Fringe 4.22, “Brave New World” (part 2 of 2)

We open on a prehistoric-looking landscape. Bell watches it with Walter, chattering away about this great new world he’s been creating. The image – a holograph –winks out, and we see they’re in Bell’s quarters on the freak freighter. Bell can’t wait for Walter to see the real thing. He says he couldn’t stop it now if he wanted to, and he certainly doesn’t want to. The man is downright giddy about the coming apocalypse.

Fringe, "Brave New World" part 2

Peter and Olivia arrive at Walter’s lab to find it empty. Olivia calls Astrid’s phone but is forced to leave a message. Peter makes coffee but Olivia has to pour it, as Peter’s right arm is in a sling. He initiates a conversation about Olivia’s new abilities. He wants Walter to run more tests, and Olivia agrees. Then Jessica Holt calls Olivia to say she thinks she’s being followed. We see someone standing in her house. Olivia says she’s on her way over. We see that the man in Jessica’s house is September. He attempts to move, but some kind of glowing runes on the floor have trapped him in place.
After the credits, Peter and Olivia arrive at Jessica’s house to find it empty. Her bag, phone and wallet are still there. There’s a chunk of floor missing from the hallway (where September was standing). Broyles calls Olivia; an anonymous 911 call led first responders to Astrid, who’s now out of surgery at Boston General. On the one hand, it’s not that surprising that she survived, as we saw her in the recent flash-forward episode. On the other hand, we’ve learned from the Observers that there’s more than one possible future and nothing is certain. Either way, yay! Astrid’s alive! In her hospital room, she describes what happened. (She didn’t see Bell.) They realize that someone moved Astrid before calling 911, which means they wanted her to live. Yeah, it also means they wasted valuable time. Astrid tearfully apologizes to Peter for not protecting Walter. Aw.
Peter and Olivia head to the warehouse. At the waterfront, Olivia wonders again what nanites have to do with collapsing two universes. Inside the warehouse, they find September standing on the chunk of floor. Jessica’s there with a gun, which she quickly turns on Olivia. She mentions Walter to get Olivia to put down her gun.
Jessica explains that the “stasis runes” are holding September in place. Apparently this was a future he didn’t foresee. (I’m kind of wondering why the other Observers haven’t kicked him out again.) Anyway, Bell told Jessica that if Olivia’s life was in danger, the Observer would appear. Olivia works out that Jessica doesn’t really have a kid. In fact, Jessica hates kids (OMG which is how you know for sure she’s 100% evil.)
Jessica shoots at September, but he catches all the bullets. She explains that it may look like magic, but he’s just moving super-fast. Then she pulls out a special gun Bell invented (don’t they always want to invent a weapon) and manages to hit September in the chest. Olivia wants to know what the hell Jessica wants, like seriously, get to the point. Jessica shoots the special gun again, but this time Olivia deflects the bullets and Jessica’s the one who gets shot.
After the break, Olivia tries to help September while Peter calls the EMTs. Peter scrapes off part of the runes and September collapses. Peter asks after Walter but the Observer doesn’t know where he is. Olivia reminds September of his visit to her at the opera house and his warning that she has to die, but for him it hasn’t happened yet. He leaves, still casually bleeding, to “investigate the future” and find out what he meant.
Peter gets Nina to bring to Walter’s lab the tech that will allow them to question Jessica’s body. Nina says at some point she’s going to ask how Peter knew about it. Olivia is angry that Bell’s been using her feelings – for Jessica and for Peter – against her. Nina says no matter what memories Olivia has, she’s always been extremely compassionate. She thinks Bell must need something from Olivia.
On the freighter, Walter asks Bell why he’s doing this. Bell reminds him that it was his idea. He’d lost his son (twice) and was raging about how God was unjust, but he got “scared” and asked Bell to remove part of his brain. Unfortunately, Bell got cancer, and while the Cortexiphan slowed it down, his impending death somehow led him to believe that Walter’s crazy ideas made perfect sense. He says Walter has, “Always been playing God “¦ I am.”
Back at the lab, they fire Jessica up. The auto-tuned voice is a bit much, but the independently moving eyeballs and eyelids are damn creepy. Jessica calls for her mother and rambles for a bit about a bike she had as a kid. Eventually her ramblings lead Peter to realize Bell’s on a boat, which probably departed from the warehouse where Astrid was shot. Olivia presses for information on how Bell’s going to collapse the universes now that the bridge is closed. In her urgency, she grabs Jessica’s hand and accidentally shuts the interrogation machine off. Olivia realizes that she is the new energy source. Nina is able to confirm that Olivia is giving off a lot of electromagnetic energy.
At Fringe HQ, they realize the freighter they’re looking for left shore six hours ago. Nina tells Broyles they can’t shut Olivia off, but they can use her to track Bell at “the center of the storm.” Reports come in of a squall and several micro-quakes. Broyles has the search for Bell narrowed to the area around the squall. Olivia ducks into a room and Peter quickly follows her. She’s angry about how violated and “all alone” she was a child, and still is. Peter reminds her that this time she’s not alone.
On the freighter, Walter notices a gun and bullets Bell has in a case. Well, of course he has a gun and bullets in a case. Bell calls Walter over to admire the storm raging outside. Evil geniuses like watching the strangest shit. Bell explains that Olivia is powering the storm, and the eventual collapse of both universes.
