Fringe Season 4: 5 Questions About "Worlds Apart"

As this week's episode of Fringe demonstrated, it just might be the end of the world(s) as we know it - but who, exactly, is feeling fine? Here're five questions about the earth-shaking "Worlds Apart."

Who's The Crisis On Infinite Earths Fan?

This one may only make sense to the DC Comics fans in the audience, but… This episode was Crisis on Infinite Earths, wasn't it? The multiverse where worlds exist at specific frequencies, Nick Lane as the Psycho Pirate, the idea of destroying universes to create a new big bang and even the visual of multiple earths literally crossing over… It's all from 1985's Crisis. A sign of writers taking a little bit too much inspiration from a favored source, or a hint of things to come before the end of the season? You be the judge.

Where Are The Observers?

David Robert Jones is trying to literally destroy the reality that the Observers are using as their Terra Nova-esque escape route. Isn't it odd that they haven't shown up to stop him? That no-one in the episode wondered where these characters, who - even before Peter was told their origin story - would be expected to show up at a major event like this, were seems like an oversight, but again, perhaps a telling one. Are they absent because they're working with Jones - or because they already know that he's going to fail? (Don't forget, we've seen 2036 already, so clearly some world survives…)

How Did They Turn The Machine On In The First Place?

Watching Walter talk about how, if they turn The Machine off, they may not be able to turn it back on again, made me wonder just how it was turned on in this timeline in the first place - A question that was underscored when Peter was used to turn it off. I guess we're just supposed to assume that Peter and Walter (?) have discussed the differences in the origin of The Machine in their respective timelines off camera…? If so, that's particularly frustrating, because… Well, I just really want to know what could've led to the construction and activation of that machine without Peter, really.

(That said, maybe Walter doesn't know about the original origin of the machine, if he thinks that it brought Peter back into existence, considering - from Peter's point of view, at least - it seemed more likely to have been the thing that wiped him out in the first place. Also, if Walter still suspects that, does that mean that Peter didn't tell him everything that happened when he confronted September?)

What Happened To History Rewriting Itself?

Chalk this one up to "Of course, it might just be forgetful writers," as well, but… Wasn't one of the differences of the rewritten timeline that Olivia didn't go through with (all of) the Cortexephan trials in this timeline? If so, then how could Nick remember her? And even if she had - The Olivia that's in this rewritten timeline has the memories of the Olivia from the original timeline, so shouldn't her connection with Nick be somewhat skewed or not there at all? He's literally a different Nick, with different experiences, after all… This one just confused me, but it's possibly because I was thinking about it a little too much.

What About The Earthquakes?

This one may just be me nit-picking, but… We don't get to see whether switching the machine off actually stopped the earthquakes? We're just left with a ticking clock and that's it? That felt particularly un-earned as an end to the episode - I wanted to find out whether the plan had worked, instead of just getting a "It probably worked, let's stay with the emotional beat instead" climax.

Overall, this was an episode that had nice moments - Yay Lincoln! for one - but felt surprisingly sloppy and incomplete. Was that just me, and if so, what did I miss that made it work for everyone else?

(Also: Be here same time tomorrow for more Fringe-ness.)

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