Fringe recap – 4×14: ‘The End of All Things’

Courtesy of FOX

Fringe delivers another stellar episode this week, with a surprising amount of significant answers before it goes on a long four-week hiatus.

Let’s break it down after the jump:

Finally breaking away from the case-of-the-week, the ominously titled ‘End of All Things’ focuses only on our beloved protagonists. After last week’s cliffhanger ending, we jump right back into the search for kidnapped Olivia (Anna Torv). Captive and bound in an abandoned hospital with some version of Nina (Blair Brown). After some obvious foreshadowing thanks to the “previously on Fringe” we find out that it is indeed David Robert Jones (Jarred Harris) behind it all. We find out that Jones has taken Olivia in order to “activate” her telekinetic abilities and is using pseudo-mother Nina as torture victim to make it all happen. Thankfully this Reboot-livia now has the memories of original Olivia (or is in fact, Ori-livia, but we still haven’t found out) and remembers when Jones tried to do this to her the first time. Memories in tact, Reboot-livia is in control and eventually figures out that this Nina is playing her. She tricks everyone into bringing Peter (Joshua Jackson) to her instead.

Courtesy of FOX

Meanwhile Peter is desperately trying to find Olivia. After ransacking her apartment for bugs or cameras, Lincoln (Seth Gabel) returns as potential suitor (Yay!) and berates Peter for trying to turn Reboot-livia into Ori-livia and putting her in the dangerous situation in the first place. Go Team Lincoln! Back in the Harvard lab, Peter deduces that cortexiphan and David Robert Jones go hand-in-hand which means that he’s probably responsible for Olivia’s abduction. Still sporting his gunshot wound, observer September (Michael Cerventis) appears out of thin air to confirm Peter’s theory before collapsing. Walter (John Noble), Astrid (Jasika Nicole) and Broyles (Lance Reddick) all try and save September, but alas, his organs are failing fast and doesn’t have much time left.  Peter has to magically enter September’s consciousness in order to get any additional intel. Again, the scientific logistics of how this would actually be done isn’t important here because once Peter’s inside September’s head, we get some juicy answers.

One of the biggest reveals: The origin of the Observers. They are in fact humans from the way distant future who have time-traveling capabilities. The group of observers we’ve seen over the series are a task force of some kind, assigned to come back to the past and ‘observe’ their origins via generations past. Unfortunately, September made a tiny interference that caused a catastrophic domino effect over multiple timelines. It’s revealed that he distracted Walter way back in the 80s when he was trying to find a cure for his dying Peter. September has since been trying to rectify this mistake by fixing things in the timeline, but really (as we’ve seen throughout the series) has only made things worse. (For more information on this type of time travel logic – see Homer’s adventures with his time machine toaster)

The revelations don’t stop there as September says that his actions have caused the war between the two universes, eventually resulting in the existence of Henry – Peter’s baby with Alt-livia. Peter goes all baby-daddy-melty when he sees the holographic image of his son with evil Alt-livia, only to be crushed when September tells him that because of the timeline reboot caused by Peter himself, Henry no longer exists.

After these two huge reveals, things start getting dicey and September starts to kick it. He tells Peter that he needs to go “home” in order to find Olivia before pushing Peter out of his consciousness. Once out, everyone in the lab witnesses September crashing, and then vanishing into thin air. Peter finally deduces that he needs to get back to his physical home in order to find Olivia. And good thing he does, because there sits one of Jones’ lackeys to take him to Olivia.

With Peter now on the premises, Olivia activates her telekinesis and goes all postal on Jones’ gang, frying up (literally) one of his henchman. Jones and what possibly is Alt-Nina, try to escape through a portal to the other side. Olivia shoots Jones, but it has no effect. He mocks her just before entering the portal saying, “It does seem there are some fringe benefits from having one’s body reassembled on an atomic level.” And vanish they do.

The episode ends with a bit of a whimper as Peter tells Reboot-livia that he no longer believes she is Ori-livia. He tells her he’s made the mistake of mixing up his Olivias and can’t be around her anymore. He then departs, IN THE RAIN, determined to get back home to his timeline. Considering the huge answers we got in this episode, I was fine with this quiet albeit clichéd ending. Let’s hope the next four weeks will pass quickly so we can get right back into the season’s (hopefully not the series’) final eight, uninterrupted episodes.

Other considerations:

  • I’m still convinced that Reboot-livia is indeed Ori-livia and the cortexiphan was a catalyst for making Olivia remember the original timeline, whereas everyone else doesn’t. But I have a feeling that theory might be way too simplistic to fly on Fringe.
  • Is the evil Nina that went through the portal indeed Alt-Nina, or is it a shapeshifter? In Reboot-Nina’s interrogation scene with Broyles she suggests that a shapeshifter could have entered the vault to steal the cortexiphan. Broyles shoots her down by telling her if it were a shapeshifter, Reboot-Nina would be dead. So if it turns out that evil Nina is in fact a shapeshifter, then it shows how it’s possible for the original person to still be alive. This could mean that Reboot-livia is really a shapeshifter and therefore has taken on some of Ori-livia’s memories unknowingly. A more complex theory that could pan out.
  • Seriously, how many “abandoned hospitals” are just lying around conveniently dormant? Clearly, they’re the perfect hideouts for diabolical plotting so why isn’t law enforcement eradicating them?
  • I’m sad that we aren’t going to revisit the baby drama with Peter and Alt-livia, but I’m glad that we know for sure now. Or do we? (Dun Dun DUUNNNN)

What’d you think Fringe fans? What are your theories about Reboot-livia and Ori-livia? Upset about yet another hiatus, or do you prefer this as we get eight new episodes in a row to clear the season? Let us know in the comments section!

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Angie is a TV addict currently pursuing a PhD in media studies. A freelance researcher and writer on the side – she really misses talking about her favourite shows because none of her friends watch them. Help her out.