FRINGE: 4.01 Neither Here Nor There — REVIEW

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Seriable’s Roco reviews Fringe 4.01 — “Neither Here Nor There”

Unlike LOST’s “what ever happened, happened,” mantra. On Fringe, it’s more a case of “whatever happens, happens.”

But does the episode live up to our high expectations, and what does it do for the overarching story and character development? Here’s my take..

THE GOOD

  • I found NHNT to be a good establishing episode containing several overarching story elements, call backs and references. I was expecting the reset following the events of last season’s finale, but it’s important for continuity and logic that the main story is still tackled, albeit for now from a different place in the story hive.
  • The sprinkling of Peter throughout the episode was also helpful and interesting, serving as a spine for the overarching story while providing another mystery to be solved; where is he and how will our heroes figure out that he’s more than a man in the mirror?
  • One of the most enjoyable aspects of NHNT was tracing the differences and similarities between the two timelines. The characters are all tweaked just enough to make their new existence believable, while accentuating the bigger concept at play.
  • I’m not in love with Lincoln, but he’s a worthy addition to the ongoing story. He informs the situation while having story potential of his own that can be mined further down the line. It helps that he isn’t a brand new character, having originally been introduced in “Stowaway.”
  • September contributed the stand-out moments of the episode. His perspective really fuels the ongoing mythology and the fact that he’s played with such heart doesn’t hurt.
THE BAD

  • Although I support the reset from a storytelling perspective, at times it did play a bit contrived with occasional hand-holding issued by characters who seemed to be speaking directly to new audience members. A necessary consequence, maybe, but it was a bit distracting and took something away from those ‘deeper’ moments.
  • I don’t feel as though the episode was particularly spectacular. Which I can understand; it’s an establishing episode setting up the continuing story. As a fan of gradually unwinding tales I’m not complaining, but you always hope to hit the ground running. Given what came before, it was something of a come down.
FRINGE THOUGHTS

I have mixed feelings about the opening scene in the Boom-Boom-Machine room between the two Olivias. It’s effective because it instantly establishes where the story is from where we left off last season. It let’s us in on the truce between the two sides and the fact the wounds are far from healed.

We also discover some additional backstory elements that we didn’t witness, but mirror events that played out in the original timeline.

Within that we get one of our first Peter-shaped reveals: the switcheroo still happened in the other timeline (OT). However, Altlivia didn’t enjoy being in ‘Olivia’s skin’ as much as she did previously. Of course she wouldn’t, there’s no Peter — and this informs both Olivias reactions.

But I found Olivia’s response to be a bit petty, if not immature. Not the kind of thing I was expecting and completely at odds with those oh so brilliant words she uttered at the bookend of last season when she picked up the baton from Peter: “we’re here now,” she said.

And I get it, writing can be like that especially when you’re resetting timelines and develop a firmer sense of the story you want to tell. But it blemishes character continuity somewhat because the two moments are so different.

That being said I can understand Olivia’s reasons for feeling this way, especially one week after the event. I appreciate the scene for illustrating the lack of trust between the two sides. Though it’s more than that — there’s a lack of understanding. For me, this is one of the most intriguing aspects, given Peter’s ‘sacrifice’.

It’s quite logical to assume that traveling to a higher place, which is essentially what the story and characters did in that finale, would bring about a better sense of self. But that’s one way to tell that story. The clean way. The other way is to explore what such a journey means in a more truthful context.

Which is to say I’m pleased that this new timeline puts our heroes several steps ahead of where they were in some ways, but also comes with the consequence of them not knowing about the positive developments they made in the OT.

So we can already see that the grass isn’t greener, it’s just cut differently. That’s not to say one wouldn’t have a preference, but it comes back down to the knowing, not lack of it. Clearly you can miss something you’ve never had, but I sense it’s about degrees and fighting for the weird connections that make everything else make sense.

Altlivia doesn’t do much for me in this episode, but her view that Olivia is lonely, coupled with Olivia’s ‘you don’t know the real me’ retort is another interesting element. Who’s right here? Naturally, it’s a matter of perspective.

But I am more inclined to support Olivia’s stance — as we see later in the episode, there are parts of her character that are locked down, including parts she only knows exist through the gaping hole that’s been there as long as she can remember.

“It is impossible!” Anytime you hear an Observer say that you have to sit up and lean forward. We know that Peter ‘exists’ in some form, but to discover that the Observers are shocked that he’s still ‘bleeding through’ is interesting.

I must say, it does seem a bit at odds with September’s “he doesn’t exist,” smuggery at the end of TDWD, but our watchful fellows are great like that because their ambiguity affords some context latitude.

Anyhow, we see some pretty huge character development as far as September goes. He knows that the boy was erased, “and yet, traces of him continues” to manifest. I do like Michael Ceveris’ performances, he delivers those lines so expertly, playing September’s confusion and knowing simultaneously.

How do the Observers know that Peter is bleeding through? The word “traces” is wonderful, it suggests they’re noticing Peter because of the impacts and influences he is still having on his friends and the broader timeline. Or perhaps they just see him?

I love how December all but tells September off, reminding his fellow seer that this situation is his fault. We continue to get a better understanding of what transpired here. They had a job to do, one that has since taken a major detour, due to September’s confusion between the moment and the boy, in the hope of still fulfilling objective zero.

We also get an early sense that September is not crazy about carrying out the task of erasing Peter. December perceives his train of thought, and reminds him: “they can never know that the boy lived to be a man.”

This is foreshadowing — the mere fact that September’s mind was going there says a lot and contextualizes the episode’s most interesting moment. And remember, this is the guy who seemingly had few qualms about directing Peter into the BBM in th first place. Seemingly, our heroes are not the only ones affected by these new lines.

Lincoln’s arrival down the rabbit hole was sharply driven but I don’t have a real problem with it, in and of itself. Like I said earlier it did a good job at getting the ball rolling in this new timeline. We also get just enough emotional cues from his character, enabling Olivia to open up her story.

