Episode Title: "The Last Sam Weiss"
Writers: Monica Owusu-Breen & Alison Schapker
Director: Thomas Yatsko
Previously on "Fringe":
Using the DNA of the son of the alternate Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) aka Fauxlivia and Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson), the alternate Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble) aka Walternate successfully started the Doomsday Machine in his world and began tearing our world apart. Meanwhile, Nina Sharp (Blair Brown) confessed to Olivia that much of her information about the Machine came from Sam Weiss (Kevin Corrigan), a mysterious individual linked to William Bell. However, Sam disappeared while pursuing his own investigation into the Doomsday Machine on both worlds.
In the alternate universe, Fauxlivia betrayed Walternate and attempted to crossover to our world and retrieve Peter. But her attempt failed and Walternate locked her away. In our world, Peter realized that his connection with the Doomsday Machine may be the only way to disable its counterpart in our world. However, the Machine violently rejected him with electricity and left him comatose. While Walter prayed to God for his world's salvation, Sam approached Olivia and told her to take him to the Machine immediately.
In the hospital, Walter hovers over Peter's beside and won't leave him. He tells Astrid (Jasika Nicole) that the electricity from the Doomsday Machine may have damaged Peter's mind or disrupted his memories. But Astrid finally lures him away with the promise of pudding from the commissary. In Massachusetts, a violent lightening storm spontaneously appears and strikes several vehicles. Back at Massive Dynamic, Sam explains that the Machine isn't meant for Doomsday, but because it activated without Peter, it can still destroy our world. He tells Olivia that an unpublished section of The First People book may hold the answers to letting Peter reassert control of the Machine.
When Walter and Astrid hear about the lightning storms spreading throughout the Eastern Seaboard, Walter gives into despair and mentions begging God for help. Astrid tells him that God helps those who help themselves, which causes Walter to recognize the expression from Benjamin Franklin and re-embrace his inner mad scientist. Elsewhere, Sam explains that his ancestors (also named Sam Weiss) wrote The First People and gathered the original manuscript. He also mentions a hidden "crowbar" which can disrupt the Machine and allow Peter back inside.
Back at the hospital, Peter wakes up confused and disoriented. After getting dressed, he grabs a cab and pays for a long trip to New York. Meanwhile, Walter and Astrid work out that all of the Fringe events are happening between the Massive Dynamic hanger and Liberty Island, namely the two locations of the Doomsday Machine in both worlds. Walter than gives Broyles (Lance Reddick) a crazy plan to buy more time: move their Machine to Liberty Island. Elsewhere, Olivia and Sam find the final manuscript page which depicts the "crowbar," Olivia herself! They then meet up with Walter, who determines that Olivia can shut down the Machine in the alternate world with her mind.
Walter brings out the typewriter Fauxlivia used to contact her universe as practice for Olivia, but she is unable to type even a single letter with her mind. At the hospital, a nurse finds a note from Peter and lets the Fringe team know that he's missing. In New York, Peter stops at a pawn shop and buys a silver dollar for luck. He then makes his way to Liberty Island and demands to see his father, the "Secretary of Defense." The Fringe team reunites with Peter just as the Machine arrives and Walter examines his son. Peter's confusion seems to pass and as Olivia speaks with him, the typewriter back in Boston finally responds to her commands.
Finally ready to face the Machine, Olivia reaches out with her mind and disrupts the counterpart device in the alternate universe. She and Peter express their love for each other before he steps into the Machine. Power surges through him, and suddenly Peter finds himself back in New York at night during some kind of emergency attack. He notices a dedication to the September 11th victims that was made on September 11, 2021… before he sees the finished One World Trade Center and a soldier with a Fringe Division patch on his sleeve. The soldier addresses Peter as "Agent Bishop" and notes that he's been injured before Peter passes out.
So, let's get this straight: A manuscript from the past not only depicts Peter in the Doomsday Machine, but Olivia too? And by stepping into the device, Peter found himself transported to the future?!
God, I love this show.
Sure, those plot twists sound silly on the face of it, but "Fringe" pulls them off unlike any other series on TV. The Olivia manuscript reminded me of similar plot point from another J.J. Abrams created series, "Alias." I remember a lot of my friends at the time rejecting "Alias" for introducing "sci-fi" elements into their spy series, but I liked it then and I don't have a problem with repeating the same trick for Olivia. However, I would like an explanation for that at some point.
The future timeline also raises several interesting questions. The first and most profound question is: WTF?!
It's clearly the future of our universe, but this is definitely a new layer of complexity to the story. Is "Fringe" going to be dealing with alternate timelines as well in the fourth season? To be honest, the story really felt like it was winding down in this episode and I was curious as to how the creative team was going to extend it for one more episode. And I'll give the writers credit, I didn't expect this latest twist.
For an episode called "The Last Sam Weiss," Kevin Corrigan's man of mystery wasn't that important to the overall story. Granted, we learn a lot about him and where The First People came from. But it seemed weird that Broyles would dismiss him so easily after he and Olivia found the final manuscript. It makes no sense for the FBI to let him out of their sight given what he knows.
I do have to admit that the story with Peter's brief bout of partial amnesia seemed a little contrived. Joshua Jackson was still very entertaining in his scenes, but it felt like an artificial way to get Peter where he needed to be after his accident last week. And it was the least believable thing on a show with Doomsday Machines, psychic powers and highly competent government agents.
So much of the show's fanbase focuses on Peter and Olivia that it seems like they overlook the other great pairing on the show: Walter and Astrid. As noted previously, Astrid doesn't always get enough to do, but the way she interacts with Walter is always really amusing and adds some humor to what could normally be dry exposition scenes. Likewise, Walter's demonstration of what the two Doomsday Machines were doing was one of the more effective explanations on the series.
Rumor has it that at least one of the Fringe team is going to die in the season finale. Unfortunately, I think Astrid and Broyles are the leading contenders for an early demise. Broyles' death was foreshadowed a few weeks back during his LSD trip…. and Astrid is kind of expendable. I really like her character, but I can imagine the show without her. If the producers really want to be brave, they could kill off Walter or Olivia while keeping their counterparts in the alternate universe. I could even see the alternate Olivia taking the real Olivia's place… just like I see the fanbase freaking out if that ever happened.
The only character who seems to be completely safe is Peter himself. Or is that what we're meant to think?
Let us know who you think is going to die in the comment section and share your theories on where "Fringe" will go in the finale!
Crave Online Rating: 9 out of 10.