Fringe, the little show that could, ended it’s fifth and final season last night. It’s truly remarkable, when you think about it, that this show, which was always on the bubble with such low ratings made it to 100 episodes. 100 EPISODES…that still blows my mind. Anyways, it’s been 24 hours since the series finale, and I’m still thinking about how deeply satisfied I am with it.
Fringe, at it’s core, has always been a show about characters. Sure, it has all the sci-fi elements, and hence, is labeled as such, but it has always been rooted in the deep bonds of such broken characters. From the distant Olivia, to the hard-ass Peter, and the ever brilliant, mad scientist, Walter Bishop. These characters have had such troubling pasts and it’s been such a wonderful, strange, and sometimes even maddening journey for each and every one of them.
When I think about Fringe, I think about those characters. I think about the challenges each one of them faced, and the strides, each of them took to become whole; to be a family. When you break down Season 5 in that light, it is about a couple coping with the brutal loss of the daughter they had just been reunited with. It is about a crazy and gentle mad man trying to right his wrongs in order to give his son something he had literally stole time for.
That is why, it was such a fitting (and sob inducing) end, to see the redemption of Walter Bishop. The man, who had once used children, like poor Olive, for his crazy Cortexiphan trials. The man, who had literally crossed universes, and took a different Peter from another father and mother. That’s why when Walter walked in to the wormhole with ‘the boy’ it just felt right. The man who had created this entire mess to begin with was now the man that saved humanity.
The finale was challenging; it was heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. Sure, if I actually start to think about every single thing…do I really understand it. No, not really. But, I don’t care. I don’t want answers to every single thing, and let’s face it, answers just lead to more questions. I don’t care because I felt that there was an emotional payoff and that trumps logic and reasoning.
I remember listening to a television critic’s podcast a while ago, and remember something she said about shows that we are fully invested in. I don’t remember it word for word, but it was along the lines of caring less about plot when the characters are fully realized. That when we are fully immersed in a show and the characters, we can much more easily forgo all the details. I completely agree with that sentiment; I don’t understand everything the show did or tried to do, but the characters were always deeply written, that I am totally okay with that.
So, thank you Fox. Thank you Fringe show runners, writers, the amazing cast, and everyone that was part of the team. This show will always hold a special place in my heart (as cheesy as that sounds); it was one of the first shows that I started from the beginning and stayed with through the end as it aired on television. It’s been one hell of a ride.
P.S. John Noble for ALL THE AWARDS.