Fringe Review: The End of All Things ~ Fringe Television - Fan Site for the FOX TV Series Fringe

Fringe Review: The End of All Things

      Email Post       2/27/2012 02:51:00 AM      

“Maybe you could tell me a story.”

Once upon a time, I was friends with a good storyteller. A good storyteller, but a bad ender. Whether it was the time he and a gang of bikers rescued an abused young woman, or the one about the guy, the banana, and the French bulldog, each of his stories ended the same way: “So that happened.”

I said those words out loud last Friday night, to an empty room (if you don’t count the cats, the cat hair, and the cat paraphernalia). So that happened—or did it? By some reckonings, we learned so much. By other counts, we didn’t learn nearly enough. That Peter was incorrect, and that Thislivia isn’t Ourlivia, was simply sad, although not surprising given the emphasis in the previous episode on the vagaries of perception and subjectivity.

Jones’s Evil Plan is still murky, but some of his techniques are right out of the Evil Villain playbook. I realized that captive-Nina wasn’t real-Nina quite quickly, because I’m supercool like that. And as soon as Peter encountered Leland in his house, with the classic reading-lamp misdirection, I knew he was going to get sapped. At first, I felt disappointed that his techniques would be so obvious, but it fits Jones’s m.o.: standard bad-guyery, fringy motives. What’s frustrating, though, is that Amberlivia and Peter both know a lot about Jones—but not enough to stop him.

Peter’s walk through the Observer’s consciousness was interesting. It’s nice to know that Henry hasn’t been forgotten, and that he has a purpose. (And now we know why Bolivia’s pregnancy was accelerated, yeah?) And it’s interesting that the Observers are future humans, although I am sad that we’ve lost all of our hair and turned exclusively white and male. Alas.

Olivia’ conversation with Nina was wonderful. Watching Nina try to cover her own guess-work, and watching Olivia try to hide her growing realization that this was not the Nina she was looking for, I realized (as I do every now and again) just how skilled this cast is.

But I continue to struggle with this season’s goals, as I’ve written before. I suspect these episodes will be great in retrospect, once we know where they’re going. Now, though, I feel frustrated and confused. Confused about what’s going on (is she or isn’t she?) and confused about what I’m supposed to want: at this point, can “Peter returns home” be enough? Would we lose Team Amber then, or only see them sometimes, the way we aren’t getting much of the red universe this season?

It seems that Olivia’s superpowers aren’t helping her brain-merge with her alternate selves; those powers are a detriment that have put her at psychic risk. That tells me that a universe-merge probably isn’t the goal of this season. But, like Peter, I have come to care about these new people that look so much like my old friends. And the more I care, the more I wonder: how can this all end happily ever after?

What Happened to the Table?

• Lincoln: “She is not your Olivia.” Did anyone else think of “these are not the droids you are looking for”?

• Broyles: “If a shapeshifter were responsible, you’d be dead.” Broyles, you’re missing something…

• Lincoln: “Short of the sixth amendment being repealed, I don’t see her talking any time soon.” Did anyone else think of Alec Baldwin in The Departed: “Patriot Act! Patriot Act!”

• Lincoln: “Your Olivia and our Olivia? I thought they were one and the same to you.”

• Anna Torv is always beautiful, but when her hair is loose and wavy, she crosses the line into astonishing.

• Walter designated September as “Mr. X” on the brain-merge-ometer. So Walter, that.

• Fringe benefits. Ha!

• Olivia’s conversation with Peter reminded me of “Marionette.”

This review feels full of discontent, but I can't deny that each episode of Fringe is remarkably well done, even if I'm feeling iffy about what it's doing. So: three out of four butter-and-sprinkles sandwiches.

(Josie Kafka reviews episodes of Fringe, Vampire Diaries, and Game of Thrones for Winter is coming!)


Francine said...

I am glad I am not the only one who feels frustrated and confused.

I don't understand why the writers chose to take the characters in this direction. Instead of feeling like I am a part of the show, I feel like an outsider looking in.

Count Screwloose said...

"What’s frustrating, though, is that Amberlivia and Peter both know a lot about Jones—but not enough to stop him." They've set up Peter's knowledge of Jones as their secret weapon and I'd like to see them do more with it. For instance, couldn't he have told Olivia quickly that bullets would be useless against him? (And for that matter, shouldn't Olivia's "old" memories have told her that?) I still like the paradoxical idea that this Universe Without a Peter can only be saved by Peter, though.

And The Observer only told us his code name because his real last name is Bishop, right?

I'm also wondering why everyone in these last two episodes suddenly has to pee. Seriously.

Bayport Bob said...

"I feel like an outsider looking in", well ok, that seems to be a trademark of JJ Abrams productions. you either don't know what's happening or you just think you do. i'm in for the ride.

Bayport Bob said...

"I'm also wondering why everyone in these last two episodes suddenly has to pee. Seriously." too much coffee, to much excitement, too much...... ? when thislivia was tied to the chair, she didn't have to go pee, or perhaps she soiled herself? i don't know, but good observation. after you mentioned it i said yup that's right, but why i dunno. but peter went to pee in the diner didn't he, in westfield?

