Fringe Episode Review: Season 1 Finale ~ Fringe Television - Fan Site for the FOX TV Series Fringe

Fringe Episode Review: Season 1 Finale

      Email Post       5/13/2009 05:15:00 PM      

Wow. What a way to end Fringe's sensational first season. In the tradition of the best television finales, There's More Than One Of Everything wrapped up a few mysteries, but asked twice as many questions. Major praise to Fringe vets Brad Anderson, Akiva Goldsman, Bryan Burk, Jeff Pinkner, and JH Wyman for crafting a real thriller, as well as the entire cast and crew (that poor, New York crew...) for a stellar first season. When's the last time a series was this promising after a single season?
"Jones always felt that he was special..."
I doubt I'm the only fan who will sorely miss Jared Harris' delightfully villainous David Robert Jones next season, but at least he went out with a bang. The finale revealed that Jones was one of Massive Dynamic's first employees, that he looked up to Bell as a kind of father figure, and that his wreckless bioterrorism has been an attempt to prove his worthiness to Bell.

Of course, this tells us more about William Bell than it does about Jones. Up until last week, we'd been led to believe Dr. Bell was the Big Bad in charge of ZFT, but now it looks like Jones took things into his own hands. Walter and Nina might be right about Bell's benevolence, despite the mountainous evidence to the contrary.

"I lost something very precious to me..."
Well we can finally put the clone theories to bed. Turns out the Peter we know isn't from our world. Peter Prime died in 1985, so Walter crossed over to steal a different Peter from the AR (alternate reality). The obvious question: is AR-Walter searching for his own Peter? Could that be the doppelganger we saw in St. Claire's?

Also, how did Peter die? Walter's often referred to Peter's childhood sickness, so I suppose we can assume that did it, but was his sickness a result of something Walter did? Or a result of Peter's specialness?

"William Bell is not in this world."
How mind-blowing was this? Nina's lines weren't the most tactful, but the concept is killer. The narrative possibilities in upcoming seasons are...endless! According to the Many-Worlds Interpretation of quantum physics (which Walter describes in The Road Not Taken), there isn't just one alternate reality, but an infinite number of them, based on every single causal possibility in space-time.

Which makes you wonder. What's so special about the AR Bell's hanging out in? Is it even the same one Olivia was glimpsing last week? I doubt it. And most importantly, is it the reality that the ZFT manifesto warns against? Our enemy in a trans-reality war?

I don't think so, but let's hear your theories in the comments. After all, the date on Bell's New York Post was May 12, 2009, and the ZFT manifesto warns against a reality "who's history is slightly advanced from our own.: My guess is that Bell's using this particular AR to accomplish something that will help us in the coming war against a different AR: the AR of the Observers.

Stray Thoughts
  • Best Walterism of the Night: Wait...there weren't really any good ones this week!
  • I absolutely loved Mr. Jones in this ep. He looked like a Batman supervillain.
  • Given Walter's amnesia in this ep and others, is it possible someone deliberately tried to erase parts of his memory? Or do we chalk it all up to madness?
  • Charlie's hat was great, as was his dogged pragmatism during all this alternate-reality talk.
  • Nondescript black vans are always a bad omen, kids.
  • Poor Boston. May 12th, and it's still the dead of winter! I know, I know...they shot this months ago.
  • Anna was really beautiful this ep. Not that she isn't every week!
  • President Kennedy's alive! Along with Len Bias! Yet the stock market is closed, and the White House was apparently destroyed. Are we to assume that Flight 93 hit its target in Bell's AR, but the planes headed for the WTC didn't? Could the Pattern experiments we saw on airplaines this season have been trial runs for preventing the Twin Towers' destruction in Bell's AR? I'm really stretching now...
  • I could feel JJ cringing at the expositionary dialogue in this ep to catch up new viewers! A necessary evil.
  • Give Michael Giacchino an Emmy for this score.
  • Leonard Nimoy sure looked happy!
Adam Morgan is a writer for the page and screen in Chicago, who blogs pseudo-daily at Mount Helicon.


xMort said...

