I discovered Fringe late. My friends had been saying I should watch the show, but I kept putting it off, eventually they gave me all four seasons and I had no more excuses.
I watched the show almost religiously over the course of a month, staying up late into the night to watch them, even if I had a deadline looming over me. I was hooked from the first episode.
The character development, particularly that of Peter and Walter, was well crafted throughout. Peter’s transformation from self-centred loner to Walter’s guardian and Olivia’s partner was one of the main driving forces throughout the first season and continued until very end. Likewise with Walter, when we first meet him, he’s been incarcerated for seventeen years in an asylum and is utterly incapable of looking after himself. However, as the season’s progress, we learn more about why Walter was in the asylum, and why he is ‘insane’.
Needless to say, a great show cannot rely on the good guys alone. To create the necessary tension and momentum for the show to continue, a suitable antagonist (or a group of them) was needed. Series one found this within David Robert Jones (Jared Harris), a brilliant scientist with links to a shadowy group called ZFT, whose plans revolved around destroying the world as we know it. Following his gruesome departure in the season one finale, Jones was replaced as the Big Bad by the Olivia and Walter’s doppelgangers from a parallel universe.
However (as expected) things went wrong and the alternate universe suffered from massive decay as a result of the fractured universes. This led Walternate (the name given by Walter to his alternate self, the less crazy, more devious secretary of defence 'over there') to believe that the initial event, both the destruction as his son's kidnapping, was an act of aggression. The war between the two universes continued until the Fringe Division was able build a machine to create a bridge between the two worlds. However, in creating the bridge, Peter was wiped from history, having died when he was young.
This began the worst bit of writing done by the Fringe creators, with even the writer’s saying they’d messed it up. Peter’s removal from time led the way to gaping plot holes within the story, such as how Olivia had managed to get Walter out of the asylum without Peter as his guardian. The show stumbled along in this vein for slightly too long before bringing Peter back into reality and reviving a similar plot to the first season in the guise of Walter’s old Lab partner (played by Leonard Nimoy) trying to destroy both universes in an attempt to create a brand new one in which he was God. Eventually Peter and Olivia were able to save the day and we discovered that Olivia was pregnant with Peter’s child. It seemed a fitting end to the show and a satisfying happily ever after. But alas, the writer’s decided to give it one last shot.
Previously, the Observers had been strange background characters with not much information being known about them, however season five showed them as vicious dictators who had travelled back in time to take over the world.
I won’t spoil too much here, as the show has only just finished airing in the states. Suffice to say though, chances are you can work out most of the twists and plans set in motion and it has to be said that the final episode seems as though the writer’s were going through a checklist of clichés that needed to be ticked off.
Despite all that though, I still enjoyed the show and would recommend it to anyone, just don’t go expecting miracles from the last season. It’s good, but it doesn’t compare to the other four.