Compared to other, splashier finales going on this season, Fringe's season finale is very much subdued. It's not any less powerful or compelling, just more subtle. Kind of like the image I chose for this post. Pay attention to the reflections, dear reader. Cool, huh? In any case, on to the discussion of the Fringe season 2 finale!
The single most important lesson to be learned from the season 2 finale of Fringe is simple: NEVER FUCK WITH LEONARD NIMOY!! It doesn't matter what show he's on: Classic Trek, Mission: Impossible (yes, he was on the classic tv series), Star Trek:Next Gen, or Fringe, Nimoy ALWAYS kicks ass!! Case in point, the scene with the model 77 weapon. It's ONE level up, and it can blow up a CAR with a SINGLE SHOT! And that's not even taking into account the grenades!!
When I found out that these last two eps were going to take place in the Alternate Universe (AU), one of the MANY things I was looking forward to was the resumption of the friendly rivalry between William Bell & Walter. And I liked how they resumed their bickering like no time had passed. It was heartwarming to see them together again, and I INSTANTLY UNDERSTOOD how they could accomplish so much radical scientific inquiry. The scene that got to me was when Walter asked Bell why he removed parts of his brain. The pain & anguish that had always been bubbling under the surface came out in front of the ONE person who could understand what Bishop was, and how much less than that he sees himself now. Bell's revelation that Walter asked him to do it out of fear of what he was becoming, while predictable, was also an amazing moment. Which bring us to the death of Bell. Is it just me, or did you, dear reader, also get a strange echo of the end of Star Trek 2? I know that Nimoy has retired from acting, but it was a bit painful to watch him die again.
As for the rest of the cast of the AU, I loved them all! Agent Farnsworth was a bit freaky in her appearance, but it was cool. Seeing a strong willed, competent Walter was fantastic. Given the flashbacks of our side, I could see our Walter following suit. But the best part of going to the AU was seeing Charlie again!! I'm still of the opinion that the single, biggest mistake the producers of Fringe made was the death of Charlie. Seeing him again was such a cool bit. Peter's reaction to seeing him was great, but the best moment was Charlie and our Olivia in the car and the echo of the conversation she had in the beginning of the series where he brings up some very good points about law enforcement not being able to keep up with the new, more technologically advanced threats without more information. Seeing Olivia's reaction to that conversation was cool.
Speaking of Olivia, I hate to say this but the one sour note was her scene with Peter. Now, I'm not against them being together. Not in the slightest. But, things between them was on a slow burn that I was thinking was going to flare up in season 3. I can understand why she did it, but it just felt like it was way too fast. But that wasn't a big enough issue to damage my enjoyment of the episode. Especially given where she is at the end.
There are a couple of other things that I find interesting about the finale, though. First, I liked how they showed where the encased in amber tech came from and, more importantly, WHY they use it. That was a expertly subtle way of explaining that. It also bodes well for the series that they took the time to actually answer that particular question.
The other interesting thing about this finale is the apparent change in format of the show. Prior to the last few eps of this season, the show was basically a police procedural with a sci-fi twist. Ever since Peter found out he was from the AU, they've slowly stepped away from the procedural format into a more traditional drama style. The change raises some interesting questions. Is the show going to drop the procedural aspect? There's enough of a background in the mythology of the show that they could do that. Or was it just the nature of this particular story that required the departure from the procedural format? Given the infiltration of AU Olivia into our Fringe division, going back to the procedural format would bring some intriguing questions of loyalty.
In the end, Fringe gave a fantastic entry for their season 2 finale, hitting all the right marks (including one minor thing to gripe about) and leaving us primed and ready for season 3. I, for one, can't WAIT for next season!! It's going to be EPIC!