Fringe, “Enemy of Fate”: imagine the impossibilities

Quick Take: Fringe, “Enemy of Fate”
“It is not about fate, Walter. It is about changing fate.” - Donald

Enemy of Fate, Finale

Review: Fringe, “Enemy of Fate”
(S0513) I closed my review of “Liberty” with the suggestion that Fringe’s finale wasn’t so much filled with plot holes as it was open to interpretation. The original tagline for the series was “Imagine the impossibilities,” and after a five-year, hundred-episode run, it should be clear that the “impossible” is an inexhaustible geyser, ever spilling over into the Fringe multiverse.

As far as plans go, the final gambit is relatively simple by Fringe’s standards, yet its real beauty emanates from how it all plays out. In order to cut off the Observers/Invaders at their source, Walter and Donald (the humanized September) devise to build a time machine with which to send Michael - September’s son and the anomalous Observer-human hybrid - forward in time. The goal - to bypass the creation and proliferation of the Observers entirely - is to be achieved by sending the boy to the point in human history when the geneticist responsible for creating the Observers first makes their discovery. In doing so, he/she and the scientific community will see that the emotional centre of the brain does not have to be sacrificed for a greater intellectual capacity.

But how does this impact the timeline? By never being created, the Observers won’t exist to travel back in time and invade in 2015 - we’re told this explicitly. But if they never exist, this means that September never appears in Walternate's lab, nor does he save Peter - this actually falls in line with the modified timeline from last season, where Peter dies in both universes but still bleeds through. Like Michael, Peter is an anomaly, and his existence after the finale isn’t a problem. Rather, Walter’s is.

After stirring up a Cabin in the Woods-calibre horror-show of Fringe events against the Invaders and the Loyalists, Walter was all but in the clear from having to sacrifice himself to travelling through time with the boy. But after so many Emmy-worthy scenes carried by John Noble in the show’s final hour, Walter was bound to close the circle he embarked on so many years ago. The story of Fringe started with Walter stepping through a portal with a boy that wasn’t his own, and so the story ended... right?

As he explains to Peter after watching the last tape retrieved from his ambered lab, Walter must travel with the boy to act as a sort of emissary to ensure that they correct the timeline. Since the timeline was previously changed to correct September’s mistake in 1984, the first change to the course of events technically doesn’t happen until 2015 - the invasion. However, since Walter will exist with Michael in the corrected future, he cannot exist in the past with Peter. But by effectively bringing Etta back to life - not to mention Nina, Sam Weiss, and even Simon - Walter leaves with no regrets.

But as Peter opens the letter with the white tulip, meant to break the news that his father doesn’t exist anymore (yet), we’re given one last look at the son. The intensity in Peter’s eyes has become all too familiar to fans of the show, but so has his unpredictability. If I had to make up an explanation for that last, lingering shot, I’d have to say Peter remembered. The white tulip, like Peter, technically comes from nowhere, but the man who sent it to him now exists in the future. In my mind, the perfect conclusion explains Peter’s stare as one of determination - to rip a hole in time to retrieve Walter. Like father, like son.

Inevitably, there are those left unfulfilled by both the finale and the season as a whole, but I can’t help but think they’re overlooking the maxim that has guided the show since its inception, the reason we all tuned in at whatever point, and what Walter succinctly states when Peter questions his creating an anti-gravity gun.

“Because it’s cool.”

By Mark D Curran

About the author

Mark is a freelance writer, student of English and Philosophy, and still has too much time on his hands. If you have any of your own, check out the blog and follow him on Twitter!!/MarkDCurran

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