Peter ““ injured at the end of the last episode ““ is being wheeled on a gurney into an O.R. He’s confused about where he is and struggles to get up but Astrid, sporting a sleek new “˜do, is there to reassure him. Good to know Astrid’s still taking care of things. Also good to see the horrible wig people from Lost have found work.
The date is May 20, 2026. Agent Dunham ““ Ella Dunham ““ shows up at Fringe Medical to see Peter. She was just promoted last week, so she doesn’t have her official badge yet and has to make do with a “temporary barcode.” She’s told that Peter is in Recovery and should be out soon. Ella spies Olivia, who has mom hair but has otherwise aged remarkably well, and they talk about the explosion that brought Peter to the hospital. They suspect it’s someone named Moreau and a group called the End of Days.
Astrid accompanies Peter out to meet them. She’s still concerned because the doctors told him to take it easy. Ella is concerned because Peter was talking about being from the past when he was brought in, but he insists he’s fine now. Astrid draws their attention to a TV, where there’s a report of a Stage 3 tear at the World Trade Center, and a terrorist named Moreau taking responsibility. Olivia says Amber protocol has been initiated.
At the Brooklyn Philharmonic, a team of three bad guys sets up some sort of device. A white-haired dude (Moreau, as we later find out) takes a moment to appreciate the music. I love how arch-villains are always really cultured. One of the men shoots an usher who gets in the way, and then the group rushes out of there. The bomb goes off, the screen goes white, and then we see the aftermath of the explosion.
Ooh, future credits. Brain porting! Cellular rejuvenation! Dual maternity! Shiny! After the credits, the team checks out the Philharmonic wreckage, which extends into the street. They find the electrolyte device the group used, which they deem a dud and take for further study.
At Fringe HQ in Boston, Peter’s checking out the electrolyte. Astrid heads off to review statements. Well, it’s a step up from cleaning up buckets of blood? I guess? Still seems like grunt work, though. Olivia comes up to check on Peter’s progress. He says he can’t figure out how the device works and it’s “past time” to call in Walter. We cut to Peter heading to a high-security prison waiting room. Walter is led out, shackled and grizzly.
Walter presses his hand to the glass and Peter reciprocates. No one stops them even though there are several Don’t Touch the Glass signs posted. Walter says he’s heard rumors that the sun is burning out and there’s been massive increase in gamma radiation ““ the latter is true; the former, not so much. The radiation was caused by a wormhole that opened up in Central Park and took months to Amber over. Walter correctly guesses that it’s a wormhole through time that dates back to the Paleozoic era, 250 million years ago. Peter shows Walter the “light bomb” (they let him bring that into a prison waiting room?) and tells him about the End of Days, a group that uses the bombs on soft spots to rip holes in the universe and hasten the end of the world. Charming. Walter tells Peter that he would need to be on the outside and have access to all his stuff to help figure out how the bomb works.
Peter goes to see Senator Broyles, who has a creepy-looking eye (bionic? Blind? Who knows?) but has otherwise aged remarkably well. (Peter’s hair is graying at the temples but yeah, he’s aged remarkably well too. It’s like they weren’t even trying. I’d buy huge strides in anti-aging treatments but they don’t use it as an excuse.) Anyway, Peter tears his attention away from the TV, which is on for some reason and broadcasting footage of a vortex opening on the Thames. He asks Broyles if he can get Walter a temporary furlough so he can help on the case. Broyles says the whole planet-disintegrating mess is Walter’s fault in the first place. Peter pleads with Broyles to help, guaranteeing that they can prevent future casualties if they figure out how the device works. Then Peter references a previous tragedy in Detroit, and Broyles gives in.
Peter accompanies a clean-shaven Walter, wearing handcuffs and a bulletproof vest, into the lab. The place is empty, the equipment having been seized as evidence. Peter assures Walter that Olivia’s going to get his stuff back for him. Walter wonders if Astrid’s going to be there and asks to see his office. He entertains himself by swiveling in a chair until Peter tells him he’s got a visitor. Olivia has arrived, along with boxes and boxes of lab equipment. Walter runs to Olivia and hugs her. He welcomes her to the family, even though the wedding was some time ago. Olivia shows off by using her telekinesis to prevent a falling box of fragile equipment from hitting the floor.
Elsewhere, Moreau and Walternate are meeting outside at night. Moreau’s got an electrolight with twice the yield of the ones they’ve been using, which Walternate plans to use on the wormhole in Central Park. We learn that the other universe was destroyed by a wormhole, and that (unsurprisingly) Walternate is the designer of the light bombs.
At the lab, supervised by guards, Walter is stumped. Peter brings him some red licorice (aw) and Walter tells him that even if they stop the End of Days, the actual end is inevitable. He says they sealed their destiny the day they activated the machine. Walter now understands that the two universes are “inextricably linked,” and the day the other universe ended was also essentially “the day we died.” Peter’s not convinced, or at least refuses to believe that there’s no hope. Walter asks if Peter’s seen Walternate, who is something of a recluse. He came here to destroy our universe and was stuck when his was destroyed. Walter thanks Peter for speaking on his behalf at his trial. Peter says, “No matter who’s at fault, you’re my dad.” Aw”¦
At home, Peter makes dinner and Olivia remarks that he’s picked up Walter’s habit of cooking when agitated. With the whole damn world falling apart, Olivia must be eating pretty well. Peter notices a drawing of two adults and a kid on the refrigerator. Olivia says a neighbor girl named Amanda drew it of them and the kid she expects them to have so she can baby-sit. Peter’s still hopeful that it could happen.
