Fringe series finale ‘Liberty’ & ‘An Enemy of Fate’ Review!
Yesterday evening our favorite sci-fi show Fringe finally ended with an excellent pair of episodes, a journey that started in 2008 at what I think is still J.J Abrams high water mark. Fringe tried to brings elements from other shows such as The X-files and The Twilight Zone together in a more drama pact show. This was both the show’s greatest asset and liability as it offered both the familiar and the predictable. Fans were initially skeptical of Frine’s two lead characters played by Anna Torv and Joshua Jackson as they did seem a bit Barbie and Ken like. How quickly they grew on me, Anna Torv proved that a female lead can indeed captivate a viewer and involve them in the plot. Too often female lead’s are put on the back-burner of character development as shows such as Haven and Lost has shown. With Fringe’s final parting sci-fi viewers are left with an enormous gap as at the moment there are so few science-fiction TV-shows.
The plot of ‘Liberty’…
After Michael gives himself up to Captain Windmark, he is taken to a security facility on Liberty Island, where Windmark attempts to study Michael but finds the boy’s mind impossible to read, and orders more invasive diagnostics to determine what Michael is. Discovering that the boy’s emotions has allows his intelligence to exceed that of the Observers, Windmark returns to 2609 to suggest to his superior that they destroy the child to protect themselves, but instead is told to simply “disassemble” the boy for future study.
Broyles is able to learn of Michael’s location and relays that to the Fringe team, but cautions them that the facility is near impossible to impregnate. While brainstorming ideas, Olivia suggests the possibly of re-injecting her with Cortexiphan to let her cross over to the parallel universe, travel to Liberty Island there, cross back and retrieve Michael, and then repeat these steps to get back safely. However, Peter worries about the effects of redosing Olivia with potentially lethal levels of the drug, while Walter is concerned with the unknown condition of the parallel universe. Astrid suggests using the window (“Peter”) to determine the state of the parallel universe, and through this, find that there are no signs of the Observer invasion there, giving Olivia’s plan credibility.
While September returns to the lab to start assembly of the device to send Michael into the future, the Fringe team goes to an underground safehouse to prepare Olivia for crossing over. Walter administers four doses – one for each expected crossing – despite the harm it has on her medical condition. As the drug takes effects, Peter and Walter have a discussion about the nature of sacrifice. When Olivia recovers from the injections, Walter warns her of how long she has and that jumping too fast will cause rapid withdrawal symptoms.
Olivia jumps over near the site of the parallel universe Fringe division building, where she is met by her doppelganger and current leader of the Fringe division, Fauxlivia, and her former partner Lincoln Lee, who have since married. They arrange transport to Liberty Island and take her to the coordinates they believe Michael is being kept at; Olivia crosses over by finds too late that the boy is being taken to surgery, while she herself starts experiencing double visions of the two universes. She fights her way through Observers, recovers Michael, and crosses back over, where Fauxlivia and Lincoln help to stop an Observer that followed her back across. Olivia thanks them for their help and crosses back over at Battery Park with Michael.
In the conclusion, Windmark discovers that Broyles had relayed Michael’s location to the Fringe team. Meanwhile, September has completed the device, but one component fails to work. He goes to December, and requests a favor.
The plot of ‘An Enemy of Fate’…
September, talking to December, implores him to help fix a key component of the device, an initiating reactor, to send Michael to the future, despite knowing this will erase September from time. September pleads to the same compassion that December, like the others of the original Observer team, developed for the humans. Later, September regroups with Fringe to explain the failing reactor, and describe the function of the device: to create a wormhole using the two Observer cylinders as stabilization points on either end, the large electromagnet needed to launch the second cylinder into the future of 2167. Once the wormhole is stabilized, Michael would be sent through, to meet an agent to take him to the Norwegian scientist as to stop the experiment that would be responsible for creating the Observers. As they discuss this, Olivia is still concerned while Michael willingly let himself be captured previously. (“The Boy Must Live”) One additional part is necessary to assure the magnet’s operation, and Peter begins to dig through the amber in the lab to look for it.
