You guys know that the #1 gift that science fiction gave us is time travel as a way to cheat death, right?
Specifically the death of loved ones?
Despite what certain intergalactic aristocrat survivors of a dead species that controls time may have you to believe about how you can’t use time travel for THAT.
So the Fringe finale knocked that one out, as I suspected it would. Time travel’s the only way to restore dead kids to their superhuman parents. Sure. Check and check.
And I suppose it was too much to ask that the Lost creators would be straight feminist, but really.
Where’d all the women go, JJ Abrams?
Why, they evolved out. Because, you know, scientists discovered how to eliminate emotions and let rational intellect take over the brain.
Which means no more women.
Loyal readers may recall “Feminist Compromise,” the feminist experience of wanting to enjoy, say, a superawesomeSFTVshow, while also wanting and failing to ignore certain glaring woman problems.
Like, for example, the fact that women completely disappear from the human race when scientists decide that emotions are no longer necessary and then, with their new supercharged intellects, figure out how to breed progeny in big, beautifully blue-lit bottles.
Making astute feminist viewers notice that all mothers are gone from the show. Completely. Minus the main Agent Olivia Dunham, whose kid was killed off anyway and who spent only marginal moments mothering her living kid.
Dunham’s also a victim of male techo-hubris. She’s also used that victimhood to achieve a unique state of badassness. Like telekinetically smashing the bad guy with the side of a car. Like traveling into an alternate universe, gun strapped, just by thinking about it.
So it’s not like she’s a regular woman. And it’s a good thing the series ended before we ever saw her do anything like snap inappropriately at her kid because she is tired after a long day fighting murderous aliens.
My Fringe-watching partner generously suggested, after we learned of that forced evolution thing, that Fringe may have another explanation for why the Observers seemed to be all dudes.
NOPE! It was as bad as I thought.
But this is supposed to be a finale review. And you guys, I loved it! Action, sentiment, gorgeous design (seriously, whoever thought to coat all objects in the lab in amber, creating many scenes of characters bonding inside textured golden caves, should win some kind of award).
The very last shot, when time was reset and the little girl ran towards her dad and alien invaders DIDN’T materialize and wreak havoc? I loved it. Despite the fact I was expecting it.
Feminist Compromise again: I loved the dang show, even though it made the crudest possible arguments about women and emotion.
However, it turns out that when you eliminate the need for all women, men get to take over some of their functions.
And the Fringe finale showcased some of the most emotional, sentimental, intimate expressions of fatherly love I have ever seen on TV. Which is something. Because did you guys know that dads sometimes love their kids as much as moms do? And that dads sometimes even cry about how much they love their kids?
Now I know.
The show has always been more about family than about science. In fact, the science is utterly subordinate to the character plots: in what other show do we find alternate universes warring on us as a metaphor for guilt over losing a child to illness? In what other show do loving sons straps themselves to a mysterious machine that will bridge those worlds, to fill the emotional gaps in his own life?
And when a 3 year old dies, any possibility of joy, music, friendship, and happiness vanishes from the whole earth.
That is why I watched Fringe. Even though they decided to eliminate all but two women from the entire human race.
Because you know what? They fixed it. That nice young couple got their kid back. Olivia gets to be a mom, even if we never see it.
And I get to pine for the day toward the end of 2013 when Netflix sends me Girls Season 2.