Until the Last Word, Part 4 ~ What Fringe Is


"...the beauty of love as it was made to be."

~ Mumford & Sons, "Sigh No More"
With an intricate and ever-evolving storyline, wonderful characters, realistic reactions to extraordinary circumstances, exceptional acting, breathtaking moments, and a heart-breaking backstory, Fringe is an exceptional show that is not to be missed. It kept getting deeper and more involved until there was this epic and intricate, yet very personal and human, piece of drama the scale of which we never could have anticipated. It spans time, worlds, and reality but is laser focused on people, relationships, and love.

Fringe is so beautifully conceived, written, and acted that you're convinced it will eventually disappoint. Many of my former favorite shows inevitably did so in a big way, whether it was by dropping story lines, by asking far more questions than they answered, by misunderstanding what made it tick in the first place, or by pointlessly killing off key characters. Now with just three episodes to go in the entire series, I can honestly say that Fringe has never been disappointing. I don't think they know how to be. That's not to say people shouldn't or haven't died on the show. Though they were wrenching, they served the story well. I was dreading the devastating death I was sure the second season finale was going to bring, since, like with Joss Whedon, no one is safe on an Abrams show. But Fringe is surprising and didn't do what I expected. It was a great relief when my fears turned out to be unfounded. Walter still had many things to do.

No one on Fringe is untouchable, but they are all irreplaceable. A death or departure is felt by not just the audience who loved them but profoundly affects the characters and determines future actions. They are never forgotten. Nothing so important is done arbitrarily. Joel Wyman (executive producer/writer) and company have poured their souls into this story. They aren't just spinning their wheels, staying comfortably in place, never developing the characters. Every action brings us a step closer to the inevitable end game. By the way, "End Game" was the original title of the season four two-part finale, which was changed late to "Brave New World."

Characters are so impeccably written and acted that no one feels unnecessary or unwelcome, and you can't help but fall in love with them, especially Astrid, the shining Jasika Nicole. Astrid seems to occupy a strange position between main and secondary character. She is always there working on cases and taking care of Walter, a part of the team, yet she doesn't get as much screen time. This may be a fault, if I had to give you one, but all shows have a core group to focus on to most effectively tell their story, and the three main characters of Walter, Peter, and Olivia are tightly intertwined.

Fringe needed to tell the best story it could in a small amount of time, always under the threat of cancellation. I wish Jasika had more scenes, but I wouldn't change a moment. I treasure every bit of the show the way it is. I'm sure if it had gone on for longer the she would have been more prominent, because Fringe is ever-changing and Jasika certainly demonstrated how amazing she is in the excellent Astrid-centric episode, "Making Angels."

As an example of others cementing a place in our hearts, see Lincoln in "Everything in its Right Place" or Etta in "The Bullet That Saved the World."

Now, at the end, I can still hardly believe how consistent Fringe has been in quality, where so many other shows fluctuate or drop off completely. It's hard to believe that this tremendous achievement is almost over after just four and a half years. But so much has happened in this short span. This isn't a show content with just sitting back, taking things slow, heaping mystery upon mystery with no answers. This is a show full of mystery and the most heartbreaking secret I've seen in any story in any medium. Fringe is a show about love and what that can mean for one person and for the entire world.

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