Tonight marks the end of an era. After 5 seasons, the ground-breaking show “Fringe” comes to a close.
I am extremely sad about this. Why?
Because you’ll have to look far and wide to find another female character as finely penned, acted, and conflicted yet still completely alluring as Olivia Dunham.
As a writer, I’m completely in awe of how wonderfully the writing team has handled her character. Flawed and frakked up, she was raised in an abusive home, only to become a test subject for a future colleague, who experimented on her brain, which led to long-term problems and difficulties. She had the courage and temerity to break through her past – and changed the uniform that she wore for an entire 3 seasons – to open up to life and experience, putting her heart out there. She’s loved and lost more times than I can count (partners, lovers, family), been betrayed and deceived by pretenders, and still retains a remnant of hope through it, still is willing to love again. She’s sacrificed her life, her memories, and her time line for the good of mankind, and in the end, just still thinks it’s the proper thing to do, so why not?
It is true she has had surrogate family. Walter turns from evil scientist to a sort of foster-grandfather to her, making up for all the rotten things he did to her and her friends as a child and softening her heart. (Talk about bringing home a plot line on forgiveness!) She has Peter and they have been through hell and back together – and almost dissolved as lovers too many times to count. She’s had Nina in some timelines, who’s been a parent-figure, her sister in others, and her mother in others. Yea, she’s led a complicated life!
Will it end happily tonight? We all hope so because fans of Fringe, I think, all love Olivia. She’s tough but not so hardened: she’s still sensitive, doubtful and hopeful, and wears the battle scars of a survivor with the vulnerable smile of a shy woman. I think they have to end it well – love will win out. Isn’t that the whole point of Olivia? Death, pain, imprisonment, time travel, evil, fascism – none of that can stop her forward motion to find, embrace, and keep love.
Farewell, Olivia. Thank you, Anna Torv, for bringing this passionate, intelligent, and profoundly intense woman to life. Writers, more women like this, please. It’s about time.