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December 18, 2014

TV Moment of 2009: Olivia Dunham Meets William Bell on 'Fringe'

by Jane Boursaw, posted Dec 14th 2009 1:00PM
Fringe, Leonard Nimoy as William Bell, 'Fringe' roared out of the starting gate last year with a flurry of sci-fi plots boasting surprises at every turn. Even though it took a ratings dip this season, the Fox show continues to churn steadily along, offering key plot points on alternate universes, shapeshifters, mercury junkies, and liquified brains with each new episode. Throw in some bald-headed Observers, an FBI agent who might have mental powers, a rogue genius from an alternate universe, and a quirky mad scientist, and you've got the makings of an 'X-Files' type hit.

One of the highlights of the series thus far occurred in the season 1 finale on May 12, 'There's More Than One of Everything.' All season, the writers had been teasing us with rumors of the mysterious William Bell. We knew that he'd been Walter's lab partner in the distant past, and that the two had apparently conducted experiments on young children, including Agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv). Also, both men are connected to Massive Dynamic, the futuristic company which seems to be at the center of everything.Fringe, Leonard Nimoy as William Bell, 'Fringe' roared out of the starting gate last year with a flurry of sci-fi plots boasting surprises at every turn. Even though it took a ratings dip this season, the Fox show continues to churn steadily along, offering key plot points on alternate universes, shapeshifters, mercury junkies, and liquified brains with each new episode. Throw in some bald-headed Observers, an FBI agent who might have mental powers, a rogue genius from an alternate universe, and a quirky mad scientist, and you've got the makings of an 'X-Files' type hit.

One of the highlights of the series thus far occurred in the season 1 finale on May 12, 'There's More Than One of Everything.' All season, the writers had been teasing us with rumors of the mysterious William Bell. We knew that he'd been Walter's lab partner in the distant past, and that the two had apparently conducted experiments on young children, including Agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv). Also, both men are connected to Massive Dynamic, the futuristic company which seems to be at the center of everything.

In the episode, Massive head honcho Nina Sharp (Blair Brown) sets up a meeting between Olivia and William Bell. We see Olivia driving towards the meeting in New York, but a near collision almost sidelines her. When Olivia gets to the location of the meeting, she finds Nina Sharp "out of the country," but she left instructions for Olivia to board the elevator to meet with William.

Things go a little wacky in the elevator ride, as the lights dim and visions of people flash in and out of Olivia's view. Upon disembarking on the floor where the meeting is to take place, Olivia enters a room and sees a New York Post on the table, with the cover story, "Obamas Set to Move Into New White House." She finally comes face to face with William Bell, played by Leonard Nimoy. It goes down like this:

William Bell [in the darkness of the room]: "I've been waiting quite a long time for this."
Olivia Dunham: "Where am I? Who are you?"
William Bell: "The answer to your first question ... it's very complicated. The answer to your second [Nimoy steps into the light] ... I'm William Bell."

Olivia looks out the window, and as the camera pans back, we see that the building they're in is actually one of the Twin Towers in New York City. It's clear that she has somehow crossed over into the other universe to meet with William, a universe in which the Towers still exist. Our theory is that it happened at the site of the near car crash, and the season 2 premiere, 'A New Day in the Old Town,' seemingly confirms this because Olivia comes crashing back into this universe through the windshield of her car.

William showed up again in the mid-season finale last week, 'Grey Matters.' Again, he appears in the last few moments of the episode, in a flashback, right before he removes pieces of Walter's brain. The tissue holds crucial info about how to build a door to the alternate universe, and it's been stored all this time in other peoples' brains (which ultimately drove them mad until it was removed in last week's episode).

'Fringe' is scheduled to resume on Jan. 14, and we can't wait to find out what happens next. Take a look at the season 1 finale:





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