The time has come to say goodbye…Fringe went out with a bang on Friday during a very emotional two hours. There was hugging, there was crying, there was universe hopping, and there were floating Observers. Series finales are funny things. They bring extremely high expectations and there is quite a bit of pressure to make sure every character has a moment of joy or redemption and pay homage to all that has come before. I think that JH Wyman, Jeff Pinkner, the cast and the writers really succeeded in making these final two hours a love letter to what made Fringe great and innovative. No new territory was blazed, but that’s ok – all the trailblazing came before and this was just the bittersweet end.
More of my thoughts later – let’s jump right in! We open on the Harvard lab, where the team is trying to figure out where the Observers are holding Michael (who allowed his tiny bald ass to be captured); September has disappeared for the moment and they don’t know how to get in touch. Olivia calls Broyles, who lies to a lieutenant and asks where Michael is; the dude tells him (“Are you suggesting I might be the Dove? I’m more of a raven, don’t you think? Lol black joke). It’s on Liberty Island! Hey, I know that place! It’s now the place where Michael makes Windmark’s nose bleed and his eye pop! Yeah! So much for interrogating ‘the anomaly‘, jerkface.
Broyles tells the team Michael is at Liberty (AHA! Episode title) Island, but due to the crazy security, it seems like they can’t get in. But Olivia has an idea. How about blipping Over There, going to LI, blip back here and get Michael, blip back Over There and go to another location, and blip back here with Michael? Not complex at all! This will require lots of Cortexiphan – enough for four crossings.
Walter has a crapload in storage, of course. Along with many other nasty things. Peter says no, is risky! I don’t want to lose you! But Olivia tells him that this is what Etta died for, I can do it, and we need Michael for the Plan FOR REALS. Because they have no idea what they’ll find Over There after all this time – observers too? – Astrid suggests the window. They’ll take a peek to make sure it’s safe. As Walter says, “Brilliant, Asgard!” Astrid will prove to be full of good ideas tonight.
These scenes are cut with moments from Michael’s captivity. Again Windmark tries to get info from Michael, again there is nosebleeding. Michael still being poked and prodded; they find out his emotional center and intelligence are crazy-awesome off the charts. Way to be late to the game, y’all. We knew this ages ago!
The team goes to Battery Park and turns on the cracked-but-functioning window – all looks good! No evil Observer technology on Liberty Island. Meanwihle, we see that September is hitting up the lab and playing mad scientist. It’s still weird to hear him talking like a mostly normal person. He pounds the much-maligned rocks to dust, and then burns the dust to powder…and makes KoolAid (wooden spoon!). Then filters the leftover powder into vials to make time pee. What? It’s yellow.
Back in NYC at a resistance camp, Walter painfully shoots Olivia full of Cortexiphan…it isn’t pretty. Four vials! She’s fading in and out a bit as Peter holds her up. While she lies down to recover from the sock, Peter and Walter talk about sacrificing things for this cause and Walter nearly tells Peter about his sacrifice but doesn’t. Arghhhh. Astrid watches over Olivia, who is dreaming of Etta. She has three hours to do her task, and they drop her off in NYC where the Fringe Division is located Over There. Walter hugs her and kisses her forehead, telling her to be careful (awwww). She and Peter go outside – she’s pretty out of it but Peter tells her she’s coming back, with Michael, and he loves her. Crying! I am doing it.
