Quick spoilers for last night's "Fringe" season finale coming right up...
I thought "There's More Than One of Everything" was a solid finale to an uneven but promising debut season, enlivened largely by the final few minutes.
First, we found out that the gravestone Walter kept visiting was Peter's from the 1980s, which suggests that Walter's son didn't survive the illness that Walter mentioned a while back, and that somehow (presumably with the help of The Observer) Walter came into custody of the Peter Bishop from the alternate universe. (Which makes me wonder what happened to Alt-Walter, and whether he's mad that somebody kidnapped his kid.) It explains so much about Walter's behavior around Peter, and why he got so excited in this episode when Peter remembered the pancake story -- which presumably was something Walter did with his Peter, and which made Walter feel closer to this one because of the common experience. Beautifully played, as usual, by John Noble.
Second, we finally got to meet the mysterious William Bell, as played by Leonard Nimoy (who's having a good week, no?), and to get more of a glimpse of Earth-2, or whatever we want to call the parallel world. While I've read other sci-fi stories (notably the comic book "Ex Machina") where one or both of the Twin Towers survived 9/11, it was still startling -- and a credit to the "Fringe" visual FX team -- to see the World Trade Center looking so pristine and majestic in the final shot, which was so cool I can overlook the fact that Olivia was obviously not dining on Ground Zero when she jumped from one universe to the other. (The earlier scene with the truck implied that the portal didn't change your geographic location; just what Earth you happened to be standing on.) The newspaper headline about the Obamas moving into a "new White House" suggests that maybe the planes made it to Washington but not New York that day, or perhaps 9/11 didn't happen in any form on that world.
Olivia's trip to this strange new world opens up a lot of possibilities for "Fringe," and I'm hopeful that J.J. Abrams and company can get a better handle on the show going into next season. Right now, Noble's performance, the production values and the number of cool, weird things per episode are just enough to keep me coming back, but "Fringe" has yet to really hook me. Some of that's on Anna Torv (who, as I've said, is a solid enough actress when given something to play, but lacks the charisma to make a low-key character like Olivia interesting in the moments when she's not getting upset), and some of that's on how the writers incorporate the arc mythology with the standalone stories. But I feel like there's potentially a very good show there, and maybe the show can start reaching that potential next year.
What did everybody else think?