"Jacksonville" (2.14)


This episode, next to the season 2 premiere, “A New Day in the Old Town,” is probably my favorite episode so far this season. In fact, I know that it is. I love the Cortexiphan-driven episodes, and we haven't had one since episode 1.19, “The Road Not Taken,” if I am not mistaken. I mean, I think that Tyler, in episode 2.07, “Of Human Action,” is being given Cortexiphan and that that is why he can control minds. I mean, let's not forget that Nick Lane, in episode 1.17, “Bad Dreams,” has a somewhat similar ability, and let us also not forget the closing scene of “Of Human Action,” during which Nina is seen communicating with Bell on an ancient computer, telling him that the trials have been a success but that Tyler has demonstrated an unexpected ability. I think that the Cortexiphan trials are still being administered and that, as I believe that I have said before, Ella is being exposed to them, of which Rachel is fully aware. Anyway, I think that “Of Human Action” may have been a Cortexiphan-driven episode, but this is the first one since “The Road Not Taken” that has centered on Olivia, and I love those episodes. Plus, as a bonus, this episode is also heavily concentrated on the story involving the alterverse, and I love that story, too. If you have not yet seen this episode but would like to see it, then please don't read any further, as this entry does contain spoilers.
So, the episode begins with a misspelling of Manhattan, only using one T instead of two, and I think that that is intentional. It is not something that I realized at first. David Wu (the genius behind the Fringemunks project) pointed out the misspelling in a tweet, and at first, I was very annoyed by the misspelling, because I assumed that it really was a mistake. Then, I Googled the word “Manhatan” and discovered that it did exist, that it was the name of some company or something to that effect, so I tried to reason that perhaps, Manhatan was the name of the building, the name of the company. However, when I listened to the episode of the Fringe Podcast that discusses this episode of Fringe, I discovered that the “misspelling” is a way to clue us in to the fact that this opening scene is taking place in the alternate reality, which I think is kind of cool. Even with the woman seeming to be overly excited by the fact that Pratchet (a name that I find interesting, since it is normally spelled with two Ts at the end, but, like Manhatan, a T seems to be missing) has coffee (which, to me, is indicative of the Blight to which Newton refers in episode 2.10, “Grey Matters”), I probably would not have realized that the scene takes place in the alterverse, and, of course, I didn't anyway, but my point is that I definitelywould not have if that misspelling had not been there, not right away, anyway. Also, I definitely agree with the podcast in regards to the hand sanitizer. There has to be a reason why Pratchet is seen cleaning his hands with hand sanitizer when he is first seen; that doesn't seem like something that would senselessly be thrown into the scene.

Once again, Olivia seems to be unusually cheery in this episode, near the beginning of it, anyway. She and Peter talk on the phone, and Olivia seems to be experiencing a fit of humor as she tells Peter that he should congratulate himself since he just won an all-expense paid trip to New York City, to which Peter, being Peter, wisely replies that he wants Olivia's “people” to take his name off their list. I know that it probably seems like a relatively insignificant scene to mention, but I mention it, because as I said, it demonstrates a fit of glee within Olivia, which we don't see too often. As I am pretty sure that I have said before, it seems to be Peter that brings this part of her to light, which says something about their relationship. Anyway, moving on, I really like the tie-in to the season one finale (1.20, “There's More than One of Everything”), which is when Walter asks Pratchet about what was destroyed during the 9/11 attacks, and he replies by saying that the Pentagon and the White House were hit. The final scene of season one, of course, shows us the World Trade Center still perfectly standing tall. Since the newspaper article on Bell's desk in that scene announces that the Obamas are moving into the new White House, I think that we basically already assumed that the White House was struck instead of the Twin Towers, anyway, but it was very cool to have it officially confirmed.

During the scene in which Astrid is going through the objects found at the scene, asked by Walter to see if she sees anything that looks like it might not belong, there is definitely a line of foreshadow planted into the scene that I did not notice until the Fringe Podcast pointed it out. She tells Walter that it's so sad that as far as Pratchet's wife on the other side will ever know, Pratchet just disappeared, to which Walter admits that yes, it is sad, indeed. You can clearly see the pang of guilt on Walter's face as he thinks about Astrid just said, because that is exactly what Walter did to alter-Peter's family, causing their son to just suddenly disappear, which is kind of ironic if you think about it. In both realities, Walter loses Peter, but the difference, of course, is that in the other reality, Walter doesn't get him back, which is why, as I have said before, I'm sure, I think that alter-Walter is behind everything. In episode 2.13, “The Bishop Revival,” Walter tells Olivia that there isnothing that he wouldn't do for his family, and since he made such a bold move in this reality to get his son back, it is far from being illogical to assume that he would make a bold move in the alternate reality, even if it involved starting war. Wouldn't that be bitterly ironic? The Walter from this reality starts the war by stealing alter-Peter, and alter-Water starts the war by retaliating, Walter ultimately being the cause of the war in both realities. I think that the irony is so magnificent that it is bitter.
Also, when Walter tells Olivia that she once had the ability to see objects from the other side, I thought that it was really interesting that Olivia was the one who called what she saw as a result “the glimmer.” I don't know why that I find that interesting, but I do. For starters, I'm not sure why she called it a “glimmer,” exactly. A “glimmer” is kind of like a glow or a shining, and if what she saw as a child is the same as what she sees the hotel doing and what she sees Peter doing at the end of the episode, I wouldn't really call that a “glimmer.” The hotel is more like a blinking, and Peter is just kind of blurry. Also, is what Olivia sees the same as what Rebecca sees when she sees Peter near the end of “Momentum Deferred,” episode 2.04? Did Walter give Rebecca Cortexiphan? If so, I thought that it is intended for young children. If not, then what exactly did he give her? Also, this scene is totally a return to the pilot episode, when Olivia impulsively agrees to allow Walter to experiment on her due to her ambition despite Peter's objection, which I think is definitely intentional, the tie-in, that is. I imagine that, like Alias, there will be a lot of sentimental tie-ins to earlier episodes throughout the series as a whole.

