Tonight, Fox's groundbreaking sci-fi series Fringe wraps its epic timeline-jumping, alternate universe-spanning five-season run with an emotional two-hour finale. Will the Observers be defeated? Will Walter (John Noble) sacrifice his own life in order to ensure it? And will Peter (Joshua Jackson) and Olivia (Anna Torv) be reunited with daughter Etta (Georgina Haig)?
In a conference call with reporters Friday morning, Jackson artfully kept those answers to himself while still offering a taste of what fans can expect from the cult show's "emotionally honest and satisfying" closing act. "The first of the two hours really deals with Olivia's story almost exclusively," he revealed. "It gives us, in a very Fringe-y way, a final insight into where she is or has been over the course of this season. Nobody other than really Olivia has much of any role in that story."
The final hour of the series, entitled "Enemy of Fate," widens the focus to include Peter and Walter as well. "Everybody has their piece of the story," Jackson promised. "Ultimately, Peter's role, as it has always been, is to be the dutiful son and husband and father, and that plays itself out in a really specific way." One that, we're betting, will require mountains of Kleenex.
Jackson, who finished filming the series a month ago, said he takes pride in the fact that, as grandly intricate as Fringe could be, "the beating heart of the story was always the family tale" of the dysfunctional, brilliant Bishops—a focus the drama retains in its finale. "I really love the ending," he said. "I think it makes really good sense. Olivia and Peter end in a proper space, and Peter and Walter get to the place they need to be."
At the same time, Jackson hinted that Fringe might continue in some future incarnation. "I have a funny feeling that, as much as we who have been making [the show] for the last five years are finishing our portion of it, I think it will live on," he said. "How it manifests itself, I don't know. Perhaps there would be a movie. I think there will probably be a lot of fan fiction. Maybe there will even be some sort of filmed addendum to the show televised. I feel like the afterlife of Fringe is a test case for how modern cult shows are going to live on after they go off the air."
Jackson—who's been through the series finale thing before with Dawson's Creek—admitted the experience of saying good-bye was no less emotional this time around. "The hardest thing to walk away from is the camaraderie of the company, both of the crew and the group of actors," he said. "I'm sad to see it end, but I hope that we're gonna go out with a bang."
The Fringe finale airs tonight at 8 pm on Fox.