Episode Title: "The Day We Died"
Story by: Akiva Goldsman & J. H. Wyman & Jeff Pinkner
Teleplay by: Jeff Pinkner & J. H. Wyman
Director: Joe Chappelle
Previously on "Fringe":
The alternate Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble) aka Walternate found a way to activate the Doomsday Machine without his son, Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson). And when Peter tried to use the Doomsday Machine in our universe to shut down Walternate's, he was left comatose by the Machine. In desperation, Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) teamed up with Sam Weiss (Kevin Corrigan) to find a "crowbar" that could open the Machine and let Peter in safely. However, they soon found that Olivia herself was the crowbar, with her latent telekinesis. In the alternate universe, the other Olivia (aka Fauxlivia) tried to stop Walternate only to be captured herself.
Peter eventually woke up from his coma in a confused state and he made his way to Liberty Island, in the mistaken belief that he was in the alternate universe. Fortunately, his father and the rest of the Fringe team had already moved the Doomsday Machine there. With Olivia's help, Peter joined with the Machine and suddenly found his mind thrust into the year 2026. Disoriented from his arrival, Peter noted that one of the Fringe troops addressed him as "Agent Bishop" before he passed out from a wound.
Still in the future, Astrid (Jasika Nicole) comforts Peter as he is wheeled into the hospital. A young woman identifying herself as "Agent Dunham" is soon revealed to be Olivia's niece, Ella (Emily Meade), who meets up with her aunt to see Peter. They mention that a terrorist named Moreau (Brad Dourif) and his End of Days group may be responsible for the incident at the One World Trade Center. At an opera house, Moreau and his men set up another attack. Despite wiping out the audience and most of the opera house, the EOD device doesn't fully deploy; allowing the Fringe Division the chance to examine it.
Peter quickly realizes that only Walter may be able to interpret what the device is and asks his wife(!), Olivia to help him call in a favor to get to him. Peter then visits Walter in prison, where he is heavily guarded for his role in ushering in the near collapse of their world. To get Walter out of jail, Peter convinces Senator Phillip Broyles (Lance Reddick) to get Walter a temporary release. At Walter's old lab, he is escorted by armed guards when he sees Olivia and welcomes her to his family. He also sees that she now controls her telekinesis easily. Elsewhere, Moreau meets with Walternate to discuss their next target: Central Park.
Back at Walter's lab, Peter mentions that Walternate became a recluse when his world was destroyed. They mention Walter's subsequent trial for dooming their Earth as well, but Peter assures him that he's still Walter's son, regardless. The next day, the team follows a radiation trail found by Walter, leading Peter to discover a key in the woods. Peter slips away from his friends and goes back to Walter's old cabin, where he finds Walternate waiting for him. The embittered old man tells Peter that he will destroy this universe the way his was destroyed. In Central Park, Olivia and the rest of the team arrive shortly after Moreau triggers the device, but they are rendered unconscious.
When Olivia comes to, she sees a wormhole forming in the middle of Central Park. Back to Peter, he reluctantly goes to arrest his birth father, but Walternate reveals that he was never really there. In Central Park, Walternate turns off his holographic projector, gets out of his car and shoots Olivia dead. Sometime later, Peter gives Olivia a moving eulogy as her body is burned in a funeral pyre. While Peter gives into despair, Walter makes a breakthrough. He tells Peter that they are "The First People" who used the Central Park wormhole to send the Doomsday Machine back in time.
Although Walter can't change events directly, he believes that drawing Peter's consciousness from 2011 to the present will allow them to save both universes, despite potentially devastating consequences for messing with time. In the present, Peter is still in the Doomsday Machine when his consciousness returns. He uses the Machine to tear a hole in the universe and draw Walternate and Fauxlivia into the same room as their counterparts. Peter then detaches himself from the Machine and warns both sides that they will die unless they work together. Peter then disappears and no one seems to notice. The two Walters snipe at each other, but Olivia urges them to get past their differences.
Outside on Liberty Island, the Observers note that no one remembers Peter because he never existed. Which is fine with them, since Peter served his purpose by bringing the two universes together.
Regardless of how long this series runs, the third year of "Fringe" is going to be remembered as one of the best seasons put to television of any series.
While most fans are more concerned about Peter's apparent disappearance from history, I'm far more interested in what the finale means for the future of the Fringe team. A potential truce between the two universes is a great way to shake up the status quo and it could open up the show by allowing the two Fringe Divisions to travel freely between both worlds. So, we could see Walter working side by side with Walternate and a field team with two Olivias, one or two Lincoln Lees and a Charlie.
The one downside to that arrangement would be if Walternate was so softened that the show lost its only real antagonist. As Walternate, John Noble was already the best villain on TV and he's almost as pivotal Walter himself. The future Walternate was also fascinating, as he apparently came to this universe in a last ditch effort to save his world before swearing vengeance upon his son. The image of Walter shooting Olivia was also really powerful, given their history together.
The future world itself was also very compelling, from the changed opening sequence to the way our world essentially became a dark reflection of the alternate Earth with massive Fringe events. Even Peter and Olivia as husband and wife agents were very entertaining. I was initially against the idea of pairing Peter and Olivia up at all on the series, but Joshua Jackson and Anna Torv have really refined their chemistry this year. And when Peter gave his eulogy for his wife, it was effectively moving.
This episode also offered an explanation of "The First People" mystery by revealing that it was Walter himself who sent the Doomsday Machine back in time to be discovered by the team millions of years later. And I can go with that, even if it doesn't make a lot of sense. For example, if they sent the Machine back through the Central Park wormhole, how did they know exactly where it would end up all over the world so they could let their counterparts in the past find it? And then there's the radio signal that led the group to the Machine parts in addition to the question of how the Machine exists at all if they discovered it in the past, used it in the future and then sent it back into the past. There's no point of origin for the Machine in that scenario!
You might argue that I'm over-thinking it, but the explanation only half works as presented here. At the very least, it explains why the diagrams for the device showed clear likenesses of Peter and Olivia. I just hope the writers don't gloss over it and decide that they've answered enough questions.
I'm less concerned about the disappearance of Peter Bishop. Obviously, he'll be back at some point and Joshua Jackson is still under contract. Not only would the show not work without him, but even the timeline itself is predicated on Peter being kidnapped by Walter and taken to our universe. Without Peter, wouldn't all of this end of the world stuff have been avoided?
So, questions remain. But I don't really have any complaints about the episode itself. It was an extremely compelling hour of television and a fitting end to the season. If the writers behind "Fringe" can put together another season as good as the one that just ended, it could earn its place among the greatest sci-fi series of all time.
Crave Online Rating: 9 out of 10.