In the finale of season four of Fringe, the Fringe team race to save both universes from William Bell’s new world. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Fringe.
You know, there’s a gorgeous emotional continuity to this finale that’ll allow me to both excuse and accept how neat the end of season four feels. Part of that is because I understand that the showrunners had to write the finale with the very real possibility that this was going to be the very last episode of Fringe ever. Emotionally, then, it was nice to get closure on some plots, but I was mostly impressed with the themes brought up with the return of William Bell.
If you think about it, Fringe‘s mythology has always been tied to the idea of playing God, and the introduction of the parallel universe plot by the end of season one wouldn’t exist without Walter Bishop. As awesome as it was to get Leonard Nimoy back on the show (!!!!!! HELP ME HE WAS SO AMAZING AS A VILLAIN !!!!!!), I found that all of the scenes on the freighter existed more to build Walter’s characterization. It was deliberate that so much of season four referenced events and characters from the first season. We’re meant to look back on Walter’s affect on the world, both through his Cortexiphan studies and his deliberate crossing into a parallel world to save Peter. In both cases, Walter was playing God, believing that science could help him break from the accepted way of the world. He could find a way to improve human existence. He could find a way to save his son from a fatal disease. And he didn’t stop to think whether he should do any of those things. It was an arrogant choice of his and William Bell’s. That’s not to say it hasn’t produced a lot of good! Walter and his rigorous dedication to science have saved the team numerous times.
What we see here is the logical extension of where Walter was headed. Only William Bell STOLE IT. Oh my god, WHAT A SATISFYING ANSWER TO WHAT WAS IN THAT PIECE OF BRAIN FROM WALTER’S HEAD. It’s the actualization of where all their work was headed. Why not become literal gods of their own creation, using science to produce a new Big Bang, and creating a whole new world? Ugh, and Bell wasn’t even planning on having humans be a part of it. Like, there’s something that’s simultaneous terrifying and spectacular about that revelation. He was serious about creating a new world from scratch, and that meant he thought it through enough to make sure it would survive by eliminating all humans. Well, except for him and Walter. Wait, what were they going to do while they were in that new world? Did Bell build a cabin for them? Wouldn’t they die in a few hours after one of their creations ate them or something? Also, where did Lieutenant Gaeta go? I WANT MORE OF HIS CHARACTER.
I think it’s also fitting that throughout all of this, both David Robert Jones and William Bell both wanted to manipulate Olivia. To them, she was nothing but a means to an end, and that fits their own detached sense of self-righteous brilliance. All of these bizarre “tests” have been a way to activate the Cortexiphan in Olivia, allowing her to be the power source that Bell needed. It’s why David Robert Jones was the bishop that was to be sacrificed, not Peter or Walter. God, the more I think about that reveal in Part I, the more I just adore how William Bell was written in this finale. He’s such a joy to see on the show, and then you have to realize he’s extremely fucked up. Like, I kind of want to see more of him in season five, but that means good god what the fuck else would he do?
Good villainry. GOOD VILLAINRY.
I think that season four has been a real treat to watch, and this season finale is no exception. HERE ARE REASONS WHY:
- Astrid is alive. Would have quit the show without her.
- BROYLES. Like, okay, his story has been pretty good this season, but I’m going to go ahead and say every second of it was worth it to see his painful expression after he is promoted at the end of all of this. The traitor was rewarded, and you can see him hating every second of it. FUCK.
- Why isn’t Jasika Nicole on every show? Look at her face while she’s talking to Peter and Olivia about what happened to Walter. TALENT. PURE TALENT.
- JESSICA WAS A PLANT. I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING. Apparently everyone else did? OH WELL. Ugh, Rebecca Mader, I am so happy you were on Fringe.
- Can we talk about how deliciously strange her interrogation scene was? Like HOLY SHIT it was so uncomfortable.
- WAIT. OKAY. SEPTEMBER. What if his prediction about Olivia needing to die in all timelines wasn’t referring to William Bell? September comes back to warn about the Observers from the future, so what if that’s what he warned her about?
- Also, for real, that’s now two season finales that have Olivia dying in them. Like, the first time was shocking enough, so there was no way it could ever happen again, and certainly not at the hands of Walter. My god, I flipped the fuck out when it happened. And then we get that beautifully acted (though gross) scene where Walter and Peter try to bring Olivia back. My god, for a second, I thought the cliffhanger would be that we wouldn’t know whether Olivia survived or not.
- Olivia and Peter working together to save the world? Yes, please.
- Though Peter probably shouldn’t have jumped out of a copter on to his gun? That scene just looked silly.
- You know what didn’t look silly? Olivia capturing the bullets from the second gun Jessica shot with and flinging them back at her. OH SHIT OLIVIA JUST LEVELED UP IN EXPERIENCE POINTS.
All in all, I am immensely satisfied with this season. Now I understand why “Letters of Transit” ended where it did, right in the middle of that story, introducing us to a daughter that had never previously existed. I’m completely enamored with the Observers-as-villains storyline, so that means I’ll probably adore season five. Ugh, how long are we going to have to wait, though? If we’re only getting 13 episodes, that means it might not start until 2013. NOOOOOOOO THAT IS TOO FAR AWAY. I already need more Fringe in my life.