This week, the TV Gods over at Fox decided to smile down upon us and give us another season of Fringe! Yes folks, it has been RENEWED! It’s a renewal for a shorter, 13 episode final season but it’s better than having the final two episodes of this season serve as the series finale as well. This way, they can plan out a decent conclusion to a show and give us an ending that has been planned rather than forced. Fox, you’ve annoyed me with several decisions you’ve made in the past but between renewing Fringe again, even with terrible ratings, and finally bringing House to a conclusion, I’m starting to see you in a little bit of a new light.
Anyway, ecstatic news aside, let’s move on.
THE GOOD WIFE – THE PENALTY BOX
There are two episodes left of the current season of The Good Wife and this week was the first of those two. Unlike other shows, TGW doesn’t rely on gigantic stories fleshed out over two episodes in order to end the season. This week was just like any other week, with a case not out of the ordinary at all and also retaining that level of excellence expected from it.
This week, Alicia and Co are tasked with helping a judge escape prosecution for allowing an innocent man be jailed for a crime he didn’t commit numerous years ago.. He does, however, deliver a line that’s rather interesting. “I don’t believe in Hell until I see lawyers”. I’ve often thought that some of the practices employed by the people who are meant to uphold the law in this show have been nothing short of wicked and borderline evil, but it’s also what makes them so excellent at it in the first place. You can’t fight an enemy who’s using the dirtiest tricks available to them with clean hands; sometimes they need to get a little dirty. Regardless, it’s a pretty standard case for the firm to take on but that’s not where the highlights lie for this week’s outing
Yes, Cary is back home! After almost two entire seasons away from where he belongs, he has made a much welcome return to the firm, parting amicably with Peter in the process. He’s unaware that Will wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about hiring him back, due to his participation with the investigation that ended with him suspended from law for six months, but even he cannot deny that the guy gets the job done. It’s like seeing an old friend depart for pastures new for two years and then come back home, fresh as ever and raring to go. He will make the next five months unbearable to wait through.
In a way, Will’s suspension has allowed for two things to happen: the first is for us to get some degree of an insight into Will’s character when he’s away from the courtroom and unable to practice the field which keeps him going, and the second is for other characters to get some of the limelight and shine a little more. I have always loved Diane from the minute I started watching the show and she’s started to become a little more prominent in these recent weeks, with her turbulent love life being a particular highlight. Even when Will does return properly, I hope we are still given more time with her character as well.
Also this week, Jackie was nowhere to be seen, which was strange given that she suffered a stroke last week and as far as we know, could be rotting on a morgue table. Not only that, the end of the episode served to show that Alicia has either made significant progress in forgiving Kalinda for her past indiscretions with Peter or has completely forgiven her. You cannot fathom how excited this makes me feel as their friendship has always been a true delight to see unfold. I’ve only spent an entire season wishing it to happen. If this is taken away from me in the finale, I won’t be a happy fan at all. With one episode remaining till September (I want to cry), the upcoming finale should be one hell of a ride.
ONCE UPON A TIME – THE RETURN
Any episode of ABC’s fairy-tale story that focuses on Rumpelstiltskin/Mr Gold is usually of a higher quality than the rest. There’s something intriguing about the character and the immense power he holds, even over Regina/The Evil Queen (who is generally considered the most powerful foe in the land), and the things which remain which still entice him to be less than murderous and wicked. ‘The Return’ once again drove that point home and then some, offering another fine outing.
Mystery man August, who’s been in town for several weeks now, has become particularly interested in Mr Gold, which obviously arouses the man’s suspicions. Gold eventually comes to the conclusion that August is in fact his son from the fairy-tale land that was, Baelfire. However, as time goes on, it becomes painfully obvious that August is only pretending to be his son, leading to a dramatic conclusion in the forest where August attempts to control Gold’s counterpart with the only blade that can kill him. He’s unsuccessful as there is no magic in this world, and he is left to continue suffering from an ailment that requires magic to be healed.
As I said previously, any episode that chooses to place its focus on Rumpelstiltskin stands out above the rest and this week wasn’t any different. As we got to see with the previous episode, The Evil Queen was, at one point, less evil and more human. The same applies to Rumpelstiltskin. Despite carrying an immense amount of power and control, his son is his anchor to his humanity. He’s willing to surrender his power if it means living peacefully with his son, and he almost gets that desire until he reneges on the deal and his son is swallowed by a magic portal without him. There may only be one knife in existence that can slay the dark one inside him but he also has another strong weakness in his son.
I am also struggling to fully understand who holds the most power in this show – Regina or Gold. Yes, Regina deployed the curse that landed them all in their current situation but it was Gold/Rumpelstiltskin that created that curse. They both hold considerable power and control but which one more than the other? I used to think it was the Queen. Now I’m unsure. Nevertheless, they’re both fantastic villains being played finely by their acting counterparts and for now, that’s more than enough for me.
Plus, does anyone else suspect that August is Pinocchio? The dead leg whilst he was in bed, the need of magic to cure a mysterious ailment, the obvious tendency to tell lies. It’s becoming more and more like that is the case.
