In Central Park, everybody seems to be up and about and none the worse for wear, and Olivia's on her walkie-talkie, saying they're going to evacuate the area and try to contain the wormhole. She reaches into her SUV for something, and when she steps back out, Walternate is standing there, holding a gun on her. They say nothing to each other, Olivia too surprised apparently to yell or, say, use her telekinesis to rip the gun out of Walternate's hand or to prevent him from squeezing the trigger. Which he then does, and any possible actions for Olivia are moot. And Walternate stands there, staring at Olivia's lifeless body, in a park swarming with cops and federal agents.
So all I can imagine is that Olivia's will stipulates that her funeral have a "Survivor tribal council feel" because we're on a beach with torches all over the place, and Peter is at a lectern stammering out something about how Olivia Dunham, his wife, was everything to me. To him! To him, I mean! Freudian slip there, what? Anyway, then they cut the audio while Peter talks, so let's just assume Peter cribbed the eulogy from the funeral part of Four Weddings and a Funeral. Once you've dried your eyes after watching that, any other pop culture funeral sounds phoney and trite. We listen to music while the camera shows us all the people who are here for the funeral: Ella, Astrid, Nina Sharp... Broyles is there, looking like he's thinking, "Now I know why you humans cry." Walter's there, guarded. Soldiers fold the flag and give it to Ella with a salute, and she fidgets with it on her lap. Astrid cries.
And then Peter sets fire to the log boat on which the coffin is set. Cremation at sea, apparently. Entirely in keeping with Olivia's Nordic heritage. The flower-bedecked bier is then pushed off into the water, and we watch everyone watch it, lips quivering, tears rolling down their cheeks, etc. Peter more than the others looks really pissed.
Afterwards, the ride home is blocked by heavy traffic. Walter wonders if it's some kind of protest, but Ella tells him it's the wormhole: "They're still trying to steal it up," she says, and she starts to give the driver directions for an alternate route, but Walter interrupts to say he needs to get back to his lab. It sounds urgent.
At home, Peter sits. And drinks. And broods. And looks at the empty bottle of Vodka-brand vodka. He goes over to the fridge, and pulls out another bottle -- which is kept in the same drawer as the canned Steak, like what the fuck -- and then when he closes the fridge door he notices the drawing of the family that he's NOT going to have now, and he leans his head against the door and starts to cry for the first time. He also bangs the bottle against the fridge, and I'd just like to caution him on that, because it's not like wasting the vodka is going to make Olivia any less dead.
It's daylight now, at Harvard, and Walter tells a zombie-like Ella that the diagnostics are almost complete. Then he asks her if she remembers how she used to call him "Uncle Walter." Not the time, Walter! She says simply that she doesn't remember much from before "it got bad." So Walter gives a speech about how he's sorry and that he understands that words can't come close to mitigating her loss. He says -- much like Peter told Walternate -- that if he could go back in time and change things, he would. "I would give anything to be able to go back and make different choices."
Sounding like she herself blames Walter somewhat for what happened, Ella interrupts to tell him that he can't. "There aren't any happy endings nowadays, are there?" she says, and he meekly agrees. Seeing his anguish, she softens and says she remembers the cow that used to be there. "She had kind eyes," she says, and Walter agrees, smiling. "My Gene. I do miss her," says Walter, and because we're at the three-quarter mark it's time for Walter to have that epiphany that gives him a solution. A beep on his computer and a glance at the computer screen, and then Walter says, "That's it!"
Peter is standing looking out a window of his house. He hasn't changed his clothes. I'd really like to know if he made it through the second bottle of vodka. Anyone can make it through one. The doorbell rings, and it's Walter, under armed guard, clutching papers in his hand. He tells Peter that it's not too late, that Peter can save both worlds. Inside, he shows him the diagrams, and tells Peter he simply has to make a different choice, and should something go wrong, then Olivia will be their fail-safe.
"Walter, stop. Olivia is dead," Peter says, and Walter says, "But she won't be. Not then." Peter looks at the diagrams Walter has of the machine and points out that he turned it on fifteen years ago. Walter excitedly says all the time he sat in prison, he couldn't figure out where it came from. "I knew the pieces were buried millions of years ago, but how did they get there, so deep in the past?" he says, before supplying the answer: he sent them there, via the wormhole in Central Park. "Peter, you can stop the destruction before it occurs!"
Peter, perhaps not unreasonably, says Walter should just not send the machine back -- that way they'll never discover it, and he'll never destroy the other universe. And here's where things truly get murky, and I don't understand the logic (even the science-fiction logic) of Walter's argument when he says he's already done it, there he has no choice but to do it again. I mean I get that because the pieces were buried millions of years ago, that means that, for whatever reason, Walter is going to send them back. But what I don't understand is how what Walter suggests Peter do is any different from what Walter says he himself can't do. But that's what he's saying: "I can't change what happens because it's already happened. But you can make a different choice within what happened," says Walter, which makes ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE. Walter says he simply needs to find a way to bring his consciousness forward to now so that he can witness what will happen if he makes the same choice, which, for all he knows, is happening already. OK -- wait, am I starting to get this? May god have mercy on us all. So at some point after what's happening right now, in 2026 or beyond, Walter figures out a way to pull 2011 Peter's consciousness in 2026 Peter, which explains Peter's initial confusion, although not why he doesn't seem to feel his old consciousness anymore. But even accepting all that, doesn't the "it already happened" rule apply here too? Doesn't the fact that it happened suggest that no matter what they will do to try to prevent it in the past, the fact that it happened proves they failed?
Still, Peter's moved on from "that's ridiculous" to "imagine the repercussions," and Walter acknowledges that there's no way of telling what the cost might be, which is a line of thinking that it seems to me has gotten Walter in a lot of trouble already, not to mention directly caused the destruction of one universe and, indirectly, another. "But it can't be worse than this. It can't be worse than this," says Walter, stroking his son's face. Peter, after a moment, asks what he'd need to do.
And then, just like that, we're back in the present day, Peter still strapped into the doomsday device, and seemingly having a rough go of it. Walter shouts that his heart rate's going up, at 156 and climbing. Broyles glances at the clock and says Peter's been there for sixty seconds -- how much longer are they going to let him stay in there? Walter, distraught, says Peter has "interfaced" with the machine at a biological level: "If we take him out prematurely, I'm afraid we'll harm him," he yells, and then the music ramps up and Walter at Olivia gasp at something we can't see.
When we come back from commercial, we're on Liberty Island in the other universe, and Brandonate is showing Walternate that the machine started going goofy sixty seconds ago. Brandonate shows Walternate that the soft spots aren't closing, but getting