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?

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  1. Patti says:

    Such a beautiful article. I agree with every word. John Noble and Josh Jackson gave the best performances of the week for me and John Noble is long overdue an emmy nod. The finale and especially the father/son moment in the lab is prove enough alone.

  2. Robin says:

    I am really going to miss Fringe :( one of the few shows that was really worth watching…

  3. OnTheFringe says:

    It’s simply the best performance on a series. He is amazing on “Fringe” and I am so sorry that due to the genre of the show he will never be recognized for the brilliance he brought to the show each and every week. I was amazed by his tour de force performance in the finale. The seen with Jasika Nicole and amberGene was beyond brilliant. The look on his face, the total belief in this amberCow prop, wow!

  4. Kelly says:

    Genre shows and actors like John Noble and Robert Carlyle deserve more award love.

  5. Doug says:

    I usually delete a show after watching it, Friday’s episode is still on my Tivo

  6. GingerSnap says:

    Absolutely the performance of the season. This is Emmy winning stuff!

  7. I can only hope one day they will have a sequel to this, it probaly wont happen, but i can say I have learned that in time people can learn change, and they can learn what LOVE really means as a sacrifice for each other!! I will so miss this show and its actors!! Another sad day has fallen upon us all who enjoyed this show! I so looked forward to this every week with out fail.

  8. Rhonda says:

    I was so moved by that moment between Peter and Walter. It didn’t seem like acting; it seemed like a real moment of deep caring and the inevitable goodbye. It was a truly top notch moment in TV, rating up there with the final episode of MASH.

  9. DarkDefender says:

    Witness to brilliance, indeed!

  10. I have to agree with everything that has already been said. It was a great finale and John Noble was superb – the goodbye scene was heart wrenching. Will miss this show a great deal.

  11. I got a lump in my throat just reading the article, like many others. The scene with Peter was so beautiful. I also was quite emotional when Walter told Astrid she had a beautiful name. I always found their relationship to be so touching.

  12. Ellen says:

    There are probably lots of people out there who have never watched Fringe, or only watched a bit of it, and are scanning these comments wondering what the fuss is about John Noble. Yeah there are a lot of emotional comments here and a photo of Walter in tears but that is most emphatically not what his performance was all about. Nor was he merely playing a stock mad scientist, as you might assume. This man is a phenomenal actor in every imaginable way, whether being theatrical, funny, or subtle and agile in the most understated but powerful manner. Directing this guy must be like driving a high performance sports car.

    I will never stop trying to get more people to watch Fringe who missed it the first time around. They need to see this performance.

  13. SM says:

    What a wonderful performance. Cried buckets. The man deserves every award there is – in every universe there is!

  14. AndrayaD says:

    It doesnt get any better than the best :John Noble!!!!! He has played this fantastic role of Walter for 5years and has stolen my heart over and over. He is my very favorite thing.

  15. Please put him in a another show we all love him sorry to see him go

  16. Amy says:

    I never leave posts anywhere on the internet, but John Noble has moved me. I genuinely hope his talents are recognized.

  17. Cathy says:

    Sobbing again as I watch the brilliant acting between these two characters. There are some shows and actors that one never forgets. Fringe and John Noble fall into that category most definitely. They will be missed but never forgotten.

  18. Glenn Poston says:

    Maybe,just maybe,this team could be reassembled for a mini-series,or a major motion picture. I would definitely watch…Great show…great actors…intriguing story…Will be missed !

  19. Mel says:

    I already miss Fringe. I find it really hard to believe that anyone is more deserving of an Emmy than John Noble (but I’ve been saying that for five years now).

  20. shaz says:

    while many of the last episode scenes had me in tears – it was the final goodbye between walter and astrid – and jean the cow! – that just socked-it-to-me. they had such an awesome relationship throughout the entire series… all of the cast were exceptional in their roles and truly deserving of an emmy, but none more than Walter. John Noble is simply fantastic.

  21. jody cloke says:

    bestest actor in thi history of talented actors and he knows what he is talking about with the educational past of which one mightly respects! thank you for bringing me into the character with such a respect and love for walter, i fear life will not be the same now that its all over!!!

  22. dean says:

    So when is the movie going to be out.

    • Rhonda says:

      I have a feeling it might be a little like The X-Files. Perhaps in a couple of years but next week wouldn’t be soon enough for me!

  23. Brynn says:

    Can we start a #Emmy4JohnNoble campaign on Twitter or something to garner more support for such a brilliant performance?

  24. Tad Verret says:

    Cannot agree more, He deserves an Emmy in the best way. Fantastic, just unbelievably believable……..

