"It Runs in the Family/Hard Copy" (FRINGE #5)

Before discussion of this comic, I would like to warn those who have not read the Fringe comics but would like to read them to not read any further, as this does contain spoilers. The first half of this comic is titled "It Runs in the Family" and picks up precisely where the first half of the third comic, "Best-Laid Plans," leaves off. Walter and Bell have been transported to Germany on April 29, 1945, a mere few days before Hitler's suicide. Walter is trying to explain to his father that he is his son and that he and Bell have been transported back in time, and his father actually believes him, showing him that he has been working on a time machine for Hitler, because Hitler has been intending to alter the course of history. It definitely does make me wonder if the comics take place in the alternate universe, because a time machine having existed in this universe in the 1940s? That is even difficult to believe as far as the Other Side is concerned, but then again, in the sixth comic, Walter is in the mental institution, and I sincerely doubt that we are suddenly switched back to this universe in the last comic. It's just very strange, but it wouldn't be Fringe if it weren't strange. I guess that in the Fringeverse, Hitler's endgame was a time machine, even in this universe. If Hitler was the same person with the same motives on the Other Side, I can't even imagine what he was capable of.

Walter says to his father that "I know I can't prove I'm your son." This is odd, because Walter's father's name is Robert Bischoff, so wouldn't Walter assume that the similarity between their last names would suggest something? Hans Froelich was not Bischoff's real last name, and then, of course, when he moved to the U.S., he changed his last name to Bishop. What is odd, though, is that Bischoff doesn't reveal his real name to Walter, and Walter doesn't question the difference between their last names. Perhaps, Bischoff is simply being extra careful with what he said so that he wouldn't blow his cover. This is not to suggest that he doesn't trust Walter or Bell; instead, I think that it is much more likely that he simply doesn't want the wrong person to hear. Walter later asks his father to see to it that a man that helped him and Bell, a man named Levi Berger, survives, but Bischoff says that "I can't do anything that will alter the future, Walter. You know that as well as I do. If I change anything, it could tear the fabric of space-time." In other words, don't steal an alternate version of your son from a parallel universe. It definitely reminds me a lot of LOST, because Bischoff most likely named his son Walter because he already knew that his name was Walter, which means that technically, Walter named himself. You could get a headache trying to decide which came first; it's like a vicious circle.

I wonder what Walter's relationship with his father was like. This comic suggests that it was good, and so does the way that Walter usually talks about his father. In "The Bishop Revival" (2.13) (an episode that has a lot of connections to this comic), Walter speaks very highly of him in a tone that strongly suggests that he very much admired him. He seems to be very proud of him. After Walter and Bell make it back to the Boston lab back to their present day, they discover, much to their glee, that Berger survived and now has a dog named Walter, which I find funny and adorable. What I also find funny, hilarious, even, is that Walter is responsible for having sent Hitler back in time to 65 million years ago, where he most likely became lunch for a dinosaur. According to Fringe (assuming that the comics do indeed take place in this universe), Hitler did not commit suicide; that was a cover up, and he was really eaten by dinosaurs. I wonder if Walter will ever tell this story to someone who will believe it on the TV series. I'd really like to see the look on his face as he tells the story as whoever he tells it to most likely thinks that he's crazy, which, for the most part, he is. I really like the first half of this comic. It's entertaining, exciting, funny and action-packed, and the ending definitely provides some laughs.

In the second half of this comic (titled "Hard Copy"), a reporter named Michelle (who kind of looks like Jessup) asks if she can investigate Massive Dynamic, since she has done some research of her own and has discovered that the Pattern has a connection to Massive Dynamic. Her boss doesn't allow it, but she receives a call and is asked to come to Massive Dynamic's farm. The polite and sophisticated vocabulary used on the phone sounds very much like Nina, and I definitely did think that it was Nina until we meet who it really is, a woman that looks nothing like Nina who identifies herself as Dr. Crisafi. She identifies herself as the executive director, which means that she must be the executive director of that particular branch. "Most people hear 'Massive Dynamic,' and they think jet engines and computer chips," she says, which I find funny, because based on what we have seen of Massive Dynamic thus far on the TV series, that is what it is. I really like how Crisafi refers to Nina, saying that the cloned meat is perfectly healthy and that Nina Sharp has it flown out to her office in New York regularly; I guess that we know that Nina is not a vegetarian. Massive Dynamic ends up killing Michelle (which I had a feeling it would) and replacing her with a clone, so I guess they really are evil. I enjoyed this half of the comic, as well. I like how it is about Massive Dynamic, and I like the reference to Nina. Overall, I give this comic eight shipments of cloned meat to Nina Sharp.

