Welcome to our review for episode 14 of Fringe season 3 – “6B”.
In this review we provide honest opinions on the good and the bad aspects of the episode. We identify the answers that were provided and the mysteries that remain locked away. We take an in-depth look at other aspects of the episode that made an impression on us, before rounding off the review with our final thoughts and episode rating.
- Myth You. I thought the story was more interesting than the previous episode. It included more mythological elements, while blending them together with an underlying humanity.
- Theme. One of my favorite aspects of the Fringe storytelling is the creative use of thematics. The episode translated the idea that (in many ways) our realities are influenced by our emotions. It was great to see this long-held themes surface in this way.
- Walter. For me, Walter’s challenge is redemption, so that’s largely the criteria on which I view the character. I don’t need him to be perfect, I understand that he is flawed, but I needed something to make me warm to him again. I was therefore encouraged by the direction of his character in this episode. He made progressive steps and finally seemed to recognize the fine line between letting go and persevering.
- Contrivances. I had hoped the days of gaping contrivances were left behind in the furnace with Charlie. Such hopes continue to go up in smoke with plot holes and character actions glossed over to bend the story.
- Suprise Me Nots. Similar to the previous episode, I thought it was all a bit predictable – perhaps too caught up with getting Olivia and Peter into bed? I don’t see what Peter has done between Marionette and this episode to change Olivia’s mind? Perhaps the idea here is that she’s determined to hold on to him, reinforced by the episode’s under-story which brought about a catharsis. Still, I don’t buy it. It all seems more ‘baby plot‘ orientated than character mapped.
- No Questions Asked. Aside from the Walter/Nina scene, I thought the story’s resolution was a bit convenient. For instance, what happens if Alice gets lonely one cold winters night and seeks out glowy Derek once more? Can we really trust her feelings not to wander-land?
- Peter and Olivia. I sense that Fringe is in danger of becoming beguiled by its own Peter and Olivia love story. One of my hopes at the start of the season was for the Olivia/Peter romance not to dominate proceedings. Well, it’s dominating more than Olivia dominates Peter in the bedroom. Yes, there’s escalation and other merits, but I’m finding that the ‘story’ has suffered as a result of this particular path. I’m sure it will have its bright spots, but there’s a level of sensationalism developing that I find unappealing. Oh look, Olivia sleeps with Peter just to find out that he’s a daddy on the other side. Like the fabric of the universe, it’s becoming a touch transparent.
- Um. Machine-tuned, shapeshifter-killing, Peter? That’s not really an act you can tuck under the cushion for 5-6 episodes and just pick back up. At one point I was even worrying for Walter’s safety, but it appears Peter’s ID Monster has fallen asleep.
- Where do the vortexes lead?
- Can Peter let go of Altlivia? Will he want to?
- The soft spot became thinner because Alice Merchant over here and Derek Merchant over there were both grieving for their respective partners. Once Alice realized that she wasn’t seeing the ghost of the man she loved, the connection broke. One would assume these ‘over here’ soft spots will present problems in the future.
- Intense emotions can allow a non ‘Cortexiphaned’ individual to see the parallel universe, under the right circumstances.
- The episode opens with a couple talking small-talk. It’s Olivia and Peter. Oh, wait, it’s just some random couple who will help inform today’s story. They’re going to a gathering at a building that Missus Marcello can’t wait to leave. If someone tells me “good luck” before I step into an elevator, I’m making a dash for the doors. I’ve watched Power Hungry and Concentrate.
- Mrs Marcello tells Jimmy that she hasn’t slept in weeks – Jimmy takes his mind out from the gutter and tells her it’s not that bad.
- Up in apartment 7C there are signs of spooky goings-on. Everything, and I mean everything points to GHOSTS – or perhaps it’s the fabric of the universe struggling to hold itself together? Which do you think sounds more crazy?
- Interesting that Silvia began to choke moments before the universe became porous. I assuming that’s just a coincidental detail and not her double from the other side throwing a peanut down her throat? That’s when the bodies hit the floor – reminding me somewhat of “Bad Dreams”.
- Not sure how Chris fell through the balcony? It looked like he moved from that position when Silvia began choking. Perhaps the way it was shot just gave me that false impression?
- At home with the Bishops. Walter says there haven’t been any new cases for the past couple of weeks. I call BS on that. There’s always something strange in the neighborhood, and there’s that little matter of the Boom-Boom-Machine. Surely there’s SOMETHING they could be getting on with? That’s the problem I have with Blue universe Fringe Division – they’re not very proactive, especially considering there’s a war being mounted against them by the forces of Walternate.
