After last week's dozy of an episode Fringe tones it down a notch but still manages to answer some nagging questions. Some familiar faces from past seasons return as Jones' agenda starts to be revealed. The season's story begins to speed up before its bridge is burnt.
This week is the 11th hour for both Fringe teams and their respective universe. Walter briefs both sides on what he believes David Robert Jones has planned, which is to fold over both universes and ultimately destroying everything. In Walter's theory he also believes if Jones is successful in folding/destroying both worlds there will be an area in the middle of the overlap (an eye of the storm) where he and his followers will be able to survive; just like the events in Westfield. Walter's theory starts to become a reality as Jones puts his plan into action with multiple earthquakes all over the world and in both universes. Closing the bridge, that has begun to heal the alternate universe, has become the last and possibly only resort to stopping Jones.
It might be the end of an era after this week's Fringe episode. With both Fringe teams agreeing they were out of options to stop Jones' plan currently in motion they severed the bridge between their worlds. Cutting ties with each other's universe was a hard pill to swallow from each of the character's perspective, as well as the audience members like myself. The back and forth between both worlds was what I grew to love most about this fourth season of Fringe. The post-Peter time-line notwithstanding, I found the interactions between the Fringe characters and their doppelgangers to be a fresh take with the series. Now I should never say never with a show like Fringe because both Peter and the machine are still around. Closing the bridge doesn't necessarily mean it can't ever be reopened again.
Before the teams settled on their last resort of the closing the bridge to stop Jones they did try other options. Call me twisted but when Peter first was suggesting the 'unthinkable' (aka the closing the bridge option) I first thought he was going to say something completely different. When Walter discovered Jones was using his former Cortexiphan kids and their doppelgangers in the alternative universe to create earthquakes on both sides I thought Peter was eluding to killing their doubles on the alternate side or both. With the connection between the Cortexiphan kids and their doubles on the other side being the sole reason for the simultaneous tremors it stood to reason that eliminating that connection would stop the quakes and ultimately Jones' plan to fold both universes together. In short, if you are still following my ridiculous re-cap logic, I believed the Fringe team, or maybe just Peter, would kill the Jones' followers before they even considered closing the bridge. Like I said a little twisted right?
I'm about to get into some pretty crazy 'what if' scenarios for future episodes, but before I do I have to acknowledge some brilliant acting in this episode. John Noble deserves at the very, very, VERY least an Emmy nod after this season. Don't get me wrong Anna Torv had some outstanding moments acting off herself as Olivia and Bolivia started showing each other mutual respect and compassion, but Noble's Walter & Walternate moments stole the show for me. Walternate not only gave his double respect of his own but showed his first moment of genuine sympathy for Walter. Walternate saw past the broken man who Walter had become and saw himself. It had been all too easy for Walternate to believe he was nothing like his doppelganger but in the episode's final moments the two realize they aren't really all that different. I know that all may sound very philosophical and over dramatic but the fact one actor can perform these two very different, yet parallel characters with unwavering believability is just uncanny. John Noble I tip my cap to you sir. You have become nothing short of legend in my silver screen watching eyes.
The Observers factor wasn't touched this episode after last week's future episode, "Letters of Transit". Since the Observer, September, is back from whatever beyond him and his bald buddies are from, there is a good chance he will warn the Fringe team of the impending invasion to come before the season is out. There are only two episodes remaining in this season, and news this past week of Fringe being renewed for a fifth and final season (worth only 13 episodes), not a lot of time is left to finish up the series. If that Observer invasion future is the direction for the series end game, and I hope it is, the time line will have to be bumped up significantly (at least by 3 years). If last week's glimpse into the future does come to pass it means Jones failed in his current plot to fold the two universes. I believe if the Observer future is the series final goal Fringe either has to kill off Jones by the end of this season or pull a 180 and have team up with him with the Fringe team to stop the invasion. Sounds crazy, I know, but Fringe is all about the crazy. And I love it for that.
Andrew Burns loves film and comics, and can be found writing about when those worlds converge. You can follow him on Twitter at @myAndrewBurns.