Performer of the Week: John Noble

Fringe Series Finale SpoilersA new feature in which we spotlight the past week’s shining star


THE SHOW | Fringe (Fox)

THE EPISODE | “Liberty”/”An Enemy of Fate”

THE AIRDATE | January 18, 2013

RELATED | The Fringe Series Finale: What Grade Do You Give It?

THE PERFORMANCE | Simply said, Fringe‘s two-hour finale event aka the Walter Bishop Goodbye Tour rocked our worlds (including the alternate one). And though we knew it was coming from the moment September confirmed the sacrifice Walter would need to make, not one fewer tear was shed because of it.

Over the course of these final two hours, Noble was able to revisit every emotion Walter ever displayed, from an inventor’s giddiness over toys new and old (Anti-gravity bullets, simply because they are “cool”! The universe window!) to the cocksure determination of the formerly mad scientist who created Cortexiphan, thankyouverymuch. But it was the heartfelt moments where the actor transcends. Like, Walter’s conflicted early reaction to Peter noting the sacrifices he has made. And the lab boss noting that Astrid — yes, Astrid — is “a beautiful name.”

The scene that drove home Fringe‘s five-year theme, however, started with the playing of the ambered VHS tape in which Walter spoke of his and Peter’s “stolen” time together and ended with a father/son hug that was so tight, you almost felt your own chest compress. “You are my favorite thing, Peter,” Noble’s noble character shared, as Joshua Jackson expelled tears on the other side of the embrace. “My very favorite thing.” (What a way we’ve come from “I thought you’d be fatter.”)

Noble’s performance carried through to the finale’s antepenultimate scene. As Peter mouthed, “I love you, Dad,” Walter’s lips slightly parted but closed again, knowing full well that nothing could build on what he expressed before. Instead, he went about saving another boy — and a whole universe, to boot.

The Emmys seldom even glance in the direction of genre-TV fare, let alone that which will have faded to black months before ballots go out. But sometimes it’s enough to know that we, as an audience, have been witness to brilliance.

RELATED | Fringe‘s John Noble Touts ‘Remarkable’ Walter/Peter Scenes and a Perfect Series Finale

Which performance knocked your socks off this past week?

Comments (151)

  • I was starting to cry again just reading this.

    Comment by D. – January 20, 2013 07:09 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Me too!

      Comment by Jamie – January 20, 2013 07:19 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • same here!

      Comment by S. from E. now – January 20, 2013 08:22 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Yep

      Comment by gitco – January 20, 2013 08:32 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Add me to the list of tears shedding reading this article.

      Comment by Ali – January 20, 2013 09:24 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • yeap me too! Love John Noble and I will miss him greatly.

      Comment by isa – January 20, 2013 09:28 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Ditto!

      Comment by Tracy Johnson – January 20, 2013 09:30 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Same here!

      Comment by Amy – January 20, 2013 09:30 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Yeah, me too. I didn’t even get to see the episode, but that picture and the article got me. *sniff*

      Comment by Hila – January 20, 2013 09:36 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • So did I

      Comment by Elin – January 20, 2013 11:08 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Word.

      Comment by Kate – January 20, 2013 11:53 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I’m so glad I’m not the only one who cried again reading this; I think “you are my favourite thing” will always create, at the very least, a huge lump in my throat! Beautiful acting from John & Josh, who are officially my favourite ever father/son relationship on any tv show, EVER!

        Comment by Laura Hyde – January 20, 2013 02:55 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • This scene (and the one where Peter says goodbye) will probably end up on my list of scenes that will make me cry every time I watch it, even out of context. It’s a short list comprising of Buffy having to send Angel to hell in Becoming, Part II and the Tenth Doctor and Rose leaning on dimensional opposite sides of the wall in Doomsday.

      Comment by Emily – January 20, 2013 02:01 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Wow exact same taste here… Except for maybe rose and the doctor. I missed that episode and never really got into rose.

        But damn I do have a tv moment comparable now to Buffy sending angel to hell. Guh most tear inducing episodes ever.

        Comment by Erin – January 21, 2013 01:34 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • I never really “shipped” Rose and the Doctor, but something about that scene, how it was framed and how they act it… breaks my heart every time.

