Well, of everything I expected from a season finale that feels like it was supposed to be a series finale, Walter shooting Olivia in the forehead wasn't part of it. I did think Astrid might be in jeopardy much longer than she was, but as we kick off, she's in the hospital thanks to an anonymous 911 call, but she has no idea where Walter is, because he's aboard William Bell's Tramp Steamer of Manmade Animalbominations, where he listens in horror to Bell's grandiose plan to collapse both universes to create a new one -- maybe shutting down the bridge was a little premature, hey?
Peter and Olivia, after talking to Astrid in the hospital, work to track down Walter. Along the way, they're led back to Jessica Holt, who isn't just a potential nanite victim but apparently has been working with Bell. She plays the victim, saying someone is following her -- that someone turns out to be September, who Jessica traps with stasis runes on the floor, because I guess those are a thing, now? September demonstrates his bullet-catching ability, and when Jessica uses tech from Bell that fires bullets too fast for September to catch, Olivia telekinetically flings them back at her, killing her. That's unfortunate, because she was their only lead or whatever, and we finally getting back to using Massive Dynamic tech to questioning the dead, leading to some skin-crawling asynchronous eye movement.
So: eventually they find their way to the boat, which is already caught in some sort of trans-world nexus; Peter can see it, being from the other universe, and Olivia -- who Bell has been Cortexiphanning up so she can be the power source for his collapsing-universes plan -- can transport them there, because that's a thing she can do. They do a trust fall to the deck of the ship, and then bust in on Bell, who says he wasn't planning on having any humans in his new universe, but nevertheless he offers them the chance to be Adam and Eve. They decline; there's not likely going to be any places to buy a Bugaboo stroller in Bell's batshit new world.
But there isn't any way to stop the collapsing of the universes. Well, there is one way, and Walter figures it out: he shoots Olivia in the forehead, killing her. The universes snap back into alignment. But Olivia's dead, which would seem a little more traumatic if the show hadn't just conspicuously revealed Cortexiphan's tissue-regeneration capabilities in the first half of the finale. Although it was a little disturbing to watch Walter jam a letter opener in the back of Olivia's head to free the bullet and allow the Cortexiphan to do its work.
He does, and it does, and Olivia's all better, and Peter has found a place for them to live, and Olivia's pregnant. Everything's wrapped up in a neat little package, as one might expect for a series finale. So the final scene feels a little hastily tacked on, although not quite as much as it would have been except for the dystopian future episode in the Episode 19 slot this season. September visits Walter in his lab. “We have to warn the others. They are coming,” he says. Walter: “Who's coming?” And then we're done for now.
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We open on a bucolic scene of mountain, lake and meadow -- the kind of place beer companies pretend to get their water from. The only sour notes are the strange creatures grazing (jerkily animated) -- they look like some kind of panther dinosaur with a long tail. Oh, and there's a porcupine bat flying overhead!
And there are Walter and Bell taking it all in, but the greenscreen effect is noticeable and takes me out of it somewhat, making it difficult to pay attention to Bell nattering about how it took God seven days to make his universe, but it took Bell "considerably longer." Sure, but that was before God had to spend most of his time winning Super Bowls and Grammys for his devoted Christian followers. It would probably take him much longer today.
Then the whole scene shuts off and we see we're actually in Bell's cabin on the ship and he was projecting it with some sort of science-magic thing. "I can't wait for you to see the real thing. It's going to be magnificent. As soon as I finish making it. I just have to hook up the Blu-ray player and the sound system and then it's gonna be sweeeeeeet..."
Walter looks less than convinced at Bell's sanity -- for good reason, I suppose -- and tells him he can't do it. Bell says it's done, that the final piece has been set in motion and he couldn't stop it now if he wanted to... which he doesn't. Instead, he wants to babble on about how they as scientists are taught that there is no such thing as divine intervention, but the fact that Walter -- his trusted colleague and dearest friend -- being there to witness this seems like the hand of god.
Walter says there was nothing divine about it; he found Bell. "That's what I said: Providence," says Bell, laughing. My god, he's craggy.
Over at the Harvard lab, Peter and Olivia arrive to find it empty, apart from the uneaten lemon cake on the counter. Olivia can't raise Astrid on her cellphone, but there's nothing suspicious going on except for a vague sense of unease. Peter offers to make a pot of coffee and Olivia accepts, only to remember that his arm is in a sling and she should probably do it for him.
Then he asks if she wants to talk about the "Jedi mind trick" she pulled back on the roof and thank god Olivia appears at least to have seen Star Wars because I don't think I could have handled it otherwise. She says she can only attribute it to Cortexiphan and he's all, Yeah, but suddenly you're able to do all this crazy shit you couldn't do before. She says she doesn't know how she did it and he makes her agree to let Walter run some more tests when he gets back.