Saturday, January 19, 2013

Fringe Ends a Bit Timey Wimey Wibbley Wobbley (spoilers)

Oh folks!  It's an end of a TV watching era for me.  Not only have I watched Fringe since episode one, I had the honor of being an extra in several episodes, even working on the pilot, sitting in a warehouse with a bunch of people laying on the floor covered in goo.  I would not change my time with Fringe for the world, and in the end the show did not disappoint.  I was a bit upset that the Fox billed the finale as two episodes in a row, I would have loved to have one more week with Walter, Peter, Olivia and Astrid, but at least we got an ending worth watching.  Before I get into the million questions I have about the ending, here is a recap of the two back to back episodes:

The first hour was all about the teams bid to get Michael, the child observer, back from Windmark.  Olivia risks her life by loading Cortexifan directly into her brain stem in one of the more cringe worthy scenes of the series.  Using information attained by Broils, the undercover "Dove," Olivia crosses to the other side and with help from Faux-Livia and Lincoln she crosses back to our side in the exact location Michael is being held.  Unfortunately, the Observers have already moved him into a ominous looking surgical room for testing and annihilation.  Olivia travels in a half in one world, half in another world, state which allows her to walk through Observer central nearly untouched.  In the end she saves Michael, says a nice parting goodbye to the othersiders and returns safely back to our time.

In conjunction with this plot, we see September back at the lab.  He is constructing some future looking machine that will open a window through time which will eventually reset the timeline.  Unfortunately, the power cell has deteriorated over the years and no longer works.  September goes to December, one of the original 12 observers, explaining that December owes him a favor.  December agrees, admitting that emotions have effected him and that he and the original 12 never knew that their observation mission would lead to the decimation of the people in this time.

The second episode gets a bit more complicated.  I'm not going to get into it in full detail, but I was left with a lot of questions that can only lead to exciting discussions.  Olivia and Astrid go to retrieve the new power capsule from December only to find him hanged, loyalists crawling all over his apartment and the piece missing.  Of course everybody starts freaking out, how shall we ever reset the timeline!  Olivia asks Michael for help, but all he does is bring his finger to his lips.  You kind of sit there like "Ok....?" but suddenly Astrid comes up with the brilliant plan to use the Observers transport trucks.  Wonderful.  They will just need one more part from inside the amber to get things going.

While going through the amber, Peter discovers a tape addressed to him from Walter.  Commence water works as Walter explains that he will send Peter a letter that will make no sense, and that in 2015 he will vanish.  Walter admits to Peter that he will go with Michael into the future to guide him to the scientists that will end the existence of the current Observers but in doing so he will become and anomoly which can only be corrected if he is removed from time in 2015.  They have a beautiful little goodbye and I'll admit to tearing up.

So the plan gets set into motion, but before they really get going Broils is captured.  The team presses on despite the setback.  Before they leave, September brings Walter aside and tells him that he will be going with Michael to the future, sparing Walter's sacrifice.  Then everything gets FUCKING AWESOME.

The Fringe team breaks into Observer headquarters using technology from past fringe events.  Loyalists have monsters bursting from their stomachs, gas fills the air deforming faces and blocking airways leaving writhing bodies on the floor, observers hallucinate butterflies that cut their face.  Walter even supplies Peter will anti-gravity bullets.  When Peter question how it will help, Walter replies "Because it's cool"  I know they already did this once this season, but that doesn't stop it from being amazing.  Not only do Olivia and Peter get the parts they need, but they also save Broils.

A huge gun fight breaks out, but despite the attack, Walter is able to open the gateway.  Windmark has other plans and steals Michael away before he can cross, but Peter is grabs on for the warp.  Weirdly they only warp a few feet away and Olivia catches up.  After an pretty intense beating from Windmark, it seems like the end for Peter and Olivia, but Michael once again puts a finger to his lips.  Olivia sees the Etta bullet on the ground and drawing strength from it she goes all Cortexifan on Windmark's ass.  In one of the coolest moments on the show, Olivia not only blows out the lights in her vicinity, but shuts down the entire power grid of the city.  Drawing in all that power she slams a car into Windmark, exploding his brain.  It was pretty freaking awesome.

Just when it looks like everything is coming up roses (or tulips in the case of Fringe) September gets killed before he can cross.  So, after everything, Walter has to be the one to take Michael across and reset the timeline.  And he does.

The show then flashes back to 2015, to the day of the invasion.  Etta never gets captured, observers never come.  Olivia, Peter and Etta go back home a happy family.  Peter receives a letter from Walter.  He doesn't know it, but this is the day Walter becomes and anomaly and disappears out of time.  All that's left of him is a white tulip...

Now to figure out what the hell happened.  I'm no stranger to time rewrites, I am a Doctor Who fan after all.  When it comes to time, Doctor Who did it first.  You know the South Park episode where they repeatedly yell "Simpsons did it!" as Butters keeps coming up with zany ways to destroy the town? When it comes to time and space travel you have to yell out "Doctor Who did it!"  And just like in Doctor Who, sometimes things don't come together in the most understandable way.

There are some things that just don't sit right with me.  Throughout the two hours my dad and I discussed what would happen once the timeline was reset.  They didn't make it clear that the timeline would only be reset starting from 2015.  But the whole point of bringing Michael through time is to stop the Observers from ever existing.  So the original 12 would never have gone on their expedition since they would never have existed, meaning September would never have interrupted Walternate from finding the cure to Peter's disease, so Walter would never have to cross universes, so Peter would never exist in our universe.  Did you catch all that?  But obviously September knew all this would happen, since he is the one who whispers "the boy is important" to Walter.  Of course we always took this to mean that Peter was important, but actually he meant the child observer Michael.  So that must mean that September always knew what was going to happen... right.... RIGHT?!  So does time reset at 2015 because that is when September takes Michael into the future?  Also, the timeline was changed once already!  So is this timeline 1, meaning the first 4 seasons of the show before Peter went into the machine, or timeline 2 where Peter had drowned as a child but has come back?  Uhh my head hurts.

Also, what was with Michael putting a finger to his lips.  Was he doing some kind of Observer boy hoodoo?  Helping people realize what they should do?  There has to be a reason he did that...

No matter what, Fringe ended with great action, lots of emotion and some unanswered questions, which is exactly how a sci-fi show should end.  Well done Fringe on five awesome seasons.  I look forward to going back through, knowing what I know now, and possibly finding answers in old episodes.  I shall miss you dearly Fringe, hats off to you!