So: we're fifteen years in the future -- the future of Earth-1, as Earth-2 was destroyed by successful (?) deployment of our doomsday machine. Fringe is a major department, because our universe has been disintegrating ever since the destruction of the other universe, which was intrinsically linked with ours, a scenario that Nina Sharp's admittedly rudimentary snowglobe demonstration failed to anticipate. Part of the problem is that there's a terrorist organization wreaking havoc, and they're called End of Days possibly because they're big Schwarzenegger fans. Astrid's a full-on Fringe agent (and does not show any evidence of decay herself over fifteen years, she looks great) as is formerly little Ella, Olivia's niece. Walter's back in jail, looking like the Most Interesting Man in the World who lost his razor, because he's blamed for the horrors of what's going on. Peter's married to Olivia, who wields her telekinesis as effortlessly as instinct.
And who's backing End of Days? A white-haired Walternate, who vowed to destroy Earth-1 when his entreaties for mercy for his universe during a visit to our universe were ignored. Peter confronts him, pleads with him, is ignored by him, and Walternate shoots Olivia in the forehead.
Amidst all this, Peter has enlisted the help of his hated (not by Peter) father. Due to some time-travelling paradoxical mumbo-jumbo, Walter says he can't undo what he did (including sending the pieces of the doomsday machine back in time in the first place) but Peter can go fix things, which is why Walter managed to pull Peter's 2011 consciousness into Peter's 2026 body. When Peter's consciousness returns to 2011, he uses the machine to create a bridge between two universes, bringing Earth-2's Fringey folks face to face with the gang over here. But as he's explaining what he's done, Peter disappears and, inexplicably, no one notices.
The explanation comes from the Observers, a group of whom have gathered on Liberty Island to stand around looking creepy together. We learn that Peter served his purpose -- to fix things -- and now he is gone as if he never existed.
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Peter -- that would be the 47-year-old Peter Bishop, not the 32-year-old Peter Bishop last seen strapping himself into a doomsday machine in 2011 -- is being wheeled down a hospital hallway while the controlled chaos of a hospital emergency room attends to the shrapnel wound in his abdomen.
Groggily, he asks where he is, and hey! It's Astrid! She hasn't aged in the past fifteen years, but has apparently spent all that time flattening her hair to within an inch of its life. She looks great, though. She tells Peter that he was in a Fringe event, but he's in good hands, and then someone uses a "UV cauterizer" on the bloody gash in his torso, which, judging from his yelling, is about as painful as it sounds. I'm going to assume it's not a real thing. It sounds like something Jeremy Irons might have come up with in Dead Ringers.
We're at Fringe Medical, May 20, 2026. My god, that's so far in the future that the Beastie Boys will have released two more albums by then! (Yes, that's also a Futurama reference). Anyway, a very young agent in a Fringe uniform (Fringe appears to be just as big a division in the future here as it was in the present over there) goes up to the reception desk and says she wants to find out how Peter Bishop is doing. She sheepishly says she doesn't have the required badge because she was just promoted last week, but she has a temporary barcode. It's on her wrist, so the woman at reception scans it. Plus, it gets her two for one tequila sunrises at Jungle Jim's on Thursdays! Satisfied, the woman at the reception desk tells this... Agent Dunham! that Peter has been in recovery for an hour now, and will be out soon.
Turns out this is little Ella, all grown up, with a nice job casting someone who could plausibly be a grownup version of the sweet little moppet we all know and love. We know it's Ella because that's how she's addressed by Olivia, now striding up the hallway, and Ella has inexplicably gone from calling her "Ahnt Liv" to "Ant Liv" and then she awkwardly tries on "Agent Dunham" but Olivia says Ella can call her "boss" like everyone else. Olivia looks exactly the same, but with her hair swept back and worn down, and she's now dressed more like a university communications director than an ass-kicking federal agent.
But Olivia also wants to know how Ella's doing, and Ella says she remembers being in her SUV and the next thing she knew she was on the ground and there was vortex shrapnel everywhere. "People are saying that it's the End of Dayers," she says, and Olivia agrees with that, adding that they think it's "Moreau."
That's when Peter creaks up, saying he feels like new, and he and Olivia hug and we get matching shots of the wedding bands they each have on. Peter lies and says the doctor said he's fine, and Astrid totally rats him out and says he's been ordered to stay off his feet for a few days. Olivia's concerned about Peter pushing himself, but he points out that Moreau's out there, but she's not having it and says this is going to be one of the times when he says, "You were right," but he categorically refuses to do that anyway because he's got "state-of-the-art science" on his side.
