Who would have thought? Not me. If you’d asked me at any point past season 2 if I thought this show was going to end up giving me a damn near perfect ending, I would have laughed in your face. And yet here we are, with the kind of ending that almost, almost makes everything worthwhile.
Sure, there were some stumbles along the way – a lot of them – and I feel like I have complained about this show more than I have enjoyed it, especially the past two seasons, but boy did I enjoy season 5 as a whole, and did I enjoy the past few episodes in particular.
They were all you want in an ending, and all you want in a show, in general. Only Astrid got short-changed, which isn’t even surprising at this point, since I’m not even sure they were ever planning to do anything with her other than have her stand there. I guess I should count my lucky starts they allowed her one final moment with Walter, which she absolutely deserved.
Other than egregious problem, though, the show delivered on every promise it had made to its viewers, something many, many shows fail at doing. In fact, if I had to rank my favorite TV show endings of all time, Fringe might make my top 5.
I promise, I’m as shocked as you are.
How did Fringe do it? It did it by gifting us with not one, but two heartbreaking and rightfully emotional Peter/Walter scenes, and reaffirming that the bond between these two was, indeed, the center of this show. Walter’s “you are my favorite thing, Peter,” will forever be one of the greatest love declarations of all time, and the lengths at which Walter was willing to go for Peter – which in many ways, were mirrored in what Peter was willing to do for Etta – are a great message that, sometimes, the greatest love in your life doesn’t have to be romantic.
Sometimes the love you have for your kids can be the thing that tears the universe apart, and puts it back together.
As an aside – can we get the Etta of the fixed future together with Fauxlivia and Lincoln’s kid from the other universe? Asking for me, because as weird as that it, it would also be kinda amazing.
Back to the point – what made this ending so so good, was also that Fringe finally allowed Peter and Olivia to be the couple the show kept telling us they were for four seasons. Show, don’t tell, they say, and by finally showing us, Fringe allowed us to feel it in a way we hadn’t before. So when they got that happy ending, together, with another chance to raise Etta, we rejoiced for them, but we also rejoiced for ourselves.
This is what we wanted. Emotional connections, to feel like the love we had grown to have for these characters wasn’t wasted, and for them to get a chance at the quiet, happy life they’d dreamed of.
I didn’t believe we’d get here, but here we are, and I couldn’t be happier. There’s nothing more subversive than a happy ending. There really, really isn’t.