'Fringe' finale: The war crosses over

fringe-leonard-nimoy-john-noble-320x180.jpgEverything comes to a head in the "Fringe" season finale.

With the war between universes coming, where will our team stand by the end of the hour? Plus, a major character sees his/her demise.

Let's not waste any time. On to the second part of the "Fringe" two-parter ...

We are immediately thrust into the other side, where we see Peter in a technologically advanced helicopter with an automated voice spewing off some history of quarantined areas in their New York City. A notable mention is Madison Square Garden, which the Fringe division had closed off, calling the 10,000 people trapped inside "legally dead." Liberty Island, with a bronze Statue of Liberty, is introduced as the headquarters of the Department of Defense, which Walternate oversees. Inside, one of Walternate's minions tells him that someone was transmitted into a hospital, and that that person was him.

Our Olivia and Bell (guest star Leonard Nimoy) go to the hospital to try and Walter before Walternate and the other Fringe division does. When Olivia catches alternate Olivia and alterate Charlie charging down the hospital corrider, she races through the room while Bell buys some time. When the alternates successfully get Walter's records purged and receive his bed number, Bell leaps in to block them from completing their mission. He does a pretty darn good job of doing it, with old-school gun talk. (You can't go wrong with that.)

Olivia finds Walter and he conducts a test to make sure it's really our Olivia he's dealing with. When she responds to his question exactly the way he expected her too, Walter lets his guard down and the two race against time to make sure they get out without bumping into the alternate Fringe team, but a mere mention of Bell stops Walter in his tracks. When they get outside, Bell is waiting in a SUV. It's the first time he and Walter have spoken in a long time and their curt exchange is well-representative of that. Meanwhile, alternate Olivia and Charlie look at security footage to find out who took Walter. Alternate Olivia's face turns white when she sees Olivia and Walter. Oh crap.

In Walternate's office at the Department of Defense, Peter asks about the large map on the wall. It's a map of the quarantined areas (which, according to Walternate, is most of it). According to Walternate, it's all because of what Walter did back at Reiden Lake (or what they refer to as Zero Event), taking Peter from his universe to the other. And while the act created soft spots in both worlds, it was worse on Walternate's side. The conversation quickly turns to the schematic and the mysterious device Walternate clearly wants Peter's help with. One of the reasons why Walternate wanted Peter back? To bring his engineering knowledge from his world to theirs, in order to figure out the seemingly unworkable power source needed to fuel the machine.

Walternate's minion interrupts their meeting and brings in alternate Olivia, who Peter thinks is of the other world but obivously isn't, who is as different from Olivia as can be. The banter between alternate Olivia and Peter is amusing, to say the least. Once Peter is out of the room, Walternate switches on a dime, alleging that their doubles cannot be trusted and that they would do or say anything to get their way. Alternate Olivia asks about Peter, wondering why he was staring at her like he knew her; Walternate lays a bomb (only to alternate Olivia) that Peter is his son, but he doesn't quite answer her question of if he's from the other side. Walternate asks her for a favor.

Meanwhile, Bell, Walter and Olivia realize they won't be able to cross back to the other side without the cortexiphan kids who died, but Bell says Olivia's gift is that she can "open the door." Bell has a brilliant idea: Have something to hold open the crack Olivia's opened so that they can get home safely. Olivia breaks off to look for Peter (without any type of communication since everything is monitered).

Alternate Olivia takes on the role of guide, showing Peter the luxurious amenities of his new temporary pad that Walternate's set up for him. Peter's kidnapping was a huge story when it happened, alternate Olivia says, meaning once people find out he's back, he'll be walking around like a star. (Interesting reversal from Peter's nomadic role in the other universe, where he never stood out.) Alternate Olivia asks Peter to describe her double. (Even in an alternate universe, Peter and Olivia have their heart-to-hearts!) It's a beautiful description he gives of Olivia, but it's clear there's a part of him that wishes he never went back to where he came from.

Bell and Walter arrive at Harvard, which is unfortunately a qurantined site. It looks exactly the same as the lab from the other universe in the pilot. The two former friends and partners rehash their rocky history. It reads a lot like an old married couple having many disagreements over some old baggage. Among the things discussed: the Massive Dynamic origin (both had discussed the company's role in earlier days and how it would be used), Walter's St. Claire years, why Bell helped Walternate (he had to remain valuable to him in some capacity) and Reiden Lake. Walter has a minor breakdown when he blames Bell for robbing him of his precious memories when he cut out parts of his brain. During his rant, Walter somehow found what they were looking for. Productive, even in the state of madness!

When alternate Olivia arrives home, it's face-off time with her double, Olivia (who broke in because the key was in the same hiding spot as her's). This is going to be fun to watch! Olivia asks her for help (with a gun in alternate Olivia's face). She wants alternate Olivia to bring her to where Peter is staying, but asks instead about her mom when she sees a framed photo on the coffee table. According to alternate Olivia, Rachel died during childbirth, making it extremely hard for her mom to cope. The grass isn't greener on the other side. We learn some things about the doubles, like how similar they are yet how different they think too. For instance, Olivia's hiding place for her gun is in her purse, while alternate Olivia's is in her jacket. Unpredictability makes the world go round.