THE VAMPIRE DIARIES – DO NOT GO GENTLE
In this week’s trip to Mystic Falls, we are treated with yet another event at the school (really? Another?), more hocus pocus from Bonnie, big bad Klaus exerting his power over the others and a near death for Alaric. Nothing really out of the ordinary this week, which is part of the problem.
So far, I doubt you’ll find anybody willing to go out of their way to say season three has been better than season two. It hasn’t. Whilst season two kept you in suspense for a lot of the time, unsure as to where things were heading next, season three has stagnated. As usual, we are being given the usual ‘weapon to kill Klaus fails’ plot, only this time it’s Esther who takes the role of that weapon. She makes the last remaining white oak tree stake indestructible before attempting to create Alaric into an all-powerful vampire hunter to take down her son and the rest of the originals. Of course, that fails as Alaric stabs her in the back and refuses to transition into a vampire, until stupid ol’ Bonnie does it for her instead. How much are we betting that Klaus will slaughter Alaric before this season ends? Anyone?
It’s becoming tiresome. No, scratch that, it became tiresome a while ago. I understand that they’re probably leaving Klaus’ fate till the finale but it feels as though very little has happened in these last few episodes. The only progression seems to have come from Elena being confused as to which brother she wants to be with. We’ve been promised a conclusion to this ‘triangle’ by season’s end but I wouldn’t be surprised if the trademark cop-out ‘I choose myself’ line is used, which we all know won’t stick and she’ll eventually end up with one of them anyway. I want her to be with Damon but my wishes are seldom granted so that’s irrelevant.
As well as dealing with witches, originals and death this week, Alaric came dangerously close to biting the bullet for one final time. The scene with the rest of the cast surrounding the crypt he was to die in was finely done, carrying that correct balance of emotion that was needed to make it worthwhile. It did look a ‘little’ silly as some of the people there, like Tyler, haven’t exactly shared much with Alaric so their emotion was a tad strange. That being said, I was all but prepared to say goodbye to Alaric, and all of the other characters had said their goodbyes too. Even though it would’ve been sad to see him go, it would have been an effective ending for the character. But no, in typical Vampire Diaries fashion, Bonnie came along at the last second and forced him to turn into the thing Esther was hoping for in the first place. As much as I share glee that Alaric isn’t gone, I’m also disappointed that the emotional ending we were being led down was completely tossed aside for the required dramatic cliffhanger. The show has gotten so predictable of late that I was expecting him to be saved at the last second but I did, for one second, think they may just let him die. Obviously not.
The Vampire Diaries will continue to grace my TV screen until the day it dies, but it truly has hit a brick wall in recent weeks, offering little story progression as it’s obviously held back for the finale. Season four is certain to happen but I just hope we can move on from this endless ‘let’s kill Klaus’ charade and start focusing on different, and better, things. But, as I said earlier, my wishes are not granted as often as I’d like…
FRINGE – WORLD’S APART
The two universes are in danger of collapsing into a single, David Robert Jones controlled, universe. That cannot happen and after failing to secure Jones and prevent the collapse, the Fringe teams on both sides are forced to do the unthinkable – turn off the machine bridging the two worlds, severing the connection and putting a stop to the healing being done to the other side. ‘World’s Apart’ does a good job of setting us up for a two-part finale in which anything can happen and what will happen is a mystery to me.
It’s been said before that episodes with the two worlds coming together to unite for a single cause are simply fantastic. This episode had that element nailed down completely. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen Walter and Walternate together on the same screen and it did not disappoint, with John Noble once again demonstrating why he deserves more recognition than he gets for his work on this show. Astrid and her other world counterpart sharing a little wave goodbye and the two Olivia’s both declaring their envy of qualities in the other are also fine moments. The link between the worlds has been disconnected but if we never see the other side again, it’ll be most disappointing. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has grown to love the alternate versions just as much as the ‘normal’ ones, maybe even more so at times. I don’t want to have to say goodbye to them. Ever. That final scene with the two sets of characters standing on either side of the machine, saying goodbye for what may be the last time, was too emotional for me to describe.
With just two episodes remaining of this season, both looking to be gigantic in proportions, it’s a complete mystery as to where they’re going to take things. A fifth season renewal has happened so the pressure of having to give us a series conclusion as well as a season ending aren’t there anymore. It’s entirely possible that the final season will feature heavy reliance on the future world introduced last week, but we still have to get from here to there and there’s a considerable road to cross on that journey. It’s sad that a show as creative and imaginative as Fringe is finally coming to an end next year as it’s capable of continuing for many more if it was given the chance, but the remaining 15 episodes of the whole show are sure to be nothing short of spectacular. Fringe, you’ve been a highlight of my TV viewing schedule for many years now. Don’t disappoint me, I beg of you.
Also, don’t kill Olivia off. Fringe without any of the four guys in the lab isn’t Fringe to me. Take note of that. Thanks.
So, that wraps things up for another week. As usual, I’d be more than interested to hear your opinions on the things I mentioned here and anything else. Also, with the ending of The Good Wife arriving tonight, the ‘season finale period’ has officially begun. Regular episodes of TV give me plenty of things to discuss so the various finales happening in the next month are sure to give me even more. This next month is a good (and bad) time to be a TV fan, but it’s still going to be wonderful.