Fringe "Forced Perspective" TV REVIEW

Drawn to the future...

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Drawn to the future...

Episode 4.10
Writer: Ethan Gross
Director: David Solomon

THE ONE WHERE Olivia’s trying to understand the Observers, while a teen is drawing pictures of the future.

UNIVERSE Over here – orange credits version.

VERDICT You’ve got to admire the genius of Fringe ’s writing team. Via the media of multiple universes, rearranged timelines and ingenious storytelling, they’ve managed to re-establish the central character dynamic that drove the early seasons. So with Walter now accepting Peter, and no romantic issues for Peter and Olivia to contend with, the old team are free to look into a standalone case as they would have done in the old days. It’s good to have them back.

It’s a decent story, too, the subtly told tale of Emily, a teen girl cursed with the “gift” of seeing the future. It’s less an investigation than a mission to help Emily come to terms with her power and find some practical use for her sketches of things to come. There’s not much original here but it’s delivered in such a clever, understated way that you can’t help being taken in. With visual fireworks kept to a minimum (aside from a brilliant scene where Emily walks through a frozen explosion in her mind), this is all about interpersonal relationships. Indeed, it’s quite an achievement to get you caring about a family who’ve been forced to relocate and chop and change their lives for years, in under an hour – and Emily’s death at the end of the episode is truly heartbreaking.

There’s still a bit of interest for fans of the arc plot, with a bit of Peter and Walter rebuilding the Machine, some Observer lore, and Olivia telling the devious Nina that she sees her as a mother figure. But what does the Massive Dynamic MD have planned for Agent Dunham?

SPECULATION We know that Nina and Massive Dynamic tried to experiment on Emily. In this timeline, was Nina responsible for the Cortexiphan-type experiments Walter and William Bell carried out in our world?

INFLUENCE There’s something very Omen -ish about Emily’s future vision sketches. There’s also echoes of Isaac from Heroes , and Nicolas Cage movie Knowing .

OBSERVING THE OBSERVER This is getting easy! An Observer appears in plain view looking at Olivia’s flat when Nina comes to visit. Interesting to note, though, that once again, he’s not September.

"I can’t say you’re going to get his full attention per se. He’s a little wired up today. He’s already electrocuted himself three times."
"Which reminds me. I can’t feel my urine response yet. I should probably go empty my bladder again."

Richard Edwards

See all Fringe season four reviews

Richard is a freelancer journalist and editor, and was once a physicist. Rich is the former editor of SFX Magazine, but has since gone freelance, writing for websites and publications including GamesRadar+, SFX, Total Film, and more. He also co-hosts the podcast, Robby the Robot's Waiting, which is focused on sci-fi and fantasy.