Welcome to our Fringe review for the Season 3 Finale, chapter 3.22 – “The Day We Died”.
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.
- Moments of cinematic quality and framing. The Walternate/Peter encounter was as aesthetically pleasing as it was compelling. The intense cut from future Peter to the extreme close-up on Peter of BBM Past. Stunning.
- Poignancy. The desire to go back and change things by essentially going forward and trying something different played well and gave the story an added dimension.
- Mythology. I appreciate the way the First People mythology is now directly tied in with our main characters. While this is not a totally unexpected move, it played out in an intriguing way.
- I’ve always held a keen eye for the cyclical nature of Fringe, so see it embraced in this fashion is hugely satisfying. I see this storytelling device affording our characters the ability to learn and grow as people. I further acknowledge that this process doesn’t just happen in a vacuum (so to speak); there are consequences for actions, however well-intentioned, and I find that particularly relevant.
- Many satisfying and convincing performances. John Noble stood out with his nuanced portrayal of the two Walters, while others also delivered strong performances.
- Musically resonating. Particularly the Dunhamnator’s funeral score. Quite possibly the best piece of music used on the show since the Newton death scene was introduced in “Do Shapeshifters Dream..”.
- The Cliffhanger. Overall it was well executed – leaving us with plenty to about over the Lowatus. A potential game-changer that has opened up the possibilities.
- The Moreau/End-of-Dayers story-thread didn’t do as much as I wanted. While it facilitated the story and provided some context for the events that unfolded, it felt underwhelming to have what was essentially a case-of-the-week storyline embedded in one of the most important mythology episodes of the season.
- Narrow View. It didn’t help that we only got to experience key events such as the destruction of over there, Walternate’s mercy mission and, Walter’s trial (etc) through exposition. I understand why, but it took something away.
- Conveniences. The episode felt a bit convenient at times. Walter being in jail and the timing of his release felt a bit too easy (though I appreciated the touch of having two guards on him at all times). The the wormhole as a device also felt a bit lacking in explanation and weight, especially considering its importance in the time-loop. Walternate’s method of luring Peter to his old beach house was another contrivance that was hard to overlook.
- Uneven. Half-way through I was a bit concerned that the finale wouldn’t deliver to the level I had hoped. Given the previous two-episodes delivered a great deal of set-up, I wanted the finale to really grab me from the outset.
- The Do-Over. While it’s quite possible that this future still exists somewhere in the time-loop, something is lost by the fact that for all intents and purposes it never happened (at least from the 2011 perspective). It almost felt like an excuse to kill Olivia without the consequences (especially since she would never get T.K.O.’d so easily if there wasn’t a delete button). Not a big complaint, but a natural consequence.
- Crumbs for Nina. Unless she was erased from parts of my consciousness, Nina was only in one short scene. Nothing new was gleaned. Given her unexplained absence from the highly significant events in previous episode, it feels like she was added as an afterthought.
BIG MYSTERIES POSED
- What did Peter and Broyles lose in Detroit? What happened to Broyles’ right eye?
- Was Walternate ever captured for murdering Olivia?
- Where did the BBM come from? How did it get inside the time-loop?
- How did Walter draw Peter’s consciousness forward to 2026?
- Why can’t anyone but the Observers remember Peter?
- Where did Peter go? Why did Peter go?
- Who took the BBM through the wormhole?
- Is the BBM in this new branch of the timeline still made for Peter?
- Why did so many Observers converge at the Statue of Liberty?
- Who or what designed Peter’s “purpose”?
- Our heroes are essentially inside a time-loop.
- It’s May 2026 in the future depicted. Agent Peter Bishop is 47. He and Olivia are married.
- Ella has only recently been promoted to Fringe Division field agent.
- This future is shaped by Peter’s BBM-fueled destruction of the alternate universe.
- Astrid is a Fringe field agent in the future.
- Walter stood trial for bringing about the apocalypse.
- The End Of Dayers are a terrorist group trying to accelerate the end of days.
- When his universe was on the brink of destruction, Walternate came over here to ask for help. He ended up being stuck here while he world died. He’s since become a recluse, but has been working with the End-of-Dayers to bring about the destruction of his adopted world so the people over here can know what those in his world felt when they died.
