I should have known better than to expect a big explosive ending to the "Fringe" two-part season finale (the first part of which aired last week), but I was still disappointed when the episode seemed to go out with a whimper, not a bang.
With all the key players over in the "other" universe, Olivia, Walter and William Bell worked together to get Peter back before Walternate could use him to power the universe destroying machine. But, in the end, that wasn't what the episode was about. It turned out to be a setup for next season, with a twist that everyone should have seen coming.
At one point in the episode, OUR Olivia changed her hair to match the alternate Olivia, so she could easily get to Peter. Anyone who's ever watched any TV at any point knew that this would result in an Olivia mixup at some point, and that's exactly what happened. In the climactic scene, Olivia used a grenade to clear away the alternate universe's Fringe officers, and got knocked out. William Bell woke her up and brought her inside, where he sacrificed himself to get Olivia, Walter and Peter back to the real universe. Only, Olivia was strangely quiet the entire time.
Cue scene where Olivia goes to use the magic universe-spanning typewriter and she types Infiltration Complete, then cut to the alternate universe, where Walternate goes to visit OUR Olivia, who's locked in some kind of maximum security facility. End season.
Look, this episode wasn't all bad, far from it. The scenes between William Bell and Walter were classic, and it was great to find out the true reason the pieces of Walter's brain were removed all those years ago. The final scene with Peter and Walter semi-reconciling was very well done. And William's cryptic response to Peter about him "holding up well" was nice.
Perhaps my favorite part of the episode was Bell and Walter driving to his lab in Boston in the alternate universe and driving through a stretch of completely destroyed land. As Walter looked out on it, he asked, "Am I responsible for this?" to which Bell simply responded. "Yes, Walter. I'm afraid you are." The camera then pulled out and you could see the Boston skyline sitting in the middle of what looked like a nuclear fallout zone. It was an incredible scene from all standpoints.
But the big thing in this episode was supposed to be the Olivia twist, and it was so telegraphed and so poorly done that it detracted from the rest of the episode. Sure, it's nice that they now have another excuse to go back to the alternate universe, but it came at the expense of the episode on a whole. Final grade: C+.
For more coverage of the 2009-10 TV season finale episodes, click here. AdamReisinger.com will be sharing thoughts on the finales of nearly 20 different scripted series that have been part of our viewing schedule all year.