- Walter really wants to see Peter in that purple tuxedo, so he fixes Peter and Olivia a romantic breakfast date. Why breakfast and not a candle-lit dinner? Because there’s a fresh case coming in any minute now and Peter has some shapeshifters to kill tonight. Walter’s considerate like that.
- The love-story that has been forced on us is becoming rather tiresome, but it’s useful to hear Walter say he misses Olivia, while confirming that our two lovebirds haven’t been seeing much of each other since Olivia discovered that Boy Wonder still wonders about Altlivia.
- Peter wants privacy and gently tells Walter that his love life in none of his concern. Walter, more right than he knows, tells Peter “your happiness is my concern”. Because as we’d soon discover, there was a much bigger, more human, aspect to the falling balcony mystery. One person’s feelings can have a meta consequence, especially in this story.
- Ha! Peter begs Walter not to “force things”, I could say the same for his ‘romance’ with Olivia. Take it down a notch!
- A knock at the door, Peter looks..haunted, like a deer with a broken leg, trapped in the headlights of a big tractor. Walter runs like a child to the door. It’s Olivia! That most broken of all the Os.
- Olivia thought she was there for some mythology-action, instead she sees two candles and a table of breakfast treats, including blueberry pancakes – “a Bishop family recipe, best eaten while still warm”. Peter gets aroused, Olivia uncomfortable.
- Peter tells her it’s all Walter’s idea, that he wants them to spend time together
O-livia: “A threesome?”
- Horrified, yet curious, Peter says “no, just the two”. Walter puts on some sensual music and skulks out the door like a cat who has just peed on the floor.
- Peter tries his luck, but it’s all too much for Olivia who decides to march on back to the office. Peter stops her, and says they might as well talk (sex) while they have the house to themselves. Standing like a soldier, protecting herself, Olivia doesn’t know what to say. She would very much like to talk (sex) but Simon had to go give her that damn letter containing Peter’s sexy-thoughts about Altlivia. It’s a barrier to the bedroom.
- Peter admits that he hasn’t told her everything, but if she would just step into his room, he’d show her his Mythology Porn and the rag he uses to wipe shapeshifter blood from his hands.
- Peter knows a few good men, but admits that he’s unsure if Olivia can handle the truth, “I know that you struggle with trust issues and you have a difficult time letting people in”. Olivia has clearly watched Over There – Part 1, where Peter tells Altlivia that Olivia was a haunted mess who made problems up. It was a bit too heavy on the paint there, but I’m glad Olivia put Peter straight, “I’m not making them up”.
- As I said at the time, Peter isn’t in Olivia shoes so it was unfair of him to say that. Of course it’s all about perspective, and perhaps Olivia could be quicker with a smile, but to all but blame someone for taking things too personally (especially when crazy stuff HAS happened to that person) instead of helping them to handle things better, is poor form from Peter.
- Peter says that he still thinks about Altlivia because he’s spent so long:
“imagining going down that path with you, imagining what it would be like waking up in a bed next to you, to sit around just the two of us having a cup of coffee, reading a paper, and then finally, I had it. I’ve seen what the two of us together looks like, and it’s beautiful”
- I do sympathize with Peter, and I don’t doubt that the story wants us to believe that he has feeeeeeelings for Olivia. But as I’ve said throughout the season, it’s impossible to untangle his love for Olivia and Altlivia. Impossible. He fell in love with Olivia, but he went places with Altlivia that he couldn’t have gone with Olivia. How do you divide the two? He can’t, not if he’s being really honest. And to be honest, Olivia has to understand that if she’s still willing to jump into bed with the man. Otherwise, let it go.
- It’s a unique situation, for sure, but it’s not too dissimilar from the idea that someone never gets over their first love, or the notion that each relationship shapes a person to the extent that they take a piece of that experience with them. The difference is that Olivia and Altlivia are the same person, only separated by their life experiences and current location in the multiverse.
- So I continue to have problems with Peter because, not only is he still hiding megatron secrets from the woman he claims to love, but he’s lying to himself. Again, I do have a measure of sympathy for him, but he digs an impossible hole for himself when he claims that he’s seen their future and “it was beautiful”. Firstly, has Peter morphed into John frickin’ Locke? Has he just looked into the eye of the Island?
