'Fringe': Finale Part One
Though did anyone else think it felt more like a season premiere? I know “Fringe” was taking a more “get-to-it” attitude this year, but it’s almost like they overshot and here we are in Season Three.
Up to this point, we’ve only had vague glimpses of the Déjà Vuniverse. It started with Olivia’s flashes last season, building up to her meeting with William Bell. This year, we’ve had just as few peeks at the other side, until now.
We start off in Fringe Headquarters, and before you can even realize that A) there isn’t a Fringe Headquarters and B) the location titles aren’t in fancy 3D, Charlie Francis walks in the door. Yep, we’re over there. Where technology is far advanced and fashion sense is far behind. I know the Fringe Division on the other side is more militaristic, but berets? I can live with everybody in the G.I. Joe action figure costumes, but I have to draw the line at berets.
Our Fringe team on the other side consists of a Charlie Francis filled with arachnids, a brunette Olivia, and some other guy. They have a van and a bunch of cool toys, and they’re plugging holes in the fabric of reality. Making split-second decisions on whether or not to quarantine an area, killing thousands. Including themselves.
But again, before you can even register that they had Nixon on their half dollar and that the guy covered in tumors seems familiar, we see what caused this near-quarantine. The Walter, Olivia and friends from our universe are also on the other side.
Then wham! A couple blimps and the alternative universe New York City skyline and roll opening credits.
Now that’s an opening! I could write my entire Show Tracker just breaking down that opening. Heck, we even got the opening credits from the other side. Red instead of blue, and variations in the Fringe technologies listed. The one that caught my attention was “First People.” What does that even mean?
I still have 50 minutes of “Fringe” to talk about.
After Walternate showed up in Peter’s hotel room last week, Peter agreed to return with him the other side. Olivia and Walter accepted his decision, until they get a sketch of a machine that could use Peter to destroy both universes. So they go to Massive Dynamic for a refresher course in reality hoping and put together a rag-tag team of misfits to make the leap.
The misfits are other test subjects from Walter and Bell’s Cotexiphan experiments and past “Fringe” baddies. At least Nick “telepath” Lane and James “tumor” Heath are. I’m not sure about Firestarter. Walter leads them and Olivia through a bit of meditation that allows them to slip into the other universe. Unfortunately, since all three of the companions spent the night before over-using their powers, the crossover isn’t a fun experience.
While Olivia’s team walks three miles and slowly dies, Peter’s having a much better experience over there. He gets to eat bacon and talk to his dead mother. These are the scenes that ground the episode. They might be out of pace with the action and drama pouring out of every other moment, but there was weight and emotion. Bravo Joshua Jackson and Orla Brady. Bravo.
And there’s still so much more to talk about: the Department of Defense headquarters near the unoxidized copper Statue of Liberty, Olivianate’s boyfriend and strange tattoos, Walter getting shot and stumbling into the hospital, William Bell appearing just in time to play peeping Tom, and Walternate’s awesome-looking doomsday device (which has a piece that looks an awful lot like the original Xbox).
Hopefully the second half of the season finale will have fewer exciting details so I’ll be able to talk about all of them.
The Super Easter egg – During a conference call a couple weeks ago, “Fringe” show runners Jeff Pinkner and J.J. Wyman hinted at an Easter egg hidden in the season finale that hints at a story that won’t be addressed for quite a while. Any guesses? Maybe the line about Lincoln, the other guy in their Fringe Division, and his father being a “jurist.” Or even that giant map in Walternate’s office. I’m hoping it’s “First People.” I still want to know what that means.
Astrid Action – Our Astrid was nowhere to be seen, but Astridnate was crunching numbers to figure out whether or not the alternate Fringe Division should wipe out a big chunk of Brooklyn. Even if she’s wearing one of those berets I hate, she’s still kicking butt.
Spot the Observer – He didn’t make much of an attempt to hide this week. You think a guy who makes a living blending into the background to watch history events would be able to drop a piece of paper and escape unnoticed. He must have wanted to be seen because when the Observer hides, he really hides. I’m still trying to find him in last week’s episode.
-- Andrew Hanson
Photo: The Fringe team travels to the alternate universe. Credit: Fox Television