Olivia crosses over with little effort, and is immediately flagged by FD, which is now run by an older, curly haired Fauxlivia with a badass coat and gray streaks! The TV says Chelsea Clinton is leading in the Presidential race…I approve! Lincoln Lee is there too, looking suave without his nerdy glasses, spiky grey hair, and a twinkle in his eye brought on by 25 years of marriage to Fauxlivia (they have a son!). Awwww I love these two. Fauxlivia hugs her counterpart, as does Lincoln. She then spins them the whole sad tale, most of which we miss because she’s a bit woozy and seeing images of Etta as a child. The Fringe team springs into action to help Olivia out, like we knew they would. WHY hasn’t this happened earlier in the season? We could have spent a whole episode Over There, subverting the Observer agenda and seeing our Fringe Division friends! I am trying not to be grumpy about this…the writers clearly had this in the cards the whole time. Also, apparently Walternate is 90 years old and still lecturing at Harvard! (And still dropping LSD, I’m sure.) Lincoln and Olivia have a moment…he seems to feel bad for being so happy Over There, but Olivia tells him she has no regrets and he shouldn’t either. Then Fauxlivia says it’s time to go, and that Lincoln can “stop checking out my young ass.” LOVE IT.
Meanwhile, September’s device (which he built in record time, with lots of time pee) fails to charge up. He needs another ignition key; the one he has is crap. He goes to visit another old familiar face – December. He says December owes him (number on December’s apartment door – 513; the episode number!). December says they started to feel emotive growth as a result of being around humans so much; we find out that the original 12 Observers didn’t know the true nature of their mission back in time to Earth. September says destiny can be changed – you have to have the will to change it even if it requires sacrifice. He believes the people of this era are worth saving. Thanks, yo. I think we are too!
In the future, Windmark tells the Commander about Michael and his advanced intellect and emotions. The Commander says he is of little consequence despite being “very troubling”. The Commander wants to study Michael for evolutionary advantage; Windmark wants to destroy him of course. Commander orders him to be disassembled and the pieces preserved. Gross.
Olivia does her popping back and forth, shooting some Observer idiots on the way in and out (she has a bit of trouble keeping herself in one universe and is still a bit fuzzy). But Michael looks happy to see her! He smiles! An Observer follows Olivia back over but Fauxlivia and Lincoln shoot him down! Lincoln volunteers to stay if any more show up, and the Olivias say their goodbyes in Battery Park. Still loving the badass coat – she’s the new Broyles now! Fauxlivia tells her to go save her family, and she blips back over to our Battery Park, where the team awaits. In the van, Peter and Olivia snuggle while Olivia holds Michael on her lap. They are just so worn out, it seems heartbreaking to me. Group hug.
I feel bad for whoever broke the news to Windmark that Michael escaped! He calls in the lieutenant that Broyles picked on for questioning, and who gives Broyles up right away. Ruh-roh! Run Broyles run! Broyles calls Peter and says he’s on the way to them, but he is intercepted by Windmark, who surprisingly does not torture him. He reads his car window to hear the brief phone call with Peter, then heads up to Broyles’ office. They have a tense conversation, in which Broyles says that if there was a leak called the Dove, shouldn’t Windmark have captured him long ago? HA. Then Windmark leaves – we find out they’ve put a tracker on Broyles’ car. Walter is spending this time yelling at Anil, who is setting up the magnet. “What I wouldn’t give for an old-fashioned tumor inducing cell phone!” Guess the AT&T of the future doesn’t work so well.
Back at the lab again! So much back and forth between NYC and Boston! September is there with the team now, and Michael. September explains the issue with the initiating reactor and that he knows where another is, but one of them has to go by December’s and grab it from him. Walter and September then jointly explain how the reactor will open a singularity/wormhole, and one beacon will stay here attached to the giant magnet that Olivia procured as an anchor, and the other beacon will be sent into the wormhole to anchor it from the other side in 2167. Michael will go through, and wind up in 2167 and meet the scientist in Oslo, Norway to change the course of history. They skate over the whole part where Walter goes with him and leaves us forever. Frown.
