Until the Last Word, Part 10 ~ Why This One is Special


In short, Fringe is a show you gladly give your heart to. The draw is the creepy what-ifs, but what keeps you glued is the power and honesty of every look, gesture, laugh, or tear in all the small moments. The human emotion is spot on and deeply affecting, tragic but uplifting in the depiction of a father and son repairing their relationship...and so much more.  It's all about family, the capacity for forgiveness, and the survival of love through betrayal, realities, and history rewritten

Delightful and meaningful, Fringe has been more relatable than shows that take place in the real world, because it's presented as the real world but with secrets that threaten to destroy humanity. Every season brings something new and answers almost as much as it asks. Every decision feels right. Every scene is a reward. Every moment is earned, a thought I had while watching the promo for "Through the  Looking Glass and What Walter Found There," a lovely title in a show full of great titles. There is so much leading up to this season that the impact is extraordinary if you experience it from the start and give it all time to sink in. You'll appreciate the care that went into every frame.

Not only is the show amazing, but the actors are a sweet and gracious group. If they weren't then they wouldn't be as nearly as beloved and good at what they do. The love they have for Fringe permeates their work, interviews, and appearances.

I have a long list of shows that I want to watch that grows all the time. I'll get to them some day, but there's no hurry because I'm certain none will ever affect me more than Fringe does unfailingly. Only a few shows have ever been so important to me, such as Firefly and Doctor Who. And while I've seen many poignant storylines (e.g., Sophia in The Walking Dead), none had ever disturbed my sleep for an entire week the way Fringe did in its second season with the commercial for the finale, where Walter said, "I never meant for any of this to happen." I was certain it sounded like a goodbye, and the thought of such a beloved character leaving actually made me physically ill. That was a new experience for me, and it's happened again since. I never knew it was possible to be that attached to a character, to feel as though they're so vulnerable and real. No show has ever matched Fringe in my sheer concern for the safety, sanity, and emotions of someone who doesn't exist. And now I feel ready to let him go. I don't know that it will happen for sure. All I'm sure about is that the end will be more than I can imagine.

However it turns out this final Fringe Friday, I will not have regretted a minute, because I never wanted anything to be different. The writing seemed effortless, the acting so natural. Until Fringe came along, I didn't know I could get so involved in a show. I always yearned for more when an episode was over, because it was so amazing, not because it was holding back. As such, I don't think I can avoid talking about Lost since it was a big part of why I almost didn't watch Fringe. I don't want to make any Losties mad, so maybe skip this part...

I loved Lost's depth of characters, the acting (especially the magnetic Michael Emerson), and the dialogue. I thought very highly of it, but as the years dragged on, the casualties mounted, and the answers never came, I started growing frustrated. My faith in J.J. Abrams was waning when I heard of Fringe, so I very nearly didn't watch. I'm so happy I kept the TV on Fox that night, because Fringe is Abrams' best, most affecting creation, and the writers have taken it far beyond what I could have imagined. It's everything that Lost was: intriguing, surprising, engaging; and brilliant with atmosphere, performance, mystery, and feeling. Where Fringe far surpasses is in being satisfying, understanding that answers are important. And there are characters who are just as complex and three-dimensional, but I love them like I've known them my whole life. I was just waiting for them to show up. 

In contrast, by the end of Lost I was exhausted with the constant dissension among the group and death threatening around every corner, but the "alternate reality" reinvigorated and kept me very interested. That a part of the final season turned out to be purgatory pissed me off. Another show, Ashes to Ashes, had done that already and far better. Even if it had been the least desirable outcome, it was a bittersweet and wrenching yet perfectly executed punch to the gut, whereas Lost felt more like a slap in the face. 

I was actually fine with Jack dying the hero that he was and seeing his father. I started crying, but the tears dried as soon as I saw everyone waiting for him. It only angered me. I wanted to at least have a glimpse of the lives of those who made it off the island, and I certainly didn't want to see them end. After all was said and done, it was a huge tease: always one more mystery, one more cliffhanger, one more obstacle, one more setback, but no answers to cling to. I don't regret my time with it, but I don't want to revisit. There are those who loved where it wound up and I'm happy for them. I wish I were one of them. 

Is it possible that Fringe will do the same to me? Could it have an unsatisfying ending that makes me never want to watch again? I don't think so. It's been a treasure the entire time, and more beautiful moments from Fringe have stuck with me these past four and a half years than in Lost's six-year run. I know Joel Wyman, our soft-spoken, warm-hearted showrunner, would not leave us to cry foul. He's never given me a reason to doubt him, always doing his best to deliver the most captivating and gratifying show he can.

"I want to leave people with that feeling, that it's hopeful at the end of it all."

~Joel Wyman, DigitalSpy

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