Where Does Fringe Season Five Begin? Past, Present, or Future?

Past, Present, or Future are fairly inconsequential terms when you are discussing Fringe.  In terms of the promo released this past weekend from FOX, we are seeing a flashback from the time-period that press materials have the series taking place in, 2036, but certainly a flash forward from where things left off last season when Peter, Olivia, and Walter thwarted William Bell’s plan to unleash genetically engineered super-animals on the planet.

Now consider this passage of text from FOX’s season 5 synopsis of Fringe:

Picking up from the events depicted in last season’s flash-forward episode “Letters of Transit,” the seemingly peaceful “Observers” seized control of the universe in 2015. Now in 2036, they have become ruthless rulers who will reign supreme. What awaits in the future is the Fringe team’s final stand, which will bring together all that they have witnessed in preparation to battle and protect the world.

I’ve learned not to pre-judge any of the Fringe crews plans anymore, because no matter how outlandish their plans sound they always seem to pull them off.  So, even though a major time jump into the future feels like it is too jarring a way to resolve everything, I trust the Fringe guys have a story in mind that rises above what seems, at first glance, to be an extravagant high concept 180 for Fringe. But wait, there’s more.  Consider the preview clip itself:

The scene definitely explains itself, but what is the context.  If FOX’s description of the season is to be taken at face value, then the scene is a flashback to a key moment in the history of the story arc.  Could it be, though, that the future aspects of Fringe’s final season still have story threads that run in the present, creating a more multifaceted, and even multidimensional, narrative for Fringe’s final chapter?  Part of me, a big part, hopes that this is the case.  Fringe has always risen above the genre with character stories that couldn’t take place in any other Science Fiction universe.  As the series comes to a close, the tale has to be more than a cliched Dystopian/post-apocalyptic SciFi yarn.  Fringe has a celebrated history of exceeding expectations, so with such an epic setup I can’t wait to see how they punctuate their legacy with season 5.

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