I liked their connection which is drawn through their similar experiences. We learn that she still lost John Scott, although without Peter to aid Walter’s genius it’s implied that he wasn’t saved from the initial toxin. Olivia seemingly had no reason to feel that he betrayed her.

And there’s the notion of fate. Olivia and the team may not have had much experience with Lincoln in the OT but he played an important role in a chapter that dealt heavy in destiny and fate. With Peter missing from their lives, Lincoln’s not a ridiculous substitute.

The episode also contains other moments that speak to the broader story. Moments where our heroes can almost see through to their other lives. Not just with Walter seeing Peter in reflections. Take Olivia’s calming of Walter, for instance. An interesting ‘ability’ in it’s own right, but Walter’s responds to this Jedi moment as though sensing an emotional clarity that he can’t quite understand.

We know that realities are entangled, scientifically and emotionally. It’s reasonable to think that timelines are too. And what are timelines but another experience of ‘reality’..

Who’s the new Observer in town? I’d be very surprised if it’s not the child from Inner Child. The features are spot on, and he’s clearly wet behind the ears; learning the ropes. More on that in our Observations article.

It’s fitting that Walter is the first to notice “Peter”. And I do like how this is seeded with him noticing something strange about the lab (AKA his home) since the truce/the new timeline was activated.

Walter says Walternate cannot be trusted, “I have looked into his eyes, his soul, and who would know him better than me?” A classic callback to poignant themes explored  in the OT while illustrating Walter’s lack of developmental progress. There’s greater TDWD continuity here than with Olivia, I feel.

Upon the activation of the new timeline, I got the sense that Walter lacked the understanding that he grew to have for his counterpart in the OT, and not much has changed a week later. While his suspicions are not without cause it’s clear that Walter lacks self-awareness.

All those bonus level points that he acquired with Peter have evaporated — all that experience gained on the learning curve to redemption gone to waste. But has it gone to waste really? I wouldn’t think so. We’re merely exploring the impact that people have on our lives and vice-versa. It has to be truthful, there are going to be pluses and minuses in this situation.

What I appreciate about this particular story is that the connection to the other life is not completely lost. It’s still there under the surface, manifesting in ways that our heroes can’t quite explain. And who’s to say a similar mechanism wasn’t always in place in the so-called ‘original timeline’. That’s fascinating to me.

All this being said, Astrid reminds Walter that his double “has plenty of reasons of hate you too.” So the suggestion that Walter shattered Walternate’s universe is consistent. Walter’s pants are in a twist because the Silver Fox retaliated. Worse than he did in the OT? I guess we’ll soon find out.

Also, props to Astrid for pointing out Walter’s ignorance — she indulged him far too often in the OT. I’m interested to see how her character develops in this timeline. She a field agent here, operating as the remote “eyes” for a lab-bound Walter, so that will bring its own dynamic.

No one is more pleased than me that the shapeshifter mythology continues in the OT, especially since it looks like being more than a one episode deal. But what is Walternate up to? We have a new brand of shapeshifter, human shapeshifters.

Why Human shapeshifters? It’s unclear, but given the opportunity I’m sure there’s reason for Walternate to prefer more realistic shifters, particularly with the over here team already having encountered the ‘older models’. The ethical and moral questions continue.

I need to erase someone from time.” Only the observers can get away with saying something like that with a straight face. I like the fact that September has to actually go out and get parts for his ‘erase-someone-from-time-machine,’ because I don’t think it’s something one does every day. It has to be custom-built!

He’s often quite brilliant, he just never had anything to tether him to the world.” I like that line, but it’s also one of those that walks the line of being contrived. It’s not the line itself, but the context, and that is partially based on how much the viewer knows. A new viewer probably wont detect anything slightly forced about it, but a veteran viewer might find it a touch inorganic. Here’s another example:

“I don’t think there’s anything sadder than when two people are meant to be together and something intervenes.”

There are a few more moments like this, but I wanted to highlight a couple because I think it’s interesting to look at the way serialized storytelling relies on context, particularly under the more unique circumstance of a timeline reset.

This isn’t a criticism — I like the line and understand the emotional shaping at work. But going forward I’m intrigued to see how I respond to more moments like this because I think it eventually has to be supplemented with more show and less tell.

But that challenge is a wonderful one — there’s so much story to work with and more than one way to go about recontextualizing it.

A small point: Olivia explaining to Lincoln how they are able to experiment on the bodies of victims without their families knowing. Answer: they lie, in order to maintain Fringe Division’s secrecy. It was always a very tiny question, but one the show seemed to avoid clarifying in the past. It made sense to establish it through Lincoln’s questioning.

The shapeshifter take-down served it’s purpose, giving both the Dunhamnator and Lincoln moments to shine, while also providing the latter with a moment of poignancy. It also gives us a nice “I’ll be back,” as we see the third shapeshifter reap the rewards of all that hard work — they’ve discovered how to look more ‘human’.

Olivia’s line here worked for me:

“I know that you havent found the answers you were looking for yet. But I hope it brings a kind of closure, a closure that he deserves, because of what he meant to you.”

I interpret this as stemming from Olivia’s natural empathy yes, but also her experiences in both timelines allowing her to understand what Lincoln is going through. An example of context adding depth to a line.

And we shouldn’t underestimate the “what he meant to you.” I think that’s one of the prevailing ideas behind this arc.

The episode’s final peek inside the BBM room was useful. We got to see it through Lee’s eyes which makes sense since we’re still relatively new to the ‘joining place’ ourselves.

I’m relieved it isn’t a one man and his dog operation and that it’s heavily patrolled. It makes sense that it’s not a tourist attraction and that only vetted personal are allowed access.

Olivia’s glance of disdain at the BBM projection was a small, but noted moment.

I also liked Olivia’s line: “I know what it’s like to have a hole in my life.” This scene replaced the one shown in the teaser and I think it works eight times better due to the context and delivery. It warrants a less ‘smily’ Olivia and the addition of “this is where I knew I would find my answers,” sells it for me.

