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Fringe: Liberty

“Sacrifice is hard, son. But you’re no stranger to it.”

If we imagine a plot as the movement of individual scenes and chapters from A to Z, “Liberty” is entirely unnecessary in the larger scheme—a letter our alphabet doesn’t need, like “ll.” A brief tangent, brought about by Michael’s unexplained exit from the monorail: by the end of this episode, the situation has more or less returned to what it was at the end of the previous episode. More or less.

But I’m not complaining. It was delightful to see Lincoln “Clark Kent” Lee and Bolivia again, and to hear that Walternate was lecturing at Harvard into his nineties, and there’s a little Dunham-Lee running around. (Not so little, I guess.) Seth Gabel’s one-off return to Fringe may have been one of the worse-kept secrets in the genre community since... since... okay, I’m unable to come up with a good comparison and I want to get this review up—complete the sentence in the comments if you want.

Lincoln Lee and Bolivia were in the previews we saw last week, and I didn’t realize then that they were meant to look older: apparently, that coffee shortage Over There really did make a difference in everyone’s skin quality. Lincoln, in particular, has made an impressive transformation from “Clark Kent” to “Sexy Older Superman.” He also got a great final scene: standing at the intersection of two hallways, symbolizing his life’s course, existing in two universes.

Throughout this episode, and the official final episode that followed, there were some beautiful images like that one; none of the cinematography felt rushed, and I was reminded for the 127th time what a lovely show this is. The glimpse through the universe window showed the Statue of Liberty: gone in the world our team has inhabited, but still present Over There. I couldn’t help but think of our first glimpse through a window of the cityscape of Over There NYC, showing the Twin Towers. Other worlds, other possibilities, and the hope that somewhere things are different and better. Olivia must have had a similar thought, looking at Bolivia’s perfect, Observer-free life. As Lincoln Lee said, “It’s crazy, how life works out.”

Some of the best scenes were also the most visceral: Windmark’s nosebleed made me smile, and that smiled widened into a grin when he started to bleed from the eyeball. (I have a vicious streak.) Olivia kicking the Observer while she was down made me laugh with glee. And, of course, it wouldn’t be a season of Fringe if someone didn’t do something intrusive and dangerous to Olivia’s body.

I don’t want to say much more in this review, since later readers might read it before watching the next episode. But Lincoln’s quote, “It’s crazy, how life works out,” and Olivia’s response that she regrets nothing, are important thematically for the end of Fringe and the question that has been looming over this season: what will our heroes sacrifice to save the world?

To An Extent We Previously Deemed Impossible:

• Cortexiphan has a shelf-life of 127 years.

• Was Donald making Kool-Aid? No wonder there wasn’t enough power.

• At first, I was worried that the Observers would start to invade Over There, since they seem to have just figured out “where” it is by following Olivia. Then I realized that they probably couldn’t organize that situation in time, before The Plan works its paradoxical magic.

• Perfect final shot: a door marked “513,” leading us into episode 5.13, the series finale.

• Best quote goes to Bolivia: “Stop checking out my young ass.”

Josie Kafka is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)


  1. Whoahhhh Already !!!???!!

    Well, I'm still a fan of yours Josie, but this morning, it's off the charts. Now go back to sleep, I'm sure you had a short night's sleep ! And of course, I was emotionally overexcited before going to my own bed. Such an end (but that, in my 2nd comment) !

    Ans since you're reviewing is divided in 2, so shall be my commenting.

    Now talk about being on the edge of your seat for 2 hours (damn commercials). Checking the clock and wondering how they will manage ? Will they succeed ?

    (I'm opening a little parenthesis just to kill the magic a little bit : there was a weird round looking hotel besides the twin towers over there that was shown earlier on but never afterwards. Sorry guys, have an eye for continuity) (but keep smiling, 99 % is a great score)

    Anyone ! Raise your hand if you HAVEN'T enjoyed (finally) Windmark's drawbacks ? As I thought...And that SOB should have gotten BOTH red eyes...

  2. It was so nice to see Bolivia and Lee again! It made this episode for me.

  3. As soon as I got up this morning, I came here first...I am so impressed you got these up already, Josie! Thank you from the bottom of my Fringe-obsessed heart!

