Fringe: the romance that is–or isn’t– to be.

FringeI’ve been watching Fringe lately on a whim and have made it to the third season. For those who have not seen the show, this blog will have spoilers. If you chose to read on, know that I’ll be discussing major plot points in the series.

Still with me?

Currently I’m watching season three. For those who are familiar with the series, I’ve just passed the beetle episode and have headed into the one about the old building with the people who fall through the balcony. No, I don’t know what happens yet because I’m typing this as I watch.

I’ll be honest that from the beginning of the series, I’ve anticipated the Olivia and Peter love story, and been against it from the start. I got the Olivia and John romance. They made sense to me and their characters clicked. There was something about them which worked.

I’ve never felt that way about Peter and Olivia, and yet, it’s hard to impossible to withstand the urge to cheer them on in a work place romance. There’s something about Olivia’s drive versus Peter’s laid back attitude that never seems to work for me as a long lasting couple. They seem imbalanced. And yet as I watch season three, I want them to work out. I want the characters to fall in love, save both worlds and live happily ever after.

And yet I don’t.

This point in the plot, I know that faux-Olivia is pregnant with Peter’s child. It’s been interesting watching and talking about this evolution of character development. My boyfriend and I are comically of two minds many times, but we both kind of wish she had been infected with the beetles and died instead of survived. But let’s cover this in three stages.

faux-Olivia. I don’t really sympathize with her. I find the episodes in “their” world are the ones I blank out on. I probably even root against her in a lot of this. I see her being used against Peter and real-Olivia in the future. Especially the baby. That’s a manipulation pie waiting to pop out of the oven.

Fringe Olivia PeterPeter. It’s interesting because my boyfriend is obviously arguing Peter’s innocence in this. And I’m not saying he is guilty of anything. It would be hard to blame him for anything except being a dude who merely doesn’t pick up on everything. I really can’t find fault in him for seeing the changes in Olivia, the faux-Olivia, and attributing it to their new romance. I can’t imagine the guilt and confusion Peter, were he a real person in this instance, would be under going. I get that. But I do find fault in the insistence of his character that the only thing holding them back is Olivia. I feel like that’s unfair.

real-Olivia. Or just Olivia.

There is a complexity to her character and what she’s going through that is so compelling. This idea that her life has been stolen, violated by someone else, and these experiences and relationships that should have been her own. The outro on the episode where she yanked clothes out of her closet, pulled the sheets off and found Peter’s clothes in her dryer, that really tugged on my heart. Faced with the mind-reader episode and the little things Peter does to be thoughtful to her, which are really remnants of faux-Olivia only twist the knife a little further.

For me, I don’t know if I think Olivia and Peter should ever reconnect romantically. I identify with Olivia’s reaction after her and Peter kiss for the first time, the idea that maybe she can never be vulnerable with him. After what we’ve seen her go through on the show, it’s not hard to believe. To understand her side of it.

It’s frustrating to listen to Peter say, “The only thing keeping us apart is you,” when it’s a world of things.

I really like that the show has challenged the ideals of romance and what it takes to fall and remain in love.

And now I will go watch another episode.

Sidney Sig

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