Sunday, April 04, 2010

'Fringe' Tells the Rest of the Story

It's always interesting when a show explains something you didn't realize needed further explaining because the result is always surprising. Such was the case with the return of Fringe this week. I thought we knew all there was to know about why Walter stole Alternate Universe Peter (his Peter died from an incurable medical condition and Walter was so distraught that he built a door into the other universe to get his son back -- i.e. kidnapped Alternate Universe Peter), but as it turns out, there's more to the story. A lot more and it was exciting and surprising to watch, as Paul Harvey always said, the rest of the story. So in a departure from the usual fare, the show was comprised of mainly flashbacks to Walter's fateful discovery and eventual visit to "the other side." We saw very little of Olivia and even less of adult Peter and Astrid (as in none unless you count the "Previosly on" scenes or the promo for next week). And while I missed the gang, I was so enthralled in Walter's story that it didn't matter. The rest of the story was that good.

Before Walter found a door into the other universe, he built a window. This allowed him to spy on his alternate universe self to see if he discovered a cure for what ailed both universes' versions of Peter (as we've seen the other universe is more advanced than our own). He watched himself get close, and then finally, other Walter (or Walternate as he called him) found the cure. But, his back was turned because he was talking to the Observer! So, Walternate didn't know that he had discovered the cure, but Walter did. This caused Walter to build the door to the other world where he planned to recreate and bring the cure he saw Walternate create and give it to the other Peter.

Once the door was built (much to the chagrin of his lab partner and Nina -- you just knew she had to figure into the story somehow), Walter went through. He made it in one piece, but unfortunately, the same could not be said for the vile of medicine meant to cure Peter. The glass had smashed leaving Walter with a wet pocket and no cure. Change of plans. Walter went to Peter, posed as Walternate and told his alternate wife that he had discovered the cure and needed to take Peter straight to his lab. It took some convincing, but he got her to stay home and he and Peter left through the door back to our universe. When they got to the other side, they fell through the ice into the freezing cold water. They would have died, but the Observer jumped in and saved them. We knew that part already, but why did he interfere? Because he had to fix the mistake he made by interfering in Walternate's lab which caused him to not realize that he had found the cure.

Once Walter got Peter back to his lab, he saved Peter and planned to return him to his universe. But his wife saw her son alive and didn't want to lose him again. Peter never knew the difference and the rest is history. Of course, it's all well and good that Olivia knows the truth (and us), but at some point Walter is going to have to tell Peter. Yikes! Talk about a tough conversation!  And finally, how awesome were the opening titles in this one??  They were so 1985!  LOVED it!

Fringe airs Thursday nights on Fox. If you missed this week's episode, you can watch it for free at


Anonymous said...

oh, so Peter, Olivia and everyone else doesn't matter?

John said...

As to what Walter's intentions were and why he changed them (assuming he did), all we have is Walter's story.

He is not above lying to others or to himself. He presumably did intend to save Peter in the alternate universe, but would he have really left him there? (I say presumably since we have only his story about a broken vial.) I am not so sure he wouldn’t have found another reason to take him.

After all he did end up keeping Peter for no reason other than he and his wife wanted to. The alt-universe parents now have to deal with the loss of their child. How does the alt-wife feel when she realizes she let a stranger talker her out of her son?

Walter may not be a super-villain, but he is no better than he has been show in his dealing with Olive.

TVFan said...

I definitely agree that Walter is only in it for himself, especially back in the day. He looked after himself and didn't worry too much about others. I'm wondering what happened to alt-universe Walter and his wife. I wonder if the show will tackle that at all.

Anonymous - I presume you're referring to the line in my opening paragraph where I say, "And while I missed the gang, I was so enthralled in Walter's story that it didn't matter. The rest of the story was that good." My point was simply that I normally would have written this episode off as a "miss" because the show isn't the show without everyone there, but the writers did a nice job compensating for the lack of Olivia, Peter and Astrid by presenting a strong story that sucked me in and allowed me to forget that the others weren't there. It was strong enough to turn what could have been a "miss" into a "hit" for me. You may disagree.