The next morning, Peter’s phone gets him out of bed. Walter’s calling to report that the he’s found evidence of a radioactive isotope that’s produced when the electrolights are made, which would also leave a signature behind. And they’re off to look for “radioactive breadcrumbs.” Peter and Olivia join the science division, currently going over a campground site. Peter’s perplexed about how anyone was making bombs when there’s no sign of people, and Olivia asks to be notified if they find anything weird. An agent gives Peter a small item she found, which he hides from Olivia. He says he’s going back to the lab to see if their detection sensors are faulty. Inside the car, he studies the item, one of those hide-a-key boxes (with a key inside).
We cut to Central Park, part of which is encased in Amber. Two men set down a case containing two of the devices very close to the Ambered-off area. At Fringe, a perimeter-breach alarm goes off. In the lab, Olivia asks Walter about the device. He says it’s advanced technology, but he has no idea where the components came from. Then she receives a call notifying her of the security breach in Central Park, and reports of Moreau at the scene.
Peter arrives at the house on Reiden Lake. His phone rings and he answers but doesn’t hear anyone. The display reads No Signal and Missed Call. Peter uses the key to enter, gun drawn. The place looks deserted but Walternate is sitting inside, all casual-like. “Hello, Peter,” he says. Peter puts his gun down and sits opposite Walternate.
Walternate says he knew Peter would recognize the key. Peter can’t believe he didn’t guess Walternate was working with Moreau, or that Walternate invented the electrolight. He calls Walter and Walternate “yin and yang,” which Walternate does not appreciate. He claims he came here on a mission of mercy, and then his universe was destroyed by Peter. Peter says he only acted in self-defense, and points out that Walternate is the one who turned the machine on. Walternate is out for revenge. “You destroyed my universe, son,” he says. “I’m going to destroy yours”¦ but not all at once.”
Olivia and Ella arrive at the park, Ella still unable to reach Peter by phone. An agent tells Olivia they found a bus parked near the perimeter breach. Olivia’s issuing orders when everything goes white. When Olivia comes to, everyone else is still out cold on the ground. She sees what looks like a dark spot in the middle of the Amber. Back at Reiden Lake, Peter apologizes to Walternate for destroying his world, and then refers to it as “our people.” He wishes he could take it back, but tells Walternate that it’s no excuse for what he’s doing. Then he holds up handcuffs and tells Walternate he’s coming with him one way or another. Walter says he’s going to kill someone Peter loves and Peter lunges at him, only to realize he’s been chatting with a hologram. Back at the park, Walternate shuts off the hologram, then walks up and shoots Olivia in the head. Right in the head, man.
Peter speaks at Olivia’s funeral. We don’t hear him, music playing over the scene as the camera pans over those in attendance ““ Broyles, Nina, Astrid and Walter among them. An American flag is folded and presented to Ella. Then the casket is set on fire and cast into the water.
Walter and Ella are caught in traffic on the way back from the funeral because of the wormhole, which has yet to be re-sealed. Walter, struck with a thought, asks to be taken back to the lab. Meanwhile, Peter’s at home working on his second bottle of vodka. He sees Amanda’s picture on the fridge and breaks down.
At the lab, it’s the next day and Walter is still running diagnostics on something. He reminds Ella that she used to call him Uncle Walter. She says she doesn’t remember much from before things went bad. He apologizes for her loss (I’m guessing Olivia’s sister died) and wishes he could take it all back. She cuts him off and says there are no happy endings nowadays, then admits that she remembers Gene and her “kind eyes.” Walter’s attention is suddenly caught by a beep from the monitor, which shows a display reading “Carbon Dating Confirmed.”
Walter goes to Peter and tells him it’s not too late, that Peter can “go back” and make a different choice so both worlds are saved. Walter says while he was in prison, he wondered where the doomsday machine actually came from. He’s just realized that he was the one who sent the parts back in time, through the wormhole in Central Park. Walter nixes Peter’s idea, to simply not send the parts back, because of the time travel paradox. Now they just have to bring Peter’s consciousness forward, so he can see what happens if he makes the same choice. Peter is worried about the repercussions but Walter points out that, “It can’t be worse than this.” Peter asks, “What would I need to do?”
Then, suddenly, we’re back in the present, with Peter still locked in the machine. Ah, the old time-travel cheat. Not quite as annoying as It Was All A Dream, but close. Peter’s heart rate is rapidly climbing. Broyles says it’s been 60 seconds and they should take Peter out, but Walter argues that he’s too closely interfaced with the machine.
Over There, Brandonate is telling Walternate that something’s making the soft spots worse. Walternate gets Olivia out of her cell, hoping that she can do something to stop the machine as the planted drawing suggests. She smugly tells him that Peter and the others have realized Walternate turned the machine on. Then Peter starts to appear in their machine, and conversely, disappear from ours.
Olivia rushes up to the machine, and then Peter’s back and alert. “You’re alive,” he says, relieved. Then he does something to the machine, and it becomes clear that somehow both groups of people ““ including Walter, Walternate, Olivia, Fauxlivia, Peter and Brandonate ““ are all in the same room. Awkward.
The machine releases Peter. He tells everyone present that Walter ““ or whoever sent or took the parts back in time ““ is “The First People.” He says that if one side dies, they both die. He’s used the machine to build a kind of “bridge” between the universes so they can work together and fix things ““ and then he winks out entirely. Walter and Walternate argue about their comparative culpability, but Olivia interrupts to tell them it’s more important that they start to fix what’s broken than determine whose fault it is.
Outside, the Observers are looking up at the Statue of Liberty. One says, “You were right. They don’t remember Peter.” Another (the one we’ve seen most often) responds, “How could they? He never existed. He served his purpose.” Well, damn. Is it wrong that I was less bummed when I thought Olivia was the one to die? I don’t even have anything against Olivia, but this ending just left a bad taste in my mouth, so to speak. The powers that be just might have shot themselves in the foot with this one. I’m wary, but reserving judgment until Season Four.