"The obvious question: is AR-Walter searching for his own Peter? Could that be the doppelganger we saw in St. Claire's?"

What is this sentences reffering to?

Ethan's Mommy said...

Best Walterism: We're trying to plug a hole in the universe. What are you doing here?

Anonymous said...

Don't jump to the conclusion too quickly that David Robert Jones is dead.

Anonymous said...


I think these sentences refer to the ep "Equation", when Walter returns to St Claire's to help a fellow scientist. At one moment, Walter looks outside the window, and can see himself outside the building.

Anonymous said...

I think that 'The Observer' was helping Walter, as I think Walter has helped it a long time ago. The observer has done this before when it fought AR Peter (in the cemetery[mid season]) possibly to stop him seeing TR(this reality) Peter's grave???

Andrea said...

I lost too many friends on 11 September 2001 to appreciate the Twin Tower scene. This show found new lows for being disrespectful and thoughtless. Shame. I think I and others like me have suffered enough. Please stop piling on the pain for the sake of entertainment. This is NOT entertainment.

Anonymous said...

Andrea, did you whine when movies like World Trade center, Flight 93 came out?

DubNub said...

A little sensitivity for Andrea....PLEASE.

Andrea: I hope you realize that any reminder of 911 is a tribute. We can't forget.

DubNub said...

The most amazing part of the finale was that it DIDN'T SUCK!

I used to be an X-Files fan and then the finale of the TV Series happened...What a POS!

Peter's role in the plot holds a lot of promise. I don't think it is a simple as he was plucked from another AR. There is much more to it.

Dennis said...


Jeff Pinkner (Fringe's show runner) discusses the Twin Towers scene here:

xMort said...

To Fran├žois: Thank you very much, now I remember which scene is it.

And don't forget, that Observer safe young Peter a Walter from drowning.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait for next season. I'm so exited about all the new revelations we got in the finale.

I'm kinda worried about Peter though. I can't even try to imagine what his reaction would be if he got to know about his death as a child and the fact that he comes from another universe.

And could Charlie's hat be more awesome?

Anonymous said...

I prefer The Observers hat!
did anyone notice the liberty coin(with Walter) and the liberty Bell(on Belly's desk)? I also wonder what Petrs reaction will be?

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Anonymous said...

BTW, would you have complained if there was a world where Titanic never happened? Pearl harbor? the holocaust?

So yeah, get over yourself.

Anonymous said...

BTW, Andrea, why don't you put that anger towards the morons who caused horrible tragedy in the first place instead of blaming a fictional TV show.

Unknown said...

very telling that your tag is anonymous with comments like that.

great finale cant wait for season 2

Dennis said...

Please, no personal attacks! Everyone is entitled to their own opinion...

Tina Leopold said...

Anyone notice the Adlous Huxley reference in the street scene where DRJ first tries to open the portal with the semi?

Later when Olivia and crew are examining the scene there are bright orange banners outside a nearby store sporting the wonder drug name "Soma" . . . perhaps I am reaching for a reference here, but it seems like the greats of Sci Fi lit seem to show up all over in this show.

Anonymous said...

Kieran - great observation! "Brave New World" is an excellent book. Something to think about.

Caroline said...

There WAS a Walterism, when Olivia got to the place where Jones was and Peter and Walter were there: "We're trying to plug a hole in the universe! What are you doing here?!"

Penfolduk01 said...

Please have some sympathy for Andrea's point of view.

I'm British. Whilst I can appreciate the impact of 911 on an intellectual level, I've only experienced it emotionally at 2nd or 3rd hand. But even I thought that featuring the Twin Towers at the end was an extremely risky thing to do.

So I can appreciate that people who lost loved ones may find it too painful to be reminded.

