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August 31, 2015

'Fringe' - 'The Man From the Other Side' Recap

by Jane Boursaw, posted Apr 23rd 2010 12:00PM
(S02E19) "I want you to get some rest, Dad." - Peter to Walter

This episode of 'Fringe' had everything -- a slimy embryo, a thrilling gunfight, nefarious shapeshifters, some alternate universe action, and yes, that heartbreaking drama we've been waiting for all season.
Fringe: The Man From the Other SideIt also had plenty of scientific talk about frequencies, harmonic vibrations, cellular polarity and the like. I won't attempt to decipher most of it, but suffice to say that I was amazed everything came together in the right place at the right time to make that bridge appear.

Even more amazing is that the Fringe crew used an old-school protractor and ruler to figure out where it would happen.

I was really hoping that Peter's big revelation that he's from the alternate universe would turn out better. Of course, it's more dramatic to have him turn against Walter, but oh, they built up the relationship so much in this episode. Peter wanted to make a pie with Walter, he called him Dad, he promised to take him to the 'Star Trek' convention, and you just knew all of that would come crashing down. Just heartbreaking to see Walter's face after Peter said, "I am not your son" in the hospital. For the record, here's most of what Peter said to Walter:

"There was another man on that bridge. When Newton's device started to work, I saw him there, just walking down the bridge. You said the effects of Newton's vibrations would be devastating. They destroyed that FBI agent, just disintegrated him like he wasn't there. But they didn't kill the man from the other side, and they didn't kill me. I'm not from here, am I? You didn't just open up a hole to the other side; you went through, and you brought me back. That's why I was able to survive Newton's device. It's why I can't remember my childhood. It's why my mother committed suicide, isn't it? She knew, didn't she? And when I left, the guilt was too much for her, the lie ... I understand, Walter. I understand everything now ... I am not your son ... I'd like to be alone now."

Oh, Walter. My heart bleeds for you. Especially now that Peter's checked himself out of the hospital and isn't answering his phone. Where it goes from here is anybody's guess, but of course, Peter will show back up eventually. Still, you can see where he's coming from with his anger and bitterness. It's like his whole life has been a lie. Essentially, it has.

How about those shapeshifting-pod-people-embryos? I had to laugh when the guy went into the abandoned warehouse at the beginning, and didn't seem the least bit freaked out that these goopy globs were pulsating on the floor. No, he got a stick and started poking one. First wrong move.

And later, when Walter assembled all his supplies -- including six car batteries, a corpse (can't be dead for more than two days!), and some other stuff -- the Fringe crew seemed to take the glob coming to life all in stride. Who knew you could jump-start an embryo? Let's face it; that was pretty awesome, even for them. And I don't even want to think about the legalities of producing a fresh corpse. But at least Walter got Astrid's name right in the process.

It was cool to see Sebastian Roche, a.k.a. Newton, again, and see some of the earlier storylines come full circle. Well, half circle anyway. I know we're supposed to suspend disbelief for this show, but it was pretty amazing that Walter et al could figure out exactly where the center of Newton's triangle would be, and then set up all the gadgets to cancel Newton's device using opposite harmonic vibrations. But hey, we'll go with it. I did have to laugh, though, when the thing wasn't working, and Peter looked at the computer to see "Network cable disconnected." Eh, it happens to the best of us.

So, who do you think "Mr. Secretary" was at the end? Do you think it's the other Walter? The hand didn't look old enough, but maybe...

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Mr. Secretary is going to be Mark Valley's character, who's name I've forgotten. Think about it. That hand was young, not old like Walter or Bell. He was apparently a kind of double agent in the Alphaverse, so why not also in the Beta? What better person to completely throw Olivia off her game when it comes time to confront him. It just feels like a perfect setup.

April 28 2010 at 6:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Give John Noble that Emmy NOW!

Awesome episode.

April 24 2010 at 1:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Morjana Coffman

I will be VERY disappointed if John Noble isn't nominated for an Emmy this year. He's marvelous. And Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, Jasika Nicole, Lance Reddick and Blair Brown are wonderful too. LOVE Fringe!

