Saturday, January 19, 2013

Fringe Ends (Spoiler Alert)

Bittersweet, the five year run of the science fiction show Fringe came to an end last night. While it's tough to say goodbye to characters and stories we have enjoyed for years, knowing we're left to our nostalgia through reruns, I thought the finale was handled with the utmost care. I don't have a single complaint.

There were touching scenes between father and son, wife and husband, colleagues, friends, and between Walter, Astrid, and Gene, the cow. Along with Walter's comment to Astrid, "It's a pretty name...Astrid," an episode after he referred to her as, "Ashtray," I enjoyed the conversation between Broyles and Windmark, somewhat similar to the interrogation scene in the Matrix.

I also think one of my favorite parts of the final season and the finale was the Fringe Team's use of weapons they gathered from past cases. During the assault on Observer headquarters, I liked seeing the Observer battling imaginary butterflies in the hallway and thinking, "Those are from the first season," as a weird way of tying everything together. Another fun thing was seeing the, "Resist," posters plastered on the wall during the final fight, as if Olivia and Peter's daughter, Henrietta, was there in spirit.

There were no plot holes that come to mind, other than the usual questions that too often rise when it comes to time travel and multiple universes in fiction. We had wondered why Michael, the Observer child, got off the train and allowed himself to be captured, and without the writers having to explain it to us, we saw our answer: if Olivia did not have to shift to the other universe to save Michael, she would not have had the Cortexiphan remaining in her system to kill Windmark, the antagonist throughout the season--his death was symbolic. Instead of a corpse, we saw blood splatter against glass, and he vanished. His disappearance symbolized the change to the timeline that was about to happen.

I have to admit, I was tense during the scene with Olivia, Peter, and Henrietta in the park; half-expecting some sort of defeatist ending where nothing they did or sacrificed changed the outcome. Any moment, I expected an Observer to walk out of the woods. It was a relief to have a happy end for such wonderful characters; well, for most of them.

September died and was erased from time along with the other Observers, and Walter's trip to the future with Michael meant he was also erased to avoid a paradox. Peter's expression after opening the letter sent from Walter, who would have seemed to disappear, left me wondering if the drawing somehow jogged Peter's memory of the alternate timeline, the future that could have been, if it would lead him to Walter's tape, or if Peter would simply come to believe that his father was somewhere in the world--I'd like to think Peter knows and understands the sacrifice Walter made.

As a fan, I'm glad to have experienced Fringe beginning to end. Walter Bishop will forever be one of my favorite characters ever put on TV (Thank you, John Noble), without question, and Fringe will always have a special place as one of the best science fiction shows ever created--it went out on a high note.

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