          Comment by Emily – January 22, 2013 02:37 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • Emily,I consider myself a man’s man,but this scene between Father and Son (John&Josh)brought tears to my eyes,also when Walter was leaving with the boy and Peter mouthed “I love you dad”.
            We have never seen such an emotional scene between Father and Son,and may never for quite Some time,if ever. As someone had posted “These actors in the show is at the top of their game” I also believe that one of the reason this emotional scene comes over so genuine apart from the great acting,is the fact that off the set John and Josh are friends and John is like a Father to Josh.I do hope we will get a Fringe movie,made for TV or on the big screen.

            Comment by Ken – January 23, 2013 02:03 PM PDT  
    • He’s the performer of the week lots of time. I am REALLY going to miss Fringe. Creative, imaginative, entertaining show.

      Comment by Letha – January 20, 2013 05:17 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • This really got to me, I have to admit it.

      Comment by Randy – January 20, 2013 06:56 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Likewise, or it’s from watching Gator Boys which I’m kinda doubting

      Comment by Doug – January 20, 2013 08:43 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Yup, ditto for me…sob….

      Comment by MandaJ – January 20, 2013 09:07 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • “you are my favorite thing” Walter Bishop I’ll miss u. wish i could continue more wid u. love u Fringe Division.

      Comment by Abhay Tirkey – January 20, 2013 10:19 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • yup. crying like a baby.

      Comment by p1uto – January 21, 2013 04:01 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Yep.

      Comment by Annie – January 21, 2013 11:30 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Dammit, so did I. At work, even!

      Comment by Brynn – January 21, 2013 02:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I agree, so moving it still gets me 4 days later.

      Comment by Sean – January 22, 2013 08:00 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • me too

      Comment by psyk – January 22, 2013 06:11 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Truly an amazing show unlike any other. Brilliant in every way.

      Comment by Sean – January 22, 2013 08:43 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Dead on!

    Comment by Kellan – January 20, 2013 07:11 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Aww :)

    Comment by Mia – January 20, 2013 07:11 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Surely this year the Emmy must go to John Noble?

    Comment by Scott – January 20, 2013 07:14 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • He is absolutely deserving of an Emmy! Honorable mention must go to Joshua Jackson – also amazing in the Fringe finale. Already miss Walter, Peter & the rest if the Fringe team!

      Comment by Ella – January 20, 2013 08:33 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Totally agree. The chemistry between the two actors is extraordinary. John and Joshua created one of the most complicated, nuanced, real portrayals of the father-son dynamic ever on TV. And they maintained it even through their more limited screentime together in seasons 3 and 4; they created so much with relatively little.

        Comment by Oconnellaboo – January 20, 2013 10:43 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Part of me was disappointed with this season (more like a concluding mini-series, but that’s another contention) because they de-emphasized Olivia as the heart of the show and moved it more towards Walter/Peter in closing the “primacy of family” motif. But man were these scenes so pure and redeeming.

          Comment by Guest – January 20, 2013 11:25 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • I’ve gotta disagree. I thought the the fourth season went way too far in the Peter direction. To me, Olivia has always been the character with whom we’ve experienced virtually everything. She IS the show. Suddenly it became The Peter Show. They got back to where it’s supposed to be by the end, but had me worried for a little bit.

            Season 5 was an ensemble work. There were definitely Olivia episodes and Peter and Walter episodes but, overall, it felt like they did a great job balancing who got to do what in the main three. All three of the leads got to do some of their best work (if not their best) this season, and I will forever love it the most of all. It was, by far, the most character-driven, dynamic, and moving run the show had.

            My only real complaint is that Astrid was still somewhat in the background. I was hoping that, since they’re no longer affiliated with the Government, there would be less of a formal hierarchy but it wasn’t to happen I guess. Still, Jasika is just as wonderful as Anna, John and Josh. Astrid’s farewell scene with Walter was absolutely beautiful.

            Comment by Nicholas – January 20, 2013 09:37 PM PDT  
          • To me Walter and Peter were always the heart of the show. Olivia was the muscle.

            Comment by Sam – January 20, 2013 11:33 PM PDT  
          • Nicholas and Guest i wholeheartedly agree with you. :)

            Comment by coil – January 21, 2013 01:52 AM PDT  
          • I disagree. Sure Olivia since S01E01 is the character through which we follow the show, she’s the engine that drives each episode forward. But the central character of the Fringe universe has always been WALTER and by extension Peter.

