Fringe is a unique TV show–and not just because of the crazy science or alternate universes. Over the course of 5 seasons, the show existed in many various universes and timelines. Every season is a new start and a new experiment for the show.
But what makes the show so brilliant is the characters. They push the audience through the ups and downs of the insane plot lines of each season. Each of the 5 seasons of Fringe is unique and necessary, but I’m taking on the difficult challenge of ranking them by the most awesome to the least. Here’s my totally subjective ordering along with the scenes that solidified my choices.
**All of the Fringe Spoilers Below!**
5. Season 4
Honestly, the reason I ranked Season 4 last was mostly because I couldn’t stand Peter disappearing. Come on, I love Joshua Jackson and don’t pretend you don’t too. After going into the machine in Season 3, Peter is erased from everyone’s memory and that just doesn’t fly with me. I understand why it was needed for the show and the slow acknowledgement of a Peter-shaped hole in everyone’s heart is pretty touching. But I missed Peter and it took like 13 episodes to get back to where everyone loved him again! Not cool.
4. Season 5
Season 5 is pretty epic. No joke. After the alternate timeline in the original universe started in Season 4–yeah, it’s confusing–there had to be something of equal insanity for Season 5. The Fringe team ends up in the future where the Observers are in control and everything is bleak. While Peter and Olivia struggle to keep their relationship together, Peter obsesses over Observer tech in a quest to keep his adult daughter Etta safe. Walter discovers how to make everything right again, leading to—-in typical Fringe fashion–a terribly heartbreaking series finale loaded with all the feels.
3. Season 1
The first season of Fringe is like Freshman year of High School. You’re not sure where you fit in or where to sit at lunch so you just go to class each day and see what happens. Fringe began as a more episodic show with something to be solved and then credits rolled. But man, did it take a turn from there. As Season 1 came to an end, the writers began hinting that everything wasn’t as it seemed. The alternate universe and Peter’s origin were mentioned but unexplored for now. By Season 5, it is basically unrecognizable.
2. Season 2
By the beginning of Season 2, Fringe hit its stride. It was over the Freshman naivete and jumping straight into Sophomore shenanigans. Season 2 has a delightful balance of “Monster of the Week” and government conspiracy. The Fringe experiments got stranger. Peter was in a tank top. Walter’s guilt over causing the imbalances between the universes was at its peak. And at the end of Season 2, the team crosses over to the alternate universe. Peter struggles with his true identity while Walter tries to make things right between them. Father and son drama is the best. Plus, who saw that Peter being from an alternate universe thing coming?! Maybe you’re noticing a pattern of me being blindsided by these plot twists.
1. Season 3
I was completely blindsided by alternate Olivia’s–Fauxlivia if you will–infiltration into our universe. This reveal was the moment Season 3 became my favorite. I was shocked and upset and couldn’t stop watching. The fallout of Olivia returning to her life is heart wrenching. Plus, we began switching between the universes, learning about what exactly changed because Walter stole Peter so many years before. The heartbreak of Peter and Olivia’s possible romantic relationship plays out over the season and finally at the end of Season 3, they’re happy for about a month. And then they’re not.
Despite each season being so unique, the overarching theme of Fringe is love and sacrifice. It’s about family. It’s about loyalty. The series as a whole has peaks and valleys, but the constant is the characters. They’re frustrating. They have alternates of themselves in different timelines and it is sometimes very confusing. But basically, what I’m trying to say is that despite the challenges, all 5 seasons are worth the watch!
What do you think? Binge watch the show this weekend and let me know how you rank the seasons in the comments!
Featured Image Credit: Facebook / Fringe