The Fringe season 4 premiere episode “Neither Here Nor There” airs tomorrow on FOX at 9pm EST, and although our own Sam McPherson has already given you his thoughts on what is to come let me add to the Fringe love-in: Fringe premiere is one of the best episodes of the series bar none. I would put it up against any episode of Fringe so far. Personally, I was very scared for the show when it was revealed Peter would be removed from the dynamic, “Neither Here Nor There” succeeds not despite his absence, but because of it. What you will see in “Neither Here Nor There” is not how the show Fringe does without Josh Jackson’s presence, but how the characters and their emotional landscapes shift in the absence of Peter.
There is hardly a moment where Peter’s absence isn’t crying out from the subtext, or skewing the psychological nuance of the characters. Walter is more lost, yet also more independent in a numb autonomic sort of way; Astrid’s already formidable skills are an even bigger part of the team now, without Peter’s wunderkind autodidact-isms; and Olivia has developed a steelier emotional armor, suggesting that Peter was as healing a presence as he was a source of strength.
In terms of story, “Neither Here Nor There” is acutely aware of its duty to deal with the enigmatic “unbeing” of Peter, while finding a way to comfortably ease us into yet another Fringe `verse – in this case via the gateway of fresh eyes to the Fringe team, Lincoln Lee. The clips released this evening by FOX will give you a pretty good indication of how the episode accomplishes all of this at a level of mastery that is purely Fringe‘s singular territory. Fringe “Neither Here Nor There” premieres tomorrow, Friday, at 9pm EST on FOX.