Welcome to back to Open the "Fringe"! We're taking a look at the final episode of season 4, "Brave New World," Part 2! If you missed my recap of Part 1, be sure to check that one first here. There's a lot that happens in this episode, so buckle up! (And, spoiler alert!)
Now, onward to part 2!
"Brave New World," Part 2, starts out in the holodeck. No, for reals! I do not lie. Bell is showing Walter a simulation of some awesome dinosaur-like creatures he's going to create in the future, and I half expected the former Spock to say "computer, end program!" like they do on Trek. It was just a projection from the wall of Bell's office on the freighter, and he says later that if he and Walter have the power to be gods, they should be! He's a bit power-crazed, yo. Very taken with his own abilities. Just a tad.
Peter and Olivia make their way back to the lab (after "that Jedi mind trick Olivia pulled on the roof," to quote Peter, who is full of the pop culture references today), only to find it empty. Their wondering about Walter and Astrid's whereabouts are cut short when none other than Charlotte, she of the nanite-infestation, phones Olivia and says she thinks she's being followed. We see Charlotte at home, and September the Observer suddenly appears in her laundry room and some weirdo runes appear beneath his feet. Peter and Olivia arrive at Charlotte's place but that too is empty, and the floorboards where September was standing are missing. Did he rocket up through the roof? We'll find out shortly.
Broyles rings the pair up and says that Astrid has been brought to the hospital, shot in the stomach, and Walter is missing. They rush to Astrid's side, where she is out of surgery and bemoaning her inability to protect Walter from Bell and his baddies. She tells them to go back to the warehouse and find him – which they do without any backup. What is this, amateur hour? I am going to let it go, because this ep rules so far.
The scene at the warehouse proves to be my favorite of the night, as our universe-crossed couple finds September there, still stuck to the floorboards, and Charlotte popping out from behind a crate aiming a gun at them! Evil Charlotte is now evil (and cements this fact by declaring how much she actually hates kids, and was playing on Olivia's sympathy when they last met) and working for Jones and Bell. (What I want to know is how she got September from her house to the warehouse. That must have been hilarious - did she saw him out of the floor, throw him over her shoulder, toss him in the back of her SUV with his floorboards and legs sticking out the window and drive down I-95??? He is still so neat and unrumpled!) She shoots at September, who deflects her bullets because he can move much faster than we can.
Charlotte then pulls out a different gun that Bell designed and shoots again – this time September isn't fast enough, and we see how he got shot from the scenes in both the opera house and the lab, when he appeared injured and Walter & co treated him. Olivia tells her to stop, but Charlotte says Bell told her that if she put Olivia in harm's way, September would come and she could trap him. She shoots at Olivia, but this time Olivia deflects the bullets – she's faster than even Observers! IT WAS AWESOME. The bullets are of course deflected back into Charlotte's body – dead! Peter and Olivia try to help September, and Peter scrapes away some of the symbol on the floor and September falls to the ground. They tell him he was injured exactly the same way in the past – his future. September says that the rune technology should be beyond them, and that he must find out what he meant when he told Olivia in the opera house that in all timelines, she had to die, and he hopes to return to them in time – and disappears. (A paradox – I love it! By telling September what he'd said to her and where, Olivia made him do that very thing!)
Everyone agrees that Bell and Walter must be found – and to do so, they must question Charlotte. Who is dead. They hook her dead ass up to a machine that can do that very thing, brought in by Nina, who busts in like Kool-Aid with her Massive D task force and her brain toys. Gotta love me some Nina. After much creepy eye-lolling, evil giggling, and truly disturbing sing-songy words about creation and the ark, dead Charlotte reveals Bell and Walter are on a boat (in their flippy floppies!) and that Olivia is the power source to crash the universes together with her electromagnetic energy. Fringe Division locates the boat, and Peter and Olivia share one more quiet moment before gallivanting off to save the worlds. Again.
The team is on a helicopter flying over what appears to be empty sea, but Peter sees the freighter – because it's already Over There, and he vibrates at the Over There frequency. Olivia thinks she can cross over, and Nina offers up the truly cheesy line of "you've had the power all along!" before O and P jump out of the helicopter and land in the other universe, on the freighter. BAM! Rock on. Also, Peter finally is packin' some heat, and cracks that he gets a gun at last!
Walter and Bell are in the cabin, and Bell is reciting part of Irish poet W.B. Yeats' "The Lake Isle of Innisfree". I am very excited by this, because I personally chose this poem for a memorization exercise and paper in a recent graduate class. Yeats' is basically seeking a retreat from the stessors modern world, and decides to build his own safe haven on an island (Lost, I see you again) in the middle of a lake, where he expects to reconnect with the essential union that humans share with nature. Full text of the poem here – it's a short read, I'll wait!
