In this review we provide completely 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 with our final thoughts and episode rating.
- Continuation of the overarching story. Always good to see, particularly after the previous episode which was very much of a set up for the final two. TLSW moved things forward somewhat while delivering a mythology download that is not to be sniffed at.
- Useful information about Sam Weiss and the Boom-Boom-Machine (BBM).
- Great moments between Olivia and Walter. It was good to have these two join forces and look beyond their pasts in an attempt to salvage the future. Some touching moments were produced, giving a technology-heavy episode an underlying human-quality.
- Peter in Confusionville. It was a touch convenient, but nicely done. I’m hoping the last minute resurfacing of his past memories and anchors will directly tie into his flash-forward. It has to, right?
- Future Flash. A well-edited and effective narrative device that provides an interesting look into the future, expanding the story while leaving us with much to speculate.
- Some of that Sam Weiss magic faded after this one. While I expect there’s much more to come from him, what was revealed wasn’t as interesting or as intriguingly presented as I would have hoped. While the ‘Richard Alpert’ effect may have been a natural consequence, I would contest that the Observers and even William Bell (to an extent) retained their sheen after episodes that delved into their mythology.
- Parts seemed rushed and contrived. Sam using the bowling ball to ‘save the day’, for instance. The way that was put together felt rather hokey and Indiana Jone-sy. Similarly to the previous episode, TLSW doesn’t mesh as sweetly as one might have hoped, creating a somewhat disjointed experience.
- Dropped story elements. As we head deeper into the final run of episodes, it seems even more incongruent that the team didn’t make better use of William Bell’s return a few episodes ago. He had a wealth of information about the BBM, not to mention the shapeshifter discs (which we’re important enough in “Os” to have him mention them) – all of which would have held them in good stead. Failing to tie these elements together really stands out as a plot contrivance.
- I don’t really get the impression that two universes are at stake. Perhaps a consequence of the team only responding the to threat now that the finale has arrived, but the sense of real consequence doesn’t come through with the necessary strength of 1000 lions.
- Is Peter’s future a vision of possible events, or an actual happening that is currently playing out?
- What lives do our various Fringies lead in this ‘future’?
- The universal result of Peter going into the BBM?
- Who is the author of the prophecy drawing(s)?
- Can Sam Weiss be trusted?
- Sam reiterates that the BBM was built specifically for Peter.
- As a result of the Over There BBM being activated, the Blueville BBM became “hot-wired” – causing it to believe Peter was already inside, consequently repelling anything trying to enter.
- Sam says the BBM is indestructible.
- He also says that the BBM is NOT a Boomdays device but “it’s acting like one”
- Sam confirms that he’s not the first Sam Weiss and that his First People manuscript is incomplete.
- Peter’s memories became ‘confused’ after getting put on his ass by the BBM in the previous episode.
- Olivia is the BBM ‘crowbar’ (fail-safe) – she’s able to turn off the force-field.
- Interesting opening with Walter almost feeling bad for ‘resting his eyes’ while Peter lies unconscious. I didn’t expect Walter to sleep a wink, but perhaps he’s distanced himself a little subconsciously, or maybe he was confident enough that Peter wouldn’t slip away?
- Still, Walter was aware of the unknowns:
“A surge like that could have disrupted his neural patterns, created memory deficits..”
- It doesn’t take much to lure him from Peter’s side though. The way to this mans heart is through his belly. Though there’s plenty of precedent for Walter eating when anxious.
- The manner in which he kissed Peter caught my eye. He uses his hand to deliver to token, as though reinforcing the notion of reciprocity. Similar to the previous episode where he made sure to touch Peter’s hands by rubbing gel into his palms, despite the fact that it was an overly fussy (and pointless) thing to do.
- It was good to see a sense of scope in the following scene, breaking free from the convenient shackles of this ‘secret war’. I often find it odd that the President is not referred to more often, given the stakes at hand.
- Much like the previous episode with the crazy sheep, the sensation of the Blight can be felt before it takes physical effect. I want to say there’s a reference to feelings and emotions in there somewhere.
- Sam confirms that the BBM repelled Peter because it thought he was already inside. Dumb Machine.
- Did Walternate know this would happen? If he didn’t, did it not cross his mind that Peter might enter the Blue BBM as a counter-measure/retaliation?
