‘Fringe’ Series Finale Review – The End

Published 2 years ago by , Updated January 20th, 2013 at 8:28 am,

fringe series finale peter Fringe Series Finale Review   The End

After a season of unwanted Observer battles in a future setting, the Fringe series finale managed to deliver a truly satisfying conclusion to those who followed the series from the beginning. As it turns out, the promise of an “amazing” ending from series star John Noble may not be too far off. That is, if you’re willing to overlook a few things.

With Michael, the child Observer, in the hands of Windmark and the Observers, the true powers that the boy possesses are revealed, as Windmark is harmed while simply trying to read the mind of the anomaly. In order to save Michael from the Observers, the Fringe team decides that their only option is for Olivia to teleport to the alternate Earth. After four injections of Cortexiphan, Olivia reunites with her former (now older) self and retrieves Michael. Now with all the pieces in hand, September begins to put together the wormhole device, while Walter inadvertently reveals to Peter what will unfortunately happen if the plan is successful. As the Observers attempt to retrieve the boy, Broyles’ allegiance to the Fringe team is revealed, and September must ask a favor of an old friend.

Although the Fringe series finale was largely driven by the season 5 Observer storyline, which was essentially rooted in a standalone episode from last season, the amount of depth and range the two-hour finale presented for its characters, and their story, was refreshing and unexpected – at least to anyone who stood by the entirety of season 5. Not only does the finale bring back many familiar elements from past seasons, but it does so in a way which makes you wonder why, if the capabilities of exceptional quality were always there, they weren’t more apparent – or made use of – before the final hours of the series.

Notwithstanding a few select episodes, Fringe season 5 was a mixed bag of Observer-driven stories, many of which were used more as fetch quest time fillers than as any true progression of the overall plot. And even though the series finale of Fringe was essentially dedicated to the current seasonal story-arc, the resulting sentimentality speaks as much to the entirety of the series as it does a proverbial book-end to the Observer storyline that fans were continuously wary of.

fringe series finale peter olivia Fringe Series Finale Review   The End

After jumps in to and out of the alternate world, Fringe somehow recaptured – if just for its final episodes – the magic that initially drew fans to the series so many years ago. A magic that was, as some would say, somewhat misplaced when the series jumped 13 years into the future for its final chapter. As the finale entered its second hour, the pieces needed to defeat the Observers were quickly acquired, leaving ample time to give fans what they truly wanted to see from Fringe: the goodbyes.

Despite this season of Fringe being driven by the Observer invasion, enough time was committed to allow each of the characters their own moment to shine, whether it be heroically or tragically, before Water finally atoned for all the stolen moments he shared with Peter and reset time, which reset Peter, Olivia and Etta back in the park where the invasion began. This time the Observers never came.

fringe series finale walter flower card Fringe Series Finale Review   The End

Although Walter never did forgive himself for kidnapping his son from the alternate world, his references to the “stolen moments” he had with Peter revealed that, even though Walter probably shouldn’t have crossed over all those years ago, he cherished every one of them, and he was willing to sacrifice himself in order to make things right for the world – and for Peter. The only question is whether or not by this point, the highly-suspenseful, action-packed finale engaged the viewer to such a level where earlier seasonal contrivances simply washed away – to allow Fringe, the little series that could, to give the impassioned conclusion they’re able to tell. Even if it may not be the one they wanted to from the beginning.

As with any television series, it’s more about the journey than it is the end result. Most shows never get the chance to say goodbye. Thanks to its fans, Fringe had two. So while a jump to the future to battle elite humans may not have been the most ideal adventure, the series still managed to, at times, provide audiences with an exceptional and emotional tale of scientific wonderment. As always, this is where Fringe is at its strongest. Not with Observer battles or high-tech weapons, but with one man’s love and curiosity about the strange and unknown. So it’s befitting that, once again, he used his abilities to save his son, the boy who should not have lived.


Fringe aired on Fox from September 9, 2008 – January 18, 2013.

Follow Anthony Ocasio on Twitter @anthonyocasio
TAGS: Fringe
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  1. Those last few sentences pack a powerful punch

    • Walter did nothing himself, he used the abilities of others, like he used Olivia.

      If the cortexiphan was all it took, why not inject Astrid or Peter?

      I hate the fact that Walter gets to be the hero again, in season 4 at the expense of Olivia being treated like an object,
      and here getting the entire season scene after scene with his selpity and brains etc, Walter is an egocentric bastard, he gets a hero ending.

      Olivia the hero and main lead , at least until Wyman destroyed that, got some Red Bull ( it used to be that Cortexiphan was to enhance natural abilities, and we learned in S3 and S4 that it woudl stay forever, for Olivia to contraol it), she got to cross over,
      and Olivia got her emotional scenes with AltLivia,
      illustrating how isolated they have Olivia, as Olivia the entire season has to worry and care for Peter or others, and do the emotional stuff, but only AltLivia gave her the real hug.

      So basically Anna Torv had to act on her own season 5, and should have written her lines as well, since got none half the time.

      Scenes with Olivia cut out (Olivia and little Ettta?), cut short, AltLivia and LIncoln,
      to make room for long long talking and crying scenes with Walter and Peter.

      5 seasons and nothing done with Olivias backstory, not even a name for the father, mother never talked about,
      But we got an overload of Donald and Michale backstory, and the overkill of Walter and Peter.

      Biggest mistake of Fringe season 5; not writing for Olivia, 512 proves that Olivia central is the great part of Fringe

      Second biggest: season 5 and all of the sudden we see Sept/Donald and a Michael and it is all about them and Walter.

      So when did they do all this? Walter having a secret life?

      Season 5vwas about Jackson and Noble getting all the credit, and saying that Olivia had no part, and humiliating Anna Torv, amazing actress, who still gave us Olivia, but got no writing. Compare that to Nobles overload.

      Wyman hates women, Season 5 was all about White men, with hair crying and talking and the bald men talking and it was boring , boring.

      513 best part Olivia and Astrid in action, and 512 was the best of season 5, Olivia central, Over There.

