Fringe Season Finale “Brave New World, Part 2 of 2” Review

Fringe Season Finale "Brave New World, Part 2 of 2" Review

The Fringe season finales have always been special because we all know there will be a huge twist at the end, and “Brave New World” did not disappoint. Last week’s Part One ended with the surprise shooting of Astrid and even more surprising return of William Bell. This week the Fringe team races to stop Bell’s plans for collapsing the universes, and along the way we get some answers to the questions that have come up throughout the season not to mention quite a few shocking twists. Considering that until a few weeks ago this could have been the series finale of Fringe, we should be happy it’s not the end of Fringe, just the beginning of the end.

Welcome to Jurassic Spock

I can’t take credit for the above line (it was thrown around twitter during the episode and I can’t find the originator of the tweet now), but it sums up the amazing opening visual of Walter and Bell overseeing a beautiful lush valley with dinosaur-like creatures. Even though it turns out to be a holographic projection of what Bell thinks his new universe will look like, it was a sight to behold and was only better with Bell’s narration to accompany it.

After a surprise return in Part One’s last scene, Part Two of “Brave New World” was chalk full of Leonard Nimoy and I loved it. While we’ve seen a couple of iterations of William Bell over the years (alterverse, animated, Bell-livia), Evil Bell may be the best version yet. Even the explanation about why he wants to collapse the universes is ingenious, if you are someone as intelligent as Bell and are fighting a losing battle to cancer, you may be crazy/desperate enough to make your own universe. The real shocker when he detailed his plan came from learning that Walter was the originator of the idea and that was why Walter had asked Bell to remove part of his brain (at least in this timeline). The brain sample, if you remember, plays a key role in the episode set in 2036, “Letters of Transit”, and is the first of many connections to that episode throughout tonight’s story.

Thinking about Nimoy, the star’s appearance in the last episode was such a shock because he had recently announced he was retiring from show business. Based on the response from the Fringe fanbase after Part 1 and the key role he seems to play in the run up to 2036, is it possible that he’s going to be more of a regular next season? I hope so, though I’m guessing we’ll likely get only a couple of guest star appearances during the show’s last 13 episodes. Not that I’m complaining, any chance to get Nimoy on the screen is good in my book (okay maybe not the animated version).

Who’s Jessica Holt and the Creepiest Thing Ever on Fringe

Last episode we met Jessica Holt, played by Rebecca Mader of Lost fame, who was a victim of David Robert Jones’ nanobot attack at the bus station. This week she comes back as one of the bad guys, having been planted by Bell to trap the Observer September and shoot him to enrage Olivia, further activating her cortexiphan levels. At this point Olivia goes full Neo and not only stops bullets fired by Jessica, but flings them right back at her to take her out. While September does his Observer thing and leaves, Peter and Olivia are left with a dead end, except that Peter knows a way to get answers from the dead.

Now comes the weird part of the episode. Peter enlists the help of Massive Dynamic and Nina Sharp to hook up a kind of device that brings Jessica back from the dead (including Frankenstein electrodes in the temples) so she can be interrogated. What we get is a bizarre visual where Holt is answering questions but her eyes seem to be acting out of control and completely independent of each other. I liked the effects and can’t wait to see how they filmed it (unless Mader can really do that kind of stuff with her face, in which case eww), but I can see how it might have left some folks squeamish.

I thought the trapping of the September was actually a really nice piece of writing, since it showed that Bell knew a lot more about the Observers than one would think (especially since the Fringe team (minus Peter) had no idea who the Observers were until September suddenly appeared to Olivia). It was also good to finally get the who, when, and why of September’s bullet wound. Fringe has been very good the last few episodes in providing answers to some of the show’s mysteries (although it usually meant having more questions in return) and I think it has helped the show build up some momentum heading into the end of the season.

Just like Lemon Cake

After interrogating dead Jessica, the Fringe team know two key pieces of information; that Walter and Bell are on a boat (the same one from the end of “Nothing As It Seems” that was carrying the bizarre human mutants), and that Olivia is giving off huge amounts of electromagnetic energy. She’s giving off enough energy, in fact, to collapse to universes upon each other, which start around the same time the team locates the ship. Well I say locate, but when the Fringe team helicopters arrives on scene, the collapsing universes have shifted the ship from our universe. Thanks to his altverse roots, Peter can see the ship, but needs Olivia to activate her super powers and jump to the altverse with Peter to be able to get on the ship.