- Sam says the BBM is “frustrated”. I wasn’t wrong to suggest it was a character in its own right. It’s always fun when such things are given ‘human qualities’, especially a machine which strikes me as being one of the big ‘ideas’ of the series – mankind’s struggle with technology.
- So if the BBM is frustrated we could say that Peter hasn’t been giving her enough lovin’?
- Sam relates the BBM’s ‘frustration’ to the damage it has caused. Nice insight, I had wondered how the BBM was appropriating destruction if no-one was controlling it.
- That being said, there is a point to be made about the intelligence of this machine. Not that I mean to insult the BBM (who, may I say, looks splendid in this episode), but it’s not acting with all its faculties.
- Which is interesting if we compare it with the human characters – Walter, for example, who became ‘damaged’ after years of intellectual and emotional trauma led him to further sever his connections by having his memories removed. His faculties forever impaired.
- And there’s another connotation. The BBM is clearly being hindered by its double – much like Olivia was by hers, or Walter is by his (and vice-versa). We talk a lot about Peter’s ‘destiny’ but let’s not overlook the BBM’s own ‘destiny’. She was apparently crafted/tweaked specifically for Peter, yet she’s come to discover that she can essentially be operated by another pesky human.
- Again, I think it’s great to explore the ‘human’ connotations of the BBM because it serves as a reflective device in that respect, while also allowing us to further consider the neutrality of technology.
- Olivia asks the kind of proactive question I’ve been waiting for her to ask since she came back through the Bra & Panties Tank in “Entrada“:
Olivia: “Ok, how do we stop it?”
Sam: “In case of emergency, break glass”
- He then gets out his old scroll, to reveal the First People manuscript that the books are based on. As one might expect, Sam kept some stuff back for his eyes only.
Sam: “This is a box. This is a key that opens the box”
- Olivia asks what the box contains and we seem to get confirmation that Sam is not a First Person (although that’s not definitive):
Sam: “According to this it’s a crowbar, of sorts”
- So the crowbar can pry the force-field open for long enough for Peter to get in. At this stage it was fairly clear where this was going.
- It was disappointing to see Walter take a couple of backwards steps after last week’s emotional outpouring to God. Instead of putting his brain into gear to help the poor people being struck down by fire from the gods (propagated by his actions), he’d rather watch peter sleep.
- However ruthless Walternate is, he’s a man who protects his world – interestingly, he’s already arrived at the point where he is capable of putting others before his own emotions (although vengeance is not completely detached from motivations).
- Not that I can be too hard on Walter, like I said in my previous review; change doesn’t happen overnight. With faith, backwards steps are bound to occur. Still, it’s something worth commenting on because I want Walter to navigate his way to redemption street.
- Speaking of God, Walter refers back to his pleading with bitterness and excuses his inaction because God didn’t respond. Perhaps Walter should give it more time before lashing out, but in all fairness it’s perfectly understandable. Stuff is getting real and old G hasn’t picked up the phone.
- Astrid. YES, Astrid is the voice of reason here. Our little lamb says something that strikes Walter in his heart with electrifying results:
“That’s your excuse? What have YOU done, Walter? God helps those who help themselves”
- Bravo, Astro! Walter takes the inspiration and runs with it like Flash Gordon.
- Now, I’m not sure that Astrid’s words of wisdom should have been enough to instantly galvanize Walter from the depths he was in, but I appreciate the idea.
- Sam isn’t the first Sam Weiss. Not unexpected, but his bloodline does intrigue.
Sam: “This is my great, great, great, great grandfather. He was digging for Mastodon bones and he discovered an ancient manuscript instead”
Olivia: “So he was the one who wrote the First People book?”
Sam: “No that was the fifth Sam Weiss. The third and fourth Sam’s spent there lives searching for the manuscripts missing sections”
- I don’t see why Sam would lie about this, but it’s worth remembering that he only reveals what he wants to reveal.
- Sam does start acting a tad weird, suddenly planting a negative action in Olivia’s mind by suggesting that perhaps they shouldn’t go looking for the crowbar after all:
Sam: “The crowbars not to be used unless something goes wrong with the BBM”
Olivia: “UH, look outside, Sam. Something is going wrong”
Sam: “The time-line’s not right, maybe this is a cosmic hiccup. Maybe it will course correct on its own.”