        • Walter explained in episode 12 that Micheal and his existence in the future would be a paradox that nature would be forced to undo, thusly deleting him from time at the moment the observers would have invaded

          • Does it not also follow that their existence during the “Observer era” would then also be paradoxical? I guess one cant think too much about it. There’s am expected level of acceptance

      • Wow. Something tells me you have written similar posts under the name “Olivia”. In those posts, as well as this one, it is clear you have a real fixation on her. Let it go. The show is over. It was more about Walter, William, and Peter than Olivia, despite what your thinking tells you.

        • You got it right the show was always about Walter from when he thought of himself as a god to the point where he transforms to become better and realize what is really important Family. It was the same with Star Wars it was always about Darth Vader the rise and fall of a man. It was evident in the last three seasons of fringe how Walter was always faced with the struggle of doing the right thing because he was never use to doing it and this show did it beautifully. In season 5 Walter was worried about becoming the man he use to be which terrified him. John Noble is a remarkable actor he was able to make you feel the inner demons that Walter was facing always there just under the surface. Once Walter realized he wasn’t going to become that man again he also realized he needed that dark side to make some hard choices which he did. Just a side note they got the time travel right not many do. Peter and Olivia with their daughter in the park went on living as normal with no inclination anything had happened or even what did happen and they never will. Only for Walter Bishop’s story season 5 didn’t need to happen.

          • Well thats up for debate, the arguement can be made that when Peter recieved the White Tulip he (and most probably Olivia) realised/remembered everything that had happened. But they left that open ended, so your interpertation is just as valid as mine.

      • I’m glad you are full of criticism, because this show really deserves criticism, but I don’t agree entirely at all. Maybe Walter and Peter got the screen time, but they were hugely squandered and not well served while Olivia ws sidelined. Also, after meeting a half dozen different Ana Torv characters in the last few seasons, not only am I sick of every last one of them, but I no longer believe that she is much of a talent. Sounds to me like you are quite infatuated with her so I won’t keep blasting her, but no one was well written or well served in the last two seasons. As a viewer, I wanted Walter and Peter to not just get serious screen time, but excellent scenes. That was my last hope for any enjoyment from Fringe.

        You are right to poke holes in the logic because they did not put in the effort to keep continuity or even cohesion. You would never guess the ending like in a real mystery because there wasn’t a real structure of facts and details to follow. it didn’t make sense, it didn’t add up, they didn’t try very hard, and they failed the audience. This show was lucky to survive so long with such uninspired effort and a seeming lack of accountability to anyone. It failed to deserve to exist. I must learn from it and never again watch a show that doesn’t deserve to be watched. I encourage you all to raise yr standards and demand more quality from your entrainment.

        Like when Lost, (which was dissapointing to a much lesser extent) failed to tie up loose ends, I thought Fringe was gonna try harder. We never even had a clue why that statue had 4 toes, and when Fringe quickly reference this mystery with its own weekly-shown image of a six-fingered hand, I had a fearful premonition that it might never have ANYTHING to do with ANYTHING. Not only was it meaningless, but it was referenced without any meaning in the finale! It was like those apartment doors a few eps back that had all the mysterious symbols from the credits/commercials. They made a reference to their own mystery, without even creating a real mystery. We, the”fans” thought about those symbols over the years, but it appears that the writers NEVER ADDRESSED THEM, despite reminding us of them weekly. Is it too much to ask that they at least eventually explain the details they never bothered to think about when they showed them to us? Evidently. They showed us those symbols on the doors as if that were meaningful, but it came across as an admission that they never had an idea what those were about and they never even tried. Thanks for spitting in my face. Glad Ididnt wonder about those for the last five years. Good thing my cynicism kicked in long ago and I doubted id get any satisfying answers, because I sure as hell didn’t get any.

        Also, when Walter “realizes” that the boy who September said was important wasn’t really Peter… That’s just something they made up way after the fact to make sense of a story that was increasingly, hopelessly nonsensical.

        Who is most responsible for the debacle that Fringe became? That person should be held accountable, and their offensive level of dedication to the quality of Fringe should not be quickly forgotten. If Abrams is the man to blame for this, and for the last few heaps of junk he put his name on, then let us not facilitate another show like this. Quit after the discouragingly generic pilot, like with Alcatraz and Terra Nova and Revolution… An intelligent audience must insist on more effort from the show writers and runners. This show really burned me with mediocrity, and I resent the time I foolishly wasted waiting for it to get better. My mistake. Never again. There’s great stuff out there too, you know?

        • “Also, after meeting a half dozen different Ana Torv characters in the last few seasons, not only am I sick of every last one of them, but I no longer believe that she is much of a talent.”

          THIS! SO MUCH THIS!

          • Aah, validation from a fellow watcher with standards! Sweet.

        • +1

        • I was just gonna observe the board, see what people thought and go about my life but after reading your comment, i had to speak. You are obviously one who does little to no research. You barely paid attention during the show and saw none of the foreshadowing or the links things made to each other without needing to be blatantly obvious. the hand (six fingered), the butterfly (with sharp wings), the face and the other images shown with the yellow glow all meant something. Not only did they connect to the show, either specific fringe cases or just something that happens to reoccur, they were a coded message, google it. I probably wont be back on, but feel free to reply, others may want to read about it

      • Lol, observer women were too smart to even consider going back in time and messing with it, let alone invade! Or they were too self conscious about bald thing and didn’t want to be reminded about hair and their lack there of

  2. If you watch Season 2 episode 3 – you’ll see they always intended to go to where they went in Season 5. Wonderful ending for a wonderful show!

  3. Fringe wasn’t all that good of a show, it had more cons then pros. I do respect them for ending the show on a good note. But lets be honest, no one’s gonna remember this show 7 years from now.

    • Watch again, you surely have understanding problems.

    • I agree. I quit watching the show for most of the last season and this season because it became boring and rather depressing. The last few episodes were better but I have to agree, I will not remember this show for long because there is not much that was memorable!

      • Having watched the whole darn mess unfold, I envy your choice to walk away.

    • Agreed completely. Overrated by people. ;)

    • Couldn’t disagree with you more as this show had me hooked from episode one. And even when it sometimes slowed down, I knew it was going to pick back up and when it did I would be in for one heck of a ride, and for me it did not disappoint. I will remember this show long after seven years have passed as it had such a great heart beating beneath its chest that cancellation will not silence. I will take Fringe over the over-hyped shows like American Horror Story, Mad Men, and Breaking Bad any day.