While alternate Olivia contacts her Fringe team on her bluetooth (big mistake), it allows Olivia to show off her hand-to-hand combat skills. After a massive struggle, Olivia grabs a small piece of furniture and knocks alternate Olivia out. Olivia takes this moment to make a bold decision, dying her hair brown and taking on the identity and role of alternate Olivia. (I smell trouble.) When she leaves the apartment, Charlie abruptly appears with some info on a power surge. Olivia (as alternate Olivia) mentions that they have to move Peter because Mr. Secretary doesn't believe he's safe. News to Charlie.
  
Peter dictates notes while he figures out the object Walternate gave him to study. Nothing's wrong, but nothing's working too. Then, he has an "aha" moment. Maybe the functions aren't entirely mechanical (duh!), meaning there had to be some "organic interface" attached to it. Peter hovers one of his hands over a part of the object and one of the circular objects attaches to his palm. Weird. Peter makes the conclusion that the object only responds to "a subset of people," more specifically one. Thankfully he figures out that it's him! He puts his hand on the object and it magically lights up.

Olivia and Charlie have a strangely familiar conversation in the SUV. Didn't they have this talk back in Season 1 in the other universe? When they get to Peter's place, Olivia gives Peter a drawing of the machine, explaining that the Observer left it for her to warn her what was to come. If that wasn't confirmation for Peter as to her true identity, when Olivia knocked Charlie unconscious with a wine bottle, that did it.

The drawing that the Observer gave Olivia had a figure inside the machine and was more complete, which leads Peter to make the informed conclusion that Walternate wanted to use him not to repair both worlds, but to destroy theirs. Olivia makes a desperate plea for Peter to realize that he does have a home and that it is the one he was taken to in 1985. Nevermind the saving the world stuff, when it comes down to it, Olivia wants Peter to come back because he belongs with her. Peter and Olivia share a kiss. She's finally seen the light! But will that be enough?

With the Fringe division hot on their tail, Olivia, Peter, Bell and Walter have the clock against them. Bell uses his more advanced weapon, the 77 to take out a car in seconds. Olivia is given phosphorus grenade prototypes (very unstable). Meanwhile, Peter and Walter turn on the device Walter and Bell grabbed from the lab. Alternate Broyles and alternate Olivia receive orders from Mr. Secretary. (I can already tell this is going to be a major heartbreaker, especially with double Olivia.) When Olivia tells Bell to "get down," it's already too late. Alternate Olivia's taken the shot, but when Bell wakes up, the street is in complete ruins. Olivia says she used a phosphorus grenade. I believe that, but is it really our Olivia?

Inside the theater, Bell offers to be the sacrificial lamb (noo!) to power the device. I suppose it makes sense, since he's traveled so much in between universes that his atomic makeup is screwed up anyway, but it's still bittersweet -- even for Walter. Walter turns on the device and we learn that Bell isn't as evil as was previously suspected. Bell only did what Walter wanted him to do, and that caused him not to become a carbon copy of Walternate. Within seconds, the trio return to their rightful universe. Whew.

At Olivia's apartment, everything's just as she left it. Back at the Harvard lab, Astrid hoards more pie to Peter (Turns out, Astrid's a nervous baker!) while Walter tends to Gene. Peter is still wrapping his head around what Walter did, but he sees past that (as he should). Walter risked his life twice to get him back. That's more than what Walternate's done so far.

Olivia pays a visit to an old friend, asking for a typewriter. Uh-oh. She goes into a nondescript room, the same one we saw the shapeshifter use. When she unties her ponytail, the tattoo comes into view. Confirmation. If she's here then where is our Olivia?!

Walternate walks down a bare corridor, turning on the light of a prison-like cell. It's Olivia. When she sees Walternate, she begins to panic, realizing where she is and where she's not.

Holy smokes.

Initial Thoughts: This was exactly what a finale should be. It wasn't as action-packed as I'd assumed it'd be, but the story progressed in an organic way, and that's all we can really ask for. This episode answered a lot of questions, especially the Bell/Walter debacle, but it raised several more. When was Olivia taken? How long was Bell unconscious? What does Walternate want with Olivia? Is she a replacement for Peter? Will Walternate still go forward with his plan? Now that Peter has made his allegiance known (though this could be changed), how will they save Olivia? There are many more, so feel free to share below.

Highlights & Observations:

  • "I've seen the strange. This ... this is something else." -- Peter to Walternate
  • "They have absolutely fabulous drugs here." -- Walter to Olivia
  • Walter: "William, I see you've aged."
    Bell: "It appears I'm not the only one."
  • "We've accomplished a lot together Walter, but she may be our greatest achievement." -- Bell to Walter about Olivia
  • Alternate Bell and Walternate never met in their universe.
  • There is no Massive Dynamic in the other universe.
  • "You gotta trust me. I'm you." -- Olivia to alternate Olivia
  • Olivia: "Peter, you don't belong here."
    Peter: "No, I don't belong here ... but I don't belong there either."
  • "You have to come back because in the end, you belong with me." -- Olivia to Peter
  • "This is the 77." -- Bell about his more advanced weapon
  • "Walter, you asked me why I took out part of your brain. I did it because you asked me to ... You were afraid of what you were becoming." -- Bell to Walter


What are your thoughts on the season finale? Did you see the Bell sacrifice coming? Thoughts on the Peter and Olivia pairing? Do you have any theories on what will happen in the premiere?

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