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Fringe Airs "Winter Finale" That's Frightening And Flat

This was Fringe's "winter finale" (the next two months will be spent showing the reincarnation thriller Past Life), and its the second time in its two seasons that the show has taken this much time off before the end of the season.

Last year's hiatus was preceded by an exciting and intriguing episode. Following a rather freakish opening, this one offered up some cool glimpses into the alternate universe and set the table for the reason's home stretch, but did little else. It was a relief to return to Fringe's overall mythology after weeks of hit-or-miss self-contained episodes, but a lot of "Jacksonville" felt flat.

At the same time, there's no denying the overall freakiness of seeing the results of the two universes colliding. The details of the other-earth were quite intriguing (Nixon beloved enough to warrant a coin, double decker cars). And it's nice to finally have Walter's secret about Peter out in the open (does this mean Olivia will see a shimmery Peter every time she looks at him?)

Yet for all the time the episode spent with Olivia trying to tap into her powers by spotting which objects came from the other side, it felt like there needed to be more of a pay-off beyond her just learning to feel afraid again. Let's just call this one a necessary evil, getting Fringe back onto the entertaining course it set for itself at the start of the season.

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