      By the way, great review of the episode Anthony!

      • American Horror Story is overrated, that is the truth. The acting is superb, though.

      • Woah, while I agree with everything else I cannot let you say Breaking Bad is overrated! It is a truly amazing show that just gets better!

      • +1000

  4. I liked, not loved, the final season and the ending. The story could have been told better if they had more than 13 episodes, and despite the fact that they did, there were still fetch quest episodes.

    I miss seeing these characters together and I’m glad they at least had a season to say goodbye.

  5. As I conveyed under another discussion, the finale, as well as this year in general, were disappointing to me. This season was almost an entirely different storyline than the first four seasons. I “get” that people wanted to know more about the Observers, as did I, but did we really find out anything substantially more about them? Through the first four seasons, they were unobtrusive at worst, altruistic at best, in the examples of August and September. This year, they showed themselves to be invaders and dictators, but why, exactly? Was the reason they invaded ever really thoroughly discussed? For a group that was so advanced that they could get into your head and time travel, they were defeaten relatively easily by a small group of people. Coming from the future, and with the ability to time travel, shouldn’t it have been easy for them to simply step in and out of this time or that and rectify any mistakes they made? The child Observer, allegedly unique because he had emotion, displayed absolutely none. I could even complain about the makeup in this last episode, as the Fringe team members in the alternate universe did not look anywhere near over 20 years older than their counteparts, who were frozen in amber for that long. I feel too many people are being a little too generous in their liking of this year, but that is their perogative. For me, I will fondly remember the first four seasons, and an ending to the fourth season that explained those years…Leonard Nimoy, with a God complex, attempting to collapse the two known universes and sail into his new creation on his “Noah’s Ark”, with all sorts of new life on board. The fifth season…sadly forgettable.

    • The whole show was forgettable but still entertaining i guess

    • Congratulations, you just put more thought and effort into the Fringe story than anyone working on that show. You make good points, and many of them are pretty glaring condemnations of the writers. How did the show become such a mess? Was anybody trying hard to create an entertaining storyline? Not that I can tell.

      • It seems symptomatic these days with sci-fi writers. Great beginnings, confused\lackluster middles and ends that make the fans want to get violet. It doesn’t have to be this way…as Walter like to point out (and the writers themselves penned). It is hubris. Hubris on the oart of the writers.

        • Love those auto type typos! But good point, still. The writers get very comfortable cranking out trash instead of laboring over ideas that require real effort and a concerted attempt to achieve quality despite the challenge of the job. That’s what they signed up for though! No excuses for bad tv! They failed themselves as well as us, and I hope that there is a limit to the back-patting going down behind the scenes. The weaknesses of Fringe are genuinely embarrassing for everyone involved in my book, from JJ Abrams all the way to me, a watcher who should have walked away long ago. Let’s hope Star Trek and Star Wars never know the half-assed complacency of the last Abrams effort. He’s left a really bad taste in my mouth, and I’ve never doubted him or his judgement more.

          Anybody hear him trying to cajole some bored little putzes into trying a few more takes of a critical Klingon scene, one that was of course cut from the first film? The genius solution of having kids on little sets stand in for adults on big sets may have been inspired by shots in the Holy Grail Python movie, but it was even more laughable for all the wrong reasons. Kids can’t act! Ten year olds playing imposing Klingons!? Did he really think they had the swaggering, powerful demeanor to pull that off?

  6. I’m not a big fan of series finales, I feel like they always try to pack too much in and everything has to be ‘just so’. For example, the room that broils was in didn’t have any ventilation so he wasn’t affected by Peter and Olivia’s attack. Nevertheless, fringe was one of my favorite shows and it will be missed just like ‘house’. Can someone sum up the ‘paradox’ argument that Walter told Peter, wasn’t paying full attention at that part.

    • As I understand it, if Walter simply resets time, then no Observers exist. So that means September isnt there to save Peter, OR September isn’t there to distract Walternet in the red time line. Either way, that would mean no Peter-Olivia in blue time line… SO, since Walter DOES exist in the future (this is the paradox part) the sequence of events that lead Walter into the future have to be maintained, while altering the past in the years after Walter leaves… This presumably maintains the sequence of events up to a certain point in time (seasons 1-4), but with no invasion. So essentially, season 5 was about erasing season 5 (hope this makes sense).

      • Thank you! That makes sense.

      • So the first part of Season 4 was also about erasing Seasons 1-3 right?

        That’s why there is no Peter/Fauxlivia son from Season 4 and on because Peter never existed and Fauxlivia never had a relationship with him?

        Time travel and existence erasure is so convoluted.

      • That’s what I had going in my head. If there are no Observers than September isn’t there to distract Walternate from finding a cure for Peter, and Peter then is saved and not brought over to our universe.

        I have a hard time understanding how they can have the timeline reset and at the same time have Walter in the future. Maybe the New Nice and Emotional Observers go back and tinker with time to make those things just so. I dunno.

        I really like Walter’s and Astrid’s goodbye even tho I saw it coming a mile away. It still got me. Very good writing.

        • I am not going to get into to much detail, but essentially the Observers were a paradox. Before they invaded in 2015, their future was possible. When they invaded their future was no longer possible (they did not know this, as they did not account for the boy), but in order for their possible future to be erased, they had to at some point in time (seasons 1-4) have a possible future.

          When Walter traveled to 2167 he and the boy became part of this paradox. Like Walter said on the tape, he would cease to exist in 2015, but continue to exist in 2167; he would be there 1 second then gone the next. So everything up to that point (seasons 1-4) remain the same.

          • I know I have been posting this ^^^ a lot, but I think it can explain what happened fairly well.

            • The time Walter was ambered (around 2015) he was already 69yo and stayed ambered for 20years. If the plan worked and the invasion never happened, then he wouldn’t amber himself and would be ~89yo the time he time-travelled with Michael.
              The paradox here, is that preventing the invasion would have an instant ageing effect on Walter, even at Norway’s labs in the future. It would be very likely that he could have died from natural causes before 2036, in case invasion never happened.

