"Inner Child" (1.15)

Before I begin discussion of this episode, I want to warn those who have never seen Fringe but would like to see it to not read any further, since this does contain spoilers. I remember when this first aired on April 7th last year, and it garnered a lot of hype, because it was the first episode that aired after a two-month hiatus (which is the case of episode 2.15, "Peter," the hype of which I think was even more intense). I remember how the possibility that the Child is an Observer didn't even cross my mind until someone else mentioned the possibility, pointing out his utter lack of hair, including a lack of eyebrows, and I was amazed, kicking myself for never putting that together myself. Now, however, I am convinced that the Child is an Observer, probably either January or February, and besides the lack of hair, I feel that there is quite a lot to back that theory up, if "theory" is what you want to call it. First, there is Eliot Michaels, the CIA agent who tries to take the Child into his custody, saying on his cell phone that he thinks "we have found another one." Then, there is the fact that the Child seems able to mentally interpret emotions, which is somewhat similar to what we have seen the Observers do when they say, in synchrony, what other people say. In episode 1.04, "The Arrival," for example, September says what Peter is about to say before he even says it. Lastly, there is the final scene of the episode, in which the Child sees September on a sidewalk and seems incredibly interested in him, and likewise, September seems interested, as well.

When we first see the Child in this episode, he is found underground by construction workers, and I wonder what is up with his eyes. He almost looks like a vampire, with his incredibly pale skin and glowing eyes, and I wonder why. As he spends more time in the "real world," if you will, his eyes become "normal," and his skin begins to have more color to it. He also has red around his eyes, which fade as the episode progresses until they finally disappear completely. After the intro, we see nothing but one of Olivia's eyes open, which is definitely a direct shout-out to LOST. Yellow seems to play a role in this episode. First, it is the color of the shirt that Olivia seems to prefer over the blue. Then, when Olivia tries to get the Child to eat M&Ms, she sets all of the yellow ones aside, saying that, for some reason, they remind her of medicine (which points to the possibility that Cortexiphan is yellow, which unfortunately conflicts with episode 2.14, "Jacksonville," which points to the possibility that it is red). Lastly, the Child puts the yellow M&Ms into the shape of a tree, which is meant to tip Olivia off when she sees the yellow tree-shaped air freshener in the Artist's car. I feel rather stupid, though, because Rachel tells Olivia in this episode that she and Ella will be moving into Boston, which is why they're not living with her anymore in season two, something that I have been questioning for a while now. I guess that since it was never made explicitly official, I never made the connection. Either way, this episode is meant to tell us that by season two, Rachel and Ella have moved out of Olivia's apartment.

It is mentioned that the place in which the Child was found was sealed off for decades, which makes one of two things possible. Either, like the Observers, the Child either doesn't age or ages very slowly (which Walter suggests but does not make a connection to the Observers), or, like the Shapeshifters (although I am not suggesting that the Child is a Shapeshifter), he just suddenly arrived there one day, sent over from the Other Side. Olivia is so amazing with him, as she always is with children, and he develops a connection with her that isn't fully explained. She looks like she is going to cry when she finds out that he was right about the address, 547 Marlborough (yet another "forty-seven" mention), but that they didn't fully "listen" to him, because the victim was not found there. There are so many questions surrounding this Child, the first of which being the most obvious one. Is he indeed an Observer? My answer is that he most definitely is, but how long are they going to wait to reveal this to us? The actor who plays the Child (Spencer List) is going to mature very quickly just like Walt did on LOST, and that's no good if he ages incredibly slowly. Secondly, what is the language that the team hears when it tries to interpret his thoughts? Is it the same language that we see September writing in "The Arrival" (1.04)? Why is it that while the team is trying to interpret his thoughts, the Child suddenly begins to freeze?

I like the Artist, because even though his part of the episode is completely "stand-alone" and has nothing to do with the Fringemythology, I'm not knocking that, because it's nice to see something from Olivia's career prior to the Flight 627 disaster resurface, something that she and Charlie worked on together. What I don't understand about the Artist, though, is how he goes about kidnapping women. The first woman that we see him kidnap is Kate Harper, the tattooed woman that he meets at the laundromat, and he kidnaps her by suddenly standing up in his wheelchair and injecting her with something, in broad daylight while people are clearly in the area, so how does he get away with this? The second woman, the teacher, is seemingly shoved into the trunk of her car, once again in broad daylight with people around the scene, so the same question comes into play. How does he get away with it? Anyway, near the end of the episode, Olivia takes him out with almost no struggle, as she almost always does when engaged in physical fights, especially those with men, and this scene is epic. I wonder, though, how the Child seemed to have a connection to the Artist, how he knew what was going to happen. Like the Observers, is he seemingly aware of one's fate before he or she meets it, and if so, did he, like August and September, change the course of history, therefore causing a need to "fix" it?

During the scene in which Walter dances with the neural stimulator used on Roy McComb in "The Ghost Network" (1.03), the Child can't help but smiling, therefore allowing Walter to put the stimulator on his head. If the Child is an Observer, which, again, I am convinced that he is, we typically see them as very emotionless and stoic, but even the Child cannot help but smile at Walter. I don't think that the Child can't talk, but it's very possible that he doesn't understand English. He instead interprets emotions, and I find it very interesting when Walter says to Peter, "You won't remember this, Peter, but you didn't talk much either as a child." It is now very clear (having just seen episode 2.20, "Northwest Passage") what Walter means when he says that Peter will not remember, since, needless to say, this Peter is actually alter-Peter, and Walter somehow erased a lot of Peter's childhood memories. This is referred to once again in the episode when Peter shows a childhood toy, a G.I. Joe, to the Child, and says, "Funny, I always remember the scar being on the other side." I love the words that he uses here, the "other side," which serve as a major tip, one that we didn't even realize was being provided at the time, but that's partly what is so much fun about re-watching old episodes; just about every single time that I do, I catch something that I never caught before. For example, now that we have seen "Earthling" (2.06) we know that this episode is the first of two times (so far) that Broyles has had a conflict with the CIA, and I can't help but wonder why that is. What does the CIA want?

As usual, this episode has plenty of Walterisms to offer. During the scene in which Olivia shows up at Walter and Peter's residence, Walter is not dressed, so he throws on a bathrobe. The conversation that Walter has with the two of them brings "sexual drive" up, and Peter looks at Walter's robe, which is revealing a bit too much skin for anyone's liking, and says, "Speaking of sexual drive." Walter, although definitely embarrassed, says, "Don't be such a prude. I'm sure Agent Dunham knows what a penis looks like, don't you, Agent Dunham?" This is definitely a laugh-out-loud moment, both because of Walter's sheer bluntness and because Olivia has no idea what to say. How is that for awkward? Then, there is the line that Astrid delivers, which is just great; she says, "Walter, slow down; you're not making any sense." What I find so funny about that is because that's like saying that on a sunny day, the sky is blue, because typically, Walter doesn't make any sense. "You hanging in there, kiddo?" Olivia asks the Child while Walter is having one of his mental storms. "Yeah, me, too." Overall, this is a pretty decent episode of Fringe, very LOST-like, with the mystery left almost entirely unsolved by the end of the episode to be (hopefully) solved at a later date, and I give it eight medieval torture devices.

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