A terrific episode that helped focus minds and propelled us into the final movement of this fourth season. Olivia (Anna Torv) captured by David Robert Jones (Jared Harris) and forced to perform psychic tasks to test the success of her surreptitious Cortexiphan dosing, with surrogate mother Nina (Blair Brown) painfully tortured as the emotional trigger; Peter (Joshua Jackson) entering the consciousness of the dying Observer (Michael Cerveris) in Walter's (John Noble) lab, at which point a large chunk of their mythology was spelled out for us; and the rather fabulous double-twist that the shapeshifter Nina was actually the real Nina, and it was the "real" Nina who was the impostor.
It's hard to complain about this episode too much, although I was expecting something more imaginative with The Observer's back-story. I think everyone had them down as highly evolved human with technology that allows them to operate outside of Space and Time, from as early as season 1, so it wasn't much of a big reveal four seasons in. A little better was being reminded that, hey, Fauxlivia gave birth to Peter's son Henry, and that's a key mistake that The Observer has been trying to correct. (Am I alone in totally forgetting about that baby, because it happened so long ago?)
Overall, "The End Of All Things" was fast-paced and packed with exciting moments, tense scenes, good action, and some big revelations. It's certainly one of the better episodes we've had in quite some time, and I'm so glad Jared Harris agreed to come back as Fringe's supervillain (who can't even be shot and killed on account of his body having been atomically reconstructed). There were a few things that disappointed me, though, and the feeling that Fringe needs to come to a suitable ending sooner rather than later, but I really enjoyed watching this episode and hope it's going to revitalise the rest of the season.
written by David Fury / directed by Jeff Hunt / 24 February 2012 / Fox