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YMMV / Fringe

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Walternate - Magnificent Bastard with a touch of Omnicidal Maniac for spice; or simply a man who saw a series of attacks on his universe - that have killed thousands, if not millions, starting with the kidnapping of his son, and may possibly culminate with a Class X-4 Apocalypse - and believes this to be the result of a deliberate attack by "our" side, and thus regards himself as fighting a war. John Noble sees it as both.
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    • Played with in Season 3: Walter says he no longer sees Walternate as pure evil after facing the choice to seal a soft-spot with amber. Walternate, in turn, says he will never authorise experiments on children, a line Walter crossed a long time ago. In Season 4, with the alternate timeline, Walternate is no longer a bad guy, but remains mistrusted by "our" side.
    • The Observer in "An Origin Story". Was he really displaying a fear response? Did he say what he did simply to screw with Peter's head? Or was he really devoid of any emotion?
    • There is a mild one for Captain Windmark: Is he a Blue and Orange Morality Knight Templar Well-Intentioned Extremist who is trying to build the perfect world for his nation of Observers or The Sociopath, The Unfettered who just loves to squash humans like bugs for the Hell of it? Or both?
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  • Award Snub: John Noble's lack of even a single Emmy nomination has left many fans howling. Anna Torv does an amazing job too.
  • Awesome Music: The theme/intro music is very distinct and memorable.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
  • Bizarro Episode: Season 2 episode 20, "Brown Betty". Season 3 episode 19, "Lysergic Acid Diethylamide". Season 5 episode 9, "Black Blotter". No, it's not a coincidence that all are named after (and involve use of) mind-altering drugs.
    • Also Season 4 episode 19 "Letters of Transit" is unrelated to the current plot, but is a sneak peek of Season 5.
  • Complete Monster: Most villains have sympathetic motivations to their actions and/or redeeming qualities. Nevertheless, there have been exceptions.
    • David Robert Jones, the head of ZFT utilizes bio-attacks with the Pattern, showcasing the danger of different types of powers via the innocent lives that are taken. Seemingly well-intentioned, Jones later completely abandons any pretense, happily murdering those in his trail, including the shapeshifter he supposedly "loved" just to make a point on how dangerous he is. Assisting William Bell, Jones plots to obliterate all of two timelines, leaving only the template for Bell's new world without any of Bell's more positive qualities or intents.
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    • Richard Steig, from "Pilot", is a former employee of Massive Dynamic who was asked to steal research into airborne viral contagions, research that had been conducted by the scientists Walter Bishop and William Bell decades earlier. Stieg was able to manufacture a flesh-melting contagion that causes the infected individual's skin to decompose in a matter of seconds. The contagion was then smuggled onto Flight 627 in his twin brother Morgan Steig's insulin pen. He chose Morgan to show his "commitment" for potential buyers for the toxin. Everyone on the plane died when the toxin made them crystalize.
    • David Esterbrook, from season 1's "The Cure", was the head of the pharmaceutical research division of the company INtREPUS. Esterbrook, to make money, created a program that would forcibly abduct and turn young women who suffered from a rare disease into unknowing radiation suicide bombers. He tested this on a cafe full of innocent people, causing their brains to boil and burst. After the first test, Esterbrook simply opted to repeat the process, showing no remorse or hesitation when confronted by Special Agent Olivia Dunham.
    • The artificially youthful Nazi Mad Scientist Alfred Hoffman, from season 2's "The Bishop Revival", was an unrepentant sociopath who survived the war and went into hiding. Decades later, Hoffman resurfaces with his greatest creation: a toxin he engineers to target specific genetic strains. He first tests it on a Holocaust survivor and her family at a wedding. He later tests it on a cafe to confirm its effectiveness and the fact he can use it to kill anyone not part of his "Master Race". Before Walter Bishop turns the toxin on Hoffman himself, Hoffman is about to deliver it at a human rights conference to kill everyone there.
