Review

Review

TV Recap: 'Fringe' Series Finale

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fringeFringe Episodes 512 and 513
“Liberty” 
Written By: Alison Schapker
Directed By: P.J. Pesce
“An Enemy of Fate”
Written and Directed By: J.H. Wyman
Original Airdate: 18 January 2012

In This Episode...

This is it Fringe fans. It’s all over. Are you ready?

Broyles lies to get Michael’s location out of one of the loyalists. He sends the info to Olivia. Michael is being held on Liberty Island, which is a fortress. Broyles can’t get them in, and breaching the perimeter would be a death sentence. Olivia has an idea - one that Peter hates. She will go in using the other universe. Walter (naturally) has a stash of cortexiphan hidden away. The idea is that if he injects her with multiple doses it will trigger her powers and give her a window to move between universes. This comes with a huge amount of potential side effects, but Olivia insists that she can handle it.

Walter gives Olivia four doses of cortexiphan, directly into her brain stem. Each injection causes more pain, increasingly rapid heart rate, and a blurring of vision. But she powers through. The plan is for Olivia to slip to the other universe, go to Fringe division there, get into the precise coordinates on Liberty Island, come back to our universe, grab Michael and go back to the alternate universe, then meet Peter, Walter, and Astrid in our universe in Battery Park. Peter drops her off in front of where Fringe should be in the other universe, and she moves to that universe with relative ease. Her arrival sets off alarms, and she is collected by a dozen armed Fringe agents. Fauxlivia and Lincoln are called in, and rather than being kept as a prisoner, Olivia is greeted warmly and given all the help she needs.

fringeMichael is being tested on. Initial scans show that he is not only far more intelligent than the Observers, but he has more emotional functions than that of native humans. Windmark shares this with the commander, but frankly, neither know what to make of it. The commander decides that “it” should be disassembled and pieces preserved.

So when Olivia blips into our universe, Michael is not where he is supposed to be. Her vision is very blurry; she is dizzy and weak, but she manages to move down the hallway, killing a couple Observers and loyalists as she does. When she finds Michael, mere minutes away from being vivisected, he smiles at her. With Michael in her arms, they blink back to the alternate universe, but Observers have followed her back. Lincoln and Fauxlivia are waiting for her and shoot a couple Observers that follow her. Lincoln stays behind to make sure no one else is following, and Fauxlivia shuttles Michael and Liv to Battery Park. She is weakened, but blips one final time, back to our universe. Walter, Peter, and Astrid are waiting, thrilled to see them and scooping them into the van.

During this time, Donald has been working on building the machine that will open up a wormhole, allowing Michael to go into the future. He gets it all set up, but discovers one of the pieces, necessary to power the device, has become corrupted. He goes to December, one of the original 12 Observers, and reasons with him to obtain the part they need. He agrees. When the team returns to the lab with Michael (Donald is annoyed; he has no idea what they have been through) he tells them that one of them will need to go retrieve it. Astrid and Olivia go, but when they arrive, December’s apartment is swarming with loyalists. Windmark had put the originals under observation in case September reached out. Then Liv and Astrid see December - he hanged himself. Astrid and Olivia shoot their way out.

Back at the lab, Peter discovers a video tape addressed to him. Walter pretends not to know what it is: a video he recorded just before ambering himself. A goodbye video. Walter finally admits to Peter that he has decided that he will be the one to travel through time with Michael, to take him to the scientists. Peter is heartbroken - but understands. The two men cry as they embrace each other tightly.

Astrid and Olivia return with the bad news. The group is desperate to figure out another way to create enough power to open up that wormhole. Astrid figures it out: one of the Observers’ shipping lanes. Luckily there will be a New York lane opening up at 6am. They need one of those cube thingies to access it, but somehow this isn’t a problem for them. What might be a problem is Broyles. He calls Olivia to tell her he is on his way to them - but realizes Windmark is having him followed. He will try to distract them as long as possible. Olivia insists that they will rescue him, but he insists they continue with the plan and hangs up on her. Broyles eventually tries to flee on foot, but he is quickly captured.

