Please note: these rewatches may contain references to later episodes.
In case you didn’t manage to rewatch this episode, here’s a promo to give you a sense of where the story was:
This retrospective is focused around two main areas: NEW PERSPECTIVES, where I look at the episode with new eyes. And FINDING PETER, where I share my speculations and thoughts in relation to Peter ‘ceasing to exist’ and the new timeline.
As mentioned previously, I’ll be making an effort to avoid going over old ground, but there will be links at the end to my previous rewatch articles should you wish to drill down on my previous thoughts.
NEW PERSPECTIVES / FINDING PETER
Altlivia, Nina and Peter have not time to discuss furniture
- Plenty of overarching relevance in this one. Walternate uses the First People’s numbers to erase memories; alerting the team to the Boom-Boom-Machine (BBM) pieces they themselves buried at some point in the time-loop.
“The human brain is a miracle. Our most resilient organ. The storage unit for everything you’ve ever known, or seen, or felt. It’s all still in there, whether or not you’re conscious of it.”
- The above may offer insight into mysteries like Man X; who Olivia must have encountered at some point, in some form, despite not having conscious memory of who he is in LSD. But he’s in there somewhere and will presumably play a role in the sideways timeline.
- The way the story is set up it seems as though consciousness is not bound to a single timeline or ‘existence’. Possibly reinforcing the concept of a central reservoir — or brain — that can be tapped into with the right stimulation or circumstances.
“I know what it’s like. What this woman’s going through, I’ve lived it. To not recognize your life. It’s awful.” — Walter.
- It’s interesting to see Markham introducing the First People to Peter, considering Peter is First People.
- Given the way Peter ‘vanished’ in the season 3 finale, we could possibly view the following quote from the FP book in new light:
“An ancient people who evolved before the dinosaurs just vanished without a trace.”
- Sounds A LOT like what happened to Peter after he saved the two universes in TDWD. Perhaps these two events are directly linked? Did the FPs vanish when Peter ceased to exist?
The First People’s calendar
- The First People’s calendar is another point of interest. We know that the numbers are FP coordinates to remind themselves where they buried the BBM parts. But what do the periods of “darkness” and “light” correspond to? Consciousness/timelines, perhaps?
- This episode may also shed more light on whether or not Walter/Walternate actually built the BBM. Here’s Astrid’s reading from the FP book:
“They were a people of great technological prowess who made the ultimate discovery — a mechanism known to them as The Vacuum. Containing at once both the power to create and destroy.”
- It could go either way really, though “discovery” tends to make me think they happened upon it. Deus Ex Machina?
- Walter offers insight into the mechanism by which Peter would later use to destroy the other side:
“The universes expanding and contracting, and expanding. An endless cycle of creation and destruction.”
- It’s also interesting to consider how Peter managed to harness this mechanism to save both universes, effectively creating..a new timeline.
- Whether that’s actually the case or whether it’s semantics (creation vs activation), the foreknowledge and emotions that went with seeing the results of doomsday, enabled Peter to instead tap into the mechanism’s creative attributes — or rather, harness them to his will.
- As for how the FPs buried the Machine parts? Did they dig or use some fancy like teleportation?
- They presumably had the technology, which also makes me think that millions of years into past wouldn’t necessarily be the ‘past’. We have the time-loop, so that already shatters certain ‘rules.’
- Also, we now know how the FPs knew that the coordinates of the parts would match up millions of years later — because they knew were they’d be millions of years later.
- The other question is how Walternate knew where the BBM parts (over here/there) were buried. I’m thinking Bell — which just adds another question — or perhaps the Observers? Or even Walternate subconsciously recognized his own trail?
- And doesn’t this just emphasize how vital Walternate’s role in all of this was? If not for him setting the Fringe team on the trail, ‘reminding’ them about the BBM, then Peter wouldn’t have been able to make that different choice.
- We shouldn’t forget the role of the Observers, of course, and the above example isn’t unique to Walternate. The ‘coincidences’ have happened from the moment the series began, but that also points to the cycle being intentionally propagated or used advantageously. Perhaps both.
The best of Peter Bishop
- And who could forget that this episode was the birth place of some of the most poignant lines to ever leave Peter’s mouth? Words that would, at times, contrive themselves, but would ultimately underscore the his actions when it mattered most:
“There are billions of innocent people over there. Just like here. People with jobs, families, lives. I gotta believe there’s another way. And whatever my part in all of this is. I gotta believe there’s another way. And there’s always hope, right?”
- Less of a plot device these days, you could almost view him as a construct created to open a few eyes and help our heroes to help themselves solve the problem. Peter’s story could easily be finished, yet magnified by more story context. And it’s set up to do that.
- I just think it would be kind of cool if by the end of the series one of the heroes is a non-character, in the politest sense – a concept. A boy who never was, but became. Whether they quite go down that path is perhaps expecting too much.
Retrospective Rating: 9/10 Seriable Stars
Want more? Check out my previous 6955kHz write-ups: