Taking place in a parallel universe in which zeppelins land on the Empire State Building and Motorola Razr prototypes were invented by the military in the 1960s, Fringe explores exciting stories and scientific theories that are quite literally out of this world.
This science-fiction series, co-created by J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, will premiere its third season tonight with an episode titled “Peter” at 9 p.m. on Fox.
Lost creator Abrams decided to make Fringe less complicated and more accessible to viewers who haven’t necessarily seen every episode. Although the series picks up roughly where the last season left off, several episodes explore mini plots that allow viewers to tune in whenever they can. The show itself explores fringe science, a field of study different from mainstream science with theories that many scientists typically consider questionable and highly disputed.
Adding to the recurring theme of fringe science in the series, the show repeatedly depicts a parallel universe discovered by mad scientist Dr. Walter Bishop, played by John Noble. In this universe, the same characters exist, but the environment itself is a distortion of reality — the World Trade Center was not destroyed, for instance — and society is more technologically advanced.
Season two ended shockingly with FBI special agent Olivia (Anna Torv) discovering that Peter, Walter’s son, is actually from the parallel universe that appears throughout the show. Walter ends the season finale by asking Olivia not to tell Peter, revealing that his son has no recollection of ever living in the other universe.
Peter died from a rare flu at an early age when his father was unable to discover a suitable cure to save him in time. The show suggests that Walter, counting on the fact that there was a “duplicate” Peter in the other universe, kidnaps his son from the other realm to replace him at home. As the first two seasons past, viewers were appalled by Walter’s behavior, claiming that his actions were selfish, and keeping the truth about Peter’s origins from him was wrong.
Though some moments in season three’s premiere episode are quite radical, the episode provides viewers a better understanding of Peter’s past and why his father kept the truth a secret. Several unanswered questions are touched upon in this gripping episode and Noble gives an amazingly emotional yet convincing performance, showing a side of Walter’s character never seen before.
Although the explanations provided in this episode might not put all accusations pointed at Walter to rest, viewers will sympathize and appreciate the emotional side of this science-fiction thriller.
That said, the episode also offers several radical explanations for events and scientific theories that just seem a little too convenient. The writers should focus more on developing the theories explored in the show and slowly arriving at scientific solutions to keep the show from being any more implausible than it absolutely has to be.
In addition to answering many of the most perplexing questions from season two, tonight’s premiere also gives a first glimpse at a flashback from the 1960s, when Walter was younger and Peter was just seven years old. Though the plot itself is dubious at times, viewers will find the differences between the 1960s and present day intriguing and slightly humorous.
For those who do not watch the show already, Fox has put together a crash course on its website titled “Fringe 101.” The web brief allows new viewers to become familiar with the show’s main storyline. In addition to some basics, the website also provides viewers with four essential episodes to view before the premiere.
Without giving too much away before tonight’s much-awaited premiere, the episode definitely provides a gripping tale and a great balance between the science-fiction thriller and meaningful storyline. But with only some questions answered and many more reaching the surface, the season will continue to depict the battles between the two realities, making for an out-of-this-world experience for its viewers.