Olivia: “Or maybe it will destroy two universes”
Sam: “That’s exactly my point. Generations of knowledge have been bestowed upon me, but no-one said anything about the other side turning on the BBM first”
- Again, while I feel that Sam has genuinely had his tail-feathers ruffled by the activation of the Red BBM, that’s not to say he doesn’t still have a hidden agenda. I’m still waiting to see his Blueville vest. I just don’t think the elusive narrator scribbles “don’t trust Sam Weiss” unless there’s a good-enough reason. So far that plot device feels unfulfilled, so I expect it to still be in-play.
- Walter plays with his kite and challenges God to strike him down. I guess he’s feeling somewhat ballsy after what has happened with Peter. Sure, he was insulated, but you don’t take risks like that unless you’re feeling a bit daredevil.
Astrid: “You just got struck by lightning, twice”
Walter: “That’s it, the missing variable. Ohhhh Ostrich you are a genius”
- Steady on now.
- Of course! It’s all about repetition. By looking for recurring destructive events the team can estimate where the Over There BBM is situated and move the Blue BMM to the same relative spot to cancel out its angry bolts.
- Meanwhile, Peter wakes up. That boy has fallen into so many slumbers over the course of his life that it’s a wonder he’s not living in a dream within a dream.
- And the scene does have that ‘dream-like’ quality. No doubt intentional to throw us off, but it also gives us a sense of how Peter is feeling – CONFIZZLED!
- I really enjoyed this sequence and seeing the impact of the BBM flooring Peter in the previous episode: Essentially bringing forth the repressed childhood memories of his origins, making him believe that he’s Over There, while at the same time not erasing his Over Here memories.
- It’s somewhat similar to what Olivia experienced when Walternate fused her brain with memories of her double, making her believe that she was alternate Olivia. The difference here is that Peter IS both people from his memories.
- This adds fascinating spice to Peter’s character – it’s just a shame that it was all too abbreviated (though hopefully the ramifications of this ‘Subconscious Rising’ will continue to play out in the finale/next season).
- Of course, there are also interesting fragments to the scene. Peter couldn’t even remember his name at first, which was curious. But he sure knows how to keep on moving, even after Nurse-a-Lot asks him not to.
- Peter’s face when he first sees the Thunder, Thunder, ThunderZaps, isn’t one of immediate despair. He almost seems momentarily captivated by the striking bolts.
- Walter tells Broyles his theory about the entanglement between the two BBMs:
“If we move our BBM to the same spot as there’s, we slow the pace of destruction”
- This is Walter’s mind at work, grappling with his faculties and finding a way around the problem presented to him – perhaps the only way, especially as we’d later discover that all roads lead to Liberty Island.
- Sam wasn’t kidding when he said they’d break some glass. Olivia was kidding when she said they’d be careful. Not that it was their fault, but lightning does seem to follow Livvy around.
- The ‘Escape from Museum’ scene was a bit Faux Drama for my taste. Olivia literally giving us exposition on the threat the little gate posed, and Sam putting his bowling skills to use to prevent the gate from closing. It didn’t work for me.
- Sure, the bowling was cool, but it just felt designed around the sole purpose of giving Sam his ‘moment’.Which is fair enough, scenes are constructed to deliver moments, but this one felt a touch contrived.
- The reveal that Olivia is the crowbar ties in with Olivia and Peter having this innate connection, this ‘destiny’.
- Olivia’s reaction to her newly revealed ‘purpose’ was interesting – burdened, troubled, doubting her own ability once again.
- I would very much like to see how her knowledge of this connection this plays out, especially in regards to her connection with Peter.
- What will this do to their relationship to discover that they were essentially meant to be together? Of course, this carries different connotations – especially with time the way it is, but it must still inform their relationship to some degree.
- I’ve often spoken about Olivia’s ability to “Bend it like Dunham“, so I enjoyed Walter’s phrasing:
“You Olivia have the ability to bend things with your mind, that’s what you’re doing in this drawing if you look at it the right way”
- He references Olivia’s display of telekinetic craft from the David Robert Jones light-bomb test two years ago. That was a MUCH smaller feat in comparison with mind tricking the Red BBM from Over Here. But if anyone can, Dunham can-can.
- This is the kind of thing some of us have been waiting to see – Olivia’s ability to mentally interact with the other side. We’ve seen how emotions are entangled between the two universes – both in the tangible sense (i.e. “6B”) and in the overall cause and effect structure of the two universes.
