Ratings: Fringe Returns Down -- Plus: Watch the New Promo for the Series Finale

Fringe Series Finale PromoFox’s Fringe resumed its final season on Friday night with a total audience of 2.42 million viewers and a 0.8 demo rating, down 20 percent from its previous outing and delivering its smallest audience of Season 5.

In other ratings notes, Shark Tank drew Friday’s best demo rating (2.0) while CSI: NY and Blue Bloods hit season highs (of 1.6). Blue Bloods delivered the night’s largest audience (11.1 million total viewers).

But back to Fringe: In last night’s episode (SPOILER ALERT), it was revealed that Walter will need to sacrifice himself in the name of exacting his plan to save humankind — which also requires transporting “Michael” the “child” Observer aka The Boy Who Must Live to the year 2167, to prove to scientists that they need not remove certain emotional capacities to make room for intellect (and thus create the chrome-domed army).

Watch a SPOILERY promo (courtesy of YouTube.com/TelevisionPromos) for the two-hour series finale event airing next Friday at 8/7c.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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66 Comments
  1. Brett says:

    Uh, Michael would be sacrificing himself, not Walter, right?

    • Brett says:

      Or better put, Walter would be sacrificing Michael if he sticks with his plan, which would have caused the observers to never have existed, thus Peter would have drowned.

      I think there’s more to it, though. September’s mere existence and being at the pond could have caused a ripple effect which CAUSED Peter to nearly drown. He could be perfectly OK if the observers ceased to ever exist, also.

      • Eric says:

        If the Observers never existed it would mean that September would never stop Walternate from finding the cure which would mean that Walter would have never had to have crossed over. Peter and Olivia would have never met.

        • tts says:

          This! If they reset time then all of the events from the entire series will have not happened! I’m hoping they don’t reset time and don’t take this into account, but I also don’t want it to happen this way. It’s all timey wimey stuff and just makes no sense, so I hope they do something else.

        • Peter wouldn’t necessarily cease to have existed. As Brett commented above, if September and the rest of the Observers had never existed, then Walternate wouldn’t have been distracted from finding the cure for Peter, and the Red World’s Peter wouildn’t have died. Interestingly, under the status quo, the Peter we know is also the Red World’s Peter, but raised on this side of the universe instead of on the side where he was born

      • Annie says:

        He said quite clearly whatever the plan is, it requires WALTER to sacrifice himself. Yes, that means de facto none of the observers would exist, either (including Donald/September and Michael). Also Peter would die as a child, mention of which was oddly lacking last night.

    • bob says:

      windmark is bleeding in his eyes and from his nose in that one snippet from the clip.can only be that the cortexiphan enhanced dunhamator is frying his cookies psionically.its obvious hes getting mind blasted by the enhanced powers of olivia dunham-way to go olivia-fry that cold hearted scumbag!!!!:)

    • Brett says:

      Again, watching the preview before tonights episode Walter CLEARLY says he will need to “sacrifice my son” AND NOT “sacrifice myself”. Surprised both tvline.com and viewers here got that wrong.

  2. Charlene says:

    AGH! Fauxlivia!

  3. necle says:

    So if the scientists in 2167 never create the observers after seeing Michael, then September would never have existed and neither would Michael? So the scientists would never see him? Am I the only one who thinks the plan is flawed?

    • Chuck Finley (AJ) says:

      Actually, you should watch the movie Looper. They addressed this exact time travel paradox in that movie in a very interesting way that makes sense. I know that you can easily poke holes in any time travel stuff you see on TV but that movie comes fairly close to making sense of the whole “if they never existed then how did events play out the way they did” question. Plus they are using timelines on the show and when major changes happen they jump to a different timeline and often don’t remember their past from the old line. I think maybe people have somehow missed that these characters are not the exact same ones from previous episodes of the show. Same people, but have lived their lives on a different timeline. Kinda like there are multiple universes with the same characters, there are also multiple timelines with the same people. So in one the observers will always exist and when they jump back to stop the scientists they will be creating an entirely different timeline with a different outcome. It makes my head hurt.

      • necle says:

        I don’t know. I didn’t watch the movie so I can’t say there’s no way I’ll ever be convinced. But obviously I don’t know anything about time travel and such and I doubt anyone knows for sure either so I would still rely on my own reasoning. Unless if/when I watch Looper, the explanation in the movie makes a lot of sense.
        And wasn’t the whole timeline concept conceived by Peter and co? It’s not like the observers actually created a new timeline; they just tried to erase Peter and that changed the past as well as the present and the future. But they didn’t go back in time and kill all Peters as babies and whatnot so there was a way he could come back because he just was moved outside of the universes? And, somewhere, the time he spent with people before he was erased was still stored and that’s how Walter and Olivia kept seeing him and how Olivia eventually remembered him and their time together? I don’t know if what I’m saying makes sense to anyone but me, but if they continue with their plan with Michael, then they would be actively stopping the Observers from being created, at least in the way that they were (because maybe Michael would give the scientists in 2167 an idea about how to make better Observers and not sacrifice emotions for the sake of intelligence)? So no more new timelines but changing the course of events of the one you’re living in?

