(Contains plot spoilers)
Brave New World concludes Season 4 in two parts. Part 1 kicks off in the entrance to a train station where all of a sudden, people start spontaneously combusting and die, and truly horrific scene as we see people totally deteriorate from the inside. A few people quickly catch on that their movements are contributing to the combustion so they stop moving and stand still until the help arrives. With the Fringe team onsite, they discover that a device has been planted in the escalator system which was releasing nanites, meaning that anyone who touched the escalator would begin to combust if they moved. One of the people who managed to stop moving before combusting, Jessica (many of you will recognise her from Lost!!!!) allows Walter to use her for tests in order to develop a cure. In the lab, Walter believes that he has established a cure, but suddenly, Jessica’s body temperature starts to rise quickly as she panics! As the cure is still being synthesised, Olivia inadvertently uses her cortexiphan abilities to halt the combustion in Jessica, and she succeeds, giving Walter and Peter time to give her the cure!!!!
The Fringe team establish that it is the work of David Robert Jones and fears escalate that he is trying to find yet another way to destroy the universes since the closure of the bridge, and the possibility that he is trying to create a third universe. Through further study, Walter deduces that this is not the work of Jones, but that of William Bell, remembering experiments that he and Bell worked on in the past, and therefore suspecting that Bell is still alive! He takes a trip to see Nina to tell her the news, but she doesn’t believe that Bell can be alive, and dismisses Walter’s theory. It is here that we find out that Bell allegedly committed suicide in a car accident in 2005 after giving up on living with cancer! However, Walter doesn’t believe that the dates match up, as he claims that Bell visited him while he was in St Claire’s Mental hospital, which would have been after the accident. Walter, still adamant that Bell is alive, takes a trip to St Claire’s and when examining the log books to find some sort of trace of Bell, he discovers his distinct scent, proving that Walter was right.
Meanwhile, we see Jones talking to his leader, aboard the ship vessel we have seen in the previous episode “Nothing as it Seems”, reporting that their experiment involving the nanites experiment was successful, and it turns out he is reporting to none other than William Bell! As he considers his next move over a chess board in the room (that he’s apparently been playing for over forty years), he gives Jones his orders, telling him that through sacrificing the bishop, he will win the game!!! I thought at this point, does he Walter or Peter, but then I thought that didn’t make sense, why would he want an old friend or his son dead?????
Suddenly, a beam of light appears over Beacon Hill in Boston, which burns a hole through a building and straight into the ground. Walter believes that Jones is trying to ignite an oil reservoir underneath the ground through the use of satellites to reflect the sun. He tells Peter and Olivia where Jones might be controlling the satellites from and they make their way. They discover two antennas on two separate buildings and split up to disable them at the same time. Simultaneously, the manage to stop the beam, but suddenly, Peter is attacked by Jones. As Jones kicks the living shit out of Peter, Olivia, from the opposite building, somehow manages to transfer into superhero mode and focuses her abilities on controlling Peter, giving him the strength he needs to fight back!!! A slightly comical moment as we see Olivia punching thin air, but entertaining nonetheless!!! Peter manages to throw Jones into one of the antennas, giving him an electric shock, which sends Jones’ body into overload after all the teleportation he has previously done, and his body disintegrates in front of Peter’s eyes. Before Jones deteriorates into non-existence, he tells Peter that he now understands that he was the bishop that was to be sacrificed! Ahhhhh!! makes sense now!
While further examining the log books, Walter comes across traces of Chilean almonds, Bell’s favourite food and he and Astrid pay a visit to the warehouse where the almonds were recorded as being shipped into. As they investigate, he and Astrid come across a man, Astrid spotting a gun inside his jacket. Walter, who hasn’t noticed the gun, enquires about the company importing the almonds, and the man tells him that it went out of business three years ago. Astrid urges Walter to leave but Walter hears a strange noise, and as they investigate, they find loads of warehouse boxes with the noise coming from them. Suddenly, they come into contact with several armed guards and as they try to flee, Astrid is shot!!! Walter goes to help her, and suddenly an old familiar powerful voice is heard as Bell greets Walter!!!
Part two kicks off with Olivia and Peter entering Walter’s lab, only to find that he and Astrid are missing. As they try to find out what’s happened to them, Olivia receives a distressed call from Jessica, the girl in the previous episode who had been exposed to the nanites. Jessica tells Olivia that she thinks someone is following her, and during the call, unbeknown to Jessica, September appears at her home but for some reason is stuck to the area where he is standing, with a force preventing him from moving. When Peter and Olivia get to Jessica’s home, Jessica is nowhere to be seen, and the area of floor where September was standing, has been totally removed, leaving a curious big hole!
Olivia then receives a call from Broyles telling her that Astrid has been shot and taken to hospital, but Walter is not with her. When they get to the hospital, Astrid feels terribly responsible for Walter’s safety and subsequent disappearance with Peter reassuring her that she did all she could, and tells them what she and Walter found out about Bell, and directs them to the warehouse. As Olivia and Peter arrive, September is there and being held at gunpoint by Jessica, still stuck to the same piece of floor that was missing from Jessica’s home. Jessica tells them she is working for Bell and intentionally exposed herself to the nanites to get the attention of the Fringe team and September. She shoots the Observer with a normal gun but September catches the bullet. But as she is already aware of the Observers abilities, she then pulls out a special gun that shoots far quicker than September is able to catch, she shoots, and wounds September. As she attempts to shoot him again, Olivia, using her cortexiphan abilities, manages to catch the bullet and fire back at Jessica, killing her outright.
