Fringe Season 4: 5 Questions About "Brave New World (Part One)"

We've reached the first half of the finale to Fringe's fourth season, and everything is up for grabs - Including the fate of not one, but two different Earths! For the second last time this (television) year, here are five questions about Friday's episode, "Brave New World (Part One)."

Are We Headed For Another Reboot?

Call me a cynic, but I can't believe that Astrid's apparent death at the end of this episode is going to stick. Either we'll find out next week that it was a life-threatening-but-not-fatal shot, or something will happen to ensure that Astrid will end up alive, somehow. (Perhaps the alternate Astrid will cross Earths? While I'm at it, where was the alternate Earth this week? Seriously, no scenes "over there" at all…?) She's too important a character for such a quick death -- and, more importantly, a death scene that doesn't involve Walter actually managing to call her Astrid for once.

(Also, I really like Astrid. I'll be bummed if she's actually dead.)

What Will David Robert Jones' Death Mean?

If Jones really was the most important piece on the metaphorical board, as Bell was suggesting - and, ha. I knew there was something to the absence of Bell information all year #almostahumblebrag #doesntmakeupforthinkingLincolndiedwhenhedidnt -- then what vacuum does his death open up, and how will it be filled? I find myself leaning towards the reading that Jones' ego came up with his particular take on that prophecy and that Astrid is the most important player… but then again, her possible death did seem like an accident of sorts, or at least unplanned...

What Is William Bell's Plan?

If Bell has been behind everything all along, I find myself unsure whether or not the whole "collapsing universes to build a better one" theory is entirely correct - or, at least, the complete story. That said, I can completely buy that Bell is behind the idea of creating a post-human race, because that ties very much into the whole idea of the Cortexephan subjects that have been part of the show's mythology for years now. He's been trying this for years, which raises the questions: "How Long?" and "Why?" Here's hoping next week brings some kind of answers to those two.

Have We Been Told How Olivia Will Survive Death?

"Cortexephan is regenerative," Walter tells Astrid, which seems like an odd throwaway line until you consider the possible implications: Can Walter dose Astrid with Cortexephan now and her gunshot wound will heal? Is Cortexephan how Bell survived the car crash that he'd planned to "die" in? And, far far more importantly: Will Olivia's Cortexephan activation allow her to die and then return to life, allowing her to both fulfill the Observer's observation (Sorry) that she has to die in order for everything to survive, while also allowing her to survive herself? I can't believe that the Cortexephan line was there for no reason...

How Powerful Is Olivia?

And while we're talking about Olivia: It looks like her Cortexephan-activated powers are far greater than they used to be in the old timeline: Using people like puppets? Shutting down nanotechnology? That's a lot more impressive than "just" crossing between alternate universes. Clearly, there's a lot going on with Olivia's new power set, but the one question that no-one seems to have asked yet is… just how powerful is she, anyway? Is Olivia the avatar for the next generation of humanity than Bell is looking to create? And if so, what can she do with that…?

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