Only six episodes of Fringe remain, which means the story of Peter, Olivia, Walter, and Astrid is quickly coming to a close. Yet I still have no idea how its all going to end (and that’s a good thing).
While the main plot point of this season is that of the Observers and the slow demise of humankind, the real storyline at the core of Fringe has always been the relationship and journey of Peter and Walter Bishop. It was after all, Walter’s scientific meddling and love for his son that pushed him to the end of our world, and into the next.
His actions became the catalyst for the hundreds of fringe events we witnessed over the last five seasons, but as we’ve watched his relationship with Peter grow, it’s hard not to sympathize with his earlier choices. But if we are talking about science here, actions have reactions and ever since the Bishop family reunion it’s been obvious that Peter and Walter’s motives have been irrevocably tied to the events depicted in the episode “Peter” (2×16).
Walter let William Bell alter his mind in order to to take the edge off of his ‘mad genius’ self and Peter has always put others first, most notably when he stepped inside of the machine at the end of season 3 in order to stabilize the dueling universes.
Even more telling, is how much Peter has lived by the Greek phrase, “Einai kalytero anthropo apo ton patera toy”, which translates to “Be a better man than your father”. In the episode “A New Day In The Old Town” (2×1), Peter explains to Olivia that his mother used to tell him that every night before he went to bed.
And up until the last few episodes I would say Peter has been making good on his mother’s request. But Peter is Walter’s son, and when his daughter Etta is killed by the Observers it doesn’t take long before Peter throws reason out the window and turns to science to exact revenge. In a hauntingly creepy scene Peter brutally removes the tech from a captured Observer and implants it into himself, completely willing to let go of his human side in order to defeat the enemy.
All the meanwhile, Walter fears that he is starting to become more like his old self as his mind straightens itself out, but he truly believes that his family ties to the core group along with Peter’s love will keep him from losing the humanity and compassion that he’s gained.
So here we are, just past the halfway point in the final season with roles reversed. Last Friday’s episode “Five-Twenty-Ten” (5×7) ended with a beautiful yet heartbreaking series of scenes (set to the music of David Bowie) showcasing just how close to full circle we have come. But can Walter prevent Peter from making the same mistakes or is Peter, and all of mankind in this case, doomed to fail?
It certainly will be interesting to see what J.J. Abrams and co. have in store for our favorite father/son duo. While I don’t expect a happy ending, I’d like to see one of these characters complete the epic journey they’ve been on, whether its for redemption or revenge. Fringe bids our universe goodbye with a 2-hour finale on Friday January 18th 2013.