Fringe and autism (more or less)
I am a “Fringe” fan.
Yes, I know that the series ended last January, but even though I have heard about the series before and actually saw a couple of episodes for a project that I am working on (stay tuned!), I only started to watch it consistently about a couple of months ago.
I was rapidly hooked.
In a nutshell, to me Fringe was like the X-files with more action and frankly, more lively characters. The show followed the adventures and misadventures of Dr. Walter Bishop, an almost prototypical mad scientist but without a doubt a genius, his son, Peter who had an almost equally gifted mind and FBI agent Olivia Dunham, on whose side you really want to be in any kind of conflict.
I do not want to give too much away in case you decide to watch it (believe me, it will be worth it; the show is AWESOME), but the series is about weird, really weird things including parallel universes, time travel and a mysterious group of characters, the “Observers”, who have more than a passing resemblance to “Men in Black” (of UFO lore, not the Will Smith movies).
One of the most preeminent Observers in the series was “September” (a code name; he subsequently took the name Donald) who surprised everyone by revealing that he had a son, Michael (watch the series to see why this was a surprise). Michael never spoke and he certainly did not communicate in any traditional form.
Not so long ago I wrote a blogpost for the Science in my Fiction website about some examples of autistic science fiction characters. Even though Fringe never touched the topic, in the very series finale one of the subplots did remind me of autism. A lot. You see, one of the main things about autism is that the lack of communication skills is common in people with autism with various degrees of severity.
In a scene where September/Donald talks to Dr. Bishop about how he feels about his son, Michael, he says:
“I can’t communicate with him in the traditional ways. When I take his hand and I lead him… he’ll know that I love him.”
Walter replies, “That’s being a father…”
And that’s when I cried a little… Just a little…
If you want to know more