Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Living on the Fringe

Warning: This post contains spoilers for Tuesday's Fringe finale, "There's More Than One of Everything," along with general spoilers for the show's first season.

The finale for Fringe's freshman season included a guest appearance by Leonard Nimoy; breaches of the wall between our world and an alternate reality; and a couple of people whose bodies were cleanly, fatally and disgustingly severed when these breaches sealed around them. The most shocking moment of the episode though, was a brief look at a plain tombstone bearing the words "Peter Bishop, 1978-1985."

Peter Bishop is, of course, the character played by Joshua Jackson — a character who is a 30-year-old man who is very much alive, not a dead seven-year-old child.

Early in the season, I thought the writers had given too much away when they had Peter's father, mad scientist Walter Bishop (John Noble), tell Peter that he was special. While I haven't followed Fringe fanatically (I tend to watch the eps on Hulu when I have a moment), the bits and pieces we were given about Peter's childhood seemed to back up my earlier assumption. The story of Peter's severe illness as a child and his near death in an icy lake, coupled with his father's comment about Peter being special led me think that he'd been treated with the experimental drug cortexiphan in the same way Olivia had been dosed with it.

While cortexiphan treatment may still be a possibility, the tombstone and the episode title — "There's More Than One of Everything" — point to the Peter we know being an "import" from an alternate reality, possibly the same reality in which the mysterious William Bell (Nimoy) currently resides. The same reality to which Olivia was taken at the end of the finale. A reality in which the World Trade Center still stands tall in NYC, but the White House has been destroyed.

Over the course of the first 20 episodes Walter and Peter Bishop have slowly developed a father-son relationship (with Peter usually taking the paternal role), albeit one that's frequently contentious. Uncovering the hows and whys of Peter's story next season sets up a rollercoaster of a storyline.

During the first half of this season, I was waiting to see if Fringe would find its legs. The initial eps were okay for a new sci-fi show, but I kept waiting for the writers to show me something that didn't feel like it had been lifted from The X-Files. Right around mid-season, the show hit its stride and has been ratcheting up the stakes for its three main characters every week. Fringe has become addictive sci-fi television and fall's season two premiere can't come fast enough.

Watch the season one finale "There's More Than One of Everything":

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