'Fringe': 'The End of All Things' recap
Published Feb 27 2012, 11:32 GMT | By Morgan Jeffery This Week...
Olivia (Anna Torv
) is held captive by the sinister David Robert Jones (Jared Harris), who wants to activate her powers. Peter (Joshua Jackson) and the team mount a desperate search, but the arrival of September (Michael Cerveris) leads to an unexpected discovery...Observing Fringe...
Let's face it, 'The End of All Things' has a lot to achieve. The episode attempts not only to push forward with this season's story arc, but also resolve issues stemming from Fringe
's very beginnings. Remarkably, it comes out of all this extremely well.
Olivia and Nina (Blair Brown) are being held by David Robert Jones, a character so relentlessly sinister that he really needs a moustache to twirl. While Nina is tortured to ensure Olivia's co-operation, the 'other' (presumably fake) Nina is being interrogated by Broyles and Lincoln...
It's a neat switch to have the captive Nina turn out to be the impostor - Lincoln hints that if the double were a shapeshifter, 'our' Nina would be dead, so presumably the doppelganger is her alternate self from the other universe? If so, that's one box ticked for Fringe
fans, who've long waited to glimpse the other side of the Massive Dynamic boss.
Olivia's Cortexiphan-fuelled abilities - a theme the show has explored many times before - are also addressed here, with her most powerful display yet. Forget turning on a few lightbulbs (another nice nod back to season one), Agent Dunham can fry Leland (Monte Markham) with her mind!
In an average episode, the Nina reveal and the return of Olivia's powers would be more than enough, but 'The End of All Things' has far more to offer. Promotional materials for this episode told us that we would learn who or what the Observers are and they weren't a cheat - the nattily-dressed chrome domes are in fact future humans, or at least one possible future for humanity...
The sequence in which Peter enters September's mind is undoubtedly the highlight of the episode. The Observer's 'mind-scape' is wonderfully epic and kudos to the show's visual effects team for the wonderful, effortless segues between different times and places.
Not only are these scenes visually impressive, but we're also treated to yet more answers and revelations. Peter finally learns about the existence of Henry, his son with Fauxlivia - a plot-point that, if we're honest, we'd long since thought forgotten.
And it seems that Peter and Olivia's future romance is vital not only to the happiness of Fringe
fans, but is also key to setting the timeline back on the right track. "This must be and everything will be as it was intended," claims September - intriguing...
Speaking of Peter and Olivia, the debate over her state of mind continues this week. At first glance, the hunt through old footage of Olivia's apartment seems like a waste of time, given that it eventually leads to nothing more than a dead end. But in fact, it provides a vital clue to the season arc...
Walter (John Noble) and Astrid (Jasika Nicole) compare the video to a "palimpsest", a scraped manuscript, where what was underneath can bleed through. Don't they realise what they're saying?
The older images on the camera, buried under the new footage, are a clear analogy for Olivia's old memories, buried under her new persona. It just makes it all the more frustrating when Peter rejects Olivia once more at episode's end - she's clearly a human palimpsest, you fool!
There's still plenty of questions left unanswered. What are David Robert Jones's motives? Is September dead? Who shot him? But what 'The End of All Things' achieves is still most impressive. With Peter and Olivia still in limbo, it's a little frustrating that the writers reward the viewer on an intellectual front, while toying with us emotionally.
But at least we've only got seven days to wait until the next episode, right? Wait, what? No new Fringe
for a month?!
• This week's Fringe glyphs spell out the word U N I T E
- Does this mean that Peter will somehow unite the two timelines, like he did the two universes? We've got a while before we find out...Let us know what you thought of this week's Fringe below!