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Fringe Season 5: 5 Things I Want From The Final Season

The announcement that Fringe has been renewed by Fox for one final season is great news – especially for those of us who were worried that this might’ve been the last year for the show, given the ratings – but with only thirteen episodes in the final season, it’ll be time to stop messing around and get down to business. Instead of five questions, here’re five things I want to see from Fringe: Season Five.

The Observers/Humanity War
Given the hints we’ve seen this year – especially last week’s “Letters of Transit” – there’s almost no way that Fringe‘s last year could pass without some showdown between the “good guys” and the time-traveling Observers. Given what we learned last week, it might be a showdown that would leave the Fringe team trapped in amber (or, of course, we might go back to 2036 and find out what happened next), but still: This is a plot thread we need some closure on.

Cortexephan Explained
And talking of long-running plot threads that need closure: We’ve had some payoff over the years about Olivia’s being part of a trial to create super powered children, but nowhere near enough. Are the twenty-seven Cortexephan kids that’ve been recruited by David Robert Jones all of the other subjects, and if not, where are the rest? How powerful is Olivia, anyway? And just how connected are the Cortexephan trials and their subjects to the twin ideas of David Robert Jones trying to create the next generation of humanity and the superpowered descendants of humans, the Observers? Of all the dangling plot threads, this feels like the one that, should we pull on it, could unravel the whole Fringe mystery. So, let’s pull.

(If nothing else, I’d like the sheer number of coincidences in the Fringe mythology to be addressed: Olivia not only turns out to be central to the survival of existence, but also happens to have been a test subject to create superhumans that was run by a scientist who then went on to cross between Earths creating the very threat that Olivia is important to the resolution of, and by the way, he’s also the same scientist that she’ll get out of a mental institution for an entirely different case altogether…? Really?)

Massive Dynamic
Less an unanswered question than a personal want, but: Massive Dynamic has been in the background of the series since Day One, but we’ve not really seen enough of the clearly-shady goings-on that constitute the corporation’s business. I don’t know if there’s going to be anything close to enough time to essentially start a new plot (unless this is already planned as part of the explanation of last week’s unexpected William Bell appearance?), but if there was any way to work in an expose of Massive Dynamic and Nina Sharpe somewhere during the last thirteen episodes, I have to admit that I’d love it…

The Pattern
Remember “The Pattern”? Maybe you don’t, if you joined the show after the second season, by which point the concept has essentially been dropped from the show. “The Pattern” was the name given to the unidentified weird science events caused by Walter crossing between universes the first time, that were (presumably) stopped with the creation of The Machine in season three, and the joining together of the two Earths. But, given that we’re heading towards the end, it’d be nice to see some tip of the hat – Not a wag of the finger – to the concept that formed the backbone of the first episodes of the series (If we can also get Mark Valley back for a cameo at some point, that’d be nice, too. What? I like symmetry and nostalgia, what can I say?).

A Happy Ending
…I also like happy endings. So sue me.

Here’s the thing: It’s not that I don’t think Fringe could get away with – or benefit from – a downbeat ending, or something more vague and/or cliffhanger-y; I suspect that last week’s episode was built partially from a desire to prepare for that very thing, in fact. But, as someone who’s been watching this show from the start… I want a happy ending. At this point, I want to see Peter and Olivia together, and I want Walter to have them as his family (Along with Astrid, too). I want Lincoln to find love with Fauxlivia. I want Broyles to finally have something to smile about, and not just in that grunting, “Well, I guess that’s something less to screw my day up” manner. I want Nina to… actually, I don’t really care about Nina that much (Sorry). But it’s there, the hope that by the end of the fifth season, we’ll actually have an ending and that it’ll be a positive one for the characters we’ve come attached to over the last five years. It may be old fashioned and uncynical and the opposite of good storytelling, but I find myself not caring: All I want, to quote Elliott Smith, is happiness for you and me. Buck the system, Fringe. Show the good guys actually winning for a change.


  • Juan

    In terms of storyline I guess it would be nice to wrap up the Patter but not needed. I just want the JJ Abrams directed episode, a more Astrid-centric episode, a Charlie cameo, and the young boy who looked like the observer in season 1 to come back.

  • Ian

    Graeme, just because your name has an ‘e’ at the end of it doesn’t mean that Nina Sharp (NO ‘e’ at the end) has to have one too!  This has been pointed out to you more than once now  ;)

    As to the show, I expect most of our answers to the important questions will be revealed.  Just hope the show doesn’t fizzle out at the end like the X-Files, LOST, Alias, etc.

