Welcome back Fringe fans for our final series of reviews in this timeline,
How does one write about the apparent end of Fringe during ones final analysis for such an epic science fiction drama series that has brought excellence to our screens for five years?
Was it The End of Eternity as this reviewer has written about previously? Or is it simply a new beginning for a franchise that could to be headed to the big screen deserving of Academy Awards to atone for the many years of being snubbed by the Emmy’s?
This editor believes this is the case. In my opinion, and many others whom we have consulted with, Fringe movies loom in the future. The only question is when “Fringe Movies” will actually enter our timeline!?
With a focus more in the present timeline, the Fringe creators recently sanctioned products including September’s Notebook created by Tara Bennett and Paul Terry set for publication in March of this year!
Although not actually revealed in “The Recordist”, the end of the current Fringe eternity began with the return of September (Michael Cerveris) to the series story arc when we met, with fleeting glimpses what seemed to be a new character. Then referred to as Donald, who appeared at a remote mountain encampment, the final foundation was set.
“The Recordist” featured a well known and much admired actor Paul McGillion as Edwin Massey. Massey had laboriously recorded all of human history since the invasion of Earth by The Observers in 2015.
Massey related that Donald, whom we now know is September, had been captured by The Observers subsequent to when “Donald” had visited their remote encampment on a secret mission.
Olivia (Anna Torv), Peter (Joshua Jackson) and Walter (John Noble) met Massey discovering a high energy mineral needed for Walters plan to stop The Observers per the Betamax video cassette “bread crumb” he had left behind before being ambered in the year 2015.
As we reviewed previously here at WHR, we speculated that Donald was September, but “The Recordist” episode did not confirm September was alive as a fact until his return in “Anomaly XB-6783746” via the memories imparted from the child Observer Michael (Rowan Longworth) after he was secured in “Black Blotter”, when as you may recall Walter decided to take a little trip via LSD!
We include an edition of “Noble Intentions” courtesy of FOX Broadcasting that chronicles the memories imparted to Walter from Michael, the Child Observer.
The Boy Must Live:
After a bit of work in the former Harvard University lab to locate September, between Walter and Peter with the ever able work of Astrid (Jasika Nicole), in this episode we finally learn about Donald (September) and what happened to him since his disappearance at the hands of evil Observer Overlords from the year 2609.
With Peter’s, Astrid’s, and Olivia’s help to monitor the experimental events, and as Michael looked on with curiosity, Walter Bishop entered “The Tank” in the laboratory to isolate the important memories imparted to him by the Child Observer Michael (Rowan Longworth) in “Anomaly XB-6783746” in order to locate September in the year 2036.
In a truly humorous moment, well beyond anything ever contemplated on “Naked Tuesdays”, where Walter at least had an apron to cover his vitals, Olivia opens the tank in the lab only to find Walter stark bare ass naked in the process of searching his thoughts about September.
This fun scene brings us a moment of levity in the serious story arc full circle. One can only assume that it must be “Naked Tank Tuesday” in the year 2036! Even Olivia smiles at what they have discovered, Walters nakedness notwithstanding!
Subsequent to discovering enough clues from “Naked Tank Tuesday” to locate September, Walter dons some clothes to cover his fine physique to lead the Fringe team on the search for September in 2036.
In a number of memorable sequences, Peter and Walter chat about why he is so sure about things, including Walter remembering that he does not really enjoy “public displays” of affection and not using public restrooms to “go number two”. Peter’s growing love for his father’s eccentric nature is displayed lovingly with a wonderful smile.
We are suddenly taken to the year 2609, the central nexus of The Observers strangle hold on humanity. Now one may ask, why did The Observers Commander (James Kidnie) or delightfully evil Captain Windmark (Michael Kopsa) and other implied higher Observer authorities simply not kill September after his meddling with time without their explicit approval?
For those who read and follow the time-line psychology ripple effects of changing events or people as eloquently depicted in Fringe and by Isaac Asimov’s novel in “The End of Eternity”, the answer is simple. Well almost.