- Walter, Peter, Astrid and Ella are the First People. At some point in the time-loop, Walter sent the BBM back millions of years in the past through a wormhole in Central Park.
- Walternate kills Olivia in the future. Her death is ‘reset’ when Peter makes a different choice inside the BBM.
- After seeing the future, Peter decides not to destroy the alternate universe and instead joins them, creating a bridge.
- By changing the future, Peter also changes the timeline and its conditions. Thus, Peter never existed in this timeline and the others don’t remember him.
- And so we begin where we left off with Peter 15 years in the future. His ‘past’ consciousness brought forward into his ‘future’ self, initially causing confusion before the observation of his future took a more backseat role.
- The point at which Past Peter saw this future was presumably by design. Past Peter is seeing what we’re seeing. Did he have to be unconscious for this bridge between past and future to be made?
- Peter was injured pretty badly in the vortex scramble, but those future drugs soon work their magic.
- We find out that Ella has followed in her Aunt’s footsteps. She might be her mother’s child, but she always had a special bond with Olivia. Indeed, it was the memory of Ella that helped Olivia to reclaim her identity while trapped in the alternate universe.
- Emily Meade did a solid job on her Fringe debut, probably enough to earn a return next season, should the story require.
- The older, wiser version of Olivia worked for me. She LOOKS older – not so much physically (though they did a good job there), but the way she carries herself. She’s still burdened by the weight of the universe, but it clearly hasn’t got the better of her – no doubt helped by her relationship with Peter.
- Ella reminds Peter about what he said on the field, about the BBM and being from the past. I would have thought any mention of the machine that allowed him to destroy an entire universe would draw more consideration. Aside from the fact someone had to mention it, I find it potentially interesting that Ella would bring it up.
- As mentioned, I found the Moreau storyline a bit lacking, but it served its purpose in giving the Fringe Team something specific to chase. Brad Dourif did a good job in that short, yet grounding introduction to the state of the future. I also appreciate the similarities between the End-of-Dayers (EOD) and the pattern groups from the first season. Technology in the wrong hands – does it ever end?
- Moreau placing his head against the door to savor the music – a splendid touch. Though it made me wonder why he’d destroy something he loves? I guess this is something his puppet-master Walternate would know all about.
- Walter being in jail was somewhat convenient. It seemed odd that he’d be punished while Peter and Walternate were given a slap on the wrist, if that.
- That being said, it helped inform the events that followed Peter going BBM – the eventual destruction of the alternate universe, the increased degradation ‘over here’, and the public outcry at his actions. This is a world that knows about the last storm.
- But it does raise the point that Walter really should have been in jail a long time ago. Of course, the inter-reality war was all a secret back then and he was seen as the best hope for fixing what he had ‘started’.
- All that being said, it was worth it just to see this rendition of Walter – if the St. Claire’s years had taken its toll on him then time in the slammer had almost transformed him. The physicality of John Noble’s performance here is impressive.
- What must time and isolation done to him? To not only feel the personal, emotional guilt – but to have the world hate him and the souls of the alternate universe weigh heavy on his conscience?
- What did this perpetual punishment do to his notion of forgiveness? What was his relationship with God like by this point?
- He asked for his world to be saved and to be punished instead. Like the ‘white tulip’, he received it.
- Straight away we see that Peter still loves Walter, even though he still calls him by his first name. The reciprocating hand on the glass was literally a nice touch. It’s these visuals that help make the show so iconic. You don’t always need words, sometimes it takes poise to let the the visuals fill the scene.
- Walter provides some valuable insight into his sense of confinement:
“I heard a rumor that the sun was burning out..[they don't tell me much in here]“
- What to make of the fact they are STILL using Amber as the glue to hold their world together? I can believe it. I mean, Amber did the job for many years in the alternate universe – and they were at least 5-10 years ahead of ‘over here’ in terms of advancement.
- It goes deeper than that though. Amber was forged in the mind of Walternate – a necessity brought on by the emotional and physical damage that Walter caused when he crossed over to take Peter. And it was from him that Walter got to idea to use it as a solution for his world. These ‘mini cycles’ have led us here.
