In last night's season finale of Fringe, there were some reality-splitting revelations and at least one crazy-ass Abrams lens flare moment. And it was awesome, but confusing to the uninitiated. Allow me to explain. Spoilers!
OK, so here is what happened on the surface of the brain-twisting episode known as "There Is More Than One of Everything." Olivia and the Scoobies are investigating two related cases: The shooting of Massive Dynamic VP Nina Sharp, and a bizarre incident in New York where a truck barreled out of a shimmering hole in the middle of the street. Turns out there's a very obvious connection between the two things. Security footage reveals that Nina was shot by none other than notorious underground science terrorist Jones, who stole a secret mega-ultra-super power source that Massive Dynamic boss William Bell hid in her robotic arm.
Do not ask why Bell decided to hide his mega thing in his VP's arm, OK? You are watching Fringe, where we fight to stop alternate Earth from invading our own. But I get ahead of myself.
So Jones now has the mega-ultra-super (which is about the size of a USB memory stick) and is using it to power up his dimension-opening device, which is by the way run off Dell laptops. Can I just have a moment to say thanks to the Fringe science advisory team for showing a PC running something in a scifi series? I am so freakin sick of seeing Apples in these kinds of stories. Geeks know that the only drivers available for inter-dimensional peripheral devices are made for Windows and Linux, and it's nice to see the Fringe crew knows this too.
Anyway, back to my point, which is that Jones opened a dimensional doorway between our NYC Prime and NYC-1. Which is why a truck came barreling out of nowhere, and why later on another doorway opens in a soccer field and slices a guy's body in half when he gets stuck halfway inside Earth-1 just as the doorway is closing.
Given that Jones is a terrorist, and Sharp miraculously survived the shooting due to her Kevlar ribcage, it's time for the Scoobies to go on full alert. As Sharp explains, there are "soft spots" in reality where the doorway between worlds is likely to be the most stable, and it's a race against time to find out where they are because Jones is looking for them too. No, we still don't know why Jones wants to go to Earth-1, especially given that last week we found out it's full of bombed-out buildings and quarantine zones.
While all this is happening, Walter is looking for something he lost long ago. The Observer, that bald white guy who eats a lot of chili peppers, has brought Walter back to a cottage in Rhode Island where his family used to stay when Peter was little. The Observer says he has to find something there quickly, and that "there's more than one of everything," but can't tell him more than that because he's not supposed to intervene. Unfortunately, the mad Walter can't remember anything about what he might have hidden there. But fortunately (sort of) we find out that Massive Dynamic has backdoored every camera it ever sold. It's easy as pie for them to grab and search illegally through a bunch of surveillance footage to locate the missing Walter at the beach house and send Peter off to get him.
And Peter helps out by looking rakish and telling Walter a story about how he used to make pancakes when Peter was a kid. That reminds Walter of how he lost "something precious" when Peter was young and sick (though interestingly Peter doesn't remember being sick). And how he thought he could find that precious thing over in Earth-1, which he used to see all the time after taking tons of LSD with William Bell.
So sure was Walter that he could step through into Earth-1 from Earth Prime that he actually designed a "patch" gun to close doorways opened between the two worlds. Because if the two worlds are joined that would be bad, OK? And the patch gun is the thing hidden at the cottage that he needed to remember.
Anyway, he and Peter get the patch gun and race to the soft spot by a lake that everybody has found. There's Jones using his Dell to open doorways between worlds, and luckily Olivia and Peter stop him, closing the door between dimensions just as Jones has his head halfway between them. Ohhh, sliced head! Gross and cool.
And this is where things REALLY got weird. Are you ready for full understanding, my cosmonauts?
Now don't forget that Jones was part of ZFT, the underground science group funded and created by William Bell, whose sole purpose is to bring down society through the advancement of technology. The ZFT manifesto talks about how there are two parallel Earths (though sadly it does not actually use the DC Comics preferred terms Earth Prime and Earth-1). Earth Prime (our Earth) and Earth-1 (their Earth) cannot co-exist, and Earth-1 is more technologically advanced than Earth Prime. A time is coming soon when one Earth will destroy the other.
Last week, Walter discovered the lost "ethics" chapter of the ZFT manifesto, which makes it seem like William Bell might have had good intentions and that Jones and his buddies deliberately cut out the ethics part so they could be science dicks. Also, Bell and Walter did a bunch of experiments on kids using cortexiphan, a drug that helps you see between worlds, because they were not very ethical. Olivia is one of those kids, as are many others who are currently developing superpowers to become Jones' "soldiers" in the coming war between Earth Prime and Earth-1.
So there's your quick backstory.
Olivia has been wanting to meet William Bell, partly because she knows he's behind the ZFT freaks, and partly because she's really pissed about those childhood experiments on her brain. Once she's destroyed Jones, thus doing a favor for everybody, Sharp says she'll arrange a meeting for her with Bell. But Bell "isn't in this world," says Sharp. For some reason, nobody seems to guess what the hell she's talking about even though they know all that stuff I just recapped for you about the two Earths and the dimension doors. Whatever.
Sadly, Bell doesn't show up at the restaurant where Olivia is supposed to meet him, so she enters the elevator in a big huff after waiting a really long time. As the elevator goes down, there's an INTERDIMENSIONAL LENS FLARE borrowed straight from Abrams' Star Trek. This is the sign that Something Trippy is happening. Then a bunch of people appear next to her in the elevator very briefly, and flash out again.
When the doors finally open, she's in a shiny white hallway and a woman says, "Agent Dunham, welcome." OK, so she's obviously in Earth-1, now. She walks down the hall and meets William Bell at last (yes, he's played by Leonard Nimoy, yes that's awesome, etc.). He doesn't really say much other than that he's been wanting to meet her, and then the camera swoops out his high office window over NYC-1, where we see (big reveal) the Twin Towers shining in the sun. Actually, a pretty cool scene. So the season ends with Olivia and Bell on Earth-1.
Meanwhile, back on Earth Prime, Walter is sobbing in a graveyard. The grave belongs to (BIG REVEAL) Peter Bishop, his son, the wisecracking rake who doesn't remember being sick as a kid. You know what that means, right? Peter Prime died as a kid, in 1987, and Walter crossed over to Earth-1 and kidnapped Peter-1 for himself. Then he used his patch gun to cover up the evidence. So Peter is actually from Earth-1.
Here's where it gets REALLY complicated, though, Earth Primers. Remember how Olivia saw all those people flash into the elevator when she was heading to Earth-1? I think what that means is that there are a lot more alternative Earths - infinite Earths, if you will. Those people were traveling between them. And Olivia can see more than one of the Earths, which is why the city she saw bombed out and on fire last week was healed with its Twin Towers intact this week. Last week maybe she was seeing Earth-10, but Bell lives in Earth-1. See what I'm getting at? We're headed to a veritable CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS. Which warms the cockles of my nerdy little heart.
Also: A newspaper on Bell's desk shows that Obama is president of Earth-1 too. Nice to know some things never change.
So what do you guys think? Is it just Earth Prime and Earth-1 or are there infinite Earths?