Olivia can’t dwell on Broyles. They have a plan to put in motion. The group packs up everything they need from the lab. Donald has decided that he will be the one to escort Michael. He knows Walter thought this was his penance, but Donald felt something that he couldn’t describe until he saw Peter and Walter together: parental love. He felt it was his duty to accompany Michael to the future. Walter understands this. “It’s called being a father.” Olivia and Peter head to Observer headquarters - actually, the parking garage. They don gas masks and dump hundreds of biohazard tins from Walter’s storage into the ventilation system. The toxins they release affect loyalists and Observers alike. By the time they get inside, alarms are going off, people are trying to evacuate, but few are making it out. As Liv and Peter rush down the hall, they run past a catalogue of all the Fringe events Walter created that they, at one point or another, had to clean up. It all comes full circle. Peter finds the cube they need, but Olivia finds something, too: Broyles. Windmark had been trying unsuccessfully to read him. He was just seconds from breaking Broyles down when the alarms went off. The interrogation room isn’t ventilated, so Broyles is safe. They toss him an extra gas mask they just happen to have, and leave.

fringeOutside, the Observers are preparing to open up the shipping lane - and so are Astrid, Walter, and Donald. Broyles, Liv, and Peter join them, and a gunfight opens up.  Windmark is there, bent on taking Michael, and Olivia fights him for the boy. Windmark knocks her out fiercely and walks off with the boy. She might be down, but she is not out. She sees the smushed bullet necklace that Peter had given to her just before the final leg of their journey. The emotion boils through her and sends a terrific electromagnetic wave through the city. Lights go out, car alarms go on, and a nearby car is smashed into another car, crushing Windmark in between. Donald takes Michael and heads to the now-open wormhole, but is shot along the way. He drops, and Michael looks lost. He sits next to him and plays the tiny music box that Donald had given him a few episodes ago. Walter steps up. He offers his hand to the boy. Michael takes it. Walter looks back to Peter, who mouths, “I love you dad.” It’s a beautiful moment, then Walter and Michael walk into the wormhole.

The screen fades to white, then comes back to picture. It is 2016 and we are back in the picture-perfect park. Olivia and Peter cuddle on a blanket and watch Etta play. It is time to go home and Peter calls Etta to him. She runs, but instead of being picked up by the Observers, she jumps into Peter’s arms. Olivia watches happily as father and daughter play. Back at home, Olivia is in charge of bathing Etta while Peter checks the mail. A hand-written letter, addressed to him, with Walter’s return address, is amongst the bills. His curiosity piqued, Peter opens it. All that is in there is Walter’s white tulip. He knows.

Walter Babble

Walter did not eat a single Red Vine tonight. Luckily, I had a whole box. He was extraordinarily lucid tonight, though he did, early on, call Astrid “Ashcan.” Before they all leave the lab for the last time, Astrid has a surprise for Walter. She takes him deep into the amber, where she has found Gene, the cow. Astrid didn’t un-amber her for fear that loyalists would hear her mooing, but she thought Walter would like to see her one last time. He is very happy. “You always did know how to soothe me,” he tells her. As Astrid leaves, Walter tells her, “It’s a beautiful name.” “What is?” “Astrid.” This was probably my favorite moment of the night.

In the Other Universe...

Chelsea Clinton is president, and Walternate has retired from politics. At 90 years old, he still lectures at Harvard. Fauxlivia and Lincoln are married and have a teenaged son. They are very happy, though Lincoln (briefly) feels guilty for choosing Fauxlivia over real Olivia.

Fauxlivia had my favorite line of the night. As she and Lincoln are helping Olivia escape, Fauxlivia turns to Lincoln and teases him: “Stop looking at my younger ass.”

Dig It or Bury It?

It was a satisfying ending. It was the only ending the show could have. It was very predictable - and that is ok. If this weren't the last-ever episode, it would have been kind of weak because it ended up exactly where you figured it would. But it was more about the emotions. Producer J.H. Wyman has said, time and again, that Fringe is a show about family. The science fiction is almost secondary (almost). This episode was a culmination of that. 

My quibble with most series finales is that, after you have spent years and years following these characters, you want to find out where they end up two, five, fifty years in the future. With Fringe, you kind of get that. You have seen what the future could hold - but no longer does - and piece together where Olivia, Peter, and Etta will end up. Personally, I would like to think that they live a normal life from this point on (unless there is a chance for a movie). Never in my life have I wished for a happy ending as much as I have with Fringe

I could nitpick about all sorts of little things, but you know what? I don't want to. I just want to enjoy the peaceful ending.

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