              Also, could you please elaborate more on how the observer paradox (which you described nicely) explains why Walter would cease to exist in 2015?

              The story from my point of view is full of gaps.
              In order for Walter to time-travel on 2036, invasion needs to have happened. If the 2036 time-travel causes a timeline-reset (Walter convinces the Norwegian scientist) events of 2036 are like never existed because Observers were erased. This however leaves a lot of open questions:
              – No Observers -> No Michael, maybe Observers similar to Michael but not Michael himself can exist (Michael is a paradox and is erased)
              – No Observers -> No invasion, so, It wouldn’t be possible to have time-travelled at 2036 in the future and convince the scientist. The time the scientist is convinced, Walter and Michael should be erased from 2167, not 2015
              – In case I am missing something here, I don’t see why Walter had to be erased specifically from 2015, and not maybe from an earlier date.


              • Sorry to say it, but you are basing your outlooks on the assumption that there is an answer that makes any sense at all. I’mpretty sure that there is not. Watch some Star Trek if you want a time travel story that actually adds up. Just be prepared to have any other episode contradict and reinvent time travel rules freely. (Good luck finding any two stories that follow the same rules or logic, but at least each individual story holds up better than Fringe.)

                • As a matter of fact I have never watched Star-Trek, but in that case, I take your word.

                  My main concern however, is not to find all the possible inconsistencies, which are anyway expected to be present in a TV series. I am mostly puzzled with why Walter would be erased at 2015, and why some people find it reasonable and consistent. I thought that there is something that I didn’t quite understand.

              • +1 Dimos. Time travel in a story is usually a bad idea, but worse in the way Fringe did it. If you watch the extras to Fringe, they are very vocal about how well they make impossible science on the show seem probable. And they are right, it is one reason I’ve enjoyed the show so much. Things were laid out just the right way to suspend disbelief.

                Then final series pissed all that away. They stopped coming up with plausible science, and they abandoned their own science framework they had established (although they started doing that in the 4th season also). What got me is (in no particular order):

                - Observers became less powerful then we had seen them in prior seasons, ignoring abilities that would have made any resistance futile (as it should have been).
                - Observers came back to 2015 for resources? Why then, why not 1000000bc as there would be a lot less resistance…or based on their technology, why not just get what you need from another planet, because if they can go to any time on Earth, they also have to be in the same place the planet is at that exact time…therefore they could go to other planets easily.
                - A single Observer could “warp” from one time to another, from one universe to another etc… needing nothing more than his body and the chip in his head. If that’s the case, there is no reason a “shipping lane” device would even be needed for them to move large objects other than to be taken advantage of by the Fringe team.
                - The entire 5th season was to get the parts for the machine to ship Michael to the semi-future, and at the last minute they can’t get it to work and come up with an alternate plan in 2 minutes? Awsome
                - Our beloved characters are actually happy that the human race (after their intervention) will become like Michael, a being so emotionally evolved, that he can’t even emote? Sorry, I’d take my chances with the Observers then a race of bald zombies like Michael. Ps Michael, when we first meet him in ?S2? shows more emotion (and at least he eats some smarties).
                - For episode after episode they have to be careful to get the tapes out of the amber (damaging the tapes etc..), but Peter at the end goes in there and pulls one out without any issues (inconsistent)
                - Time should have reset to when the first Observer intervention occurred. (you can’t fix a paradox…that’s why it’s a paradox, unless you create a new universe with each timeline change, but then you still aren’t actually fixing the paradox, because you can’t.)
                - Lack of use of the other universe…you know, the plot device for the 4/4.5’s (?8/9ths?) of the show.

                …I could go on, but basically that’s how I feel about that. ;-)

                • Yes! All of that! Also, after a weird, loooong story about trying to find the mysterious pieces of a machine that may or may not kill Peter and end the world, as known by some ancient ancestor who might be connected to the main characters and time travel, rather than answer any ofthequestions that bizarre tangent left hanging, they act like that story is RESOLVED, and then start another, unconnected, equally nebulous quest for esoteric parts to a weird machine that will all make sense if and when the writers ever decide on a way to make it make sense.

                  As for the bald kid… I guess I can see how the Walter actor likes the end in terms of some of the emotional landscape and solidarity with Peter, but to say that the ending is strong and leaves Walter in a place that suits all the previous years of character work is wacky. Instead of achieving and implying a state of love and happiness with his growing family, Wallter gets one measly little “I love you Dad!” before ditching his life and world and loved ones and family to go somewhere or nowhere with this little bald orphan freak that everyone seems to really like despite having no personality, and sucking the life out of any room he enters. I’ve met people like that kid, and they don’t exactly light up a room. They may need therapy or shock treatment, but they don’t need to take our good characters by the hand and lead them into Oblivion. How are we supposed to feel good about Walter being shackled to that creepy little non person when the folks he needs and cares about are somewhere else? Also, why the heck wasn’t the ending built to explain the ancient information from the past that was so important fr so long and never got explained? We know cave men didn’t build these devices and write those books, so where is the explanation? They just forgot? They just hoped that we forgot, I guess. Word from the top is: “never mind.”. Thanks a lot. Glad Iwas paying attention to that intricate confusion before you abandoned it completely for needless tangents… Baffling incompetence.

                  • at a certain point, you need to understand that you missed something. Theres much that I missed myself, but one thing i do know is that the part of the story related to the machine that was left however many thousands of years ago by “The first people” was explained. Walter is “the first people”. he left them there in the past. most of the story lines in fringe were resolved as cerain events rendered them non existent. the first time they ruined the future and peter showed up in the future (from one point in history to another with no memory of the events in between) peter figured out that if they sent the machine to the past they could stop that timeline completely. like they did with the observers. if they went into the future and changed the assisted-evolution that the future scientist would create, they could delete the “Observers” completely. doing this means that Michael would not have been created as his father is an Observer. That is why he becomes a time anomaly he exists and yet he doesn’t exist on a linear time line as a normal being would. They are all anomalies, peter, walter and michael that is.