Notice how she has to reach for the appropriate word..she literally has to reach for the..answer. I love when writing is circular, and the delivery — Olivia doesn’t look at Lee while she’s making this self discovery — is spot on. From that we get another ‘bleed through’ moment. not with Peter, but because of Peter, if you catch my drift.

And then the doors open. “Sometimes answers, lead to more questions.” It’s an excellent little moment that should be familiar to the faithful viewer.

The final scene was the standout for me. Sometimes the best lines in stories are the silent ones. September’s choice to not erase Peter is a huge moment played with quiet poignancy. He’s got involved before, but largely to correct a mistake of his own doing.

Here he’s making a conscious choice, one that I believe is based on emotion. He knows they cannot be allowed to remember the boy. Why? We don’t know, but it’s a fundamental part of their objective — and September has gone against it.

I was hoping for something like this. August paved the way and now September, after all these moments watching humans, is becoming more human than we’ve seen him before.

I would very much like to explore this notion further. I assume the memory wipe/Peter eraser would have done its job, so this key choice will surely play into the overarching story.

Maybe it’s not just emotion — perhaps there’s a certain logic to September’s decision. Maybe he perceives a way to bring Peter back and still achieve their goals? Are the two inextricable? I sense high stakes, but that’s how it should be when dealing with the wibbly-wobbly.

MYSTERIES

  • Which side is more “responsible” for the problems between the two worlds?
  • Why is Walternate developing human shapeshifters? Who’s science is it based on?
  • Where is Peter?
  • What caused the BBM to bridge the universes from the new timeliners perspective?
ANSWERS

  • From the horse’s mouth, it’s established that the Observers responsibility is still “to ensure events play out as they were intended,” before September’s intervention.
  • Walter is the first of our heroes to notice “Peter” in the new timeline.
  • Olivia lost John Scott in a very similar way in this timeline, the events that led to his death appear to reflect those which happened in the OT — except here he died from the initial skin toxin attack.
  • Walter also spent 17 years in St. Claire’s in this timeline. Olivia checked him out in an attempt to save John Scott’s life.
  • New shapeshifters — human shapeshifters –  have been developed.
  • To the surprise of September, Peter exists in some form, appearing to Walter in reflections.
CLOSING THOUGHTS

If pilots are notoriously difficult, then re-pilots can perhaps be thought of in the same vein. NHNT had a very difficult job to do in continuing the main storyline momentum, adding new dimensions and providing a rope ladder for intrigued new viewers.

The episode did a good job at bringing those parts together and raised many issues that we’ll be giving more focus to in the coming days and weeks. That being said, it’s not quite as intoxicating as last season’s “Olivia” (though in some areas it’s more measured) and the storytelling consequences of resetting a timeline were not quite avoided as nimbly as a Bad Robot in a corn field on the planet Seriable.

But I do like the episode and I love the path the story is going down. My hope is that the following instalment isn’t too case-of-the-weeky and that the overarching elements further tighten.

I’m rating this episode: 8/10 Seriable Stars

Comments

  1. WaySeeker says

    I don’t think September’s heart was in it to erase Peter, even when building the machine to do it. I think the machine was built to accomplish the task, but I think September built in a stop for himself.
    What I mean by that is that we see a horizontal row of lights. Four of them. We know what that means, red-red-red-green.
    EXCEPT this time it’s red-red-red-red. No green No established pattern. This helped cue him on his reconsidering the mission given to him and it is why his finger hovered over the exposed switch, but he gave it more thought (heart) and changed his mind. Not only at great risk for defying a direct order, but not fixing his own mistake (and not completing his own fix). We have seen what happens when Observers go off script in August and September got involved in that. He was in the car at the end with September. It seems that had a great effect on him.

    So, my theory is that it was no accident that the show had 4 RED here. Even the switch was red!

    P.S. I really like that tech! It would be fun to see more McGyver Observer tech moments :p

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  2. says

    One word: amberverse. Explains the episode title fully. I’m very happy with the S4 opening. The couple of flash interference moments (was that Peter?) were awesome. Good stuff, great dialogues. Very nice for a seasons opener. 8/10 is spot on, Roco.

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  3. Pwnsauce says

    I think I agree with you for the most part, Roco. I was less impressed with the half contrived lines than you were, but I would really like to reserve judgement on this episode until a future date. The episode on the whole felt similar to ‘Reciprocity’ in the sense that the first half of it moved pretty slowly, but it does look like there could be major payoff later. I really hope that it takes the route of ‘The Plateau’ and has incredible meaning in the greater context of the story.

    The good things about this episode for me included the largely increased presence of September and December. Side note-was the shot with September and the new Observer a substitute for the promo we had earlier similar to Olivia’s line about the hole in her life, or do you think it was a different shot?

    I also thought the acting in terms of appearing almost the same, but definitely different as a result of no Peter was portrayed extremely well. Anna’s small nuances were exceptional and I felt like she came off as even more closed off than Season 1, and that was kind of the Olivia I preferred.

    The negatives included slow moving story, too much Lincoln, not enough Broyles, and no Walternate or Nina. I don’t think Lincoln’s character is bad at all, but I thought he had too big of a role. At this point I think I’d give it roughly a 7.5/10, and the best performer was September.

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    • Avatar of Roco says

      “Side note-was the shot with September and the new Observer a substitute for the promo we had earlier similar to Olivia’s line about the hole in her life, or do you think it was a different shot?”

      I’d say they showed a specific portion of the footage, leaving the rest on the cutting room floor (some of which made it into the teaser.) In the teaser we see Lincoln following Olivia as she walks past our bald friends. I imagine the aired scene played the same, we just saw it from another perspective.

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  4. Page 48 says

    Who signed Walter out of St. Claire’s this time, if not Peter? I haven’t watched the Pilot in some time but it seems to me it had to be an immediate family member. Is the butterscotch pudding any better in the OT?