- I said it earlier in the season, but this is another example of our characters essentially creating a problem to bring about a solution – without even knowing it.
- Peter’s mention of the discovery of a wormhole leading to the late Paleolithic era was an indication that the cyclical nature of the story was about to confirm itself as a very real process in the journey of our heroes.
- Walter’s response: “My old self would have been fascinated with that”. This provides a sense of his yearning to go back and start over. He’s not living in the moment. And its to be expected, he has Peter but he doesn’t really have him.
- Which is interesting. For something to be there but not, all at the same time. It’s only a couple of levels removed from the episode’s greatest trick.
- Broyles as senator? Makes sense. It was odd that Peter only ‘assumed’ he had been briefed about the EOD. If they’re such a massive threat – as we’re led to believe – why on Earth wouldn’t he know about their existence?
- Peter asks Broyles for the one thing that he’s not prepared to give him. A gun? No, that’s so 2011. He wants Walter to be granted temporary release. It was interesting to get Broyles’ reaction. He knows that Walter didn’t mean to bring the world down this path, but he also understands that this very public problem needs a face.
- Peter seemed to think Broyles was more worried about politics than saving the world. They’re coming at this from different directions, but it’s clear that both of them are tired of ‘temporary measures’. They tried that already and it hasn’t worked. It’s time to fix..
- Again, I have to question whether Walter is really the cure? He’s an answer, but there’s another Walter out there who probably only needed to have his son understand his pain for all of this to have been avoided. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – there was another way.
- Peter’s decision to return over here in the season 2 finale has long been a bone of contention for me. But while I don’t necessarily agree with how the pieces were moved – for me it’s also about how we get from point A to B as much as the points themselves - I can’t deny that it has created some interesting conflicts.
- Like the earlier moment in the prison, Peter reintroducing Walter to his Lab was one that echoed the Pilot. It was touching to see Walter inquire whether Astrid would be there, only to find out that she’s now a Fringe field agent.
- One of the most subtly poignant moments was Walter’s response to this news:
“I suppose since she’s no long caring for me she’s able to…spread her wings”
- A great contrast to Walter’s current predicament. But I found it more contextualizing than that. This was Walter openly acknowledging that his dependence on Astrid held her back from reaching her true potential. The implication being that he harbored this belief all along, yet for whatever reason couldn’t get out of that cycle of dependency.
- I find this to be a great little moment, to have a character look back on the impact he had on those around him. From an audience standpoint this is another reminder that we’re no longer viewing a linear story. We never were.
- What we’re seeing are people stuck in endless loops trying to work things out. There’s no telling how long they’ve been trying. But what we do know is that by the end of the episode they’ve moved to a different place. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
- Walter and Olivia’s reunion was particularly heartening. You don’t get authentic moments like that without having a story and characters that people care about.
- It was great the way Walter half-picked Olivia up and spun around, as though subconsciously aware that they are all enclosed in a loop.
- And how interesting to see them emotionally engage on this level – openly warm and kind towards one another.
- How much of much of this affection was instigated in their emotional coming together in the previous episode, in the “past”? Moments like this are born somewhere.
- I really feel as though they overcame a certain barrier in “The Last Sam Weiss”, and while this moment would have worked anyway, it’s easy to see that it really works given the emotional plotting of recent episodes.
- It’s sad to think that Walter didn’t get to attend Olivia and Peter’s wedding. I know he destroyed the universe but didn’t the authoritaaays know that he wanted to see Peter in his purple tux?
- It’s clear that Walter approves of Peter’s choice. “I always did want a daughter”. What a lovely thing for him to say. Wish fulfillment? Quite possibly.
- And after smashing more glass than a bull in china shop this season, wasn’t it wonderful to see Olivia’s powers in display when using her telekinesis to catch the box of fragile things:
“I learned t control it a few years ago.”
- As I said in my previous review, it’s great to see Olivia controlling her powers – accepting those parts of her mind that are different..special. It doesn’t cancel out the years of abuse, but it’s good to see her embracing who she is – telling her own story rather than allowing it to dictate her limitations.
