‘Fringe’ review: A bittersweet ending

2:00 pm EDT, January 20, 2013

On Friday night the show that many of us have come to love ended after five seasons, and it left us clutching our hearts and smiling so big it hurt. Tariq explains why this was one of the best series finales yet, and how they did no wrong.

I’ll start this review by saying that at first I wasn’t a big fan of the whole Observer taking over the world plot line. It kind of felt like that random 5 year jump that Desperate Housewives pulled, and so contrived I almost stopped watching. However, once you give it a chance you’ll see that the Observers were the catalyst that let Fringe end in such a fantastic way that we don’t need more cases or weird investigations, we’re perfectly content with what we got.

Joshua Jackson said it best, that the show came to a natural ending that was right for every character in it. We got to see the story lines and relationships between each character come to a satisfying finish and we have no unanswered questions or loose ends, unlike the Merlin series finale. I think the best thing about this is that they even went to give us a glimpse of Gene, Walter’s pet cow. How many other shows make sure that they give us the thirty seconds we need to make sure we have no questions? Not that many, at least that I’ve seen, and I’m very grateful for it!

With every show, there’s the risk of getting overly sappy when you want to give the fans a happy ending. You want things to work out for your characters but at the same time you have to decide what, and who, to sacrifice to get there. So many shows try to skip the sacrifice and try to just please the fans, but realistically it just doesn’t work. You can’t have your cake and eat it too, the saying goes, and Fringe is a true testament to that.

When we found out that Donald took the syringe so he could be the one to take Michael to the other side, it was kind of a disappointment and a copout. It was disappointing because — this might just be me– I love tragedies. The feeling of complete loss is exhilarating, it’s refreshing, and we don’t get it that often in today’s TV. Shows today tend to do the copout, the almost sad ending that turns around to be completely happy and full of sunshine; but not Fringe. They were able to give us a sad ending that still had a sweet aftertaste, and it left us open to imagine Walter in the year 2167, where I hope they still have redvines!

Another reason I loved this finale is while we got to see the Bishop family reunited (technically never parted, though), it was bittersweet when Peter got the white tulip. He would never get to see his father again, but because of his sacrifice Etta would grow up to be a completely different person, someone who would get to enjoy her teen years and high school and not hardened by war. This is why I was smiling so big at the final scene; it was the ending we always wanted and it gave us a future that would continue on in the hearts of the fans. Yeah, it’s just a tad disappointing that the characters look like they don’t remember the Observer time line at all, that they won’t realize what they missed and who they lost in the process to get normal life back. Though in the end I’m glad they don’t have to remember the hardship, and instead are rewarded with years of happiness with Etta.

If you’re angry because Walter had to leave his family, be happy instead because he did his duty as a father, a friend, and a scientist. He paid the ultimate price for taking Peter from the other side, but only after he got his due. Yes, we were upset when no one remembered Peter before he was erased, and we were sad when the relationship they had was restarted from scratch. But with Michael’s gift he left his family knowing everything, and he reminded us of the Walter we grew to love in the first four seasons.

This was the absolutely one of the best finales a show has ever produced, and I honestly have no questions or needs to know any extra information. Do you feel the same way, or do you have questions that you’re dying to get the answer to? Let me know in the comments below!

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