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Fringe Season 4: 5 Questions About “The End of All Things”

The Observer! Olivia and memories she shouldn’t have! Answers to questions – Well, kind of. This week’s episode of Fox’s Fringe had it all, but despite the title, “The End of All Things” was just the beginning of our five questions for the week…

What Is Happening To Olivia?
Am I the only person who thought that this week’s episode was an unexpected about-face on everything we “learned” about Olivia last week? Are we now supposed to accept that Peter was, somehow, behind Olivia remembering the other Olivia’s memories, despite Peter apparently disproving that last week – and if so, should we ever expect an answer as to how Peter could have done this? The idea that we have somehow learned that it was Cortexephan that was behind the memory crossover, only to then be told that it was actually Peter, feels like a plot line being abandoned mis-story, and I’m left more than a little confused as to what is supposed to “actually” be the case – Of course, that may be the point. Right now, I don’t actually believe that it was really Peter or Cortexephan behind whatever happened… but I hope that we’re given a definitive answer at some point before the end of the season.

What Is So Important About Peter and Olivia (and Henry)?
September certainly seemed to consider Peter to be some particularly pivotal point of his society’s history, and there was at the very least a heavy implication that Henry, his son – apparently one born to the “wrong” Olivia in the timelines we left at the end of season three – was a large part of that. So what, exactly, does Henry go on to do – or is it Peter that does something because of Henry? My suspicions right now are centering around the discovery of time travel, especially considering that The Machine that undid Peter seems to (at least, judging by the tie-in comic Beyond the Fringe, which is apparently canon) be a time machine of sorts. Is Henry responsible for creating the technology that allows the Observers to exist outside of time?

Who Shot The Observer?
Sure, September thinks that that wasn’t a pertinent question, but I don’t believe him; this is the second time that we’ve seen him having been shot, and it’s not a massive jump to think that the “they” who came after him inside his mind – Very Inception, of course – are the ones responsible. But who are “they”? The other Observers, as per the opening of the episode? Or someone else…?

(A couple of other things: The scene with the Observers in the opening of the episode suggested, at least to me, that “removing all traces of Peter from the timeline” means that this isn’t a parallel Earth, but the Earth that Peter left, but with its past rewritten. Does that automatically make it an alternate Earth, or are rewritten histories the same Earth? I wish someone could make a suggestion as to how that works in this show. And secondly, I’m not the only person who thought that September sounded like a title or position, as opposed to a name, right? Are there other teams of Observers throughout the timeline? Are there other Septembers?)

What Has Happened To David Jones?
Does knowing that he’s been reconstructed on an atomic level mean that Jones knows about what happened to him in Peter’s original timeline… and if it does, does that mean that this isn’t an alternate Earth? If it doesn’t, then there’s the question as to what has happened to make him reconstructed, and how he knows about it. Is that connected to whatever his plan is – and will we find out what that plan is before the end of the season…?

Is There A “Real” Nina?
So the Nina that was with Olivia clearly wasn’t the Nina that she grew up with, but does her escape mean that she was the Nina from Earth-2, or just a shapeshifter? And either way, what does the reaction of the Nina that was being interrogated by Broyles and Lincoln suggest about that Nina’s trustworthiness? All throughout this episode, I kept wondering to myself, “What if there’s no real Nina anymore? What if they’re all shapeshifters?” After all, keeping a shapeshifter hidden in plain sight like that isn’t unknown – Think Charlie Shapeshifter last season – and it would allow Jones to keep an eye on Olivia when she’s least expecting it, wouldn’t it…?

For all the promises of the big answers, this episode really was more about teasing out the bigger questions; I enjoyed it – well, apart from the seeming backtrack on what was happening to Olivia, that is – and thought that it set up the remaining season pretty well. But having to wait four weeks until that begins…? That just seems cruel, really. See you in four weeks, Fringe fans.


  • JordanFromJersey

    David Robert Jones was reassembled when he was teleported out of prison. this happened in both our original timeline and the current one. I believe that is what he was referring to.

  • Stefan Neudorfer

    I’m very much sure now that Olivia having to die isn’t a physical death, but her being re-supplanted with the original Olivia of this “our” Earth, who is the one Peter simply has to go back to and sire Henry with (Which again is rather odd since if September hadn’t interfered at all wouldn’t Peter most likely never have met her to begin with?) instead of keeping that foolhardy idea alive that she is somewhere “out there”.