            Most will feel as you do that Olivia WAS the show because, as a partially serialized TV series, she was the one solving the riddles and she was the audience’s pov in those numerous stand alone episodes. But, in a similar manner as LOST, years of episodes later, when needing to finish such a show, the only true strong narrative is Walter & Peter’s.

            Their relationship but most importantly Walter’s crippling god-complex (which could only lead to redemption thru sacrifice or fatal hubris through total destruction. i.e:when he considers to join the observers) is the reason for every single case, every single obstacle every single plot point.

            Without Walter there are no fringe events etc… It’s beyond all else, the story of a man who lost everything (including himself) trying to get his son back.

            To sum it up rashly, season 4 we thought we lost Olivia. I didn’t shed a single tear. Season 5, Walter sacrifices the only thing that ever really mattered to him (he put two worlds in geopardy without hesitation for Peter!), being with his son, in order to reset his mistakes. Bellagio waterworks ladies and gentlemen.

            I find John Noble has always been a fantastically under-used actor. Which, thanks to this injustice, gave us the chance to know Walter Bishop on the small screen.

            An uneven show that created one of the best TV characters ever. How rare is that?

            My thoughts and sentiments to you other Fringies.

            Comment by Jolene – January 21, 2013 12:51 PM PDT  
      • I agree. All the awards to John Noble and Joshua Jackson!

        Comment by Sam – January 20, 2013 11:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Agree 100% !

      Comment by kirads09 – January 20, 2013 01:32 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Yes, i really hope so.

      Comment by coil – January 21, 2013 01:54 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • What a phenomenal actor. Absolutely brilliant.

    Comment by MM – January 20, 2013 07:19 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • The only word I could add to this perfect sentiment is extraordinary.

      Comment by Suzanne – January 20, 2013 01:35 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • John noble should have the tittle of performer of the century. Period.

    Comment by celine – January 20, 2013 07:22 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • How the mainstream awards ignore the treasure John Noble is as an actor and his extraordinary portrayal of Walter Bishop in “Fringe” for 5 seasons is just wrong!

    Comment by Cheryl – January 20, 2013 07:22 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I totally agree with you Cheryl. John Noble’s character was played to perfection by this brilliant actor.

      Comment by Moz – January 23, 2013 05:01 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • John Noble is brilliant, just brilliant. Even more, there was one hell of a talented cast that helped create this one of a kind series. All of the awards.

    Comment by Steph – January 20, 2013 07:24 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • True the whole cast is so talented, i’m going to miss them.

      Comment by coil – January 21, 2013 01:55 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Noble should have earned an emmy years ago for Walter Bishop and Walternate. He is amazing.

    Comment by Matthew Swanson – January 20, 2013 07:29 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Bravo!

    Comment by Pamela – January 20, 2013 07:31 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Absolutely Bravo!!!
      No other performance I’ve seen in the last YEAR let alone week touched this scene!
      I played it again and cried again too….
      Geeze I will miss FRINGE the cast and the writers did a phenomenal job in the last 2 shows!

      Comment by 4thjet – January 21, 2013 12:12 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • John Noble should win ALL THINGS.

    An amazing performance over 5 years, yet somehow he even managed to up his game for the Finale.

    Brilliant. Just brilliant.

    Comment by laffers18 – January 20, 2013 07:34 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • John Noble was brilliant as usual. I can never understand why he has never been nominated for an Emmy for this role. Will miss Fringe and Walter

    Comment by Lyn – January 20, 2013 07:39 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I agree. He is also one of the loveliest men you will ever meet. No one is more deserving than he is.

      Comment by hila35 – January 20, 2013 09:37 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • An absolutely great actor!!!!

    Comment by Bob – January 20, 2013 07:41 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • He is the performer of the decade. John Noble and Walter Bishop are two of my favourite things.

    Comment by nikki – January 20, 2013 07:43 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I love John Noble and every version of Walter Bishop. Let’s all give him an Emmy made of white tulips – since the Emmy people seem to forget him every year.

    Comment by TVDIVA – January 20, 2013 07:44 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • My vote: Michael Weatherly’s subtle,layered,sensitive yet rock solid turn in this week’s NCIS.

