Fringe season 4 episode 21 review: Brave New World – Part 1

Fringe's penultimate episode brings back a character few expected to see again. Read Billy's review here...

 

This review contains spoilers.

4.21 Brave New World – Part 1

Resolution is almost at hand in Fringe, or rather, it probably isn’t entirely as they’ve agreed for a shortened season 5 to appear this coming fall.

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Brave New World – Part 1 resolved a great many things, not all of which fitted so well with things we’ve previously been told. Not least of those was the reappearance of Leonard Nimoy as William Bell, who I’m sure ‘retired’ a while back from acting. Well, he retired in spirit it appears and not in person, if that’s possible. That actually contributed to making his arrival, and part in the Dr Jones saga even more shocking, although in hindsight who else could have convinced the alternate Nina to be so dedicated to this cause. Is it the Bell from this dimension or the other, because surely the alternate was killed in a car accident?

In the end the demise of Dr Jones was both enigmatic and poignant, as he realised that the chess ‘Bishop’ that Bell talked of sacrificing wasn’t Peter, but himself. Quite why he turned to dust so dramatically, I’ve really no idea, but it looked creepy enough.

In many respects his demotion and death in this story rather undermined all we’ve ever known about him, as he was just another minion and not the mastermind after all.

Where the episode really worked for this reviewer was in the dialogue they gave to John Noble, and the scenes between Walter and Astrid. They’re like an wonderful long-married couple, where the failings of each, or really Walter, is something that actually bonds them together. For once, she actually complained he got her name wrong, which Walter explained away as ‘I was on a roll’. I really do hope they don’t write Jasika Nicole out of the series, because she’s at the very heart of the show, and without her Walter’s insanity would be much less amusing or touching.

One curiosity was that at the start of the show, with its typical weird opening, they introduced a character called Jessica Holt, played by Rebecca Mader. I mention this only because the last time I saw this actress was in the tragically bad No Ordinary Family, where she played a shapeshifting super-human. It makes no sense whatsoever, but as soon as she appeared I was looking for duplicity on her part, where none existed. So perhaps her performance in that previous show had some impact on me, even if my brain tried to use it to illogically connect dots that aren’t even on the same page.

Where the episode left us was typically unsatisfactory, with Walter captured by Belly, poor Astrid seriously shot, Peter beaten with an iron bar and Olivia shadow-boxing Dr Jones to his demise. Somehow by the end of the next 42 minutes they’ve all got to get trapped in Amber back at the lab, other than Olivia who needs to become pregnant, and the Observer take-over needs to begin.

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If that seems like a tall order, imagine what it would have been like if this was really the final episode of Fringe

Where Fringe seemed to get lost at a certain point of this season, it seems to have magically restored itself, lemon pie style, and I’m certainly hyped for the final episode of season 4. I can feel a huge cliff-hanger is being prepared so we’ll all be super-eager for the opening of season 5. Go Fringe!