FRINGE Season 4 Finale Recap: ‘Brave New World, Part 2’
May 12, 2012 by Marisa Roffman
It’s very weird to write about a FRINGE finale and not immediately have the urge to jump to talking about the ending that blew my mind. I get the reasoning of why the writers decided to go down this road (and I respect them for doing what felt natural for this arc and these characters), but I’m not going to lie and say a part of me didn’t miss bolting up from my couch and yelling at the TV as the season came to an end.
Well, heck, maybe I did jump ahead a little bit. Let’s start with the beginning of “Brave New World, Part 2″…
Can I say how thankful I am that the tease of Bell showing Walter the plan for his perfect world was just a stimulation versus reality? Forget the creepy implication, but it was also giving me a bit of a TERRA NOVA flashback. (Sorry TERRA NOVA fans.) The duo debate the merits of fate, and Walter tries in vain to convince his old partner not to go through with his plans — of course that doesn’t work. (Watching Leonard Nimoy and John Noble go toe-to-toe? Magnificent. Always has been and I suppose it always will be.)
Olivia and Peter — now safe the next morning after surviving David Robert Jones’ attack — go looking for Walter and find he’s not there. Olivia gets a call from Jessica Holt (AKA Rebecca Mader) who claims something is wrong, but before she can get too far, Broyles calls with the news that Astrid has been shot…and they realize Walter is gone.
Peter and Olivia go to search the place Astrid and Walter were at before he went missing and discover September trapped in stasis runes…by Jessica. She threatens Olivia into putting down her gun, and reveals she works for Bell. Jessica tries to shoot September, but he catches the bullets. (Best party trick ever?) But then she whips out a Bell-designed gun that is faster than the normal kinds and she manages to shoot him. (Hey, at least now we know the answer for this burning Q.) She tries to shoot him again but Olivia taps into her super powers and throws the bullets and Jessica dies.
As Peter works to get September free from his trap, Olivia jokes that now she at least knows why he was shot when he warned her about her inevitable death. September is confused because he says he didn’t tell her that, and I’m going to admit part of me was hoping for an evil twin/faux-September out there who was causing trouble. I’m a bit confused about how the Observers can know all of the events of time and yet doesn’t know about his conversation with Olivia…I felt like once it happened, the memories stayed with all versions of them?
Anyway, with Jessica dead, there’s no one to help find Walter…except given that she’s recently dead, Peter and Olivia realize that there is technology out there to help her speak from beyond the grave — the kind we first saw used all the way back in the FRINGE pilot on John Scott — so they call upon the badass known as Nina Sharp. (Yep, she’s officially a badass.) And not only was she a badass, but we also got to see the return of Mama Sharp, as she counseled Olivia.
Back on the boat Bell and Walter continue their face-off. “If we are capable of being gods, then it is our destiny to do so,” Bell says. Walter is horrified, but Bell rightly points out that Walter has played God in the past. (Heck, so much of all the terrible things that have gone down is because of Walter’s choice to save Peter.) Poor Walter is in no position to be throwing stones.
Back at the lab, Nina’s experiment on Jessica works, but she starts spouting off jibberish in one of the creepiest scenes FRINGE has ever done (I’m not crazy with that assessment, right? I watched it for the first time at 4 AM, so I realize that’s a bit abnormal, but geesh), which frustrates Olivia. Liv grabs her and whoops, she basically short-circuits the already-dead Jessica and makes her useless to the team. But now that Nina realizes what Bell’s plan is, she realizes she can use Olivia to track him.
Olivia, Nina, and Peter take a helicopter to the location, but the women are stumped when they see nothing there. Thankfully, they have Peter with them, who thanks to his being from Over There, can actually see the boat’s location. If they team up and jump down together, Olivia’s powers can cross them over and Peter can guide them down. Yay, Super Team!
They track down Walter and Bell, who is originally frustrated that more humans have found his ark (apparently he planned on spending his remaining days there and being satisfied with the human race dying out once both and Walter passed away), but he concedes that Peter and Olivia can stay on as the new Adam and Eve.