- Secondly, that “future” he saw took place with a woman who is not ‘his’ Olivia. Same DNA, different life stories. Sure, both capable of the same things (and I’m sure we’ll explore that idea further), but Peter seems to want to have his cake and eat it. There’s no way you say that to the woman you love.
- Olivia seems to let this comment slide and claims that Altlivia took their future away from them. Peter throws it back in her face, “and now? Who’s the one stopping us now?” Ouch! This man’s got his foot out. Thankfully the universe calls to get Olivia out of a sticky situation.
- At the CSI building Broyles does what Broyles does best – exposition, as the team investigate the implausibility that the jumpers jumped. Broyles eyes the broken furniture and considers retrieving the pieces should his desk ever go missing again.
- Jimmy, still wearing that lovely warm hat from earlier, gives his account of events before saying, “maybe it’s true what they say about this place..” as a spooky old lady peeks out the window of apartment 6B.
- Interesting to note her expression. She seems to have some vague sense that the incident is her doing. Making her later decision a touch more believable.
- Peter checks out the balcony, Walter tells him not to be a daredevil. I liked that, his concern for Peter. It must be hard for him, every time Boy Wonder crosses the road he must cross his fingers. His fear is heightened by the knowledge that the Observers are up to something.
- Some nice investigating by the Bishop Boyz. They work well together as they put the pieces together. “It’s as if they went straight through the balcony”, says Walter. He then tries to test his theory having seen “Safe”. Peter, rather amusingly, tells him “not to push it, alright”.
Walter: “How do six people fall through a solid floor?”
Olivia: “Uh, Ghosts”
Peter: “Of course! Let’s call the Ghost Busters and go back to breakfast. I think the pancakes are still warm.”
- The ghostly suggestion tips Walter’s BS Meter. He believes in a lot of things – harmonic frequencies, aliens, stealing children from parallel worlds – but ghosts!? Nah, it’s time to check for anomalies by flipping a coin.
- Slightly random, since we’ve never seen Walter do such a thing before (and there has been many an occasion were his test would have come in handy). But flipping heads on 10 out of 10 occasions was a neat enough way for him to deduce that “the laws of physics are being disrupted here!” Again, contrived as a candle-lit breakfast, but I’ve seen much worse.
Walter: “Balcony! Here one second, gone the next”
Olivia: “What you talking about, Walter?”
Walter: “Like the other universe, our world is starting to come apart at the seams. And the tear is beginning right here”
- I love these notions, the escalation of the story. But it makes my previous point about the team sitting around on these bee-hinds and investigating unessential cases, all the more relevant. Why didn’t Walter suspect something like this would happen? Why didn’t he work with Massive Dynamic to implement some contingency plans as soon as he returned from the alternate universe in 2.22 – or better yet, why didn’t he do more than hide things as soon as he returned from stealing Peter in 1985?
- The team is reactionary to the point that it becomes difficult to buy them as a serious outfit. I mean, Walter was involved in “preparing children” to defend the universe, and yet he doesn’t think any further ahead? I’m not saying this can’t be explained or reasoned, but at the moment it’s a gaping vortex in the story’s logic.
- Fair enough, it makes the story more fluid, but as I said, I think more could be done on that front.
- And I love the fact that Walter basically echoes my sentiments when he asks the team “why are you all sitting around!?”. EXACTLY Walter! Though he can talk, it wasn’t so long ago that he was unwilling to help clean up his own mess over fears it would lead to Peter getting a scratch or two.
- Walter explains that the anomaly is not a soft spot, but a hole that could potentially lead to a vortex – the kind of which we have already seen gobble up big chunks of the alternate universe. I’m pleased we’re getting more on nature’s quest for balance, that’s always been an inherently interesting aspect of the storytelling.
- Walter asks Peter to earn his money by measuring the frequency at the building. Peter gets hypothetical and Walter asks him if he’d prefer to have Olivia strip down to her bra and panties for another heightened state adventure. Peter thinks: “why actually, yes. Yes, I would!”
- It’s good to see Walter make progress. A season or two ago he’d have the B&P Tank™ (or some other contraption) out in a jiffy. Now he’s more sensitive to the consequences of his science. I’m sure there will come a time when Olivia has to ‘rip open her consciousness’ once more, but I’m glad there are now more emotional obstacles in Walter’s path.