"There's More than One of Everything" (1.20) - season finale

I will start off by saying that this finale wasn't quite as good as I was expecting it to be. I remember first seeing "The Road Not Taken" (1.19) and being left absolutely breathless, thinking that that was absolutely amazing, and I remember thinking that the finale was going to be even better, but in my opinion, it isn't. Although I still give it a very high score of nine mysterious coins, a season finale probably isn't as good as it could have been if it doesn't get a perfect score. I will discuss the faults that I had with it, but first, I want to warn those who have never seen Fringe but would like to see it to not read any further, as this does contain spoilers. Anyway, one of the first thoughts that crosses my mind when I watch this episode is why it is that Olivia doesn't understand why Jones' face is bandaged. She should know why it's bandaged. In "Ability" (1.14), she learns that he is massively suffering physically from having teleported out of prison, so it doesn't take a genius to figure out why his face is bandaged, yet she questions as to why his face is bandaged. I don't think that this is a reflection on Olivia's intelligence, because we have seen time and time again that she is incredibly smart; I just think that it's inconsistent writing, something that we have unfortunately seen a few times throughout this series. That is one problem that I have with this episode, and I will get into all of the problems that I have with it. I ultimately give the episode 8.5 Mysterious Coins.

Another problem that I have with this episode is that we discover that Jones simply wants to cross over to exact revenge on Bell, because he was an employee of Massive Dynamic, now disgruntled at having been fired. Jones was clever. He was
very smart, in fact, so it doesn't seem the least bit believable to me that that's all he wanted. It seems to me like he would have had some sort of darker or more complex agenda. The first season builds up to Jones wanting revenge for having been fired? I can't believe that, and I don't believe that. Speaking of Massive Dynamic, though, I do have quite a bit of speculation to share regarding Nina Sharp. First of all, why does she have such bad teeth in this episode? I just find it odd, because if you look at photographs of Nina Sharp, even recent ones, she has very beautiful teeth, yet in this episode, her teeth seem to be rotting out of her skull. More importantly, though, a question is raised in this episode that to date has yet to be answered. Nina promises Olivia that she will arrange for Olivia and Bell to meet, even after telling Olivia that Bell is in the alterverse, so did she talk to Bell with her dinosaur computer and tell him to pull Olivia out of this universe? She had to have been involved somehow, and I am very disappointed with the fact that Olivia never mentions this to Nina throughout the second season.

There is quite a bit about this episode that confuses me, too. I am assuming that Massive Dynamic is not standing where the World Trade Center once stood, so how is it that Olivia moves back and forth between realities in the elevator, with the elevator looking exactly the same? Olivia obviously did not knowingly enter the World Trade Center, since she couldn't have; it doesn't exist on our side anymore, so how did Bell yank her into the World Trade Center? Obviously, she didn't just dimension-hop; she teleported, but why did the elevator look the same? It should have been a completely different elevator. Another aspect of this episode that still confuses me is what exactly happens to someone who uses Walter's teleportation device. In "Ability," Walter tells Astrid that "it does something unthinkable, but it doesn't kill you," yet in this episode, it definitely seems to be killing Jones. He even confirms as much when he says to Olivia that "the teleporter, it may be killing me, but in the meantime, it's made me something rather special." So, his statement raises two questions. First of all, why is it killing him if Walter says that it doesn't kill, and secondly, how has it made him "special"? What exactly had he been capable of? How was he able to blast through his hospital room in "Ability"? Most importantly, how did he acquire the technology to cross dimensions?