Wasn't that a great poem? This, to me, is very Fringe, although I didn't realize it until Bell recited it. Jones' and Bell's obsession with a new world order and the ability to create better species by starting over is not a new idea. The Bible did it, with Noah, the ark, and the flood. In past reviews, I had wondered how Jones (and now, Bell) was able to convince so many people to help him in his quest to destroy both sides (think of all those earthquake helpers, and of the scientists creating new humans and shapeshifters). Clearly, he had found people who believed the world is too corrupt, and we need to start over from scratch. I can see how the idea would be appealing to lost, disillusioned souls who had been dealt unfortunate cards in life. I bet they didn't realize they were going to get squashed in the process, though.
Back to the action! Peter and Olivia bust in, demanding Bell stop his horrific plan, but he said he can no longer stop it. He calls Peter and Olivia a "final breeding pair" (gross man) and Olivia a redeemer, with her cortexiphan-juiced system. Walter, who had been playing over by Bell's old-school revolver, says "I'm sorry" and shoots Olivia right in the forehead. She falls down dead! WHAT THE. The freighter appears Over Here and the universes stop colliding since Olivia's energy is gone. While Peter wails and flings himself upon his beloved, Bell rings the small bell we've seen in previous seasons and disappears to conquer another day.
Peter is enraged and blind with grief, refusing to let Walter touch Olivia. Hilariously, Walter slaps him and tells him to get Olivia up on the desk so he can save her. Here is where the lemon cake and pig brains come in! Since brain tissue is regenerative, removing the bullet should allow Olivia's cortexiphan-soaked brain to heal itself.
In perhaps the grossest thing I have ever seen on this show (aside from the human puppet…ew…), Walter takes a letter open, cuts an exit wound into the base of Olivia's skull (!!!!), and sticks a thin metal rod into the bullet wound (!!!!!!!!) and hammers the bullet (!!!!!!!!!!!!!) out the other side (which looks to be the bullet that future daughter Etta wears around her neck). The wound on Olivia's head heals, and she wakes up. The Observer was right – in all versions, she had to die. And she did, only to live again!!! Peter is very relieved. I still can't believe Walter slapped him, hahahaha.
Several days later, Broyles is promoted to General and then meets Nina on some courthouse steps – Fringe division has gotten a load of money to continue, and he invites Nina to join up as head of Fringe Science. Not so bad! She's had quite the career trajectory. Her and Walter working together will be hilarious.
At the hospital, Walter and Peter sit and chat about Olivia, and how her brain should be pretty normal now and so should her future offspring (ahem). The doctor summons Peter and Astrid sits down instead, offering Walter a red vine. Win!
Peter embraces Olivia, grateful that all they have been through is now over (for the moment!), and after what I found to be a painful amount of time, reveals she is pregnant! With Etta, of course. Hugs all around! We end with the Fringe team all happy and fuzzy in the hospital, hope for the future abounding and evil at bay. If this had been the series finale, I could have lived with it. It was a very good ending.
But it's not the end, and as Walter is merrily toasting bread for sandwiches in the lab, September appears. He carries a warning – they are coming. And so ends season four and sets up the future Observer invasion in the 2036 future of season 5!
My thoughts: Well done all around! Many props to the entire cast, as this was an action-packed hour of deep revelations that did a great deal to tie off a lot of the mythology. Obviously, it was designed to work as either a season or series finale, and it paid dues to pretty much all of the characters we've come to know and love. I do still miss our Over There compatriots, but I get the feeling they are going to help fight off the Observer invasion, either via time travel or age-makeup. I also get the feeling Olivia isn't actually dead in the future, just hiding Over There, but I'm not sure. That would be pretty great! Our Fringe homies are still quite important in the future, and I'm sure will be instrumental in overthrowing our Observer overlords. Then maybe Peter, Olivia, Walter, Astrid, and Etta can get a big rambling house together in the country with a lab in the basement for Walter and, after he's broken out of the amber, Desmond will realize his love for Etta and join them! Perfection.
Glyph code: PURGE. It's coming, I guess. Ah, well!
Episode rating: 10 out of 10 red vines for a great finale! I will surely miss my Fringe team over the long summer.
Stay tuned to OTF for details on season 5 as they come – I can't wait to see what happens in September!(ahahaha, see what I did there?)