Watching “Fringe” is more challenging than an average science fiction show because, where most fantastic fiction asks the audience to suspend disbelief, here one simply has to try to ignore it. If time travel stories induce headaches, alternate universe ones produce knock-you-off-your-feet migraines when you try to understand the plot mechanics. With season three, “Fringe” commits to being a show entirely about AU.
Problems abound trying to accept that anything in this show is happening. If you allow the conceit that every single decision everyone makes creates a new and slightly different reality: (1) how could anyone ever travel between these realities, let alone always between two specific ones amongst an ever exponentially increasing number of them? (2) How could things occurring in one reality affect another reality once they had diverged?
If you ignore those problems, there are interesting ideas being explored. Here are a couple worth highlighting:
"What if, Peter, this isn’t about biology or physics? What if what we witnessed was the very reason that Dana Grey couldn’t die?”
“Because she needed to be here to save those people’s lives.”
“You think it was her destiny?”
“Well, destiny, fate. Jung called it synchronicity, the interconnectedness of apparently unrelated events… As a scientist, I like to believe that nothing just happens. That every event has some meaning, some sort of message. You just have to be able to listen closely enough to hear it."
[a church bell rings]