                • I agree there are some inconsistent things at the end of the show. However, I know why some of these things happened. For example, pulling the tape out fast etc. They didn’t have enough time. Could have easily been 3 or 4 episodes.

                  Also, it makes sense that the paradox was in 2015. In seasons four, Peter created a new timeline. Both Peters died in the new timeline. In the alternate universe, September intervention caused Peter’s death. However, in the universe that Peter came back to after using the machine, the first observer intervention was in 2015 because Walter never saved Peter.

                  To me, the Observers came back not for resources, but for Michael and Peter. At first they were only observing big events leading to their creation, but the people of early 21st century made them feel. September helped Michael escape in the future, and Michael hides in this time period. That is why the observers invaded to me. To eliminate Michael and prevent the anomaly that was Peter from preventing their existence. Remember that September was supposed to get rid Peter in season four, but he didn’t? Maybe I’m wrong but that’s how I’m seeing it.

          • You have just explained better than I ever could

      • …sounds good, except the show decided to erase the events starting from 2015, the invasion, not the exact point when Walter actually left, 2036. Why…simply because if they did it in 2036 (which makes some sense), then they couldn’t end the show in the happy mommy, happy daddy and happy daughter scene. Remember, big business has to keep the masses breeding (more profits needs more humans) and Hollywood has no problem constantly pushing the agenda at every turn.

        For me, and I’ve typed it already, no observers = Walter-nate saving his Peter, no Walter crossing over and things going from there. Of course that would have basically nulled all the charaters and development the show did over 5 seasons (not emotionally pleasing), but hey, they are the ones that went the timetravel route. A time paradox is called that for a reason (there is no fixing it)

        • it would be no Observers in this timeline, not the one Peter was from.

        • I can’t really believe that “big business” is a part of a conspiracy, even an unspoken one, to make the public at large like the idea of procreation, families and sex. Granted, these are manipulative concepts that are used to get our money at every turn, and your premise sounds like a better written Fringe episode than I’ve seen in years… If they really understood what they had created, and wanted us to get it as well, then it would be clearer. As with the show in general, so it is with the specifics: just never mind. Not to say that conversing and thinking is wrong, just that expecting any cohesive answers or effort from these people is no longer plausible. They don’t want you to think about it because they haven’t bothered to. Remember when great time travel stories ended with a sense of exciting clarity, like “now it all makes sense! I can’t wait to see that again now that I totally understand what happened!”. Sigh.

    • I agree with your first point, but they failed at this by taking the show and it’s mythos super serious and getting bogged down in details they gave no real thought to. The less serious take was a compelling twist, until they totally blew it and just kept playing up W’s not-particularly-funny dessert fetish. Tiresome and repetitive and unoriginal. All potential wasted.

  7. Problem: Walternate did not cure his son because an Observer, namely September, distracted him.

    But now since the Observers no longer exist, September could not be in the alternate timeline to distract Walternate, thus our Walter has no reason to cross over to rescue alternate Peter, since Walternate would have seen the test serum change colour, indicating a successful cure.

    Thus: no Peter, no meeting with Olivia, no Etta, not so?

    Whenever science-fiction writers dabble with time travel stories, it requires extremely careful thought or you end with plot holes. There’s a tendency to forget that time travel stories are non-linear, in that if you eliminate the traveller in the future, his presence in the past is also erased.

    • I could not agree with you more and is the only true sticking point for me about the finale.
      I was actually hoping that they would have actually written that. Going back to Walter observing Walternate watching the reaction, administering the cure, and watching his alternate son grow up healthy and strong. This would have been a great heartbreaking end to the show. That’s just me, tho.

      • Wow, you had your hopes set high with a clever idea, and it would’ve been much cooler than what they did, and suggested some real thought and attention behind the scenes. Too bad they let you down too.

    • September saving Peter was from another timeline, not the current one. thus resetting the timeline in this new timeline doesnt affect Peter. ….

      • The Peter was not from a different timeline…because Sepember eventually tells Peter that she is HIS Olivia, therefore it was the same timeline all along, so the elimination of the Observers would still affect Peter and everyone else.

    • In season four, Peter “reset” the timeline. Both Peter’s technically died in both Universes in the new timeline (I’m not sure exactly how this works out but Peter changed the timeline so you can forget that part of the story). No Peters existed, but he came back as an anomaly. Remember that in the new timeline, a bridge existed between the Universes that was created when Peter sacrificed himself to try to save both sides. Therefore, Peter should have never existed at all which is why nobody really remembered him in season four.

  8. But walter and the bot must know these events need to happen so these newly evolved observers might be there to make sure certain things happen.

    Also, as far as the why didn’t the observers just go back in time and stop them. They have no emotions, the react primarily on statistics. When windmark asked the “observer preisdent” is he could go back in time, the dude was like “nah, there’s no need, we have 99.9999% probability for success in this time, its why we chose it. And if we mess with the past we have to recalculate ALL possibilities and start all over again.” And then windmark started exhibiting angry emoyion.

    • exactly, if they go back to when we were cavemen, and just destroyed us all, nothing would exist. They wouldnt exist, that would defeat the entire purpose. Im glad your paying attention

  9. i don’t know about you but i loved this show and this season . in the last three episode i got a call back from my past . this tune the child hear/play in the september apartment and in the last episode was quit femiliar to me . in israel where i live its a part of a childern’s song about the autumn but it also about hope . the word say (of course in hebrew it’s rhymes it is after all a translation ) :
    the autumn is here it’s skies is glum
    winds and storms they foresee
    autunm , oh autunm may time would come
    and the the spring will rule in this garden again

  10. I may be mistaken but I believe the original timeline had already been erased when Peter went through the machine. All of the events in the final episode pertain to the current timeline in which Peter did die but showed up as an adult as an anomaly.

    • Peter may have shown up as an anomoly as an adult in that timeline, but what still happened in that timeline was Septmeber interupted with Walternate, Walter crossed, grabbed Peter and brough him back, but Peter drowed…so the fact STILL remains that erasing the Observers, would have let that Peter live. Maybe you’d end up with 2 Peters, when the other one just materialzed in the lake as an adult…who knows.

