Fringe Season Five [Blu-Ray]

Fringe Season Five [Blu-Ray]
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For science fiction fans, it's hard to say goodbye to a show so complex, moving, strange and mischievous; it's also a bit of a surprise it lasted this long. Thanks to the stewardship of J.H. Wyman, this pulpy serial about a special division of the FBI devoted to fringe science never panders to its audience and has little interest in making sure new viewers can drop in cold. The final 13-episode season holds true to these ideals and provides an emotionally satisfying, if not entirely mind-blowing, resolution to a show that's been an intellectual and philosophical rollercoaster ride. Afforded this rare opportunity to end the series on their own terms, the creative team behind Fringe push ahead to an end game that has been sowed throughout the previous four seasons. With the primary plot concerning the imbalance between dimensions created by mad scientist Walter Bishop's desperate desire to save his son taken care of, the show jumps into the dystopian future teased in an episode from the previous season. Drawing from everything that came before, but running a very self-contained plot, season five is an apocalyptic showdown with the Observers. Basically, it's the same story as the South Park episode about immigrants from the future, except instead of taking jobs these emotionally stunted enhanciles callously enslave humanity. This dark new playground of the imagination gives the writers a chance to explore variations on the themes of identity that have been Fringe's bread and butter. Rather than examine fragments of the self in greater depth, the amber-encased original Fringe team wake to a world where they have to fight tooth and nail to protect the sense of completeness each had achieved before the world went to hell. George Orwell is an obvious influence on the Observer invasion; they have a totalitarian system so invasive that one's own mind isn't even safe. Since the perspective is locked to a singular version of the characters this time, it's easier to become emotionally invested in the final outcome — the other dimension isn't entirely absent from play, but its residents aren't involved enough to siphon sympathies away from the primary crew. Because of the demands of wrapping up a big story in half the time, season five doesn't have as much room for humour, but the bonus content included with the home video package almost makes up for it. There are a great deal of heavy emotions in "A Farewell to Fringe," which is a mini-documentary on shooting the final season, but John Noble keeps things from getting too maudlin. As funny as he is there, the brilliant Australian actor is especially hilarious in the nearly 30-minute panel from Comic-Con 2012, which sees most of the cast succumbing to water works, but the man who was Walter Bishop holds strong, hamming it up with fictional son Joshua Jackson. To induce a few more laughs, a standard gag-reel is included. Finally, there are a couple of unremarkable deleted scenes, a digital script for episode "An Enemy of Fate" and a fascinating commentary track for obligatory trip-out episode "Black Blotter," with Wyman and editor Jon Dudkowski getting into the nuts and bolts of deciding how to cut a scene. An essential piece of science fiction storytelling on the small screen, Fringe may be gone, but it won't soon be forgotten. (Warner)