Fringe: Series Finale Recap

Fringe S05/E12 S05/E13 — “Liberty” and “An Enemy of Fate”

What a long strange trip it’s been …

Photo: Liane Hentscher/FOX
Photo: Liane Hentscher/FOX

So, farewell then, Fringe. We shall miss you. After five uneven seasons, the trippy world of Walter Bishop came to an end with the two-part Series Finale, “Liberty” and “An Enemy of Fate”.

After the much-anticipated Lost Series Finale failed to live up to fans’ expectations, the Fringe peeps were on tenterhooks to see if J.J. Abrams et al. would let Walter and the gang go out on a high.

Well, they did. In Walter’s case literally, having remained true to form and dropped acid.

Thanks to Fox simultaneously announcing Fringe‘s renewal and cancellation back in April 2012, the writers and producers had time to construct a 13-episode final season that could reach a natural, fitting conclusion. No “tune in next week to see what … oh, sh*t.” (Something that’s still a possibility for shows like The Walking Dead.)

Series Finales will never please everyone, but when they are planned well in advance they can make a lot more sense. Take the Battlestar Galactica finale, for example. I didn’t love it initially, but I rewatched it after rewatching the whole series, and it’s perfect. All the vital elements of the BSG universe were addressed.

The Fringe Series Finale contained all of the show’s the classic hallmarks: pathos, suspense, comedy, daffy science, visual gags and some of the very best acting around.

Surely John Noble must take home a slew of acting gongs for his work on Season 5. He’s been outstanding in a vastly talented — and often sorely underrated — ensemble cast.

And, as always, homage was paid to Walter Bishop’s true progenitor: Frankensteinas envisaged by James WhaleWalter and Michael wearing electric sparky hat things, Peter in goggles posing hilariously in front of the amber as if he was about to declare, “It’s alive!”

We took our leave of Fauxlivia, Lincoln, Broyles and Nina. We heard what had happened to Walternate. And we saw Gene for the last time. Still trapped in amber in case her mooing alerted the loyalist guards, but Astrid and Walter paid their bovine friend a final, so very touching, visit.

At the close, Fringe came full circle in its central theme: the exploration of the ties that bind parents and children, especially the bond between fathers and sons. Paternal love conquered all, even centuries of Observer eugenics, when September fell in love with his progeny and thus became human.

The Fringe universe(s) existed precisely because Walter had risked everything in his desire to save Peter’s life. His selfishness ruined so many lives and brought at least two universes to the brink of extinction, yet at the end he found redemption. At a price: permanent exile from his son.

Some other random musings:

  • Olivia as deus ex machina to solve the Windmark question was vintage Fringe: unexpected, understated, amusing
  • The silent exchange between Windmark and the junior Observer tapping his toes to jazz in Donald’s apartment was hilarious
  • Speaking of which, was that a Tom Dixon pendant lightshade in Donald’s fabulous apartment?
  • Great use of Terminator-esque music for Windmark’s scenes
  • Exactly when did Widmark become Windmark? Did Richard Widmark’s family object to the use of the name perhaps?
  • Please can somebody now shower the talented Fringe crew with awards for cinematography, set design, casting, sound editing and visual effects?

Follow me on Twitter: @TVClaw

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