Assuming that we will never see him again (since I am keeping in mind that alter-Jones is a possibility), Jones will be missed. Sure, he was a son of a bitch (pardon my French), but he was crafty, and right along with John Noble, I think that Jared Harris deserves an Emmy nomination for his performance as Jones. He brought a lot of charisma to the screen, and I really miss him. I really hope that we haven't seen the last of him, but I have a very unwelcome feeling that we unfortunately have. I am enraged that he was killed off, because questions were left unanswered, and he had such potential. Now, this episode leaves us with two major cliffhangers. The first is that Peter Bishop died in 1985, and the second is that Olivia is in the alterverse, where the World Trade Center is still standing. I think that the first cliffhanger that was left was much more drastic, and at first, I didn't immediately register the fact that he is from the alterverse. My jaw dropped, but I didn't say, "Oh, my God! He is from the parallel universe!" I now find that odd, since there are so many clues. For example, in this episode, Walter explains to Peter why he built the door to the Other Side, and he tells him that he figured that he "could take from there what I lost here." I, however, somehow allowed that to pass me by, and while I did consider the possibility that Peter was from the Other Side, I also considered the possibility that he had been cloned, using the fact that Walter had conducted experiments on Peter as a child as supporting evidence.

Walter is really struggling with knowing that Peter is from the Other Side, but this raises questions, too, questions that are still not clear and may never
be clear. In this episode, he seems to be just now remembering what happened, so if his memory was so fuzzy, then how is it that he knows everything in such vivid detail in "Peter" (2.15)? Granted, I don't think that what we see in that episode is precisely what he tells Olivia. For example, in the account that we see, Walter identifies alter-Walter as Walternate, but when Bell identifies him as Walternate in "Over There, Part 2" (2.22), Olivia is confused. Also, we see a scene between Nina and Carla Warren, and that obviously isn't Walter's memory, since he wasn't there. However, Walter still seems to remember quite a bit, and I wonder what sparks his memory. I don't really think that he was hiding his knowledge throughout the first season; I think that he sincerely didn't remember. For example, in "The Road Not Taken," he definitely would have recalled what he knew considering the way that Olivia was grilling him, but, in tears, he says that he doesn't remember, and I believe him. Is that why September, despite his saying that he isn't supposed to, got involved and did something to spark Walter's memory? Did taking him to Peter's grave help him remember, and if so, then why was Walter so worried about Peter's medical history at the end of "The Same Old Story" (1.02)? Peter says that he remembers being at the lake house with his mother while Walter worked in the city, but that most likely didn't happen on this side, because otherwise, he probably wouldn't remember that; plus, Walter working in the city while Peter stays at home with his mother sounds more like the Other Side.

Walter tells Peter that the Other Side contains "slightly different versions of ourselves," but from what we have seen in the second season finale, they are
very different versions. They have led very different lives and are therefore very different people, but maybe Walter doesn't realize this, or didn't, anyway. Anyway, I find it funny how Peter recognizes that Walter is hiding something, so he asks him what else Walter is hiding, and Walter says, "Lots, I'm sure, but none of it is relevant." That could go one of two ways; either he is outwardly lying, since it is important, or he is implying that he had food or something unimportant like it on his mind. Then, not too long after, is one of my all-time favorite Fringe quotes. At Reiden Lake, Olivia runs into Walter and Peter asks them what they're doing there, and Walter replies by saying, "We're trying to plug a hole in the universe. What are you doing here?" I find that line so funny, because he says it as if plugging a hole in the universe is your everyday, mundane task. Another aspect of this episode that initially bothered me (although I now love Nimoy as Bell and am going to miss him, too) is that although the one and only episode of the Official Podcast stated about halfway through the first season that an actor was already playing Bell but didn't know it, Nimoy had obviously never been on the series before, which makes me think it was most likely a ploy to draw attention to the wrong place. However, at the time, I was disappointed, because I was expecting some major revelation involving a character having hidden his identity. Anyway, I do enjoy this episode, but it simply has some points about which I am not happy, and the first season as a whole, although I think that the second season is much better, is excellent.

