No, not my bangs.
Dearest J.J. Abrams, all writers of Fringe, and yes, though it hurts me to say it, YOU, Joshua Jackson. This is for you too:
It had been crawling up on me for a few weeks now. That knowing, gnawing sense that something isn't right. It's the same feeling I get while dozing in bed at 8 am on a weekday and the house is quiet. It means the girls are getting in to something--eggs, marshmallows, pink frosting that is most good for painting all the walls. Yes, that same feeling has tickled and poked and buzzed at me for the last few weeks, from 8 pm to 9 pm, Tuesday nights.
Finally I had to say to. Husband, I said. There are three things that bother me about Fringe. Here they are, re-ordered from least important to most:
1. In that beautiful first episode with the airplane zombies, it was winter in Boston. Cold and snowy. According to the plot line in the show, no more than a few weeks could have passed. Yet in current episodes, it's springtime in Boston, folks. (Or Queens, where they actually shoot the show).
2. You give Pacey WAY to many one-liners. As a result of their sheer abundance, most of them aren't even funny. I get that when developing the show you imagined Pater would be the comic relief. I'm guessing you didn't know then just how hilarious John Noble as Walter Bishop would be. He's all the comic relief we need. Or at least the majority of it. Pater is supposed to be a genius. He has a dark past with some secret organazation that wants to hurt him and a tortured relationship with his father, or did in his childhood anyway. There's so much there! So many lost opportunities to give Pater depth. Work with that. Enough wise cracks about nutty daddy. We know daddy is nutty. We don't need Pater to point it out to us right before every commerical break in all his tenderly sarcastic glory (and that is your glory, Mr. Jackson. But only part of it).
3. This is the biggest problem. The show's Achilles heel. Pater and Olivia behave as if they aren't even in the same room. Does each even know the other is there? Anna Torv, I know you are busy saying all your clever lines as you figure out, via Paters interpretations of nutty daddy, what exactly is going on. You also manage to seem strong yet vulnerable while you do it and I'm sure it isn't easy. And Pater, your plate is full of the snappy dialogue, as stated above. But would it kill you two--surely not?--to just LOOK at eachother when you speak? Pater, I know you can do it. This is the other half of your glory. I spent six long years watching you give Joey meanigful, longing, loaded glances. I know you can do it! Last night you rattled of a line and then started into the distance as the camera focused to Olivia, in the foreground. You stood in the background with your arms crossed, gazing at god knows what. The cute chick holding the boom? I don't know. All I know is that you two have about as much chemistry as Ann Heche and Harrison Ford in that one painful movie that never should have been made and nearly robbed Harrison of all his sex appeal.
A lot of the fault for this lies in the writing. It's pretty obvious to have Pater and Olivia eventually hook up, I agree. But you need to decide whether you're going to do it or not so we can at least get a grip on how these two are supposed to relate to eachother. Do they tolerate eachother as a necessary means to their needed ends? Does each resent the other's position (Olivia gets the badge and the cred, Pacey gets all the smart-talk)? Do they like, even admire and respect, one another, although while knowing that romantically they could never work? Do they share a pint after torture? A cup of coffee before Walter? Or is there something there, something romantic waiting to spark to life? I don't really care what you pick. Just pick something! Right now they each sort of exist in a vaccuum. Remember Alias? Remember all those sweet and tender scenes when Alias talked to Vaughn in the back of the white van? They hashed out their day, how the mission went. What it's like being a double agent. Nothing deep. But for the love of god! It established some kind of chemistry.
I mean, seriously. ANYTHING would be better than Pater's weird and random touching of Liv's hand a few weeks ago (it came off creepy). And ANYTHING would beat Pater raising that tenderly sarcastic eyebrow and Liv and saying:
"I suppose I have you to thank for this (pigeon business), don't I?"
and Liv, not even looking at him while she replies, "Yep. That would be me."
With deepest love and hope,
certified Pater specialist.