    Altlivia didn’t say a word to Lincoln. She didn’t even make fun of his Buddy Holly thing. I suppose she automatically doesn’t trust him, either, because, after all, he’s from Over Here. What’s with the ongoing cat-fight between Olivias? Do they really have so little regard for what is essentially themselves under different conditions, or do they just not approve of the direction each other has taken in terms of lifestyle, personality, or maybe dress code? Does Altlivia think Olivia isn’t doing a good enough job of being her? Do they embarrass each other?

    There really isn’t much of a spirit of co-operation, even after Peter’s efforts to bring both sides together. They have a door into each other’s world now, but it still seems to be us against them. Have they forgotten what’s at stake or are they just driven to kick other worldly ass?

    Projection Peter is back, and this time he’s on TV.

    No sign of Charlie. Did he not benefit from a timeline reboot? Was he killed by a human shapeshifter this time or does he work in a deli? Did September erase all traces of Nina?

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    • Avatar of Roco says

      “Who signed Walter out of St. Claire’s this time, if not Peter? I haven’t watched the Pilot in some time but it seems to me it had to be an immediate family member. Is the butterscotch pudding any better in the OT?”

      I imagine Olivia found another way, or Broyles used some of that clout of his. I sure hope the Butterscotch pudding is better in the new timeline.

      “No sign of Charlie. Did he not benefit from a timeline reboot? Was he killed by a human shapeshifter this time or does he work in a deli? Did September erase all traces of Nina?”

      Poor Charlie. I fear he’s forever consigned to the furnace. I suppose Nina got the opening titles dedicated to her hair, but she was indeed notable by her absense.

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    • Peanut says

      Unless Charlie’s life took another path, Olivia really should have said that she’d lost TWO partners. Maybe she thought that Lincoln would have (perhaps wisely) immediately put some distance between them if she admitted that her partners tend to experience a shortened life expectancy (& look what happened to poor Peter–who disappeared entirely). Losing one partner is unfortunate; losing two partners begins to smack of being a danger magnet (careless, incompetent, reckless, etc.).

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    • Hatch says

      Exactly. Everyone suspects Walternate, which is exactly why I think it’s NOT Walternate. Maybe they’re left over shapeshifters who are trying to become more human.

      An interesting idea is that ZFT is still out there, and they know we now have a link with the other side and have their own shapeshifters to fight the other side with.

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      • says

        Maybe it is David Robert Jones who created this new breed of shape-shifters. Remember, with Peter erase from the timeline, David Robert Jones might not have been cut in half when he tried to cross over at Reiden Lake (remember Peter is the one who help Walter find the “PLUG” at the house at Reiden Lake, and Peter is the one who pull the trigger when Mr. Jones is crossing over!!)

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        • TRapp73 says

          agreed I think massive dynamics has a hand in the new shifters. john scott may of died from the original poisoning but i think nina still kept the body and studied it like they were at the end of the pilot. they could be “built” from john’s blood and may even be the reason they have the same problem with their skin. which could also bring up a idea of maybe john was a shifter and we never knew and then nina studied it and made her own. ugh is it friday yet?!

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          • FinChase says

            Oh, very interesting idea! That would actually be cool. Nina’s been too much of a “team” player the last couple of seasons. I miss the suspicion that she, William Bell, and MD were involved in all the “Pattern” events as they were called in S1.

            It would also add more weight to the desperation Nina showed in those early episodes to get information from John’s corpse. Maybe the glass discs will even make a return!

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          • Avatar of Roco says

            “agreed I think massive dynamics has a hand in the new shifters.”

            Good idea. Worth considering. Walter did say the tech wasn’t from “here” but he could be wrong.

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  5. Underseer says

    Fringe season 4 is off to an intriguing start. And we now know why there was a constant red-blue-yellow colour scheme in ‘Subject 13′ – the yellow symbolising the altered timeline.

    I loved the new intro sequence, with the ‘psychogenesis’ word feeding into my previous suggestion about Peter being brought back like a tulpa. A tulpa is a psychogenetic phenomenon in paranormal parlance.

    Re: the shapeshifters. People seem to be forgetting that we *did* in fact learn that Walternate DIDN’T create them. William Bell did – while in the red-verse.

    In season two, Walter says angrily to William Bell when they meet on the other side, that the shapeshifters had his ‘design fingerprint’ all over them. William Bell developed the shapeshifters *for* Walternate, remember.

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    • Pwnsauce says

      Bell may have created them, but they were Walternate’s soldiers. Walternate was the one responding on the typewriter, and if you remember in ‘The Man from the Other Side’ when they sort of jumpstarted the embryo, the shapeshifter looked at Walter and said he was sorry for failing him, mistaking him for Walternate.

      All this being said, I also don’t believe that these new shapeshifters respond to Walternate, but maybe someone else that is trying to push both sides into fighting each other again. ZFT is a really interesting guess.

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    • Avatar of Roco says

      “I loved the new intro sequence, with the ‘psychogenesis’ word feeding into my previous suggestion about Peter being brought back like a tulpa. A tulpa is a psychogenetic phenomenon in paranormal parlance.”

      Nice shout, very interesting.

      “Re: the shapeshifters. People seem to be forgetting that we *did* in fact learn that Walternate DIDN’T create them. William Bell did – while in the red-verse.

      In season two, Walter says angrily to William Bell when they meet on the other side, that the shapeshifters had his ‘design fingerprint’ all over them. William Bell developed the shapeshifters *for* Walternate, remember.”

      I don’t think it’s in dispute that Bellie created them in the ‘original’ timeline? But while he created them, Walternate and his Science Division went on to develop them into the soldiers we saw in seasons 2 and 3. (also noted above by Pwnsauce.)

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      • Underseer says

        PwnSauce & Roco: My point was that, while Walternate is undoubtedly the one the shapeshifters are taking orders from, Bell’s explanation of why he created them for Walternate always seemed a little too convenient.

        It seemed more likely to me he wanted access to the red-verse tech for his own hidden reasons. Take the soul magnets – was Bell on a quest for eternal life, and didn’t care what he had to do to achieve it – even starting an inter-universe war?

