I have a LOT to say about the Fringe finale. A lot of VERY SPOILER-Y THINGS, so if you haven’t watched the finale (or, say, any of the show since before Christmas…) then don’t read anything after the jump.
Honestly, this episode was not as good as some of the last few episodes– it was, at times, too heavy on exposition, for example, and I wasn’t sure the pay-off of the Jones storyline was quite enough. Still, there were some pretty big revelations, and some fantastic acting, plus the last shot was enough to keep me incredibly excited about the possibilities for next season.
First up, we learned that these alternative realities don’t just exist, but we have portals to those alternative realities opening up in our world– and that William Bell (SPOCK!) is hanging out in one of those realities. I assumed, after last week’s discussion of “deja vu” and Olivia’s use of that to solve her case, we would eventually be crossing over. I didn’t expect it this early, but it definitely broadens the scope of the show– though it also has the potential to be sort of philosophically frustrating (like a lot of the Rambaldi stuff in Alias…).
Then, we found out what’s up with Peter– he is Alterna-Peter. Our Peter died when he was seven, and Walter, wanting to replace what he had lost, apparently pulled Peter from the other reality. This was not an entirely unexpected revelation. A lot of things pointed to this being a likelyhood, but I still think it’s a very exciting revelation. How did Walter do this? Did he literally kidnap Alterna-Peter? Is Alterna-Walter like, super-pissed and evil about this? Did Walter help create the rip in our universe, and if he did, is the Doctor going to kick his ass for separating him from Rose? (Oh, I’m sorry, I’ve popped into the wrong show there…). John Noble kicked so much ass in this episode, by the way, and watching him cry makes me want to hug him. Knowing how important his mind is to his sense of purpose and self makes it so heartbreaking to watch Walter struggle with not knowing. Still, this week we were reminded why remembering sucks sometimes too, and that’s why Walter ended the episode crying at his son’s grave.
And finally, the last shot. It was… breathtaking. What I loved most about it was that it really took the typical “New York in chaos” idea and turned it on its head. It took me a minute to get what was going on, because I was scanning all around looking for the nuclear devastation or the Cloverfield monster or the ending of the Planet of the Apes. And then you realize: the Twin Towers are still standing. The city isn’t destroyed– it’s apparently in better shape than our New York. Maybe that world is the “good” one and we’re the broken one.
A few other scattered thoughts:
- Sort of fun that Spock helped introduce us to an alternative universe. I wish he had an unfortunate goatee, though.
- One of Walter Bell’s lines something along the lines of, “I’ve been waiting a long time for this.” I didn’t think about it at the time, but it occurred to me how very like a line from the Season 1 finale of Alias. “I’ve waited almost 20 years for this…” Of course, that led to one of the coolest characters and, I think, the best season of Alias. So that is a positive sign.
- The newspaper headlines in Nimoyville were interesting: Obama moves into New White House (what was wrong with the old one? was IT the successful target of an attack in that world), and references to “Former President Kennedy” speaking to the UN. By the way, this is one of those philosophically frustrating things I mentioned earlier. If Kennedy hadn’t been shot and killed, would our history have been similar enough that Obama would have moved up in the same way and been elected the same year? That seems… illogical, somehow.
- Olivia’s journey to the restaurant– why put in that scene where she was almost hit?
- Similarly: in the elevator, when all of the people flashed around Olivia, are we to take that to mean she was cycling through many different worlds before landing on the one she was supposed to go to? And how do these reality vortex things work, anyway, that she can end up in a completely different geographic location?