Last season's "Fringe" finale was one of its strongest episodes - especially the future stuff and melding of universes - but it didn't do itself any favors going forward. Having Peter (Joshua Jackson) disappear from reality creates serious storytelling hurdles for Season 4.

Last season’s “Fringe” finale was one of its strongest episodes — especially the future stuff and melding of universes — but it didn’t do itself any favors going forward. Having Peter (Joshua Jackson) disappear from reality creates serious storytelling hurdles for Season 4.

A temporary disappearance is not an original storytelling device, but the writers will most likely put an interesting twist on it. Still, it makes the premiere a difficult episode.

You can’t just have Peter reunite with Olivia (Anna Torv) and Walter (John Noble) right off the bat because it kills the cliffhanger and would be a cop-out.

Unfortunately the move forces the premiere to focus on a case and what the characters’ lives are like without Peter. “Fringe” does great procedural work sometimes, but I so want to get back to the good stuff — colliding universes, doomsday machines, Fauxlivia, Walternate, bald guys with hats.

All that stuff is there, but the writers are waiting to address the big issues. That’s what has to happen so that tension can build.

Still, I’m happy to see the Fringe team at work again, especially when they work with this world’s Agent Lincoln Lee (Seth Gabel). He was strong in the alt-universe, and it’s good to see him “over here.”

Things start out good and hopefully get great down the line.