Fringe season 4 episode 20 review: Worlds Apart

Its latest episode sees Fringe waves a fond farewell to the other universe, and the host of alternate characters that existed there...


This review contains spoilers.

4.20 Worlds Apart

After being confused by the direction that Letters of Transit took us last week, I was disappointed to discover how little light Worlds Apart cast on any of it. Not having previously thrown-up questions answered was frustrating, but a heap of extra new ones just got added, so many now that my head is beginning to ache.

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If it wasn’t for the fact that the show got a shortened 13 episode fifth season, then I’d be thinking that in the two remaining stories there are far too many plots to resolve and questions to answer. But presumably when they made this, they didn’t know about season 5, or did they?

As a Fringe story, Worlds Apart was more exposition than anything else, as Dr. Jones seems intent on destroying both universes in an attempt to fashion a new one he’s envisaged. You know, the one with flying porcupine people, and other cool stuff his entirely freaky mind can come up with.

To that end he’s using Walter’s cortexiphan participants to crack the weak spots between dimensions. Mad scientists aren’t without a sense of irony, it appears. The only way to stop him, they conclude, is to separate the two worlds, linked as they are by the bridge machine that Peter operated.

This all started so well, with the timed earthquakes and the inter-dimensional manipulation of Walter’s test subjects, at first I was enthralled.

Where it all got stuck and slow was when they caught up with Olivia’s soul mate Nike Lane. Because the bit where they interrogated him ground on and on. I think I’ve seen too many CSI episodes, but the cell interview is getting really old, isn’t it?

He was always going to betray them, because Jones is always one or more steps ahead of them. What this was all about ultimately was how to stop the cascade effect, and save both universes.

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A good portion of the story built up to them turning off the machine and splitting the two universes forever, possibly. The final disconnection was a touching scene, a sort of farewell to the alternate versions of the characters, some of whom will certainly be missed. It wasn’t much of a surprise that Lincoln Lee decided to remain on the other side, where the possibility of being with the other Olivia still exists, as it had been telegraphed for a while now.

At the point of separation I thought they really missed a few cool opportunities, perhaps to bring the typewriters back for one farewell message, or the viewing panel that Walter created to see into the other dimension. They chose instead to turn half the lights off, which those controlling the production budget must have liked much better.

What worried me more was that at no point did any of the supposedly ‘smart’ people consider for a second the possibility that Dr. Jones wanted the bridge down, and that they might be doing exactly what he required. He’s smart, and he’d have calculated that this would be their response, that’s why he sent Broyles with that gizmo (that they never looked at) to attach to the bridge, to take it down.

Dr. Jones did make a comment about drinking tea while he could, which suggests that he knows what happens next; the Observer takeover, which might be initiated by his attempts to banish their future (and everyone else’s). So my idea that Jones isn’t the person he’s been assumed to be could turn out to be correct.

And, this is another guess on my part, they did hint at what the ending would have been had they not got a fifth season. My guess was that it would have been Altivia getting out of bed (where Lincoln is…possibly) and looking out of the Window to see a rainbow.

Given we have another fifteen episodes of Fringe to enjoy now, the chance of seeing that Rainbow at some point is still pretty good, I think.

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