    • Irene Butera says:

      I thought the same thing, but my sister opened my eyes. You have to keep in mind that Fringe is not like Doctor Who for istance where paradoxes rip out the fabric of the universe.
      In Fringe a paradox creates another timeline. And that’s exactly what will happen.
      Micheal will create the paradox that will set motion to another timeline that will erase the current.
      Thus meaning that probably Walternate will find the cure and save Peter so Walter would have never needed to cross in the first place.

      Also I don’t know if I’m the only one bothered by this: If the whole Walter crossing the universe would have never happened, wouldn’t Walter inevitably become the ruthless man full of hubris that he fears so much?
      Also September/Donald tells Micheal “We’ll see each other again. I promise.” How would that be possible? Wouldn’t the paradox erase Micheal’s and quite possibly September’s existence?

      Anyway, I think we’re all talking nonsense because the “plan” may already be useless since Micheal was captured.

    • there’s a ton of paradoxes in the show already. at this point, one more won’t hurt, lol.

  4. Whooooooooo says:

    Something is bothering me about last night’s Fringe. Maybe someone here could answer. Olivia now thinks that because of the plan to reset the future so that the Observers never existed that it would somehow bring Etta back, thus changing the past as well. But without September, an Observer, Peter would have died in the lake as a boy. That means that both Peters would have died and nothing in the show would have taken place at all. No Olivia and no Etta. I guess my question is why does Olivia think that Etta will be back if the Observers that exist now were never created and ones like Micheal are? I suppose if September never made Walter turn his back on the cure there would have been no need to get Peter to begin with and could be with Fauxlivia in the other universe but that just seems… crappy. Nothing that happened during the course of the show would have even mattered. Unless I am looking at all of this incorrectly, that is.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich, Editor-at-Large TVLine.com says:

      That is one interpretation, yes. But time paradoxes can be debated ad nauseum.

    • Alichat says:

      I think you bring up a good point. I think Olivia isn’t thinking that far back. She’s just thinking if we stop the invasion, Etta will still be alive. I don’t think she’s thinking about the repercussion of wiping out the Observers all together. And perhaps Peter’s hesitation when she pointed this out to him means he’s got the same thought as you do. If they do this, he grows up in the Alt-universe and never meets our Olivia. I am wondering if taking Michael back doesn’t get rid of the Observers altogether. Perhaps, in 2609, humans are Observer-like in that they are intelligent enough to create time travel, thus not resetting the moments in the past involving September saving Peter. But that may just be me hoping that we don’t reset Peter completely. I am also wondering if we are going to find out that Olivia has to be the sacrificed…..harking back to September’s ominous warning from a few seasons back that in every scenario he saw, she died.

    • Chuck Finley (AJ) says:

      I believe the sacrifice that Walter will have to make to do this is that he will have to drown to save Peter because there will not be an Observer to save them.

    • Steph says:

      I can’t help but wonder if not having the observers exist will actually have an effect on the fate of Peter. I mean right now we are in the timeline where Peter never existed, so September never distracted Walter or saved Peter and Walter from the lake. Yes, the characters remember the other timeline, but many of the main events never happened. I am really curious to see what happens. Time travel has always been tricky.

      • shaun says:

        Everybody is missing something. Before Walter ever crossed, he watched through that window that Alt Walter found the cure. Wheb this reset happens, Peter will live because his real father cured him. How he makes it to thebother timeline will be anyone’s guess.

  5. I know for a fact people all over the world are watching the show LIVE via alternate means (a couple of hours after it airs or the next day). These “Nielsen” numbers are totally inaccurate now a days. It’s a real shame the networks judge the “value” of television shows using outdated ratings systems. I’ll be sticking to premium cable for my genre shows from here on out!

    • Matt Webb Mitovich, Editor-at-Large TVLine.com says:

      The networks will forever “value” that which the advertisers who pay for the shows you watch “value.” The networks would love nothing more than to tout cumulative Live+7 and/or online playback numbers, but the ad industry has little interest.

      • TV Gord says:

        Thanks for saying that, Matt! You can never say it enough (apparently).

