By Ken Tucker
Updated May 06, 2009 at 05:57 PM EDT

Last night, the tingly, penultimate episode of Fringe for the season made a few sly references to one of its producers’ pet projects (that would be Star Trek), delivered by everyone’s favorite cult star, Clint Howard. But in an episode peppered with conspiracy theories, Stephen King as prescient science, and Frankenberry, these were just the least of the hour’s pleasures.

Things are really chugging along, as we learned more about the ZFT manifesto co-authored by Dr. William Bell (next-week guest-star Leonard Nimoy) and Walter. Olivia’s odious, chrome-dome boss (no, not Broyles, Harris) turned out to be a heinous villain. Blair Brown’s Nina was shot (drugged?) by two ski-masked men, Walter went off with a suddenly-chatty Observer, and Olivia started having hallucinations that suggested someone might be trying to “activate” her via the Cortexiphan emplanted in her by Walter and William Bell when she was a kid.

And did we already know that Massive Dynamic is the Defense Department’s “largest contractor”?

The other night on The Colbert Report, Colbert asked J.J. Abrams if he could get into Fringe now, without having an information chip implanted in his brain to enable him to catch up on its complexities. I say, maybe not if next week’s finale is your first visit, Stephen, but you should definitely start watching on Hulu.

Did you watch Fringe last night? Are you, as Walter might say, psyched for next week’s finale? All theories about what last night meant and what next week might resolve are most welcome. Thanks.