- And it’s great for Walter to see her like this, to see her ‘happy’ and at ease with herself. She’s all but forgiven him through her union with Peter.
- It’s important for Walter to know that he’s not all bad, that goodness and positivity have come from his acts. This is where Fringe has always shone, in the hope that emerges from the shadows.
- While on a story perspective I can understand Walternate’s motivation to bring about the ‘end of days’, it would have been nice if Moreau was more fleshed out.
- And whoever made Walternate’s hair so striking deserves a medal. It really adds a certain chill to his character.
“It wont be long, ’til this world joins mine”
- A powerful line, delivered with menace and contempt for the air he breathes. If Walternate wasn’t so bad, I think I’d love him. I find him supremely interesting.
- Speaking of Walternate, he still seems relatively well-off. Was he given reparations after his universe was destroyed? Did he move in with one of his shapeshifters for company?
- Walter acknowledges that “you may stop this group, but you cannot stop the inevitable”. Walter is playing a defeatist role here, while Peter is still fighting fate.
Walter: “Our destiny was set the day we triggered the BBM. I didn’t understand it until it was too late, that our two worlds were inextricably linked. Without one, the other simply cannot exist”
- As I’ve pointed out before, this notion of only one world being able to survive always felt like something we had to accept based on contrivance. All Peter had to do was talk to Walternate about the problem. Not an unrealistic expectation. But to have Peter do this would have obstructed this particular plot.
- So Walter only realizing this after the event doesn’t quite work for me, though he is lyrically on form:
“When their world was destroyed, that was the day we sealed our fate. For all intents and purposes, that was the day we died”
- Fringe excels whenever time is involved – especially now that our experience of the time-lines has expanded. But I also found it effective because it ties in with my interpretation that there are certain moments within fate that allow for freewill.
- Peter feels the weight of Walter’s words. He was the man driving the BBM at the time. Walter took the brunt (and rightly so), while the courts “perceived” that Peter was acting to protect his world. I would agree with that to an extent, but I find it difficult to accept that Peter shouldn’t take more of the blame. Should he (or anyone) get away with destroying an entire universe?
- For me it’s not a case of Blue Vs Red – it’s a case of humanity. Just because the people ‘over here’ happened to fall on the ‘right side of the line’, does that mean they are incapable of feeling great sympathy and discomfort at the thought of the other side’s destruction?
- Calling it a “war” doesn’t do it for me, because most of the people involved didn’t even know they were engaged in combat, let alone know the existence of an alternate world. I have to maintain that Peter and the Fringe Team should have done more to protect EVERYONE. The few who have the power to do something positive for the common good must go at that objective 100%.
- Both the show and the audience often talk about the ‘hubris’ of Walter and Walternate, but we shouldn’t ignore Peter’s Pride here.
- This is partly why I enjoy Walternate. He’s so invested in solving problems that he’s almost the main protagonist of season 3!
- That said, I don’t pin the blame on Peter exclusively. As I said, they’re all trying to work out their stuff. If you want to take it a level further, you could almost consider the entire story as the problem-solving exercise of one person.
- Peter tells Walter: “No matter who’s at fault, you’re my dad”. Wow. I’m happy for the two of them, but I can’t help but feel awful for Walternate.
- I love the father/son story as much as anyone. I think it’s the very heart of this journey. But it doesn’t make sense to me that he’d be so forgiving and understanding towards Walter, yet so distant and cold towards his biological father.
- And not because of that blood connection, but because Walternate really is one of the prime victims in all of this. There’s a point to be made all day long about the connections people make being more important than DNA – I’m totally at ease with that. But Peter’s reaction towards Walternate doesn’t seem fair.
- Perhaps Mother’s words in the 80s have played a part – all that ‘make-believing‘ fixing itself in place to the point where his emotions towards his “past life” are now unable to really surface?
- It shouldn’t be forgotten that for a time Peter really rejected Walter, which I acknowledge. But having learned to forgive and accept one, you’d think he could do more as far as Walternate is concerned.