- Walter is clearly stressed and has a feeling that the others aren’t taking matters as seriously as he is. Why should they, they have matters of the heart on their minds. And these matters would soon surface in the physical world around them. Walter despairs and feels that Astrid is doubting him. He has issues with those who doubt him, as you may have gathered along the way.
- Peter and Olivia might be the world’s only hope, but theres no-way they’re standing outside all night in the cold to monitor any vortex activity. They go for some warm fries, because warm fries make people happy.
- Mrs Merchant skulks home for some private action with her dead husband, Derek. She thinks he’s a ghost, she’s been watching too much Ghost .
- Olivia and Peter yuk it up at the bar. Olivia, clearly feeling more horny than she did earlier, tells Peter that she wants to know what beautiful feels like. Peter computes and the pair lock lips in a romantic moment that will live forever in my memory. THIS right here is what Fringe is all about. I’ve waited almost 3 seasons for this! Now, nothing shall get in the way of their one true love!
- Wait..a..minute. Olivia pulls back, she’s seeing Boy Wonder glimmer and it’s not the drink. She figures that her ability to see objects from the other side (i.e. Peter) triggered because she still harbors fear. Peter doesn’t care if he’s glimmering, he thinks they could have some fun back at his place. But Olivia needs to get some air.
- Aside from the endless desire to pit these two together, I thought it was neat that Olivia’s emotional GPS was flagged by her internal system. It’s a cool device, this glimmering lark. That being said, it’s a fine line, I think it became an excuse to make the story really sappy and convenient. Now he glimmers, now he doesn’t.
- Peter tries to reassure Olivia, but she he tells him, “Petah, you glim-glimmered”.
- She admits to being afraid, and comes to the rather sudden conclusion (no doubt based on Petah’s earlier words) that it’s not just about Altlivia, that she’s the one stopping them from getting together. (Whaaaaa?).
- I realize that Olivia is relatively inexperienced when it comes to “feelings” of the Peterkind, but it’s kinda tragic to see the Dunhamnator define herself by Peter’s every assumption. I would have liked to have seen more evidence of the character actually processing this information. Sure, perhaps she’s always thought that about herself, but that’s not really how it played.
Olivia: “Maybe I’m just incapable of being vulnerable [..] I’m terrified that I can’t fix this, that this is just who I am”
- I appreciate the message – that goes without saying – but it’s so thickly painted that the character is becoming less and less recognizable as the episodes tick by.
- I’ve known about Olivia’s constant battle to define and prove herself for ages – a theme that was brilliantly executed even as recently as the first 8 episodes of the season, but that exploration has been watered down since.
- It’s as though the writers are trying to tell us what the characters are thinking/feeling and what it means for the story, instead of really exploring those ideas as richly as we know they are capable. I’ve seen this kind of thing happen before (LOST being a good example) and I sense history repeating itself on Fringe.
- That’s not to say that Fringe or LOST are not among the most excellent and rewarding shows. But, you know, some elements are less organic than others. Anyway, Olivia sees the window of apartment 6B glimmer. “There’s got to be some Boom-Boom going in there!”, she thinks.
- Peter can’t see it because he doesn’t have the ability. This is important for explaining why Mrs Merchant is able to see Derek from the other side. No, she’s not a Cortexiphan Gran, but she has deep emotional attachments to her Derek who passed away.
- The glowy cave of light from LOST makes its debut in Fringe. As Mrs. Merch catches a glimpse of her Derek. Except it’s not her Derek, but the one from the alternate universe.
- Olivia and Peter race to the apartment – Peter has been waiting for such a scenario for a LONG time. He utters his trademark phrase, “By the power of Grayskull..” and kicks down the door. That’ll be $100 out of his pocket-money.
- I found it slightly crazy that Peter would simply kick the door down when he couldn’t even see the shiny light. Had Olivia asked him to, it would have played a bit better. Anyway, Olivia sees the not-ghost of Derek and Petah asks “what happened?”. You just kicked in some poor old woman’s door, and now she has to go without Netflix for a week because of the high increase in door fixing charges. Consequences, Petah. Consequences.
- Curiously, Walter is unable to detect radiation leakage from the other side, hinting that there must be something else amiss.
- Walter is adamant that there are no ghostly goings-on, saying that he and Bellie used to argue constantly about what happens to the body’s energy after death:
“William theorized we should be able to capture that energy, using what he called soul magnets”.
- fascinating stuff – it’s exactly the kind of thing we’ve been talking about recently. I’m glad to get a little more on the nature of the soul in Fringe. I suspect that Walter’s mention of Bellie and the soul may be some kind of foreshadowing to future events, but we’ll see.
