Fringe : Season 3

  • Network: FOX
  • Series Premiere Date: Sep 9, 2008
Season #: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
User Score
9.0

Universal acclaim- based on 212 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 4 out of 212

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  1. Sep 24, 2010
    6
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Not a bad opener episode: thrilling, action-filled, and interesting from a character perspective (Olivia). Sets up what we can expect for the next few episodes and started building some new conflicts. Unfortunately, they are not conflicts I'm excited about seeing. I can only hope the "swap" doesn't last too long. Last season I was enjoying Fringe's take on the alternate universe cliche which is ubiquitous in science fiction. They were executing it in a way that felt fresh... that it was not easy to cross between the two, and the brewing conflict of war because only one would survive. And the differences between the two realities was subtle (like the zeppelins) and cool. But now, with the whole "oh no, Oliiva's been swapped out! watch out Walter and Peter, it's not her!!!" it's starting to feel very rehashed. It's something I've seen too frequently and if it goes for more than 2-3 episodes I will be frustrated. Expand
  2. Jun 2, 2011
    6
    To say the least, I was really disappointed by this season of Fringe. A show with this much potential deserves better writing, especially with the lead actors (notably Torv and Noble) and guest stars (Seth Gabel, Kirk Acevedo, Michael Eklund, Alan Ruck, Paula Malcomson, and many more) giving such amazing performances. Although this season contained one of my least favourite episodes (6955To say the least, I was really disappointed by this season of Fringe. A show with this much potential deserves better writing, especially with the lead actors (notably Torv and Noble) and guest stars (Seth Gabel, Kirk Acevedo, Michael Eklund, Alan Ruck, Paula Malcomson, and many more) giving such amazing performances. Although this season contained one of my least favourite episodes (6955 kHz), it also contained some really excellent ones (The Plateau, Amber 31422). However, after a strong start, the show degraded into clichéd plot points, stilted dialogue, and seemingly unnecessary elements that only served to jumble the plot. Don't even get me started about "soul magnets". The episodes that take place 'over here' became increasingly difficult to watch as quirky habits of characters were accentuated to an almost caricature-like level. I wanted to see new sides of Peter and Walter, but all I was handed were the recycled bits that once made these characters amiable. With no source of new material, I turned to the 'over there' episodes for something better. And I certainly found it; I found myself falling in love with the differences displayed in the world and characters of the 'other side'. I loved seeing the contrast of the slightly deviated reality (West Wing posters, The Red Lantern, etc.) and the depth given to the alternate Fringe Division, especially the alternate Olivia and Agent Lee. I started to become more and more deeply invested in this other reality, to a point where I wished that this was the only universe I had to watch.
    Back on 'our side', deus ex machina was running rampant. There were so many times in this season where an "Oh, it just so happens that..." or "Well, we didn't tell you this before, but..." moment occurred that I eventually had to just tune out my vexation and accept that it was going to keep happening. Suddenly, everything was directly related to Olivia, Peter, or Walter ('soul magnets', 'the crow bar', 'the doomsday machine') that my suspension of disbelief began to slip away. Sometimes, its better for characters to not be TOO special. Need I mention Torv's Leonard Nemoy impression?
    All these components, the good and bad, ultimately culminate to the season finale. I won't spoil it for anyone reading (hopefully I haven't spoiled anything of importance so far in this review), but let me say that it is one of the higher moments in this season's bumpy ride. The final hour of Season Three was tense, fresh, and gave us something completely new - for the most part. Although not as mind-blowing or ingenious as the two-part Season Two conclusion, it was a breath of fresh air from the sometimes painful to watch wanderings of Season Three's storyline. But in the last few minutes, we are dropped back into what I liked least of all about this season. Mystery for the sake of mystery. The cliffhanger at the end of Season Two took me by complete surprise, but made a lot of sense in retrospect. It made me wonder what would happen next and kept me hooked and yearning for more. Season Three's cliffhanger ending literally came out of nowhere. Instead of making me want more, it left me wondering "Why the hell did they do that?"
    Now, don't get me wrong. I've been watching Fringe since the beginning, and I really love the show. Season 1 was a very promising and refreshing beginning, introducing a great new world and set of characters. Season 2 expanded on the world(s) introduced by the first, and tied together many previous plot points into an intricate web of tense, inventive storytelling. But in Season 3, the show's output became increasingly inconsistent. It has some incredible moments, but they are unfortunately strewn amid the muddle and mundanity of the intermediary bits. All I can do is hope that Season 4 of Fringe brings back what was lost in Season 3.
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Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 6 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Reviewed by: Robert Bianco
    Oct 21, 2010
    63
    I'm not giving up on the show, which was one of last year's best. But I don't want to spend weeks watching our Olivia suffer and their Olivia make Walter and Peter suffer. You have to give writers leeway to take you where they want to go--but at a certain point, commercial entertainment has to be entertaining, or there's no reason to watch.
  2. 88
    Rather than waiting for a future payoff, Fringe is cashing in with every episode, showing us the escalating war between worlds-and with likeable characters and compelling cases to boot. Ironically, it's by branching out in two different directions that the show has become, more than ever, the centerpiece of a hypercompetitive Thursday night lineup.
  3. I have to put in a good word for Fox's excellent Fringe, which returns with a strong episode tonight that helps demonstrate why Anna Torv was cast in the first place.