Alan Smithee

Fringe Season 3 Finale

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This past Friday, the fans of this awesome science fiction series were treated to the season 3 finale titled “The Day We Died” after which, many of us turned to the Internet to proclaim to the world that this show is the best thing to come from FOX since The X-Files and Firefly. It’s that damned good. Spoilers ahead!

Like I just stated, thar be spoilers imminent so, no complaining if you haven’t seen the episode yet!

After last week’s ending, you know, the one where Peter Bishop finally climbs inside of ‘The Machine’ after Olivia used her latent psychic powers to unlock the force field keeping him from entering the apparent doomsday device. We saw that immediately after Peter powered up the ancient device, he was transported into our Earth’s future, 15 years ahead to be exact. It’s here where we learn just what the hell is going on.

We’re treated to yet another special introduction to the series, this one is much like the ones that tell us what universe we’re in this week, except instead of the red or blue hues used in the background…we get blackish grey colors signifying that things are drastically different in the future.

I love it when the writers take the show into an entirely new direction with season end episodes, the way they throw things at the watcher and hope that it’s not too much to take has to be pretty fun. For a few examples of this, we had the following instances in this episode.

    Olivia’s niece Ella is now a member of our Earth’s Fringe Division

  • Walter Bishop is in a maximum security prison and straggly, almost Unabomber-ish in appearance
  • Broyles has a creepy looking blue right eye and is now a senator in Washington
  • Walternate is on our Earth as a villain
  • Agent Dunham now has Jean Grey equivalent telekinetic powers
  • Peter and Olivia are married

Maybe some of these aren’t as surprising to you as they were to me when I first saw them, but still…little Easter eggs like these make me squeal with geek pride.

Alright, now on to main plot of this episode.

In our universe, the planet is now suffering the same ills that befell the alternate universe that our Walter Bishop broke when he took Peter from his home. There are vortexes and wormholes opening up in many of the same places that other Earth was experiencing them. We come to find out that future Walternate (who crossed over to our universe to try and stop the destruction his universe was experiencing) has became a castaway on our Earth due to his own universe’s demise at the hands of Peter Bishop and the machine.

The biggest enemy in the future, besides the universe trying to unravel itself, are a band of terrorists that are labeled as “the End of Day-ers” that use highly sophisticated technology and knowledge about weak points in our world to cause death and destruction. The biggest surprise for me is the actor (Brad Dourif) they picked to portray the ringleader of this gang of terrorists. Mr. Dourif should be a very familiar actor to all of you sci-fi and horror fans out there…I mean, who else could play Chucky from Child’s Play and Piter DeVries in the classic Dune movie?

We come to find out that the terrorists are being armed with knowledge and weaponry from…you guessed it, Walternate. He’s gone from being sad about the extinction of his universe and has turned to rage and is hoping to do the same amount of damage to our side to even the score.

This episode is a fine example of the ultimate folly of having doomsday devices which could easily be tied into our world’s own nuclear arms race. The fact that Walternate started the machine in his own universe and is somehow blaming us for trying to defend ourselves frames the whole argument perfectly. Without these devices there would be no mutually assured destruction.

The acting from John Noble alone is enough for me to keep coming back to this show. Whether he play a deranged Department of Defense despot who has his world’s best intentions at heart, or a mentally self-mutilated scientific genius who only wishes to make his son happy, Mr. Noble’s is the center of this show. Without him, we’d be left with a show that would be a ‘freak of the week’ cop show.

Frankly I hope he gets nominated for the 2011 Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor (which he was passed over last year) if for no other reason than the scene where Peter gives him some red licorice. You’ll know what I mean when you see it too.

The only area of this episode that I had any reservations about was when Walter realized that the machine was placed in the past by none other than someone from the present time utilizing a wormhole to our ancient past. It’s always a slippery slope when shows start to include time travel paradoxes.

I didn’t mind the consciousness transferring thing that much because this show has shown time and time again that they’re not adverse to that gimmick, but moving from alternate realities to time traveling and paradoxes sometimes can lead to a show’s downfall.

There were two VERY shocking moments that happened this episode that garnered actual audible gasps from me as I was watching the show all by my lonesome. That would have to be when Olivia gets shot right in the middle of her forehead by Walternate who wants to show Peter what it’s like to suffer, and at the very end when Peter is explaining to the people of both dimensions that he brought them there to find a solution that doesn’t involve destroying one another when he inexplicably disappears right in the middle of talking and nobody seemed to notice or care.

The way they tie up the season with the Observers outside of the Statue of Liberty explaining what just happened is perfect. It finished the episode and season just right. Heck if the show doesn’t come back for a fourth season…I think I’d be alright considering the closure we got. That’s more than I can say about any other show of Fringe’s ilk.

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