Fringe: Review: Season 4 Eps 20-21

Fox, 27 April & 4 May 2012

David Robert Jones’s plot becomes clearer, while a face from the past makes an unexpected, but welcome, return.

It is a great relief that Fringe has been renewed, even if it is for a final season of only 13 episodes. Recently the series has been firing on all cylinders and it is great that the creative team will get the chance to wrap the show up properly rather in a rushed final scene as had been mooted for this season.

The ‘quake bombers’ in Worlds Apart and the spontaneous combustion nanite victims in Brave New World, Part 1 are both experiments by Jones in his attempts to combine the two distinct universes into one. However, Jones realises too late that he is simply another pawn in the machinations of a bigger villain.

That villain—as revealed in the first part of the season finale story—turns out to be Walter Bishop’s one-time partner WIlliam Bell, as unexpectedly played once again by a returning Leonard Nimoy. It’s great to see Nimoy back, after a couple of appearances (animated and CGI) that did not require his in-person participation. Nimoy has become  a core part of the fabric of Fringe, so it would be great to see him involved again next season (if the events of this week’s season finale do not preclude that!).

It’s been an odd and challenging season of Fringe this year, and while such risk taking with popular narrative forms is to be encouraged, it does seem that this very experimentation brought the show close to cancellation. Perhaps a more straight-forward approach will materialise next season as a result, but would that still be the Fringe we have come to appreciate?

Verdict: Two gripping episodes building to what promises to be an explosive season finale…

Episode 19 ‘Worlds Apart’: 8/10

Episode 20 ‘Brave New World, Part 1’: 8/10

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