Fringe: Through the Looking Glass and What Walter Found There

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by Ashley Binion

“It’s like something Walter would’ve designed when he is tripping.” Yep, this pretty much sums up the episode. Fringe has a long tradition of serving up, let’s say…different types of episodes on the nineteenth of each season. Like “Brown Betty” which was a musical episode, or “Lysergic Acid Diethylamide” which was almost fully animated.  But since there will be no episode nineteen this season, they had to stick in the offbeat episode somewhere, and this was it.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead!

Walter continued to cut through the amber to find the tapes that lay out the plan to beat the Observers. He found tape seven, which he began to watch while eating his licorice. The tape took him to a building that housed a pocket universe, which he then entered by himself. This premise of a pocket universe really intrigued me, but I don’t think they executed the storyline as well as I would have liked.

While Walter was wandering the streets looking for the building, Peter and Olivia both ended up at Etta’s apartment where they watched a video message from Etta. Olivia is finally opening up and wanting to share with Peter her grief, but it is too little too late. Peter is slowly transitioning into an Observer right in front of her.

Olivia, Peter, and Astrid found that Walter had left and went after him. On the tape, which they used to guide them through the pocket universe, was Donald. He was supposed to meet Walter at the mine but was caught by the Observers in episode “The Recordist.” He helped Walter navigate the first time through the universe.

Walter was right, the natural laws of physics didn’t apply there and visually it was fun to see. While he was traveling through the universe, he found a man named Cecil.  Unfortunately, he ended up there by mistake. He was blown into the pocket by a bomb blast. He said he had been there five days, but in reality he has been there twenty years. I understand why Cecil was there, but I felt as if he was completely unnecessary, just like Walter said he was “collateral damage and irrelevant.”

Walter finally found what was so important about the pocket universe, he hid the boy from Season One’s episode “Inner Child.”  In the episode, the Fringe team found the boy living in a demolition site. As the case progressed, the boy began to exhibit empathic abilities. For some reason, the thing I remember most vividly was the scene between him and Olivia and the M&Ms. Of course in a nice callback, on the tape Walter was scene giving him a bag of M&Ms.

While they were searching for him, they went down a hall of rooms with the different glyph symbols on them. “These markings are very strange,” another nice shout-out for the fans. When they entered the room, he wasn’t there. The only thing left was a radio set on a certain frequency, which will of course come into play later in the season.

On a completely unrelated note, Astrid finally made it out of the lab! But while she was waiting for the trio to exit the pocket, Windmark and the Observers arrived. They knocked her out and entered the universe.  Peter navigated his way through the universe with ease due to his new Observer abilities and helped his family escaped, but in the process Cecil bit the dust.  Of course, Windmark watched Peter use his abilities from a distance.

Peter’s fight scene with the Observer was awesome. At first he wasn’t keeping up, but then he somehow turned it on. He began to move just as quick, became stronger, and my personal favorite, he teleported. The last image of the episode was of Peter looking at the train, through Observer eyes.  I can only imagine Joshua Jackson reading the script and being completely thrilled. For so long, he has bugged the writers about making him an Observer, he even offered to shave his head at SDCC a couple years ago, and he finally got his wish. And he is executing it beautifully. He has the creepy Observer head tilt down.

John Noble knocked it out of the park with Walter’s monologue in the last scene of the episode. He told his son that he was worried that he was becoming the man he was before Peter re-entered his life. It was only the second time that he has called him dad in the series, which made the exchange even more touching.  He discussed his own hubris, which seems to be a continuing thread in the Bishop bloodline. The son has now become the father. Peter’s death and his hubris drove the father to incite a universe war. What will Etta’s death and Peter’s hubris result in?

I think it is interesting how Walter and Peter’s stories parallel each other. Both are losing themselves, one to the man he once was and doesn’t want to become, and the other a man who he has never been and wants to become. But both are doing it to save the world.

Last week I wrote that Fringe might have finally found its stride in its final stretch of episodes, well I guess I was wrong. The last two episodes were some of the best of the series, but this week left me somewhat disappointed.

The glyph code for the episode was, “split.”

Next week it looks as if Olivia finally notices something is wrong with Peter, but she figure it out in time to save him? Will Joshua Jackson finally be able to shave his head? What did you think of the trippy episode?

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars


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