Tonight’s episode of FRINGE, “The End of All Things,” provided answers – real, genuine answers – to some of the ongoing mysteries that have been with us since the first season. But let me back up for a moment and recall how we got here.
The episode from two weeks ago, “Welcome to Westfield,” seemed to have many – perhaps too many – reminiscences of LOST packed into it: a plane crash caused by electromagnetic interference from equipment in a place that seems to be a snow globe bubble universe unto itself. But even within that episode, there were intriguing plot lines set in motion, questions raised and clues provided – most intriguingly, Olivia beginning to get the memories of Olivia from Peter’s timeline.
I’m still not sure what that means, even after tonight’s episode. But it still seems to me that there is no reason to think that the universe in which Peter now finds himself is not his own universe with its history rewritten. And if that is the case, then isn’t this Olivia, with his Olivia’s memories (however she came to possess them), as close to his Olivia as there can ever be?
I suspect that the introduction of the mention of a palimpsest was significant for more reasons than just the attempt to recover deleted video footage. The universe is also to be thought of as a palimpsest, and Peter’s existence and Olivia’s memories are traces of something that was deleted and overwritten.
The highlight of tonight’s episode was Peter’s visit into September’s mind. We learned so much – that the Observers are a scientific team from one of humanity’s possible futures. They are human beings, but have mastered time, and have traveled back to witness the big bang and countless other important moments since.
We learned that it is not only or not primarily Peter who was the problem that needed to be resolved, but the birth of Henry to him and the wrong Olivia. That would irreparably change history. This is reminiscent of a motif in LOST that was highlighted and then inexplicably seemed to peter out and vanish – the birth of a child who is significant. And in a manner reminiscent of Star Wars, we have an exploration of an important child who becomes the father of an important child.
The switcheroo involving the two Nina Sharpes was cleverly done, making us suspect but keeping us wondering until the moment she opened her eyes and sat up on the gurney.
And the indication that David Robert Jones is seeking the same ends in both timelines is intriguing, but remains a mystery still to be solved. What is he trying to accomplish?
As Fringe goes, an excellent episode, with the mythology-related revelations embedded within an action-packed episode that carried the major plot-lines forward while providing real answers – the least they could do, given that they are making us wait several weeks until the next episode! (Click here to find out what tonight’s glyphs spelled).
In relation to religion, would it be appropriate to say that, if human beings reach a point when we can transcend time and travel back to see every important moment in our history, we will have achieved a status that could be called “divine”? It is perhaps worth noting that all the sorts of features humans are inclined to attribute to gods – from omniscience and existence outside of time, to fallibility, and from benevolence, kindness and intervention to distance, impassivity (or should that be impassibility?) and inscrutability - seem to also be attributes of the Observers, at times. Even baldness!