        Bell may be the creator of these new shapeshifters – assuming they don’t reveal he’s dead in this timeline too – which would be a shame, I’m a big fan of Nimoy. If alive, he may also be the puppet-master of much of the events.

        Why did he push Walter to ‘cross the line’? He knew about The First People before anyone else, and was interested enough to search for the book. Yet he chose to keep it all a secret, even from Nina (“Oh William, you and your secrets” as Nina says when she discovers the Bell’s First People copy in his safe). Why keep it a secret from Nina?

        We know that the writers, unlike almost any show previously, set up plot elements whose relevance may only be revealed a season or more later. And what was the true nature of the relationship between Sam Weiss and Bell? “Don’t trust Sam Weiss” as the anagram in alt-Harvard said.

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        • Avatar of Roco says

          “It seemed more likely to me he wanted access to the red-verse tech for his own hidden reasons.”

          I agree with that. If I remember correctly this was pretty much his explanation for working with the other side. (although he did give a reason.)

          The way they wrote the character S3 would suggest there’s much yet to be revealed about the true nature of his involvement in proceedings. The depth to which they tell that story might depend on whether Nimoy is game for some more Fringe — though it wouldn’t surprise me if they brought him back in another guise altogether.

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  6. chrispatt86 says

    I was going to say that too, im not that sure that Walternate will be behind theese nwe shapeshifters, saing more, i would bet he isn’t. Alternate Mr.Jones? Would be awesome, don’t know, just guessing but don’t think it will be as easy as Walternate.

    In general i enjoyed the episode and enjoyed a lot Fringe comming back, good setup to start the season and some nice & interesting things to see, only “bad” i will say is that i perhaps expected something “bigger” to happen.

    Loved the Olivia – Bolivia scenes, really great, the same as Peter’s apperiences, the way that Lincoln is reintroduced and all the Observer stuff.
    Looks like September’s mision is to erase Peter absolutelly after seeing he hasn’t been erased 100% (WHY?) but his heart doesn’t let him, could we be seeing a new Observer “problem” like happened with Agust in 2×08 in the future?

    I think the new shapshifters story can be intesresting too, let’s see where it takes us seeing that there is at least one more left we can be shure this isn’t over.

    My mind says to me for shure after the conversation between December & September and seeing him at the crime scene that the “new” observer is the boy form “Inner Child” also.

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    • Avatar of Roco says

      “I think the new shapshifters story can be intesresting too, let’s see where it takes us seeing that there is at least one more left we can be shure this isn’t over.”

      Very pleased about this. Far better than a ‘one and done’ case.

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  7. Maira says

    I believe this episode just confirmed the existence of a third universe. The yellow opening plus the shapeshifters not being from here nor there? Connect the dots!

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  8. OldDarth says

    My least favorite season premiere. The episode was saddled with too many crosses to bear setting up the season and making the show accessible for newbies. Hopefully this need to cater to newbies will cater off and the show go up shift again.

    Also the dialogue was a little too on the nose.

    Still excited for the season. And more of your reviews.

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  9. Roberto says

    I think I’m just dense, but seeming results of Peter’s sacrifice, that Olivia is being petty, and that FRINGE keeping secrets is revealed for once, are non sequiturs in this season opener. Nobody remembers Peter or anything he did. “Traveling to a higher place to bring back a better sense of self” is incongruent, because nobody “traveled” anywhere. Therefore, New Olivia is a different person with different experiences. “Blemishing character continuity ” isn’t a writing flaw here, it’s reality. This is yet another permutation of Olivia. Same with Fauxlivia acting out of character too. She IS a different character. And the new Fringe Div. is different too, obviously much more secretive than the old Fringe Div. I mean the differences ARE fascinating, but questioning them is futile.

    Please take this as constructive too, but I’m not sure the ‘blow-by-blow’ recap of every scene, every bit of dialog is necessary or desirable. Some decent insights may be getting lost in endless description of the obvious. If folks are reading here, they have definitely watched the episode, maybe more than once. We know what happens in the scenes and don’t need every trifling explained and deconstructed as if to a blind person. It might be better to just hit the main points and offer observation and insights on those, instead of drowning cogent content in minutiae that’s already familiar. Pointing out every little nuance you liked is just tedious. We watch because there’s a lot we all like. Just sayin’.

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    • Avatar of Roco says

      “Traveling to a higher place to bring back a better sense of self” is incongruent, because nobody “traveled” anywhere.”

      “Traveling” is not meant to be taken literally. It’s a reference to the overall story problem and character themes of redemption, and such. There are levels at work in the story, so I also spend some time talking about them.

      ““Blemishing character continuity ” isn’t a writing flaw here, it’s reality.

      This is yet another permutation of Olivia. Same with Fauxlivia acting out of character too. She IS a different character. And the new Fringe Div. is different too, obviously much more secretive than the old Fringe Div. I mean the differences ARE fascinating, but questioning them is futile.”

      I think you misunderstand me, Roberto. I was specifically making a comparison between the scene at the end of 3.22 and the beginning of 4.01 – i.e. same timeline.

      “Please take this as constructive too, but I’m not sure the ‘blow-by-blow’ recap of every scene, every bit of dialog is necessary or desirable. Some decent insights may be getting lost in endless description of the obvious. If folks are reading here, they have definitely watched the episode, maybe more than once. We know what happens in the scenes and don’t need every trifling explained and deconstructed as if to a blind person. It might be better to just hit the main points and offer observation and insights on those, instead of drowning cogent content in minutiae that’s already familiar. Pointing out every little nuance you liked is just tedious. We watch because there’s a lot we all like. Just sayin’.”

      Well, I review the eps in my own style. Some longer, others shorter. Often I dig deep into the meaning and context behind scenes and character actions – all interpretation, of course. That’s Seriable and I’m proud to venture. You should know that.

      It seems like you and I are at different points in the spectrum. This is not a problem for me. Like I always say, it’s a game of opinions.

