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'Fringe' - 'Peter' Recap

by Jane Boursaw, posted Apr 2nd 2010 7:22AM
Fringe, John Noble, 'Peter' (S02E16) "Somewhere, Peter will grow up, somewhere he will lead a proper life, somewhere he will be happy, but just not here. And we must take comfort in this. We must begin to move on." - Walter to Elizabeth, watching alt-Peter through the window to the other universe

I've said it before and I'll say it again: John Noble is a fantastic actor. With the flashback to 1985 in this episode, he completely morphed into a different Walter Bishop. And yet, you can see traces of the person that he is now, and because of all he's been through, you can understand how he got from there to here.

But he wasn't the monster that I thought he might be, based on some of the things we've learned about him since 'Fringe' began. Instead, he was a loving and caring husband and father who was obsessed with finding a cure for his son.

This episode has gotten a lot of hype, and it didn't disappoint. While it did answer a few questions, it posed even more questions, which will make the rest of the season exceedingly entertaining and possibly heartbreaking.

What do we know? As many of us speculated, we know that Peter died in this universe, and that Walter created the technology to move to the alternate universe and back again. I had thought that perhaps he was a bit of a madman, and that he went there with the express purpose of stealing alt-Peter and bringing him back to this universe for good. Not so.

In fact, Walter went there because he inadvertently saw that alt-Walter had indeed created a cure, but that he was distracted by the Observer and missed the important moment in the lab that would save Peter. Walter couldn't fathom the idea that the other Peter would die, too; based on what he saw, he knew he could save him.

Still, you had to wonder ... had Elizabeth not been so happy and relieved to see alt-Peter, would Walter have had the strength to take him back? Not likely, based on what he told Olivia: "I realized at that moment that despite what I promised, what I fully intended to do, that I could never take Peter back. The way she looked at him, I saw in her what I feared most in myself when I saw him ... that I couldn't lose him again. It was the first hole, Olivia, the first breach, the first crack in a pattern of cracks, spaces between the worlds. And it's my fault. You can't imagine what it's like to lose a child." This scene alone is surely Emmy material.

I wondered how they could explain the sudden appearance of Peter alive and well in this universe, when in fact, they'd just had a funeral for him. But as Elizabeth explained, because of his illness, Peter really hadn't had a life outside of their home. He'd never been to a normal school or had friends, and Elizabeth and Walter were the only family he had. Also, there were just a few people at the funeral: Walter, Elizabeth, Nina Sharp, Dr. Warren, and the minister. So it's probably realistic to think that they could have pulled it off.

We also know that Walter's foray into the alternate universe would result in turmoil. "Walter, I'm sorry, but you can't," said Dr. Warren, upon learning of his plan to travel to the alt-world. "Shattering the wall between the universes would rupture the fundamental constants of nature ... it's a good theory. It is why we have been lying to the military telling them it's impossible. There has to be a line somewhere. There has to be a line we can't cross."

The Reiden Lake crossover was fascinating for other reasons, too. Now we know how Nina Sharp lost her arm and hand. It got caught in the doorway to the other universe as she was trying to prevent Walter from going through. She'd also tried to sway him by saying that William Bell would never go for it. But Walter disagreed, saying, "All William Bell ever cared about was finding a way to increase the power and the wealth and the legend of William Bell."

We also know that when Walter and alt-Peter came back and fell through the ice, the Observer saved Peter in order to right the wrong he'd committed in the alt-universe. And based on his fast disappearance, it seems they do have the ability to cross over at will.

Other Stuff:

Walter showing the military the "mobile telephone" (digital, not analog). No, he didn't create it. He copied it from the alternate universe, where the technology was more advanced.

The opening credits were pretty fun, with the 1980s techno music.

Now we know the significance of the coin. Peter wanted his dad to have it after he died; in the alternate universe, he wanted his mom to have it.

'Back to the Future,' starring Eric Stoltz.

