- Written By: J.H. Wyman
- Air Date: 1/18/2013
- Directed By: PJ Pesce, JH Wyman
- Starring: Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble, Jasika Nicole, Lance Reddick, Blair Brown
- Guest Stars: Michael Kopsa, Shaun Smyth, Michael Cerveris
It’s over. The little sci-fi show that could, perhaps the wackiest show on the air, and the one that FOX couldn’t screw up even when it tried, has ended on its own terms and wonderfully so. Aside from never bringing back the slightly dangling plot line of one conflicted loyalist Gael Manfretti (Eric Lange), FRINGE’s two part finale (“Liberty” and “Enemy of Fate”) touches on practically everything that made FRINGE great, and brings us full circle. There are drugs, a very ALIEN-esque Fringe event, time travel, universe hopping, and a lot of hugs. What could be better?
Last week ended with Michael, the Observer boy and the key piece to Walter and Donald’s (September) plan, inexplicably walking into the hands of Captain Windmark and the loyalists. Thus begins the endgame for one of my favorite shows of all time. With Michael held captive, Lance Reddick’s Agent Broyles makes a play for information on his whereabouts, threatening to lose his cover as the famed double agent “the Dove.” It’s nice to see Lance Reddick play a pivotal role in the finale, because he was underutilized the past couple seasons and this year especially.
The boy is trapped on Liberty Island, and the only way to rescue him? Yes, that’s right. By going to the other side’s Liberty Island and then phasing back to our universe. Since the bridge was closed at the end of last season, we hadn’t seen Fauxlivia and our Lincoln, and it was a delight to see an older version of the Other Fringe team help Olivia, giving fans one last glimpse of Seth Gabel (and Anna Torv in a red wig!). To go to the other side, Olivia must use her cortexiphan laden gifts, and to do so, Walter needs to inject a ton of it in the back of her skull. It would’ve been weird to not have some sort of messed up drug usage in this one. It’s no LSD trip, but it suffices, especially since Olivia’s super powers have been under wraps for far too long, and it was awesome to see them in action.
While Olivia undergoes her massively dangerous rescue attempt, Windmark attempts to interrogate Michael, resulting in a bloody nose for the fearless Observer. Clearly, this boy is not to be trifled with. Unable to withstand it, Windmark demands tests to see what is different about this anomaly. Windmark also consults with the Observer leader in 2609.
September, the brilliant Michael Cerveris (seriously, I think this guy has Oscar-type acting chops), makes his way to Walter’s lab and begins constructing the time machine needed to go to 2167 in order to show the Oslo scientists Michael and alter the course of time, rebooting the current dystopian timeline. Anil, of course, continued his thankless work for the resistance, by helping them set up a magnet for the time machine and staying in the background where he apparently belongs.
Throughout the two hours, each character in the main ensemble (Walter, Peter, Olivia, and Astrid) get their chance to shine, with wonderful moments between each and every one of them. There’s a seriously tender moment between Walter and Astrid, and you’re stone cold if you didn’t get teary eyed for the father and son moment between Walter and Peter following the discovery of Walter’s final tape (in many ways, FRINGE is FIELD OF DREAMS with a zany laboratory). This has always been John Noble’s show, and the redemptive arc for the fascinating Walter Bishop reaches a touching and wonderful end. Not to be outdone, Joshua Jackson, Anna Torv, and Jasika Nicole were at their best, wordlessly expressing boundless emotion. More than the fringe science, FRINGE has always been about family and love triumphing over evil, and JH Wyman brings a delicate touch in writing and directing the final installment.
I was half expecting to see Leonard Nimoy’s William Bell lurking behind a dark corner, or Jared Harris’ David Robert Jones return from the dead (again again), but Michael Kopsa’s Captain Windmark has proven villainous enough over the final 13 episodes of the show, and he has some chilling moments in these two hours.
While the ending is hardly a big surprise, especially the final couple of minutes, the journey is wildly entertaining, inspiring, creative and lined with that big, beautiful, thumping heart that beat through FRINGE each and every week. FRINGE wasn’t always brilliant, but it was always daring. I’m going to miss it. Since its inception, FRINGE has been saddled with comparisons to X-FILES, along with having TWILIGHT ZONE and LOST in its DNA, as well as a myriad of other genre shows. But, over its five seasons, FRINGE established its own wacky niche, and I don’t think we’ll be give any new shows comparisons to FRINGE any time soon. I sincerely doubt there will be another show like it.