Fringe “Worlds Apart” Review

Fringe "Worlds Apart" Review

Fringe fans this week had two things to celebrate. First, the show was renewed for a fifth and final season run of 13 episodes. This will take the show up to 100 total episodes, which is the usual standard needed to take a show to syndication. It also gives the writers and production folks a final end date that they can use to wind things down to the finale, which is a good thing considering that no one was sure they would be able to show all of this season let alone go to the next one. It has been hinted that the next season will tie in the events from last week’s episode “Letters of Transit” that focused on an Observer led Earth in 2036 and the resistance fighting them.

The second piece of good news was that we had another new episode of Fringe! We finally see what David Robert Jones’ plans to destroy the universe, and it involves tools that Walter and Olivia are familiar with. When they realize how close Jones is to succeeding, Fringe teams in both universes are faced with difficult decisions. The consequences of these decisions will have long lasting effects to both worlds and lead to one of the teams losing a member.

It’s the end of the world as we know it…

So tonight we finally get to see the entirety of David Robert Jones’ plan, and luckily enough Walter is able to use a slide show comprised of drawings he made with Crayola markers. We already had an idea that it somehow involved collapsing the worlds into each other and the crazy hybrid humans we saw a few weeks ago, but it wasn’t clear what was in it for Jones since collapsing two universes implies he dies as well. Walter believes he has the figured out that Jones could ride out the storm in a “safe zone”, and, after the two universes collapse, he could recreate it in whatever form he wants. It’s not surprising that no one really buys into this theory when Walter presents it to the two Fringe teams, but that’s before Jones’ plan starts moving into action.

This episode acts as a nice funnel to try to bring in all of the storylines and loose ends from the season and try to streamline them going into the two part finale. I’m sure some of this was driven due to the uncertainty of whether this was Fringe’s last season or not, but it also works well at focusing all the action to the main remaining plotline of the season, to stop David Robert Jones. This episode does pay off if you’ve watched the whole season, since the concepts introduced in the Westfield episode (the safe zone), the ability for people in one universe to see what their counterpart in the other universe is doing, and even that both universes resonate at different frequencies all make appearances in “Worlds Apart”. In all I would say the writers wanted to give the loyal viewers from this season (and earlier seasons of course) a way to say “Ah! That’s how all the puzzle pieces go together.”

And you thought tuning a piano was difficult…

To carry out his master plan, Jones sends out cortexiphan trial subjects to various coordinates around the world and has them try to make an exact connection with their duplicates from the other universe at the same time. This creates earthquakes at these locations, but the true damage caused is that these areas now resonate at a completely different frequency than before. Walter believes that doing this will help align the two worlds right before collapsing them, a point he demonstrates with a “Don’t Break The Ice” board game (which you know had to be originally owned by Walter).

The Fringe team’s big break comes when Nick Lane from the alterverse realizes he saw our universe’s Nick Lane at the same time the earthquakes occurred. Olivia recognizes that Nick was with her during the Cortexiphan trials and could be using his powers. Thanks to a device Walter developed and the magic of LSD, Olivia is able to use the alter verse Nick’s brain waves to track down and stop our Nick Lane from creating another quake.

I liked how tonight’s episode brought back the cortexiphan kids, especially Nick Lane who we hadn’t seen for a few seasons now. You may remember his from the Season 1 episode “Bad Dreams” where his cortexiphan skill was as a reverse empath, which leads to others around him killing themselves because he feels bad. Apparently the same has happened to Nick in this timeline and Jones helped him control his empath skills. I thought the idea that Jones reached out to the other subjects from the cortexiphan trials and turns them to his benefit was very shrewd, and you could tell once Walter heard Nick talk about it how dangerous Jones plan had become. The method they used to track our Nick Lane (connecting Olivia to the alterverse Nick Lane’s brain signals) was actually pretty smart, and gave us the best laugh of the night when Walter doses the alterverse Nick with LSD before telling him what it was.

Sometimes Drastic Measures are Needed

Nick is interrogated by Olivia to learn that Jones’ recruited other cortexiphan subjects by making them believe the alterverse is starting a war on our universe. Nick leads them to a warehouse, but is able to use his empathy powers to overpower his guard and escape. With no real leads and clear that it is going to be near impossible to stop Jones’ plan before it’s too late, the team decides to sever the bridge linking the two universes. While preventing Jones from finishing the tuning process, it will stop the healing process for all the damage that happened in the alterverse (though no new damage will occur).

As the teams wait for the bridge device to be prepared for shut down, we get a series of scenes with different characters saying their goodbyes. The best of these are the Walter / Walternate scenes, both because we see some real emotion from both characters that is rooted in the same fear, that shutting down the bridge may cause Peter to disappear again. As the teams head to their sides of the bridge, Lincoln decides to stay in the alterverse, seeing more possibilities there (and with Bolivia) than in the current universe. As the machine shuts down the alterverse side of room disappears, leaving only our Fringe team.

While last season was Anna Torv’s acting wise, this season has been all about John Noble. The last scenes between the two Walters were so charged with emotion, which must’ve been harder to pull off when he did Walternate since his character has been mainly aloof emotionally. In the end you understand that it isnt two scientists talking, it’s two fathers that are both proud of their son (granted its not really their son) and both afraid of what could happen to him if the device is shut down. While the other goodbye scenes were okay I would’ve liked a little bit of a light moment to take the edge of the tension, perhaps Astrid giving Alt-Astrid some coffee (her favorite!). Overall it’s a powerful scene, I just hope this isnt the last time we see the alterverse Fringe team.

Favorite Parts of “Worlds Apart”:

– Walter’s slide show about the two universes collapsing. It was very Walter and shows how out of touch he can be with modern technology, like powerpoint.
– Walter use of “Don’t Break The Ice” to explain DRJ’s evil plan
– “One more thing. Have you ever tried LSD?” – Walter after dosing alt-verse Nick Lane
– “I find its best if you just…go with it.” – Lincoln to alt-verse Nick stunned by our universe
– “I’ve come to the opinion that home is where the heart is” – Peter to Lincoln
– “The universe is change. Our life is what our thoughts make it.” – A Marcus Aurelius quote Walternate tells Walter
– “Keep looking up.” Olvia to Bolivia (who likes looking for rainbows after it rains in our universe, apparently the alterverse has no rainbows (boo!))
– “I think I shall miss them more than I imagined.” – Walter after the bridge link is severed

I have to admit that I’m sad to see the alterverse Fringe team head out, I’m hoping they’ll be back next season at some point. What did you think of “World Apart”? Do you think they’ll ever reactivate the bridge between both worlds? What did you think about Lincoln crossing over at the end? What are your thoughts about the show being renewed for a fifth season? Please let me know in the comments!

Next Friday’s Fringe is the first half of the two part season finale. While the Fringe team believes that they have stopped David Robert Jones, signs point that he may still be active in our universe. Tune in to see “Brave New World (Part 1)” next Friday at 9PM on FOX.