"August" (2.08)


Admittedly, I am a bit disappointed in this episode, because it doesn't provide the answers for which I was hoping. Don't get me wrong; this is an excellent episode, and I give it eight French Vanilla and cough syrup concoctions, but I just feel a bit cheated. I seem to recall a write-up that I read earlier this week in which the writer said that this was quite possibly the best episode of Fringe yet. I don't know if perhaps it was a professional writer who has access to media before it is available to the public or if he or she was more or less speculating as to the possibility that it would be the best episode yet, but either way, I was expecting a lot more answers, and I was also expecting Peter to finally find out what Walter did, but now, I'm starting to get the impression that he's not going to find out until the season finale, if at all this season. I'm not necessarily complaining about that, because if it is being drawn out, then it will make it that much more epic when Peter finally does find out. I suppose that being under the impression that he was going to learn the truth this episode built up anticipation, anticipation that didn't meet a satisfying result. This entry does contain spoilers that pertain to Fringe, so if you don't want to be spoiled, then, please don't read any further.

I would like to start by saying that August is one awesome Observer (I'm not sure if it's just me, but he reminded me a bit of Voldemort). So far, he is definitely my favorite, which is obviously a tragedy since he is now dead. I didn't really know what to think of him at first, because I wasn't sure what his intentions were, and I didn't think, not even for a second, that he was acting alone. I still don't really understand his intentions. I understand that he kidnaps Christine Hollis in order to prevent her from dying on the plane that crashed, but why does he do this? He tells September at the end of the episode that he loves her, but why, out of all of the women in the world, does he love her? Why was he, as he says, “observing her for most of her life,” and why is she so important to him that he gives his life for her? I did not see that coming at all. When August and Walter are discussing what to do to protect Christine, I thought for sure that they were going to somehow relocate her to the other dimension, but, of course, that is not what happens. August gives his life so that Christine will be responsible for his death, thereby making her “important” and keeping her safe.

I am very happy that we see Ella again. I don't care how many people say that Rachel and Ella don't have a purpose, because they do. First of all, they provide Olivia with another dimension to her character, and we see more of her personal life. In this episode, for example, she behaves very much like Ella's mother (which leads me to wonder if, possibly, this is being used as a foreshadowing technique to hint that Olivia will eventually be a mother herself). Secondly, I think that Ella is being given Cortexiphan and that Rachel is not only aware of it but is also advocating it. It's possible that Rachel will eventually betray Olivia and be revealed as a traitor, and if she does, then it really does make it possible that December (the older Observer) is referring to Ella, not Olivia, when he says at the end of the episode that “it's a shame that things are about to get so hard for her.” Anyway, I do think that they are important, and as I said, I am very happy to have seen Ella again. Prior to this episode, we haven't seen her since episode 1.18, “Midnight,” which was ten episodes ago.

Ella is such a well-behaved girl, too. When Olivia tells her that she's going to have to take a rain check on their day at the amusement park, Ella, with very little, if any, disappointment in her eyes, says, “That's okay, Aunt Liv. I know your job is important.” Something that I did wonder about in this scene is whether or not the Jacobsons (Ella's babysitters) are related to Henry Jacobson, the man who assists Olivia with her investigation of the Beacon and is then interrogated by Mosley in episode 1.04, “The Arrival.” Additionally, this episode yet again displays Olivia's uncanny ability to notice clues that most other people would simply set aside, and in this episode, it is the video footage of August kidnapping Christine. She, with no hesitation or delay, notices that he doesn't look like September and therefore tells Peter to freeze the frame and zoom in on it, and speaking of this particular scene, the Observers can catch bullets? Like Peter says, “Who are these people?” They have the superhuman ability to catch a bullet without it hurting them, but three shots to the chest kill them?

As I was just saying, I am pretty sure that Olivia is going to end up being a mother in the series, and, again, I say that because of the scenes that we see between Olivia and Ella. She seems to mother Ella much more effectively than Rachel, and, of course, I'm not saying that if I am right that it will end up being Ella that she mothers or that I am even right at all, but if I am, maybe she will end up pregnant. I definitely, however, think that the heartwarming scenes between Olivia and Ella are intentional. Again, we see Olivia's excellent mothering skills, and when Olivia was talking to Peter about Ella in the car (which, by the way, I am pretty sure was Blair Brown's voice on Olivia's phone saying, “Please say a command” and then “Calling the Jacobsons”), she mentions her mother, and I thought that we were finally going to learn what happened to Olivia's parents, but all we get is a story itself and then that the story is “one of my favorite memories of my mother.” Is her father dead? Olivia never speaks of her father (only her stepfather), so even though I know that this is a very “out there” theory, what if Walter is her father and Olivia and Peter are therefore siblings? We know that, presumably, both Olivia's mother and Peter's mother are deceased, so what if they were the same woman?

