I laugh when my wife makes her usual comment at the end of every Fringe episode, “I hate this show.” I empathize with her frustration, but I know that we’ll both come back for more. This post is going to contain spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the latest episode, “The End of All Things,” don’t keep reading. You can watch the last five episodes free on Hulu (here). If you have seen the latest episode, then stick around as I reflect a little on my theories on what’s happening in Season 4 regarding the alternate timelines and Peter’s relationship with Olivia. I’d love if you stuck around even longer and shared what you think.
The reason for the title of “Fringe Rollercoaster” is that this season has had a few highs and lows in terms of Peter’s love life–I suppose you could say that’s a common hook for this show. After last season’s disappearance of Peter from both timelines, I felt like the show needed a reboot to keep it interesting. The bad guy is no longer Walternet, but Robert David Jones, and the goal seems to be manipulating him to help Peter find his original timeline before Mr. Jones… destroys all the universes? I could be wrong about that, but it would be nice if Jones had something to do with Peter’s quest.
This season had one of my favorite episodes, “Welcome to Westfield,” both because of the zombie-type scenario (anyone can turn at any moment, so where do we hide?), but also because of the revelation at the end that Peter might be in the correct timeline and Olivia might be able to remember him. This was the high point for me. I loved the horror aspect of this episode; the science was cool; Walter was funny; and Olivia started falling in love with Peter again. What more could I ask for from an episode?
Unfortunately, the last episode took a sharp left turn from where I had hoped it was going, and I bet that was intentional. Darn you J.J. Abrams! (I suppose my fist-shaking should go at producers Pinker and Wyman, but I’ll still shake it at J.J. for the hugely disappointing Alcatraz.) However, I’ve got to give him and his writers credit for finding a way to keep me interested in Fringe. When you take away conflict the story ends, so since I don’t want this show to end yet, I suppose I’m glad to still be hanging in suspense.
Some questions my wife and I still have are whether we’re dealing with only two timelines and if this is the “original.” My wife says we are in the original timeline, so Peter’s attempt at finding the original is misguided because he doesn’t know that he was simply wiped out from this timeline. This makes sense, but who’s to say we haven’t stepped into a third timeline? I thought Olivia’s revelation of the name of chemical used in the explosion at the storage facility (something Peter had no memories of) proved that he wasn’t influencing her memories improperly. But, the last episode ended with Peter concluding that she isn’t “his” Olivia, and we’re left off in an even worse state; now, not only is Peter missing his timeline, but Olivia is in love with him and they can’t be together.
Ugh. No wonder my wife hates this show. Even still, I can’t wait for the next episode. The stakes are rising and we still have eight episodes left in this season to see how much higher they can go. I’m sure my wife can’t wait. What theories or reflections do you have about the show?
Fringe is produced by Bad Robot Productions and Warner Bros. Television, and airs on Fox network.