Mourning the loss of a great character is never easy, but how do you mourn the loss of an entire universe?
On Friday’s episode of Fringe, “Worlds Apart,” the show asked us to wave goodbye to our beloved Fringies from Over There. Like Walter, who revealed his strong attachment to the Earth 2 folks and their world at the end of the episode, I’m going to miss the Alt-set even more than I could have imagined. I know the Earth 2 folks aren’t exactly dead, but they are gone, and they took Lincoln Lee with them. It’s likely we’ll see them again before the series ends (I hope), but I don’t expect to see Peter and Olivia universe-hopping any time soon. The bridge is closed, the link is severed and our focus is now on Earth1 and the race to capture David Robert Jones.
Fringe regained its focus this week after last week’s baffling ‘Epitaph One’-esque adventure. (I liked that episode, btw.) This was a tight, focused and fast-paced episode that kept adding layers of suspense as the clock ticked on. I wasn’t quite as spellbound by the tense goings an as the writers may have wanted me to be, but I was still on edge for a good part of the hour.
The episode began with a suited up Walter explaining to teams from both sides that Jones was planning to destroy both universes and build a third world in his image – he was truly “playing God,” as Walter remarked a few episodes ago. Jones’ clever plan involved brainwashing former Cortexiphan case studies and using their special abilities to start earthquakes all over the worlds. As the earthquakes went on, the universes became more unstable, which would eventually lead both universes to merge and explode. Jones had somehow planned to escape perishing with both worlds by creating a safe zone where he and his mutant beasties would survive to build a newer, creepier Eden.
I love how all of this came to Walter in a dream. And it all turned out to be! It was great to see Walternate back Walter up in the conference room when Walter revealed his bizarre vision. There was a lot going on in this episode – physic connections across universes, race-to-the-finish chases, and the threat of the apocalypse right around the corner – but best scenes all involved John Noble talking to himself in quiet rooms and corridors.
We all know Peter is suppose to be the savior of the universes (and that was reiterated here when he interacted with the machine to close the bridge), but Walter is the character I most look forward to spending time with. This season, we were given the gift of watching Walter find his confidence (and his marbles) again, and it’s been a great, emotional journey. Watching Walter reconnect with Peter has been especially rewarding. John Noble has been killing it this season. The scene in this episode in which he and Walternate discussed their fates and what kind of men they’re going to be, well … it may have been one of the most memorable scenes of the series.
And once again, Fringe reminded us that cuddly Walter Bishop still has to pay for his past crimes. All of the chaos orchestrated by Jones would not have come to be if Walter had not experimented on children with Cortexiphan. His boundless curiosity and dangerous ego laid the groundwork for possible devastation. Walter carried the weight of this truth on his shoulders all through this episode, which added an extra layer to an already deep story about the strange and shaky relationships between dual realities and the limits and dangers of blind ambition.
And how 'bout we raise a glass to Fox, who have decided to keep the show around for a fifth and final season? They didn't have to renew the show, but they did, and they've offered the showrunners the chance to complete the story in a satisfying way. Here's hoping Lincoln and his Earth 2 pals will return in Season 5.