5. Biggest Bummer
On the Other Side, Olivia's double -- aka Bolivia, Fauxlivia or Altlivia -- is good pals with her boss, Captain Lincoln Lee (Seth Gabel), a field-hardened veteran with mad tactical skills and a deep unrequited love for Bolivia. On This Side, Agent Lincoln Lee is a mild-mannered field office drone who literally stumbles into his position on the Fringe team ... and develops a deep unrequited love for Olivia. The two Lincolns are nothing alike -- yet, strangely, their personal histories have more parallels than most of the other prime/parallel universe characters.
So of course, in the diabolical minds of the writers, that meant one of them was expendable -- and alt-Lincoln, being the more well-adjusted and happy-with-his-life guy, was the obvious choice. Well, it wasn't obvious at the time: During a relatively routine activity, he gets shot. Which is upsetting, but big deal, right? The Other Side has a lot of problems, but it also has way better medical tech, and at that point we'd already seen Captain Lee come back from being basically torched alive during an earlier showdown with the prime Fringe team.
His actual death happens offscreen, but when his teammates learn he didn't make it, their quiet despair gives us one of the rare moments on Fringe where we really felt the toll of the tragedy.
4. A Surprising Sacrifice
Even before we found out about William Bell's insane scheme to collapse both universes and create one where he could be God, the guy never seemed like much of a team player. The founder of sprawling tech company Massive Dynamic, Bell got rich while Walter was locked up in an asylum for 17 years. His motives were always murky, and his right-hand woman, Massive Dynamic COO Nina Sharp (Blair Brown), was only too willing to further obscure them.
Thanks to Bell's secret travels to the Other Side, it was pretty easy to believe he was in cahoots with Walternate. So it's a nice twist when, at the end of Season 2, Bell helps Walter and Olivia get away from the alt Fringe team, and even helps Walter set up the equipment he needs to get his people home. He can't go with them, because he's crossed back and forth so many times that he'd simply break apart if he tries it again. Instead of just staying put and walking away, however, Bell offers himself as the power source to make sure Walter and co. get back to their side. It may be the most noble thing he ever did ... which is not to say it didn't turn out to be just as self-serving as everything he ever did.
3. Most Unfair
When the Observers invade in 2015, Olivia and Peter are enjoying an idyllic day at the park with their young daughter, Etta. They're separated from her in the chaos of the attack, and all attempts to find her afterward prove futile. The loss of Etta drives a wedge between Olivia and Peter, who goes a little bit crazy for a while.
Flash forward to 2036, when Peter, Olivia, Walter and Astrid emerge from suspended animation thanks in part to the efforts of ... Etta. Now all grown up, Olivia and Peter's child, like her mom, is blonde, has special abilities and is basically awesome. She's a Fringe agent, but secretly she's part of the human resistance to the Observer occupation. Her most valuable skill is her ability to resist being "read" by the Observers -- a talent that she can teach to others, although it takes time to learn. Even Captain Windmark can only see what she wants him to see.
For four whole episodes, Etta is the Fringe team's bright spot of hope in a horribly bleak world. Then, as suddenly as she was returned, she's yanked away after an agonizing confrontation with Windmark, in which she gives not. One. Single. Inch. But when Windmark strikes her down, Etta becomes a symbol of resistance more powerful than he could possibly imagine (probably because Observers don't imagine).
2. Don't Look in the Van, Agent Broyles. Seriously. Don't.
When William Bell sacrifices himself to send Walter and the gang back home, nobody realizes that Walternate has swapped Olivias. He keeps Olivia Prime and brainwashes her into believing she's her doppelganger, right down to the neck tattoo, so he can continue his Cortexiphan experiments on her. Meanwhile, Bolivia infiltrates the prime-universe Fringe team and steals Olivia's boyfriend, Peter.
Luckily, the conditioning doesn't totally take, and Olivia soon remembers who she really is. Also luckily, even though Bolivia's boss, Colonel Broyles, realizes that Olivia knows, he doesn't rat her out, because she saved his son. When Bolivia's cover is blown, Walternate plans to return the two Olivias to their proper sides -- except Olivia will be missing her brain, which he's letting his scientists keep.
Col. Broyles helps Olivia escape, and she uses her Cortexiphan abilities to cross back to her side. But Walternate's minions cut Broyles down -- and then cut him up, to use parts of him as the equivalent mass they need to bring Bolivia back. Walter and Peter's shock when they look inside the paddy wagon supposedly holding Bolivia is nothing compared to the jolt the normally unflappable Broyles gets when, against their warning, he takes a peek.
Dude, they told you not to look!
1. Most Badass
In the bleak 2036 future, Nina Sharp is older, wilier and even tougher than the younger version the Fringe team left behind. Now a white-haired lady in futuristic wheelchair, she heads the Ministry of Science ... and secretly helps the resistance. Which is why she finds herself alone in a secret resistance lab, protecting Michael the boy Observer from Windmark and his minions.
And in that crucial showdown, before the absolutely stunning final moment, we get all the best parts of Nina. Her snarkiness. Her razor-blade tongue. Her unwavering dignity. And her mind-blowing ability to act like she has the upper hand when all the cards are against her. All in the service of something, as she says to Windmark, greater than herself. It's hard not to feel a rising sense of triumph when she delivers a classic Nina lecture to Windmark, demonstrating how much a determined human can learn about the Observers' behavior, and underscoring how clueless the invaders really are about what a random individual can do to fight them. I mean, it's like Windmark really thought she meant to shoot him with that stolen gun. Hahaha. Right.