Episode Title: "6:02 AM EST"
Writers: David Wilcox & Josh Singer & Graham Roland
Director: Jeannot Szwarc
Previously on "Fringe":
Months ago, FBI Agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) was trapped in the alternate universe and replaced by her counterpart, hereafter referred to as Fauxlivia. While undercover in our world, Fauxlivia began a relationship with Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) and she conceived a child before her deception was revealed and Olivia escaped back to our world. In the other universe, the alternate Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble) aka Walternate staged Fauxlivia's kidnapping to speed up her pregnancy and obtain cell samples from the baby, nearly killing Fauxlivia in the process.
Meanwhile in our world, Olivia reconciled with Peter, but she soon found her body possessed by William Bell (Leonard Nimoy). With the aid of Peter, Bell and Walter, Olivia was eventually able to retake control of her body after a harrowing adventure in her own mindscape. Along the way, a mysterious man attacked Peter and Walter. When Peter later asked who the man was, Olivia calmly stated that she never saw him before… but she believed it was the man who is going to kill her.
In the other universe, Walternate and his top man, Brandon Fayette (Ryan McDonald) go over the DNA taken from Fauxlivia's baby and manage to extract half of Peter's DNA sequence. Realizing that they may have enough of Peter to activate the Doomsday Machine on their world, Walternate briefly reflects on the fact that they must destroy our world to save theirs. In our world, a vortex opens, killing two men and their flock of sheep. Elsewhere, Sam Weiss (Kevin Corrigan) notes the disturbance in his bowling alley and he looks alarmed. At Peter's home, Olivia accidentally encounters Walter roaming the house buck naked, before getting back into bed with Peter.
At Massive Dynamic, Nina Sharp (Blair Brown) is astonished to see the Doomsday Machine in our world power up without Peter. She alerts the Fringe team and Walter theorizes that quantum entanglement with the Doomsday Machine in the other world may have activated the one in our own. Our world begins to break down, possibly irrecoverably. In the alternate world, Fauxlivia and her team note that a major Fringe event is happening at Walternate's Department of Defense complex, but he makes the team stand down. In private, Walternate admits that he activated the machine (and even sacrificed Peter's life) to save their world… and Fauxlivia's son.
Back in our world, the team realizes that they won't be able to amber more than a handful of Fringe event spots, but Peter is willing to risk his life in the Doomsday Machine in an attempt to turn off the machine. Somberly, Walter realizes that this is the lesson that the Watchers tried to teach him; that he has to let Peter go to save the world. And he reluctantly accepts this. At Massive Dynamic, Nina fills Olivia in on Sam Weiss' connection to the larger events, but admits that they can't find him now.
Elsewhere, Sam observes the alternate world with one of Walter's old window devices and notes that their world is also suffering from the effects of the machine. In the alternate world, Fauxlivia leaves her son with Lincoln Lee (Seth Gabel) and she attempts to break into the DoD to cross back into our universe and retrieve Peter so he can convince Walternate to stop the machine. Fauxlivia knocks out Brandon, but she is ultimately cornered and captured by Walternate's men. In our world, Peter says his goodbyes to everyone but Olivia and he attempts to touch the machine… only to be violently thrown back and left comatose by the machine.
Olivia arrives at the hospital and learns that Peter didn't suffer brain trauma, but the doctors can't wake him. In the hospital chapel, Walter prays to God for the safety of the world and Peter and offers himself up for God's wraith. Olivia steps out of the hospital at sunrise and she is surprised to find Sam Weiss waiting for her. He tells her that they don't have much time to stop the machine. In the other universe, Walternate visits the captive Fauxlivia and tells her that he won't let her rot as a traitor because she is the mother of his grandson. But he also won't let her out until our world is dead.
Going into this episode, I knew something significant was going to happen, but I didn't think that this was essentially going to be part one of the third season finale. There are still two episodes to go after this, but I don't know how much higher the stakes can go. The third season has offered up hints at what life is like in the alternate world and what could happen to our universe if the Fringe events start happening here. Even now, we've only gotten a taste of what could happen.
It's kind of wrong, but I'm really curious to see a black hole open up on our side just to see how the Fringe team would handle it with amber and attempt to spin it to the public.
There's also been a few interesting turns in the alternate universe. I had already grown to like the alternate Lincoln Lee and Charlie Francis team, especially when they realized that Walternate had been lying to them and withholding information. But this was the first time that Fauxlivia was completely sympathetic aside from the episode in which she gave birth. It was kind of surprising that she didn't make it across and I was actually rooting for her to succeed and join up with our Fringe team. I'd kind of like to see a team with two Olivias on it now.
In either universe, John Noble continues to make Walternate one of the most irresistible villains on TV while also turning Walter into a tragic figure desperately begging God for forgiveness. Both versions of the same man are brought to life with heartfelt performances. Even Walternate's moments of reflection about Oppenheimer showed a sympathetic awareness of what he has to do to save his world, even if he doesn't shy away from it.
I don't think we're anywhere near done featuring Peter's attempt to get into the Doomsday Machine, but the way it rejected him did catch me off guard. That was a brilliant way to play with our expectations while delivering the surprise of the show. Sometimes we get so far ahead of our TV series, that there are no more shocks. But it's cool to see there's at least one show that can still surprise us.
The only thing that worries me is that "Fringe" is still bleeding out viewers on Fridays. What more do people want from this show? It's the end of the world, and we feel fine.
Crave Online Rating: 8.5 out of 10.