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Fringe contemplates "The End of All Things"

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Written by : published Sunday 26th February 2012

"The End of All Things" isn't exactly what the title implies for FOX's Fringe, thank goodness. Olivia (Anna Torv) is missing and her friends have no clue as to where she is. That is, until the central Observer in the Fringe story, September (Michael Cerveris), appears in Walter's (John Noble) lab. September doesn't provide much help before collapsing due to a gun wound. But Peter ventures into September's head, learning of his son with Fauxlivia (also Torv) and who the Observers are. Septermber also tells Peter that he must go home, a phrase that likely has two meanings, before dying and disappearing.

The Observers are a mysterious race, and Fringe fans may never learn everything that they do. But what is known is that other Observers are not happy with September, and want him to suffer the consequences. Do those consequences involve death? Or did someone else attack September. Why would anyone else wish him harm?

In "The End of All Things," September reveals to Peter that the Observers are human beings from one possible future that travel through time and observe events. September feels guilty for interrupting Walter's work in this timeline, causing Walter not to save Peter's life. As such, this alternate timeline, as shown all season, is a mistake. This particular reality shouldn't exist. Why, then, is Peter in it? And why do the Observers want to erase Peter completely? If Peter is supposed to survive, without September's interference, shouldn't the others want Peter there?

Then again, in the 'normal' timeline, September intervenes and saves Peter from drowning because he is "important." Important how? To solve the paradox? And now that it is solved, why is Peter still around? Does this mean that Peter shouldn't exist, and that September interrupting Walter means nothing? The possibilities are many, and confusing.

The bottom line gleaned, though, in "The End of All Things" is that Peter must return home. Sure, September could have been referring to Peter's house, which he does go to, and it leads to him finding Olivia. But obviously the Observer also meant something more. Where is home and how does Peter get there?

An interesting concept explored in "The End of All Things" is how video cassettes can write over a recording, but images and flashes from the original video may come through. This opens up a theory about what has happened to the universe. Perhaps this Peter-less timeline is recorded over reality, and Peter's appearance, as well as Olivia suddenly developing Peter's Olivia's memories, could be the other timeline bleeding through. In this case, Peter must negate this whole existence to restore what was. Is that what has to happen? Or can the two timelines co-exist in alternate realities? Is what is happening to Olivia a symptom of a gradual shift, or does everything need to be replaced all at once? And if it is the former, how hurt will Olivia be, once everything else is back to normal, that Peter is rejecting her now?

Blair Brown must be praised for her multiple Ninas in "The End of All Things." The Nina being held by Fringe Division is likely still Olivia's caring mother figure, and is telling the truth about her non-participation in drugging and kidnapping Olivia. There is another Nina working with David Robert Jones (Mad Men's Jared Harris) who is not on the up and up. Both versions of Nina are played very well, keeping the character murky, and viewers must continually reassess what is the truth about the women. It is a truly fantastic performance!

Lastly, what is David Robert Jones's game? In the real timeline, he is killed before he can carry out whatever dastardly plan he is cooking up, which somehow involves Olivia's abilities. In this alternate world, he lives on, testing Olivia again. At the end of this week's installment, the other Nina and DRJ escape to the other universe, so the threat that they pose continues. DRJ is a wonderful villain, and it's great that Fringe is using this opportunity in season four to bring him back and explore him further. What is really exciting is what potential powers in Olivia his activities may unlock!

Fringe will return in four weeks to FOX, Friday nights at 9 p.m. ET.

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About the author JeromeWetzelTV


Jerome Wetzel is a huge fan of stories, in both books and television. He writes TV reviews and fiction. He currently posts articles for TheTVKing, Seat42F, and BlogCritics, as well as his own personal blog, as well as writing fiction. His website is www.jeromewetzel.com Follow him on twitter @JeromeWetzelTV

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