    • Reverend Marcus and Wyatt Toomy, from season 3's "The Abducted", are responsible for the string of child kidnappings in the parallel universe. Wyatt, "The Candyman", would kidnap these children and along with Marcus would extract the hormones from their spines where Wyatt would use the hormones to make himself young while Marcus would use them to promote his cult, the Astoria Church, fueling his god complex; the kidnapped children would become disfigured and ill, even dying as a result of the duo's torturous experiments, with Phillip Broyles's son, Christopher, ending up blind. When Olivia Dunham kills Wyatt and rescues his latest victim, Marcus attempts to kill Christopher, only to be killed by Phillip himself.
    • Captain Windmark, the Big Bad of season 5, is an Observer who led his kind to invade Earth in 2015. Conquering Earth, Windmark would oppress the humans living there for 21 years, conducting torturous experiments on them and making the planet's air toxic for them, causing many to become deformed or dying. When the Fringe team escape from their amber hibernation, Windmark mind rapes numerous people in his pursuit of the team, and murders Peter and Olivia's daughter Etta. When Windmark learns of the team's plan to use the Anomaly, Michael, to prevent the invasion from happening, Windmark capture Michael with plans to disassemble him, and mind rapes Phillip to near-death when he learns of his allegiance to the Fringe team. While most Observers use cold logic to justify their actions, Windmark admits pure hatred is the reason behind his, ending the series as one of its vilest villains.
  • Crazy Awesome:
    • Walter. This man cured a virus that wiped out the mammoths with horseradish.
    • William Bell. Planned his little Body Surf months in advance.
    • Peter has his moments. He used the amount of adrenalin in a woman's brain to calculate where she had been killed.
  • Critical Research Failure: Walter describes a clearly single celled organism as a Virus. He even answers in the affirmative when asked if it is a single cell. Viruses are less than a cell, being simply genetic material in a protein sheath. As such it would not be able to move under its own power.
  • Die for Our Ship:
    • Alternate!Olivia is not exactly well liked by the Peter/Olivia shippers.
    • Rachel got a little hate for flirting with Peter.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Thomas Jerome Newton is arguably the most popular villain in the series. And why not?
    • Despite being an absolute complete dick, a lot of fans have taken to Windmark.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Charlie, Lincoln (in both universes), Gene the cow , Scarlie, William Bell, Brandon, Sam Weiss, Alistair Peck, Henry Higgins the cab driver, and Asteroid! Er... I mean Astrix! Oh wait no. Astro! That's it.
  • Evil Is Cool: When you have David Robert Jones, Thomas Jerome Newton, Secretary Walternate, William Bell and Captain Windmark, it almost seems like they were TRYING to invoke this.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Newton falls into this one as well.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Most everyone would love to see Lincoln (alternate universe) and Fauxlivia together.
    • She ends up with Lincoln from the original universe.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
  • Growing the Beard:
    • After the episode "Peter", the series generally lost its monster of the week formula and the alternate universe angle became much more prominent. The show has been far better ever since.
    • There's a lot of first season contenders for which episode Grew the Beard, all of them being episodes that introduced some element of the Myth Arc.
      • "The Arrival", which introduced the Observer.
      • "In Which We Meet Mr. Jones", which gave us the first Big Bad of the series.
      • "Ability", which fleshed out ZFT and the concept of the War with the Other Side, and introduced Olivia's cortexiphan abilities.
      • "There's More Than One of Everything", which revealed that Walter abducted Peter, introduced William Bell and featured the series' first trip to the Alternate Universe.
      • "Momentum Deferred", in which the stakes of the series are very explicitly laid out for the first time.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Walter's very first line. "I knew someone would come eventually." At the time, it's simply a crazy man thinking that someone would come for him someday. After watching the entire show, it's because he knows they'll need his help because he broke the entire universe.
    • Watching "Unleashed" (S1-E16) after "A New Day In The Old Town" (S2-E01): the episode is about trying to save Agent Charlie Francis from being killed by the larvae of a hybrid monster inside him. It also shows his family. Then, in A New Day in The Old Town, the writers Dropped A Shapeshifting Assassin On Him.
