Well a full week has passed since the final two Fringe episodes aired. FOX and fanboys said goodbye to the beloved and always brilliant sci-fi series. That's right folks after five seasons, one hundred episodes, two alternate universes, and countless lens flares Fringe Division closes their last case.
"Liberty" was the first half of back-to-back Fringe episodes on their Friday finale night a week ago. The episode picks up with the team searching for Michael after he unexpectedly walked off the tram and handed himself over to Windmark and the rest of the Observers. With the help of 'The Dove' (aka Broyles) mole inside the enemy's base the team discovers Michael is being held in a science wing on Liberty Island. With limited time to rescue Michael, Olivia volunteers herself in a risky plan to crossover to the alternate universe multiple times as a way of bypassing the Observers security. All jacked up on Cortexiphan Olivia takes one last leap of faith to save the world.
This first half of the Fringe doubleheader starts the tipping of the hat for the series as many of the key elements that made this show what it is get their chance to return. The biggest highlight of course the much anticipated return to the alternate universe.
Taking a week to decompress about this episode, as well as the finale, I feel a lot of how the direction of the show was turned towards, in these last handfuls of episodes, was simply to cater to some classic areas of the series one last time. From one perspective I'm a little annoyed by the shortcuts the show took in their storytelling. There are more than a few moments that are unnecessary or don't add up after all is said and done. However, from the fan perspective getting to revisit certain things like the alternate universe one last time makes up some of those indiscretions.
With the return to the alternate universe the fan favourite actor Seth Gabel reprises his role of an older Agent Lincoln Lee. That also meant Anna Torv of course got one last chance to play opposite herself as both Olivia and Bolivia (aka alternate Olivia). I know Fringe was probably pressed for time but I would have liked a little more time spent in the alternate universe. Only a fraction of the episode showcases the alternate characters and not much other than Bolivia & Lincoln still being together is given info-wise to bring viewers up to speed on the other universe.
Without going into the details of "An Enemy of Fate", the next and final episode, "Liberty" on its own plays better out of the two episodes on the finale doubleheader. If there had been a week in between episodes like there normal is it would give some of those seemingly random moments some added mystery to them. Instead the short turn over actually makes many of the mistakes within the story more apparent and in many ways frustrating to the viewer. I'm tip-toeing with my vagueness so not to give away my critiques for the last episode (which I foresee myself doing a lot in the next review), but all that aside "Liberty" has more good than bad moments. The return to the alternate universe, farewell to Bolivia & Lincoln, and a semi-unexpected form of expression from Peter to Walter.
That moment being where Peter calls Walter 'Dad'. For the casual fan of the show the mention of Peter calling his father 'Dad' (being from an alternate universe or not) may not mean a whole lot, but to those who have watched since the beginning there is some importance to that term. Only once before in the entire five season run of Fringe has Peter ever called Walter something other than 'Walter'. Back in the last few episodes of season two Peter finally grows closer to his father and lets the word 'Dad' slip. That moment changed both characters in a huge way. The main reason this mention of 'Dad' only happened the once before was because Peter soon after found out he wasn't Walter's actual son, but rather Walternate's from the alternate universe. Again, casual fans hearing Peter call him 'Dad' in this episode might overlook that moment but the writers for the show no doubt put it in as a sentimental wink to long-time fans of the series.
"Liberty" is considered episode 99 in the series yet we aren't really given one last Fringe style cliff-hangers to lead into the final hour of the two part finale. Kind of flows right into the next episode. If you want to read me trying to my best to sum up the rest of last week's Fringe farewell be sure to check out part two: "An Enemy of Fate"
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Andrew Burns loves film and comics, and can be found writing about when those worlds converge. You can follow him on Twitter at @myAndrewBurns.