It feels like not so long ago that I started on this Fringe journey, and I had many hopes when I did. I hoped to love it, of course, why else would you start watching a show, especially in the middle of a quarantine? I also hoped, however, maybe more than anything, that I wouldn’t feel like stopping at one point because the whole thing just didn’t make sense.
There are many, many things I appreciate more than a well-planned story.
Fringe is many, many things, but even though I’m not even in the middle of the show’s run, I think it’s clear that this is probably its most enduring legacy: It’s a really, really well planned out show. Everything happens for a reason, and more importantly, it’s all leading somewhere.
The last few episodes of season 2 are the perfect showcase of this, with so much that I’d imagined and conjectured finally happening. Yes, we’d seen the other universe before, but we hadn’t spent any time in it. And yes, I think we all figured Peter would one day find out the truth, and be rightfully mad at Walter, but I also feel like, most shows, would make that a little more …well, black and white.
Fringe does shades of grey really, really well.
Is Walternate the bad guy? For us, he is, and in some ways he’s a villain. But he’s also a man who had his son stolen from under him, by, well…himself. Is our Walter a hero? How could he be when he stole another man’s child to raise as his own, and oh yes, destabilized a universe to do so?
But the answer doesn’t have to be clear-cut. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. People can contain multitudes.
This is, of course, not a new message, but it is one that Fringe does particularly well, especially when you consider this is, above all things, a sci-fi show.
We rarely watch – or invest – in TV because of plot, though. The sci-fi elements can be of interest to some, but the reason we, as viewers, connect or don’t connect, is because of the characters. You either care about these people or you don’t, and if you do …well, there’s a lot you’d be willing to accept, plot-wise.
Like that thing that happens at the end of the season, and how it’s going to mess everything up, for likely a long time.
And no, I’m not talking about Peter and Olivia’s “moment” but about the cliffhanger, though the Peter/Olivia moment is worth talking about. I saw someone comparing it to Sydney and Vaughn’s first kiss in Alias – another JJ Abrams show – but the best thing about it, in my mind, is how little that comparison works for me.
Peter and Olivia are not Sydney and Vaughn, and they are certainly not at the point of their relationship those two were. When Sydney and Vaughn came together, they had no doubt about how the other felt – they were just waiting for the right moment. Olivia and Peter, however, are coming together to reaffirm something they might have felt, but that was never expressed.
“You belong with me,” Olivia says, and that rings true, but it isn’t even necessarily romantic. She’s not saying “I can’t live without you,” she’s just saying “You fit with me,” which is, perhaps, even more important. Peter had, after all, been questioning his place in the world. Where did he belong?
Sometimes home isn’t a place, home is people. And for Peter, that’s not in the alternate universe, with Walternate and Fauxlivia (I ain’t eve going there yet, nooooope, that’s for season 3 pain), it’s with our Walter, and our Olivia. That’s where he fits.
The romance of it, that, in many ways, is going to come later, and I anticipate it’s going to be hard (damn you, Fauxlivia). But it’s okay, because that declaration wasn’t the end of the journey, it was just two very damaged people coming together and taking a chance at starting something.
Not the end, or a culmination, but a start. One that, hopefully, after the pain I know is coming, they can actually capitalize on.
Agree? Disagree? What did you think of season 2 of Fringe? Share with us in the comments below!