Count Screwloose said...

Quite right, Bob, forgot about that. And one of the first things we hear Walter Bishop say after begin released from the hospital:

I just pissed myself.

Only one of the many WB quotes concerning his need to urinate, too. Stay tuned for my Urinate Field Theory! (Unified Pee Theory works, too, so take your choice.)

OK, here it comes - The Worst FRINGE Theory Of All Time:

You know when you have to go and you're driving and suddenly as you get closer to home your body makes you have to go even worse because it knows you'll be home soon?

The closer our characters get to being "home," the more thay have to go. Their old identities have had to "hold it" for so long that they're physically reacting to the approach of "home."

This is completely ridiculous. But not impossible.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with Francine and Josie. I, too, am equally frustrated and sad and confused. I, once again, fell victim to false advertisement. Though they did fulfill one thing.. we did find out more about the Observers so that was really cool.

I understand they are trying to cram a lot of information in less than an hour, but I never expected to feel disappointed. I know this is not the season/series finale so they can't reveal everything, but I just feel like there should have been a little more progression.. at least with DRJ. After Olivia passes the light test, what was he planning to do next? So she's activated.. then what? How would he force her to do something she wouldn't want to do?...whatever that may be.. That's what I'd like to know.

As for P/O forbidden love, I was expecting as much. They can't have their happy ending 8 episodes before the finale. But I hate to say this but it was poorly written. It feels like the script was edited so much towards the end that the story became jumbled and the writers just gave up and said, "We're just going to make Peter have a misunderstanding about Sep's message until episode 4:22".


Zepp said...

Thanks Josie. Reading these their interesting thoughts, I came in my imagination, the factor "complication", which is increasing in Fringe. Without doubt, everything is more complicated in Fringe, the tendency is to complicate. What was already complicated, is now more complicated. We now have two Ninas, Olivias, I do not know how many, Mr. Jones, through universes freely, more lethal shapeshifters ... Complications are higher, more incisive. And yet, as if this were not enough, "our" Olivia finally "reappears" totally in love with Peter, but he does not recognize, and insisting on that "their" Olivia before, which is the same that is now before you. If, by some factor, things are slightly in uncomplicated Fringe, someone always has, the more complicated again, and this is almost a law. I have the impression that for Peter, now, finding "that his" Olivia before, he must return to the past, for those moments in Baghdad. But then, can occur even want him to complicate things, and deny to travel by plane with that beautiful blond girl in front of you is talking to him in the lobby of the hotel. And if that happened, things would be very complicated, no doubt. Hey, Peter! Please! "Give a loving embrace that Olivia who is there, so in love with you, as you for it, and move on, not to complicate the things.

Zepp said...

I liked also these theories of Count Screwloose. This mania of always wanting to pee, expressed by some characters, it is becoming almost a "incontinence" this normal physiological act in various situations in the universes of Fringe. I remember, it all started with Walter, and continued with Walter, and now just ending with a romantic moment between Peter and Olivia!

And in the course of my reading, these theories of the Count, see the "anxiety for the arrival of something already foreshadowed, and you feel, is just steps from where it should occur." Sometimes their continence, incontinence becomes, and the event becomes a fait accompli. I think it was this extreme anxiety that Olivia did leave the car where I was with Peter, and go to toilet! I see a "hole" or "misunderstanding" of the writers of Fringe, this "not quite right" way to "take Olivia, inside that car." The ideal for me would be that the two were kidnapped, Olivia and Peter, at the same time. Thus, at least, save us find, along with Peter, Olivia, in toalet, that bar, which sounded like something kind of ridiculous.

I refer to these things because Fringe, taught me to be super detailed, attentive and critical, so ...

mvenatta said...

I want to know more about the observers. I was disappointed with what we learned in the last episode. I had already guessed that they were future humans. What I want to know is what is there connection to the boy found trapped in the sewer that I assume would grow up to be an observer (maybe September, which would explain why he is so attached to this Peter/Olivia combination). Also if these observers are a scientific exploration team will we ever get to see any others of their race? Are they from an alternate timeline that never went thru any "dark ages" losing hundreds/thousands of years technologies instead of just the future of all/any alternate realities we have seen so far?

TeamCoco said...

About the whole feeling "frustrated and confused" thing:
I think this is exactly what they want us to feel. I mean, really think about it. Since the beginning of the season, we (the audience) have a direct connection to Peter and only Peter. He knows about the old "timeline" just like we do. He misses that "timeline" and the people in it, as do we. Peter's knowledge on the Amberverse and what he needs to do now are equal to our knowledge on that stuff. With that in mind, look at the very last scene. Peter didn't directly state it, but his frustration and confusion was written clearly all over his face and in the delivery of his lines. He was on the verge of tears as he desperately stumbled over his words to describe what he thinks is actually going on (bravo Josh). Peter is presented as frustrated and confused and so, we feel that too.

Bulky said...

Great review. Is there a link between the taxi driver named Henry and the baby Henry??

aydee said...

@Bulky - Yes, Henry delivered Fauxlivia's baby, so she named him Henry

Bob Rosenberg said...

