wendelah1: (Fringe Rewatch)
[personal profile] wendelah1 posting in [community profile] fringe_rewatch
We're concluding the season five rewatch today. Thank you to everyone who participated. Thanks especially to [personal profile] sprocket, who stepped in to give me a hand when no one else could or would. Season five is unpopular, and justifiably so, but we forged ahead and finished it up. Hurrah!

The writers structured the fifth season as a sort of archaeological dig: the discovery of and lasering out of Walter's beta tapes of his plan to save the world from his ambered Harvard lab. They combined this with a treasure hunt: the search for the items needed to fulfill the plan. So when the Fringe writers decided that the best way to conclude the series was to have the damned plan not work because they were missing a piece of tech, I was pretty steamed. I was prepared for it this time so I'm less angry, but seriously folks, this stank.

Other than a failure of imagination, there was no reason to take up 13 episodes with this plot. Walter could have recorded the entire plan on one tape. The team could have watched it, made a shopping list, etc. The other problem I have with this episode is that with bullets flying everywhere, why didn't the writers just kill off all of the characters except Walter and Michael? They're trying to destroy the timeline so in effect, these particular versions of the characters are going to disappear. Why not have everyone be shot and die as heroes, one by one, as Walter and Michael walk into the future? That would have been dramatic and tragic! Most viewers would have hated it.

If you want to see a great episode about a group of heroes saving humanity from an advanced civilization that plans to exterminate it, watch Stargate SG-1's 2010. (When I'm done with this review, I might just go ahead and do that.)

Okay, let's move on to the good things. Yes, there were a few. The image of Walter and Michael walking into humanity's future was haunting and poignant. Micheal playing the little music box as Donald died, ditto, even if it was pretty dumb, since they were being shot at. The magic trick that Micheal performed was effective, even if it made no sense. Peter's last goodbye to his father broke my heart again. John Noble in that scene was magnificent, as always. Their relationship was always at the center of the Fringe universe for me. The writers successfully completed the arc for their characters, at least.

The final images, first of Etta running toward her parents, with pride and joy on their faces instead of sheer terror, and of Peter opening up the letter from his father with the white tulip, were moving. They brought the series back around to the beginning of the season, just with a different ending. "An Enemy of Fate" didn't salvage this disastrous season, but it was overall a satisfying series finale.

 photo 4b879d27-56a0-4c39-a485-222fd63e363a_zps0xnjdp5p.jpg


Writer: J.H. Wyman
Director: J.H. Wyman
Originally aired: January 18, 2013

Synopsis:
The original plan fails and so they come up with another plan. It works. The end.

Most Memorable Quote:
PETER: So in order to maintain a future without the Observers... you and Michael have to live out the rest of your lives in the future.

WALTER: I know in my soul this is what I am supposed to do. I want you to give Olivia your daughter back. I want to give you your life back. As a father, how could I not do that for you? What I said on the tape about stealing time with you, I meant it. I wouldn't trade it for the world. You are my favorite thing, Peter. My very favorite thing.

Links:
Transcript
A.V. Club
IGN
HitFix
Many more review links at Wikipedia: [x]

Fanfiction:
I don't know. I didn't read much fic for season five. To be honest, I was too depressed about the whole thing. If you've written something, or have recs, leave them in the comments.

Date: 2015-05-31 07:36 am (UTC)
sprocket: The trusted assistant at work (Astrid Fringe)
From: [personal profile] sprocket
I think a huge round of applause is due to [personal profile] wendelah1 for organizing the rewatch and keeping it going through thirteen months and five seasons. Thanks [personal profile] wendelah1!

"An Enemy of Fate" finally remembers some of Fringe's key themes, but its plot payout comes from the shallow well of the fifth season. It calls back to earlier seasons in cameos, and in the father-son parallels between Walter and Peter, and September and Michael.

What the finale doesn't do, because the fifth season didn't set up for it, is give Olivia a final grand huzzah. Her final destruction of Captain Windmark is wonderful, and underscores how underutilized Olivia - and Anna Torv - were in this season. As one of the fans who were drawn in by the concept of a show where the main character was a woman who got the "action" role, I was disappointed that the show didn't circle back to Olivia, where it began.

What I said on the tape about stealing time with you, I meant it. I wouldn't trade it for the world. You are my favorite thing, Peter. My very favorite thing.

I love that quote, both because John Noble sells it, and because it is so very Walter. After five seasons of personally witnessing the damage and human suffering caused by his choices, even at what is supposed to be a selfless, sacrificial moment, Walter still clings to not losing Peter, and still is not clear on the difference between things (objective) and people (subjective). It ties into my other concern about this arc: given that the first three seasons of Fringe were "Walter takes boy into an alternate universe, two universes damaged unto destruction", I find the fifth season's blasé "Walter takes boy into the future, one timeline set right" extremely jarring. Not one character raises a question about the possible hazards to Michael if Walter's plan is followed. As the Fringe team prepares to send Michael into the future, Peter even goes so far as to say, "We're gonna have [Etta] back. Nothing else matters." This is after Peter has learned Walter intends to take Michael into the future, so I think "nothing else matters" is intended as a callback to Peter's awareness he's losing Walter, but it rings differently in the context of Peter's kidnapping, the action that started so much of Fringe's story.

Why not have everyone be shot and die as heroes, one by one, as Walter and Michael walk into the future? That would have been dramatic and tragic!

I have to question this. Killing everyone in the last rush before the timeline reset is cheap theater. Yes, it's a dramatic statement of commitment within the world of the story, but the audience knows there's a reset in the works, and our favorite protagonists will bounce back alive and well right after the reset. That knowledge robs the moment of its thematic value, especially in a finale. Killing September makes the same point and moves the plot along. I'm actually quite pleased Broyles and Astrid weren't sacrificed on the alter of Dramatic Sacrifices.

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