Anyone expecting a continuation of last week's out-of-the-blue adventure set in the future may have been disappointed by "Worlds Apart", which returned to the present-day concerns of David Robert Jones and his plan for bi-universal armageddon. I didn't mind, because it seems likely this story is revealing exactly what happened to setup the events of "Letters In Transit", where the Fringe team were put into stasis and The Observers took over the world. So we effectively have two sides of the same story slowly moving together to, hopefully, provide a sense of revelation and satisfaction when they collide and everything makes sense.
"World Apart" was something of an information dumping episode, but I was actually quite grateful for some clear and concise answers. David Robert Jones' masterplan is to collapse the two universes that co-exist, thus creating a second Big Bang and the creation of a brand new universe that he'll control the laws of. He'll survive by positioning himself in the "eye of the storm" for safety, together with those bizarre crossbreed animals we saw in "Nothing As It Seems". As dastardly plans go, this one's rather epic, but it's also utter tosh. How would Jones exist in the immediate aftermath of a Big Bang? Is he prepared to wait for millennia for a habitable planet to form? How does he intend to cheat death during this wait, because he's no spring chicken? And why set yourself up as "God" to a menagerie of freaky animals that belong in horror movies? I know the man's crazy and deluded, but that only excuses so much. His plan is enjoyable pulp nonsense, but perhaps stretches credulity too far. Unless subsequent episodes finesse what Jones' plan really is and makes it seem more plausible. Perhaps forget the Big Bang 2 idea and just say an uninhabited amalgam of Earth will be created instead?
It was also an episode of goodbyes, as both Fringe teams realised the only surefire way of stopping Jones' plan (which involves the use of Cortexiphan-dosed people "retuning" the universes from 27 carefully chosen locations), was to shutdown the Bridge via "The Machine" from season 3 that's been steadily healing the alt-Earth. This episode did a great job putting across the sense of sorrow this causes everyone, as the mutual counterparts have grown quite attached to each other. There was a particularly fine moment between Walter (John Noble) and "Walternate", which suggests both men have come to find peace. It was also great to see Peter (Joshua Jackson) choose to stay in his adopted universe, and for Lincoln (Seth Gabel) opting to stay in the alternate world because there's a chance of happiness with "Fauxlivia" (Anna Torv). I was also impressed by the performance of guest-star David Call, returning as the alternate version of his character Nick Lane—a fellow "Cortexiphan child" who knew Olivia. The scene where he reveals his sister committed suicide, because his ability to unwittingly transmit his own emotions compelled her to, was genuinely heartbreaking. I hope we get to see more of him.
Overall, I really enjoyed "Worlds Apart" because of its excellent scenes between the doppelgangers (especially the Walter's), and laid things out more clearly for viewers whose minds are spinning. I'm not sure how the David Robert Jones storyline will leads into the events seen in "Letters In Transit", but I can't wait to find out. And if you didn't know already, now that Fox have renewed Fringe for a 13-episode final season, we have a whole 15-hours to get definite answers about everything the show's raised. I guess it remains to be seen if the writers are up to this challenge, and can provide a satisfying conclusion.
written by Matt Pitts & Nicole Phillips (story by Graham Roland) / directed by Charles Beeson / 27 April 2012 / Fox