  • Tomfitz1

    I wonder what one would call a meeting of observers?  The Watchmen? 

    Sorry, bad pun there.  ;-)

  • Dave Maltman

    If Henry (born of two universes) is the one September believes is the “important” one, then at some point in their corrected timelines, either Peter (via the machine?) or Olivia (via the Cortexiphan?) would’ve had to cross over to meet with and fall in love with one another.

  • Passing

    Bringing in an extra Nina was foul play IMO, and with the little we know about Olivia and Nina even more.
    So for the first time we learned what happend to Olivia after the death of her mother, when she was 14, after 80 episodes, and that was not even about original Olivia and with fake Nina.

    But daughters-mothers do not matter in Fringe, and women seem to become vessels and objects, where father-son is glorified and men are god, especially scientists.

    I hated the part with baby Henry and the father-son implication, and that blonde Olivia and Peter have to create a mini Peter, Adam and Eva? Women do not need men to have children, and science already is testing artificial wombs.
    But Fringe is getting very close to rightwing religion IMO, Genesis, Intelligent Design,etc.

    The Olivia/altNina/Jones scenes were great, and I hope that will become important, as for both Nina’s being a Jones creation to keep an eye on Olivia, possible, Jones just tested Olivia , she had more power then he expected, but Olivia will be back a prisoner of Jones to switch on the machine or to create a new universe, which then will be the end of Olivia.
    PS. Anna Torv is a genius, truly awesome, she keeps Olivia Dunham as a great character, despite  the writers treating her as an object, and she makes every Olivia/Peter scene with all those beautiful facial expressions.

  • NYCEsq

    I think the telling part of the episode was the scene about the surveillance video.  I think, as I have all along, that this is Peter’s Olivia and the original Olivia who had been re-written is bleeding through, as we saw with the townspeople last week.   Her rewritten memories and personality are bleeding through, despite having been taped over. It was already established last week that it couldnt be Peter rewriting her memories because Olivia had memories of events that Peter was not privy to and couldn’t have created.

  • Taylor

    There is no difference between timelines. Peter was erased from this timeline and reappeared due to the motives of September.  Olivia is able to remember this due to the Cortexephan.  #ThingsWeShouldHaveLearnedLastNight

  • LightningBug

    I’m totally with you on this. Contrary to the confusion that some people are having due to the fact that Peter is still convinced that this isn’t his Olivia, the scene where they went out of their way to bring in an analogy about taping over old VHS tapes seemed to be a pretty obvious confirmation by the writers of what is really going on here. You can tape over the timeline with a new one, but there will still be remnants of what is underneath. I am more confident than ever that this is Peter’s Olivia and his universe.

  • Patricio Mujica

    September distracted Walternate from finding the cure fro the sick Peter in the alternate universe. When Walter saw this he had to cross over to cure him, because Peter in our universe had already died. So, September intervened again to rescue the Bishops from drowning. However, if he hadn’t distracted Walternate, thereby allowing him to find the cure for Peter, it’s likely that Walter would have crossed over anyway, this time with the intention of stealing Peter. The reason behind that might have been Elizabeth’s mourning, but I guess that nothing can be ruled out of the mind of a mad scientist. In any case, Olivia would’ve had to meet Peter anyway, either in Jacksonville or in Baghdad. Or in both places, as it happened in the original timeline.

  • Demoncat4

    that Nina who escaped with Johnes could be his own  spy to get to Oliva for the portal. september is proably something the writers did till they ever decide to give the observer a name. as for Henry now that peter knows he exists  he could be that peter does something to either make Henry create the tech for the machine or maybe is the one who helps walter net gain power and brings the shapeshifters to the earth

  • Whoyou?

