The last time I was up at stupid o clock to watch a series finale was for J J Abrams’ Lost. Now years later I find myself in the same position watching another J J Abrams finale – Fringe. After a disappointing end to Lost I was rather apprehensive and totally buzzed out on far too much strong coffee.
Fringe brought back the weird, strange and sometimes creepy world reminiscent of that 90s series The X-Files. The first 2 seasons created a story with time travel, special powers and enough LSD to get you through Woodstock. We’ve had parallel universes, doubles, some pretty gory stuff bursting out of folk, men in black suits and hats eating chili and a love story. Amid all the action, crazy special effects and vast quantities of food for Dr Walter Bishop, Fringe proved that sci-fi can contain good quality drama. With a fabulous cast that worked well together the bizarre shared screen time with some fabulous emotive scenes. John Noble who played the eccentric liquorice munching, drug addled Walter moved effortlessly between humour and drama creating some of the most touching scenes in the series. Fringe also brought back Joshua ‘Pacey’ Jackson from 90s teen angst, introduced the Kate Blanchett of the sci-fi world -Anna Torv and of course the lovely Jasica Nicole.
My enthusiasm for Fringe was dampened somewhat as we reached season 4 which I felt seemed to bypass the main story rather than adding to it. Thankfully season 5 did throw us back into the path of the main tale but I have felt that they did cram everything into this last part with some rather hasty explanations and a few info dumps. However, at least we were getting some answers but where was it all going. I prayed we would not end up in a chapel with the whole cast!
The two hour finale had plenty of action and drama and a few blasts from the past. Indeed a few pieces from even the first season came together to make up the puzzle that is Fringe. We learnt in the The Boy Must Live why Michael was important and that phrase “the boy is important” did not refer to Peter at all. In the finale the alternate universe, Cortexiphan, the Universe Window, some of the Fringe monsters and even Gene the cow all come together to complete this series.
There were some great scenes in this finale – Windmark’s interrogation of Michael, Walter’s goodbye speech to Peter, Astrid showing Walter Gene in the Amber and their conversation that follows and of course the floating Observer. That’s cool! It was great to see Broyles back and his heroic act of self-sacrifice was in keeping with his character and reminded us of the brave leader we first met in season 1. But of course it is not Broyles who is the sacrifice in the end.
Okay first of all it’s great to see a sci-fi series come to a proper ending as so many have been cancelled recently. Fringe’s conclusion was by no means a bad one. I was hoping that Michael would not go through to the future and there would be some other solution that did not involve the very complicated matter of rewriting time. So we must presume that in Peter’s time Walter simply vanished and the white tulip is a positive sign to his son. Perhaps Peter may go to the lab for clues and find the tape that he had recorded. Whilst we can easily go along with this conclusion as it carries on the idea of it all being about the children and the future (I may burst into song) there’s just one little thing bugging me.
Indulge me for a moment whilst I endeavour to unravel this tangled time web. Michael and Walter go to the point in the future where they tell the scientist who helped to create what we know as the Observers that he must not take away emotions. So the Observers are created more like Michael. But then they have no reason to go back to the past and then we do not have the whole Walternate getting distracted and not finding the cure for Peter and Walter taking Peter and September rescuing them from the frozen lake. Or are we to presume that they would deliberately do this simply to keep this particular storyline perhaps as a thank you to Walter for sacrificing himself? Ah forget about it.
All in all I will miss Fringe -the strange creatures, Anna Torv and her perfect blond hair, kicking ass, all that jumping between parallel worlds, those floating words and most of all the fabulous Walter. And so we leave our friends in the Fringe division in their perfect Disney ending with Peter, Olivia, Etta and a dandelion, laughing and twirling. As to Walter I like to imagine him somewhere near a Fjord eating Rakfish, taking LSD with his pet moose and not wearing any trousers.