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.
As the title of this post makes perfectly plain – but I’ll repeat the warning in case you somehow missed it – this post is being written with zero regard for how much of this series you have or haven’t seen. So – SPOILER ALERT – for you weirdos that hate having plot points and story details given away. Me? I had to read about every single episode before I could handle continuing on with the series after season two. It was (and continued to) make me very anxious.
So why did I keep watching?
BECAUSE IT IS FUCKING AWESOME.
Also, all my Fringe-loving friends kept demanding that I stick it out to the bitter end. They PROMISED me it would all turn out okay. Yes, it did. With a lot of collateral damage. I just finished watching the whole series today. I stayed up late every single night this week and last night I watched until almost 3am, at which point I fell asleep in my chair until 4:30am. Then I woke up and continued watching it because I couldn’t possibly concentrate on anything else until I knew every single thing that happened. Needless to say, I’m a little burnt to the socket. Now, I wish to say all the things I was thinking and feeling about this series:
- First and foremost – the writers of this show may have given Peter and Olivia a happy ending but I think no fictional couple has gone through so much pain and separation and torture than they put these two through and I’m still pissed at them.
- I love Peter and Olivia but if you ask me who my favorite characters are I’m incapable of pinpointing any one or even two. It depends on the moment but Astrid is right up there. At moments she was my very favorite. Her relationship with Walter is so sweet and funny. I relate to Astrid because she’s this quiet force holding all the others together. She does practical things like care for Walter, she locates information, she makes sure all the instruments are clean, she’s dependable, she’s smart, and she’s fucking cute as hell.
- My only problem with Astrid, played by Jasika Nicole was her hair in the first two seasons. Why? Am I a horrible bastardette who doesn’t like curly hair? No. I do not like helmet hair. Any hair cut that makes someone look like they’re wearing a helmet bothers me. In season 3 they cut it so you could see her ear lobes and that was much nicer and suited her better. If you look at the image of her in her IMBD listing you’ll see her rocking her curls adorably.
- Yeah, I get hung up on things like hair styles. I guess what I really am is a shallow bastardette.
- Astrid’s alternate is fantastic! Her hair, when she isn’t wearing her cute hat, is fabulous, and I love that they put her character “somewhere on the spectrum”. I loved loved loved alternate Astrid.
- I disliked nearly all the other alternates. Yep, I hated fauxlivia. I am aware that I’m supposed to like her, at least eventually, but I could never forgive her even though the writers tried very hard to force me to find her charming and forgivable.
- It offends me that everyone seems to like her “vivacity” and her tendency to “smile more” and her FUN personality. She’s saucy and sexy and struts around all the time. I hate that because I’m like the real Olivia – much more serious and broken and I’m not exactly a vivacious and FUN person. I resent that these qualities are so admired and desired.
- Walter’s obsession with food amused and delighted me through the whole series.
- I never once liked or trusted Nina Sharpe.
- I love Leonard Nimoy but his dentures are super uncomfortable for me to look at.
- I’m pleased that the second time around Peter was much more cautious about getting together with Olivia lest he betray her again. That almost made me forgive him for the first time when he fell for the FUN Fauxlivia.
- I grew very impatient with all the time shifting. Seriously, a little too damn much of that for me. Gave me serious emotional whiplash. I almost stopped watching.
- Also – the period of time where Peter is “lost” and no one remembers him was way too long. Like – stupidly long. I almost gave up at that point too. And I thought it was a little weak to suddenly reveal that he wasn’t lost at all. WEAK.
- If I was to be reborn as a man I want to be reborn as Seth Gabel who played Lincoln Lee.
- I liked Lincoln Lee’s first pair of glasses way better than his second and every time I saw him in his Clark Kent’s I coveted them. When my time comes to get glasses I want that kind.
- I truly enjoyed the last season and am surprised that I did. The only thing that marred it for me was the distance between Peter and Olivia. While I get that drifting apart happens to grieving couples – the one thing those two should already have learned was to trust each other and to STICK TOGETHER IN HAPPINESS AS WELL AS GRIEF. I kept wanting to scream at them “Kiss it out you fools! You’re way stronger together than apart! Have you learned nothing in the last four seasons?!”
- I love September (played by Michael Cerveris) and loved what he became but was totally bummed that they killed him off AGAIN at the end. Fuck that!
- I thought the observers were incredibly interesting and I’m glad that they got explored a lot more.
- I am so happy that both Olivias only had one child. I’m so happy that the main Olivia revealed her mixed feelings about motherhood and her fitness for it and how she never planned to have any. How often do shows do that?
- I was a little disappointed to see that Peter and Olivia were wearing wedding rings in Season 5. How cool would it have been if they had a child together and lived a committed life together without getting married. Just goes to show how religion is still having undue influence over entertainment. We can kill as many people off as we want but couples who have babies still must be seen to be married. So stupid and narrow.
- I’m sad that Astrid didn’t ever have a romantic partner. For a while I hoped Lincoln Lee and her would get together. But he had to be into Olivia. (Philip says “does everybody have to be in love with Olivia?” yeah, apparently so)
- But don’t get me wrong – I love Olivia too.
- But if I was a man I’d probably fall for Astrid.
- I would definitely NOT fall for Fauxlivia.
- I did find the villain David Robert Jones a little tedious as well as Bell turning out to be the one completely behind his evil. I think the villain who wants to destroy the world and start a new one in his image is getting pretty tired. Why are humans so fascinated with this type of villain? Is it because they really are afraid of the ultimate destruction of the universe? I’m much more afraid of occupation and oppression than total annihilation.
- The observers taking over seemed like a much more organic oppression. The fact that they have settled in the past to protect their future makes sense to me. They are keeping an order they understand and keeping control over the humans they see as inferior and obsolete and troublingly unpredictable. If they did have anything akin to feelings I think they are like xenophobes who are terrified of what they don’t know or don’t understand. The observers were a very interesting kind of adversary and I thought the writers made an old story (people from the future coming back into the past) into something new and interesting.
- But seriously, way too much playing with timelines. I did not find it confusing, I found it irritating.
- I love that none of the women characters were running around chasing bad guys in stiletto heels. Few things irritate me more than that. Women in 6″ fucking heels running after villains. No. I think Olivia wore heels only once or twice in the show. Otherwise she was always wearing boots or sensible shoes for saving the world in.
- Joshua Jackson looks great in a pea coat. He should always be wearing one.
- John Noble has an incredible face. His is my favorite “mad scientist” character of ALL TIME. I love that his main pursuits are doing recreational drugs and eating. I loved his vulnerability and his evolution from a man willing to do ruthless experimentation on children to a man horrified at his own ability to dehumanize others for the sake of science. Of all the characters in this series his is the most complex, the most interesting, the most charming, and John Noble did an exquisite job bringing Walter to life. Walter is the weirdest fictional character I’m bummed I can’t hang out with in real life.
That’s all I can think of right now. I may come back and add a few thoughts. I know I’m going to want to watch the series again. I think I’m going to have to own it just so I can spend time in Walter’s lab some more and watch Peter looking at Olivia (because he does that so well) and watch Astrid play with lab stuff and look cute while holding trays of entrails.
I’m exhausted now. I’m thinking about getting my hair cut. I’m not sure. I want to feel freshened up. I feel emotionally wound up and a little wired. This post was my first attempt to wind down.
Any thoughts you other Fringe lovers want to share with me? I’d love to hear them!