SPOILERS FOR WINTER'S TALE
Perhaps my expectations were somewhat high. It's hard to top a finale in which a main character was murdered, another was erased from existence, and there was a 15 year time jump. This wasn't a bad episode, not by any means, but I can't help but feel disappointed.
One of the things I was looking forward to the most was the people from both sides working out their differences, but the only person from Over There was Altlivia. No Walternate, No Lincolnate, nobody. I would have thought at least Walternate, but no dice. However, the scene at the Machine was well done.
Last season, I didn't care for the version of Lincoln Lee from Our side, but he was actually very likable this time around. Seth Gabel does a good job, with both Lincolns. Perhaps the absence of Peter improved Our Lincoln's personality, as well as the previously unknown partner, Robert Danzig (played by Stargate Atlantis' Joe Flanigan). I look forward to Our Lincoln's reaction to his double.
The mystery involving human shapeshifters wasn't as interesting as previous episodes about them. The shapeshifters, human or not, should not even be around, since Peter never existed. However, given certain comments by September and December, Peter may have existed as a child. If he did, and Walter crossed over but didn't save him, that would explain Walternate's continued anger and the shapeshifters. If Peter died as a child, I really hope Walter doesn't try to bring him back to life like that bird.
September's plan to correct his mistake by erasing Peter didn't go as well as he had hoped. Flashes of Peter were seen in the reflection of Walter's television. Walter doesn't know who he is, though. September could have finished the job, but for some reason chose not to. That decision will come back to bite him in the butt. As for where Peter is, my best guess is that his soul is trapped in the Machine, like the picture.
With every major episode, the color of the opening credits changes. First it was blue, then they had red, black, purple, even a retro style with commonplace things that were "fringe" in 1985. Now, in the Peterless universe, it's orange. I think it's my second favorite, next to black. One of the subjects in the credits that caught my eye was "philosopher's stone". It sounds like they will do a Harry Potter episode. That should be a good one. The next color, I think, will be green.
As to how they will work Peter back into the plot, I already know some things. Such as he will have all of his memories, but he must convince everyone else of his identity. When that happens, I don't think there will be any other conflict to resolve. Both universes are working out their problems; it's not easy at times, but at least they're in a room. The return of Peter will speed up this process. When both parties finally manage to find peace, I think it will result in what I call a "Perfectly Just" universe.
Let me explain: In the novel, "Winter's Tale" (a book that was referenced last season in the episode Subject 13), the characters intersect at various points over the course of a century in a snow-covered New York. At the end, all evil, unfairness and injustice is washed away and the characters come together to live in Paradise for all eternity. For both Fringe teams to forgive each other, and themselves, for everything that has happened, would be the best possible ending to the series. I hope that will happen without a third universe.
Early ratings reports are starting to come in, and the outlook is good, but not great. I was hoping for a 1.6. The result was a 1.5, so I was close. When the ratings begin their descent, I don't think it will be too much. I think it will level out at a 1.2 or a 1.3. Low, but enough to get a shortened fifth and final season.
Last season, I predicted a cosmic reset on the scale of Lost's Jughead. I was right, so here are my predictions for the rest of the series:
Orla Brady (the actress that plays Peter's mother) will return.
They will do a Harry Potter-like episode about the philosopher's stone.
There will be an episode like The Dead Zone.
John Noble will be snubbed for an Emmy.
Nadine Park (one of the human shapeshifters) will return.
We will get a fifth and final season.
Peter's soul is trapped in the Machine.
David Robert Jones will return.
The series will conclude with a "Perfectly Just" universe.
Overall, it wasn't the best episode, especially considering last season's finale, but it set up the outlook and plotlines for what should be another amazing season. Lincoln Lee was a nice addition to the cast, we received more information about September, and Peter made a brief appearance. The early reviews say next week's episode is the much better one anyway.