Thursday, May 5, 2011

Fringe: Countdown to the Season Three Finale: "6:02 AM EST"

Fringe: The Complete Third Season [Blu-ray]     This third season of FOX's Fringe has been a wild ride from start to (almost) finish. It started with Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) kidnapped on the other side and replaced by Fauxlivia (also Torv). Olivia's memory is altered to believe she is Fauxlivia, while Fauxlivia makes love to Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) and, without him knowing, gives birth to his child. Meanwhile, Walter (John Noble) and Walternate (Noble) both work to save their universes, knowing that one or the other must perish. Peter is in the middle, raised by Walter, but son of Walternate. With the season finale, "The Day We Died," airing this Friday, I'd like to take a look back at the three most recent episodes and try to figure out what to expect.

"Lysergic Acid Diethylamide" / "6:02 AM EST" / "The Last Sam Weiss" / "The Day We Died"

     Olivia and Peter are finally together! After everything that separates them, from Olivia being replaced by Fauxlivia, to William Bell inhabiting Olivia's body, they finally get to just be a couple, happily. This, of course, does not last long. The happy part, not the together part. Hopefully that will continue for seasons to come.

     Devastating events begin occurring in the Eastern United States, and the mysterious doomsday device that has only responded to Peter before suddenly comes on at 6:02 AM EST, even though Peter is hundreds of miles away. As Walter is soon able to surmise, it is responding to the fact that its counterpart in the alternate universe is now running. What he doesn't know is that Walternate has used the DNA of Peter and Fauxlivia's child, with Fauxlivia's elements stripped out, to activate the device. The machine thinks Peter is inside it.

     Which means that when Peter tries to approach the machine on our side, it zaps him badly and sends him to the hospital. As such, nothing seems readily available to stop the destruction. While no one exactly knows how the thing works, Walternate believes it will save his universe by tearing apart ours.

     Walternate has mostly been portrayed as a villain on the show. With this serious disaster in front of him, he is humanized a bit as he mourns the loss of billions of souls on the other side. He is disgusted by Brandon's (Ryan McDonald) celebration that their world will be saved. How can one rejoice while taking so many innocent lives? What would you do to save the world? It's fantastic that the show demonstrates those stakes through Walternate, and makes the issue even more murky than before. While fans of Fringe surely want the "regular" universe to survive, do they realize they are rooting for massive amounts of unjust death as well? It's a real eye opening moment, to characters and viewers alike.

     As this happens, Olivia and Nina search for Sam Weiss (Kevin Corrigan), who Nina says knows more about the machine than anyone. Sam has disappeared. Time is running out, as there is little amber available to stop the events, and that fix would only be temporary anyway.

     Why is Olivia so willingly working with, and trusting, Nina? As we saw in the previous episode, in Olivia's brain, Nina is a bad guy. This is confusing, as the two of them seem at ease with each other on screen. Is Nina bad or good? Brown plays her mysteriously, helping the heroes, but always having motivations she never articulates to them. Going forward, hopefully Nina will take more of a front seat on Fringe, and the show will plunge into who she really is.

"Lysergic Acid Diethylamide" / "6:02 AM EST" / "The Last Sam Weiss" / "The Day We Died"

     However things play out, it is fairly certain Fringe will be delivering a heck of an exciting finale! Catch the episode "The Day We Died" tomorrow night (Friday) at 9 p.m. EST on FOX.

     To catch up on the Fringe you missed, buy DVDs or watch episodes instantly on

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Article first published as TV Review: Fringe: Countdown to the Season Three Finale on Blogcritics.

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