"The Arrival" (1.04)

It is actually perfect timing to be reviewing this episode, since “August” (2.08) will be airing tonight, and if I were to review this episode afterward, there may not be as much to talk about, since I think that we're going to get quite a few answers regarding the Observer(s) within that episode, an episode for which I am very excited. “The Arrival” is definitely one of the better first season episodes, since it is the first Observer-centric episode and also really introduces a great deal of mythology to the show (I would ultimately have to give this episode eight Root Beer Floats). However, even this episode does not have the exciting and blood-boiling pace that the season does later in its life, which it doesn't seem to adopt, for me, anyway, until "In Which We Meet Mr. Jones" (1.07). That is when the mythology of the show really picks up its pace and starts to get interesting, and Jones is such a cool bad guy. Anyway, before I get into heavy discussion about this episode, be forewarned that this entry does contain spoilers, so if you have not yet seen Fringe but would like to see it, then please, do not read any further.


The episode starts with the audience being formally introduced to the Observer, or as we know him, September. He is sitting at a diner, using what appears to be highly technological binoculars (ones that vehemently remind me of Star Wars) to observe construction workers, and oddly enough, he orders a “roast beef sandwich on a roll, meat raw as possible, room temperature water, no ice,” and after he asks the waitress if she has jalapeños, which she does, he asks for “eleven of those, please, on the side.” I wonder why he wants eleven; it seems like such a random number. Maybe he has learned from past experience that that is what he needs in order to taste it. On top of that, he loads the sandwich with pepper and Tabasco sauce, which calls for one scalding hot sandwich. Directly before the crane incident occurs (it is worth pointing out, by the way, that “oddly” enough, the Massive Dynamic logo can be seen on the crane), he checks his clock, and I can only wonder if perhaps this is because he is making sure that the event happens when it's supposed to happen. I also wonder what the odd code is that he writes in and what he is writing. All of these questions, however, are why I am so excited for tonight's episode, “August.” I think that a lot of these questions are going to be answered.

In this episode, we discover that staying in Boston is driving Peter insane, because as he tells Olivia, “I don't do well staying in one place; you know that.” I find this interesting, because I am wondering if this will come into play eventually. Will he ever want to leave? He hasn't really shown any interest in leaving since. Of course, that's partly because as he tells Olivia at the end of the episode, he plans to stay until the strange phenomenon that surrounds him can be explained, and obviously, it really hasn't yet. It is also interesting that Walter says that he will only cooperate if Peter stays, because, according to Olivia, “He would rather go back to St. Claire's than work here without you. He's said that more than once.”As much as he may love Peter, you would think that he would want to avoid him so that his secret (pertaining to “stealing” Peter from the alternate reality) would have a much less chance of being revealed, but then again, maybe his hopes are to establish a relationship with Peter so that he won't be as angry just in case he finds out anyway. Again, I have a feeling that Walter's secret will also be touched upon during tonight's episode, if not completely revealed to Peter.


The two of them do have a very comical moment in this episode. Walter says to Peter, “Open your mind, son, or someone may open it for you,” to which Peter replies, “Even that doesn't make any sense.” I had to laugh at that line, not only at Peter's obvious irritation but also at the truthfulness behind his words. That doesn't make any sense, and you're left to wonder what Walter could possibly mean by that. How does one go about opening someone's mind? Maybe the line was used as foreshadowing, since Mosley seems to have read Peter's mind during his interrogation. Speaking of Mosley, not very many questions regarding his character are answered in this episode. In fact, this episode really follows the typical LOST format in that not very many questions are answered at all. We don't know what the beacon is, why it has been nineteen years since it has surfaced, where it goes when it explodes downward or what it even is. Why does it vibrate? Is it from the alternate reality? Does it perhaps mark teleportation spots or soft spots in between dimensions? Returning to Mosley, however, I am wondering where he got that gun that he was using on people, which does not appear to kill people but instead appears to “force push” them. Based on the promo for tonight's episode, it would appear that August uses the same, or at least a similar, gun on a man who tries to stop him from kidnapping a girl. In addition, Mosley's hat has red and green dots on it, and, as we know, red and green are recurring colors that we see in Fringe.


