Fringe 4.20, “Worlds Apart”

The good news: Fringe has been renewed for one more season! I wish we’d gotten the full eight of the writers reportedly planned, but at least this way we’ll get things wrapped up for real. The bad news: this episode’s title, which is driving me mad. Is there supposed to be an apostrophe in “worlds”? Isn’t there? I’m assuming there isn’t, because it makes 80 times more sense that way.

So. Judging by the “previouslies,” we’re finally going to find out what David Robert Jones’ endgame is. We open on Walter, contemplating the bridge machine. Peter asks if he’s ready and tells him he looks great. Walter is wearing a tie because he’s addressing both core Fringe teams in their swanky conference room. He shares his theory that DRJ is trying to collapse the two universes to create a new universe over which he can rule. Walter’s idea came to him in a dream, so everyone is understandably skeptical. It’s Walternate, of all people, who reminds them that anything is possible.

In Sydney, Australia; Beijing, China; Manhattan; and somewhere in the Himalayas; solitary travelers (wearing futuristic-looking) timers approach the coordinates marked on maps they’re carrying. When the timers reach zero, the earth starts to quake in each of the locations. Veins stand out on our travelers’ heads; they’re clearly the ones causing the earthquakes. They stand in place as everyone around them starts fleeing.

Back in the conference room, everyone’s still questioning Walter. Peter realizes that the incident in Westfield, in which there was an area left standing, was a test run for DRJ. Walter thinks DRJ is going to use all the new species he’s created to populate his new world. Walter isn’t sure if anything, short of killing Jones, can stop him. I stand by my assessment that Jones’ plan is just terrible, even for an evil megalomaniac. A universe populated by giant snake-people and spider-folk and porcupine-bat-human hybrids? No, thank you. Peter tells Walter he did great, and points out that Walternate was at least willing to listen to him.

The meeting is cut short when reports of earthquakes in both universes pour in. At Fringe HQ in the other universe, Altstrid confirms 27 simultaneous earthquakes worldwide. The locations are identical in both universes. Fauxlivia suspects that DRJ is using amphilicite to trigger the earthquakes.

Back in his lab, Walter is running tests on objects collected from the epicenter of the Manhattan earthquake. Peter, Olivia and Astrid wonder if the earthquakes are another test. Walter has determined from the collected objects that Jones is trying to “retune” the universes to vibrate at a common frequency. Walter predicts more quakes, which will continue to weaken the barrier between the universes.

At Fringe HQ in the other universe, Lincoln gets a visit from Nick Lane, who grew up with Otherlee. Presumably, Nick when asked to see Agent Lincoln Lee, the agent who escorted him in didn’t bother to say, “Oh he’s dead, but I’ll take you to see the guy who’s taken his place.” Or maybe everyone’s pretending this Lincoln is their Lincoln, which is just plain creepy. And I’m sure I’ve now given this whole supplantation business more thought than anyone on the damn show, so I’m done. Anyway, Nick says he had a vision of himself in the center of the Manhattan earthquake before he heard about the earthquakes on the news.

Astrid is showing Peter and Olivia footage of the Sydney quake. They notice a woman standing calmly amidst the chaos, and Astrid wonders if she has something on her person that triggered the quake. They can’t get a good enough shot of her to tell, although Walter does think she’s pretty. Lincoln calls Olivia to tell her about Nick’s vision. There were no twin towers in the vision, so Lincoln figures Nick was somehow remotely viewing his counterpart in this universe. Olivia recognizes Nick’s name and cuts the call short. She tells Astrid and Peter that the woman who triggered the quake in Sydney is named Sally Clark. Sally and Nick were both Cortexiphan kids. Olivia realizes the quakes were triggered by Cortexiphan subjects, rather than amphilicite.

Walter has determined that the Cortexiphan subjects are somehow drawing on their counterparts’ frequency to cause the vibrations. Peter asks if the connection between the universes is what’s making Jones’ plan possible, and then asks if turning off the machine (and closing the bridge) could stop him. Walter warns that if they turn it off, they might not be able to turn it back on. The other universe wouldn’t deteriorate, but it would stop healing. Peter is a lot more willing than Walter to close the bridge.

Lincoln and Fauxlivia bring Nick to Walter’s lab, where he uses Cortexiphan (and LSD) to link Olivia and Nick’s brains. Olivia explains that the bond she shared with her Nick when they were kids will allow her to find him. Nick is all, Seriously? Lincoln advises him to “just go with it.” You know what, that’s going to be my mantra for viewing this show from here on out.

Fauxlivia, who’s rather uncharacteristically tender and mild in this episode, thanks Olivia for her team’s efforts to avoid closing the bridge. She supposedly likes coming to this universe because, among other things, we have rainbows. They don’t have rainbows on the other side anymore (due to atmospheric changes) but she still looks up after it rains, hoping to see one.

After the drugs kick in, Olivia locates Nick walking past Newbury/Rockport train station. Astrid relays this information and Peter (does he even have a damn gun?), Lincoln and the other agents head to Salem. Olivia tracks Nick to the quad on Salem Bay University’s campus. They team is able to stop Nick before he causes another earthquake, even though PETER DOESN’T HAVE A GUN. Seriously, he’s issuing orders to other agents and approaching criminals and he doesn’t have a gun, what the hell. Unfortunately, the earthquakes in other locations around the world still happen.