"The Road Not Taken" (1.19)

What better time to review this episode than shortly after the season 2 finale, "Over There," a two-part epic show. Before I begin discussing this episode, though, I will warn those who have never seen Fringe but would like to see it to not read any further, as this does contain spoilers. I really like the first scene of the episode, since it pays tribute to earlier episodes in the season, such as "In Which We Meet Mr. Jones," "Ability" and "Midnight." A major question that this episode asks is who removed the Ethics Chapter from the ZFT Manual. My theory is that when Walter and Bell wrote the ZFT Manuscript, their intention was for it to exist for good, but someone removed the Chapter Ethics in order to use it for evil, to experiment the effectiveness of science and technology on this side. Anyway, Walter is seen in this episode drinking Slusho, and whenever I see Slusho in this series, I feel the need to say so, because for those of you who don't know, Slusho is a fictional drink created by J.J. that is featured in many of his works, including Alias, LOST, Cloverfield,Fringe and Star Trek. Something that I think poses even a bigger question than who removed the Ethics Chapter from the ZFT Manual. Olivia sees into the Other Side and sees that both of the "twins" (we also have to consider the possibility that they're clones) died instead of one, and here, Susan Pratt's death was due to her having been Cortexiphan, and Nancy Lewis was a Cortexiphan subject, as well, so since they died on the Other Side from the same cause, does that or does that not confirm that Cortexiphan trials occurred on the Other Side, as well? That is definitely worth thinking about, I think.

As far as Olivia seeing into the Other Side is concerned, many questions are now raised after "Over There" has aired. First of all, in this episode, Olivia sees a Boston building in flames, and back then, we had no idea what that meant. I theorized that since the Other Side is more technologically advanced than this side, perhaps, their technology is destroying their world. Then, I brought up the possibility that efforts on this side to destroy the Other Side were proving fruitful, a theory that I developed after we learn of the Blight in "Grey Matters" (2.10). However, in the finale, we learn that the burning building in this episode as well as the Blight are caused by Quarantines, efforts made by Fringe Division to stop the spread of Soft Spots in the Universe, if I am not mistaken. This doesn't answer everything, though. What causes a Breach? Is a Breach caused by someone trying to cross over, and if so, who was crossing over in this episode when Olivia sees the building on fire? Is it Bell? Is this side using technology against the Other Side like the Other Side is doing with Shapeshifters? In "The Ghost Network" (1.03), we see people on a bus frozen in an amber encasing much like we see outside the Harvard Lab on the Other Side in "Over There," so was what happened on the bus an experiment, and when it worked, it was used against the Other Side?

Secondly, in this episode, alter-Broyles is seen dressed in a white shirt and a tie, much like this Broyles wears, yet in "Over There," he is seen dressed in a short sleeve black shirt and dark pants, much more casual but, at the same time, more militant. Also, the Fringe Division that we see on the Other Side in this episode is very similar to ours, even though in "Over There," we see that Fringe Division is
much more technologically advanced than Fringe Division on this side. Lastly, we see Scarlie in this episode (why does he have that scar?), and not only does he not question Olivia as to why she has blonde hair instead of brown, he isn't bald. I don't know if I should see these observations as continuity errors, though. As far as Fringe Division is concerned, it could be that after the Boston Quarantine, the government supplied Fringe Division with further funding, which led to it being more technological and militant, which could explain alter-Broyles' difference in attire. As far as Scarlie is concerned, it's possible that whatever the reason is for him having to inject himself is also the reason why he shaved his head, or maybe he shaved his head when Fringe Division became more militant. Lastly is Olivia's hair, for which there are a couple of possible explanations. The first is a rather simple one; some women due tend to dye their hair frequently, so perhaps either Altlivia's hair was blonde at the time or Scarlie didn't question her hair being blonde, since he just assumed that she dyed it. The second possibility is that Olivia had actually transferred over as Altlivia, yet we see her as Olivia, kind of like the situation with Nick Lane in "Bad Dreams" (1.17).

I find it odd how Walter just now reveals knowledge of the alternate universe. In "Ability" (1.14), he reads from the ZFT Manual, the part about the alternate universes, as if it is news to him, as if before that moment, he didn't know that the Alterverse existed. That begs a question; was he hiding his knowledge all that time, or had he forgotten? In episode 1.10, "Safe," when Walter tells Peter that he nearly died when he was a boy and that he became obsessed with saving him, does he
thinkthat he was telling him the truth when he tells him that he miraculously recovered? Did he sincerely not remember until September reminded him by taking him to Peter's grave, or was he simply hiding what he knew? If he had forgotten, then how is it that he seems to remember what happened in such detail in "Peter" (2.15)? Did September seriously help him remember that well? I linked Cortexiphan to this episode very early on, as I did in "Bad Dreams" (1.17), knowing that Olivia had to be experiencing the "dreams" due to her having been exposed to Cortexiphan. In this episode, I had a feeling that her "visions" had something to do with the Cortexiphan trials, and, of course, I turned out to be right. Lewis says to Winters in her voicemail message left to him that she took the tests, which is interesting, because when Olivia rescues her from captivity, we see a lightbox in the room, one that is not unlike the one that Olivia is given in "Ability" (1.14).

