A new feature in which we spotlight the past week’s shining star
THE PERFORMER | John Noble
THE SHOW | Fringe (Fox)
THE EPISODE | “Liberty”/”An Enemy of Fate”
THE AIRDATE | January 20, 2013
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.