TFTF – The Finale

Posted: January 25, 2013 in Sci-Fi and Fantasy, TFTF
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Sad, but satisfying, this is the final Thoughts From the Fringe that will be produced for Fringecasting with Wayne and Dan. I would urge you to catch their most recent podcast. It’s one of the best series wraps I’ve heard!

Hi Wayne and Dan,

Raul from, here with my Thoughts From the Fringe on episodes 12 and 13 – The Finale. Yes, I know the hours are individually named, but for me these will be – in the best possible sense – The Finale.

While I loved this double episode – it gets a 9.9 ambered Gene’s – this is still proving the most difficult Thoughts I’ve compiled of the series.

I suppose I should start with the plate of crow that Joe the Cook has sautéed up for me. I totally blew it on The Machine. That is also where I had to dock it a tenth point; even the actually intended machine ended up being a red herring that ended up not being used. It was merely a device to drive the season 5 plot forward. I suppose you could put an extra drumstick on the plate for my original predictions with Bell, as well. That leaves us back to Bell having escaped at the end of season 4, so no real resolution there, but I can live with that. In retrospect, I think my big mistake was dwelling on the past. I was thinking changing the past to fix the future when the thrust the show actually was changing the future to fix the past.

On the flip side, I did get it right in loading up Olivia on cortexiphan and seeing the Redverse again (though that latter was more a hope that prediction). I’m also glad we got to see Gene again. My understanding, Wayne, is apparently she refused the cameo if Agent Jessup was on the show. It seems there was some conflict in season 2 between them regarding camera time.

I’ll just say that I am glad I was wrong here. For me, the one thing better than figuring the story out, is having the author surprise me.

Now on to this episode.

Regardless the overall arc, it wasn’t that hard predicting what would happen in the episode. Indeed, they told us the ending of the story, though the sacrifice took a different nature than we were allowed to think. Yet as I said last week, the real interest is the journey to that end. I found that journey very satisfying. More so than any other series in the last 15 years. (Sorry LOST fans)

From the perspective of plot, we got one final burst of the enhanced Olivia. The older Fauxlivia and Nerd Lee (slightly less nerdy, now) and their growing family gave closure on the state of the Redverse. Apparently the trips Over There didn’t completely burn out all the cortexiphan, because she still had enough left to beat Windmark to the draw on his attempt to phase out. I was actually giggling when I heard the crackle and saw lights blinking out.

In one regard, I was sad to see September killed, but then would he have continued to exist had he succeeded? Speaking as a father, it was heart wrenching to see him finally reach the full understanding of what that meant but to have so little time to experience its joys.

Walter’s sacrifice turned out to be not death, but losing his family to save his family. His sacrifice may not sound like much in the bigger scheme of things, but remember that at one time he was quite willing to let two universes be destroyed to save his son for himself. I hope he finds happiness and new purpose in the future.

The big questions that I have are in the nature of paradox. In a re-written future, it is easy to understand how Michael becomes a paradox. And that if he stays there, grows old and dies in his past, our future, the paradox resolves itself. Walter is a bit more problematic, but I think I’ve worked it out. By causing the future to be rewritten, he has also changed his past at some point. As Peter was a product of two pasts, Walter is now a product of two futures. It’s a subtle difference, but Peter’s case has resolved itself while Walter’s can change what should be. Walter’s staying breaks the cycle.

The other question of paradox is why the reset to the time of the invasion. From the storytelling perspective it’s obvious. They wanted a happy ending. But if the Observers cease to exist as December tells September, then why wouldn’t the reset have gone all the way back to when September distracted Walternate? Since Michael represents an Invader-less future, one could say that there would still be Observers, and there were even timeline problems or accidents. However in this reset timeline their objective was only study and no invasion was planned. I expect we’ll get an answer after many months of debate on the DVD commentary.

I do know the writers did something downright evil in the final moment of the show. Peter gets the card with the white tulip and we see a momentary confusion. As expected. Then he looks up at the camera – effectively breaking the fourth wall – and give us this “knowing” look. Wyman is going to be asked about how much does Peter “remember” – or should I say “foreknow” – for years. You know… the old re-recorded video tape thing? I’m not going to hold my breath for an answer to this one. This will be the Great Debate of the series.

One final thought; this time on season 5 as a whole. I’ve heard it commented more than once now, that the end of season 4 felt more like a finale than 5. If you’re thinking just television, perhaps. However, if thinking literature a better description of season 4’s end would be the climax of the story. Season 5 is, more than anything, a denouement; a bringing together of story. And in the finale, we finally have the catharsis for characters – in the purest sense of the word. For most of the fans, also, I hope there is that same sense of completeness and purification. It is this that gives me such a sense of satisfaction for the ending of the show.

Yes, there are more questions. Yes there are other stories. But this story is complete.

Not so on the Fringe, at last,

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