The finale of Fringe was different than what Abrams and company did with the finale of LOST. Whether it was better or worse is debatable, but it was different in just about every way that it could have been different. And that makes it interesting. There are spoilers ahead, so if you have not seen it, go watch it first, or read on if you don’t care!
The finale of LOST was all about the characters, with some resolution of questions but not to everyone’s satisfaction. The finale of Fringe did a much better job of bringing the entire series full circle. The time travel that was needed to account for the First People. The Observers. The parallel universe. The technology developed by ZFT. Walter’s need to redeem himself and question of whether that was even possible.
The one thing that both shows had in common was an interest in spirituality. But they tackled things very differently, with Fringe not (on the whole) willing to embrace anything that could genuinely be called spiritual or religious without at least some veneer of scientific explanation.
One thing the two shows focused on was fate. Whether fate could be changed was ambiguous on LOST, but the attempt to rewrite history failed. On Fringe, it succeeds. And it is emphasized several times before that resolution that “destiny” or “fate” is not immutable. As September puts it, “It’s not about fate. It’s about changing fate, about hope…about protecting our children.”
The theme of fathers and sons runs through both shows. But in LOST there is just a hint of reconciliation between Jack and his father in the afterlife. At the end of Fringe, September had found a way to love his son, and Peter and Walter had reached the pinnacle of their relationship and rejoiced in the stolen time they were able to share.
As a Doctor Who fan, I was delighted that the phrase “reverse the polarity” appeared on the show!
There was an insightful post on the blog Think Christian which noted that the music box which featured in both the previous episode and the finale plays “Greensleeves.” That melody, of course, is associated with the Christmas carol “What Child Is This?” The music box is closely associated with Michael, the anomaly whose intellect and emotions are integrated, and beyond anything humanity can understand. Something of a miracle child. This was a nice touch. Our human future may, and perhaps must, take us beyond anything that we today would be able to understand. Even the Observers from hundreds of years in the future do not understand Michael. That is what religion at its best is all about: a recognition of our limited perspective, and that transcendence even of a relatively near-future humanity sort defies our comprehension, so how much more so does Ultimate Reality.