Speaking of Nancy Lewis, does she have the same ability as Sally Clark, I wonder, the pyro from "Over There, Part 1" (2.21)? I definitely feel the need to mention the cultural references in this episode. Emmanuel Grayson makes a
Star Trek reference (which is funny, because this episode, if I remember correctly, originally aired the same week that J.J.'s Star Trek film premiered), and Peter mentions "little green men," an X-Files reference. I do find Grayson interesting, though, despite the fact that he thinks that he's Spock (does anyone, I wonder, question the extreme resemblance between Spock and William Bell?). He says that "Massive Dynamic is a cover for all manner of unethical behavior." His sentiments are very similar to those of Hicks in episode 1.09, "The Dreamscape," who says that Massive Dynamic is Hell and that William Bell is the Devil. Anyway, I love Peter's sarcasm directed toward Harris ("Always a pleasure seeing you, sir."), and I am so happy that Harris dies in this episode, which is part of the reason why I rank this episode so high. Olivia tells Lewis to focus on anything, which I find so hilarious, because if she has free reign on anything, then why not Harris? That scene is so epic, when Harris stumbles backward, knowing what is about to happen, and then bursts into flames and explodes. I have never been so happy to see someone die.

How the team discovers that Harris is a member of ZFT annoys me, though. Peter uses a disc of glass from the window, claiming that the glass would have recorded the last sound that was made in the room, which just seems a little bit too far-fetched to me, even for
Fringe. Then, after the team successfully captures Lewis screaming and the sound of a number being dialed, Olivia conveniently has an app on her phone which allows the phone to automatically dial a number based on dial tones that the phone hears, an app that she uses. It just seems way too bogus for me for a number of reasons. First of all, does that kind of application even exist, and if it does, who would need that? I suppose that in the rare situation, an FBI Agent could use it, and perhaps, if such an app were to exist, the FBI would supply Olivia with the app, but that's assuming that it could even work; I'm pretty sure that some dial tones make the same sound. Just because of that scene, I want to lower my appreciation for this episode, but I can't, because between the heavy investment in the show's mythology, Harris dying, and the scene between Olivia and Walter at the diner near the end of the episode, this episode is one of my favorites, my second favorite of season one (my first being "Ability"). Besides, during this scene, Peter giving Walter the turntable that he made him is very sweet and is memorable. Walter, obviously heartened by Peter's kindness, says, "Thank you, son," and, of course, he then goes on to talk about a napkin holder that Peter made out of popsicle sticks when he was a child, which was "utterly useless," which he finds amusing. The question is, was it this Peter who made it?

As has been previously mentioned, the scene near the end of the episode between Olivia and Walter is beyond epic. That scene is probably the most intense drama that we see during season one, and even though I totally understand Olivia's frustration, I feel so sorry for and want to hug Walter when he begins to cry, insisting that he can't remember. He tells Olivia that something terrible is coming but that he can't remember what, which we now know is a war that involves shape-shifting soldiers from an alternate universe. What could possibly be more terrible than that? Peter, after Olivia gives up and leaves, comes back from the bathroom and holds Walter's hand, trying to comfort him after seeing him in tears, which is so adorable but heartbreaking. Shortly afterward, Nina makes a trip to Broyles' house and shows him photographs of September, reminding Broyles of what happened the last time that he showed up so often, which, of course, in classic J.J. style, has still not been explained. Walter, when he sees September (after assuming that it was Astrid who walked into the lab, actually calling her Astrid for once) says, "Is it time?" which obviously means that he was expecting September to remind him of something at one point or at least pay him a visit, something into which, at this point, we have gotten a little bit of insight. The episode's final scene is of Nina being shot (which, at first, I thought was with a tranquilizer gun), which is quickly resolved in the finale. I honestly think that this episode is better than the finale, and despite the "window scene," I remember having chills for a good half-hour after it was over, and I give it 9.5 boxes of artificial sugary sweetness.