For me the show lost steam and interesting things to say with the end of Season 3. The end of a great show. The rest is watchable, but average TV that wouldn’t really deserve attention if it wasn’t for what came before (and Season 1 only is good because how it fits on the bigger picture revealed in Season 2/3).
So I kept watching until the end knowing it would disappoint. The finale did really nothing for me. The plot moved EXACTLY as it was described, with zero surprises or interesting development. The “emotional” moments seem well received from the internet, but they also were repetitions of everything the show already said before, and better.
Pretty much everyone who saw the finale thought it didn’t really make sense. A twit summarizes what I think was the common reaction. The problem everyone noticed is the following:
- How it is possible that Observers only get erased with the invasion, and not instead through the whole timeline, so preventing September to distract Walternate from the cure, causing Walter to cross universes, kidnap Peter, September again saving Walter & Peter from the lake, and then all the cascading of effects? Everything that happens in seasons 1/2/3 happens as direct consequence of the Observers’ intervention. If you erase the Observers then you remove the WHOLE story. So why is it only from the scene in the park onward that the timeline is affected? Why that arbitrary point? It is a good excuse to give the show the Happy End scene everyone wanted, but it is otherwise a huge plot hole that makes zero sense.
That’s the big problem. I saw the finale and I thought the writers just went with a something the public would enjoy, without giving much thought to the fact it made no sense. It may work for TV, but it’s actually even less consistent than what we got with LOST.
But after a while I realized that my memories of the show aren’t accurate about what ACTUALLY happened, and that with a little bit of hammerin’ one could manage to square this round peg into the square hole, maybe:
- Remember season 3 finale? Peter steps in the machine, ends up being erased. With the beginning of season 4 we got a rebooted universe. Peter only exists in phantom form, Walter lives in the lab and so on. The universe in seasons 1/2/3 was ALREADY erased. What happens then is that Peter is brought back by the Power of Love. It’s a horrible plot point, but it’s what we’ve got. The old universe is NOT restored, and only continues to exist for three people:
1) Peter. Because after he’s back he still has his memories of all that happened.
2) Olivia. Due to drugs and Peter she starts to have mixed memories and finally becomes the Olivia Peter remembered (this was a big plot in season 4, if you remember).
3) Walter. He’s touched by the Observer kid who gives him back all the memories he lost due to the reboot.
Those three, and all of us who watched the show, “witnessed” and remember those events. No one else. It’s a way the show has to tell us we got something somewhat private and exclusive to share with those characters.
When we deal with the erasure of the Observers from the timeline then we only deal with this rebooted universe in seasons 4/5, NOT the universe we got used to in previous seasons, which now continues to exist in memories only. So whatever effect the erasure of Observers will have, it will have in THIS new context.
I don’t have a good memory of how this reboot worked, but as far as I remember the Observers didn’t play a big role in season 4, and only seemed to actually affect the timeline with the invasion itself. So it *may* be possible that the total erasure of the Observers in this timeline doesn’t have other consequences, beside the invasion itself. Filling that plot hole that everyone noticed.
(Late edit: it seems I was wrong and there’s some deep involvement of Observers even in season 4. See episode 14. What I explain below could also give an excuse to why everything went as it should, but I have to admit it’s quite a LEAP. So thee finale may not make sense, after all.)
There are a few things left to explain, though. How was Walter able to send the white tulip to Peter? Well, do you really think that Walter would live happily and quietly in the future? It’s actually a powerful device, if you think about it. It’s an omnipotent Deus Ex Machina that’s entirely plausible in the logic of the show:
I’m being told that there’s a part of my explanation that does not work. They tell me in the reboot universe September STILL distracts Walternate from the cure. The only divergence is that Peter dies in the lake. I actually am not so sure about this, because I remember there was lots of speculation during season 4, so I’m thinking that this may be more a byproduct of speculative deduction than something the show has *shown* explicitly. In any case, the “logical” Deus Ex Machina I was talking about would fix both the problem of the White Tulip AND the problem of the necessity of Walternate being distracted so that things would work the way they worked. How? Do you really think that Walter goes in the future to start a luddite movement and abhor science? The “plan” was NOT to go in the future to obliterate current Observers, but to create BETTER observers. The kid Observer was needed to demonstrate how to achieve that betterment, not simply stop Observers as a destructive evolutionary trend and be done with it. Which means that what we got this: far future technology + Walter at their disposal = UTTER OMNIPOTENCE. Including time travel.
Hence, it would be in the realm of possibilities that Walter and the future at large have plenty of handy tools to make sure that everything that needed to happen would happen, minus the Observers invasion. Handcrafting the past so that Peter & Olivia would have the best life possible.
The White Tulip: the sign that God/Father (Walter) sends his child (Peter). To tell him he’s being taken care of:
When I take his hand
and I lead him…
he’ll know that I love him.