A few quotes:

"You're not my father, are you?" Alt-Peter to Walter

Walter: "Why did you save us?"
The Observer: "The boy is important. He has to live."

"You need to take action to restore balance ... you will have an opportunity to fix this." - One Observer to the other Observer who distracted alt-Walter in the lab.

Dr. Warren: "I am Become Death, destroyer of mortals."
Walter: "Don't you quote Oppenheimer to me."

Dr. Warren: "Some things are not ours to tamper with. Some things are God's."
Walter: "My son is dying, Dr. Warren. I will not allow that to happen again. There's only room for one god in this lab, and it's not yours."

I look forward to your thoughts on this episode.

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PS You didn't mention in the article and perhaps that's because it's a well-known fact but Eric Stolz was cast in the Michael J Fox character on Back to the Future (in our universe) and replaced after a few weeks of filming.

April 08 2010 at 2:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If Noble's performance in that episode doesn't get him an Emmy then they should scrap the entire award ceremony.
Same goes for the writing. I enjoy "Fringe" but I'm by no means it's #1 fan. Still, the show was so well done Fox should renew it for two years simply based on astonishing quality.

April 08 2010 at 1:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I've thought Fringe, up to this point, was a slightly better than average sci-fi series.

This episode may catapault it into the "great" category.

Fringe now has the potential of becoming tv's answer to Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials. There are unmistakeable parallels between the two. We'll have to see where this goes from here on out.

April 04 2010 at 11:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Actually, religion is still very much a part of the alternative universe. It is simply that the 9/11 attacks were successful in hitting different targets. The World Trade Center attacks were unsuccessful, but the attack on the White House was (remember the newpaper in Bell's office with the headline about the completion of the new White House). Islamic terrorism is still very much a part of the alternative universe as well

April 03 2010 at 12:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Walternate it is! I keep wanting to call it Walterverse.

Thanks for the clarification on the Oppenheimer quote. I played it back a few times, but it seemed a little garbled, or maybe my hearing's just starting to go.

April 03 2010 at 12:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Here's a great interview with John Noble.




April 02 2010 at 11:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I just wanted to say that if you like this show and thought this episode was a step above the rest, you owe it to yourself to go give Doctor Who a shot. You will love it. Americans seem to be afraid of the Doctor. Trust me, it gets as intense as this, especially with Moffat as the show runner.

April 02 2010 at 11:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to j0phus's comment

I've viewed quite a few episodes and the show leaves much to be desired. There are a few nuggets but most episodes are mediocre.

April 03 2010 at 10:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I wish John Noble would get more recognition for this role. It's so multi-dimensional (no pun intended); he can go from cold and stark to warm and child-like in a flash.

I really enjoyed the effects as well. Some pointed out he had a few too many wrinkles for a man just under 40, but I think it made sense when you consider his lifestyle and his stress-level.

And "Bobby" is entirely correct - why use "alt-Walter" when we have "Walternate"?! That was a great, small nod to the sense of humor that is so prevalent in the Walter we all know and love, just in a much more muted form.

April 02 2010 at 10:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have several theories regarding this episode. First, I believe that William Bell was already in the alternate universe at the time of the burial, which means that Walter erroneously thinks that he is guilty for first opening the first hole into the alternate universe. Nina appeared to be covering up for Bell. It also appears that when Nina was romantically involved with Bell at that time. We know that she probably was involved with Broyles and possibly at some point felt something for Walter prior to him getting involved with Elizabeth. I do not believe that it will be Olivia who will reveal to Peter the truth, but Nina. Nina is a big puzzle to this story and aside from Walter who knows the truth better than her. I believe that more will be revealed about some of the characters like Olivia and her relationship with William Bell and Nina Sharp. Also, I believe that Astrid might be the offspring of Broyles and Nina. Leave it to the imagination.

April 02 2010 at 9:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Why does the review call him alt-Walter when we have a name as awesome as Walternate?

April 02 2010 at 6:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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