Lincoln: “Short of the sixth amendment being repealed, I don’t see her talking any time soon.”

Interesting comment that no-one has said anything about. Looks like our 5th amendment is the Amberverse's 6th. The reference in both cases is the right to not give testimony that can incriminate you.

Laura008 said...

TeamCoco exactly my thoughts!!!!!I also feel frustrated and confused and also think the writers wanted us audience to feel this, so for them mission completed!!!!:). I think the majority of the fans feels this way!!!!As much as I can understand Peters confusion I know that he also because of that at least for now ignored another important information September told him such as you are BACK and not you are in a diffrent timeline in phisical form so you have a chance to put things right with the right Olivia ( September didn´t said the right Olivia is not Amberolivia)and that to Find Olivia he must only go home and when Peter insisted he wanted to find Amberolivia september said once again Go Home indicating at least for me that Amberlivia is his Olivia! i think these are all little hints that we are in our timeline only alterd so that Peter is already home - I could of course be wrong maybe I also didn´t see something important but for now it seems to me septembers speach was pretty good confirmation that Peter is already home! So I hope ep. 4.15 will clarify all this for us! what do you think?

Anonymous said...

"Walter designated September as “Mr. X” on the brain-merge-ometer. So Walter, that."

So September is the X-man on the Zeppelin who would kill Olivia?

Daryl said...

The Broyles who was interrogating Nina is the real Broyles and she was the real Nina .. in the other timeline Broyles is a shapeshifter ... we saw that when Jones met with him

so how come Broyles nixed Nina's theory that the Nina who accessed the uber secret section was a shapeshifter? I am thinking this Broyles doesnt know thats not true.

Dennis said...

Bob Rosenberg,

That's not necessarily the case. There is plenty in the 6th amendment that would apply. My guess is that Lincoln was probably referring to the right to have a lawyer (i.e. "have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense").

pMaestro said...

I just re-watched the final scene between Peter and Olivia (ditto TeamCoco's comments about Josh Jackson's heartwrenching performance) and noticed that as Peter is walking away, he disappears towards the ambulance and police car whose siren lights are flashing red and blue respectively. A minor detail, perhaps unintentional, but given the subtle details in Fringe, I doubt it ... what do you think?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, may I ask you a favour ? I'm a french speaking fan and I didn't really catch what September revealed to Peter :

1) We are you, we're human.
2) We are you. Were. Human.
3) We are hu... Were Human.

keith said...

I keep going back to a very old episode where Olivia rescues the bald child from the construction building. In the end the observers take him with them. So If they are from the future why did they collect a child from the past? Is it possible he's September?

Dennis said...

Salsifi du Centaure,

The observer says: "we are you-- we're human"

FYI, transcripts for all fringe episodes are available at

Dennis said...


You are remembering this wrong.

The bald child in the Fringe episode "Inner Child" was given to the pediatric doctor Winick by Olivia, presumably to be taken to a foster home.

They did drive by an Observer who was walking down the street, and the child and the observer noticed each other.

keith said...

Alright then. That's been bugging me for a while now

Anonymous said...

@ keith and Dennis

The child could still be Sept. Everything that's been happening to Sept lately has been reminding me of The Time Traveler's Wife.. (I think I mentioned this before.) Except of course we've only seen an adult observer and a child observer (assuming it's an observer) and no other age in between.

@ Laura008

Great interpretation of the scene with Peter and Sep. I couldn't agree more!

Daniel Goodman said...

My predictions:

Scenario 1: Fringe is renewed for another season
Peter comes back to his universe/timeline only to find that his Olivia was the one he left behind. They spend the rest of the season trying to "unmerge" the Olivias or bring his back.

Scenario 2: Fringe is not renewed for another season
Peter gets back in the machine and all timelines merge into one.

Observation: When Olivia was originally being tested by David Robert Jones (DRJ), she had to turn the lights off. This time she had to turn the lights on.

For what purpose was DRJ testing Olivia? Speculation:
* Moving through time
* Opening doors / crossing over to other timelines or universes that they don't have access to
* Creating vortexes
* There's another war of universes (referenced in the ZFT Manual) that's bigger than the one between the two sides; it would be an interesting twist if DRJ saves the "good" universe
* Cloning her to create an army of Olivias
* Bringing William Bell back from the dead (again)

Zepp said...

More thoughts and questions:

I see that in Fringe, each answer comes with some other 10 questions. Will this always be the "package" or "kit" Fringe?

In this episode, we learned that the Observers are our descendants, and who inhabit a distant future. Is that the September, is a direct descendant of the Bishops, or Bishops and Dunham? Does not he is descended from some grandparents or great grandparents, who are named Henry, and / or Ella?

When, the Observer September, said solemnly, with respect to rescue Peter, on the frozen lake, "the boy is important," he would not be thinking in his own cause with respect to its own existence?

Now, in this environment of "multiple" Olivias, with which one, that Peter will be?

Anonymous said...

Vote for Fringe!

FilippoCova said...

this all can't end happly, but if there will be a 5th season this all be sweeter

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