Another 22 down, 13 left to go, and still a ton of sci-fi mystery to look forward to. Fringe closes out another stellar season of TV with season 4's head scratching finale, "Brave New World: Part 2". Somehow this finale episode oddly ended up being one of Fringe's few predictable episodes of the whole year. A spotlight on their foreshadowing if you will.
So "Brave New World: Part 2" kind of goes like this: Peter and Olivia have only about five minutes to enjoy the defeat of Jones when they learn the news Astrid has been shot and Walter is missing. On the search for Walter, Jessica Holt (last episode's victim of Jones' nanites who volunteered for Walter's cure), she reveals to be much more than she originally seemed. Jessica corners not only Peter and Olivia, but also September, everyone's favourite Observer. Bell reveals to Walter his God complex plan for the new universe with time quickly running out to stop him. Bell's true intentions for Olivia after all these years is finally revealed as both the power source and being mother to his new world.
For a finale episode most of the big twists or shocking revelations felt a little tame compared to what Fringe has done in the past. I'm not saying it wasn't a good episode, because it was, but ever since that game changer future episode, "Letters of Transit", the mystery of the series' end game isn't much of a mystery. Jones is gone, the bridge is closed, and if you are reading this after already watching this finale Bell's third universe plan was stopped. Three huge, and yes sometimes overlapping, main plots all have seemed to come to a close in the these last few episodes of the year so with an official 13 remaining episode countdown now happening the Observer invasion angle proves to be the show's only angle left. Looking back "Letters of Transit" becomes a double edged sword for not only this season but now the series as a whole.
But enough about next season, lets talk about the cool parts of the finale. I'll start with my favourite bit, Septembers appearance. Jessica, played by Rebecca Mader, working for Bell and Jones the whole time was an 'out of left field' twist I'll admit I never saw coming. Mader was a Lost and 'Bad Robot' alum so it did seem a little odd in "Brave New World: Part 1" when her character's story-line appeared to be both short lived and over. That's probably what made the twist of her working for Bell at the beginning of this episode all that more shocking. The next interesting part of this all was Bell somehow knew how to detain an Observer using their own technology. For all those Supernatural fans it was kind of like a devils trap for Observers that September was caught in. Since Bell disappeared, was not killed off at the end of the episode, and was also shown as one of the four encased in amber in the future, he will likely be a big focus in the remaining 13. Just how big still remains to be seen, considering the whole Nimoy retirement thing, which I won't get into again.
The episodes final scenes were a mixture of old and new foreshadowing, and some touching moments. Obviously Olivia's death was coming since September's warning earlier this season, but I didn't expect it to be this soon. Maybe equally as obvious her death was short lived as killing off a series lead going into a final season didn't seem likely. Again, because of the future episode and the 13 episode remaining time frame, Olivia and Peter's relationship is fast tracked with news of Etta on her way with Olivia being pregnant. Before the baby news Walter and Astrid share a great moment with each other over some red rope licorice as Walter gets her name right for once. Lastly there is a kind of 'deju vu' scene were Broyles is finishing his debriefing on Capitol Hill and is promoted to General Broyles. Much like the ending of season one Broyles leaves the government building to an awaiting Nina and offers her to join him in a fully funded Fringe division. Not sure what to make of that repeating-like scene, although it is a new time-line so they can get away with it, but from what I saw it to be is the start of a very different type of Fringe coming next year.
To try and guess where Fringe may go in their final season next fall might seem easy, but it is still Fringe and anything and everything goes. Since the vast majority of loose ends all appeared to be tied up by the end of this episode my prediction is a bit of a fast forward for Fringe's fifth season return. Other shows have done it in the past, One Tree Hill for one (I'm embarrassed that I know that) jumped their story five years into the future. OTH (again so embarrassed) used that technic to refresh their series and breathe new life into it, but Fringe, if they went this route, would do so because of their half season constraint. We'll just have to tune in next fall to find out what the final 13 have in store.
[Side Note: Fringe's "Pilot" episode director and co-creator J.J. Abrams has said he would return to direct an episode if the show came back for a fifth season. So I hope J.J. is a man of his word]
Andrew Burns loves film and comics, and can be found writing about when those worlds converge. You can follow him on Twitter at @myAndrewBurns.