Walter: “He said if he were right, he would contact me from the great beyond. I havent gotten the call yet”
- Olivia has a chat with Mrs Merch about Derek, further informing her relationship with Peter. She tells Olivia that they never had children and that he died from a run in with the old fuse box – they flipped a coin and he lost, in more ways than one. All of this would come back into play a bit later.
- Interesting that Walter’s coin flipping should tie into the Merchants own decision tossing.
Alice Merchant: “He was part of me, then he was gone”
- Does a person – their soul, spirit, or whatever it is that defines them at the root level – ever really go? The episode asks an interesting question and layers it by throwing the alternate universe Derek into the mix. The question then becomes, how connected are the two Dereks, and indeed, the two of everything that comprise the story?
- Certainly, I believe that every person is “unique” – and I think September would agree with me on that. However, I also believe that on some meta level the two of everything are also bound by a unifying reservoir. We have this on a thematic level with the doubles underlying the ‘road not taken’ – providing two variations of the same coin. But in an all-encompassing sense, I get the impression that something can be both unified yet also experience at discrete levels. As always, both the characters and the audience are seeing a certain perspective play out. What happens when the lens pulls back? Our understanding of the true nature of reality expands.
- Walter is not quite sure why Mrs Merch can see through to the other universe while Peter can’t, but he’s more concerned with the idea of the universe falling apart.
- Walter may not have been making contingencies, but he has been pondering from afar how:
“we would respond if a vortex opened up here, and how we would plug the breach”.
- He decides that the amber from the bus attack in Ghost Network will help seal the hole. Rather smartly, he uses both the Pattern Attacks and the alternate universe (called Amber 31422 over there) as an example of how to solve the problems in his world. These cautionary tales, if you will, are finally stimulating Walter’s mind.
- Though I suspect the challenge going forward will not so much be to copy the actions of Walternate, but to see if he can make better choices, for BOTH worlds.
- Olivia doesn’t like the idea of using Amber over here. She’s seen what it’s done to the thousands over there. Broyles is worried about the public reaction, which is funny because rarely has he ever been worried about such things before. A bit convenient there, Broylesie.
- All sides have a point, though they all seem to be reading from a different page, acting emotionally about the situation instead of taking the simple step across to see that each point being made is valid, on some level. Walter’s point is the most forceful and he wins the battle of hearts. Though I don’t see a huge problem with what he’s suggesting (i.e. evacuating the building first, sealing it with amber) he is definitely going down a dangerous path, and my concern would be that the Amber ‘solution’ sort of fell into his lap. Again, this is where more planning and proactivity would have helped.
- Olivia continues to believe that it’s a bad last resort – she’s right. She explains the protocol that Walternate devised on the other side. Broyles sighs, and says: “I need to run this up with channels”. Peter snarks, “not exactly how you imagined meeting the President, huh?” Broyles tells him that he already knows Obama, and that Obama isn’t fond of him because he beat him at golf.
- Hm. I’ve long wondered why the show usually fails to reference the President. Both universes, that is. I guess it’s to keep the story compact. Though, even if the truth about the two universes is only known to a few, it’s somewhat inconceivable that the President and government wouldn’t be more involved. Perhaps more name-dropping would help? Even as an ‘observer’, I naturally assumed that Broyles had at least met the President before. Not sure why Peter would think otherwise?
- Nina gets Massive Dynamics top scientists on the Amber case. She gets Brandon working on it as well.
- A scene between Walter and Nina, where he admits some truths:
Walter: “For a long time I was willing to think the worst of Walternate. That he was an evil man, willing to use any means necessary to get what he needed. I suppose it made it easy to justify what I did. Now we’re faced with the same decision, and I’m arguing that we do exactly what he did. What sort of person does that make me?”
Nina: “One who’s asking the right questions”
Walter: “You don’t think he grappled with them too?
- Just as Walter asks this question, the amber compound solidifies – a nice metaphor. I find it strange that he would think so badly of Walternate, given that he stole the man’s child and crashed his universe. Not to mention that (unless we’re missing a chunk of the story) Walter has not interacted on any personal level with Walternate until very recently (“Over There”) to believe that he was ‘evil’. Though to be fair to Walter, he does admit that he this view was borne out of guilt.
