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Well, it’s official. Fans have been hoping and praying and begging anyone with even a remote amount of influence to give their favorite show a shot at another season. Well, their wish has been granted, but with a caveat. Fringe will indeed be returning for a fifth season, but it will be the final one! And it’s also only going to be around for 13 episodes, rather than the traditional 22.
What does this mean? Well, it means that Fringe will finish on its own terms. It’s likely the writers had a contingency plan in case they were cancelled, so I’m doubtful that they were creating storylines as if they had three years left to flesh them out. In all likelihood, Fringe will be able to bring their numerous plots and intricate mysteries to a close in a satisfactory manor in the thirteen hours they’ve been allotted.
Still, I wouldn’t go as far as betting that all the loose ends will be wrapped up. Remember how Lost ended? It had three full seasons to figure out how it wanted to go out, and it still left many questions unanswered, and even many of its most loyal fans, who normally thought Abrams and his crew could do no wrong, were unimpressed. JJ Abrams simply likes to keep some mysteries going, because they make the show worth talking about. Like any great piece of literature, it leaves the saga open to interpretation. No one would appreciate greats like Crime and Punishment if Svidrigailov’s motives and inconsistencies were all spelled out in front of us, with no room for discussion.
In our information-driven society, we want answers, but it’s not up to artists to satiate our thirst for confirmation; it’s up to them to fascinate and inspire us. Love it or hate it, you can’t deny that Lost did this. I’d be willing to get good money that Fringe, whose mysteries at least rival Lost and at best surpass it, will end on a similar note. It will be satisfying for some, perplexing for others, but watched and discussed eternally.
I’m also very interested to see what happens to the stars of this cult show. Perhaps Joshua Jackson will take a step in the direction of his former on-screen BFF James Van der Bek, and star in a hip comedy about himself. Or maybe he’ll move into movies. I wouldn’t be opposed to that, because if there’s one thing he’s proven in his time on Fringe, it’s that he’s got style and he’s got panache, and I’ll be watching anything he stars in.