“Alone In The World” attempts to symbiotically fuse stand-alone fare with overarching story, but was it a hit or a bust? Read our review to find out.
- An otherwise tepid case-of-the-week was given depth through its service to the larger mythology.
- A well-paced affair that retained my attention throughout. It managed to win over much of my cynicism through some nice emotional chords.
- Callbacks to the past. Particularly information gleaned from Walter’s retelling of that fateful night.
- Greater subtlety and not quite as much hand-holding. The brief scene with Olivia drawing and looking through the FBI database was a nice insertion that would pay-off at the end.
- The episode featured some nice character development from Walter, liberating both him and the overarching story.
- Still no physical sign of Nina (unless she’s a toaster in the OT). We’re almost at the point where I’m wondering how essential she is to the remaining story.
- Likewise, the lack of Walternate and information on the BBM (Boom-Boom-Machine) is felt. It’s easy to see the benefit keeping a certain storytelling focus at this point, but I’m curious to see what else is going on in this new dawn.
- There’s a deadly and unpredictable universe-destroying Machine, and those best-placed to figure the thing out are messing around down tunnels? Yeah, that’s a problem that the story is yet to address. What’s next, rescuing cats (“dogs”, over there) from trees? Hey, I have a vacuum cleaner that needs fixing.
- The Gus thing was pretty lacklustre and wrapped-up a bit too neatly. If fungus is a bigger threat than the BBM, I expect the situation to reflect that.
- Episodes that Fringe REALLY doesn’t need to be rebooting at this stage: Night Of Desirable Objects. Earthling. What Lies Below. Should I brace myself for Snakehead II?
- I’d still like to see real mythology episodes that directly tackle the meta story. I’m happy to see things play out but the overarching story is where Fringe lives.
The story continues with good old Dr. Sumner evaluating Walter’s state of mind. It’s a nice opening filled with little cues that signal Walter’s anxiety.
He’s terrified of being sent back to St. Claire’s — a fear that wasn’t quite as prevailing in the OT. Watching him grapple with his hallucinations while defending his sanity was compelling.
Sumner seems little less antagonistic compared to my OT memory of him, though there was a slight toxic air of ambiguity regarding his intent:
“I can make recommendations for your continued care — whatever that may be“.
Walter’s resistance somewhat echoes Olivia’s struggles last season when she was trapped in the AU and influxed with Altlivia’s memories.
The fact that Sumner knows about Walter’s torment helps illustrate the gaps that exist between himself and his fellows at this point. Sure, they’re worried about him, but he has no-one to really act as a buffer between him and the rest of the world.
The story seems to be flirting with the possibility of an Olivia/Lincoln romance, though I struggle to be invested. As far as I’m concerned the PAIR are just making a SPECTACLE of themselves. *ding! ding! ding!*
The meat of this episode really revolves around Walter and his connection to Peter. Aaron is a conduit to that larger story. You can trace the parallels between Walter and Aaron’s sense of loneliness, providing further insight into Walter’s emotional state.
Along the way it’s directly confirmed that both Peters died. The implication being that September still distracted Walternate from the cure, perhaps believing the moment to be important after all, yet chose not to save the pair from the FLOD (frozen lake of death) — now the scene of another crime.
Peter had already served his function in the OT, bridging the two verses and putting things back on track with how they were “supposed” to be.
It continues to interest me that the story is positioned around a guy who “doesn’t exist”, yet permeates its emotional core. We’re still on our way to determining just how much our heroes really *need* Peter.
Logically, they don’t. They’ve existed their ‘entire lives’ without him, yet some emotional bonds cannot be broken. This almost inherent gravitation is the kind of thing I was hoping to explore.
Though at the same the ‘need’ is largely predicated on the collapse of the other timeline and Peter’s hauntings. Therefore, the pull might be more effectively realized as a choice as opposed to a need.
Aaron’s psychic connection to the organism continues to inform the wider story. A similar situation was explored in the episode 6B, where an emotional connection had to be broken, or, rather, consciously let go by someone who didn’t want to be alone.
Walter convinces Aaron to give Gus the peace sign by winning the boy’s trust — an emotional moment which illustrates how the depth of emotion can make a difference.