As discussed between Captain Windmark and The Observers Commander in “The Boy Must Live”, in order to not disturb the certainties of the reality they have created wherein they are the dominate species across the universe, certain individuals cannot be eliminated or they risk that the entire equation of time could unravel. September is one of those individuals in this reviewer’s opinion.
Now you may hypothecate; WAIT! Other of The Observers, their Loyalists and quite a few resistance humans have been killed. Why did these events not impact the timeline?
Although not delineated directly, the Fringe creators require viewers to think about serious consequences of ripples in time across realities from changes. This reviewer believes that this may have been partly responsible for lower ratings because Fringe as a story, took much thought to internalize. This factor was also responsible for the initial lackluster reception of the novel “The End of Eternity” that later went on to become a cult classic.
Nevertheless, the epic nature of the program can be understood as follows; One must assume that if a person was killed “out of order” in contravention to The Observers philosophy of “Everything In Order”, then a viewer should assume that the Observer command nexus in the year 2609 would have dispatched other Observers to fix or “patch” the timeline to restore 99.9999% infinity likelihoods just as what was performed in The End of Eternity to ensure the future eventualities desired.
More on these complex factors later in my analysis.
September, in turn, obviously is quite happy to see Olivia, Peter, almost the entire team, and Walter in specific for reasons we learn in major reveals in the series story arc.
Michael is later confirmed to actually be September’s son Michael. September opens a cigar box to retrieve a tiny music box which plays the memorable song “Greensleeves also known as “Who is the Child” when the tiny handle in turned.
After relating what had happened to themselves, our heroes learn that September had been stripped of the technology implanted in his skull which allows The Observers to traverse time across multiple alternate realities with causation by making minute adjustments in the time-line.
We learn that September was punished for his many instances of meddling with the plans of the Overlord Observers to ensure their dominance across all time and in all universe possibilities.
This proves that The Observers, the season five antagonists, are not all powerful. By not monitoring September more closely, thereby making a major mistake, especially considering the perseverance of Walter and our heroes of the Fringe Team in the year 2036, the quest to destroy their slavish, albeit intellectually developed society will become realty.
One is also left to ponder another interesting theory. Did Walter name “Gene the Cow” to honor Gene Kelly who starred in the 1952 award winning film enjoyed by September? This reviewer find this theory to be highly likely.
As Olivia and Peter listen with great emotion on their faces, they find out, among the many details Walter did not remember, despite having many “feelings” imparted by Michael, that this included all the details of “the plan” to stop The Observers from manipulating all time and universes.
Powerless, September, had been inserted into the year 2036 where he could be “observed” by Captain Windmark after his capture and punishment.
September then began life as a normal human believing that his plans with Walter twenty-one years previous in the year 2015 to save humanity would never be realized.
In stunning visual effects sequence reminiscent of “The Matrix” (1999), September reveals how Michael was created from his own genetic material in a vault of young Observers. The chilling scene delighted this reviewer to no end.
Although not depicted in the episode, September informs our Fringe Team heroes that he took the boy from the year 2609 and hid him in the past of the year 2036 to hopefully be found later by Walter, Olivia, Peter and Astrid.
During the meeting in the year 2609, we learn more about the weakness of The Observers. Although seemingly firmly in control, they are not capable of predicting all possible outcomes, and in fact are afraid of the consequences of making any additional changes to eliminate “the resisters” as the Fringe Team is referred to.
The Observer Commander relates to Captain Windmark; “we are not prepared to deal with a readjustment of probabilities”. The Observer Commander is obviously referring to the killing off the Fringe Team and or Michael, the “defective” Observer Child.
To his displeasure, Captain Windmark is forbidden from going back in time to kill them all. This is the next Observer weakness that is revealed.
Although The Observers have invested nearly five centuries from 2167 to 2609 to “breed out” emotion in favor of intellect, the Observer Commander detects something is wrong. Captain Windmark states “the idea of ending their existence consumes me”.