- It was interesting to get more insight on Walternate’s journey and how he survived the destruction of his universe. What was it like for him to come over here, tail between legs and cap in hand? Is he a hero for having such humility, or a coward for not sinking with his ship? And Walter actually feels sorry for him, which is a bit of a breakthrough.
- It was touching to see Walter’s reaction to Peter calling him “dad”. It only took him 15 years, but it was duly received.
- Peter leaves Walter a bunch of Red Vines. It’s all about memory – another device for Walter and the audience, allowing us to consider time as a sensation rather than just a series of fixed points.
- We see further evidence of how Olivia has grown over the years. Her demeanor is different. I liked her interaction with Peter.
- Olivia wants to have a child with Peter but she doesn’t want to bring that child into this world – which is understandable. Her world is falling apart and then there’s all that stuff she went through as a child – can she guarantee that history wont repeat itself? Which makes me wonder whether Peter knows about Baby Henry?
- How did Walternate know the key would be given straight to Peter? How did he count on Peter not telling Olivia and bringing her along with him? And HOW ABOUT THAT? Peter still keeping secrets from Liv – it’s like the shapeshifters all over again!
- What did we learn about Astrid in this episode? Oh, that’s she’s too nice. I’m not sure what to do with that. I found it weird that they conveyed this idea by giving a random red-shirt a spoken line.
- I guess it helps inform the sense that the characters haven’t really changed all that much.
- In general, I’d like to see more character from Astrid – the kind that doesn’t forget when people stab her in the neck. She’s gotten a lot more screen-time this season, which is truly great, but I feel there’s more actual character development to be had.
- The Peter v Walternate face-off was a great scene! It’s moments like this why you build an alternate universe, why you invest in serialized stories and develop characters.
- Funnily enough my first reaction when seeing Walternate was that he was a projection – I kid you not. Those suspicions soon evaporated as I became entrenched in this wonderful scene.
- Although Walternate is essentially sneering Peter, I also take this as his last cry for help – one final chance for Peter to see him as someone who was wronged.
Walternate: “I couldn’t just call you”
Peter: Yes, you could have”
Walternate: “Not if I wanted the proper reunion that we both so richly deserve”
- I struggle to see why should Walternate have to be the one to get Peter’s attention? Peter knows what happened yet he all but leaves Walternate to rot – an unwelcome member of the OTHER love triangle.
- Peter calls both Walters “brilliant”, but places the positive weight on Walter’s side. It’s easy to see why Walternate would be upset. Peter calls them “ying and yang” and Walternate takes the words right out of my head:
“That’s interesting. Interesting that you should say that..ying and yang. Ying and yang. One man broke the universe, the other man did nothing, but have his son stolen, his life stolen and ruined. I came over here at the end, on a mission of mercy, to ask for help for my side. The race was lost – the race I didn’t initiate, but still I came. And you destroyed us Peter. MY SON! You destroyed your own people.
Peter: “You activated the BBM on your side. You were going to use it to destroy this universe. I only acted in self defense.”
- I can see Walternate’s point here, it’s refreshing to hear him tell Peter how he feels because someone has to let him know that there’s more than one side to this story. Peter’s response is not without merit though, and Walternate seems to recognize this as he goes silent for a short while before going off on a tangent.
- I love details like this because you can almost read Walternate through what he doesn’t say. He knows there’s a kernel of truth there that he can’t defend in isolation, so he travels down the next emotional branch that he needs to get out of his system:
“Do you know what its like to wake up and just for a moment, think that everything is as it was? And to realize that it’s not. That the nightmare you had was real?”
- It’s a great question given the context of this episode where loops and cycle permeate.
- Walternate is conveying a very believable state of mind, one that everyone has at some point or another – those waking moments when someone comes out of a slumber, unsure of whether they are dreaming or awake.
- To know that Walternate experiences this kind of disorientation before having the brief hope snatched from him each morning. Well, that’s the kind of character monologue I’ve been asking for.
- We’re still being invited to consider the nature of ‘reality’ here – by the time the episode ends we’d have an even better sense of why.
Walternate: “Soon everyone here will experience loss the same way those Over There did. Air. Water. Light, even. But you. You’ll experience loss the way I did.”
Peter: “What does that mean?”