  11. Or I didn’t understand the last five years of Fringe or you have missed the whole mistake in the timeline. If there is no observers, then the time reset is not at the moment of the invasion, but at the moment of Walter trying to help “Peternate”.
    In chapter 11 I thought Peter realized that he would have never met Olivia when he says “I want to believe it more than anything, but we have a long way to go”, but no. Is a shame a good series ends like this.

  12. Having joined watching Fringe sometime in the middle of the first season, I quickly recognized the magical chemistry of the team, and made a point of buying the first season DVDs so I could catch up on the whole storyline. Fringe was worth watching for the incredible acting of John Noble, if nothing else. And, by that, I mean not the slight to the rest of the cast! While I would agree that there were some less interesting episodes than others, and the course sometimes seemed a bit murky. In the end, for me at least, Fringe did what more highly touted series such as Lost were unable to do–minimize its shortcomings and get its footing back most of the time. After all is said and done Fringe remains one of my all time favorite shows. Yes, it had its share of plot holes. What story involving time travel hasn’t? Congratulations to a superb cast, and thanks to Fox for letting us devoted fans have a fitting conclusion to a show we loved. I’m still touched by the look on Walter’s face, and the unspoken and bittersweet exchange between him and Peter in those final moments as both men realized what had to be done.

    • I wish I could agree and enjoy it, but wouldn’t those final scenes with Walter have been better if they had been part of a great episode of a great season of a great show instead of the sleepwalk that this season became? I like Walter and Peter a great deal, and I like to see their scenes, but everything else is a muddled mess. They could have been really well written and developed, but by the end we only had the strengths of their performances to combat the lazy story telling. They were good enough actors and characters for a much better show than this.

  13. I am so sad to see this series go. It was amazing. The finale felt a tiny bit rushed and they’ve left it a bit open ended which is good because that means, in the future, we may have a movie. I really hope we get a film a few years down the line because I have grown up with this show and I loved it so much.

    Going to miss it every week.
    People should stop hating on it because it is one of the only redeemable shows that was on television and the only truly imaginative one…

    • Glad you enjoyed what the show offered, although I strongly disagree about it’s quality and imagination. If any of my criticisms seem unfair or hurt your enjoyment of it, then I am sorry for that. As a seasoned watcher, I expect more effort and quality for my time. You are relatively new to the scene, apparently, and thus not as familiar with the material that this pales in comparison to. Hopefully anyone who likes the Xfiles and Fringe can tell you this: the X files is a vastly better, smarter, more imaginative, more original, more thoughtful, and all around better show. If you can stand low def shows then I highly recommend it, and hope the fun it gives you outshines Fringe by a long shot. Watch it all, in order, and conspiracies and multi season story arcs will finally make sense and truly resonate through the nine seasons. Fringe is a weak ripoff, and you deserve to know a better show, an original show, a complicated show. Do yourself a favor!

  14. I loved this show. It was so different from the average TV show – it had a strong and central female lead who was no victim, it placed love between people as its driving force, it stretched the imagination in the most exciting ways. Seasons 1-3 were a triumph, season 4 a bewildering disappointment (yes, disppearing Peter was a strong cliffhanger, but only if you knew how to bring him back before you did it – winging it didn’t work in this instance), season 5 a complete let down. I loved Fringe because their minds were open and their moral compass was so often right. In season 5 they turn everything upside down. The intriguing Observers, who would have been villains in most black and white SF action stories, were intriguingly ambiguous until Letters of Transit turned them into comic book Nazis, while Olivia and the team became terrorists, perpetrating atrocities instead of ending them. The whole two-dimensional post apocalypse meets alien invasion meets resistance to dictatorship storyline, packed with cliches as it was, lacked the sparkle and inventiveness of previous seasons. It was utterly predictable. As was the finale, but at least that was in a good way. We all wanted to go back to the Park and a better future for Olivia and her family, and we got that. For which I am grateful, as I will always be grateful for the magic that was Fringe seasons 1 to 3.

    • Glad you got wise to the weak-ass writing that ruined the show’s potential. Great criticisms. Why did the observers have to become such boring, black-hat villains? The second they became obvious villains, they lost all potential to be interesting. Another lazy choice in a long string of creatively bankrupt cliches. I agree it was nice to have a strong female lead who wasn’t weak or manly, but she got boring and overused, and all those roles she played served only to minimize the range and depth of each new version. Can’t have normal Olivia smiling when we all know that’s alternate Olivia’s thing. These lame distinctions made each performance 2d and limited all her characters while serving none of them. Also, resetting time to fix everything (and of course undo Etta’s death) feels more like a cliche and a cop out than fan service or story integrity. They owed us a better show. They owed the actors a better she too. If I were Joshua Jackson, I would be deeply frustrated at the the uninspired directions the show went in, and how little of any interest there was in any of the best ideas and characters. He got gipped along with the rest of us. Of course, he got payed…

  15. Hey guys,
    I just wanted to chime in in reply to everyone talking about the Observers no longer existing, therefore September never intervening at Walternate’s lab. Walter and Michael went to the future to change how the Observers were made, not to erase them. It was to make it so that when they were created, they were also created with emotion, like Michael had. The Observers still exist, they just have emotions now, too. September still went and viewed Walternate in his lab, as he was very fond of him, causing him to miss seeing the cure.

    • So you are saying the events after Michael shows up are exactly the same as before, but with Observers + emotions? That is impossible. Every little change in the timeline is magnified in it’s divergence with what was before.

    • But September and their team were sent back in time on a mission from the observer bad guys. Remember September said that they weren’t told the entire reason they were sent. If they have feelings in the future, then there would never have been a team sent back in time to prepare for an invasion. I’m still trying to make sense of the whole time travel/paradox thing though.

  16. Um, so after watching season 5, I only have one major thought: season 5 didn’t really need to happen. Please, don’t get me wrong, I know this season was for the fans as a final goodbye from the cast and crew – I’m not a passionate fan, but I’ve enjoyed Fringe too.

