I think about a world to come where the books were found by the golden ones, written in pain, written in awe by a puzzled man who questioned, "What are we here for?" All the strangers came today and it looks as though they're here to stay.

-David Bowie "Oh! You Pretty Things"

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Spoiler Alert: Fringe S04E02

My girlfriend apparently saw several flashes of Peter Bishop in the previous episode, not just the one when he flashes in and out of reality while Walter is talking about how bad he thinks alternate Walter is. Furthermore, this particular episode is probably my favorite Fringe episode of all time, although it might be eclipsed by that episode that centered around the rogue Pattern Observer. You know, the one they stole the idea for Adjustment Bureau from... Not only did this episode revolutionize crime procedural work, but it told a touching and very human story of hope, fear and courage. I'm excited to see the Fringe divisions from both sides comparing cases. The solved from one side could assist the unsolved from the other. Similar cases could give enough data to solve a case. And what I'm most excited for is a split-screen case in which the same thing is happening in both worlds. Maybe some day...

1. An Indelible Mark

At the beginning of the episode, we know why Walter is covering all of his mirrors. It is because an unknown man he calls The Man in the Mirror - his son, Peter - is trying to communicate with him through reflective surfaces. What isn't immediately clear is why Walter has been sleeping with unnecessarily loud classical music playing. (Of course, if you thought there was more to the headset feedback on the previous episode than meets the ear, you may have suspected why Walter is now trying to "hear no evil.")

If it wasn't clear to you before the end of the episode, Broyles' speech regarding "people who leave an indelible mark on your soul, an imprint that can never be erased" unless you are a Pattern Observer with a strange suitcase devise made of old television parts which served as a prelude to Walter's haunting by Peter's voice saying, among other things, "Help me," should have told you. Peter is communicating verbally with Walter, and it appears that he is in need of some serious help.

Is anyone else beginning to wonder how all of this is going down from Peter's perspective? My guess: we'll have an episode that recaps the last few weeks from the vantage point of the nearly vanished Peter Bishop.

2. Love Triangles

In the beginning, Astrid teases Olivia about the possibility of dating Lincoln. Both have lost their partners. Both are lonely. But Olivia seems oddly against the situation. It's as if she loves someone else, but can't remember who that person is (mmm hmmm, Peter, mmmm hmmm).

When we are on the other side, we are reminded that alternate Lincoln is basically in love with alternate Olivia. The only problem is that alternate Olivia is already with a doctor who is fighting diseases that we cured decades ago in America. That's two love triangles that share two points each. Jeez.

Between this underlying story and the story of the serial killer / forensic psychologist, we are being told that things are much more similar between dimensions than they are different.

3. Olivia, Murderer

When alternate Olivia asks regular Olivia what happened between her and her abusive step-father, our Olivia explains that she killed him.

Those of us who have been watching Fringe from the very beginning know that Olivia did not kill her stepfather. In fact, she remained afraid that he could come back at any time in the first and second seasons.

How does this make sense? My guess is that when Olivia met Peter for the first time as a child, she felt hope. She felt like she didn't need to kill anyone. But when Peter was not brought over to our universe, she did not have this one moment of release in the flowers, so she was pushed to kill her father. It's kind of insane how much of an impact Peter had on these people's lives.

4. The Grass is Always Greener

Finally, and here is the really big reveal: Gas is only ninety-nine cents on the other side.

Now, considering the fact that both universes are falling apart and there is no more or less danger on either side of dying, I think I would prefer to live in the alternate universe.

Of course, that's banking on the idea that they sell bootleg copies of our DVDs in the alternate universe. I don't think I could take it if I could never see Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future again.

See you next time.

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