    • William Bell warning Olivia about how terrible and horrifying the Shapeshifters are becomes a little bit unsettling when we find out Bell invented the damn things.
    • Walter locking up our Olivia in the dark in "Subject 13" is much more disturbing when you think about the light deprivation torture that was inflicted on her by Walternate.
    • "Everything In Its Right Place" was full of these.
      • "You'd do the same if it was your partner."
      • "I've never seen her barf or shed a tear."
      • "That's the difference between you and me. My universe wouldn't survive without me."
    • William Bell flirting with Astrid is suddenly not funny any more.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In what may be an amusing bit of Foreshadowing, the episode "The Road Not Taken" has a Conspiracy Theorist claim he is Spock. Later on, we find out who is playing William Bell...
      • This was intentionally done. The actor had previously appeared in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine two-parter "Past Tense" playing basically the same character: someone suffering a mental illness in the year 2024 who believed aliens were among us. The Star Trek reboot also premiered 4 days after the episode aired.
    • Over There, Andrew Jackson has been replaced on the $20 by Martin Luther King. In 2016, the US Treasury announced they would be replacing Andrew Jackson on the $20 with a prominent African-American civil rights activist (Harriet Tubman).
    • Marie Averopoulos and Richard Harmon who both guest starred in the episode White Tulip are both main characters on the show The 100.
  • Ho Yay / Les Yay
    • Walter/Bell. Walter even has an affectionate nickname for "Belly." In 3.20, Walter tells Bell that he needs him. Now imagine that whole conversation between a man and a woman who've known each other for a long time...
      • "We could have been so happy together." It's like they forgot to be subtle about it.
    • Lincoln (the one from the original universe) with both Peter and his late partner Robert Danzig.
    • Astrid and William Bell-possessed Olivia.
    • PI Olivia and Esther Figglesworth.
    • Some fans thought the vibe between Rachel and Olivia was not at all "sisterly."
    • Olivia seeing herself as Lane entering a strip club and kissing and going home with a female stripper.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Walternate. He's a Manipulative Bastard Knight Templar who's willing to commit horrible crimes to preserve his universe (including destroying another universe), but after we learn his backstory and how he came to this point it's near impossible to not pity him at least a little. Walter used to count as this too, but his time in the mental asylum and his lobotomy caused him to lose the Jerkass part.
  • Magnificent Bastard: William Bell is a brilliant scientist and a who founded the corporation, Massive Dynamic, and is also revealed to be backing the terrorist organization ZFT, using them to test Olivia Dunham into activating her powers to enter the Alternate Universe he resides where he tells her of the upcoming catastrophe her universe will face before sending her back. When Olivia and Walter Bishop arrives in the alternate universe again William Bell would save them and Peter Bishop and bring them back to their universe by sacrificing himself. Though seemingly dead, William Bell had his soul stored inside a bell which possessed Olivia when she activates it, whom he brokers a deal with Walter to return Olivia's body if they transfer his conscious to a computer; he lied about the latter working revealing that he "hates goodbyes". Alive again in an alternate timeline, William would enact his most ingenious and diabolical plan of destroying both Walter's and the alternate universes to create his own universe using Olivia as his catalyst, a plan that nearly succeeds if not for his equally brilliant friend Walter intervening. Always alternating between the Fringe divisions greatest ally to most dangerous enemy, William Bell made his mark as the series' most morally ambiguous yet brilliantly charming character.
  • Memetic Mutation: A new word has recently been coined, "Walterism."
    "She tricked my son with her carnal manipulation and he fell right into her vagenda!"
    (Watching Spongebob Squarepants with Gene and Astrid) "It's surprisingly profound... for a narrative about a sponge."
    (smiles) "I just got an erection. Oh, fear not. It's nothing to do with your state of undress. I just simply need to urinate."
    "Hello, Peter. This is me... your father... Walter Bishop."