    However, if the final episode used time travel to undue the entire season then I feel deep down that season 5 just didn’t need to exist. The only difference between the season 4 finale and the last scene of the series finale is that Walter is gone – btw this scene takes place 3 years after the season 4 finale. Last season ended with Olivia being pregnant didn’t it?(Someone please correct me if I’m wrong)So we,the fans, knew that Peter and Olivia would be happy together with Henrietta. The characters went through all this crap just to have it all erased and reset from 2015. What was the point? Expanding on the observers? If that was it, then a movie could’ve been made or a novel, or even a comic book.

    As I said before, I’m a fan of the show and I was initially glad that Fringe was renewed for 13 more episodes to spend more time with the characters. After watching this season, it left me feeling that it was all pointless if it was all erased. The writers should’ve planned this out better. That flashforward episode in season 4 didn’t need to happen. The season 4 finale could’ve had a flashforward scene with Peter and Olivia together with their daughter and Walter by their side and that’s that. I’m sure the highlight of season 5 was Walter’s sacrifice for his son. But even that feels a tad bit unneccesary, if it erases the entire journey that is season 5. I’m not trying to trash the show because I do like it and I appreciate being given 13 more episodes. I hope people get what I was trying to say though.

    • I posted this on another site, but it works in repsonse to what you have said:

      Now that it is all over and I have come up with a theory that makes the reset to 2015 work, but at the same time works in the FRINGE universe. I have been able to reflect on season 5 and its relation to the rest of the series. Many people have said that season 5 felt like a different show, and in many ways it did. But that is just becasue they took background characters and made them the main obsticle. So at first it seemed out of left feild and very different. But now having seen how it all ends up, I think season 5 was the perfect bookend to the show. Slowly throughout the first couple seasons we found out that Walter crossed over to get Peter, we were made aware of William Bell and made aware of the alternate universe. For the longest time these were the storylines that were most prominent and the most important. The season 4 finale wrapped up those aspects of the show, and if it were to have ended there it would have been acceptable.

      But it didn’t and we were given another season. So what is the one aspect of the series that really hadn’t been explored in great detail? The Observers. They were always there in the background, observing. We didn’t know why, all we knew is that September meddled, which essentially was the beginning of FRINGE as we knew it. As we now know the Observers had always planned to invade, but they were using the original 12 to observe, trying and find the best time to invade. But September kept screwing things up. Despite this they still believed that to invade in 2015, it would give them the best chance at success. This is why it was essential to have Peter get into the machine, because if he hadn’t both universes would’ve been destroyed and the Observer invasion would not have happened with the same likleyhood of success. This is also why they erased Peter, but as we now know, September had a different agenda.

      Season 5 explained what the Observers are, how they can do what they do, and why they were observing. If they had never planned on invading, the original 12 would not have been sent to our time and September would not have distracted Walternate and so on and so forth.

      So I say that season 5 was absolutley the best way to end the show, because it focused soley on the Observers and cleared up that last remaining mystery, but at the same time tied it back to the very beginning because without the Observers, FRINGE would not have happened.

      ps. This may make it seam like a reset to 2015 does not fit in with the established rules of the show and it should have reset all the way to 1985, but I have a theory (which has been posted multiple times in these comments) invloving an Observer paradox that should clear that right up.

      • also Peter recieving the White Tulip and his reaction to it could mean that he and Olivia remember everything. But this is definilty open to interpertation.

      • Thanks, this makes sense:) Thinking back on it, I never paid that much attention to the Observers so, I think I’ll go back and rewatch the show whenever I can. For some reason I can’t remember seasons 1 and 2 that well so maybe I missed something. That’s probably why I didn’t give that much importance to the Observers this recent season either.

      • Also, we still needed Walter’s redemption after season 4. You know, his chance to make up for his tampering with universes.

  17. At least Fringe tried to answer most questions, unlike Lost.

    There are still some that remain:

    1. Why did the Observers invade? The assumption is they destroyed their own earth but with all their “intellect”, why couldn’t they fix it?

    2. Why did they need to send the 12 back in the first place… to scout? Doesn’t make sense since they should already be aware of the past.

    3. Why didn’t they invade the alternate universe?

    I would have staged September’s death better… it seemed so meaningless. It should have been right before they entered the wormhole, Windmark shows up and attempts to shoot the boy. September sacrifices himself by jumping in front of him and Windmark gloats as he’s dying telling him how weak he was because of his feelings of “love” (as he reads his last thoughts). That’s when Olivia cortexi-crushes him. Then Walter tells September before his last breath that he will take care of his son… says bye to Peter and the world is saved.

    And for those who think a season is wasted because time-travel resets it… I don’t agree. It’s the journey of the season that matters… maybe it “doesn’t happen” after their solution, but it’s because of those events as to why it all gets reset.

    • I’ll change my mind about the season being wasted only if Peter and Olivia remember what happened to them in 2036(what Walter did was a big deal). I still appreciate the journey, but if the characters don’t even remember then it feels like a waste IMO.

      • Considering both Peter and Olivia are special, they probably will (just like Olivis remembered Peter even though he wasn’t part of her timeline).

        Who knows, maybe that tulip triggered something for Peter like it did for Walter.

    • Agree with your suggestions for a more compelling ending, it was awkward seeing Donald just laying there and the action quite disjointed.

  18. anyone else disapointed that the machine they were trying to build all season didnt work?

    • yup spent the entire season just for it to not work

  19. This is an open door ending, so fans can fancy about all the would have like to see in the show or the interactions between characters they love.
    Everything is possible then, just close your eyes and press “start”
    For my part, even if everybody explain that the time reset had erase the Observers, I really want to believe that back in 2015, at least September and August have their own chance to live their “vary boring and indeed blessfull normal life” with full of emotions

    • Well at least you have some reservations and letdowns amidst your praise. As a disappointed viewer I think you got ripped off by the complacent writing as much as I did, it just didn’t bother you as much. As for time jumping forward, some shows have done it better. Enterprise was approaching the “birth of the Federation” era when it was cancelled, so they jumped many years in the last episode. Battlestar Galactica (modern) once suddenly skipped a crucial year at a fascinating time, and then miraculously managed to remain compelling and forward moving while still having to catch the audience up on what was skipped. That was awesome. Whereas the deeply flawed final season couldn’t justify it’s existence or it’s pointless tangents and detours. That’s when they threw in the longest time jump in any series ever: millions of years passed! Nice twist.

