Fringe Season 5: 5 Answers to Old Questions About The Show's Final Season

Tomorrow sees the final episode of Fox's Fringe, bringing to an end the five-year run of the at-times spectacular, at-times infuriating science fiction series. As the fourth season ended last year and we were told that the final year of the show would take place in the future setting of the episode "Letters of Transit," I had five questions I wanted answered in the final year. But did I get the answers that I wanted?

What Does This Mean For Olivia?At the time, I was referring to the fact that "Letters of Transit" returned Walter, Peter and Astrid to action in 2036, but pointedly didn't show Olivia. At the time, I wondered whether this meant that there was some labyrinthine plot explaining Olivia's absence, but that turned out not to be the case; she was just somewhere else, but equally ambered. Reading it over again from the other end of the season, it's almost tempting to snark that I somehow subconsciously knew that season five would see Olivia reduced to the passive presence she became this year for no immediately apparent reason.

Will We Ever See Earth-2 Again?Depending on what lies in store in tomorrow's final episode, the answer for this one appears to be "not in any real way," which really feels like a shame considering the importance of the alternate world to the series in the show's first four years. Far more than the Observers, it was the show's alternate Earth plot line that "was" Fringe for me, and that that thread was essentially severed unfinished in the fourth season's "Worlds Apart" remains a particular point of contention to me. I know that the trailer for the final episode teases a return to the "Other Side", and remain hopeful - but, admittedly, only slightly - that we'll see some return of Lincoln and Fauxlivia at some point in the finale. Don't leave us hanging like this, Fringe.

Will We Jump Straight To 2036, Or Spend Some Time In Between?The answer to that one was "the former," with surprisingly little time spent even on flashbacks of what happened between the end of the fourth season and opening of "Letters of Transit." Sure, we have the whole Donald plotline and the Etta flashbacks that, weirdly, didn't seem to go anywhere, but everything else has been exposition, disappointingly enough. Again, we have one more episode to go that might give us more of an idea of what happened in the intervening 24 years between seasons, but given the amount of story requiring some form of resolution, I'm not holding my breath.

How Close Are We To Finding Out That Broyles Is Working For The Observers?By this, I meant that the "current" Broyles would sell out humanity when the Purge began. Turns out, he did, but was secretly working for the Rebellion all along. Which is… okay, I guess? I'm surprised that we haven't seen any of the regular cast having been revealed to have turned into an Observer collaborator this year, but I wouldn't be surprised to find that that was because it would've spent too much time away from the main storyline that they had constructed for the year. A shame, though; it feels like a missed opportunity. (Plus, this year has been very keyed into the Walter/Astrid/Olivia/Peter dynamic, with both Broyles and Nina making minor appearances; it's felt like a far smaller world - perhaps for budgetary reasons as much as creative ones? - as a result.)

Does This Mean The Observers Were Behind Everything All Along?Apparently not, but maybe? This year has pretty much ignored previous continuity wherever possible, sadly, and so everything outside the scope of the Observers-as-Invaders plot has more or less been ignored. Perhaps the Observers were trying to manipulate the timeline all along to make their invasion more possible, but at this late point, I really doubt that we'll get a definitive answer on that one way or another before the whole thing is over, sadly…

Fringe's final episode airs tomorrow on Fox at 8pm Eastern.

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