However, whilst Fringe is an entertainment as such, it also allows us to reflect on some very serious things that could affect us in the real world. And the tone of the final episode of the season was very downbeat.

So using the Twin Towers in themselves was not sensationalist or disrespectful to my mind.

However, the makers will have to be very careful how they handle this element of the show in season 2.

If it turns out to be just a gimmick, then I will be extremely unhappy with the writers and producers of the show.

Unknown said...

good show..great season..awesome ending...

DiscordianStooge said...

I'm curious if the last two symbols were left off for everyone. I'm in Minnesota, and they weren't there. Of course, I had to watch the 1st half online due to a power outage, so maybe all of them were left off when it aired.

I'm assuming it spelled out "Grave" for obvious reasons.

Unknown said...

I was disappointed that Olivia acted so dumb this episode. After all, last week she moved between alternate realities herself ! Also, being a 'JJ' show, why didn't one of those kids say: "A shimmering wall, like a force shield in Star Trek". Which would have been a plug, but a PERFECT description of the phenomenon. This episode also brought a question to mind. If you consider deep space, thousands of light years from any 'rational being' Are there Alternate Realities out there ? If so, WHO is making the decisions ? All in all, I LOVED it !!

Todd Horst said...

So did she switch realities? or did bell have her transported in the elevator?

Dennis said...

I was just thinking about this recently... she must have done more than switch realities, because she started out at the Mitsumi Hotel, somewhere near the 12th floor, and ended up near the 100th floor of the World Trade Center.

Tanya said...

Last scene was definitely a big risk, but I think they presented it well.

Andrea, I am SO incredibly sorry for your loss. I am in nyc but was very fortunate not to lose anyone in the horrible tragedy on 9/11.

I do feel that this was a loving tribute though, and not exploitative. And an alternative timeline where the towers still exist means that the tragedy did not occur, at least not in that location...

Adam: great review as always :-)

At the wrap party, Kirk was wearing the most amazing stylish panama hat, and from seeing pics of him on the net I have to wonder if he had input on the choice of hat here -- seems he's a hat man and he has mucho taste!

On the weather ref, this ep was actually shot at the beginning of April, but NYC weather was very freaky (unseasonable) at the time!

Loved Bell's smile (though I did think the initial 'in shadow' effect was a bit overdone). Pondered this a lot, thought he was smiling in pride of (one of?) his crowning achievements, Olivia. She has passed every test, and removed an immediate threat from his life. At any rate, worked for me!

I can't wait to see what happens next...

Anonymous said...

what happened to Jones? his arm made it across, right? next season, the arm of Jones will chase Bell down and strangle him. watch for it! and how will the arm of Jones find Bell - sign language...duh!

Tanya said...

Oh, and did anyone else notice that Walter's note to Peter at the end was propped up with a roll of necco wafers? lol!

EFRC said...

next ep. clue 119>

angry Walter?

introspective said...

Overall. Fringe is good TV series. It reminds me a little bit to Torchwood and X Files. I hope that it will not be spoiled over time.

Capcom said...

Great review!

I agree with your thoughts on the final scene Tanya. My first reaction was that, wow, it would be wonderful if there was a universe where that didn't happen and we didn't lose so many people. But everyone feels grief and its reminders differently, so I can appreciate your feelings about it completely Andrea.

It was a very daring artistic thing to do so soon after the event, for sure. Although, not too different from portraying other tragedies of long ago such as the Titanic or WW2 moments, as someone mentioned. Like Dennis said, everyone should be allowed their own feelings about it here. :-\

Pumpkin The said...

I can imagine, for those that lost someone in 9/11, it would really hurt to be reminded of it.

I guess an argument is that it is better to acknowlege the event, rather than everyone just pretend it didn't happen and stop talking about it.

But yeah, I really sympathise with people who got a surprise with that scene and it really bummed them out. I would expect it to happen to many people.


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