No, I wasn’t a special guest star on FOX’s Fringe, regrettably. I’ve always wanted to meet Joshua Jackson, ever since Mighty Ducks, and now I can add Lance Reddick to my list of B/C-list celebrities I’d like to get into a long conversation with about the state of the world. That man has more expression in three wrinkle lines of sardonic disbelief than any of the gazillion atoms in Megan Fox’s entire body. Which still isn’t saying much, but I’d still rather have him behind my microphone than Fox, who I and my fiancee lovingly refer to as “Dumdum.”
But I digress. Fringe is one of the few shows I actually watch regularly and somewhat religiously. When I first saw billboards for it last year I found myself giddy that someone in television land was finally capitalizing on the name that has become a staple for my brand name. Obviously, running a blog for 6+ years helps boost one’s ratings in the search engines, but it’s happily in second or third place (depending on the hour and day) just behind the eponymous show’s official Fox site. I’d capitalize on the brand and try to make some dough, but really, what am I going to do?
However, I’d like to try to post something about each week’s show if I can, at least as much as I can given my lousy blogging schedule and practice. Maybe an episode cap, or a review, something. It only seems right that I have some opinion on the show that shares my blog’s name. So I suppose I could just lay out a few thoughts while I’m here.
It goes without saying that you may not want to read further if you haven’t watched the show and don’t want the fun to be spoiled. In other words, here be spoilers.
My general philosophy of the Fringe universe, one that probably mirrors most other viewers’ with respect to alternate dimensions, bifurcated paths of fate, and other oddities associated with a world that is inherently under constant construction (vis a vis the needs of the writers to connect previously unconnected story material into a cohesion of sorts), is that Fringe is of course one of several, if not an infinite number of, universes or dimensions or realities, whatever you want to call it. However, I submit that the Fringe world we’ve heretofore been introduced is actually already several generations beyond the “original” Fringe universe. Clues that point to this include the demonstrative graph drawn by Walter Bishop on the whiteboard revealing the tree-like growth of alternate universes based on choices made.
Now, my personal theory on alternative fates and bifurcated futures, which I will apply to the Fringe universe simply because it’s just so darn commonsense, is that only “major” choices graphically affect the creation of a “new” branch of universe–in other words, fate is the province of the magnificent and grand, not the puny or insignificant. Presumably the choice between a Reuben and a PB&J would not force the universe into a new line of being–unless, of course, that choice could be said to have formed a definite and tangential–but connected–link between matters of serious nature and those that are merely pedestrian.
If I were to eat a PB&J versus a Reuben, the odds are slim, though not impossible, that by making that choice, a significant change is made in the fabric of time/reality. On the flip side, by assassinating a world leader, or discovering a cure for cancer, I will have created a vastly different landscape, one that, by virtue of the impact it has on the human psyche, automatically creates a new virtual shift in the dimensional matrix–a new branch of reality now following along the lines of that major occurrence. Had I not found the cancer cure or killed that world leader, the world would have remained on that particular path until eventually, someone would cause the shift.
Thus, the universe might be seen as a very tall, thin, but wildly curved line of choices and actions. Presumably, the world in which the cure for cancer is not found continues on its merry way, while we in the now-cancerless world continue on in ours. Because as we all know, in the world of ours, populated at its core by tiny particles and energy packets, action isn’t the only action–omission is itself an action, and has its own consequences. Likewise, knowing whether the act has occurred or not implies that it has indeed occurred–and indeed has also NOT occurred. So we now have a vaguely ethereal universe, a crocheted and bent universe strangely wispy, as if the strands holding these lines of action together could dissipate–and the truth is, they can. If one were to step outside of the very essence of time itself, one would see the exact shape of the universe–and for that observer sitting outside of the reality of alternate choices and actions, there would be no winding tree of truth–it would be a simple straight line, appearing as if no choices have been made at all.
My theory on the Fringe universe, then, is that all choices have been made and have not been made–our characters, Olivia, Peter, Walter, and all the sub-players, are making their dents in the chain of being. Some, like the killing of Charlie, have altered the branch of reality–not significantly, perhaps, but it’s a big enough shift to notice on our graph. The shift between parallel universes also has the promise of altering the path–though ironically it is not being done by conscious choice, so the question remains–exactly what is Olivia doing, and how?
For now, I am happy to ruminate on the possible outcomes of Fringe Season 2. Do we continue to explore the prospect of the two universes that we’ve seen so far colliding in an epic war, as William Bell fortells? Or will FOX cancel it and leave its continuation up to speculators like me?