'Worlds Apart' brought the parallel universes to a breaking point as 'Fringe' ramps up for a potentially cataclysmic season (but not series!) finale


S4 E20
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April 28, 2012 at 03:43 PM EDT

According to The Bible, a rainbow is no mere meteorological phenomenon. It’s a promise from God, made to mankind after The Great Flood, to never again wash away humanity from the face of the Earth. At least, not with water. In the “over there” universe of Fringe, where the fabric of space had been steadily eroding like some slow moving Armageddon ever since Walter Bishop punched a hole through the quantum wall in a failed bid to save his doppelganger’s son, nobody has seen a rainbow in 20 years. One can only wonder how theologians “over there” have made sense of that development. (Or of the whole notion of alternate universes in general.) In the season’s penultimate episode “Worlds Apart” (the next two weeks constitute a two-part finale), Walternate’s parallel world people lost another kind of rainbow: The Bridge, that miraculous steel-hued Bifrost created by the doomsday machine salvation machine magical electromagnetic waffle iron. Season 4 big bad wolf (or is he?!?) David Robert Jones 2.0 wanted to huff and puff and blow away Rebootlandia’s fraternal twin realities and reboot anew from a safe zone of unaffected spacetime with his transhuman zoo of shapeshifters and animal people. Think: Noah Gone Anti-Monitor Mad in Crisis On Infinite Just A Couple Earths. The Fringe divisions on each side realized that the only way to stop him was to collapse The Bridge, whose quantum magic provided the means for the villain to execute his catastrophic scheme. The choice represented a sacrifice for the “over there” world for it meant their world would no longer benefit from the healing energies of the machine. The teams – enemies turned frenemies turned friends – said sad goodbyes, then bravely faced each other as the power surged and Walter pulled an X-4 and hit the switches. In my head, Journey played: “Here we stand/Worlds apart, hearts broken in two (two, two)…” There was no “reaching for you (you, you)” as the ground gave way and each realm blurred and vanished from view – but there were small waves between Astrids. The rainbow connection crashed; the lovers, the dreamers, and me went kinda misty. And with that, Fringe effectively pulled the plug on the creative idea that defined the best years of the show. Permanently? Maybe. But given the double rainbow of happy happy joy joy of cancelation delaytion (the elation of delayed misery) that radiated throughout fandom earlier this week – One more season! 13 episodes! Fringe lives to die another day! (make sure you click the link for the show’s S5 teaser trailer) – I have to think we haven’t seen the last of the “over there” world. Until then, though, we share in Walter’s assessment and sentiment: “I think I shall miss them, more than I imagined.”

“Worlds Apart” began by picking up not far from where we left off two weeks ago, when Walter theorized that Jones aspired to go Dark Phoenix on the multiverse. During a briefing at The Bridge, the humbled and rumpled licorice-loving egghead briefed both Fringe divisions on the matter. He used delightfully crude drawings of colliding planets to illustrate his point. He said he had fleshed out his findings from details gleaned in a dream. The agents expressed some wth?! skepticism, but Walternate, stony-faced as The Sphinx, had his double’s back. Walter was moved by the affirmation and trust of a man whose life and world he had profoundly wrecked with good intentions. Walter’s suspicions were corroborated after the teams began investigating an outbreak of synched earthquakes in each world. It turned out that Jones had recruited 27 of Olivia’s fellow all-grown-up test subjects from Walter’s Cortexiphan trials and was using their super-powers to produce the rumblers. Their psychic havoc was having another effect: Harmonic convergence. Each universe vibrates at a different frequency, but the earthquake epicenters in both worlds were now humming in the same key. Walter believed that Jones would get the universe-smashing Big Bang BOOM! he wanted if he kept producing more transformative earthquakes with more juiced mutants.

NEXT: How great was the weeping Walters scene?

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