Thank You, Joshua Jackson


Dear Josh,

When I first heard about Fringe, there was one thing I was sure of: I would not be watching. Though I'm fascinated by science fiction, it didn't look like anything special, and I was already spending too many hours in front of the TV. I think I may have been unknowingly distancing myself from J.J. Abrams, because Lost, though it was intriguing and had wonderful characters, was endlessly stringing me along. And I'm sorry to say this, but you weren't a draw. I had seen maybe two episodes of Dawson's Creek only because my cousin loved it.
Fortunately, the timeslot happened to be free of competition for my attention that night, and I was curious about what could have possibly interested John Noble. I'm grateful for this random chance, because at some point during the pilot I was won over with sharp writing, brave acting, and an intriguing story that has only deepened episode over episode. And this year Fringe has again delivered far more than I expected. It was unmissable and unforgettable before, but I really don't know what else I could possibly say. It's so much more than I have words to describe. I thought the first season, where it was finding its voice and we were getting to know the characters, was very good, and the second blew it out of the water. Every season builds until I think it can't possibly get better, and then I'm proven wrong.
I usually only believe in destiny as an idea in a story, but if anything was meant to be it was Fringe and you lovely people. Fringe is one of those exceedingly rare shows I've been waiting for my entire life without realizing: a perfect blend of talent and chemistry that conveys not one false emotion, action, or word. Even most of the guest stars are excellent. That reminds me, I stopped watching Cold Case because there were some laughably bad guests. The rigid procedural format had been getting annoying, the characters and writing weren't strong enough, and the last episode I tried to watch was just embarrassing.
Even in great shows it's unusual to have more than one or two truly talented actors, those who seem to be reacting to a real situation instead of reading their lines off of cue cards. That's hardly ever a problem on Fringe, where the entire cast is remarkably accomplished and even weaker episodes have more depth than most shows' best offerngs. The performances are outstanding, relationships realistic, and lines perfectly-written: "I have experience with this, this sort of pain, and you can't escape it by building walls around your heart" being a rather beautiful example and one of the most emotional conversations in a series already overflowing with emotion. That scene was expertly played by Anna and John and became a favorite of mine as soon as the line was delivered. There really are so many gorgeous moments, especially this season. Whether it's Peter and Walter on the train at the end of "Through the Looking Glass..." or Walter alone at the end of "Transilience...," every week brings something new to be treasured.
An abundance of love has gone into Fringe, infusing every moment. You and John seem to have a tight bond, as though you've known each other your entire lives. I immediately gravitated toward the dynamic of father and son, so well played as estranged in the beginning and settling into each others lives over time, the love and pain both characters feel always evident. The concern in their eyes for each other is something I haven't seen before. Sadly, that is quickly diminishing as Peter changes, which is hard to take after everything that's happened over these five wonderful seasons. I fear the transformation and losing Peter, yet I'm having a blast seeing you transform. Your work has been memorable the entire series and now, when the stakes are highest and the end ever closer, you have pulled out all the stops.
Peter's journey has been a great thing to witness. So much heartache you have played to perfection, but none more than in this final unparalleled season. It's very interesting to see Peter lose control when presented with a similar situation to Walter, to be so full of rage and despair that those who are still there for him aren't enough, to not be a better man than his father. Peter's choice was as much about vengeance and dulling his pain as it was about saving the world. I would love there to be some happiness in the finale, for Peter to be saved, to be with Olivia, to make up for lost time with Walter. But whatever happens, it's been a wonderful time in my life that I will never forget and never regret.
You have taken me on a journey of beautiful twists and wrenching turns. Though you have hurt me countless times - seeing young Peter's grave still manages to bring tears - I've loved it all, even when I feared where it would go next...especially then, because then the joyous moments wouldn't be as meaningful and real. The pain is proof Fringe was here. There's also always been a vein of humor even through the dark, which is the other piece of the puzzle. Characters who can find that bit of happiness are more endearing, make me care, make it worth every minute I invested in them. It hits me the hardest when they're gone, because they have the most personality. Without this perfect combination of drama and levity, I wouldn't have cared nearly as much about the characters, and the memory of what they had and are striving to return to will carry me to the end.
The end. Still such a strange thing to say. It's far too soon. I am nervous about it, even with John and Jasika's reassurances, but even though I'm certain it will be agonizingly bittersweet, I will accept and adore it. That's the only way it can be, because Joel has a big, beautiful heart, as you all do, and I know he knows what he's doing. I know he loves these characters as much as the fans do. Joel is the only showrunner I've ever trusted completely. This is a relationship that goes against all my years of disappointment training as a television watcher. I will gladly take this journey without expectation, free of theories or desires, except one: I want it to end the way it should end, whatever that needs to be, wherever the journey leads.
I have no doubt Fringe and its cast will be admired, loved, and respected long after I'm gone. Thank you for everything.

Erin Bates


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