- I also appreciate Walter suggesting that Walternate has battled with the same demons he is now dancing with. It’s a nice way of further humanizing Walternate even though he’s off-screen. Important, because I sense that a lot of viewers have trouble relating to a character who is, for all intents and purposes, Walter.
- Peter and Olivia come to the conclusion that this is not all about physics, but about people, suggesting that Mrs Merchant on the other side died in the same freak accident instead of Derek.
Olivia: “Is it possible that two people grieving for a version of each other in the exact same spot are somehow causing this soft spot?”
- I’ve often spoken about the inherent connection between the two universes and the way in which thoughts and emotions influence cycles and events between both realities. This is a nice way of bringing these ideas to surface-level. Walter calls it “emotional quantum entanglement”, or “spooky action at a distance”.
- Mrs Merch begins experiencing some more of that spooky action, and the team have to put their theory into..action. Olivia explains her notion to Broyles. “You think all of this is because of feelings?” Clearly he’s been taking lessons in blunt exposition from Sam Weiss. Peter explains that some of the body’s natural chemicals are like Cortexiphan – he’s right of course, until the “aliens” somehow diminished our abilities, right Walter?
- Mrs. Merchant refuses to leave her building, and I’m thinking that they really should be dragging her out of there whether she wants to leave or not. Walter says that pulling her out wouldn’t make a difference, but they could at least try – perhaps doing so would break the connection. Perhaps sedating the woman would..break the connection? Seriously, if her emotions are the cause then putting her to sleep while they try to get a handle on the situation should have crossed their mind. But then, we wouldn’t have the drama-drama.
- Contrivances aside, I am a fan of the notion of choice in “breaking the connection”. We often examine the cycles in Fringe and this is a great example. Getting caught in the loop is a lot harder than stepping out of it, which is why I was pleased to see Walter allow his son to go back into the building without trying to stop him. The sad acceptance of fate etched across his face was evidence he’s learning to let go – not because he wants to, but because he feels it’s the right thing to do. Again, breaking the cycle requires incredible strength, sometimes there’s strength in simply letting go.
- Naturally, this cycle business also plays into Olivia and Peter. Should they hold onto their relationship, or let go? It’s not just about them, of course, it’s about other people as well, such as Altlivia and the two universes.
- Underlying story elements aside, Olivia and Peter try to concinvce Mrs. Merch that it’s not her husband that she’s holding onto. I thought that would be a tall order under such extreme and chaotic conditions.
- It was a nice scene – Olivia at the front of the situation, Peter standing 5 paces behind where he belongs. Kinda like “Ability”, which this episode makes no effort to reflect. Jacksonville? Nah, no symmetry going on here.
- Olivia tells Merchant that although he looks exactly like Derek, he isn’t her husband. More context for Olivia’s own struggle with identity and the things that were ‘taken away from her’ by Altlivia. This internal catharsis, if you will, would later help bring Olivia closer to Peter. I guess you could say it ‘opened the doors’, as Olivia came to the decision that no matter how similar a person is, no two people are exactly the same, etc, etc.
- It’s easy to see why Olivia needed this given all that has happened to her. Once again her internal needs are being manifested with answers. Hocus-pocus? Coincidence? Or hints at a larger ‘truth’? I’ve always backed the latter.
- Meanwhile upstairs, Peter tells Merchant that she’s “already had what most of us dream of, a lifetime with the person you love”. Rather poignant, though it was also a good opportunity to send another ‘forgive me’ message to Dunham in case they made it out alive.
- That being said, I do kinda feel sorry for Peter. He doesn’t have many happy memories, be it with Olivia, Altlivia, or life in general. Walter gave him the Jedi Mind Block when he was a kid and since then he’s lost touch with both parents – or rather, all four parents, in one way or another
- Still, Peter’s words are mostly for the audience and Olivia. It’s Alt-Derek’s mention of their children, that Mrs. Merch and her Derek never had, that quelled the fire in her heart and thus broke the connection. AU Derek disappears in a puff. Downstairs, everyone is relieved – especially Walter who was already planning to steal Peter and Olivia’s bodies from the amber.
- I have to admit to getting rather swept up in the drama taking place outside. Walter’s decision to amberize the building with his dear Petah still inside, and Broyles’ reluctance to pull the Pin of Doom (POD) with his dear agent inside. That was pretty emotional. I’m proud of Walter for breaking the cycle, and Broyles for holding firm and taking those extra seconds before pulling the POD. Great stuff.