Broyles, on the road, sees that Observers are following him and leads them in circles for a while. He knows he won’t make it to the team, and tells Olivia to ‘get it done’ and hangs up. We fear an unpleasant end for Broyles, and Astrid tears up. Walter says it’s time to pack up the lab and leave…sad face. It’s all really ending, isn’t it? Broyles pulls a U-turn in a tunnel and escapes into a nearby tunnel access room. Observers knock him down and capture him almost immediately! Nooooooo…
Peter finds another tape in the amber along with a vial of something, and watches the tape with Walter. It’s Walter, telling Peter about his sacrifice, telling him not to be sad and that the time they had together they stole. I am crying the whole time, obviously. He says on the tape how much he loves Peter, and tells him that he must escort Michael over into the future because they’ll become a paradox. At the moment of the invasion, both Walter and Michael will disappear and live out the rest of their lives in the future. Walter says he wants to give Peter and Olivia their daughter and their lives back, as a father it’s what he can do. They both cry and hug, Walter says “you are my favorite thing, Peter – my very favorite thing.” Peter is bawling, we’re all hysterical. SNIFF.
Olivia and Astrid go to December’s apartment to grab the ignition thingy but he’s dead and there are loyalists crawling about the place! Jerks! Across town, an Observer hands Windmark the trigger, saying that December traveled to the future to get it so time could be reset. OMG! Windmark knows things! Still an idiot, amiright?
Astrid suggests that without the ignition trigger to open a wormhole, they could use a shipping lane as the wormhole – she still has the shipping manifest she decoded a few episodes ago. Let’s point out that Astrid legit just had the idea that saved the world, yes? She did something awesome! Walter grabs her face and calls her a genius. 6:08am tomorrow is when it’s happening, in New York. But first, they need a cube to open up the wormhole. Time to pack up all the crazy lab shit and roll out! Walter hands Peter osmium-enhanced bullets that will make the Observers float away after they are hit. Peter asks if they are dead, why would we want them to float away? Walter replies with everyone’s favorite line of the night: “because it’s cool.” So very Walter!
Astrid has a surprise for Walter – she found Gene the cow in the amber! Astrid was afraid to let her out because she’d be heard mooing. They have a nice moment together and hug, and Astrid says this isn’t the end, and soon they’ll be drinking strawberry milkshakes in the lab not even be aware that this happened. She cries and I cry some more as Walter tells her that Astrid is a beautiful name. Walter and September also have a moment, and September has inoculated himself with the time travel serum to take Michael into the future instead of Walter. September says it’s his duty as Michael’s father after seeing what Peter meant to Walter. They hug, I cry even more, godsdammit, and Walter agrees to let him take Michael and change fate. So much hugging!
We see Broyles strapped to a chair and Windmark begins to interrogate him. Windmark admits that he feels something – hate. Broyles says the feeling is mutual lol.
Peter and Olivia kiss in the front seat of yet another crappy car, holding Etta’s bullet between them and excited they are going to get their daughter back. It’s a sweet moment but also super depressing. I feel for these characters and the hell they’ve been through. Anil comes to get them, and they all don gas masks and dump Walter’s biohazard canisters into the main air intake vents of a building holding Observer stuff, like the cube they need. Loyalists and Observers all over the building start dying in every gruesome Fringe way we’ve seen since season 1 – slimy nasties, melting bones, blown off heads, even the face-slashing butterflies! It’s like a Fringe war zone out there!
This distracts Windmark from his Broyles interrogation in the thankfully airless room. Broyles is beat up but not broken, and Windmark leaves him there to see what the frak is going on. A cloud of Fringe nasty is approaching, and Windmark bounces out of there before he can breathe it in. DANG. I was looking forward to something disgusting bursting forth from his chest.
We see the six-fingered hand in blood on the wall as Peter and Olivia march into that facility like they own the place, shooting Observers along the way. Peter acquires the cube while Olivia sees who is on the monitor in an interrogation room – Broyles! With a spare gas mask and a bit of witty banter, they rescue their old boss and we all cheer! Yay!
The shipment is proceeding on schedule, but the Loyalists/Observers aren’t expecting the convoy with the magnet, plus Peter, Olivia, Broyles, Astrid, Walter, September, and Michael in an SUV! The menfolk hop out and begin firing as September reprograms the cube. A wormhole opens as Windmark appears and punches through the SUV window, grabbing Michael as Peter jumps on him…all three blip away as we cut to commercial and everyone at my Fringe finale party (pics in a later post!) yells at the screen.
