"The Visitor" (FRINGE #6)

Before discussion of this comic begins, I would like to advise those who have not read the Fringe comics but would like to read them that they shouldn't read any further, as this does contain spoilers. This comic takes us closer to the current Fringe time period and, in fact, leads us directly into it, ending with Olivia introducing herself to Walter at St. Claire's. Since the conclusion of the last Walter and Bell story, the two of them have parted ways, Carla Warren has died in the lab fire, and Walter is residing at St. Claire's. This is my favorite comic out of the first comic book series, because we really do learn quite a lot about Walter and his past at St. Claire's, and unlike the other five comics, this comic consists only of this story and does not include a "stand-alone" story. I think that this comic offers insight into "Grey Matters" (2.10) (or the other way around, for that matter, since the comic came first), since someone is trying very hard to get Walter to explain what happened the night that Peter was taken from the Other Side, which, of course, we previously understood as the night that September saved Walter and Peter from the ice water after the two of them ran off the road, only half of which is true, as we now know thanks to "Peter" (2.15).

In this comic, Walter is seeing himself at St. Claire's, which is one of two references to "The Equation" (1.08). The question, which is a question that has been asked before, is, is he seeing Walternate, or is his guilty conscience manifesting itself? If it is Walternate, why would he want Walter to resist? Why would he want Walter to fight the procedure being conducted by the unidentified visitor pretending to be an FBI agent? If the visitor is from the Other Side, then it would be logical to assume that Walternate would want Walter to tell the visitor everything that he knows. It would, in fact, be logical to assume that Walternate is the one who sent him here. It could be, however, that the visitor is from this side and that he is trying to find out what Walter did to ensure that it doesn't happen again, or, on the contrary, so that hecan do it, in which case it would make perfect sense that Walternate would not want Walter to crack. In this case, it would also be logical to assume that the visitor is ZFT. The other reference to "The Equation" (1.08), of course, is the appearance of Dashiell Kim, who tells Walter that he is still trying to solve his [Dashiell's] equation. Walter says that he is sixty years old, which means that this comic (most of it, anyway) takes place in 2006, three years before Walter returns to St. Claire's to see Kim about the equation.

What is really interesting about the way that the scene in which Walter recalls what happened the night that Peter was taken is that what Walter tells the visitor and what we see happen are not one and the same. Walter tells him that he was able to save himself and Peter, but what we see is September saving them. Therefore, when Walter receives an electrical charge, we assume that he is simply lying about that, but we now know that he was not, that a car didn't go off the road. Walter stole Peter from the Other Side and fell through the ice on foot, because the water sucked up the energy that was required to take Peter. The visitor decides to use a much more invasive, painful procedure, and right before Walter is rescued from being tortured, he sings his usual "lion's den" song, which we typically see him sing when he is under a great amount of duress and is afraid. He is rescued, however, by someone that realizes that the visitor is not an FBI agent, that he is alternate motives (possibly rooted in an alternate reality), but the visitor is able to escape somehow, inexplicably using sunblock lotion in the process. Chances are good that he either somehow returned to the Other Side or he teleported elsewhere, although I haven't a clue what sunblock lotion has to do with either.

What I really love about this comic is that it is very heavily rooted in mythology and asks a great deal of questions. Who is the man who visited Walter at St. Claire's, and where does his allegiance lie? Is he from the Other Side, and if not, what does he want, exactly? What does he hope to achieve by knowing what happened that night? Is he ZFT? Do his actions have anything to do with Bell having visited Walter posing as Dr. Simon Paris? Perhaps, this man was working for Bell? What about Walter seeing himself? Is he seeing Walternate, or is he hallucinating due to his guilt? In "The Equation" (1.08), he sees himself (on the other side of the institution, mind you) after reminding Kim that a young boy's life is at stake. Will this ever be explained in the TV series, or are fans simply supposed to be split between the two theories? Lastly, what about the sunblock lotion? Does what the visitor does have anything to do with what Jones does in the first season? Does he teleport, and if so, what does sunblock lotion have to do with it? If he instead returns to the Other Side, how does he do this, and again, what does sunblock lotion have to do with it? There have already been questions asked in the comics that have been touched upon in the TV series (such as, for example, Walter's father having been a Nazi spy), so hopefully, other ones will be, as well. As previously stated, this is the best comic out of the first six, and I give it ten electrical charges.

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