- Olivia denies her capability. While recent events have made her less fearful, she still has this doubt – some might say, the humility to keep her feet on the ground.
- This was one of the best scenes from the episode – an almost childlike, Olivia being guided mentally through the ‘looking glass’ to project a quantum entangled message.
- Memories of ‘Message Zero‘ came to mind – the one where she unwittingly, yet instinctively, alerted Walternate to the whereabouts of his son. Entanglement is a living, breathing thing in Fringe.
Walter: “Imagine that you’re looking on the typewriter on the other side”
- I love Olivia’s little reaction, as though such a thing is absurd or out of her capability. We all know differently. She has no problem imagining, of bending reality to her whim. She just not used to consciously doing it.
- Still, she’s a CHAMPION, she gives it a right good go. Walter tells her to “focus on something specific, a word, a phrase”
- I thought she’d choose “hope” or “mole baby, mole problems”. She fooled me – foiled by my assumptions!
- You can see Olivia fasten onto her chosen phrase and concentrate – refusing to ask, merely believing. Trying to.
- Cut to Peter’s little message “I AM GOING HOME”. Are you 9 years old or something, Peter?
- Obviously a reference point, illustrating the parallels between his “Subject 13” desire to return home and the confusion that is currently taxing him.
- Dunhamnators are not good at failing, they also lack patience. Which is why we like them. They’re always chomping at the bit trying to solve the problems that lie in wait.
- Another nice scene as Walter and Olivia meet on THE LEVEL for probably the first time in oh such a long time. I get the sense of empathy from Walter, looking at this lost Olive who lacks guidance and faith in her own abilities. She’s trying to undergo repair, but she’s broken, much like he is – held back by the past. He is all too familiar with the impulses, the quick hits that one seeks when one is lost and bewildered.
- Which is why it was really heartening to see his response to her suggestion of Cortexiphan:
Walter: “I’m afraid at this point it would do you more harm than good. These abilities are inside you, Olivia. You simply need to harness them”
Olivia: “Walter, I don’t know how..I never have”
Walter: “I know what it’s like to feel unequal to the task required of you. To feel incapable. I’ll never be the man I was. But I’ve come to embrace those parts of my mind that are peculiar, broken. I understand now, that’s what makes my mind special”
- Very poignant indeed. My heart went out to Olivia. Willing, but not knowing how to do something that should be natural for her. Poor lass.
- And then we have Walter who just seems intent on burying his face into my chest. As I said, I really appreciated the way he mentored Olivia through this challenge. But he does more, he relates and encourages her to embrace who she is – to take everything, the good and the bad and to just appreciate herself. Sometimes the ego needs to rise.
- It’s probably as much a revelation to himself as it is Olivia. They both needed this positive energy juice, to move forward and repair.
- Repair. An interesting word that I think does some wonderful things when put in context with Olivia and the BBM.
Walter: “I wish you could see yourself the way I see you. You have no idea, how extra-ordinary you are. If you can embrace that, there’s no end to what you can do”
- God bless you, Wally.
Olivia: “I know that you want to believe in me, and I wanna believe in me. But believing doesn’t make it true.”
Walter: “Just try”
- Initially, I thought Olivia’s response was a bit contrived, a bit overkill. But when I gave it another 2 seconds thought, I think it works. It’s Olivia’s last resistance – the little doubting voice in her dead clinging on for death life above the cavern of confidence, shaking it’s little fist as it plunges into the lava below.
- It also works because it’s reasonable for Olivia to doubt. It’s understandable for people to say something but hope to be surprised. And Walter’s “just try” was a great little push – in every sense.
- Anyway, this was a nice moment between two characters who really should have sat down and talked it out a loooooong-ass time ago. My need to see Olivia rip Walter a new one for experimenting on her is satiated, for now.
- I still believe it should have been addressed much earlier, but I’m also happy with the notion of ‘destiny’ and Olivia embracing who she is and the journey she’s taken. That doesn’t take away the abuse, but I’ll give the story beast some more time to turn its big self around and deliver true fire-breathing resolution.
- Meanwhile..in Confusionville..
- Peter goes looking for a childhood trinket – the silver half dollar, which he reminds us: “always brings me luck”. More signs of his old memories guiding him back ‘home’.
- So we have prominent themes of faith and luck. Two sides of the same coin, two perspectives.
