How Tasteless Was Fringe's Twist-Ending?
Try, for a moment, to conceive of an alternate reality, where events as we know them unfold in completely unpredictable patterns due to creases in the time-space continuum. Now picture this being explained to you by a facially obscured figure who, in a dramatic reveal, winds up being Leonard Nimoy. If that sounds like Star Trek, you are correct. But it also describes the fantastically perplexing Season One finale to the best supernatural detective show since The X-Files, Fringe. It's no coincidence both were brought to you by the powerhouse creative team of J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci, who -- like the viral video that liquefies the brains of anyone who watches it in the episode called "The No-Brainer" -- refuse to let up until your neural circuits are turned into a plate of runny scrambled eggs.
Spoilers ensue: In an episode that featured such goodies as the return of an amazingly creepy, oozing Jared Harris (our interview with him here), wormholes that slice unsuspected soccer players in two, and the revelation that Peter Bishop actually died at the age of seven and is living on borrowed, alternate-reality time, came a final sequence so utterly mindblowing, it kind of blew my mind.
Special Agent Olivia Dunham is summoned to a building in Manhattan by Nina Sharp, the robo-armed executive director of Massive Dynamic played with shifty flair by Blair "Molly Dodd" Brown. She's told she'll finally meet the mysterious corporation's president, William Bell. Olivia assumes she's been stood up for lunch, enters an elevator, some flashy effects ensue, and then she finds herself in a blindingly bright office occupied by the pointy-eared V-man himself. (Suck it, Shatner.)
But the real WTF moment is yet to come, as we pull out to reveal his office occupies an upper floor of the former World Trade Center. In the following video (via EW.com), Fringe EP Jeff Pinkner acknowledges that the standing towers are "an image like no other," but that their inclusion represents "a wonderful symbol for [a better alternate reality] than the world we live in." We're not really sure we follow that, completely. What makes it better? That the towers didn't fall? Can't the towers still fall in Bizarro America? What, beyond the standing towers and a living Joshua Jackson and JFK -- you have to look real close on the fake NY Post cover to notice that one -- makes the mirror world better?
At least Pinkner finally admits what's really at play here: It's an homage to the final shot of Planet of the Apes -- that butterflies inducing image of an epic monument standing where that monument should not be. But let's remember something: The world never evolved into a planet run by simian warlords, but those towers did fall. Hard. There's a big difference there, no matter how hard you try to justify it. As always, too soon.
<embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" id="player-52" name="player-52" src="http://www-movieline-com.vimg.net/_/jw/player-licensed-viral.swf"
width="585" height="474" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" flashvars="autostart=0&config=http://www-movieline-com.vimg.net/playlists/config.xml&playlist=none&provider=rtmp&streamer=rtmp://streaming.movieline.com/ondemand/video/bc-archive/&file=How-Tasteless-Was-Fringes-Twist-Ending.flv" plugins="acudeojw,gapro,viral-2&viral.callout=none&viral.onpause=false&gapro.accountid=UA-1915907-26&gapro.trackstarts=true&gapro.trackpercentage=true&gapro.tracktime=true&acudeojw.progId=4af229940e9cc"