January 19, 2013

The Fringe Series Finale: A Beautiful Goodbye

The Fringe series finale was beautiful. Unlike many other series finales (notably, LOST) it left me satisfied. It felt true and genuine. Just like the characters and the love they had for one another.

The Fringe series finale celebrated what I have always loved most about the sci-fi drama – love. The love that a parent has for a child and spouses have for each other. So many series champion only passionate, romantic love but don’t delve into the love between a father and his son; or a mother and her daughter. Fringe departed from the crowd in that respect by serving up true, genuine, strong, powerful, enduring love. In the opinion of this extremely busy, self-employed, married mother of four little ones, Fringe represents all that is right and wrong with Hollywood. “Right” in that here is a show that offered up some of the finest acting I’ve seen on any size screen in recent memory and “wrong” in that John Noble has not been nominated for a single Emmy award. Thanks to Mr. Noble, I will smile every time I see a Red Vine (and probably a cow) from now on.

In Dunham, Fringe Put Forth a Heroine That Didn’t Fail

Throughout the series, I was silently rooting for Olivia Dunham to remain true, strong and loyal. As news of Lance Armstrong’s deceit and compromise crawls across my screen, I am reminded that nearly all our heroes disappoint. Olivia never really did. Until the very end of the series, she loved Peter and protected the weak, the helpless and the innocent – most notably her dear little daughter. Not that she will ever read this, but thank you Anna Torv for delivering such a memorable performance of such an admirable character.

I’m not one for gore and I’m also not terribly into science fiction (confession: I’ve never even seen an entire episode of X Files) so throughout the series I’ve had to struggle through some of the more gruesome scenes and ‘fringe’ science that the characters explored. However, what kept me tuning in week in and week out was the relationships between Olivia Dunham, Peter Bishop, Walter Bishop and Astrid Farnsworth.

I tuned in to Fringe after LOST ended. I was looking for a good TV show online that I could get caught up on for free during the summer months. I was supremely dissatisfied with LOST’s ending. So much so in fact that I lost nearly all interest I had to own and re-watch the series. Leading up to the Fringe series finale, my husband kept asking me if I was ready to be disappointed. I’m pleased to say that I never was. Fringe ended exactly the way I had hoped it would; with Peter and Olivia finally having a chance at uninterrupted happiness and Walter and Peter finally and forever connecting deeply as father and son.

Fringe Pondered Love, Sacrifice, and Paradox

As I reflect on the Fringe series finale, love, sacrifice and paradox keep coming to mind. I’ve already spoken to love. Throughout its run, the show pondered paradoxes – free will vs. fate, emotion vs. logic, even “over here” vs. “over there.” We grew to love a man we should have hated in Walter Bishop. We watched characters do extraordinary, fantastical things like walk through wormholes and reset time for a very ordinary cause – family. Even as Olivia Dunham walks through worlds and moves objects with her mind, we see her experience the very ordinary fear that every mother has felt of failing her child. We saw two scientists in William Bell and Walter Bishop with similar ambitions experience character arcs that took one to the place where he was willing to sacrifice the world to save himself and the other where he sacrificed himself to save his son.

In the end, the Fringe series finale and the show itself was worth watching and re-watching. Thank you to everyone who played a role in its ride.


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