Peter goes to help September and Olivia recognises the wound from when September appeared out of the blue in a previous episode when she was at the opera house, waiting for Peter and Lincoln, who had secretly travelled to the parallel universe (“Back to where you’ve never been”). She remembered what he said about in every future, Olivia was destined to die, however, September has no recollection of this conversation, believing that in his time, this conversation had not yet happened. September then disappears to investigate this further.
Peter and Olivia quickly return to Walter’s lab with Jessica’s body in the hope that they will be able to revive her brain, and find out the location of Walter and Bell. With Nina’s assistance and equipment from Massive Dynamic, they manage to revive her temporarily but her answers to questions are unhelpful, although she does manage to reveal in a roundabout way that Bell is on a boat and looking for a strong power in order to collapse the two universes. As Olivia tries to interrogate Jessica, she gets overemotional, and accidently cuts the power through her abilities. Olivia realises that it is she that Bell is after for the power source, and Nina deduces that the work of Jones was merely to fully activate Olivia’s abilities. Through the use of Olivia, they manage to establish the location of Bell’s ship, and Fringe team approach on helicopters, although Olivia is the only one who can see the actual ship due to her abilities, and she and Peter jump on to the ship!
Meanwhile, Bell, on the boat, excitedly shows Walter his vision for a new universe, using the many creatures he has created aboard the ship, which will form its new population. Bell tells Walter that it was he who gave him the idea, after Walter played God in attempting to save his son’s life all those years ago, and Walter looks totally distraught at what he’s hearing! All those years ago, when Walter decided to not take on the role of God after this, he had asked Bell to remove pieces of his brain to ensure he would not pursue the idea, however, the vision stayed with Bell, and he had since been conspiring to create the new universe, and his new Eden.
Aboard the ship, Peter and Olivia find the cabin where Walter is being held and Peter tries to stop Bell, but Bell informs them that the destruction of the two universes is now inevitable due to the power coming from Olivia. Walter emotionally turns to Olivia and reluctantly shoots her in the head, which stops the process of destruction in its path. With his plans failed, Bell simply turns to a bell, rings it, and fades away before Walter has time to shoot him as well. Peter, hysterical, tries to revive Olivia but she is dead. But then Walter tells him that he hopes that due to the cortexiphan in her system, she will be able to heal herself, and he removes the bullet. They wait, and wait, and as they almost lose hope, the bullet wound heals, and Olivia is revived.
We are left to see Bell’s ship and experiments being stored away, and Broyles is granted an increase in funds for the Fringe team, and a promotion to the position of General. In hospital, Olivia makes a full recovery, although Walter believes that her cortexiphan abilities may now be restricted. As Peter goes to her, she reveals that she’s pregnant!! Yay, but kind of saw that one coming!!!
Finally, while Walter is making a snack in his lab, September appears before him and tells him “We must warn the others. They are coming”!!!!! And one would assume he is referring to the Observer take over, which nicely sets up for Season 5!!!!!
Well, what an ending and what an emotional ride! It was great to see Bell back in the series as well, and I loved the more villainous aspect to him, made it so much more intriguing to watch, but a little too short in my opinion. The death of Jones was spectacularly unexpected, and made the story so much more intriguing as he was such a prominent character, for Bell to dispose of him really affirmed Bell’s passion and dedication to his cause. Does this mean that we will be seeing more of Bell in the next season? We have already seen from the episode in the future that Bell is somehow responsible for what happens to Olivia. Were they referring to the fact Bell used her in the attempt to destroy the two universes, or is there something to come?
I did feel that some bits in the last two episodes were a bit all over the place, and I did think that David Robert Jones’ death was maybe a little too unglorifying for all the alleged masterminding he had done over the last series. It was very quick, and I felt that he deserved a more memorable death, rather than to just turn to dust!!! And what about Olivia and the sudden enormous abilities! I know that she was slowly being activated, but it felt like she went from having the odd moment where she showed her abilities, to absolute full on superhero powers!!! Dunno, but then Fringe certainly likes its moment of extremity. I also have to say that the effects that were used in the reactivation of Jessica’s head were absolutely fabulous!!! Especially when her eyes started moving independently! Spot on!
What is clear is we know where the story is going now, with the arrival of the hostile Observers, and I am expecting great things as they force their takeover. Still some unexplained story lines are still hanging over, such as the Olivia will die in all futures plot, and the Fringe team, bar Broyles, being encased in amber as they Observers take over! Will the series then jump however many years so we can see what happens to the Observers as Peter and Olivia’s daughter comes to the rescue. It’s only supposed to be 13 episodes so quite a lot to fit in!!!! Dunno how this one is going to play out but I’m sure it’ll be the usual fabness of Fringe. Roll on the fifth and final season.
By Kirsty Wavish