“Sacrifice is hard, son. But you’re no stranger to it.”
If we imagine a plot as the movement of individual scenes and chapters from A to Z, “Liberty” is entirely unnecessary in the larger scheme—a letter our alphabet doesn’t need, like “ll.” A brief tangent, brought about by Michael’s unexplained exit from the monorail: by the end of this episode, the situation has more or less returned to what it was at the end of the previous episode. More or less.
But I’m not complaining. It was delightful to see Lincoln “Clark Kent” Lee and Bolivia again, and to hear that Walternate was lecturing at Harvard into his nineties, and there’s a little Dunham-Lee running around. (Not so little, I guess.) Seth Gabel’s one-off return to Fringe may have been one of the worse-kept secrets in the genre community since…since…okay, I’m unable to come up with a good comparison and I want to get this review up—complete the sentence in the comments if you want.
Lincoln Lee and Bolivia were in the previews we saw last week, and I didn’t realize then that they were meant to look older: apparently, that coffee shortage Over There really did make a difference in everyone’s skin quality. Lincoln, in particular, has made an impressive transformation from “Clark Kent” to “Sexy Older Superman.” He also got a great final scene: standing at the intersection of two hallways, symbolizing his life’s course, existing in two universes.
Throughout this episode, and the official final episode that followed, there were some beautiful images like that one; none of the cinematography felt rushed, and I was reminded for the 127th time what a lovely show this is. The glimpse through the universe window showed the Statue of Liberty: gone in the world our team has inhabited, but still present Over There. I couldn’t help but think of our first glimpse through a window of the cityscape of Over There NYC, showing the Twin Towers. Other worlds, other possibilities, and the hope that somewhere things are different and better. Olivia must have had a similar thought, looking at Bolivia’s perfect, Observer-free life. As Lincoln Lee said, “It’s crazy, how life works out.”
Some of the best scenes were also the most visceral: Windmark’s nosebleed made me smile, and that smiled widened into a grin when he started to bleed from the eyeball. (I have a vicious streak.) Olivia kicking the Observer while she was down made me laugh with glee. And, of course, it wouldn’t be a season of Fringe if someone didn’t do something intrusive and dangerous to Olivia’s body.
I don’t want to say much more in this review, since later readers might read it before watching the next episode. But Lincoln’s quote, “It’s crazy, how life works out,” and Olivia’s response that she regrets nothing, are important thematically for the end of Fringe and the question that has been looming over this season: what will our heroes sacrifice to save the world?
To An Extent We Previously Deemed Impossible:
• Cortexiphan has a shelf-life of 127 years.
• Was Donald making Kool-Aid? No wonder there wasn’t enough power.
• At first, I was worried that the Observers would start to invade Over There, since they seem to have just figured out “where” it is by following Olivia. Then I realized that they probably couldn’t organize that situation in time, before The Plan works its paradoxical magic.
• Perfect final shot: a door marked “513,” leading us into episode 5.13, the series finale.
• Best quote goes to Bolivia: “Stop checking out my young ass.”
Josie Kafka reviews Fringe (but not for much longer), The Vampire Diaries, and Game of Thrones for www.douxreviews.com.