Orci and Kurtzman wrote Star Trek and the season finale and the season finale of Fringe. Not only did both feature a Leonard Nimoy cameo, both relied on the same narrative device to introduce him into the plot: contiguous universes and the ability to travel between them.
(Here there be spoilers.)
Brief synopsis: Two Harvard lab partners (John Noble's Walter Bishop and Leonard Nimoy's before-this-episode unseen-but-frequently-mentioned William Bell) experiment on children and give them the ability to locate the weak points between contiguous universes. They also devise a means of traveling between these universes. Walter Bishop accidentally kills an assistant and loses his mind. Couple of decades of institutionalization follow. His son Peter (Joshua Jackson) eventually coaxes him out of the asylum and into the employ of the FBI. By this time William Bell has become the CEO of a very successful company called Massive Dynamic. The Bishops wrestle with events ranging from improbable and impossible. These events are directly and indirectly connected to Massive Dynamic.
The season finale revisits a character with the ability to teleport (Jared Harris' chilling David Robert Jones), only now he seems to be able to throw open the barn door between continguous universes. Looks like this:
As the episode opens he drives a truck through one of those and shoots people. The Bishops and the FBI track Jones to a lake house they once visited before Walter's institutionalization. They are told that Walter once lost some precious thing there that is crucial to stopping Jones from popping back and forth between realities. Walter cannot remember what that is but makes an offhand remark that the last time he and Peter were in that lake house Peter was very sick. Peter responds, "I don't remember being very sick." Why not?
Because as we learn when Walter goes to the cemetary Peter died when he was seven years old. That would be the precious thing Walter lost the last time he went to the lake house. Then who is the Peter Bishop who hasn't been dead the past quarter century? Best I can figure, he is a Peter Bishop from a contiguous universe who was kidnapped by Walter sometime after his Peter died. (Thus answering in the oddest way possible the eternal custodial question of whether you can kidnap your own children.) How can I be sure?
Because we finally get a glimpse of another America when the Bishops' FBI liaison Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) is stood up by William Bell. As she leaves the restaurant where they were supposed to meet she receives a phone call. She is told to come to the Massive Dynamic building. She enters the elevator and about halfway up people suddenly appear and disappear because Bell punched the elevator through one of those portals. She is escorted out of the elevator into an office. She spots this on his desk:
Obama's still President but what's this about a new White House? Dunham and Bell have a brief conversation before the camera pans through the window to reveal where this meeting is taking place:
I think we know what happened to the old White House now. The implications of this scenario are as improbable as anything on the show to date: Orci and Kurtzman expect us to believe that a competent Bush administration read the "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US" memo and acted upon it, thereby postponing the 9/11 attack into the Obama era. No dice. I prefer to believe they want us to think that it took awhile to rebuild the White House after it (but not the Twin Towers) was destroyed on 9/11.
But that's neither here nor there. What bothers me about the season finale is that it means I watched the same gag be played by the same people twice on the same day.