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Fringe Season 5 – Is Jumping Forward in Time the Right Move?
This was always a possibility – I think every Fringe fan imagined this happening at some point – but the reality of Season 5 jumping forward in time to the year 2036 right away in the premiere is startling to say the least. I think most of us assumed the show would give us time to get our bearings before jumping forward in time to the Observer controlled future first shown to us in Season 4’s “Letters of Transit,” but this is Fringe we’re talking about. They fly in the face of what would be considered normal. In the end it makes perfect sense they would do this drastic time jump.
The news of the time jump came from John Noble – Walter Bishop himself – but he also revealed to TVLine the time between 2012 and 2036 wouldn’t be entirely ignored or forgotten. There will be references to events that took place in the time skipped over and there’s the possibility of important moments being caught and viewed on tape. All this is cool to learn, but I’m more concerned about what this means for our characters. We’re losing a lot of character development for the sake of a cool sci-fi plot device. “Letters of Transit” worked as a standalone episode, but to jump right back into that future without a buffer of some kind could throw audiences for a loop. Granted, since this is the last season of the show, I’m sure the writers are even less concerned about who they alienate. Still, it will be like we’re being introduced to entirely different characters, much like we were at the start of Season 4.
What we know from “Letters of Transit” is Astrid, Peter, and Walter were unfrozen from an amber prison, untouched by the passage of time. But they still weren’t the characters we left behind in Season 4. They were frozen a few years after Peter and Olivia’s daughter was born, so life has gone on for them. Who knows what has happened to them. And Walter has had his brain restored, turning him back into the compassionless Walter. An even larger passage of time has occurred for Nina and Broyles, who remained unfrozen and are now very old. Every episode they’re in is going to be a pain. Aging make up isn’t put on in five minutes.
And what about Olivia? She wasn’t anywhere to be seen in “Letters of Transit,” but Noble seems to think she’ll be back in 2036 at some point. And since Peter had the chance to reunite with their daughter, Etta, then Olivia deserves a similar moment.
I won’t lie; I have my misgivings about this time jump. It’s an understandable concern, but I still have faith in the writers. They haven’t steered us wrong yet – at least not in anyway I’ve felt – so there’s no reason to suspect otherwise. The show has always done a wonderful job balancing the weird sci-fi with great character stories. This final season will do a standup job wrapping up any loose ends and redeeming the likes of Walter and cementing the relationship of Peter and Olivia.