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  10. RoSull says

    For an episode with a lot to live up to, I feel that Fringe could not have done better. They truly had to start from a neutral point, because there were so many moving parts last season. To try and go back and forth between universes would have really complicated the matter.

    “All roads lead to Subject 13…”

    I feel vindicated as a viewer, because I just knew we were seeing “something” more than what we had come to understand within the show. Many other shared the theory that it was another timeline and not another Universe. This is why Fringe is one of the smartest shows on TV! What other show leaves breadcrumbs all season to help loosen you mind, so it’s prepared to be stretched in order to better receive the next big leap in “Fringe Science”. Bad Robot could tell us that Peter was responsible for the “big bang” that created the entire universe and most would be ready to trust the writers and reason it out.

    Oh Lincoln! I was not a fan of Lincolnate/Alternate Lincoln last year. However, he was far better as a new introduction to the mysteries of Fringe than our long forgotten Agent Jessup. Say what you want about hand holding, contrived lines, and too much “tell”. It is far better then Agent Jessup and her biblical connections.

    “Stop me if you’ve heard the one about Agent Charlie Francis in the furnace.”

    If the Thursday night ratings were any indication, Prime Suspect may not be long for this world. If that is the case, I am sure we can ease Mr. Francis back into our dear Fringe team’s lives. This IS a new timeline after all. Remember: We swallowed (barely) William Bell being brought back via “Soul Magnets”. I am confident that if we should happen to see Olivia arrive at a crime scene, only to be debriefed by Agent Charlie Francis…That would be just peachy! Glimpses of what SHOULD HAVE BEEN of Charlienate Over There are great and all, but 2 Charlies are better than 1 :-)

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    • Avatar of Roco says

      “If the Thursday night ratings were any indication, Prime Suspect may not be long for this world. If that is the case, I am sure we can ease Mr. Francis back into our dear Fringe team’s lives. This IS a new timeline after all. Remember: We swallowed (barely) William Bell being brought back via “Soul Magnets”. I am confident that if we should happen to see Olivia arrive at a crime scene, only to be debriefed by Agent Charlie Francis…That would be just peachy!”

      Peachy indeed. Bring it on.

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  11. Real1 says

    Nice review as usual Roco I agree with you , i just found it interesting that Walter’s safe place was the tank ! I don’t know if that’s hinting to something more or just for fun , Astrid thoughts he is at the bathroom Olivia thoughts he is at the back where the cow .. and Lee heard him in the Tank .

    I don’t think that Lee is a replacing Peter .. Bellivia invited him in “Stowaway” to join the fringe division .. which let me thinking now .. that Bell is knowing who’s Lee … maybe Lee is a cortxi kid too ? which also will support how Olivia get to him and open up .. just as how Olivia was acting with all the cortix’s ?

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    • Avatar of Roco says

      “i just found it interesting that Walter’s safe place was the tank ! I don’t know if that’s hinting to something more or just for fun , Astrid thoughts he is at the bathroom Olivia thoughts he is at the back where the cow .. and Lee heard him in the Tank .”

      I think it was a cool thing to do but it also has interesting attachments. It made sense. It’s difficult to resist the B&P Tank.

      Interesting idea about LL. Let’s consider the possibility. If he is then can we say that he’s yet to receive his awakening?

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    • Schoko says

      Maybe that is how AltLincoln recognized Nick Lane in Over There Part 1? Have we seen Lincoln wear anything other than the suit? I’m talking Cortexi-fashion!

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  12. Kira says

    Just one little mistake and they don’t let you forget it!.
    I hope September isn’t the ‘K’ (MiB) from the Observers (training his replacement).

    Very entertaining episode, I think they did a very good job, since making a re-pilot is something fairly new.
    Hmm, I find interesting that September accepts conciously his mistake and later his tiny surprise in recognize that he actually desires or not follow the predestinated path. (I -need to- erase someone…)

    My theory is that the new shapeshifters are their own boss. Better yet, AltNina. Of course it could be Plan B or C of Walternate. :)

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    • Avatar of Roco says

      “Just one little mistake and they don’t let you forget it!.”

      Indeed. Poor September. Our most faithful Observer can’t seem to catch a break.

      “Hmm, I find interesting that September accepts conciously his mistake and later his tiny surprise in recognize that he actually desires or not follow the predestinated path.”

      A great moment in his arc. How interesting that an Observer should resist his own “destiny.” It seems no-one is exempt. August did it for love, I’d like to explore September’s motivations.

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  13. says

    Great review, D!
    What I noticed was that Olivia also stared from time to time kind-a distracted @ Lincoln like she had a feeling that something “isn’t right”…. Like her brain was saying something to her what gave her “a looks-familiar/Déjà-Vu-ish” feeling…
    I hope you understand what I try to say here….
    *blushes*

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    • Avatar of Roco says

      Good points Muts. It had shades of “LOST.” All we need now is a Desmond.

      There seems to be an underlying awareness that, like Peter, can’t quite fully break through. It’s a bit like watching two stories playing out — the surface level and what lies below.

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  14. Darth Kate says

    Roco i really don’t think walternate is responsible for the new shapeshifter things. it’s a little too obvious and the piece that walter pulled out looked kinda ghetto compared to the shapeshifter’s sleek, metallic tech. I think that, in the future, after they’ve re discovered peter again, our walter builds the things and sends them back in time to facilitate Liv and co.’s re-discovery of peter. We know that time travel is going to come into play at some point so… just my thoughts.

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    • Real1 says

      Wow ! I didn’t thought of that .. but …………… If that future was erased by the new choice of Peter … and as how September said ” the time has been re-written” .. that’s mean … there is another future … not the one which we saw but totally a new future .. and maybe Peter is there for now ! and from that future these metallic tech and maybe the people who are dieing are not dieing … they are already dead !

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    • Avatar of Roco says

      Fair points. I think it could go either way, I wouldn’t rule out Walternate but I agree that it could be another party, like you suggest.

      I like your idea.