April 23 2010 at 10:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Morjana Coffman's comment

If Fringe was a low ratings show on a semi-tiered cable channel or pay channel it would be the critics darling. But since it's on fox and heavens forbid sci-fi related your average critic can't wrap their heads around it as anything beyond boy it was funny or has a social message to it, it won't get touched.

Like they said on a early southpark when they tried to do a sundancish film festival: not another movie with gay cowboys eatting pudding.

April 24 2010 at 1:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't know if anyone has mentioned this before, if so sorry, but has anyone notice the license plates on the suv's...Olivia's is "1R2D21"...and the other one is "1C3P01"...is that cool or what?

April 23 2010 at 8:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

About the ruler and protractor, it's one of the things I like about Fringe: for all its fancy pseudo-science, Walter's lab is just a blast from the past.

Here's hoping they don't write Peter out of character as far as the whole "I'm so mad you took me from another reality that I barely remember, saved my life and raised me" thing goes. It's just not him to hold on to that hate.

My useless blog: http://popculture4fun.com

April 23 2010 at 4:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Mr. Secretary - not likely the Walternate type, more like --- Willie Bell, aka Mr. Spock. The larger question is why go to all this trouble, assuming three identities (ok five actually) and killing a whole hour, when Walter set up his original version out of the back of an Oldsmobile station wagon.
Also, i don't recall Walter suffering adverse reactions to ID travel (except nearly drowning), although Olivia needed bowling therapy as I recall. Maybe that's why she completely forgot about Mr. Newton, and maybe taking a drive to the other end of the bridge to nail the sucker.
As for Peter, a little less hysteria, OK, he has been "gone" for three whole hours, checked into a hotel, turned off his cell phone to score some zzz, and after a long hot shower and good breakfast will give Olivia a call and dump all over her, as in "you knew and didn't tell me..." because we need some heat under that so far lukewarm romance, and Olivia hasn't had a date since the human target guy, or even a BMF, since Charlie stopped stripping and drank mercury.
And besides, except for credit cards and pocket change, Peter has no cash, passport etc (FBI nailed all that) so where is he gonna go?

April 23 2010 at 4:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike V.

I am supposing last night was the setup of Peter rejoining his real father, Alt-Walter.

The previews had some interesting cuts, including the magnetic egg thing, and the observers. The Observer that helped Walter, if I understand right, has to make sure there is no inconsistency. So maybe he plays mediator between Walter and Peter.

April 23 2010 at 4:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Peter also seemed to find it strange that Olivia knew that the water would absorb the excess energy from the crossover and helped pinpoint the spot as the abandoned railroad bridge.

April 23 2010 at 3:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to johngaltx's comment

I didn't find it odd that Olivia knew about a big mass of water being able to absorve excess energy. She found out about big empty spaces needed to absorve excess energy on last episode (relating to time-travelling excess energy needing somewhere to go...)

April 25 2010 at 12:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I loved this episode. Probably one of the top episodes of Fringe ever. It really brought things together. The only thing that really took me out of it was a negligible concern. When Newton called in right before his staged heart attack, he said he was on the corner of Longwood and Huntington. I live in Boston, and that's about a block away from where I live. I know they film in Vancouver, but the corner of Longwood and Huntington looks nothing like that. In fact, it's a college campus and doesn't even have a phone booth.

Like I said though, very very negligible concern it just took me out of the show for about 5 minutes.

April 23 2010 at 1:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Heartbreaking is correct. Wonderful job by both Joshua Jackson and John Noble in that scene.

It's interesting to figure out what Peter's next steps would be. I mean if he wants to just be alone for awhile then he can go anywhere, but I believe Peter is more proactive than that. So would he go to Nina and Massive Dynamics? That's really the only place, right?

This episode was pretty much pitch perfect with all the science/freak-of-the-week stuff nicely balanced by the emotional storyline and the show's mythology.

April 23 2010 at 12:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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