Fringe has finally ended its five-year, 100-episode run. The sci-fi drama was seemingly on the verge of cancellation throughout its entire run, but its cult following proved loyal enough to keep it around longer than most series.
In the end, Fringe wound up fulfilling all the promises that it made to its fans during its five seasons on the air. It always stayed true to its core values: the jolting power of love, the exhilaration of intellectual inquiry, the joy of a good joke, the sacredness of trust and the bond of family.
Fringe has always distinguished itself from its sci-fi TV series brethren. It is a fantastical drama that was produced as a thriller. When it is firing on all cylinders, the show is a true pleasure, constantly demanding repeat viewings that rewarded viewers who pay close attention to the details.
The series revolves around Walter Biship (John Noble), Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) and Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv). They are members of a “Fringe Division” team that is part of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Based in Boston, MA, the team specializes in using what is known as “fringe” science to investigate various unexplained phenomena and occurrences. Many of these occurrences involve the mystery of a parallel universe that comes into focus during season 4. The series is commonly thought of as a hybrid of The Twilight Zone, Altered States and The X-Files.
In season 1, Fringe Division mainly focuses on cases that create something known as “the Pattern”, caused by a group of rouge scientists called the ZFT. Their leader is David Robert Jones, who is planning on causing a doomsday event for as yet unknown reasons.
In Season 2, the existence of a parallel universe is revealed. This universe is experiencing singularities that occur at weak points in the fabric that separates both worlds. In the alternate universe, scientists have invented a substance known as amber that is capable of isolating these singularities. However, any people around the singularity are also trapped in the amber when it is used. Human-machine hybrid shapeshifters become a significant part of the plot.
Season 3 features episodes that frequently alternate between both universes. The Walter from the parallel universe, known as “Walternate”, is the U.S. Secretary of Defense and has a plan to build a doomsday machine that can only be turned on by Peter’s biology. Olivia’s alternate universe version, known as “Fauxlivia”, goes to the prime universe to begin assembling a device that will eventually link both worlds when both devices are used at the same time. While Fauxlivia is in the prime universe, she has a relationship with Peter and becomes pregnant. Walternate accelerates the pregnancy to obtain a sample of the baby’s blood, which he then uses to turn on the machine. Peter then uses the prime universe version of the machine and sees a vision of the future. In his vision, the parallel universe is destroyed and the prime universe is on the verge of destruction.
Season 4 is the start of an alternate timeline, in which the Observer known as September failed to save the life of the alternate Peter in 1985. The result is a butterfly effect that changes the pasts of the main characters. However, it also stabilizes both universes as a result of the bridge between universes being formed. Through a series of events, Peter gets pulled into the new timeline. Peter initially tries to return to his old timeline. He meets a wounded September and realizes that this new timeline is his real home.
The fifth and final season begins in 2036. The Fringe team successfully sealed themselves in amber. This prevented them from being captured after the Purge. The are reunited with Olivia and Peter’s daughter. She is now an adult and her name is Etta. Through a series of pre-recorded videotapes that Walter left in amber in his lab, the team begins to follow a plan by September to defeat the Observers. The plan involves an Observer boy named Michael, who has abilities that are superior to normal observers. If Michael is taken through a wormhole into the year 2167, his presence would essentially prevent human genetic scientists from creating the race of Observers in the first place.