Fringe

I am a total geek over a little five-season thing called Fringe.

Fringe is like a Korean historical drama (another interest) in complexity. I immerse myself in its five-season character arcs and brilliant storytelling. Only serious Fringe fans will follow me here.

I was watching the series for the…eighth time? And I just figured out the Peter disappearance dilemma. I never understood why must Peter be erased, exactly? I could never quite get it til now.

Peter was supposed to die falling through the ice. (Walter’s Peter really died and was no more. Walternate’s Peter, in the alternate universe, was to be cured but September distracted Walternate and prevented that cure. Alternate plan: Peter-alternate was to die falling through the ice. There could be no Peter in this world.

But September saved him.

Peter’s presence in this world adjusted everything, very much not in accordance with The Observers’ intended future.

If he had died then, none of the trauma between worlds would have occurred.

It wasn’t that Walter broke the universes when he crossed over. That was not the irreversible act of destruction, though many burdened Walter with the guilt of it.

No. It was the unintended consequences of Peter’s continued existence which was at the center of it all. If both Peters had died, there would have been no one to find little Olivia in the field of tulips (Subject 13), who was the first person who seemed to care about her in her lonely life, who insisted that she tell Walter about her father beating her.

And so Olivia, full of fear and love, burst into Walters office and pleaded with him to help her. Except she had just crossed over into Walternate’s office without realizing it, having crossed universes through the combined powers of fear, love, and cortexiphan, and had unintentionally revealed to him that there is an alternate universe, that she had come from it, that we all have doubles there.

By which Walternate instantly understood what had become of his kidnapped son and who was responsible, setting off the chain of events for the next 20-some years.

So then Peter was needed, with occasional guidance from September, to right things via The Machine. Once he had done that, all was on the path where the Observers believed the world was supposed to go. And so he was erased because he had accomplished the Observers’ purposes — put everything back to where it was supposed to be in a world in which he didn’t exist.

Peter was not supposed to be here. Without the meddling of super scientists, including Observers, our Peter would be dead. That is why the Observers returned him to non-existence. Observers pat selves on backs for a job well done, the end.

But.

The observers are not godlike omniscients. They are self-interestedly guiding the world toward the future which THEY have created.

The other thing is the core and the heart of Fringe, and the reason I so appreciate it.

We cannot erase people whom we love. It cannot be done. Love transcends all. Conflict, estrangement, madness, death. Non-existence. Science. Megalomania. Human will. Universes. Love transcends and conquers all these things.

The lesson of the show is that when we love someone, we do not let them go. Walter could not let Peter go. (Walter’s first unwillingness to give Peter up—after his death—was selfish. He stole a Peter who wasn’t his. Walter’s journey was not to learn the selflessness of letting him die but the self-sacrifice of putting a universe of people before his own loss. Love is true when we love not just our own but when that love extends outward.)

And even after Peter was erased, Olivia could not let him go. Olivia willed Peter back into existence because she could not let him go, no longer through the power of cortexiphan, but because of transcendent love.

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