Captain Windmark, having discovered Broyles’ alliance with the Fringe team, interrogates him about the recovery of Michael from a secured facility, believing him to be “The Dove”, a mole for the underground. Windmark leaves, and Broyles sets off to meet Fringe until he realizes that Windmark intended to follow him to the Fringe team, and keeps them distracted. Though he tries to elude them, Broyles ends up captured.
In digging through the amber, Peter finds a tape that is addressed to him in Walter’s handwriting. The tape is a goodbye message from Walter to Peter, and alludes to an envelope that he will receive at some point; Walter in the present explains that he will be the one to travel with Michael into the future and will be forced to live out their lives there as to assure that a paradox is not created and that the Observers are wiped out. Walter and Peter share an emotional moment, Walter calling the time they have had “stolen” but appreciated every minute of it.
Olivia and Astrid go to get a new initiating reactor from December, but find him killed and the reactor stolen by other Observer and loyalist forces. September asserts there’s no equivalent modern to create the reaction needed. Olivia looks to Michael to gain insight; he motions her to be quiet, during which Astrid comes up with the idea of using one of the Observer shipping lanes as their wormhole. They begin to make plans to take over one of these the next day, when they learn of Broyle’s capture from Anil. They set to use many of the past Fringe biological materials to kill many of the Observers and Loyalist forces, while they infiltrate the Observer headquarters to not only rescue Broyles, but obtain the control cube needed to operate the shipping lane. Meanwhile, September reveals to Walter that he has taken the only dose of the necessary inoculation to take Michael into the future instead of Walter, having come to have feelings for Michael.
The Fringe team races ahead of the Observers to hijack the wormhole and launch one of the cylinders through it. As they get ready for Michael, Windmark arrives and attempts to grab him. September, Peter, and Olivia fight Windmark. Windmark gains the upper hand, but Olivia, under emotional duress, has her latent Cortexiphan powers trigger and smash Windmark between two cars. September races to take Michael to the wormhole but is shot and killed by a stray bullet. Walter realizes his fate, and decides to take Michael through the wormhole as Peter, Olivia, and Astrid look on. Before entering the wormhole, Walter looks back at Peter and Peter mouths “I love you dad” to Walter.
Time flashes back to 2015, where Peter, Olivia, and their young daughter Etta are enjoying a day in the park. The Observer invasion does not occur, and the family returns home. When Peter checks the mail, he finds an odd envelope addressed to him from W. Bishop, containing only a piece of paper with a drawn white tulip on it. (“White Tulip”)
Conclusion; These last pair of episodes ended Fringe in a fantastic but somewhat conventional way. Most other reviews praise the first episode ‘liberty’ more than they do the second ‘An enemy of Fate’ but I disagree, there is a lot of the show’s pilot in the last episode and though the conclusion came a bit abrupt it is a very powerful scene as Peter uncovers the reference to the episode ‘White Tulip’, that with the plentiful of homages to the show’s pilot allows it to come full circle.
Fringe’s best moments were for the most part found during it’s first three seasons at a time when the show had a strong mythology that gave it an impulse despite the constant threat of cancellation. The show’s fourth season was bit of a dud while it’s fifth season did better with it’s own excellent story arc. I hope we see actors Joshua Jackson and Anna Torv back soon on other TV-shows but neither has anything ‘officially’ scheduled. As for J.J. Abrams, Roberto Orci and ‘Bad Robot productions’ the end of Fringe comes with a now long list of failed TV-shows that raises doubt about their bankability. Only Person of Interest seems to be doing well while Revolution is already having it’s near death experience.
It will take a while but one day we will have to acknowledge that Fringe has truly ended, that is going to be a difficult moment. I still can’t believe it has been almost 5 years since this show has started, it seems like an eternity, which is meant as high praise.
Score; 9 /10.