Nick, who’s got a nasty 2-shaped scar on his temple, sits in an interrogation room. The team gathers in Broyles’ office. Broyles wonders how the hell DRJ got all those people to agree to help him collapse the universes, and Peter points out that probably wasn’t the sales pitch. I’m not so sure. I mean, he did get people to voluntarily turn themselves into flying porcupines, so”¦ Peter surmises that the tech in the timers is from the other universe, so Broyles sets him the task of tracing the timer parts. Broyles wonders how many more quakes it will take to collapse the universes. Walter is surprised it hasn’t already happened. Broyles has been called to Washington to discuss closing the bridge; he was going to argue against it but now he’s feeling differently.

Olivia thinks she can convince Nick to give up DRJ’s location. Nick believes he and the other Cortexiphan subjects (with whom he’s not in contact) are fighting in a war against the other universe. He also believes that the earthquakes are just collateral damage in a series of offenses to make the other side surrender. Olivia tells Nick that DRJ lied and the universes are allies now.

Meanwhile, Peter takes the timer apart while Lincoln watches helpfully. Peter wonders what it’ll be like if the bridge closes, knowing the other universe is right there but inaccessible. He says at least things will go back to the way they used to be. Lincoln, mirrored in a dark computer screen, reminds him that he’s actually from the other universe. I can’t believe that shot was arranged accidentally. Peter says he believes “home is where the heart is.” Suddenly, the timer starts counting down, from 5:59:59.

Olivia tells Nick the timer has started counting down again, and begs him to save everyone he loves. He reveals that his Cortexiphan power is infectious emotions. At one point, he was depressed and contemplating suicide, but his sister was influenced and slit her wrists instead. Jones taught him how to control his ability so he wouldn’t hurt any more people. Olivia reiterates that the other side is no longer the enemy, and explains that if Nick doesn’t help, they’ll have to stop helping all those innocent people in the other universe.

After the break, Nick agrees to take them to a warehouse where he met DRJ once. He says the place is filled with unrecognizable machines, which Olivia believes could be what Jones will use to generate the force field around his “safe zone.” The team storms the building but finds it empty. Meanwhile, Nick has used his power to make the agent guarding him stab himself. By the time the team realizes Nick tricked them, he’s long gone.

With 47 minutes left to go, the teams reconvene in the conference room. Broyles says Washington has decided to support whatever Fringe decides, which would never happen in real life, but whatever. Just go with it. Walternate says they’re going to have to close the bridge.

After the break, Peter uses the bioface he invented when he was trying to get “home” to initiate a system overload. The new bioface is a convenient table-top sleeve, rather than the stupid forklift thingy they used to use. After he leaves to tell the others the overload is in progress, Walter is left alone with his counterpart. Walternate says Peter is smart, noble and kind, which is exactly what he would’ve wanted for him. Walter is overwhelmed and excuses himself.

Walternate finds him sitting out in the hall and voices their joint concern that turning the machine off will make Peter disappear. Walter has come to accept that Peter doesn’t belong to them. Walternate quotes Marcus Aurelius, “Who survived a war and spent the rest of his life working for the betterment of his people.

“Perhaps we will too,” Walternate says, giving Walter a comforting pat on the arm. “We’ll see,” Walter responds, a tear running down his face. Again, where is the sam hill is John Noble’s Emmy?

As the system overload reaches 90 percent, the teams gather facing each other in the room with the machine. Lincoln tells Peter he’s going to remain on the other side, having found “where his heart is.” Yeah, good luck with that. I appreciate that the writers were striving for closure here, but the whole Lincoln-Fauxlivia thing still doesn’t make sense. Peter shakes Lincoln’s hand and says it’s been a pleasure working with him and being his friend. You know, except for that whole part where he wanted to date Olivia and accused Peter of brainwashing her.

Fauxlivia says there are a lot of things she admires about Olivia, which sounds like some more bullshit, but I’m generously assuming that’s because we didn’t get to see the character development leading up to this revelation. Anyway, Olivia says the feeling is mutual. She tells Fauxlivia to “keep looking up, after it rains.” Goddamn this manipulative-ass score, trying to make me feel things.

Lincoln joins the Earth-B team on their side of the room and tells Fauxlivia he’s going to need her help finding an apartment. And they all lived happily ever after, or something, I guess. Peter’s right, it is going to be weird if this is the last we see of the folks from the other universe.

Everyone stares poignantly at each other (and Altstrid waves adorably) as the system overload reaches 100 percent. Walter flips the appropriate switch (and I wonder: what would happen if he didn’t?). The room vibrates and the other team winks out of existence. (Somewhere, eight minutes later, David Robert Jones screams in frustration when his plan is foiled.) “I think I shall miss them,” Walter tells Peter. “more than I imagined.” And that’s that.

Next up: the first half of the two-part season finale.

7 thoughts on “Fringe 4.20, “Worlds Apart””

  1. “Worlds apart” is an idiom.  It’s used to describe things that are super duper different.  As in, when we first met Fauxlivia, she and Olivia seemed worlds apart but we’ve grown to see how similar they are in certain ways.  Maybe it’s not used much anymore?

    I feel like we’ll be seeing the other side in some way.  Gabel is still contracted.  Again again again we have the Lost-ian gimmick of the wrong characters receiving seemingly important information.  Lincoln’s high school girlfriend killed herself because of Nick.  I’d have liked to see his reaction to that.

  2. I really loved how all of this was set up from the previous ‘in the future’ episode, although in a way nothing was unexpected because of that. I also chuckled a bit when Walter said ‘Noble,’ which was admittedly pretty darn geeky. And I’m really excited to see the Bell/Jones connection!

    I’m not sure I understand what’s being said about the apostrophe in the title, though; did they use one by mistake and you’re writing it correctly (Worlds Apart) here? I did notice that their social media account kept messing up one of the previous titles by using the wrong ‘it’s,’ but the title itself was correct.

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