    Comment by Mel – January 20, 2013 07:50 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I loved michael’s Tony last week too, as well as cote’s Ziva and rocky’s Vance but obviously you havent watched fringe – they pale in comparison to all of fringe’s main cast lead by the excellent John noble, the Emmy voters should be sucked into a timeline full of observers cause they clearly can’t see a good thing when they see it!

      The tears… those heart strings!

      Comment by Erin – January 21, 2013 01:31 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The last episode of Fringe was rock solid John Noble was astounding, As he hugged he son for the last time one could almost feel the embrace. I will miss Fringe It was a fantastic show and it will be greatly missed

    Comment by Kevin – January 20, 2013 08:03 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Love this pick, TVline! John was sublime this week, will miss him and the Walters so much.

    Comment by Lauren – January 20, 2013 08:07 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • John Noble is constantly overlooked for his superb performance as Walter Bishop on Fringe. He should have won an oscar or emmy…

    Comment by Raymond – January 20, 2013 08:13 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Hell yeah!!! This man deserves an Emmy and so much more. Hope he continues to act in America.

    Comment by wmcc520 – January 20, 2013 08:16 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Preach. Amazing actor. Amazing show. Will miss it dearly.

    Comment by jenn – January 20, 2013 08:18 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I guess the emmy’s don’t watch fringe… :(

    Comment by rayng86 – January 20, 2013 08:19 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Thank You for this. Saying goodbye to the amazing character that is Walter Bishop is so hard for us viewers but seeing acknowledgement of John Noble’s exceptional acting is wonderful. As for the Emmy’s, the lack of at least nomination for Noble has made me realize how very little truth this awards hold.

    Comment by Amanda – January 20, 2013 09:03 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Totally agree! He was brilliant in the last episode. But yet he always is.

    Comment by Lyns – January 20, 2013 09:08 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • agreed!!!

    Comment by ivaddj – January 20, 2013 09:25 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Kudos, Mr. Noble. Kudos!

    Comment by Sarabi – January 20, 2013 09:26 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I haven’t watched the last three episodes yet bc I’m dreading them to be over. Just reading this article made me tear up. I must admit to having started watching the series of “pacey” a.k.a. Joshua Jackson; however, I continue to watch bc of John noble. Love him.

    Comment by Kimberly – January 20, 2013 09:31 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Truly fantastic tv, agreed reading the blog had me in tears Again!!. Miss ya Fringe already.

    Comment by Dawn Uk – January 20, 2013 09:40 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Unless you’re talking about the article, the airdate was actually Jan.18th. But yes, John Noble is utterly brilliant and it is about time people recognize that.

    Comment by raeven – January 20, 2013 09:46 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Date fixed.Mgmt.

      Comment by Matt Webb Mitovich – January 20, 2013 12:54 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Amazing! :)

    Comment by Em – January 20, 2013 10:29 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Perfect choice, the fact that Noble isn’t recognized more often is a disgrace.

    Comment by Mike – January 20, 2013 10:32 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • John Noble never getting an Emmy is nothing short of a travesty.

    Emmys? You owe him one.

    Comment by Sam Hanley (@sammysoso505) – January 20, 2013 10:59 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • It is very much deserved, although I wish anna torv could have gotten it also

    Comment by omabin – January 20, 2013 11:19 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • that scene opened up the waterworks for me, i kept looking at the time thinking its over soon noooo, it took me a whole day of procrastinating before i watched the finale because i kept thinking if i look at it then that’s it! no more!
    the finale was beautiful , emotionally satisfying and yeah i guess i must say thank you fox for not taking the rug out from under our feet too early!
    that scene should get john noble an emmy, how can anyone watch it and not agree its an awardworthy performance and he’s been consistent for 5yrs!
    i just don’t know where i’m suppose to get my scifi premium fix from,will be buying the boxset when it comes out, i have my Lost, BSG,farscape,firefly boxsets waiting for it….

    Comment by violet hour – January 20, 2013 11:31 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Ashcan!

    Comment by Rob (@Rob052067) – January 20, 2013 11:47 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • When I saw “Performer of the Week” and the link on Twitter, I clicked it absolutely knowing that it would be John Noble. It had to be. He was amazing. He has been nothing short of phenomenal on Fringe.