As we know from being emotional human beings in 2013, obsession is a destroyer of many aspects of humanity. So it will be with The Observers. Obsession causes people to make mistakes and or draw the wrong conclusions from history that ultimately leads to serious errors in judgment.
When the Observer Commander states “they are insignificant”, we know that our heroes can leverage their arrogance to ultimately win the day!
With a segue back to the Fringe Team at the apartment, now with September restored as an ally, we discover “The Plan” is to take Michael to the year 2167 on the 28th of February, and introduce him to The Powers That Be (TPTB) of that era. All of history, past, present and future would be radically altered to benefit humankind.
By offering a different alternative in humanities future decision making process, with proof they do not have to sacrifice human emotions for intellect, the result would cause the evil of The Observers as we have known them, to never become manifest, to never exist!
Brilliant move in the story arc by the creators!
We move in the episode to a rather touching tender sequence whereby Olivia and Peter discuss that if the plan succeeds, and the timeline is reset, that they will be restored to a point in time before the invasion with their daughter Etta (Georgina Haig) when she was young. Olivia is optimistic, while Peter says they have a long way to go to succeed.
At this point in the series, our Fringe Team Leader Lori theorized the time reset result would be in the park in the year 2015 with young Etta when she was playing with Peter and Olivia during a family picnic.
Captain Windmark’s intent is quite clear. Although he is not actually disobeying direct orders from his superior, The Observer Commander in year 2609 by track downing his obsession in the past, Windmark is absolutely determined to kill our heroes in the year 2036 to achieve his goals.
September thinking carefully ahead of their arrival, has removed his tracking chip before leaving his apartment. September’s foresight is correct, he has setup a booby trap with an Observer tech quantum bomb at the apartment for Captain Windmark and his Observer minions whom he is certain will try to find him there.
In another wonderful sequence involving foot tapping to jazz music, The Observers are affected by a somewhat reflex human emotion, rhythm. September almost succeeds in killing Captain Windmark and his two Observer minions.
Windmark and his main minion escape, however one of The Observers is apparently killed unable to dematerialize quick enough as the Observer bomb from the future vaporizes the entirety of September’s apartment.
The episode winds down as our heroes gather the parts September has stashed in the year 2036 to complete the device to establish a wormhole and send Michael to February 28, 2167 to reset the timeline, but not without consequences.
Walter, with September’s prompting understands that he will have to sacrifice himself by accompanying Michael to the year 2167.
September fills in the missing memories and discusses “A White Tulip”, its importance and the strength given to Walter over the five years of Fringe. Tears well up in Septembers eyes as they discuss the events of past that have brought them here.
However, while the White Tulip is seen by Walter in his mind, it is missing from an envelope in September’s Notebook.
The poignant scene provides a startling revelation of the Fringe series mythology now made manifest, the existence of his, “September’s Notebook”, which is seen on screen in September’s hands!
This fantastic book that contains the secrets of the series mythology is created by Tara Bennett and Paul Terry, whom we had the honor to interview on WormholeRiders You Decide Sunday February 03, 2013!
Aware of the importance of their freedom to complete “The Plan”, and for reasons not explained in the episode, Michael makes a sacrifice allowing himself to be captured by Captain Windmark in order to allow the others to escape!
Michael Kopsa is absolutely delightfully creepy as Captain Windmark, superbly delivering his final line in “The Boy Must Live” episode. This reviewer says simply; Bravo Mr. Kopsa, BRAVO!!
I end this, my final analysis of Fringe as we know it by thanking everyone who has been involved with the production of Fringe, from Bad Robot Productions, Warner Brothers, FOX Broadcasting, and all the wonderful actors, crews and creators who brought science fiction joy to our screens over the past five years!
Our Team Leader Lori will be writing the last two reviews of the series to be posted in rapid succession after this analysis. Lori will include interesting quotes from The End of Eternity novel to dovetail our belief that Isaac Asimov’s book was an inspiration for Fringe.
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