My Love Affair with Fringe

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Being a person who watches a very large majority of television currently on the network, Fringe might be the one to win weirdest show currently airing. It’s no secret that creator J.J. Abrams has an affinity for the mind benders. Known for famous creations like Alias, LostMission: Impossible 3Super 8, and the most recent Star Trek, Fringe has always been on the back burner, in the shadow of his more eclipsing creations. However, out of all of his creations, I have always loved Fringe the most. I have, what some might call, a love affair with Fringe. Sometimes we’ll fall out and I’ll ignore him for a while, sometimes we’ll be so madly in love that I can’t get enough of him; and if you think I’m exaggerating by personifying a television show, you haven’t watched Fringe.

It’s fair to say that Fringe has a very limited audience that it broadcasts to. Not only is it science fiction, but it lays very heavily on the scientific. The show’s very title is developed on the concept of “fringe science”, the science that revolves around the paranormal. Most Abrams fans are familiar with his brand of science fiction, in fact, the various timelines very much remind a viewer of Lost and as if that wasn’t a clue enough it has the classic stamp of lens flares. However, those things aside, I believe that if you tear away most of those science-y paranormal layers, this is a show that can very easily connect with a general audience. Now, given the fact that this show is on its final season, with a final 2-hour episode airing on January 18th, 2013, I can’t do much other than ask you to watch a couple episodes of the first season and to get yourself educated in the heartbreak of Fringe.

Truthfully, there have been moments when I had to scratch my head and think hard about what has happened in the show. What started out as a paranormal twist on a cop mystery show, quickly evolved into an intricate story line with multiple universes and pan-universal disasters. However, as I said before, all of this nonsense aside, this is a show centered around human emotion. Now, more than ever. It is a show that is centered around what it means to be human, the limits of humanity, and the powers of humanity. The reason why this show is so excellent is the raw emotion that it pours into every episode. And while, I have seen some lackluster performances in final seasons, this one pulls out all the stops and has me sobbing every episode. The revolving story around the central three characters: Detective Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv), brilliant but psychologically damaged Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble), and his equally brilliant son Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson).

The performance given by these three actors has me furious that none of them have won Emmys for their work on the show. In a show that, without going into too many spoilers, creates alternate universes and alternate duplications of the show’s characters, the actors are able to create a completely new character based on the same original ones. The intricate relationships developed in the show are part of its beauty. Both heartbreaking and reassuring, it is a show that does nothing half-assed. Having gone into a very serial story, Fringe has developed a serious mythology. Many times I have feared that it would go into the Supernatural territory of appeasing its fans, but it has never done so. And no offense to Supernatural, because have always enjoyed the show and it has pulled at my heartstrings more than once, but the way everything is being strung up in Fringe makes up for all the confusion it has put me through.

Given that it is a show that is both created by Abrams and spans 5 seasons, there are bound to be unanswered questions. There are always unanswered questions, and I predict a bunch of articles talking about how the ending was “unfulfilling” and “anticlimactic”, because people are accustomed to complain, but you won’t get one from me. As a loyalist to Fringe, I’m glad that they even got a chance to finish up the show on their own terms. Despite being pushed into the Friday night slot, it has continued on with its fan following and I won’t toss it aside just for some questions that are left unanswered. If there’s been anything that the show has taught me, it’s that some questions are probably best left unanswered.

If there are ex-fans of Fringe, people out there who gave up on the show because it was too confusing, too slow, or just not worth the effort anymore, I would recommend watching the current season, but probably wikipedia-ing some of the stuff you missed. This isn’t something you can go into blind, or else you’ll be so confused you’ll back right out. Same goes for first timers. Watch at least the first 2 seasons, or at the very least just season 1, and then wikipedia the rest if you want to skip to the current season. It’s not satisfying; you won’t get everything and you might just get angry reading about it, but you’ve got to at least understand how they got there.

Season 5, like I said, has been a roller coaster ride, and I believe to be one of the best written and acted seasons. New characters like Windmark and Etta devastate and destroy me each week, the final universe that we are thrown into is a classic one. It’s a world that is all too familiar to sci-fi lovers, but still retains a strong imprint of the show’s style. Now I can tell you, watching these episodes and being the chicken that I am, many of them scared me into studying for finals for the pure reason I was a little too scared to go on. I’m a person who is strongly influenced by the musical cues and sounds in a show, and this one does pretty well in making me terrified and tearful. But I can say that half way into my homework, after terrifying me back into studying, I would be dragged back into watching another sequential episode and the whole vicious cycle would continue on.

The mid-season break that started with episode 10 “Anomaly XB-6783746” of season 5 that aired this past Friday, December 21st. In an explosive ending, I was obviously left in smithereens with a huge reveal on who the anticipated “Donald” is, and I just have so many feelings about it. With only 3 episodes left, I am on the edge of my seat in anticipation. I came into this show in season 3 and had to speed watch seasons 1 and 2, so I think it only fair that I have another marathon before the final 3 episodes. Fringe returns on January 11th with episode 11 “The Boy Must Live”.

Tell us what you guys think of Fringe and how you guys felt about the the mid-season finale, I’ll be posting up a super spoiler filled finale review soon! Also keep a look out for our coming mid-season reviews!