So far, this series has taken the viewers across parallel, but destructively-linked universes. It has healed the wounds of the two universes by un-making one of the main characters, and then threw him back into a new altered timeline that believes he died when he was just a boy. By the end of the season, Olivia (Anna Torv) has somehow remembered the original timeline and forgotten many of the events from her new life, including the fact that she was raised by Nina Sharp (Blair Brown). Walter (John Noble) was even more eccentric than before since he never had Peter to ground him after leaving the mental hospital and Astrid (Jasika Nicole) had an even harder time keeping Walter focused. By the end, Walter, Peter and Olivia confront the changed universe by stopping William Bell (Leonard Nimoy) and the Neogenesist from collapsing the two universes into a third with Bell as God (more or less). While that seems like a solid end, the show kicked off a new plot that wraps up with this season’s last episode.
The Observers, those bald, emotionless, time travelers, have come from the future to enslave the past. The invasion happens some three years after the Neogenesis plot is ended. Walter’s mind is whole; Peter and Olivia have a girl named Henrietta and for the most part, the Fringe Events have calmed down. What they don’t expect is the sudden onslaught from the future. During the first wave, Olivia and Peter are separated from their daughter, which obviously puts a major strain on their relationship. What is interesting though is how this story is told. In one episode of the last season, Peter, Astrid and Walter are freed from Amber in the year 2036 by a now adult Henrietta (Georgina Haig). This season starts off with the group finding Olivia and trying to piece together some plan that Walter had put in motion back in 2015.
With the former Fringe division members on the run and joining the resistance, they find themselves constantly being hunted by an Observer named Captain Windmark (Michael Kopasa) as they dig through layers of Amber in Walter’s old lab looking for VHS tapes that he recorded for anyone who happens upon them. The plan that he and a mysterious compatriot called only Donald is explained through the series of tapes and each one reveals a new piece of the puzzle, but they will have to delve back into some much older cases if they are to put everything together.
While this last season is only 13 episodes long (putting the total count at exactly 100), it delivers a lot. There are references to some of the team’s most memorable cases and some of those old mysteries are major plot points this time around. Chief among those plot points include the Observer child from the first season and September’s (Michael Cerveris) fate. While I can’t say for certain that everything is wrapped up and all questions are answered, the show does end in a sense of closure.
As for Fringe: The Complete and Final Fifth Season’s special features, the Blu-ray release comes with the standard fare of gag reels, deleted scenes and even the 2012 Comic-Con panel, but it also has a digital copy of the show’s last episode. Probably the biggest special feature though is a look back on the series as a whole from J.J. Abrams, J.H. Wyman and the man cast members. They not only talk about what happens in this final season, but also the effort that went into trying to even get a fifth season green-lighted as well as how each of the actors feel about their character’s arc. There are also quite a few emotional behind-the-scenes segments as each actor completes their final scenes.
While Fringe has gone in some odd directions over its five years, it still keeps to an interesting theme from beginning to end. Even here where the season-long plot might not seem like it, the idea of science being taken too far and the moral dilemmas that can go with science for the sake of science is still present. If you’ve been following the show from its start, then you won’t want to miss these last few episodes. If you haven’t but are intrigued, then you are missing good sci-fi.