Walternate: “You destroyed my universe, son – and I’m going to destroy yours. But not all at once.”
- Walternate associates ‘universe’ with representing the internal, as well as the external.
- Interesting that the wormhole knocked those in the vicinity unconscious. What must it be like to travel through one of those things? Perhaps we’ll get to find out before all is said and done.
- Peter explains why he came alone (even though he didn’t know who had invited him).
“..I’m sorry for the suffering that I’ve caused you. I’m sorry for destroying your people. ..OUR people. I’m sorry for destroying our world. And if I could take back that choice, I would. But it’s no excuse for what you’re doing now, and it has to stop.”
- Peter doesn’t convince me here. I believe that he’s sorry on some level, but he’s far too in control for someone who has killed 6 billion people. He also acknowledges that it was a ‘choice’, which I didn’t expect him to admit. It’s interesting that he doesn’t see over there as being ‘his people’, only in afterthought does he correct himself – probably more for Walternate’s sake than his own belief.
- My appreciation for Peter has grown in recent episodes, but my heart goes out to Walternate. He’s a maniac, but none more so than Walter. What we’re seeing with this man is Walter without those support systems, those crutches that people need to fall back on – friends, family, hope, love, ignorance even.
- As I’ve said before, the two men are the same in all but experience (and even that has bleed-through). Peter is interesting in that he doesn’t have a living double – there’s no counter-weight for us to compare him with, so it’s important that he acts with fairness and balance.
- We shouldn’t forget that Peter felt used by Walternate when he asked him to look at the BBM component. This is a viable factor in his subsequent actions, but only up to a point. We should also consider that perhaps Peter’s is wired with specific boundaries – ones that take less kindly to perceived opportunism than abduction.
- He may consider that Walter at least crossed universes for him? Perhaps. But by the same token he should also consider that maybe Walter crossed universes for himself. If not for his biological son and the memories, the pain, the pride that would not allow him to watch IT happen again.
- It’s murky and on some level I can understand why Peter would rather not face up to this issues. But again, the onus and the opportunity is on him to bring balance, to not be like his father – either of them – and to bring people together rather than divide up the people who love him simply for existing and enriching their lives.
- Anyway, Peter gets out the handcuffs he and Olivia have fun with and has orders Walternate to put them on. He calls him “father”, which is interesting. One he calls “dad”, the other “father”.
- Walternate admits he might not resist being able to kill Peter – if he was really there. I can believe his character motivation better here than I could in “6:02 AM EST”.
- Peter’s reaction to the Projection Walternate reveal is priceless. He never was good at recognizing the ‘REAL’ version of a person.
- Despite my feelings on how crappy Peter has been towards Walternate, it’s not for him to teach Peter “about loss” – not like this, not by touching a hair on the Dunhamnator.
- It’s a shame she hadn’t mastered how to catch bullets with her mind. Though in fairness, Walternate didn’t give her much time to react. A heinous and cowardly act.
- All Olivia has done is try to protect her side and try to help his (admittedly, she didn’t break a neck to do it). Heck, she even gave him the tip-off regarding his son’s whereabouts. Perhaps, in retrospect, he would have rather not known to be saved the pain?
- The fact that this future may never have happened by the end of the episode takes some (Ok ALOT) of the grief away, but we must still recognize the passing of Fringe’s First Lady:
- RIP Olivia. Forged in the rings of Saturn, you leaped from a dang roof and into my heart. You called him PETAH! You helped burn Harris good. You travelled dreams and realities. You held on to hope when there was none. You forgave when the battle was uncertain. You eight toast like a boss. You were a boss to little Ella, but a mentor at heart. You knocked a few back, but you were
alwaysoften on the front-line pushing and probing. You smashed a lot of glass. So much glass. You were two-fisted and one-handed. Goodbye Dunhamnator.
- Walternate’s reaction – do we see traces of guilt or is he spooked by the ‘smile’ on Olivia’s face?
- Olivia funeral was pretty moving. The reactions from those who loved her were well conveyed. There was no need for words – Peter would have probably screwed it up anyway. In all seriousness, I enjoyed the volume being pulled down.