    "Don't be such a prude Peter, I'm sure Agent Dunham knows what a penis looks like!"
  • Moe: Astrid. Both of them, but especially red-universe Astrid — who, hilariously, seems to provoke this reaction from her own blue-universe self.
  • Paranoia Fuel: Frequently.
    • There is a chemical that causes your orifices to seal themselves shut. It's most commonly distributed on plain 'ol American paper currency. If some attempts to trach-tube you, your skin could simply grow over the trach. A two-dollar bill to be exact. Though Walter posits that they were just "showing off"; there's nothing to stop them from putting it on any given bill. Say, you got change for a twenty?
    • Right now, people from another universe could be watching you. And you'd never know it.
    • A shape-shifting assassin may have killed and replaced someone you know. Maybe a co-worker, maybe a friend, maybe a loved one. They look the same, act the same, and even have all the same memories. By the time you realize something's wrong, it's probably too late.
    • "No Brainer" gives someone melting brains using the internet. Now if that's not high octane paranoia fuel to everyone reading this page, you must have a fantastic popup blocker.
    • Mind reading, invaders from the future.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
  • The Scrappy: Sanford Harris, the DHS consultant brought in to oversee the Fringe team during the latter half of season one. He clearly has a vendetta against Olivia due to her prosecuting him for three counts of sexual assault pre-series and spends every single appearance getting in the way and undermining the team's efforts to solve their cases. Very few tears were shed when Nancy Lewis set him on fire.
  • Seasonal Rot: Not as pronounced as in a lot of cases but for some people the fourth season's switch to an alternate timeline and the confusion as to whether we should see these characters as those we knew for the first three years or merely alternate versions caused problems and emotional distance from the storyline.
  • She Really Can Act: Many viewers who were underwhelmed by Anna Torv's performance changed their minds at the end of Season 2, when they saw just how convincingly she could play Olivia and Fauxlivia as two separate characters.
  • Ship Tease
    • Rachel and Peter had a few moments of flirtation in Season 1. There was disapproval.
    • Nina and Broyles. They kiss in Season 2. This is never brought up again.
    • It was suggested that Nina had a thing for William Bell throughout the series. Considering he tried to use her adopted daughter to destroy the two universes and made no attempt to save her life, the ship has probably sunk.
    • Walter and Fauxlivia have their moments of not-to-be-taken-seriously-but-kinda-hilarious flirtation in season 4.
  • Shocking Swerve:
    • "Of Human Action" has some jarring twists:
      • The kid turns out to be behind everything.
      • The anti-mind control headphones turn out to not work.
      • Moreover it turns out there are several Tylers.
    • "6:02 am EST" was full of these.
    • The season three finale. Yeah.
  • Squick:
    • It's okay to squirm during scenes like Flight 627, the shades-of-Alien pregnancy scene, or when people's skin start growing over their eyes... and ears... and mouth... and other places. Really.
    • The mutant shapeshifter fetus thing.
      • The tearing sound. Oh God the tearing sound!
    • William Bell wanting Peter and Olivia to be his "Adam and Eve". Does the term "genetic bottleneck" mean anything to you?
  • Tear Jerker: Has its own page.
  • Too Cool to Live
    • Captain Lincoln Lee.
    • David Robert Jones. Twice.
    • Thomas Jerome Newton.
    • September/Donald
  • Toy Ship: Young Peter and Young Olivia in "Subject 13".
  • Uncanny Valley: The Observers. They're pale and hairless, speak in a Creepy Monotone and have an odd way of staring at people. They're more in the "off-putting" rather than "scary" part of the Valley.
  • What an Idiot!:
    • What would possess someone to create a wasp/snake/bat hybrid creature? In what universe is that a good idea?! Ours, apparently.
    • September, we love you and everything, but why the hell didn't you just tell Walternate the cure was working?
