We’re watching our way through Fringe and are in the middle of season 3, just after the Olivias return to their proper places.
I sat through the “monster of the week” beginnings in season one, then was exasperated to find another dozen MOTW episodes leading off season two before we got back to the bigger story arcs. Season three has had a more consistently progressive story line, but… is it just me, or is it a bit of a weary winding ox-cart experience? It’s been a dozen episodes of almost glacial progress and much anguished hand-wringing. Is JJ Abrams not able to manage story buildup? Does he have to have his series vamp and preen for half the season before getting down to the interesting parts?
A little bit. I am several episodes ahead of you, nearing the end of Season 3. But it’s not awful by any means, and I rather like the Monster of the Week episodes - sometimes more than the myth arc.
I don’t agree this is an Abrams problem, though - I feel it’s a product of American telly in which there has to be 20 or 22 or 24 episodes in a season. Naturally some of them will be filler. When you only have 13 or 14 episodes in a season, you get much less filler and go straight to the plot much more.
You can always skip the MOTW episodes, I guess, but as I said, I enjoy them. You will now be seeing more episodes of Fauxlivia, which annoy me far more than the MOTW - I haven’t yet been convinced to care about her or her universe, other than a couple of people.
I’ve always thought that Abrams problem wasn’t a slow build up, but building to nowhere, and when faced with the unavoidable narrative dead end, just starting in a completely different road disregarding the rest.
I remember that when Fringe was starting, the producers stated that the show would be more episodic than Lost so you could miss an episode and still know what’s going on. They didn’t really drop that completely until season 3, although there were still MOTW episodes after that.
I think Frigne is one of the few shows that is actually better watching it week to week rather than marathoning it on Netflix for that reason.
I notice “the Pattern” disappeared completely by the middle of season 2. There are also some gaping plot holes that I’ve noted and set aside in the assumption that later developments will bring them together… but now I’m not so sure.