- It was good to see Peter eventually break down. Tears aren’t always necessary but I felt they were due because he’s a character who guards his emotions well. Perhaps too well at times. The death of Olivia, his wife, his soul-mate, is the time when we need to see how much this loss means to him. I could have done with more emotion, but it was good to see his grief along with a bit of anger.
- What followed was a nice little scene between Walter and Ella. It was perhaps too much of him to expect Ella to cast her mind back to happier times when she used to call him “Uncle Walter”, but you can see why time was on his mind. It reminded me of “Momentum Deferred”, when Bellie reminded Olivia how she used to call him “Willum”. Ella’s reaction here is similar to Olivia’s, if a little less spiky.
- Ella claims not to remember much before things got really bad, yet she recalls the fairytale from “Brown Betty” where she was the arbiter of hope:
“There aren’t any happy endings nowadays are there?”
- I totally accept Ella’s resistance. Caught between resentment and compassion, it was ultimately nice to see her suck it up and share a positive memory with Walter:
Ella: “I remember the cow that stayed over there. She had kind eyes”
Walter: “She did, didn’t she? My Gene. I do miss her”
- This happy memory coincides with Walter realizing that he sent the BBM back through time through the wormhole in Central Park.
- He tells Peter that they can undo everything – the destruction of the other universe, Olivia’s death – they can cheat the rules of time if Peter makes a different choice in 2011.
- Peter plays the audience and asks him why he just doesn’t choose not to send the BBM back.
- It’s a paradox – Walter says has no choice but to send the BBM back since he’s already done it. Plus, something would happen to compel him to send it back. He has no choice but to do it again.
- He tells Peter that he can change things within the events that have already played out. He just needs to draw his past consciousness forward so can see what the future will be like if he makes the same choice.
- Walter has a vague idea on how this can be done and says that it might already be happening. As we know, it is happening – back in 2011 Peter is witnessing these events.
- He says that “If anything goes wrong, Olivia can be our fail-safe”. An interesting thing to say given the proximity of such fail-safe activity.
- It’s almost haunting to hear Walter have such joy over the possibility of ‘cheating the rules of time’. Given that this is the same man who once warned Alistair Peck of the consequences of time-travel, and sought the forgiveness of God for cheating the rules of nature, it’s interesting to see that all of that..all of it, has led him to this point.
- Of course, we’re dealing with a circular system so there’s no real sense of beginning and end, only repetition. It’s fascinating.
- Walter and Peter soon consider to repercussions of this plan. They’re at the point in the loop where they know all about the weight of cause and effect, but they don’t know what will happen if they’re successful. As we’d soon see, they’d create an alternative branch in the timeline.
- Walter, who I sense is even more damaged that it seems on the surface, touches his son’s face and suggests that the cost, “can’t be worse than this”.
- Do they have a right to make this decision for the entire population? They may argue that it’s already happened so they’re just seeing if they can create something new within the predestined cycle. Even so, this kind of thinking is somewhat reckless.
- Peter closes his eyes and seals his decision: “what would I need to do?”
- It’s interesting to consider the rest of this conversation and the preparation that went into providing Past Peter with this vision of the future. Not to mention the actual going back millions of years in time (whoever that was), BBM and all.
- We cut back to the past and Peter’s joy is immediate when he sees that Walter was right, Olivia is alive! Of course she is, the future hasn’t happened yet from their linear perspective of time. It plays as though ‘fail-safe Olivia’ deactivates the BBM as she moves towards Peter.
- Peter quickly gets to work on ensuring that the version of the future he just glimpsed never happens (except, in a sense it has already happened because it led to the past which led to this moment). He knows that if he can save both worlds by joining them together he can knock the timeline down a different path.
- Meanwhile, in the alternate universe Walternate’s plan has backfired. Peter’s use of the BBM over here is causing his world to collapse even faster than before. Altlivia, who’s definitely not in ‘mother mode’, mocks him and almost seems to relish the chance to die as long as she can watch Walternate burn with her.
- It was strange to see Walternate ask Altlivia to bend it like Dunham. Clearly she doesn’t have a connection with the BBM. He must have known the prophesy was referencing Olivia. A plot contrivance to bring Altlivia into position for the cliffhanger.