- Walter then rips into Astrid. Admittedly, she did deliver one of her eye-rolling statements, but that’s no way to treat Astrid! I’ll put it down to Walter being distressed about Peter, but man does he ever Jekyll and Hyde.
- Astrid deserves props for just taking his rant and swallowing it like a champ. Such patience, that girl. At least he apologized, I guess.
- Peter asks to speak to his father – Walter Bishop, the Secretary of Defense. OH, if Walternate could see you now – he’d wet his pants with joy! This adds another dimension to Peter’s returning memories, in that he’s associated them with present-day knowledge.
- Walternate wasn’t Secretary of Defense when he was kidnapped, so this is a nice illustration of the ‘merger’ that has taken place in Peter’s mind – not just between ‘past’ and ‘present’, but emotionally.
- Sam offers Olivia “good luck” and then watches mysteriously from afar as his balls swing and the thunder claps. Oh, this ain’t over. And neither is the question of whether or not he can be trusted.
- The reunion was nice and Peter’s conscious realization that his had two fathers was interesting.
Peter: “I think I’ve been confused”
- Walter says that Peter’s confusion should be temporary, then notices the half dollar before the BBM’s thunder distracts all of their attention.
- Interesting that Olivia should choose the phrase William Bell told her back in “Momentum Deferred”. It may seem out of place, but given that the phrase was: “be a better man than your father” – and was given to her with at the same time as “keep Peter by your side”, then it becomes clear why Olivia would project this message and why the writers would bring it back.
- The scene functions well, as the typewritten message bounces back from the other side, and Peter is reminded of this phrase. No doubt this will have informed his mindset when entering the BBM moments later.
- Olivia’s BBM challenge was also nicely constructed and worked well within the framework of the story. It was always meant to be the two of them helping one another. Peter may have heightened her ability when diffusing the light-bomb (or vice-versa), now it was her turn to put down the BBM’s defenses.
- Walter skirts over a question that has brewed in my mind for a while – who drew the prophecy drawing? I wanna say Olivia in some timey-wimey fashion, given her penchant for pencils.
- Peter becomes drawn once more to the BBM. The boy is nothing if not persistent. He eyes the gleaming panels as they reflect him from afar. They both know he hasn’t got a chance. But..BUT..this time he’s brought along a little friend:
Peter: “You ready?”
They hold hands and walk slowly towards the BBM hoping their ‘cuteness’ will distract her for just a moment. Sensing her opportunity, Olivia steps forward, the BBM growls as her mind passes through this universe and into the other. The BBM is defeated in the matter of seconds:
BBM: “Who…who are you?”
- Brandonate notes that ‘something’ is happening to the Red BBM.
- So Olivia tells Peter that she loves him before she lets him fiddle around inside the BBM, but Peter doesn’t say it back. Should we be concerned? I don’t particularly care, but to be fair to Peter he probably says it with a kiss. It’s womantic!
- I did appreciate Peter’s little glance at Walter before he entered the BBM. That was a lovely moment between both of them.
- And then the flashes. (which I’ve already spoken about here). Needless to say it was a useful emotional download, giving us a sense of what Peter (and Olivia) are feeling, while also reinforcing the story arc before we were propelled into the future like wild badgers.
- Peter observes the internal walls of the BBM and then steps inside like he owns the place. The BBM locks him into position as more memories flash before his eyes. These positive thoughts, along with the recent resurfacing of his old memories, will shape his vision of the future.
- Which, if you think about it, was triggered by the entangled act of Walternate activating the Red BBM (and so on..). So this future is forged by more than just Peter’s heart – but also by the acts which brought him to this place.
- As for the futuristic cliffhanger, flash here and here for thoughts on that. Obviously, we have to come baaaaaaack! for the next episode. Hope there are a few LOST fans in the house who got that. 😉
Another solid episode with moments of true sparkle. I most appreciated the human moments along with the underlying messages and foreshadowing. The mythology download was also very filling. There were a few contrivances that I could have done without, and some oversights conveniently ignored. But I think we’re well positioned for the finale, courtesy of a final scene that could have been the final cliffhanger. There’s a sense of possibility in the air – and hopefully when placed in context this episode will stand the test of time. Literally.
Best Performer: Anna Torv.
Best Line: “I wish you could see yourself the way I see you” – Walter to Olivia.
Best Moment: Peter’s flash-forward.
Episode Rating: 8.5/10