    • Characters seem to have a giant blindspot for their friends being replaced by impersonators:
      • Pretty much everyone for not noticing that Fauxlivia was acting odd. After a mission to an alternate universe. Where they know there is an alternate version of her. Also shapeshifters who can look like anyone. Not a single red flag.
      • Similarly, no one checking to make sure Charlie... was Charlie after he was replaced by a shapeshifter. When they knew they were fighting a shapeshifter. Seriously, guys...
    • More a case of Grief Makes You A Dumbass, but there is not a chance that Peter inserting Observer tech into his brain without knowing a thing about it is a good idea.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic? — The Eye Catches show a peculiarly changed item, such as a cross-section of an apple with fetuses (feti?) as the seeds, or a frog with the Greek letter Phi, or Φ, printed on it, along with a point of light. The Other Wiki says Phi is used as a symbol for several interesting subjects, such as electric or magnetic flux in physics, a shorthand representation for an aromatic functional group in organic chemistry (which relates directly to the pilot episode), and a sentence in first-order logic.
    • Not to mention the number (1.618...) represented by Phi, and, by extension, the Golden Ratio, although the Golden Ratio is usually denoted by the lowercase version of Phi (φ). Still, it's relation to science and nature fits right in with the theme of the show.
  • The Woobie:
    • As much as Walter deserved to be locked away for his experiments in the past, one can't help but feel for him when he starts crying or suffers a Heroic BSoD as a result of his inability to deal with the skeletons in his closet.
    • Peter:
    • A lot of the minor characters come to mind. Christopher Broyles and Joseph Meagar just to name a few.
    • Rachel Dunham, Olivia's sister. Her husband is a jackass.
    • Olivia. In Season 1, her boyfriend dies (but not before she finds out he's a traitor), she gets kidnapped and discovers that she was experimented on a child. In Season 2, she crashes through a windshield, develops PTSD, falls in love with Peter, Peter leaves, she goes to rescue him from an Alternate Universe, she gets left behind in said Alternate Universe with no obvious way of escaping and Walternate tortures and experiments on her. In Season 3, she gets mind raped into thinking she's her alternate self, she remembers who she is, she gets captured again, she gets rescued and comes home only to discover that Peter was doing her alternate. In Season 4, she can't remember the love of her life even existed, she's being drugged against her will so that she can be used to power some doomsday device, she remembers the love of her life but forgets her surrogate mother, and then she gets shot in the head. At some point between 4 and 5, her daughter goes missing, her world is invaded and she and Peter have a falling out. In Season 5, she spends 20 years in amber and then bonds with her long lost daughter, who is then unceremoniously killed off. She then finds her surrogate mother after Nina is forced to shoot herself in the head. Young Olivia was even more Woobie-ish. After Walter frightens her into blowing up a room, she runs away. Not because she doesn't want to be experimented on any more... but because she thinks that she "messed up" and that Walter will send her away. That's right folks. She's so terrified of her stepfather that she'd rather be in an illegal drug trial. Seriously... just look at her.
    • Alt-Astrid, after her father dies.
    • Lincoln.
    • Amber Timeline Nina Sharp, considering her daughter can't remember her, her granddaughter died, she's in love with an Omnicidal Maniac who screwed her over epicly, she spends 21 years without her family, in a wheelchair with a broken cybernetic arm and surrounded by mind reading invaders from another time, she thinks that the only thing she's good for is helping the Fringe team, and when it gets out she's part of the resistance she's forced to perform a Heroic Suicide to stop herself from betraying Olivia and the others. Her life sucked.
    • If Fauxlivia wasn't upgraded to Jerkass Woobie status at the end of Season 3, she definitely was when Lincoln gets shot.
    • Etta Bishop is another Iron Woobie.
    • September AKA Donald. He's basically been alone for 21 years but not after being experimented on and banished by the other Observers.
      • And a case of fridge horror, can you imagine what it must have felt like, for September to get up, and suddenly be hit with raves of emotions? And also to live must of his life as Observer and to suddenly have all that taken away?
    • The cortexiphan subjects. All of them. Olivia got off lucky.

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