    Sounds like you have some mommy issues to work through.  :)

  • Liammaxim

    To me it is pretty obvious who shot the observer. The asian professor from two weeks ago intenionally shot to the right of olivia. He had similar abilities of the observers to see the nonlinear time that they do. He fired the shot knowing it would end up lodged in September though who knows why and if it didn’t get fired back through time, kinda like the bullet from DCs Final Crisis

  • Shadowpdf

    Point by point:

    Nothing that has been said in the past two eps is really being contradicted.  Characters — like people — can change their minds on subjects.  In “End of All Things” Peter has changed his mind about whether he’s the cause of Olivia gaining “his” Olivia’s memories.  He’s not 100% on board with the idea that he’s doing it, but he thinks it’s possible based on the info he has at this point.  Don’t forget, Peter is highly motivated to not make the mistake he made with FauxLivia last season.  He’ll do everything he can not to fall in love with this Olivia as long as he believes there is a timeline he can get back to.  I do agree with you that this may be a red herring; that neither Peter nor Cortexiphan is actually giving Olivia her memory problems.  This ep is a set-up for the final(?) 8 eps starting at the end of March.

    We’ve always known two things:  That Peter is very important and that the Observers travel not thru dimensions but thru time as well.  New to us is the importance of Olivia (which we should have known anyway because of her Cortexiphan-powered abilities) and Peter’s son Henry.  The baby may play a very big role in the future.

    Since the Observers can move thru time, September probably was shot in the future and traveled to the past to pass along his last bits of wisdom (read: exposition).  I think that a grown up Henry shot September, or maybe Olivia (protecting her baby?).  I am leaning away from the 4 universe/timelines theory that I’ve held since the start of this storyline, and toward your idea that there are only two timelines we’re dealing with, just rewritten without Peter.  Not a 100% sure, though.

    I got no idea what happened to David Jones.  Clearly there was a transdimensional accident.  Or maybe he was rebuilt atom by atom after his transporter malfunction.  Regardless, it has nothing to to with Peter.  What ticked me off is that Olivia did not shoot Jones as he was escaping.  Or — even better — shoot the device that bridged the dimensions so that she caused more damage to Jones, duplicating in a way, what Peter did to him in the other “timeline.”  What really ticks me off about this part of the show is just how wasted and shabbily treated was Monte Markham.  A 50-year veteran of TV and movies ought to have been better treated or showcased.

    Nina is never to be fully trusted.  But I thought it was clear that the “tortured” Nina was from the bad dimension.  Whether “real” or a shapeshifter, I’m not sure.  It was nice, though, to see that Olivia was quick enough to suspect her and set that memory trap.  The arrested Nina was set up to take the fall.  I don’t think she has anything to do with the Cortexaphan theft or with Olivia’s capture.  Still, I’ll bet she has some secrets that she doesn’t want Olivia to find out.  If there’s a 5th season we’ll probably see some of them.

    Regarding the new memories of Olivia.  I think that because Peter does exist — despite having been erased — the old paradigm is beginning to take over.  Because Olivia is so close to Peter (emotionally and mentally) she is feeling the effects first.  In the next episode she asks Walter to help her retain her memories — in effect to keep her from “dying.”  I think she’ll fail at that.  Hopefully that is what the Observer was talking about.

  • Davidvanorstrand

    Who played the charater Leland? He is fron another TV show?

  • Ayana Brown

    my question is, why don’t your questions include the fact that the task that Olive is asked to perform is the opposite of the task from the original story. She’s supposed to turn off the lights, not turn them on…

  • Shomy092

    I think that Peter is in HIS timeline already it’s just that the Machine erased him from timeline, and everything unfolded differently as the result of that… 

  • Ian

    BINGO.  In one timeline the alternate child-Peter from another universe befriends child-Olivia, who crosses over to tell accidentally Walternate that his child is ok.  Fast forward to another new timeline and child-Olivia may cross over and meet Peter in the alternate universe and start a relationship there, paradox solved.

  • Anonymous

    But who watches the Watchmen, if not — a Watcher? (Really stepping into the geekdom now)! 

  • Masonmclary

    What if instead of child Olivia, the adult Olivia from the original time line is using some new-found power we haven’t seen yet to merge with this Olivia. Because that’s how much she loves Peter.

  • Phillip “Molly” Malone

    I think it was Peter that shot the Observer! In a previous episode, an Observer got a girl to kill him to stop her being erased from the world because killing an Observer makes you important. If September doesn’t want Peter to disappear from the World, he gets him to shoot him and makes him important!