Quick Take: Fringe, “The End of All Things”
“We are one of countless possible futures for humanity.” – September
Review: Fringe, “The End of All Things”
(S0414) Despite its abrupt autumn postponement, Fringe has managed to pick a pace and stick with it, completely drawing my attention away from the fact that this season is already half over. The reintroduction of David Robert Jones (Jared Harris), the long-awaited arrival of another Nina, and now Olivia’s apparent awareness of a timeline that was erased are all helping to drive the show towards a greatly hoped-for renewal.
Olivia and Nina have been kidnapped by David Robert Jones, apparently picking up on his plans from the first season to force the destruction of both universes. He has Nina strapped to a chair for Olivia to watch while he has her tortured, attempting to activate her Cortexiphan abilities with the all-familiar box of lights. Olivia, however, only associates the use of her powers with being around Peter, remembering herself from his timeline.
Back at the lab, Peter, Walter, Astrid and Lincoln are hard at work trying to go over clues from Olivia’s apartment, possibly providing some subtext as to what is going on. Just like a VHS, the universes have had their timelines “taped over,” leaving remnants of its previous construction to bleed through. Before they can discuss more than the possibility that Peter is still projecting memories onto Olivia, however, a bleeding September appears and slips into a coma in front of everyone.
Determined to discover where Olivia is being held, Peter doesn’t hesitate to request that Walter brew up some LSD, preparing to enter the mind of the Observer. What Peter finds in the Observer’s subconscious is breathtaking, both in terms of the beauty and the truth he is met with. After watching the beginning of the universe, September reveals to Peter the truth about his kind. In essence they are an inevitability in the Fringe universe – the Observers were, are, and will be a potential evolution of the human race, capable of stepping outside of time to observe their/our origins.
As Peter and the rest of us know, September appeared during Walter’s important discovery, upsetting the balance of existence. His actions, however, had the unfortunate consequence of forcing Peter’s son, Henry, to be born to the wrong Olivia. Despite his best efforts, and against the demands of his fellow scientists, September has been unable to correct the course of events, and has no time left to explain to Peter how to fix it; he disappears from Walter’s operating table, mysteriously upsetting a nearby tray.
Peter leaves for Olivia’s house after being forced from September’s mind, but is captured by David Robert Jones after he learns of Olivia’s particular requirement for activation. Despite her new-old memories, Olivia remembers some of being raised by Nina, which leads her to recognize Nina as being from the other universe. Olivia’s abilities become supercharged, sending her captors running from exploding electrical objects. She unties Peter and catches up with Jones, but he crosses over unfazed despite the bullet lodged in his throat.
For such a smart guy, I don’t understand why Peter doesn’t understand that his universe has been erased and this is all he has left; September revealed everything Peter needed to hear, but he only heard what he wanted. He seems to believe himself responsible for forcing memories onto Olivia, and so resolves to keep his distance from her. A defensive Lincoln may also have something to do with Peter’s sudden pulling away, posing an interesting, but ultimately dismissible roadblock to Peter and Olivia’s inevitable, final reunion.