jackson…….

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  24. Josh

    Oh wow, I knew Peter is a macguffin, fans know in general that he is a macguffin but I never thought Josh knew and that he would say it in public. He sounds frustrated just like the fans…..why don't woman and pinkner just let him out of his contract? Are they that horrible that they would keep him unhappy? Man I hate the way they have treated Josh…..I hope he gets paid for every episode whether he is in them or not…..call it suffering pay.

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  25. JJ

    Well for all those Josh Jackson fans who are upset at the lack of Peter or the Peter as MacGuffin….lets hope his next project next season will let him be the center of attention and let him do stuff. So that would mean either Fringe gets cancelled or they release Josh Jackson citing creative differences like Mandy Patikin from Criminal Minds.

    Show runners coming out saying he is the focus from the point of his return or that he is part of the DNA or whatever just means that he will be a Macguffin, the only thing that preview from 4.08 showed was that Lincoln Lee and Olivia will be at the forfront…..too bad.

    Why Wyman and Pinkner do not just come out and say he is a Macguffin I will never ever know.

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  26. Greg

    I know this is not my place to say but please stop bashing the hosts website with this Peter negativity. OD has already conceded that they have a Peter problem and he has politely engaged you with a friendly conversation. I do not appreciate the chuck digs but fair enough. Whatever we get this season we get please enjoy the ride or get off if it makes you unhealthy. We all want good health for everyone, I understand that we never get what we want and that just life. Asking for something a show can never give you I.e. A 10 episode Peter arc is something that will never happen it is too late in the game for that. Please taper your expectations and you will enjoy the ride that much more.

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  27. Thanks Greg.

    Everyone has made their points.

    If anyone wants to continue the Peter Persecution theories it is time to move such discussions elsewhere and/or start your own blog about it.

    Happy Holidays everyone!

    Like

  28. Jake

    I think the way the discussions are going over here and other sites like fringetelivision and the fringe podcast….maybe everyone maybe should close all the comment sections down. I know I am unhappy with some things but some of the abuse being flown over on those sites is getting pretty heinous. I mean Wyman and Pinkner are not getting off easy at all.

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