      • M3rc Nate says:

        It amazes me the Ad industry dont push for true numbers not these Nielsen numbers which are borderline assumptions. The more precise the numbers of viewership and the more details they get, the more precise they can be about their ads and when and where to put them. You would think every company that sells something wants factual numbers, hard numbers.

        • Loki says:

          The entire Ad revenue and rating system has changed significantly in the last ten years… As has the definition of the major networks to include Univision and Telemundo, and it continues to change as niche shows like Fringe are given five seasons where they would have seen cancellation earlier on in the past. It’s not as though its set in stone….

  6. Michael says:

    If the observers never existed, Walternate would have seen that his cure would work for Peter, and would save his son. Timeline(s) then unfold from that point…

    • Michael says:

      If this is the case, then David Robert Jones would be the first to cross universes, in collaboration with William Bell to re-make the universe in his vision. Because there would be no bad blood between Walter and Walternate, or any of them, they would work together to stop them and restore order to both universes. Basically, S4 playing out, with some differences, and the observers (as we know them) never coming into the picture.

    • Chuck Finley (AJ) says:

      That’s a good theory too. If it’s not that then I think Walter will drown saving Peter at the lake. I’m not sure how else he will have to sacrifice himself. Sadly. I think whatever the outcome Peter and Olivia will never meet in the new line. And possibly if you are right the two Universe’s will never become aware of each other. In essence, the events of entire show will never happen.

      • Michael says:

        If Walternate saved Peter, Walter probably never would have crossed over. So, William Bell would have actually been first, then DRJ. The reason I say this is because this is what happened in the re-set timeline when Jones wasn’t killed and was able to cross. Peter and Olivia would still meet, and maybe even fall in love, it just happens differently than how we saw it play out. Using the history of this show, fate, destiny and mythology are at the forefront of it, so more than likely, some version of the timeline we know (just without the observers we know) will exist in the end. One more theory: 1 Walter instead of 1 Peter this time around…

        • necle says:

          But if Walter never had to cross over to save Peter, never travelled between universes and caused so much harm in the fabric of the universes, never feared what he would become, never asked for parts of his brain to be removed or if Walternate never suffered the loss of his child or never had to deal with things like his universe breaking down etc. then both Walters would be fundamentally different, no? I think Walter still could be the first person to cross over even if there’s no need to do it to save Peter. Remember Bell’s plan to create his own universe? I don’t know if I’m actually saying anything but I don’t think Walters would necessarily work together to save universes. They would much rather be the greatest scientist/person etc., imho.

  7. Ella says:

    Can’t wait to see what unfolds next week!

  8. paul says:

    CSI NY increased in demo. Please CBS do not throw out this show! It should have a Season 10 to wrap it all up. Gary Senise is one of the best actors going

  9. cjeffery7 says:

    instead of trying to make sense of the plan as described by september and walter, i’m just going to point out that losing michael effectively ends that plan, unless they can somehow get him back, which seems like a highly unlikely rescue scenario, hence part of the reason olivia travels over to the other universe. and while some might worry that windmark is just gonna kill michael, i dont think that’s gonna be the case. just like september made that girl important in season 2? by capturing her, he has also now made michael important, and windmark is curious as to why in how it relates to his instinctual desire to destroy the fringe team.

  10. TV Gord says:

    FAUXLIVIA and LINCOLN! Very excited for that surprise! Now all I need to know is whether we’ll see William Bell! I love being spoiled, but I hope I don’t find out until next Friday. :-)

  11. Amy says:

    Series finales are always such a Catch-22. I want to see how Fringe ends, but in order to see how it ends, it has to actually end. Sigh. But I am so excited (and sad) to revisit the alternate universe and especially see Lincoln Lee again!

  12. iamsmarticus says:

    Wait…am I the only one finding the non-return of the man in the zeppelin disappointing? Remember when Olivia says he is the man that’s going to kill her (in episode 19 of season 3 I presume?)
    I don’t want any loose ends! Not for this show.
    I’ll end up pulling out all my hair figuring out what happened to him, if the man isn’t at least mentioned in the series finale.

    Or did the “prophecy” change when the universe was rewritten/timeline altered/was this an alternate dimension after all? I have a headache.

    • M3rc Nate says:

      I had thought this too however that story line has been closed. Remember the nanites that were killing Olivia because they were supercharging her powers, and so the two universes Earths were being pulled into one so Bell could create his new world? Remember how Walter looked at them through a microscope and saw the X marking on them and knew they were of Bell’s creation? That is the story line. The man with the X represented Bell and he “killed her” by putting the nanites in her, because to save the universes she had to be killed, which Walter knew so he shot her in the head.