  20. Love all 5 seasons of fringe. Walter (John Noble) was the best actor.. Well done.

  21. David Bowie (real name David Robert Jones just like the character in Fringe) – ‘The man who stole the world’

    David Bowie movie ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’ (1976) [Bowie's Character name is Thomas Jerome Newton just like the character in Fringe].

    After watching the film and listening to the song, knowing the characters you(well I did) gain an understanding of the influence/themes used in the show.

  22. Farewell, “Asgard”.

  23. This article was amazingly well written.

  24. So much for ever making any sense of the “first civilization” or the bowling alley guy with all the answers… I guess they aren’t too worried about having established a pretty clear necessity for answers. Somebody should have ended up in the ancient PAST when all was said and done, but they just dropped that whole huge critical storyline. The writers room motto must have been “Never mind.”. I have said it before. Nobody ensured the quality of this show, and anyone who was supposed to failed. The show would’ve left a much better taste in my mouth if it had been cancelled years ago, before they had a new Olivia every week and Nimoy and Broils were completely written out of the show, along with their only compelling adversary.

    Anybody recall how one alternate character was said to have spiders in his blood? Where was that crazy idea going? Never mind. Or how about how we all knew Nimoy was a good guy until we found out that he was clearly a villain, but then it was revealed that he was definitely a good guy, until it got revealed that he was a malicious villain, but then we found out he was misunderstood and we could totally trust him, until it was revealed that he was a bastard all along!? You’d know more about the show if you didn’t watch it! Such a mess… Never mind. It’s bad for future tv that this show made money after it stopped trying to deserve it. Meanwhile Last Resort is cancelled after a handful of episodes have aired. At least some of the other atrociously half baked trash that aimed for a broad, stupid audience are cancelled too. Alcatraz and Terra Nova tried a lot harder to shovel more of the same lowest common denominator junk at us than they did to innovate and be bold and ensure quality. They earned their cancellations, and sadly so did Fringe, a while ago. Demand better. Let’s see some effort from the creative types rather than more of the same dressed up as something new.

    • The “first civilization” was cleared up. There was none. It was Walter and Peter sending the machine back in time through a wormhole that went back to prehistoric times, with instructions.
      Sam Weis and his family were just mistaken, is all. The only answers Sam ever had that were relevant concerned the machine. Everything else was made up by people who only postulating on what the instructions meant.

      I agree the ending of this show needed some work. I always imagined a flash back to 1985, as we witness Walter watching the alternate universe through the window, watching Walternate and Peter as they play, or read. Another flash of a young Olivia, growing up with caring foster parents and not subjected to the cortexiphan trials.
      But, that’s just the optimist in me.

      • Thanks! I assume you are correct. What does it say about the show, (or how well it hooked me ) that I must have seen that resolution, which sounds really interesting, but completely forgot about it because of how slap dash and half assed the delivery was. Truly uninspiring when one writers script can only repurpose and contradict another’s in a display of how little planning went into the series.

  25. The best series finale of any show I have watched. Superb action, storytelling and acting from all.

  26. Someone should post an article about how this Time Paradox works in the Fringe-verse.

    Is it more like Back To the Future where actions create alternate timeline branches?

    Or like Looper where the timeline is changed by what happens in the past?

    Or like Timeline where there are multiple timelines with slight variations?

    Or like the Star Trek reboot where future Spock exists alongside current Spock?

    Or like Terminator where nothing you do alters the future?

    To me, if Boyserver travels to the future to alter how Observers are made, wouldn’t that erase him since the events that created him would never occur?

    • my understanding of how the show made it seem is that Donald/September and the boyserver would be “exempt” from the timeline reset because they “are not observers” and they would be in the future timeline.

      It left a lot of questions, maybe Walter said he would be “forced” to live out his days there knowing it would erase him – from then and from the present, or maybe they believed since they would be in the future they would just be gone from the present. Which would mean there are multiple timelines that are interlinked running simultaneously for each universe.

      I also didn’t understand how the timeline reset worked. If he erased himself from this timeline would Peter and Olivia even have met? They got rid of the observers but I would have thought it would have completely reset everything since Walter would not exist in this timeline and therefore none of his Fringe events would yes? Peter would still be in the other universe… maybe it’s this muddled so we can have a happy, though heartbreaking end with Walter’s sacrifice. After the emotion is gone though I myself am wondering all these things…

      That said I did really enjoy the finale, this season was kind of “slow” and I felt that this and last season were more about Peter (which I admittedly cared less about) and Walter. I missed the wonder of Olivia’s abilities though we got to see that in the end, as someone else mentioned the cortexiphan was supposed to last forever. The Astrid/Walter scene really got to me, always loved their relationship and how despite the fact that he can rarely remember her name he does care deeply for Astrid.

    • @Bignerd – I agree because season 5 resembles Looper where they changed something in the past (but its in the future) to reset the present and stop the invasion. However, season 4 has an alternate timeline story. If I think too much about the time travel logic of Fringe, I think my head shall explode. Like, if Walter and Boysever make it so Observers don’t exist, then the 12 won’t be sent back to observe and September won’t distract Walternet so he can cure Peter. Walter won’t cross over to save Peter and September won’t have to save Peter from drowning either. So Peter will stay in his universe, and Olivia won’t fall in love. This means Etta won’t be born. However, Lincoln would probably stay in his original universe with the Peter-less Olivia and the other Olivia won’t get to have her family. And then to think about how the observers used Peter and that machine to bridge the universes…that didn’t happen. KA-BOOM, there goes my noggin. I’ll just not apply time travel logic and enjoy the show for what it is…and sadly I’ll miss it. We don’t get many good science fiction shows that stick around for multiple seasons anymore.

      • @Professor Procrastination – very well thought out, i think this is what i was expecting at the very end. Possibly even them just hinting at it all starting again and the possibility of different choices and paths being taken. If there’s no Peter in alt-verse to save would Walter have continued his Fringe science? Would he have made the same choices, ie. would his lab assistant still have died? Would ZFT still exist, etc. etc.

        Still I love this show for what it was and even without everything making sense I loved the 2-hour finale, it reminded me of why i loved the show in the first place.