Apparently, last week's episode was supposed to have Walternate asking Peter to come with him to the alternate universe, with a warning that Peter wouldn't be able to return. Peter's all, "Where do I sign?" and goes. In a surprise move, Olivia gets drunk over it, while Walter broods. And then an Observer gives Olivia a piece of paper that shows a strange device and Peter with his eyes exploding. This naturally means that Peter will be responsible for the end of the world, and Broyles breathes some hellfire over at Massive Dynamic over its technology, which Nina says was never built. At least, not in THIS universe.
So you know what that means: ROAD TRIP! Broyles has a surprise or two up his sleeve, mainly the Cortexiphan kids, who have been rehabilitated: James Heath, as a disease healer, not spreader; Sally Clarke, the firestarter; and Nick Lane, who can project his moods on others (causing the weirdest moment ever on this show: Broyles giggling).
So everyone goes on over to the Alternate Universe, and if you were hoping that the season finale and maybe future seasons were going to feature more superheroes shenanigans, it's not long before James, Sally and Nick are dead. Seems kind of pointless. However, we do meet the DoD's startlingly familiar Fringe Division, who discovers the body of James Heath and his crazy currency. In the alternate universe, Charlie is still alive. And bald! Broyles is still bald, but he likes to wear all black, and Astrid wears a beret and the two of them look like extras in Public Enemy's stage show. Alt-Olivia has long red hair, loves to laugh, and can't stand the taste of alcohol. (Jesus. I mean, there's suspension of disbelief, and then there's THAT.)
Meanwhile, Peter has been recuperating and catching up with his real mother, and he seems pretty cool about switching back. His dad, Walternate, is the Secretary of Defense, and Department of Defense is based out of the Statue of Liberty, where walternate lets the Fringe A-Team in on a secret: the universe-tears they're tasked with investigating are not natural, but manmade holes that are portals to another universe (our universe).
Bell gets a message sent in hope but not certainty from the original Fringe team, and he meets up with Olivia while she's watching her alt-self getting it on with a boyfriend named Frank, who prefers to hang around shirtless and give Alt-Olivia backrubs before the two of them give the street a silhouette sex show. Hopefully, Bell can help, since Walter got shot when the Alt-Fringers descended on the original-recipe Fringers in Central Park. He's collapsed in front of a hospital. It would be more tragic if we didn't know Peter's got a spare dad.
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Well, we can tell from the jump that something's not right: the on-screen identifier tells us we're at "Fringe Headquarters," and it's in New York City. Stranger still, we're not told this via 30-foot letters suspended in the air above the city.
No, we're in an impressive command center featuring people in military fatigues with one guy tracking an "anomalous energy signature" and then he confirms that it's a breach. That brings Charlie stomping in, and his head is shaved, and he's playfully grousing about how he was hoping they'd have a slow day, what with it being Saturday and all, but it's "no rest for the wicked." And now here comes alternate-universe Olivia, who has long red hair that hangs down past her shoulders, plus bangs, and she says Charlie's not "wicked," he just pretends "really, really well." Then the camera whips over to some other guy wandering in, and the quick camera work is really giving me a headache, not to mention this annoying all-characters-stride-in-at-different-times-from-different-directions-so-we-have-time-to-process-them-all contrivance, and this new guy asks if they're "playing his song." Like, does anyone in the alternative-universe Fringe division take their jobs seriously instead of making wisecracks? Then someone tells him it's a "Class 1 event" and he says he can see that, and then they just stand there looking at the screen until Alt-Broyles strolls in, looking even more bad-ass, which I have to admit I didn't think was even possible, wearing a tight black T-shirt and black pants and telling them that naptime's over and it's time to get to work. I guess even in the alternate universe, it's not possible for Broyles to not be awesome. Over here, we'll just have to go with this, which I really really, really wish I'd known about before the song-and-dance episode. Better late than never, I suppose. "On a swingset of dreams, on a jungle gym of schemes"? (Track 7: "Our Journey.") Pardon me, Lt. Daniels, but that's bullshit.
So the Fringe team is on their way to the "Class 1 event," and Charlie gives himself some sort of injection, and Alt-Olivia has some sort of special powers of exposition in this universe, and she asks him how the big the worms would get if he didn't dose himself, and Charlie corrects her that they aren't worms but arachnids, and then he doesn't get to finish because Sgt. Buzzkill Lee, or whoever this guy is, is checking out the sit-rep on some fancy electronic card that makes the iPad look like an abacus. He says some stuff about "molecular dissolution" and says it's not a tear but a "full-fledged hole," and thank God the alternate universe has never conceived of saying "that's what she said." Alt-Charlie just hopes there aren't bugs, and Alt-Olivia figures there probably are bugs. "Bugs like you," she says. Wow, Alt-Olivia's way more flirty and sassy than original-recipe Olivia. Still, I'm declaring allegiance here and now to original-recipe Olivia and her stonily professional iceberg demeanor.