A line that really sticks out for me is when Walter is being held, and Olivia and Peter come to talk to him, and to defend his actions (drugging Astrid and then hiding the Beacon), he says to Peter, “Have you ever taken anything that didn't belong to you because you knew it was the right thing to do?” Peter then says, “This isn't about me,” to which Walter replies, “Maybe it is, Peter.” I was having a thought cross my mind before Walter even said, “Maybe it is, Peter,” because what if it really is? What if Walter, in his mind, was talking about Peter? Alter-Peter did not belong to him, and he “stole” him, and yet, he may have felt somehow that that was the right thing to do. I am just considering the possibility that that is what Walter had on his mind when he said that. Then, when he and Peter get into an argument since Peter does not believe that Walter met with the Observer, Walter says, “Must you always be so small-minded?” This is one of my favorite Walter quotes to date, and he then boldly asserts himself by saying, “I am not a child! I will not be babied!” When he says this, he looks like he is seriously going to cry any second, and as I have said before, John Noble is simply brilliant.


At the same time, however, Walter actually behaves like a father in the episode. Typically, we see Peter taking on the fatherly role while Walter takes on the role of the child. A good example of this is in “A New Day in the Old Town” (2.01) when Walter says to Peter, “They said that I can ride in the back with the body. Can I?” Yet another example is in “Momentum Deferred” (2.04), when he asks Peter if it's okay if he goes with Rebecca to her house. We frequently see a role reversal take place between the two of them, but in this episode, we have a scene in which Walter tells Peter that he needs aluminum foil, and Peter objects. Walter says that he needs Peter to trust him, and Peter replies, “No, thank you.” Walter loses his temper and replies, “Damn it! Must you always be such a smart-ass?” Walter proceeds to tell him that if he doesn't get the aluminum foil, his life as well as everyone else's could be jeopardized and to “go now!” Of course, I love how he then asks Peter to pick him up a root beer float while he is out, yet the look on his face and his tone of voice are still very stern and angry.


This episode, like the previous (“The Ghost Network”) demonstrates Olivia's gift of focus and observation. She notices something that no one else did for quite some time, which is the Observer frequently showing up in photos. Broyles even tells her, “It took us a year to spot him. You did it in three weeks.” Something that I am wondering is why it is that it always appears to be this Observer that is spotted. We now know that there is more than one Observer (as September tells Walter in the first season finale, “There is more than one of everything”), so why is it that, again, in all of the photos, it appears to be September? We know that not all of them look exactly the same, because August does not look like September. Why can't September taste much of anything? He tells Walter that he can't, and I'm assuming that that is why he loads his food with spices (as we see in both this episode and in “Fracture”). Additionally, what does September shoot Peter with near the end of the episode and why? We learn at the end of “Fracture” that there is a possibility that the Observers are enemies, that they are here to destroy us, and is this true? If it is, then why would it appear as if they are doing nothing but observing? Is it as Gordon says, that they are collecting data pertaining to our technology in order to use it against us? Their technology seems to be much more advanced than ours, so that doesn't really make sense to me.


Regarding the scene in which the Observer says what Peter says at the exact same time and then eventually even says things that Peter is thinking before he says them himself, at the time, we couldn't really make anything out of that, but after seeing episode “Inner Child” (1.15), it would appear as if this is something that all Observers have the ability to do, that is, if we are to assume that the Child is an Observer, which I think we are supposed to assume. The Child can read thoughts and can understand emotions without anyone even saying anything, and it would appear as if this is what September can do. There isn't really much about the ending itself to discuss, because not very much happens to which we don't now have an answer. We know why Olivia sees John Scott in her kitchen, which is due to the fact that she had part of his consciousness inside of hers. The only question pertaining to that that I do have is that would that situation manifest itself with such power that it would cause her to hear her phone ring even when it didn't? Walter's line near the end of the episode is really funny, however. When he makes an attempt to apologize to Astrid, he tells her, “If it would help you feel a sense of retribution, I would tell you to inject me, too, but I'd most likely enjoy it.” Lines like that are always worth mentioning. Anyway, this entry will hopefully serve as an effective prelude to tonight's episode, since it would appear as if a good portion of the questions that this episode asks will be answeredtonight, so be sure to watch “August" tonight at 8/7c on FOX.

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