Reprise. Because there’s more. I don’t know how many posts it will take to get all the feelings and thoughts OUT that Fringe has raised in me. I guess I’ll find out in real time.
So here is The Fringe Report 2, just as full of spoilers as the first one:
- I loved Gene the cow in spite of how unrealistic such a situation would be. This is where fantasy takes advantage of not having to be reality. Gene offers valuable comic relief just by being a milking cow living in a science lab.
- I think the show handled the age old question of the consequences of science well by not becoming tediously moralistic. The story illustrates that there is no concrete division between science being used for “good” and science being used for “evil”. That it is often a question of personal perspectives. What science can do to help one person can devastate another. There is so much grey area in science that shows often gloss over. They could easily have made the old Walter truly evil and the repentant Walter truly good. Instead they made him hopelessly human in that he traverses through so much moral grey area and he doesn’t make perfect repentant choices. The thing I appreciate the most is that the new Walter never loses that devilish side that wants to DO THE EXPERIMENT!! because that’s what he loves most – discovering things, investigating them, breaking them down, and putting them back together. He gets swept up in his excitement all the time and has to be reminded that the person he’s helping might not enjoy his glee that they are giving him an opportunity to cut into them.
- I loved seeing Peter transform from bitter con-man drifter to finding his tribe and forgiving what he thought was unforgivable. I loved seeing him fall for Olivia because he did it so quietly and respectfully. You could see it unfolding even though the writing and the acting was subtle enough that it was obviously not a major theme. It made it feel more genuine. But Joshua Jackson really took it home transforming Peter’s sarcasm and bitterness into something sweet and genuine.
- I loved seeing Olivia slowly work on forgiving Walter as their past together was revealed and Olivia grappled with her anger and Walter grappled with his guilt. I loved watching her go from an impenetrable broken person to a whole woman who has found her tribe and family at the same time Peter does. I love seeing her realize the weakness of being invulnerable and overcoming it to let others in.
- I loved the theme of family and belonging in Fringe – that family doesn’t have to mean the traditional blood ties most people mean by family. That you can find family with anyone with whom you share daily communion, converse, affection, and acceptance. Sometimes the found family can be more profound and solid than the one you’re born to. The concept of family can embrace both blood and adoption.
- Walter. I just fucking love Walter.
- I want to be Olivia but I am Astrid. It’s not about thinking less of Astrid, because I adore her. It’s just that so many of us pragmatic caretakers want to be heroines and be heroic and brave and shoot straight and run far. But the goddamn dishes still have to be done and it’s people like me who do the dishes in stories.
- But this does remind me of the scene at the end of season 4 where Astrid suddenly breaks out with the moves and kicks her attackers and is just so fucking awesome – right before she was shot. I almost screamed out loud to cheer her on but remembered the other people I live with who weren’t watching with me. I always knew Astrid had it in her to break out the fierce moves.
- And when I took Kung Fu I discovered that I do too.
- Us practical pragmatic types can sometimes break out and surprise those who are used to us holding them together with things like soup, clean laundry, and knowing just how to comfort others that no one else seems able to decipher. We’ve got a long-burning light, even if it isn’t super brilliant.
- I wonder at people giving the attributes of complete power of creation to a being they don’t think of as human, a deity, and it’s okay for that deity to arbitrarily create rules for living and exert punishments and rewards and to create whatever twisted creatures and nightmares it wants but the thought of humans being able to do the same is so abhorrent. So evil. Humans aren’t supposed to “play God” over others because this is the sole privilege of a being we can’t see, can’t hear, and who’s existence can never be verified, whose rule is absolute but also contradictory and defective and doesn’t grow as human kind grows – this is okay in an invisible force. Yet so many believers in God are perfectly willing to let humans “play God” if it promises to give them children that they weren’t otherwise able to have or to extend their life years beyond terminal disease. Humans have such a difficult relationship between God and science.
- I think Fringe illustrates this uneasiness about who’s allowed to make decisions for mankind very well. It’s a fraught question. Can science and God coexist? Where does God end and science begin, and are they even linear companions? Are they ultimately the same? If science lets us make babies when our bodies “naturally” aren’t able – is there no god in that gift of science? If we can do it, doesn’t God make if possible for us to do it?
- People need each other. That’s a theme I always love because I happen to believe that none of us can make a go of this life alone. How many people does it take for us to reach adulthood? Not just our parents, and maybe not even our parents, but teachers, friends who keep us from killing ourselves, employers who give us a chance not everyone sees we deserve, loans to skate over financial cliffs, long nights draped over sympathetic shoulders when life is untenable, the people who feed us when we have no food, people who encourage and inspire us. People who nurture our dreams or even people who try to crush them and become catalysts for action and determination and the perseverance required to succeed? No one gets through life alone. No one.
- Your tribe may be tiny or it may be substantial but those with no tribe at all tend to drift off into the ether with spirit untethered and unseen. Those who feel no tribe at all, who feel completely alone in the world are the most vulnerable to self destruction. Sometimes those who feel alone don’t have to be alone but may lack the courage to claim importance to other human beings. That feeling of being alone in the world, whether based on reality or on perception, is a powerful killer.
- I think one of the best moments in the whole Fringe series is in the second to last episode (I think) where Walter is full of love for Peter, remembering things he didn’t previously remember that have made him find himself again. He tells Peter about the best moments in his life and one of them was when Peter slipped and called him “dad”. He tells Peter he’s his favorite thing in the world and Peter is crying and there’s so much water under the bridge and it isn’t about forgetting the wrongs of the past or about forgiveness, it’s just about love. Pure love. It’s so easy to ruin parent/child relationship scenes with a bunch of saccharine bullshit, a bunch of manipulative heart-string yanking, but this scene in Fringe was done so well I felt all the complications of their relationship and experiences and understood the absolution that wasn’t about warm and fuzzy forgiveness and redemption. It was two people who have found their way to love in spite of ridiculous difficulties. They’ll never be perfect, either of them. Love didn’t fix their world, but it made it a hell of a better shit-hole to live in and made it worth protecting.
- But here’s a question I have, relating not at all to the previous paragraphs: why the hell do neither of the Olivias or Peter seem to be aware of the existence of birth control? Both Fauxlivia and Olivia seem stupidly surprised that they find themselves pregnant after sleeping with Peter a bunch of times, apparently without protection. Seriously? Don’t bother being tempted to tell me both of them were using birth control that failed. You could argue that for one or the other but not both.
- One of my favorite scenes in the whole series is in season 5, when Walter goes outside and sees the cds strung across an empty tin drum like confetti and pulls down the one whole one and puts it in the player in the abandoned car nearby and listens to “Only You” by Yaz. It’s such a hopeful scene and I relate because I feel the same way about music that Walter does. It ignites the imagination and is necessary. It breathes life into us when we’re nearly dead.
- In spite of not being a romantic person in real life there must be some part of me that is because I never find genuine love between people boring.
I feel slayed by this series.