This review contains spoilers.
3.22 The Day We Died
The end of the last story that saw Peter projected by the machine some fifteen years into the future promised that the season finale wasn’t going to be a straightforward story, and the Fringe team didn’t disappoint with The Day We Died.
In this future snapshot, our world has become oddly similar to the alternate one, where amber protocol is being used to plug the holes as they appear. But it’s soon revealed that the other dimension was entirely destroyed, and only Walternate still exists by having travelled to our world to achieve his only special version of MAD (mutually assured destruction).
Walternate helper in this task is the brilliant actor, Brad Dourif. Quite why the crew decided that they needed a performer of the quality of Dourif to play what was a very small part of Moreau is beyond me, but it was pleasing to see him. Anyone unconvinced that he’s not one of the best actors of his generation needs to get the Deadwood boxset and check out his monumental performance as Doc Cochran. But back to Fringe.
What wasn’t well explained was how Peter switched from the confusion of being dumped fifteen years forward to accepting the new future and all those things that had quite radically changed.
Most noticeable amongst these was undoubtedly the new hairstyle that they gave Jasika Nicole, which I personally hated. I’ve always found Astrid’s look very appealing, but the straight hair didn’t work for me. You watch, I’ll find out now that straight is how she normally wears it, when she fires an e-broadside in my direction.
Another anomaly was the fully formed adult female version of young Ella Dunham, now working for the future Fringe division. In fact, everyone had some distinct change, like Broyles’ weird eye, or Walter’s rather drastic change of circumstances.
These cosmetic changes then spilled over into more drastic alterations, like the death of a major character, just to unsettle the viewer even more. As significant as this might seem, it was just a tiny piece in a much greater jigsaw, the pieces of which finally fell into place in the thirty-seventh minutes of running time.
Walter’s revelation about the source of the machine parts, how they got inserted into the past, and what Peter needs to do in order to unravel the future was epic in its scope. This was a classic science fiction narrative, where Walter aims to ‘cheat the rules of time’. Marvellous.
I’d guessed a while back, and predicted as much in these reviews, that the only true solution to the breakdown between the two realities was for Walter and his alternate to work together. So, when that finally arrived through the door, it wasn’t much of a shock, although the truly WTF moment that rapidly followed it was: the exposition, given by two of the many observers admiring the Statue of Liberty’s backside. This dialogue entirely did my brain in, and from the general feedback I’ve looked at from across the net, I wasn’t the only one.
Peter has disappeared, he’s served his purpose, and now they don’t even remember he existed, because he didn’t?
First off, that appears to be a huge time paradox, because the problem was created because he did exist, surely? But does that also mean that Joshua Jackson has been written out of the show?
Well, we can stow those concerns, because Jackson is under contract for season 4 of Fringe, and the official word is that he’s not been written out. So, how he’s going to come back into existence is something of a mystery, but far from an impossibility.
Every season finale of Fringe has been a huge hook into the next season, and this was no exception. In retrospect, despite a few wobbly stories early on in the season, I think season 3 was generally a triumph, easily making Fringe by far the most entertaining and skilfully produced sci-fi show on TV today.
As such, I can’t wait for Fringe to return next season for more mind boggling stories and other-worldly adventures.