- Later, Mrs Merch is rather calm considering she’s just discovered that there’s an alternate universe. Her bonnet is a bit of a mess, but other than that she’s rather relaxed. I am surprised that she feels completely cold towards AU Derek, especially so quickly after weeks of believing. But I put that down to the story wanting to give us a very specific message. Fair enough, though it may have been nice to see a touch more rounding.
- It’s a nice message though, the idea that Merch will one day see ‘her’ Derek again. Interesting that she used the word “see”. If and when it happens, I think ‘see’ would have a different meaning.
- A touching scene between Walter and Nina. Walter is far from happy, despite everything working out just fine. And rightly so:
Walter: “Today wasn’t a victory. Today was a vision of things to come.
Nina: “Oh, Walter. You don’t know that to be true”
Walter: “Unfortunately I do. If the vortex had opened, I wouldn’t have been able to seal it. And then there would be new cracks, and we would seal those cracks. And those cracks in our universe would beget larger cracks. Over there, decades of research and funding. Best solution Walternate could come up with was this, and it wont be enough. Once the universes start to unravel there will be no stopping it. I don’t know how to stop it.
Nina: “Well then, I think you need to learn”
- Beautiful, absorbing, meaningful. I love that Walter is sitting in Massive Dynamic – his kingdom, with Nina by his side and a chunk of the not-enough
kryptoniteamber on his desk.
- Walter is describing the breaches in the universe, but he could just as well be talking about the human heart. In fact, to me he is. That’s when the show really ticks, when physics become the human condition through meaningful descriptions and events.
- I found it interesting that Walter doesn’t believe the amber will be enough. He’s aware that it’s just a stopgap measure, like putting a bandage on a broken arm instead of setting the bone and allowing it to heal. And that’s what I appreciate – the idea that every action so far is just a temporary measure.
- Nina’s response to Walter’s despair caught me off-guard somewhat. I didn’t expect that response from her, not initially. I thought she’d be all cuddly and ease Walter to her bosom like a young animal. Instead, she’s rather firm, but reassuringly so, and it makes perfect sense.
- For a long time we’ve known that Walter doesn’t like people doubting him – Nina remembers this all to well, she lost an arm trying to prevent him from crossing over to the other side. So here she’s placing faith in Walter’s ability to figure out a solution. She’s calling him to action, stimulating him to rise to the challenges ahead.
- Much like the previous episode with Reiko reassuring Walternate that he always finds an answer, Nina is playing a similar role here. Walter takes heart from Nina’s faith – she has given him the energy he needed, and suddenly there is HOPE that maybe, possibly, perhaps he can find a better, less temporary solution. One that can save both worlds.
- While Nina’s motives are interesting (conversations with Sam, etc), this is a fantastic scene of real meaning. What was to follow, well, that dance is getting tired..
- Olivia goes round to Peter’s with a bottle of something strong. “Oh, Walter’s not home? I never knew!” She tells him that she wants what he wants. No, not Shapeshifter Death. To his credit, Boy Wonder comes up with a pretty cool line that I didn’t think he had in him: “What d’you think we should do about that?”
- Olivia’s mind imagines as her knees become weak…“I want to go BROOM on your BOOM-BOOM”, she thinks.
- The pair kiss. The boy doesn’t glimmer. As if by magic, she’s no longer scared! “Thanks Alice, you really helped me resolve my issues, I’m so going to pay for that door,” thinks Olivia.
- She leads Boy Wonder upstairs to try to make a man of him yet.
- And while another baby is possibly being conceived, over to the other universe we go for a nice look-in on Altlivia and Lincoln who are checking in on the anomaly. Just like over here, all readings are within normal parameters. You’d think Altlivia might put 2+2 together, but this scene was mostly to give folks another chance to connect the dots. Plus, who doesn’t want to see Altlivia?
- Poor dear, whatever will she do once she realizes Peter and Olivia are an item? We have so much to look forward to. No really, hope we do. There’s always hope, right?
An improvement from “Immortality”, but still too fascinated by the Olivia/Peter love story. What I appreciated about this episode, I really appreciated – the thematic rise, the humanizing of nature, the individual choices with meta-level consequences, the cyclical nature of reality, the progress of Walter and that marvellous scene with Nina.
Best Performer: John Noble
Best Line: “Well then, I think you need to learn” – Nina to Walter.
Best Moment: The Walter/Nina scene in nighttime Massive Dynamic.
Episode Rating: 7/10