Peter wants Bell to stop doing what he’s doing, but Bell says this is on Olivia now…every breath she takes brings them closer to the inevitable…so Walter takes the gun he’s been toying with and shoots Olivia in the brain. (Oh, FRINGE writers. How could you? I had barely recovered from the last time a version of Walter did the same thing to an Olivia.) Peter is devastated, but the damage outside stops. Walter turns his gun towards Bell, but rings a Bell and starts to disappear in front of them, leaving them with a ominous message: “We could have all been so happy together.”
Walter tells Peter to snap out of it if they want to save Olivia’s life. The younger Bishop insists she’s dead, but Walter literally slaps his son out of it and insists they bring her to the table. Walter says the Cortexiphan properties can regenerate her brain, but they need to get the bullet out. Walter makes an exit wound in the back of her head (ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww) and then shoves the bullet out — the same bullet we saw Etta (Olivia and Peter’s daughter) wearing around her neck in 2036. Walter has blood on his hand, literally, as they wait to see whether Olivia will recover. “It worked,” Walter tells him, and the Bishop men weep over the no-longer-dead Olivia.
Later, Broyles meets with a higher-up who informs him Bell is still MIA. But there’s good news — Broyles has gotten a promotion to General! The look of astonishment and pride on Broyles’ face was just lovely. And as a bonus, Fringe Division now has a “fully funded science department — and no one to run it” which means the good ol’ General offers the job to Nina. And then she’s delighted, too.
Walter and Peter wait at the hospital for Olivia, and Walter tells his son that Olivia could very well be “normal” now. Astrid joins them, and after a doctor tells Peter that Olivia is ready to leave, Astrid offers Walter some Red Vines…and then he calls her by her real name.
Peter greets Olivia in the hospital by telling her he found them a home. “I suppose that he was right, the Observer,” Peter tells her. “In every version of the future, you had to die. But I don’t ever want to lose you again.” (Does that mean he’s told her about the Walternate future death?) Peter senses there’s something on Olivia’s mind and there is — she tells him she’s pregnant. Peter leans in to kiss his baby mama (I promise to try to never use that phrase again), when Walter and Astrid make their presence known. Peter and Olivia kiss anyway and a delighted Walter puts his arm around Astrid’s shoulder. Baby Etta, congrats on your official in-timeline debut
Later, Walter is at the lab, whistling “Rock-a-bye Baby” when suddenly September appears. “I don’t suppose you’re here for a sandwich,” Walter questions. Of course he isn’t. Instead, September warns, “We have to warn the others. They are coming.” (Was anyone else a little creeped out by how super-serious/deadly Walter sounded when he asked “Who’s coming?” Only me?)
And that’s it for the season.
Other random thoughts/questions…
- Right now my biggest question is the issue of WTF is going on with Bell. It doesn’t seem like he’s entirely human — forget the sanity aspect being totally questionable — but I almost wonder if he’s some sort of Observer. Or he stole/accidentally stumbled across their powers. Not only does he seem to know so much (not even a blink over the no-longer-erased-from existence Peter? I know he had Jones, but you’d think he’d still have some sort of reaction), but he was able to transport himself with a simple ringing of a bell and he has tech that is more advanced than even the Observers thought he should have access to.
- So, to clarify, little Etta fetus has survived a jump from a helicopter and her mother being literally dead. And we were impressed by her ability to block the Observers? Heck, she’s Supergirl!
Exchange of the night:
Walter: “Is that lemon Jello?”
Nurse: “These are urine samples.”
Walter: “In that case, no thank you. I’m more peckish than thirsty.”
A little bit of shameless self-promotion, but I spoke with FRINGE showrunners Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman about the finale and where they may be going in season 5, so if you want a little tease on that, be sure to check that out.
But that’s truly enough from me. What did you think? Were you happy to have a quieter/happy ending to the season for the first time? Did you miss having a truly shocking moment to end the season? I want to hear what you guys have to say…
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Filed under Fringe Recap