The only problem with this theory, of course, is that Olivia recalls memories of her mother and so does Peter, but one fact that we have to keep in mind is that Peter is not from this reality, which means that in the other reality, perhaps events played out a bit differently. I am not sure how, and if this does end up being the case (which I quite honestly question), then it would have to be pretty elaborate and very thoroughly played out, because it would be exceedingly complicated. I don't even understand my own theory or if it's even possible, but I am not taking the fall if I end up being wrong, because I am not claiming that the theory is correct; it is merely a thought. Speaking of Walter and Peter's mother, by the way, what deal did he make with September? He tells August, “Please don't take my son. Your friend and I had a deal. We had an arrangement. I know what I did was wrong, but,” at which point August cuts him off to tell him that that is not why he contacted him but that it was to ask him for help. I am wondering if perhaps this is why Peter's mother is dead. Perhaps September told Walter that in order for him to abduct Peter from the alternate reality without having to face consequences, he would have to sacrifice the life of Peter's mother. As David Wu said when I shared this theory with him, it is relatively twisted, but it's plausible. Whenever Walter starts talking about Peter's mother (which isn't often), he only says a little bit and then changes the subject, and the expression on his face is very pained.

Speaking of Walter keeping secrets, when Peter asks him if September ever told Walter why he saved him, Walter hesitates and then says “no,” but the truth of the matter is that Walter is not a very good liar, and it surprises me that Peter seems to so readily believe him. It is quite clear, not only from his hesitation to answer but also from the expression on his face when he does answer, that he is lying, and I am thinking that perhaps it has something to do with Peter being taken from the other side. David Wu shared an interesting theory with me last night, one that I am inclined to believe myself, that the “ice” accident didn't even happen at all, and that is why Peter doesn't remember it. In episode 1.04, “The Arrival,” Peter tells Walter that Walter has told him that story so many times, and what if that was to brainwash him into believing that it was true? After all, as I just said, Peter doesn't seem to remember this happening but believes that it did, which is odd. What if it is just a cover-up story to mask what Walter really did? Again, if you like this theory, then please don't applaud me. This is David Wu's speculation, not mine.

During the scene in which we first see Christine in the motel room with August, she pleads the usual pleas that you see abduction victims plea, such as “Why are you doing this?” and so forth, and much like we see September do to Peter in “The Arrival,” he says everything that she says simultaneously, presumably because he can read her thoughts and therefore predict what she is going to say before she even says it, but what I am wondering is what the purpose of this is, and I don't mean what the purpose is of having this ability but instead what the purpose is of demonstrating this ability. Why does he say everything that Christine is saying? Is it of free will? I am more inclined to say that it is, because later in the episode, she repeats much of the same questions, and this time, he doesn't do that. She asks him, “Why are you doing this? What do you want from me?” He tells her that it would be easier if he showed her, therefore turning the television on and showing her what happened to Flight 821, a flight on which she was supposed to be. Speaking of Flight 821, I noticed a good example of what “Earthling” (2.06) director Jon Cassar was talking about when he said that sometimes with television, there is an excess amount of exposition and that characters therefore say things that they seemingly don't need to say. During the car scene between Olivia and Peter, they hear news pertaining to 821 on the radio, and Peter therefore looks at Christine's itinerary. Even though the camera shows that she was scheduled to be on that flight and Peter even verbally confirms it, he still finds it necessary to say that “she was supposed to be on that flight,” something that, at that point, is obvious to both Olivia and the audience.

We do, as should be expected, have an encounter with Massive Dynamic this week, but it's interesting that Nina does not seem to be involved at all. You would think that she would insist on being involved in such a case, especially since at the end of “The Road Not Taken” (1.19), Nina pays Broyles a visit, showing him a good amount of photos of September and telling him that he is well-aware of what happened the last time he showed up in such great frequencies. Of course, that scene now points me toward two possible scenarios. The first is that Broyles knows a lot more than he is pretending to, and second of all, the man that Olivia and Peter talk to at Massive Dynamic wasn't fully telling the truth (perhaps he is another one of Nina's lackeys, lying just the same as Dr. Carson does in the last episode, “Of Human Action”). He tells them that this is the first time in history that the Observers have made appearances so frequently, but, again, this is not what Nina tells Broyles. She clarifies that it has happened before and that it apparently had devastating results. Additionally, although not directly related to that scene, I wonder why it always seems to be September that we see at Pattern-related events. Perhaps the Observers each have different functions or jobs, if you will, and his is to observe the Pattern. Also, why do they seem to consistently appear in photographs? They don't seem to worry too much about staying in the dark, and I am wondering if their consistent appearances in photographs are intentional. Perhaps they want people to know that they are here.