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  15. jacksonheights says

    Thoughts about Peter being erased as it relates to the Observers. Which is it? Peter shouldn’t exist (last years finale) or Peter shouldn’t have grown to be a man (December in the restaurant). My thought was that if September did not interfere in the lab then Walternate would have saved his Peter because he would have seen the result that Walter saw. In that case Peternate would have survived anyway. If Peter never existed than we see a totally different timeline. My sense is that when Walter said in Reciprocity that Peter was part of the machine he wasn’t kidding. I don’t think that Peter was actually human at one point but constructed/formed (for lack of a better term) to serve a purpose maybe to heal the universes by Walter or Bell. Could a previous timeline without Peter have not worked so he was created by Bell to facilitate the healing. Is that why he cut out part of Walters brain, to make Walter believe Peter is his own. He had a very convenient excuse why there was no Alternate Bell, he wrote ZFT. On the flip side Walternate has all of his brain and still believes Peter to be his own but then he claimed he wrote ZFT. Is Bell a rogue Observer changing things to suit his own ends by manipulating both Walter and Walternate. And Nina where exactly does she fit in, I suspect she also knows some but not all of the answers. Can’t wait for more Fringe.

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  16. jacksonheights says

    One more thing. I didn’t mind Lincoln being a way in for new viewers. I would hope that Fringe lasts one more season beyond this but if we complain about some heavy handed exposition or phrases that seem to point to the obvious for seasoned viewers we are sunk.

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  17. Que? says

    I am disliking the premier episode being called a new or re pilot as it is not in terms of time premise – it’s a week after Peter created the wormhole/bridge between both worlds. This is a new time line that Peter created as Walter was able to make Peter conscious of the time line ends (“I’ve seen dooms day and it’s worse that anything you could possibly imagine”) and he could keep changing it but he could only open this wormhole/bridge to avoid the ‘dooms day’ thus leaving us clueless to where he is now as he has sacrificed himself.

    I’m still hoping Peter is purposely stuck in another or original timeline in ‘our/prime world’ or the alternate world and the other world is currently also on another timeline like the ‘our/prime world’<the bridge/wormhole is what keeps both new time lines together. I wonder if we find out (that altworld have also got a new time line) in the next episode [4.02] when the 'our world' characters travel to the alternate to help them. Both worlds being on new timeline makes sense for the observers being surprised and unknowing of events.

    I wonder is Massive Dynamic can recover John Scott's body and mind if Olivia never retrieved his memories and purged his consciousness from hers during this timeline. I never knew why they bothered showing John Scott alive in that machine with his mind/consciousness then lost when they did it so well with Olivia for us to know.

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    • Avatar of Roco says

      “I am disliking the premier episode being called a new or re pilot as it is not in terms of time premise”

      I hear you, though I don’t necessarily have a problem with it. From my perspective it’s the continuation of three years of story. The ‘new pilot’ concept is largely marketing spin for new viewers, though there’s also some value in considering the show from this perspecitve. As long as the main story continues and doesn’t waste time pandering, I wouldn’t worry about descriptions.

      “I’m still hoping Peter is purposely stuck in another or original timeline”

      I think that’s possible.

      “I wonder is Massive Dynamic can recover John Scott’s body and mind if Olivia never retrieved his memories and purged his consciousness from hers during this timeline.”

      Maybe, but three years might be a bit too late given the time restraints that were previously on these explorations.

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  18. Schwakamole says

    Great review Roco! As far as I am concerned, you can go down every little rabbit hole in every scene of every show. :) I totally enjoy your take on things, even when I don’t agree, and so many times you point out things that I never would have connected.

    That said, I am on the side of Walternate not being the big daddy of the new human shapeshifters. I’m sort of leaning towards them, as a species, going rogue. Many times last season we had scenes where people thought they were very less-than (vacuum cleaners). They were considered second class citizens. Prime time for a revolt. They are machines who store data and learn so it makes sense that they would figure out a way, using all the different “pattern” sciences that they helped put into practice, to evolve into self-replicating organisms with an agenda all their own. When that shifter’s fingernail grew back he was excited as though he had made a personal breakthrough. It would be an awesome way to force the two universes to join together to defeat a new enemy who may be intent on killing off all the humans in both universes.

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    • Avatar of Roco says

      “As far as I am concerned, you can go down every little rabbit hole in every scene of every show.”

      Cheers Schwakamole. And fear not, I plan to go down as many as possible. :)

      “I’m sort of leaning towards them, as a species, going rogue. Many times last season we had scenes where people thought they were very less-than (vacuum cleaners). They were considered second class citizens. Prime time for a revolt. They are machines who store data and learn so it makes sense that they would figure out a way, using all the different “pattern” sciences that they helped put into practice, to evolve into self-replicating organisms with an agenda all their own. When that shifter’s fingernail grew back he was excited as though he had made a personal breakthrough. It would be an awesome way to force the two universes to join together to defeat a new enemy who may be intent on killing off all the humans in both universes.”

      Very interesting line of thought, and possible too. I’d actually be in favor of such a direction as I find the shapeshifter/soul exploration particularly interesting. It would be a good way to give it more focus.

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  19. Red Balloon says

    Hola Roco, I liked your review, as they always help me develop my own.
    I missed the red vines, the cow mooing, Olivia’s batch, and the fact that she didn’t closed her eyes while shooting the shapeshifter :).

    Ever since we new that David Robert Jones was “just a part of the army”, according to agent Mitchel Loeb in “Ability”, I’ve had a bad feeling about Red Nina’s role, if there is one. Maybe she is the one that looses the most with Peter’s existence, and now with the new timeline, she wants to make sure it stays that way. I wouldn’t be surprise if Red Nina accomplished over there, what Red Bell would have if he weren’t died young, and that this new shapeshifters are her doing.

    My take about how the character development have changed since 3.22, it’s that ultimately they didn’t see what Peter saw, and that each team should be concerned about each others intentions, and may have to develop new assessments in how things connect to the BBM and Peter’s existence. That being said, I’m comfortable with the to Olivias and Walters being nasty with each other, at least for the first episodes.