    When Walter hugged Peter and said, “You’re my favorite thing” I started to cry. John Noble’s performance in these episodes was sublime!

    I, too, hope he continues to act in America after this.

    Comment by Mindy – January 20, 2013 12:01 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I reAlly mean this… Since we fans were partly reap for getting fifty season… Can we organize a campaign to get John noble on the Emmy ballot maybe w help fr ari margolis?

    Comment by metfan012000fringefries – January 20, 2013 12:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I thought all the actors’ performances were stellar but the scenes that grabbed me the most were the father-son scenes between Walter and Peter. Fringe has been one of my favourite shows from the beginning. I will miss watching Fringe and look forward to seeing all the actors on other shows.

    Comment by snazzy – January 20, 2013 12:50 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Such a beautiful scene! Joshua is often overlooked as an actor but the emotions he convey in just one look are amazing. They are the best father-son duo. I already miss Fringe!

    Comment by Muriel – January 20, 2013 01:04 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I tried so hard not to cry, but the weird thing was it happened for me when he was talking to Astrid. They really excelled at closure in these last two episodes. I hope these actors get some sort of supreme professional recognition at some point in their careers.

    Comment by McBlargh – January 20, 2013 02:02 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Can’t believe that I won’t be seeing this show next week or next season, it was trully one of the best ending I could ever imagine for Fringe ;(

    Comment by Tuur – January 20, 2013 02:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I hope I can see a movie!!!

    Comment by chantal – January 20, 2013 02:11 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I think Tony Goldwyn should have at least gotten an honorable mention for Scandal 2×11. His acting was just phenomenal. He’s been doing pretty amazing work on this show and I HOPE he can win Performer of the Week at least once this season!

    Comment by rachelle – January 20, 2013 02:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • John noble deserves an Emmy.Should have had one a long time ago.

    Comment by carole kelly – January 20, 2013 02:28 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Such an emotional, wonderful performance

    Comment by Nicholas Hoffnagle – January 20, 2013 02:32 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Brava, to John Noble’s performance, to the writers of this review, and to the all of Fringe. A Brilliant show, it’s absence will be greatly felt. Yes, I cried again. Fond Farewell.

    Comment by Elaine – January 20, 2013 03:01 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Well said! Fringe has been my “favorite thing” for five years. I will miss it!

      Comment by Lyn – January 21, 2013 12:27 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Emmy winners come and go – I don’t even recall who won last year! But I’ll always remember John Noble as Walter Bishop, and indeed the entire Fringe team. In this case, John Noble has clearly been much bigger than the Emmys and their judges.

    “You are my favorite thing, my very favorite thing” and to Astrid “beautiful name” were pitch perfect writing too and what an actor to deliver them – John Noble.

    Comment by Kay – January 20, 2013 03:06 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Not to be picky, but that was no VHS tape, it was pure Betamax!!
    Agree John Noble was fab and the episode quite the tearjerker.

    Comment by Cate53 – January 20, 2013 04:06 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Still weeping over here…. I’ve been furious for years that John Noble has been overlooked. And no, it’s not enough that the Fringe die-hard fans know what phenomenal actors they all are, particularly Noble and Jackson excelling in their father-son interchanges. It has been one of the few shows over the years of garbage on TV that I will consistently return to, enjoy, and scratch my head in wonder that others never caught on to the brilliance of Fringe.

    Comment by Liana in San Diego – January 20, 2013 05:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Agreed!!

      Comment by SK – January 20, 2013 06:38 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I quit watching the Emmys a few years ago when they would not even nominate John Noble. The man is as good as Bryan Cranston and the guys from Mad Men. Actually he shows more emotion than any of the guys from Mad Men have to show. I saw him in a western and he said one line to a woman, full of menace, and he was “scary.” I say all Fringe fans should boycott Emmys and let them know why.

      Comment by DLB – January 21, 2013 08:01 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Yes!

      Comment by Lyn – January 21, 2013 12:28 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • of the week ?? of the century you mean, this guy is the best actor i have ever seen…

    Comment by Marty Sweeney – January 20, 2013 06:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Indeed!

      Comment by Roneo – January 21, 2013 09:48 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Agreed! Easily the most under-rated actor on television – or anywhere for that matter.

      Comment by Laurie – January 21, 2013 10:00 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

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