  25. Barbara Tatusko says:

    Fantastic. Walter and Peter a real Tear-Jerker

  26. Kelle says:

    Damn this article I thought I was finally starting to get my compsure back after watching the show and now I need tissues again. But couldn’t agree more with everyone….John Noble pure excellence!!

  27. Jeff says:

    I dont not believe I missed an episode of fringe and the final was exactly as it should be. I agree with so many that John’s performance in the final and during the course of the show was emmy worthy.

  28. Lynnette says:

    What a wonderful Show, I will truly miss the characters… so very touching, I would have loved to see where Walter and Michael ended up…hopefully a reunion isn’t just wishful thinking.

  29. Karen H. says:

    That scene was 100% a tearjerker. I love John Noble, and how he has helped to grow Walter Bishop as a man deserving of our tears all the while shedding he Australian accent, definitely puts him in contention for a Emmy nomination in my eyes. He really did become “Dad” this past season. :)

  30. Susan says:

    Aren’t we forgetting the fabulous writers who created these characters and brought them to life for us. Kudos to them and the directors for going beyond standard network television.

  31. Deb Pascus says:

    So long Fringe! We will miss you immensely! I could use a “Walterhug”about now!

  32. Ben Pascus says:

    I need Walters Brown Betty…….


  33. maria says:

    It wasn´t just the “Performer of the Week” I will say it was the performer of the last five years and not only John Noble but the entire cast. I will miss this show like hell. Awards mean nothing. FRINGIE 4 LIFE.

  34. Janie says:

    Fringe had me from Episode 1 Season 1! My favorite show EVER by far. It was a program that made you “think”…not just watch casually. Fridays will be empty now! I cried the entire final show. Walter, Peter, Olivia, Astrid & that wonderful cow have been the BEST and I’ll miss them terribly. Walter was a marvelous character brought to life only as John Noble could do…what an actor!!! He molded Walter like a piece of clay & illuminated our TVs with his brilliance! Who needs the Emmys when your fans love you all as much as we do? Love & admiration from your appreciative audience beats a stupid statue anyday…the Emmys have NO TASTE or CLASS! Fringe, all it’s actors & the characters they brought to life will be in our hearts forever!

    • Rhonda says:

      I couldn’t agree more. I even teared up when Walter saw the cow. This was a topnotch, creative, smart show that was truly worth watching. I will miss everyone and the uniqueness of their relationships with each other–across time and the alternate universe.

  35. JB says:

    This man should have at least two Emmy’s on his shelf by now. Terrific actor!

  36. A Japanese fan says:

    It was always impressed by Walter’s performance.
    A motion of eyes, the expression of a face, and the whole body moved, and it was wonderful altogether.
    It was clear like real parent and child, and I was able to think Peter.
    You should award an Emmy Award to Walter who did such wonderful performance like this.
    Moreover, I would like to see a pleasant relation with Peter Olivia Astrid in a drama.
    I want you to realize the season 6 and a movie by all means.
    As a fan, it wishes eagerly.

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  38. bitterpeel says:

    My whole family loves Fringe especially Walter n Peter. We will never forget the journey, adventure, and excitement. Thank you Fringe. You’ve taught us the valur of humanity and the power of a father’s love.

  39. Bill in St. Louis says:

    I am reading “September’s Notebook” which is being offered as part of the Fringe booty to buy. It is really entertaining and like having a couple extra episodes to look at. Great pictures of Walter young and his whole story as well as most all of the other characters. Its the Observer September’s private notes as he oberves over many years. Google it and you’ll see. I sure hope we do get a movie. I miss this cast very much. Like so many good things, often they are missed most when they are gone.

  40. Sue Newsom says:

    in My Life, I have seen them keep constant on Brilliant Series..ex: Mash, St. Elmo’s Fire (the hospital, think that was its name), Perry Mason, etc. But I have Never seen a complete series from start to finish that had ONE actor be the Glue and very Fabric of it as John Noble did for Walter Bishop. The writers did a fabulous job on the scripts as the series progressed. Going just far enough ahead to return safely to previous ones to continue them on to bring forth such a magnificent finale. Without the Brilliant Acting of John Noble’s character existence of Walter Bishop, it may of fell short. Every series I have watched in my life, there are season’s I lose some interest due to even the standard characters..but Walter will forever bring my heart and soul to Love, Sorrow, Laughter, tears, and human frailty with the uncertain emotional fears of the unknown and “What If” ..He deserves beyond all measures to be recognized and honored. In my minds eye, seeing him walk across a stage to accept his trophy, it will be “Walter”. That is the only way it could be.

  41. alex says:

    *crying* i need a beer now and it’s not even noon yet.