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10 Best Fringe Episodes, According To IMDB

J.J. Abrams’ Fringe was lucky to even be renewed for a fifth and final season. It’s hard to imagine since the show was such a terrific successor to The X-Files. But it’s set in the world of pseudo-science, rather than the supernatural. It’s a briskly paced, creative, grounded ensemble piece that blends everything we love about science-fiction. Thematically, it delves into interesting ethical territory, and the characters have an equal share of fun quirks and heart.

The series was also smart enough to be self-aware now and then, and offer up terrific fan service later on. Here are the ten best episodes of the entire series, as ranked on IMDb. Spoiler warning!

RELATED: Fringe: The 10 Most Groundbreaking Episodes, Ranked

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The final season of Fringe was undoubtedly one of the strongest in the series. This is largely due to the brisk storytelling, wherein the reduced episodes actually helped. Fans will recall that the titular character is actually an Observer child, who lacks their signature implant. So, the team resorts to Nina Sharp, who is undeniably the highlight of the episode. It’s fun to think about how frustrating Nina was in season one.

And now, her older self is such a capable, sympathetic character. She has all the same gravitas, and her death scene is tastefully done. The episode also continues the fifth season habit of offering satisfying answers. That might just make up for Lost. It’s revealed that September is actually the Donald the team’s been looking for.

9 Over There: Part 1 Fringe Leonard Nimoy

The second season was a revelation for this series. It finally started to focus more on the overarching story. This isn’t a rare occurrence, though. Many shows on such networks prefer to start with episodic storytelling, a safer and traditional formula. This particular episode was the first of a grand two-part finale, for a decidedly innovative season. We’re informed about Peter’s prophecy, and we get another fantastic cameo from Star Trek's Leonard Nimoy.

We even see a showdown between two Fringe teams. In fact, so very much happens in this episode, it could have very well been a satisfying season finale all on its own. However, paired with the subsequent episode, it’s absolute gold.

advertising 8 The Day We Died Fringe Peter Bishop Season 3 Finale

This season three finale was a uniquely long episode, and it handles time travel remarkably well. Peter gets to view the full consequences of his decision to wipe out the parallel universe. The vengeful Walter of the Other Side has spearheaded a cult, allowing for a fantastic cameo by Brad Dourif. He’s been a superb character actor for a long time, known best for Chucky from Child’s Play. He brings that same effective eeriness here.

RELATED: Lost: The 10 Most Heartbreaking Deaths, Ranked

But the most memorable scene from this episode is undoubtedly Peter’s disappearance. His decision to merge the universes makes great sense, but he suddenly blips out of existence. And no one seems to remember him. It was a fantastic cliffhanger, but there was enough resolution to feel satisfied overall. We even got answers about the whole First People mystery.

7 Entrada fringe-entrada

This series always knows how to wrap something up with a tidy bow. True, fans may have been somewhat frustrated by the alternating universe episodes. And it’s infuriating to see Peter misjudge the Other Olivia, distracted by his longtime romantic interest with Olivia. But this episode finally tied up a lot, as Peter discovers the truth.

This is a good time to mention how absolutely talented the cast is, pulling double duty as their parallel selves throughout the episode. John Noble’s parallel Walter is just as distinguishable as Anna Torv’s so-called “Fauxlivia” is. Both Olivias are the focus of this episode, with radically different plots that are both concluded organically and effectively.

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At this point, the show was moving with unprecedented speed. In fact, this penultimate episode aired alongside the series finale. So, effectively, the coinciding episodes act as one great story. But this half is all about rescuing Michael, who’s in mortal danger. The Observers aren’t happy about Michael’s ability to combine enhanced emotions and intelligence.

It may seem rote, but somehow, the drama is always executed consistently well on this show. This episode once again captures a solid balance between poignancy and action. Etta’s death raised the stakes to such a high degree, that every move feels urgent. For a season that was all about freedom, this episode ultimately explored that theme well, though on the nose.

5 There's More Than One of Everything

This episode was the first season finale—yes, another one. Some of the most fun you’ll have with this show is watching all the puzzles assemble into a coherent image. The introduction of the parallel universe was also a surprising, innovative addition to the show. That’s what allowed the series to veer away from episodic storytelling. The Other Side became absolutely crucial, fascinating enough to last throughout the rest of the show.

RELATED: 10 Burning Questions That Fringe Never Answered

The season one finale was the first promise of perfect conclusions. It delivered an incredible subversion of expectations regarding Jones’ plan, and greatly expanded the mythology. The blend of rewarding self-awareness, intriguing resolution, and inventive revelations is a winning constant throughout this series.

advertising 4 White Tulip fringe-white-tulip

It would be difficult to find another piece of entertainment that handles time travel this well. Peter Weller of Robocop fame delivers a traditional performance, basically playing himself. But it still works, and the special effects for his body are convincing enough to be utterly revolting.

Weller’s physical appearance is an appropriate representation of his character’s obsession. His story is also a perfect companion to Walter’s struggle with the truth of Peter’s origin. The conclusion of Weller’s time traveler is just as sensible as it is touching. This episode cleverly explores guilt, and the misuse of power for selfish, emotionally charged intentions.

3 Over There: Part 2

A season finale, once more. This time, for season two, pulling the trigger on all manner of built-up promises. Olivia finally admits her feelings for Peter, which is what allows him promptly to be misled in the subsequent season.

RELATED: LOST: 10 Best Episodes According To IMDb

Peter forgives Walter for stealing him from his home, and the parallel Olivia infiltrates our universe. Which only makes sense, given that our own Olivia used that trick first. This series may frequently indulge in cliffhangers, but they defy the gimmicky reputation of such tactics. Nimoy’s performance is terrific, and Bell’s resolution is very satisfying.

advertising 2 Peter

Just from that addictive retro opening alone, this episode truly stands apart. The drama of Peter’s predicament is surprisingly grounded, as J.J. Abrams' work in science-fiction is oft to do. Walter’s motivations for taking Peter from the parallel universe are actually given a sympathetic point of view. Walter only meant to save Peter’s life, irresistible after losing his own Peter. The ethics are really mind-boggling to consider.

The whole situation is a perfect catalyst for the current events and a comprehensive study of all the show’s themes. September’s appearance is also uniquely involved, and the Observers were always an engaging mystery of the show. It’s interesting to reflect on the domino effect of everything that transpires in this story.

1 An Enemy of Fate

This is the highest-rated episode of the series for good reason. Ending such a complicated story is one of the most challenging things to do. Somehow, the writers found a way to assemble just the right conclusion. It isn’t just logical for the characters but also rewarding for the fans. The entire confrontation with the Observers, and the reveal of what they truly are was nearly flawless. Even if the value of human emotion is a familiar trope in science-fiction.

But every character gets the ending they deserve. It’s also very sentimental, without feeling excessive. The same goes for all of the fan service, like using previous cases as weapons, and Gene the cow. And Windmark’s comeuppance is hugely satisfying, just like everything else. The final shot, of Peter remembering Walter, allows the latter to both atone for his mistakes and live on. It’s exactly the kind of moment Fringe should end on. It’s a fun callback to “White Tulip”, as well as an emotional revelation.

NEXT: Fringe: The 10 Most Groundbreaking Episodes, Ranked


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