As I write there are just three episodes of new Fringe to go (in the UK, at least). After that there will be no more. The two-hour show finale is being shown simultaneously with the US; it’s airing on Sky (opens in new tab) in the middle of the night for us, on Friday night/Saturday morning starting at 1:10am. There’s a trailer for the finale here . I haven’t watched it. There might be spoilers.
I have mixed feelings about the end of Fringe . It has been my favourite show for the last four years. And like other fans of Fringe I’ve been on the edge of my seat for the last two years as at the end of each season there were always rumours that the show faced cancellation. I’ve even blogged about it before on this very site. But each year it came back by the skin of its teeth. It even survived the Friday night death slot, sort of.
Now the end is actually here it’s a bittersweet feeling; I’m glad that Fringe has lasted these five years, I’m glad that the show had plenty of warning before ending and is being allowed to go out on its own terms. At the same time I know I’m going to miss this show and all its characters, and I’m a little sad that there are only three episodes to go…
I don’t think I’m wrong in saying we’ve never had a show quite like Fringe before. From its fairly generic X-Files -lite beginnings, the show has gone on to be one of the most inventive and original science fiction TV shows in years. Fringe has never been a show to sit back and let itself become stagnant; each year it reinvented itself, often in world shattering ways. As well as the weird and gruesome science stories, there have been alternate universes, alternate timelines and leaps into both the future and the past. The show has brought us different variations on the main characters; giving us glimpses of their pasts and flinging them into an uncertain future.
Fringe has also given us the fantastic Walter Bishop, perhaps the most complex and interesting tragic character sci-fi TV has ever had. And not content to give us a single version of this amazing character, the writers have treated us to no less than nine different variations, each played sublimely by the brilliant John Noble. Never has a character made so many viewers feel so much and made it look so easy.
Never one to spoon-feed its audience, Fringe has always been a smart and subtle show and you have to pay attention and figure some things out for yourself. Not that it poses more questions than it answers; this show is one of the few with a central mystery arc that isn’t afraid to answer the questions or reveal the mysteries, because it has always had a bigger and better mystery around the corner… It’s also a show dotted with little rewards for the observant – see what I did there? – viewer; from the hidden glyph messages to the sneaky teaser links for the next episode or the more obvious hunt for the Observer and even the subtle differences between various the universe and timelines. There’s always something else to look for in this show.
And so we come to the finale. A finale so important that Sky think it’s worthy of being aired in the middle of the night here, so UK viewers will have the chance to watch at the same time as American fans. I remember the last time there was one of these simultaneous with America TV finales. The show was Lost and I remember being awake far too early/late and being really disappointed. Lost , for me, ended with a splutter, not a bang and I was left very unsatisfied. I don’t think Fringe will leave me similarly disappointed given that this final season has seen some of the best episodes of the show’s entire run. Even with just three episodes to go I have no clue what the endgame for Fringe will be. I know it’s going to involve trying to defeat the invading Observers. But the how this will come about and what the finale resolutions might be I have no idea. I get the feeling Fringe will be throwing curve balls at us right until the last moment.
As I’ve said; I’m going to miss Fringe . I don’t want it to end, but I also can’t wait to find out how it ends . Come Friday I’ll be making sure I drink plenty of coffee so I can stay up, maybe grab a nap in the evening. But I can guarantee I’ll be there to see the end of this amazing show, who’s with me? Who’s going to stay up and watch the end of one of the best sci-fi shows we’ll ever have?