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On the Fringe no more

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Written by : published Sunday 20th January 2013

I have been a fan of FOX's Fringe since day one. I liked the first season, and then grew to love the show as it deepened, building a rich, complex world, and making bold moves, constantly resetting themselves.

And then came season five. Yes, the concept of jumping into a future where the Observers have taken over the world, virtually enslaving the entire human race, is supremely cool. But, somehow, our team found a way to get around in this world. Observers can jump to any place in seconds, but they couldn't find those deemed most dangerous to them, even though the rebels just hung out in their old lab. Episodes became boring, as our central gang searched for piece after piece of Walter's (John Noble) forgotten plan, and barely made any progress. And many beloved recurring characters were entirely absent.

I'm not saying the whole year was terrible; there were some great moments. But overall, it lacked something that had worked very well these past few years, and I began to watch with my eye on the end, just waiting for things to pick up as the finale approached, making it all worth it.

Sadly, I can't say that the two hour "Liberty; An Enemy of Fate" redeemed the series. Again, there were great moments. Emotionally, the episode really worked because it served a few characters, and touched on elements of the past, using nostalgia to make it seem better than it was. Old cases the team investigated are used to attack the Observers. We get to see Olivia (Anna Torv) with powers again. We see Faxulivia (also Torv) and Lincoln Lee (Seth Gabel), and that they have a happy family. September / Donald (Michael Cerveris) calls upon his old friend, December (Eugene Lipinski), to assist. Broyles (Lance Reddick) gets his shining moment to face down Captain Windmark (Michael Kopsa), just as Nina (Blair Brown) previously did. Michael bests Windmark with seemingly no effort. Walter says goodbye to his cow, and calls Astrid (Jasika Nicole) by her real name. Peter and Olivia get their daughter back. And, best of all, Peter (Joshua Jackson) has his best father/son moment to date with Walter, and even says "I love you, Dad."

Sadly, though, that is the surface stuff. There are so, so, so many plot holes and bits that don't make sense, that as much as I loved all of the things I just listed, the finale rings a bit hollow. If the Observers could jump to the alternate universe any time, why haven't they taken over that place, too? Where are the alternate universe Observers? Why do the Observers not try to capture and question Fauxlivia and Lincoln? Why not interrogate Broyles immediately about the whereabouts of the team, instead of wasting time by trying to follow him first? Why do the main characters take so long to abandon the lab, having discussions and watching videos, when they know that Windmark will soon be closing in? Why don't any of the many, many soldiers they pass while trying to catch a train recognize them? Why don't they park the van at the shipping lane sideways to provide cover from gun fire? Why don't they worry about bullets being fired under the trucks? Why don't September and Michael go through the shipping lane more quickly? How come the Observers don't appear and sabotage the equipment, rather than fighting man to man, thus defeating the good guys?

And the biggest question, if Michael prevents the Observers from becoming who they are in the first place, they never send scouts back, and September never grows protective of Michael, so the Observers don't have any reason to be stopped from becoming evil, so they still invade, which creates Michael again... It's all destined to happen in a loop. Telling us the universe allows such a paradox, with the only penalty to be to delete Walter from the timeline in 2015, is pretty ridiculous, and feels like a total cop out.

In short, I don't want to forget everything about the finale or the final season, but for reason, it just does not live up to the brilliance of seasons two through four. I don't know why more notice wasn't taken with the details of the story, as it has been in the past. Maybe the delicious concept they chose for the last adventure just painted the writers into a corner. Whatever the reason, Fringe will forever remain a solid and memorable show over all, with a disappointing ending.

Want to read some of my fiction? It's on my website, JeromeWetzel.com! Also, for the latest updates and article links, as well as commentary on episodes I don't fully review, please follow me on Twitter!

About the author JeromeWetzelTV


Jerome Wetzel is a huge fan of stories, in both books and television. He writes TV reviews and fiction. He currently posts articles for TheTVKing, Seat42F, and BlogCritics, as well as his own personal blog, as well as writing fiction. His website is www.jeromewetzel.com Follow him on twitter @JeromeWetzelTV

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