      The untold story line I would ask The Fringe writers/cast (like at a Panel) is what happened to the Mob story line? If you watch the first season, its all about how Peter has mob ties and more and more they start showing stuff. He meets his ex GF and learns about the abuse and beats up her BF and then the guy with the camera taking pictures of him and Walter as proof hes back in town then the Boyfriend telling a Mob boss type guy “Peter Bishops back in town” then they drop the story line completely. I suspect if i asked the writers/cast they would say it didnt fit with where they wanted to take the show and Peter so they just dropped it. But i’d still want to ask because it drops off a cliff and is never mentioned again.

      • iamsmarticus says:

        Oh, so it wasn’t really a man with the X t-shirt, but a bullet with an X on it? Did not draw parallels there, sorry! I figured it would be a flesh-and-blood human being, but, oh well! At least the story has been dealt with. All I have to do now is to go and take another look at that episode, because I really don’t remember much about it, apart from Olivia being shot, resurrected, and then revealing she is pregnant! (Also, come to think of it, the zeppelin was in Olivia’s subconscious, and it was completely ripped apart by the man -> the bullet did pretty much the same to her brain before she was healed by the cortexhepan later. Or maybe I am reading too much into it? Dunno.)

        And yes. I do remember the story with Peter’s mob links. Funny, because I didn’t think of it until you mentioned it. I remember being super curious about that as well, but forgot about it when the alternate universe was introduced. So, the writers did a good job of completely taking the story off in a different direction, I suppose. If you ever get the chance, please do ask whatever happened to that idea. Now I have to know!

        Finally, thank you for the patient reply. I realise it must be incredibly annoying to have to explain everything to someone over the internet, but you did so anyway. That is very nice.

        Live long and prosper!

    • Claire says:

      I had this exact same question, but apparently it was answered in the Season 4 finale. Man X is William Bell, who did end up causing Olivia’s death. Google it.

      • iamsmarticus says:

        Will do. Thanks! I hated that it wasn’t revealed, and now that I know better, I do not want to miss it. Will go and look at the episode again, rather than googling it, because where’s the fun in the latter, eh?

  13. J3 says:

    I believe they said that the observers would never invade not never exist correct?

    • M3rc Nate says:

      Exactly true. Because they will still be created, but using the boy they will be able to keep all their humanity and emotions. So maybe because they will be able to see possible futures and pasts that have happened and time lines that have happened, they will use the love they will poses and bring Olivia and Peter together and “touch them” so they remember their live(s) together and they get married again and have Etta. Idk but i hope its something like that. However it ends i want Peter and Olivia together and in love, and it would be a cherry on top if Etta is back and alive.

  14. Amy says:

    Did anyone else notice what was on Lincoln’s left hand when he raised his gun? Looks like he and Liv got a happy ending after all! :) And all this timey-wimey speculation doesn’t have me too worried- Fringe has always been a surprisingly optimistic show with a belief in the power of human connection and love to bring about impossible things. I have every belief that we will have a fairly happy ending to this beautiful show.

    • M3rc Nate says:

      Ya but it has also always been a show about fate and destiny. Peter and Olivia needing to be together to save the world and have Etta to save the world…that wasnt just a love story that needed to happen, they needed to be together or else the world would have been destroyed. So i worry a bit that the true artistic ending is that with Fringe never happening, by that i mean Walter never cracking the universes by crossing over etc…the worlds are how they are supposed to be like our Earth is right now..therefore theres no need for Peter and Olivia to be together because they fulfilled their destiny in saving the universe/earth multiple times. However i hope your right, and that the writers know we love Peter and Olivia’s love story and we need them to be together in the end, and that it would be awesomely epic if Etta was back in the end as well. Hope they found a way for that to happen.

  15. craigf says:

    Anyone else notice the Observer Commander was not credited? Strange when there’s a credit for Observer Subordinate.

    Take a close look and listen. I could be wrong, but it looks to me like Robin Williams finally got his wish to appear on Fringe. He even uses something like his Elmer Fudd voice for at least one line.

    Shhhh! Be vewwy quiet! I’m hunting Owivias…

    • iamsmarticus says:

      OT, but still, I could never listen to the “Ride of the Valkyries” without Elmer’s voice echoing in my head to “Kill the wabbits! Kill the wabbits! Kill the wabbits!”

  16. why would the Observers only invade one reality, why not both?

  17. So Walter’s plan consists on sending the child Observer forward in time to 2167 to Norway to stop a scientist from discovering the breakthrough that will lead to the creation of the Observers.

    One problem I see is that right now they are in the timeline where the Observers rule the world, so they would be sending Michael forward in time to the year 2167 that is already ruled by Observers. First, they have to go back in time to 2015, the year when the Observers took over, and stop Old Biff from giving Young Biff the sports almanac.

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