There’s also the question of which Peter is Walter hankering for — his original son, or the Peter who died en route from the alternate universe?
From Walter’s point of view, I’d say his connection in this timeline is largely with his original son, since he barely got to know Peter the Red.
But I’ve long felt that there is a larger point being made. While the show’s exploration of identity and the soul remain valid, there does seem to be a suggestion that true consciousness spans verses and timelines; that the definitive self in this story is not here or there, but reflected in the spectrum.
Walter’s self lobotomy was quite shocking but believable given his character and desperation. It evokes memories of Grey Matters and raises some interesting parallels.
But rather than concealing secrets, it leads to him trusting Olivia with his ordeal — an admission that carried risk since Olivia needs to justify his release from St. Claire’s. Walter showed the kind of courage he empowered Aaron to have.
Which leads to a wonderful coming together, tying in the episode’s earlier tease to reveal that Olivia has also been experiencing visions of this wondrous man.
Hers are, quite rightly, through dreams. She’s drawn a picture of him from memory. A recurring theme and a dose of symbolism that sends an anchor to the very core of her backstory.
“A shared vision like this. He must be real! And if he’s real, we have to find him!”
BOOM! Now that’s one way to end an episode. It’s no longer where is Peter Bishop, but Find Peter Bishop.
- It was interesting to see Walter and Broyles interact. Where before Broyles may have come to Peter to find out how Walter’s getting on, he now has to go straight to the man himself.
- “I’m not losing my mind!”
- Finding out that Aaron led the bullies into the tunnel on purpose certainly alters my perspective of that scene. I don’t believe he knew they were going to die, but we’ve seen before that emotional intent is often a complicated thing — another parallel to Peter and the BBM.
- So, Walter’s essentially responsible for the death of Walternate’s son — very interesting.
- How ‘locked-in’ are these important moments that the Observers observe?
- “I’m thinking flame-throwers” — this obviously ups the stakes for young Aaron, but it’s cute to see Olivia suggest a solution so pyro, given her OT abilities.
- As I touched on in my AITW review, there’s always consequences. Something to bear in mind when Peter returns.
- Walter says he crossed over with the intention of bringing Peter back. I’ve long argued that deep down this was always in his heart. Is this a bit of truth coming out, or just Walter distilling the details?
- “The organism is a vast neural network!” In many ways our heroes represent such a network. They’re certainly becoming more aware. This may also offer insight into how timelines work in the story. How connected is the NT to the …Network?
- “You’re going to kill Peter!” Hope Aaron doesn’t grow up to have identity issues!
- I really enjoyed the way Aaron’s release on the organism was visually represented. Dare I say, it carried shades of Inception.
- I love how Walter promised never to leave Aaron and the very next scene the poor kid is being shuttled off. “Thanks for all the fish, kid!”
- We’re now on our way to finding Peter Bishop, but I can’t help but feel this episode takes us one step closer to finding Man X — one of the show’s burning mysteries.
- I’d love to know what Peter has been doing or saying in Olivia’s dreams. Or..maybe I wouldn’t.
- Alluded to in previous episodes but confirmed here — Walter’s Peter The Blue died as he did in the OT, which led Walter to cross over in an attempt to save the other Peter. Upon their return they fell into the FLOD, but this time September didn’t save Peter. The boy had already served his purpose.
- Walter says that he has no family, perhaps intimating that Elizabeth also committed suicide in this timeline.
- Nina exists in this timeline. It’s implied that she’s running Massive Dynamic.
- Olivia has been seeing Peter in her dreams for the past three weeks.
- Where is Peter?
- How did Walter make it out of the FLOD?
- Where did Gus come from? Why wasn’t there more curiosity about the nature of Gus?
A good episode that fills in some important grey areas while opening things up a bit for the continuing story.
Best Moment: Walter and Olivia reconnecting through their shared encounters with Peter. A really satisfying moment.
Best Performance: John Noble.
Best Line: “I don’t want to lose you. I can’t lose you..not again..”
Takeways: Be kind to Fungus. Hide lobotomy instruments from Walter. Draw your dreams!
Episode Rating: 8/10 Seriable Stars