One of the most original science fiction shows on television, Fringe, is set to return to satellite and cable television for its fifth and final season on Friday, September 28, at 9 P.M. Eastern on Fox.
The series was renewed for a final 13-episode season back in April, which gave show creators J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci very little time to get things in order and shoot each episode. In fact, principal photography didn’t get underway until July. For fans, the show has sometimes missed the mark, let’s hope Abrams and crew wrap it up on a strong note, particularly coming off a weak fourth season.
The primary cast of Anna Torv as Oliva Dunham, Joshua Jackson as Peter Bishop, John Noble as Dr. Walter Bishop, Lance Reddick as Philip Broyles, Blair Brown as Nina Sharp, and Jasika Nicole as Astrid Farnsworth will return for the series farewell. Noticeably missing is Seth Gabel as Lincoln Lee.
Aside from a trailer shown at Comic-Con, little is known about season five, which gives us a chance to recap season four as we count down the days and hours to episode 501.
The most noticeable element of season four was the absence of Peter Bishop. His “erasure” from existence caused a new timeline to be created. The new timeline was pretty close to the original one, but differed in slight ways. It was like suddenly all potato salad recipes included pineapple, or all hot dogs were made only from turkey, and we just noticed something was a little off.
Everyone in the Fringe Division could sense wrongness in their timeline, but couldn’t quite put a finger on it. Neither could viewers, but some could put a finger on it. And by “it,” I mean their remote controls. Fortunately, it only took four episodes for Jackson’s Peter Bishop to return, and so did many viewers who’d left.
Upon Peter’s return, however, no one recognizes him. After all, he’s not part of their timeline. He’s armed with disturbing information about shape-shifters. At the same time, he can sense he’s not back in the right plane of existence and tries like mad to get to the time machine but is repeatedly refused access. His eventual solution to the problem is Walternate, Walter’s alternate universe doppelganger. Peter figures he can find his way back from an alternate universe.
Olivia and Lincoln lend a hand, while the Fringe Division in both universes continue to deal with the very real problem of the mysterious shape-shifters.
In one of the bright spots of season four, Peter, Olivia, and Walter experience an actual frightening event as they wind up in a town from which there is no escape. The Olivia in this timeline starts to remember the life of the Olivia from our timeline. She even gives Peter a familiar—very familiar—kiss.
Meanwhile, Lincoln bails to an alternate universe and hooks up, in a manner of speaking, with his Lincolnate to track down a vigilante connected to the shape-shifters.
In the final episode of the season, Fringe Division teams in both universes are battling to prevent the extinction of mankind, humankind, and every kind.
I don’t know what it is about J.J. Abrams and his television shows, but he makes them needlessly complicated, which in turn can leave a segment of viewers frustrated and switching the channel to something more linear and comprehensive.
With any luck at all, his writing team has returned the series to the simple form that made seasons one and two so successful. Overcoming the lousy Friday night timeslot, however, could be challenging as it’s one of the least watched nights of television.
Here’s to an awesome final season, Fringers. Hopfully, all the pieces of the puzzle will fall into place and it won’t all have just been one of Walter’s insane dreams.
Stephanie Caldwell is from Salt Lake City and writes for CableTV.com. Her interests are watching TV and pretending she is a sci-fi mecha robot.