Ask Matt: Fringe Finale, Nashville, the Downton Abbey Effect, and More
Joshua Jackson | Photo Credits: Liane Hentscher/FOX
Question: What can I say except: "Awesome!" Fringe could not have ended any other way. I was fully prepared to be sad and upset, but the ending left me feeling fulfilled and satisfied. I applaud anyone who had anything to do with this amazing show. Walter, Olivia, Peter and the gang have become family to me and I am happy knowing that they have a future. So thank you universe, whichever one you choose, for this wonderful show. And thank you, Matt, for always championing Fringe and giving it space and time in your column. — Rachel
Matt Roush: Happy to report that the reaction (so far) to the Fringe finale, in my mailbag anyway, has been uniformly rapturous. Rachel's point about the characters feeling like family helps explain why Fringe, however challenged in the ratings and however convoluted its mythology could be, struck such a chord with its cult following. Here's another even more elaborate valentine.
Question: They said the finale of Fringe was being done as a "love letter to the fans" and I think it was, and now I'd love to send a love letter to Fringe and to Fox for taking us on this marvelous ride and for giving us wonderful closure! I loved the fact that we were treated to seeing the Observers and the "loyalists" taste some of the horrible endings others went through in the first four years. I loved that we got to go back to the "alternate universe" for a little while, and that Bolivia and Link had a family. I loved that September wanted to walk off into the future with Michael, to show him he loved him, was excited that Walter wasn't going, but then when September died it was fitting and beautiful and sad when Walter took Michael's hand and led him off, and when Peter said "I love you dad." I loved when they found Gene the cow in amber, when Walter told Astrid she had a lovely name, that they saved Broyles, that Olivia crushed Windmark, that they wound up back to the point where they were in the park in 2015 with Peter asking Etta to come to him, they were going home, only this time she did. I loved so many things, and it made saying goodbye to this marvelous show, that made it into the hearts of so many viewers but unfortunately not into the rating books, so much easier. And what I want to know, after this long dissertation, which I can't help but crow about, what did you think of the Fringe finale?
I know you've been a supporter of this great show, and now that it's gone into the abyss of TV shows that once were, do you think it had a fitting end? I think it will go down in TV history as one of the best finales ever, but what say you? I love to read your comments, marvel at your insight, your humor, your ability to be fair, kind and for me, always on the money, and I'm dying for some Fringe closure from you! — Dorothy
Matt Roush: Well, thanks for that mash note — to the show and to this fellow fan. My own review of the finale can be found here, and much of what Dorothy loved about the episode I did as well. I do think it was an appropriate finish, especially as it was grounded in the love these characters had for each other and the sacrifices they chose to make — including dangerously recharging Olivia's powers, even if only temporarily, to give us a last glimpse of the alt-world, where some of my favorite Fringe moments occurred. I imagine this episode will be well regarded as finales go, but if it falls short of legendary status, that may have something to do with how marginalized Fringe had become by the time it ended. I'll be curious to see if the show's reputation grows over time, as people discover and rediscover it on other platforms.