They all fly back in to this space and Windmark issues a beatdown on Peter, and a henchman fires a stun gun at him. Thankfully, Astrid takes out the henchman and Olivia is there, backing up Peter and shooting at Windmark. He smacks her down too, at first, lifting her by the neck and throwing her. Lying on the ground, Etta’s necklace has fallen free of her pocket. Olivia sees the bullet and lifts it off the ground, slowly standing up. Car alarms start going off nearby and in the distance, and we see the lights from the entire city go out behind her as she drains them of energy (OMG BADASS)…
…and her efforts bring two cars together as she holds Windmark – who tries to blip away – with her mind, and she crushes him between the cars! We see his head explode and blood splatter the windows. He’s dead! Wooo! Ding dong the jerk is dead! This all happens very fast on screen, and we watched several times for effect and I can tell you the best viewing was in slow motion. Go do that, I guarantee it is very satisfying! Michael and Olivia exchange a long look, and he puts his finger to his lips. Creepy!
September then grabs Michael, saying it’s time to go. They run to the wormhole, but September is shot and falls. Michael gets down beside him and pulls the music box out of his pocket, playing Greensleeves/What Child Is This over the destruction and violence that surrounds them. September slips away, and Walter offers his hand to Michael. I thought September might not make it. He looked so world-weary and sad.
Walter looks at Peter before entering the wormhole, and Peter mouths “I love you Dad”. Walter and Michael walk into the light while everyone cries. The next scene we see is Olivia and Peter at the park with Etta, the scene we’ve now seen from every perspective. Except this time, Etta reaches Peter’s arms, there are no Observers in the background, and everyone is smiling and giddy. Peter spins Etta around while Olivia smiles to herself – she remembers.
Peter gets the mail upon returning home, and a note from Walter is within – the white tulip. Peter’s eyes widen with recognition, and he appears to remember as well.
And that’s it. Fade to black, and fetus apple dot, and Bad Robot.
Wow, you guys. Fringe is actually over. Walter’s line about the time we had together was stolen really applies to this show, always on the brink of cancellation but brought back by the fans’ love. I mean, this episode was for all the fans who camped out overnight at Comic Con for the Fringe panel, and all held up white tulip sketches as a gesture of solidarity with the show. The message – we’re here with you, we love you enough to pull you back to us in any timeline. The show had its ups and downs, but every great show does and has to. Looking back, season five is probably my least favorite season, but the last few episodes were written and filmed with care, and did everything just right. Broyles lived to fight another day, our team went on with their happy lives, and I’m sure Walter is in the future causing trouble and finding new forms of hallucinogenic drugs while downing root beer floats. After all, he didn’t die, he just moved on to a new chapter in his life. Plus he was redeemed for all of his past sins but making the ultimate sacrifice – leaving his loved ones – to save the world. You done good, Walter.
One thing I thought might happen but didn’t: no Bell! That’s really it…we didn’t get a final swan song from Mr. Nimoy, but I was ok with that. It had stopped being his story long ago. Out of the other things I wanted, I got them all! No one’s death was useless, we went back Over There, we definitely saw September again, and Peter and Olivia are happy – with Etta.
Finale rating: 10 out of 10 Red Vines. Anything less would be whining. I’m happy with everything, especially Olivia’s takedown of Windmark and the last moments everyone shared were perfect. Peter and Walter’s final hug nearly did me in. Fringe is a beautiful story, all of it, even the gross bits. I will keenly miss it, and writing these recaps week after week. Thanks for indulging me, internets. It’s been…cool. 🙂
Glyph code for ‘Liberty’: LOVED
Glyph code for ‘Enemy of Fate’: CLOSED
I’m going to have some more musings on Fringe and the series as a whole when the finale finally settles in my brain, not to mention the current state of scifi and genre television. Plus I’ll be recapping other shows too – stay on the lookout for Game of Thrones, Warehouse 13, and more!