Looks like I was right on the money about that flash-forward episode of ‘Fringe’ having basically no significance to anything. This past Friday’s new episode ignored it completely and got back on track to moving forward with the actual storyline of the season. That’s fine by me.
‘Worlds Apart’ opens with Walter calling a meeting of the Fringe Divisions from both universes. He believes that he’s figured out David Robert Jones’ master plan and end game, which he illustrates via a very amusing hand-drawn slideshow. Jones, he surmises, plans to collapse both universes into each other, causing a big bang that will create a new universe. He’ll ride this out in a safe zone in the eye of the storm, much as was created when he experimented by destroying a town earlier in the season. Jones and his cadre of followers (including those genetically-modified mutants from a few episodes back) will then rule the new universe to themselves. This theory seems to be supported when 27 of Jones’ agents cause earthquakes at the exact same points in both worlds at the same time. Arranged strategically, more of these attacks will break the planets apart.
Further investigating reveals that the agents causing the earthquakes were former Cortexiphan test subjects. That would explain why Jones had kidnapped Olivia and tried to activate her powers previously. The Fringe team captures one, named Nick Lane, who has been led to believe that Jones is trying to save our world from the alternate universe. Jones’ followers don’t know that the war is over.
Somehow or other, explained in pseudoscience gibberish that makes little sense to me, Jones’ plan only works thanks to the bridge between the universes. Peter suggests turning it off to thwart Jones. Unfortunately, this would mean that the alternate universe would stop healing (though it also shouldn’t get any worse), and there’s no telling whether anyone could restart the machine again later. This could be a permanent severing of the two universes. Walter also fears that Peter may disappear again.
Nonetheless, with the clock counting down the time until Jones’ next attack, both sides agree to say their goodbyes and close the bridge. Peter stays on our side, but Lincoln decides that his place is in the alternate universe with Fauxlivia. Peter shuts down the machine, and half the room disappears, though he remains.
Is this really the last we’ll see of the alternate universe and its characters? I don’t know, but something makes me suspect that Jones has played everyone, and that this was his real plan all along – to shut down the machine and the bridge, rather than to destroy the universes. I remember that, just a few episodes ago, he tried to get Broyles to sabotage the machine. On the other hand, if I’m right, I still don’t know what he’s doing with all those genetic monsters. I’m sure we’ll see more of Jones in the season’s last two episodes.
A couple weeks ago, the producers of ‘Fringe’ revealed that they had been preparing two possible endings for the season, one a cliffhanger in case the show were renewed for a fifth season, and another with more sense of closure in case of cancellation. It seems that we’ll be getting the cliffhanger. Despite dismal ratings, Fox has renewed the series for one more season at half the usual episode count (much as NBC did for ‘Chuck’). Reportedly, Warner Bros. (the studio that produces the show) slashed all licensing fees and will basically give Fox the show for free, in order to raise the episode count to 100, which will make it more appealing for syndication afterwards. Wouldn’t it be nice if the entire show took place in the alternate universe next season? That’s a twist I’d like to see.