  • Tony

    Am I the only one that does not want the series to end?  And if it is to end, I would like it to be a full season to fully tie up all loose ends.  I do not think 13 44 minute episodes will be enough time to resolve all and more issues presented by the article above.

    I guess I’m old school, but there should be some sense of obligation when a series presents a running story line to satisfy the devotees of a series (unless it’s the lame “Event” or “Terra Nova” series’ – what were those writers were thinking?).

  • Tomfitz1

    Chances are, the series will end similiar to the Lost series.  Where everything ends at the beginning.   ;-)

    Just to drive us nuts!

  • Linda

    I vote for a happy ending to.  The downbeat endings have become the new cliche.

  • Reinnemann2

    I would love a quirky ending…something along the lines of Fringe’s resolution resulting in the creation of a bajillion other universes. Imagine a roomfull of different Walters all in the middle of eating Skittles or drinking strawberry milk.  That’s be funny as hell.

  • aicdziu

    Wyman has said that he would go back to that future from Letters of Transit next season.  And to Juan – he was asked about that Observer-like boy from season one and if they’d get back to him (on Twitter).  He responded with “hopefully, we will.  Yes” or phrased something like that with the basic implication being that if there was a season five (it wasn’t announced yet at that point), it would be addressed.  So both of you are getting at least one wish.

  • dusk

    Just make sure Olivia’s in the final season. Especially if it focuses on the 2036 storyline. From what Walter said back in the future, it appears Olivia is gone.

  • 0bsessions

    Likewise on the child. I’ve been waiting for years for that little plot thread to be addressed and with the Observers being an apparently important part of season five, now’s the most opportune time.

    Considering Prime Suspect was cancelled and he doesn’t seem to have anything else in the pipeline, I’m hoping Acevedo at least pops up for an episode or two as Charlie, but my hopes aren’t high. With absolutely no mention having been made of him this season, I’m wondering if he may have just been removed from Fringe division with the reality changeover.

  • John Petrina

    Pattern:  I think it’s pretty self explanatory that the pattern was David Robert Jones planning for the singularity between the two worlds.  And his coming universe he wishes to create.

    My theory: The “war” DRJ is fighting is not against the other side, or against humanity (as we know it) but against the coming observers.  This is the only way to alter the timeline, to stop them from repeating the same cycle of domination and planetary destruction they repeat again and again. The Fringe team is slowly being forced to make a decision between a new world, that could be better, but without life as we know it, or the horrible distopian future, that their loved ones might still exist in.

  • martisco

    Sigh… “The Pattern” has been dropped because it has been EXPLAINED.  The events were being caused by the rip between universes that Walter caused, which was fully explained in Season 2.  There is no more reason to investigate because the answer has been FOUND.

  • GlendaleNY

    I totally want those happy endings, and the Human/Observer war, with the Bishop Tribe leading the fray.  I’m over the altverse, they’ve had two years of the show, btdt.  The future, dystopia, and beating the Observers…. well, ‘Letters of Transit’ was the most exciting episode of the season after Peter’s return.

  • Jeff

    On the subject of “the sheer number of coincidences”, you’re forgetting that the Cortexiphan trials were started *after* Walter stole the other side’s Peter (as seen in the episode with flashbacks where kid-Olivia meets kid-Peter), and one of the effects Walter was hoping for was for the kids to gain the power to cross over at will. So Olivia “turning out to be central to the survival of existence” is actually not a coincidence.

  • Ian

    Would the choice of 13 vs CANCELLED change your mind on that?  Because that was the reality of the situation to get even a half-season to reach the all important 100 episodes for repeat syndication across various networks.

  • jdb1972

    The Pattern was already wrapped up, albeit in passing. It was basically ZFT playing with Walter breaking the universe, plus a bunch of leftover Walter/ Bell projects. Since ZFT is gone (or possibly never existed in the rebooted universe), you won’t be seeing it again, I think.

  • Kevint40

    Agree with. 1) stop messing around (like half of season 4) and 2) consider some happy endings (at least partially). We might have gotten a full season 5 if they had pulled in the Bell reveal to mid-season, ratings would have zoomed up, and the story pace would have improved.

    What I expect is that Walter is going to continue the arc we have been teased with: of returning to full mental power, with some personality mix of all the Walters we have seen, and then he is going to sacrifice himself in the end to save Olivia and Peter and the world(s). Remember, he did not like the man he was becoming – i.e. like Bell? All his guilt will be lifted, all