Additionally, as we know already, they don't seem to age. They are seen in different photographs that have differences of hundreds of years, and yet, they don't look any different. Their apparent lack of aging would suggest that perhaps they are not human, but if this is true, then why is it apparently so easy to kill them? Even the supersoldiers seem to be stronger than the Observers. Granted, the Observers are presumably not soldiers, but still, if they are not human, you would think that they would have superhuman strengths. Perhaps the reason that they all have months for names is because their month corresponds to how old they appear. As I mentioned before, the oldest-looking one is December, but as I have not mentioned yet, the other new Observer that we meet in this episode, the one that kind of looks like September, is named July. The episode does not make these clarifications, but Fringepedia does, and I find that to be interesting information. Perhaps the Child from “Inner Child” (1.15) is January or February.

During the scene in which August tries to explain himself to the other Observers, August argues that Christine is unique, and September replies that “they are all unique. That is not reason to interfere with the course her life was meant to take” (and, of course, I absolutely love what he does with his head, the tilting for which he is so eminent). A question that immediately came to me when I was first watching that scene is what he means by “they all.” Is he perhaps talking about Cortexiphan subjects or just humans in general? Additionally, August argues that “we have interfered before,” and September explains that it was “only to correct a mistake of our own making.” What makes that line so interesting is that it makes you wonder that if indeed September did save Walter and Peter (which may not be true, as previously argued), then why did he save them? If he didn't save them, then what involvement did he have, and what does August mean by what he said about them having interfered before? When they tell him that he will be forgiven for this but that Christine needs to be eliminated, that made me wonder what would have happened if they didn't forgive him, if they didn't overlook what he did. What would have been his punishment? They seem to be very loyal to each other. As soon as August is hurt, it isn't five minutes, and September arrives at the scene to pick him up.

One last observation (no pun intended) that I would like to make is that when September contacts Donald, the assassin, four lights, or dots, appear on Donald's device, whatever that device may have been, and in classic
Fringe tradition, they are green and red, three of them green and one of them red. We have seen this colors repeatedly on the show, and the most closely tied examples that I can think of are the identical dots that are on Mosley's hat in “The Arrival” and the hypnotizing lights in episode 1.08, “The Equation.” Anyway, returning to what I was previously saying about this episode not answering a great deal of questions, the only thing that was really answered for me is what the Observers are doing, and what we know is that time is not linear for them and that they can observe time at any aspect that they want. They can apparently see the future, they can see the past and they can see the present, and there is no beginning or end for them, which would, in some ways, explain why they don't age. However, why can't they taste much of anything and therefore eat incredibly spicy foods (August is seen in this episode drinking from a cup that apparently contains nothing but chili pepper juice, a chili pepper that Walter explains is one of the hottest in the entire world)? August tells the man at the beginning of the episode who gives him an American Flag pin that his binoculars “are from somewhere far away,” but what does he mean by that? Where do the Observers come from? Where do they live? They seem to understand humanity to some extent, considering the fact that September can drive a car.

Something that I do want to point out that I discovered recently is that it has been confirmed that Olivia's “superhearing” in episode 2.02, “Night of Desirable Objects” will not return or be further explained. The reason that I bring this is up is because in just about every one of my entries, I bring that up, expressing my annoyance with the fact that it has not been further explained since. One idea that I recall being tossed around is that it has something to do with Olivia's Cortexiphan trials, but apparently, that isn't true. I can't remember who made the report, but I do know that it is someone who has close ties with the production process of
Fringe, and what he said is that Olivia's “superhearing” is merely a result of her crossing dimensions and that there is nothing more to it than that. I personally find that to be somewhat anticlimactic. I want to know why "superhearing" is a result of crossing dimensions. What is the fringe science behind it? Anyway, as you all most likely know, Fringe will not be on next week due to Thanksgiving, but it will be back the week after, December 3rd, with episode 2.09, “Snakehead.” The promo doesn't give me the impression that it's going to be anything special, but rumor has it that in the episode after that, “Grey Matters,” Leonard Nimoy is going to return to the show, which is very exciting, but in the meantime, stay on the fringe.

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