    Anyway, I’m glad that we have new mysteries to solve, and anxious to see what’s next.

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    • Red Balloon says

      I have a lot of questions though.

      I don’t understand to which September’s intervention December refers to: the one in the lab, or the one in the ice breaking?… I mean, Walter crossing over there had to occur at one point, for the problems to continue. But it makes all the difference if it’s the first one, because it would mean that Red Peter did survive, and then what happened?

      Anyhow, I’m interested to know how much of this story Olivia knows…

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      • Avatar of Roco says

        “I don’t understand to which September’s intervention December refers to: the one in the lab, or the one in the ice breaking?… I mean, Walter crossing over there had to occur at one point, for the problems to continue. But it makes all the difference if it’s the first one, because it would mean that Red Peter did survive, and then what happened?”

        Interesting, Red Balloon. My take is that he meant distracting Walternate, since that seemed to trigger much of what we see today. Saving Walter and Peter from the Lake of Frozen Death seemed more like an offset. The Observers also agreed on taking advantage of Walter’s crossing (Ep 2.15).

        I could be wrong, but I’d be surprised if he meant the LOFD.

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    • Avatar of Roco says

      “That being said, I’m comfortable with the to Olivias and Walters being nasty with each other, at least for the first episodes.”

      Agreed. It should be interesting to see it all play out and I definitely agree that conflict is necessary for the story. I still have mixed feelings over the tone of the Olivia/Altlivia squabble but on the same token I don’t expect them to be holding hands yet, if ever.

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      • Pwnsauce says

        My feeling is that the root cause of the destruction from crossing over in this timeline had to have been far more malicious or the ‘Zero Event’ was not exactly defendable in the same way that ‘saving a boy’ sort of was (One could argue either way on the morality of Walter’s stealing of Peter). The first crack must have been made in a much more reckless manner that causes Montague/Capulet-like hate. I’d say that I do buy into the grudge at this point, – MUCH more so than “you belong with me” – but I do think that just like a Romeo and Juliet, their hate is misguided and slightly unfounded, and that they will eventually realize this.

        Is it good or bad that hate is so much easier to buy into than love?

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  20. Matt-ernate says

    This was a good review for a good episode. I thought it did well. Didn’t catch me as much as it’s previous premieres, I agree – but I’m very excited for this years story which I think they really did a great job setting up. One thing though that I disagreed with – I’m very okay with how the Olivia’s are with each other.

    We have no idea what happened in a week and regardless of Olivia saying “we’re here now” insinuating a want/need to work together to fix what’s happening, Fauxlivia says nothing. It was through Peter that she was able to become more human and less soldier and see that our side has innocent people. So without Peter – Fauxlivia is probably still a cut-throat/hard soldier doing her duty for the Secretary. Within a week’s span, it’s very VERY likely that she has gotten under Olivia’s skin, who also may be colder than previously. A lot can happen in a week. I felt like it helped set up Olivia for the rest of the episode, which seemed like a much harder and serious Olivia than we’ve previously had before.

    I definitely agree with the 8. if you gave half points, i’d even be tempted to give it an 8.5

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  21. SugaredWhimsey says

    On a sort of related note, I usually feel frustrated with a lot of television for being so male-centric and so preoccupied with reflecting a specific masculine image, but Fringe has managed to to avoid pissing off the feminist in me with an art that borders on genius. For the fourth season we are in fact still focused on one man- His identity, his choices, his purpose and then his loss- but the writers get it so right in that it isn’t really about this man’s quest, but about the web of emotions within the people around him, it’s about destiny and love and the conflict of emotion and science and logic, and I love that. I love that really, Peter and Olivia have flipped in the traditional roles; Olivia is the ass-kicker and Peter is the emotional support.
    For that reason I didn’t love this episode and it shoving Lincoln at us. I don’t mind Lincoln, but it felt a little like someone was saying “DEAR SWEET MINTY LORD we HAVE to shove in some bratwurst otherwise the male viewers will run for the hills without a virile man to act as their proxy.”
    While Lincoln performs a plot function through which elementary elements of the show can be explained to new viewers and we can hear retconned history, I feel like he took a lot of the stage because whoever worries over that 18-35 male demographic didn’t think they were going to hang around with a brilliant loon, his underused assistant and a woman who has the biggest balls on the show. While Peter has left a hole in the Fringe team, my preliminary assessment of how the four remaining members had redistributed responsibilities left me thinking that they might not have needed Lincoln. I never felt that he was or could be an asset to them. He just felt there because there was a missing male slot, and I’m not interested in filling Peter’s shoes. I want to know about whole the world has changed, how the characters adapted and how there still aren’t any solutions, only more questions. Maybe if they had stretched Lincoln’s introduction over a few episodes I wouldn’t feel so Blech about the whole thing, but this is Fringe and I will have hope that everything will serve a purpose.

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  22. Guilty Bystander says

    My dumb color theory…

    Red Universe Peter was a tool that had outlived it’s usefulness…but the real blue universe Peter is alive. We know the Observers can fetch people from death/the past like September did with the son of Violet Sedan Chair last season. Red Universe Peter grew up in the Blue Universe. My theory is that the Observers placed Blue Peter into another universe for safe keeping.

    Also dumb question…does the amber intro imply that the new primary reality is signified by amber or that both the new primary and new parallel reality are signified by amber? I guess I’m wondering if we get a new intro color when we get a Walternate or Altlivia centric episode.

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  23. Mike Mike says

    I convinced my wife and daughters to get caught up over the summer so we could start fresh watching Fringe because our Fridays are open again.

    I was disappointed with this episode, maybe my expectations were too high since I rewatched the final episode of last season.

    I didn’t think that the writers did a good job running with the momentum from such an explosive ending last season. This first episode seems so contrived and the scenes with both Olivias were not well shot, those scenes reminded me of back in 80s when they shot scenes of the same person standing across from each other.

    There was effort made to continue the story arch, but it stinks of last season before the writers went full throttle with the story arch.

    Hoping next Friday is a good one.

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