Does love equal tragedy in the mind of J.J. Abrams? That's the theory being put forward by a new essay about the drama that relationships bring on Abrams' shows Fringe and Alias, but we're not entirely convinced. Are we blinded by romance and our hope that Olivia will slowly succumb to Peter's charms, or is there actually some chance that Abrams may be a fan of the occasional happy ending?The essay, "JJ Abrams' Condemned Couples," argues that, whenever we see a moment of what looks like shared happiness between two people on an Abrams show, it's just a sign that something bad is about to happen:
The main focus of the opening episode of JJ Abrams' Fringe, aside from the flesh-eating toxin gobbling up plane passengers, is the crumbling relationship between Special Agent Olivia Dunham and her duplicitous partner John Scott. It all started off sweet and sincere, as the pair soon confess their love for each other after shacking up in a motel. Consider that the kiss of death in the world of JJ. Before long, Olivia's world is torn apart as she witnesses John being caught up in an explosion that also releases the skin-devouring plague upon him. Olivia desperately pulls a few strings to save her loved one, only to find out that he was the murderous part-instigator of the plane attacks in the first place. After a high-speed car chase, Scott crashes and shuffles his mortal coil as he lies, blood-splattered, in Olivia's arms. At least Olivia had the chance to say farewell to her amour, unlike Sydney Bristow in the opening episode of Alias. Freshly engaged to her beloved Danny, the undercover CIA Agent (or so she believes) opts to confess the true nature of her work to her man. Bad move!
This isn't the first time that writer Ben Rawson-Jones has complained about a "Down With Love" mentality in Abrams' shows - he wrote a similar piece about doomed relationships on Lost earlier this year - but we're still not convinced. We're actually kind of convinced that Abrams is, if anything, a closet romantic. Look at the evidence: Alias actually had an ultimately happy ending for its heroine - Sydney ended up with her husband back from the dead and living a reasonably spy-free life on a beach with her family - and in the middle of all of Lost's disasters, Desmond found Penny despite everything; even Fringe's Olivia is haunted by a ghost of her not-so-dead ex-lover, trying in some way to make up for his betrayal. Yes, there's not really any long-term happiness in relationships on any of Abrams' shows, but isn't that simply the nature of the genre (or all drama, for that matter)? Plot should be driven by character conflict, and if you don't blow up a boyfriend every now and again, how are you supposed to make that happen? JJ Abrams' Condemned Couples [Digital Spy]