Ella asks him if he remembers what he said in the field about the machine and being from the past, and Peter just admits to getting his bell rung but he's doing better now.
Olivia's still suspicious, so he rattles off what he made for her for breakfast on Sunday. She doesn't look convinced, but everyone's attention is distracted by news reports about all the shit that went down last night, at One World Trade Center, which Olivia quietly tells them is a Stage 3 tear and they've initiated amber protocol. The screen lets us know that the terrorist "Moreau" has claimed responsibility, and there's a file picture of him up. It's Brad Dourif, who used to look psychotic and now looks old and psychotic. He is at that moment striding up to the doors of a lovely theatre hosting a performance by the Brooklyn Philharmonic. He listens at the door, and closes his eyes and listens to the soprano.
But he's not here to appreciate the opera; it's business time. Dourif and his men plant some sort of gadgety canister on the ground, and some tuxedo-wearing symphony-lover is coming back from the bathroom or whatever. He sees it, looks confused, and when he hears "Psst!" he turns and sees Dourif and his two henchmen waiting off to the side. That's what you get for not waiting for a break in the performance before going back in! The End of Dayers leave the corpse lying on the floor and stroll out, while the canister's beeping grows quicker and the flashing lights turn from red to a solid green, and there's a blinding flash, and then the theatre -- well, it doesn't look so much destroyed as disused. Derelict. Dust (or debris) floating through the air. Que?
And the opening credits are black. From what I understand, Fringe is not going to be able to go back. All new Fringe science! Brain porting! Cryptozoology! Temporal plasticity! Dual maternity! Biosuspension! Water! Hope! Jesus, water and hope? Sounds like a pretty bleak future.
Anyway, after the sleek opening credits, which look better in the shade, the Fringe division arrives on scene, and from the outside, things look a lot more straightforwardly destroyed. The theatre marquee is ripped in half, there are parts of the building on fire.
The Fringe team strolls through the wreckage, looking queasy as a man, whose torso has been separated from his legs, is carried out. Astrid shows everyone a video emailed by the security company that suggests the terrorists gained entrance from the side fire door. The alarm was disabled.
But there's good news, Astrid tells them, and she leads them to where they think they've found an "electralight." It must have been a dud, she says, and Peter holds it up. "We finally get to see one," he says.
Back at Fringe HQ, Peter works on the electralight while Astrid prattles on about how the "End of Days" was one of her father's favorite sermons: "When the world dies and a saviour arrives to end the suffering and usher all the worthy into heaven." Peter ignores her and asks for the alligator clips, and Astrid jokes that if her father ever met one of the kooks who's actually attempting to end the world, he'd probably kill them himself, and Peter continues to ignore her, so Astrid excuses herself with a stack of eyewitness statements and she'll tell Peter if she finds anything worthwhile. Olivia strolls over to see if Peter's figured anything out, but he hasn't. "Not only can I not tell you how the thing works, according to all the readings, it shouldn't be working at all," he says. Yeah, but... isn't it supposed to be a dud?
Anyway, Peter figures there's only one person on Earth who can tell them how the thing works. "Walter," says Olivia. Peter asks if she's got any markers she can call in, because he thinks it's past time.
Next thing we know, Peter's walking down a corridor flanked by a couple of guards in a high-security prison, and gets ready to meet... Walter, who shuffles into the meeting room in shackles and huge bushy beard and hair. It's very reminiscent of the first time we laid eyes on Walter Bishop, way back in the pilot.
After the commercial break, Walter puts his hand on the glass partition and Peter does likewise, and they smile sadly at each other. Walter jokes that it must be bad if they're letting Peter see him, and Peter says it is. "I heard a rumour that the sun was burning out. They don't tell me much in here," says Walter.
Fortunately, Peter is able to dispel the rumour that the sun is burning out, but the rumour Walter heard about the increase in Kappa radiation is unfortunately true. Fortunately, Koopa radiation remains stable. Peter tells him that a wormhole opened in Central Park and it took them months to amber it over. Walter says a wormhole shouldn't emit that much radiation, unless it's a "wormhole through time," and Peter says he's exactly right: the carbon levels w