There's a Place

Fringe 5.06 Through the Looking-Glass and What Walter Found There / Photo of John Noble as Walter

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  1. I quite liked this episode, but then I've pretty much liked all the episodes so far this season. I was unaware of the episode title, but I like the comparisons you've drawn, Blam. I have to confess to not having read either of Alice's adventures (well, not counting the Alice sections of The New Traveler's Almanac in LOEG vol 2, which were brilliant), and I may have to remedy that.

    The pocket universe was very cool, and I loved the little dance that Walter did to get into it. As far as when it was made, if it does in fact turn out that post-2036 Walter makes the tape, I'm certain that he must go back in time, or at least he lets pre-2016 Walter know what to do, because I went back and checked the video and the walls are intact in the first frame of the building in the video.

    But much more than that, what intrigues me most is what's happening to Peter. I'm not so much caring that he's sacrificing himself to save the world (he's a hero, they're supposed to do that), but more so about how it's affecting him emotionally (or lack there-of). Just watching the end of this episode again, I noticed that in Walter's speech to Peter, Peter barely reacts. Almost not at all, apart from what I've taken to be a latent reaction to Walter's plea. It was like (to me, anyway) that the person that was Peter is still there, but in the background, and that Peter knew that what was required by Walter was reassurance, and that Peter prompted Pete-server to respond in the expected way. That Peter was also the one who smiled at Olivia just then (and it's obvious that she knows something's up, and I'm certain that the next episode - which I'm about to watch - will address that). It's also that Peter, who I'm thinking has been in the background ever since the fight with the observer who tells him he's made a terrible mistake, that sees the (completely awesome) blue tinted train car, and it freaks him out. He shows the first bit of emotion (which just had to be fear) since before that fight. Even after he breaks the dude's neck, he just looks at his hands, blank faced, and then bamfs away. It's going to be very interesting seeing how Peter is going to deal with his new Peter-server personality, and whether he can maintain his humanity. Somehow, I think he might be the first of a new (relatively speaking) breed of observer.

    Also, another thing that I may have missed in the last season, but do you think Olivia's powers will manifest themselves again?


  2. I'm counting on the fact that Olivia's powers will manifest themselves again — but quite possibly in vain. As neat as what they're doing with Peter is, and despite the fact that in many ways the whole premise of the series hinges on Walter, and as much as this is an ensemble focused on the trio, the star of this series is Olivia and I've been surprised by her getting short shrift this season. I really hope that the show is merely holding back on her a bit in the first half of the season so that the other characters can shine before she takes center stage in the second half.

    I've pretty much liked all the episodes so far this season

    While I haven't disliked them — except kind-of for "The Recordist" — I just tend to think that after a neat (re)introduction to the 2036 setting in the season opener, with that killer Yazoo song in the final scene, it's been, perhaps inevitably I keep saying, a bit lackluster in comparison to the Fringe that we knew. If it were actually a new show it might not suffer under those standards, but then again we wouldn't have the emotional connection to the characters and the mythology. So much feels like it's missing, because the core of the show was so inextricably tied to the Walter's early well-meaning but devastating follies — the kidnapping of Peter and the Cortexiphan trials — that to have the parallel universe and Olivia's powers completely absent from the whole scenario now just leaves a big hole where a pink elephant should be... or something.

    I noticed that in Walter's speech to Peter, Peter barely reacts.

    And yet I found it notable that Peter called Walter "Dad", something that he rarely does and is clearly born of concern. I suspect that on the train we were seeing the last of Peter's emotional connections flicker through before the Observer chip really kicked in.


  3. but quite possibly in vain

    I meant that I'm quite possibly counting on it in vain, not that her powers would manifest again but in vain, although that's a possibility too.

    Like I've said in previous writeups, I know that part of why this season feels a bit detached from the previous four is that we were given a satisfying conclusion to those four seasons, and I can't blame the showrunners for not just going back and rehashing stuff with William Bell or the Other Side, yet the result is still that this season feels rather tangential. I would love some more greatest-hits "fan service" in part because I trust the crew to do it so well. So I hold out hope that we'll get more callbacks if not a surprise grand unified plotline.

  4. I read a bunch of Fringe reviews around the Web and most folks liked this episode a lot less than you did. Maybe I liked it a little less than you did, but I didn't dislike it the way they did. I guess mostly I want more for Olivia to do.

    Your take on the Alice stuff was great. Good point about the trend towards awareness of episode titles, too — hell, good points about everything! These writeups are really blowing me away, both the plot points and the digressions.

    For my part I can't hear "Pocket Universe" without thinking of Byrne's whole Superboy/Superman Time Trapper maneuver, which was a neat idea that went a little weird.

    I really hope that whatever the deal is with Donald it isn't a letdown.

    Your compare-and-contrast with what Peter and Walter are going through was a nice insight.

    The Observers potentially wanting to eliminate Peter from the timeline for their own purposes is a great call and a suspicion that I not only share but rather hope for as I really want this season to tie into previous season as much as possible. September may have not only grown attached to him and the rest of the Fringe team on a personal level unusual for his kind but may have had more knowledge or at least concern of those nefarious purposes than he could let on.

    I found myself actually taking notes as I read through your post and still feel like I haven't addressed everything that's worth talking about.

  5. I'm clearly not alone in missing Olivia as the centerpiece of the series, both from your comments and reading others online. Also, I forgot to mention that you're right, Blam, about how ridiculous it is for the Observers not to have people watching Etta's apartment constantly. I'd respond to Batcabbage's talk about Peter but there's another episode writeup to get to and it makes more sense to continue there.

    Great stuff!


  6. I appreciate the kind words, Arb.

    For my part I can't hear "Pocket Universe" without thinking of Byrne's whole Superboy/Superman Time Trapper maneuver, which was a neat idea that went a little weird.

    Ditto. And I almost brought that up in the post, but there was plenty of material to discuss already, especially with the Looking-Glass stuff, without having to get into explaining that for a general audience.