- Peter’s symbiotic connection to the BBM enables him to join the two universes, instead of destroying over there. He has observed what kind of future such an act would bring, so he musters all his will and imagination to join both worlds, not quite realizing the personal consequences this would entail.
- It’s spooky-fantastic the way they all stand around gawking at one another. At this point they still remember Peter and the their timeline.
- As Walter and Walternate prepare to scratch each others eyes out, Peter delivers his final speech:
- He tells Walter that the BBM came from them – they are the First People. He knows alot, he’s just not sure who took the BBM back through time. Possibly important detail that.
- Turning to the father he suddenly seems to have a smidgen more affection for as a result of his broadened perspective, he tells Walternate that he’s seen Boomsday and that it’s worse than anything he could possibly imagine.
“This isn’t a war that can be won. Our two worlds are inextricable. If one side dies, we all die. So I’ve torn holes in both the universes, and they lead here. To this room – a bridge, so that we can begin to work together to fix..
- And in the blink of an eye, Peter disappears – deleted from their consciousness, the timeline and the events that led them to this point altered as a result of Peter not existing.
- Why did Peter vanish? For one thing he changed the future they would have had. Though that future may still play out in some sense, Peter has now put them on a different course. Instead of going left, they’re now going right.
- By making this change, Peter changed the conditions of the timeline. Like the two universes, it’s quite possible that Peter was inextricably linked to the BBM. With a different set of circumstances created, it’s possible that the purpose of the BBM has also changed.
- Therefore, if the BBM is not attuned to Peter in this branch of time, it’s reasonable to think that Peter can’t exist – as the September says, “he served his purpose”.
- The BBM was Peter’s fate – remove or fulfill that fate and there is no ‘purpose’. As we saw with Dana Gray, once purpose is fulfilled, one can move on.
- Of course, that’s just one possible reason why Peter disappeared. We still don’t know what exactly happened in the future after that scene. Walter’s plan worked, but did he make any other realizations along the way? Is Peter’s disappearance actually part of a larger plan?
- We get a sense of what this ‘new’ timeline is like when Walter and Walternate square off. Walter still went on the shatter Walternate’s universe, calling it “an accident”. The education of the future removed, Walter blames Walternate for retaliating.
- Perhaps my favorite line of the episode, Olivia picks up Peter’s train of thought (subconscious recognition? Perhaps):
“Whatever you’ve both done, we’re here now. So maybe it’s time we start to fix it.”
- There’s a tremendous peace in that line: “we’re here now”. It’s as if she’s saying: “we’ve come to this new place together. It’s not perfect, but we’ve made it. We owe it to ourselves and those we’ve lost to fix the problem once and for all”. That’s my sense of Olivia’s unwitting subtext.
- There’s a slight difference in Olivia. There’s a calmness.
- Is she still a Cortexiphan soldier? Possibly. Altlivia could be Cortexiphaned in this timeline. We don’t know, but we do know that similar events have occurred even without Peter living it with them. Different reasons for crossing over, different reasons for our characters to come together.
- Touching again on the final scene, I find it really interesting that once again the events that have occurred aligned with September’s vision. December once again gives him props. He correctly perceived what would happen, just as he did when he saw that Walter would sacrifice Peter under the right conditions.
- I find this interesting because September is the Observer who has an intimate understanding of our heroes’ nature beyond what the other Observers can see. So if he’s guiding them down a certain path, then he himself becomes extremely important.
- I don’t think we should rule out the possibility that the Observers are working for our very own First People.
“The Day We Died” was a good episode for the first 20 or so minutes, then it turned into the energizing, compelling and satisfying season finale that I hoped we’d see.
It wasn’t perfect, but like our heroes we’ve quite possibly been BBM’d to a different path – a freshly-squeezed branch of experience. I for one am looking forward to seeing just where this wormhole might lead.
Fear not Peter, we will find you if it’s the last thing we..
Best Performer: John Noble.
Best Line: “We’re here now..” – Olivia to her First People.
Best Moment: Peter vanishing.
Episode Rating: 9/10