The Fringe team locates the center of the storm, and Nina, Peter and Olivia head out for it with several helicopters. I think one would’ve done the job just fine. Meanwhile, Walter begs Bell to stop. Bell’s response is, “We deserve this!” Yeah, he’s too far gone. In the air, Peter is the only one who can see the freighter, because he resonates at a different frequency, and the freighter has already slipped out of this universe. Nina says this Olivia should have enough Cortexiphan in her now to be able to cross universes like the other Olivia could, but Peter (who can see the other side) and Olivia (who can reach it) have to cross together. In another moment resonant of The Wizard of Oz (like September telling Peter he’s been home all along), Nina tells Olivia, “You’ve had the power all along,” which is kind of the opposite of what she just said, but whatever. So Peter and Olivia jump onto the freighter, and Peter’s shoulder has got to be killing him. Peter, bless his heart, has brought a gun. Yes, thank you, finally. Anyway, they make their way through the ark/cargo area.
Walter gets the gun out while Bell is quoting Yeats, because that’s how you roll when you’re about to bring about the end of the world. Then Peter and Olivia barge in. Bell adapts fairly quickly; he wasn’t planning on having humans in his new world (except for those porcu-people and all their friends, I guess? But let’s just pretend they’ve lost their memories and any shred of humanity by this point) but he says Peter and Olivia can be the new Adam and Eve. Does he honestly expect them to just be like, Oh okay, cool. Incest ahoy! Bell says Peter can shoot him if he wants to, but everything’s already set in motion. He says Olivia is “a living uncertainty engine,” so Walter shoots her in the head. Damn, I didn’t think he had it in him. Just like that, the universes stop collapsing, and the freighter becomes visible to the people in the helicopters. As Walter turns the gun on him, Bell rings his “soul magnet” bell and fades out. “We could have been so happy together,” he says.
Peter is inconsolable until Walter slaps the shit out of him to get him to pay attention. Walter tells him they can save Olivia if they work quickly; the Cortexiphan will help her brain tissue regenerate. Just like his lemon cake. He digs an exit wound (with a letter opener!) and pushes the bullet out (with a map pointer!). Gradually, Olivia’s wounds close up.
In D.C., Broyles is informed that Bell is nowhere to be found (did they try the other universe?), the ark creatures have been “cryogenically quarantined” (because that’s going to end well), Fringe is getting a major bump in funding (despite Walter’s MacGuyver act, they haven’t exactly been working with popsicle sticks and potato batteries), and Broyles is being promoted to General. Nina’s waiting for him outside. He offers her a job running the science division.
At the hospital, Walter and Peter sit waiting in a hallway. Walter thinks the Cortexiphan in Olivia’s body should be all but gone. Astrid hobbles out to join them. The doctor tells them Olivia is free to go, and Peter rushes to see her. Astrid offers Walter some red licorice that she’s somehow got her hands on while in the hospital. “Thank you, Astrid,” he says, then grins and acts like it’s no big deal. I love these two. I want to see them together in the field more in Season Five.
Peter tells Olivia he found a place for them to move into. He points out that September was right in saying that Olivia had to die. This is where the episode gets really icky, and you can tell the writers were preparing for the possibility that this was the series finale. After hemming and hawing, Olivia tells Peter they’re going to have a baby. (If they’re serious about letting that plot line play out, they really need to start the new season with the baby having already been born. Pregnant FBI agent hijinks are not cute.)
Walter and Astrid come to the doorway to smile fondly as Peter and Olivia kiss. So Astrid’s fine, and Olivia’s fine, and we totally don’t need to worry about September’s warning anymore because Olivia did die, and Fringe division is getting more money, and Broyles got a promotion, and Nina’s going to be around more so she can totally bond with Olivia again, and Peter and Olivia are having a baby, and getting a new place to live for some reason, and you’re getting a car! And you get a car! And YOU get a car!
Oh, but wait. The show got renewed, so something still has to happen next season. Okay, then. Walter’s whistling “Rock-a-bye Baby” in the lab while making peanut butter and jelly on toast. A wound-free September appears and says, “We have to warn the others. They are coming.” Walter asks, “Who’s coming?” Oh, that’s sufficiently ominous and interesting! Or wait, it would be, if we didn’t already know what happens thanks to “Letters of Transit.” Way to tip your hand, SHOW.

2 thoughts on “Fringe 4.22, “Brave New World” (part 2 of 2)”

  1. I finally got all caught up with Fringe! Yay! I watched the last three episodes all in one go today.

    Ok, so I kinda feel like “Letters of Transit” was some sort of stunt to keep the show going. I don’t know if it was or not, but it was so WTF, and it had such a cliff hanger that the fan rage if there had been no follow up would have been a thing of terror and agony.

    Also, mildly disgruntled that in “Letters of Transit” Peter and Olivia are seperated again. If that is going to be the future of the show, I am gonna be more than a little grumpy. Peter and Olivia have had so many false starts to their relationship, that it is starting to get old.

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