Once onboard the pair catch up to Walter and Bell and try to get Bell to stop the reaction. Bell tells them it’s unstoppable as long as Olivia continues to generate energy and invites them to the new universe to repopulate the human race. Walter then finds his own solution to the situation at hand by shooting Olivia right between the eyes (the OMG moment of the night!). Everything returns to normal and Bell exits stage right thanks to his little soul magnet bell (where did he go?). While we are all writing angry letters to all associated to the show for taking away our Olive, Walter reminds us that she is pumped full of cortexiphan and that it will start healing her wound (just like his lemon cake from Part One of the finale). After some insane desktop brain surgery with a letter opener and a pointer, Olivia returns to the living.

I’m wondering if after Anna Torv read the script for this episode she asked the writers if they plan on having Walter (or some version of him) shoot her next season as well. That was a cold blooded solution on the part of Walter, but damn if that didn’t shock the hell out of everyone. The scene may have also shown us the bullet Etta had in “Letters of Transit”, which is another answer to a question on the show and a good tie in to the 2036 timeframe. Whether it was intentional or not, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Lost when the helicopters couldn’t see the cargo ship, all the time thinking they were going to have to ditch the chopper. The whole jumping universes concept was a nice way to show that Olivia was flexing her powers, plus giving the cool visual of the two of them leaping off into the unknown together before landing on top of a sea container.

Epilogue

After saving the world, the last few scenes of the episode helped set the stage for next season. Washington is happy with Broyles and his team saving the world (again) and have decided to not only promote Broyles to General but to also fully fund Fringe’s science division. Peter is with Olivia at the hospital and she tells him that she’s pregnant, I’m guessing with Etta. While it was a happy moment for both of them, did you think she was holding something back? Could she have been worried about what all this extra electromagnetic energy she was putting out could have done to the baby?

Like in past seasons, Fringe saves the best for last. As Walter sits down to enjoy a PB&J sandwich in the lab by himself, a gunshot less September suddenly appears and tells Walter that “they’re coming” before disappearing. I’m guessing “they” are the other Observers, which will setup the big storyline for the final season of Fringe. Do you have any predictions for what we will see in Season 5?

Favorite Parts of “Worlds Apart”:

– “The Bible tells us God created the world in seven days. It’s taken me considerably longer.” – William Bell
– “My dear friend, even if you deny it, you have always been playing God. I Am.” – William Bell to Walter
– Jessica Holt speaking from the dead. So creepy but so interesting I couldn’t stop watching.
– “The universes are collapsing” – Nina
– “Olivia. You’re right Walter, she truly is a remarkable girl.” – William Bell
– Peter: “Save her? She’s dead.” Walter: “You know very well that hasn’t always stopped me.”
– “I don’t suppose you’re here for a sandwich.” – Walter to the Observer

Where do we go from here?

Well it seems we say this at the end of every season of Fringe, but what a long strange trip it’s been. This season has taken us across two universes and into the future and had us explore some pretty crazy areas of science. The show’s producers have said that the next season will focus on what happens to get to what happens 2036. Your homework assignment for the summer is to rewatch “Letters of Transit”. While this episode gave us potential answers to the questions we had after that episode such as when did Peter and Olivia get pregnant and where Etta’s bullet on a necklace came from, some of the big mysteries that are still out there. Why did we not see Olivia in the future? Is the William Bell trapped in the amber in 2036 helping the Fringe team in the future or was he working against them? What happens after the events of “Letters of Transit”? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below. Season 5 can’t start soon enough!

About The Author

Jose has enjoyed television ever since he was a little boy in his native Puerto Rico, learning how to speak English from watching Saturday Morning cartoons. That love of television was nurtured on a steady diet of Voltron, Saved by the Bell, and Cheers. He enjoys a variety of shows, but sticks to science fiction and comedy when possible, including the occasional Sponge Bob episode. He despises poor writing, and has an ever growing collection of shows he likes but were cancelled after only one season. His wish is for J.J. Abrams to get Alias back on the air, and for the cast of The Vampire Diaries to come down with an incurable case of laryngitis.