    You are not the only one who smiled, laughed with glee even, when the blood started running from old Windmark's nose. And the serene look on Michael's face was "Weren't expecting THAT, were ya?"

    I loved seeing Bolivia and Lee again. That stopover was worth it for me. Plus I appreciated how they pulled Over There into their final fight - how it became part of their solution - and how Bolivia and Lee did not hesitate to help.

  4. I wanted more time Over There and less time faffing about Over Here (and confirmation that Lincoln Lee didn't get gunned down by a random Observer at the last minute) but at least we got to say goodbye to him and Fauxlivia.

    Welsh needs ll, it's pronounced like clearing your throat...

  5. When I saw Widmark bleeding I was all "YESSSSSSS! Take that you SOB!!!" So it's not just you Josie! ;o)

    That 513 doornumber has been nagging me... until now! *facepalm* Now why didn't I make that connection?! Brilliant! :D

    As you said, this episode was completely unnecessary for the advancement of the plot... but I'm sooooo happy they did it 'cause it gave us a chance to say goodbye to Fauxlivia and Lincoln! Was very happy to see them again! :o)

    Now I'm on to your review of the finale...

  6. Cris

    en voici un qui n'a PAS partagé notre enthousiasme :


    le 2e commentaire pouah; nous sommes attardés, youpi !

  7. You're right Marc, that commenter is weird! :o(

  8. Cris

    Just too bad ! Windmark deserved it. And yes, I screamed of joy !

    Bien bon fils de p______ de _____ de____ !!!

    If we hated him so much, that means that Michael Kopsa's acting teacher can be very proud of his performance!

    OMG ! I just found out on imdb that he's Canadian ! He's from Toronto and turning 57 on this 22nd !!! Cool !

  9. Juliette,

    So does Spanish! But by "our alphabet" I meant English speakers. We don't need no silly double ls!

  10. Josie, Spanish eliminated the ll (called "eye") from our alphabet in the late '90s when the Real Academia de la Lengua did some linguistic acrobatics and fiddled with the alphabet.
    The letters "ch" (che) and "rr" (erre) also got kicked out. I remember this big fuss in the media about the whole kerfuffle, and a fight to keep the ñ (enye) in the alphabet! I think the fact that the ñ is in the name of the language (Español) might have helped in its surviving the massacre! :p

  11. CrazyCris, thanks for the info! But do all Spanish-speaking nations follow the Real Academia? I seem to remember hearing once that there was some tension over that.

    With my last Spanish class in 2001, I'm surprised no one mentioned the terrible loss of letters from the alphabet. "ll," "ch," and "rr,"--you will be missed. Especially you, "rr."

  12. Supposedly yes Josie. Although there could be some "rebels".

    By 2001 the change had been in effect for quite a while, they probably wouldn't have mentioned it. I think it was in 1996 or 97.

    The letter combos still exist in their words: perro, paella, leche... they just don't get to be a "single" letter in the alphabet, but two letters put together to create a unique sound.

    I'm just glad they kept the ñ! :p

  13. Josie - I guess that's true! But it isn't half a pain in the neck trying to explain my parents' address to English-speakers with no knowledge of Wales!

  14. But from 1996-1997 I was taking Spanish classes, too! (I took them from middle school through college.) I feel lied to. :-(

  15. Dunno then! I remember all the fuss here in Spain in the media... Might have taken it a while for it to have been conveyed to other countries. Plus it always takes teachers a while to change their material. Very few are truly up to date... :o(

  16. Very true - in 1995-6, my German textbook made me memorise the German names for the two parts of Germany, the BDR and the DDR...

  17. We had to re-do a map test in 6th grade, thanks to the pesky USSR disbanding. Communists spoil everything.

  18. lol! My History-Geography teacher in 1990 (or 91, not sure) just gave up on the whole Geography curriculum for that year which I believe was Europe... she just had us memorise countries and capitals (lots of new ones!) and told us to expect further changes! :p

  19. "Communists spoil everything"


    I saw a bit of 30 Rock this week and I was LMAO when Jack Donaghy was pissed at NOT paying the hospital bill !


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