The end is coming for Fringe, with just three more episodes to come this season, including a final two hour episode which will bring the show to a close. In recent weeks I’ve become a little bored by the show, which is taking an extremely long time to get to the point of this final season, even with a mere 13 episodes in which to tell the story, compared with the 20+ in the previous four seasons.
As the season has progressed, it’s become more and more difficult to differentiate between episodes, with little bits of the plot being developed each week while the threat of the Observers stopping the Fringe team from putting their plan into action always lingering, if never actually happening. There have been many clashes between the Fringe team and the Observers and Loyalists, but with the exception of Windmark killing Etta, it’s never felt like the Observers might be about to end Peter, Olivia and Walter’s quest to stop them.
And in a lot of ways it is more of the same in the clunkily-titled Anomaly XB-6783746, as the Fringe team attempt to find a way of communicating with Michael, the Observer child. He is unable, or unwilling, to speak to anyone, so the team turn to Nina Myers, hoping she can help them find a way to communicate with him. It seems slightly strange that Olivia can just call Nina when she’s in her office, somewhere that the Observers could become aware of her speaking to someone she shouldn’t be, even if she is using a private line, and this proves a mistake as Windmark arrives and sets up equipment that allows him to hear a playback of what Nina said during her call with Olivia (in another of those ‘It’s Fringe, so we don’t need to explain what the technology is, just that it works’ moments), which leads him to a laboratory where he leads the interrogation of Massive Dynamic staff to find someone with information about what Nina could be up to.
So it’s another episode of the Observers trying to find and catch the Fringe team, while they attempt to solve another piece of the puzzle that makes up Walter’s plan to free the human race from the Observers. It’s not that Fringe is suddenly a bad show, it’s just that the episodes have fallen into a familiar pattern of the team looking for a piece of Walter’s plan and in danger of being caught and stopped. This has been going on for too long, and even when Peter had the Observer tech in his head, it was still roughly the same type of plot.
With just three episodes remaining, there’s been a distinct lack of real tension and drama in the season so far. Peter becoming more Observer-like seemed to signal a dramatic change in the plot, but it was then dumped as if the writers had decided they’d made a mistake. The reveal in this episode that Donald is in fact September is a fairly interesting one, but I wasn’t that intrigued or excited by the idea.
Nina’s death didn’t really move me in the way that the death of other characters has either, as she chose to take her own life instead of letting Windmark learn what her involvement with the resistance was and what she knew about Michael. He’s considered an anomaly (hence the title of the episode), but it goes without saying that there’s something about him that makes him important to Walter’s plan, it’s just a matter of finding out what that is.
With the news that Donald is September is Donald, I expect the next episode will largely revolve around the team trying to find September, and successfully doing so after another mini-battle with a team of Observers. It looks increasingly likely that the success of this final season will be determined by the final two episodes (which will be shown back-to-back), and although I fully expect the Fringe team to win, how they do so and what sacrifices are made to complete the plan are the things that will make or break the series finale.
I’m not giving up on Fringe, but at the moment, the show is a little more frustrating than entertaining at this point.