Thursday, May 5, 2011

Fringe: Countdown to the Season Three Finale: "The Day We Died"

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"

     I have not seen this episode, so what follows is speculation and musings, not actual spoilers.

     The previous episode ends with Peter waking up in the future (the previews tell us fifteen years later) on a war-torn New York City street patrolled by Fringe Division. He is addressed as Agent Bishop, and looks older, so he is definitely a part of the group. Which implies that he has only time traveled mentally, not physically. Time travel is expected, because of the old sketches, but not into the future. I was expecting the past!

     Rewatching the preview for "The Day We Died", Peter appears to be at some sort of end-of-the-world event. The question is, what is causing it? It seems unlikely that the machine that Walternate turned on is hte problem, as it surely wouldn't take fifteen years to even take out New York City, where it sits. Plus, Peter is now in the machine, so he will repurpose it for good.

     Who will Peter meet in the future? It seems likely from recent interviews with people involved in the show that he is going to run into Walter AND Walternate, but where? Are they now in the same universe? Did a merger of some kind happen? Are there pathways to easily traverse back and forth?

     Fringe has itself in a corner, where both universes can't co-exist, but destroying either one would results in the death of innocent billions, a real conundrum. There will be no joy in saving either world. I have wondered if perhaps some sort of evacuation of one side to the other could take place, but the logistics of feeding and housing a suddenly double populations seems prohibitive.

     Will the battle of the universes even end in this one episode? So much time has been spent setting up the two worlds, and no end is in sight. How could things tie up so neatly in merely one episode? It just doesn't seem likely. With Fringe already renewed for season four, will much of the emergency be put off until next season?

     Future episodes are cool, because fans get to see how their favorite characters end up, or at least how they might end up. Yet, usually when a series does them, which isn't often, it's not a big season finale where a major problem needs fixed immediately. Time can't be taken to explore alternate personalities adequately in the middle of such an occurrence. Might the future world be next season's alternate universe, featuring heavily in many episodes?

     It's interesting how Fringe likes to show different versions of the same people. The more that is learned about the alternate universe, the more similarities can be drawn between both versions of a character. Yet, there are stark differences, usually caused by the events they have gone through. So Fringe seems to come down on the Nurture side of Nature versus Nurture.

"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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