So, what is the significance of 5-20-10? Well, apparently, 5-20-10 is the date of the season finale, so is that significant at all, I wonder? Now, as far as the Jacksonville Daycare Center is concerned, what I don't understand is how Walter knows that there are sixteen items in the room that are from the other side, and as someone in the podcast has pointed out, his eyes briefly shift to Peter when he says this, so is he including Peter in that count? Also, I think that it would have been really effective if, on the wall with her name, Olivia also saw Nick L. This would have made reference to Nick Lane, which I think should have been done. I agree, by the way, with whoever within the podcast community pointed out that Walter looks somewhat like William Bell when he puts his old pair of glasses on and looks at his reflection on a tray. After that scene, Olivia is seen outside of the daycare talking to Peter on the swing-set and says that she can't make any sense out of why she can't remember anything about the trials. Is she, like Peter, from the other side? I don't think so, but it is at least worth throwing out there. In episode 1.14, “Ability,” Jones tells Olivia that it wouldn't be expected that she'd have heard of Cortexiphan, so was she, along with everyone else, conditioned to forget? Just as a side note, by the way, during that same scene, glyphs can be seen outside of the Daycare Center (the flower, the butterfly and the hand), and also, the part of the wall where Olivia once sat after having set the room on fire seems to be in the shape of the core of an apple, noticed by none other than my brother Cody.

I additionally don't really understand the forest scene. Is what Olivia experiences a scenario created by her mind, or is it a memory being visited? That really confuses me. Also, is the red liquid being given to her through an I.V. drip Cortexiphan or not? Walter chooses to ignore Olivia's inquiry as to whether or not that it is, and neither Olivia or Peter press him any harder about it, so what is it exactly that was given to her? I actually saw a promo pic from Fringe Bloggers, I believe, that shows Olivia chasing a little blonde girl through a forest, whom we now know is a young Olivia, and my friend Loren suggested, weeks before the episode was actually aired, mind you, that it is indeed a young Olivia, about which she was correct, so I was expecting her to say either Olivia or Olive when Olivia asks her what her name is. It wasn't any surprise to me but was still very cool to have the speculation confirmed. I also wonder why young Olivia's eyes suddenly become so strange (see headlining photo). My friend David and I both screamed, because it is so unexpected, but I don't understand why it happens. Is it perhaps meant to represent Olivia's inner fear, fear with which she needs to become in touch so that she can demonstrate her ability/ies? Beyond that, I can't think of any logical reason why that was thrown in there. It certainly works as a scare tactic if nothing else.

The final observation that I want to make about this scene is that when Olivia confronts Walter (for the second time, the first being near the end of episode 1.19, “The Road Not Taken”) about what he did to her and other young children, it really reminds me of Alias, how Sydney reacts to her father, Jack, when she discovers the existence of Project: Christmas, a somewhat similar project to the Cortexiphan trials, during which young children are subjected to conditioning that will, later in life, make them good spies for the government, of which Jack was administering to Sydney as well as other young children. I just figured that I would point out that tie-in. There's also a rather obvious shout-out to LOST in this scene, since we are on the subject of J.J. crossings, a couple of them, in fact. Firstly, Olivia opens her eyes up in the forest, and the camera shows us a view of the trees from the ground, just like what we see when Jack first opens his eyes in the pilot episode of LOST; the positions of the trees are even slanted in the same way. Also, the trees rock back and forth, and a strange noise is heard, very similar to what happens when the Smoke Monster is around.
It is nice to see Nina Sharp again, even if it is not for very long. We haven't seen her since episode 2.07, “Of Human Action,” if I am not mistaken, at which point, we see her communicating with William Bell via a ridiculously old computer, telling us that there are a great deal of people to whom and a great deal of activities and knowledge about which she has been far from truthful. This episode has its somewhat frequent “47” shout-out when it is mentioned that there are still 147 buildings in Manhattan of which the mass still needs to be determined, and I immediately caught that my first time watching the episode; I always do. Now, I apologize, but I have to talk about the Oliver almost-kiss. You know what it really reminded me of? It reminded me of the scene in the first X-Files film, Fight the Future, when finally, Mulder and Scully are about to kiss when Scully feels that damn bee sting her neck. Olivia and Peter are finally about to kiss, but Olivia realizes that she's scared (which she knows means that her ability to see “the glimmer” has been activated) and runs off. Something about which I have been wondering is if maybe Peter getting so close to her (both physically and emotionally) and then leaning in to kiss her helped set off her fear, since she is not used to being in a vulnerable position, especially romantically (after what happened between her and John Scott, I don't blame her). I'm almost certain that that has a lot to do with it.
The scene near the end of the episode with the building finally being sucked into the other dimension is absolutely epic, and what's even more epic about it is that as epic as it may be, it's merely a nod at how epic the show is going to get. This was only a building, but what happens when cities start to collide? There is something that I don't understand about that building, though, and hopefully, someone can help me make sense of it. That building is this dimension's building being sucked in to the other dimension, correct? Well, if that is correct, then how does Olivia see “the glimmer” if her ability is to see “the glimmer” on objects that are from the other side? That didn't make any sense to me the first time that I watched the episode, and it still doesn't make any sense to me. Also, how did conspirators keep what happened under tight control? I mean, obviously, we briefly see the news coverage on television, saying that the event was an “unscheduled, controlled demolition,” but what about the people that were actually there to see what happened? Were they brainwashed, or do conspirators just figure that no one is going to believe such a ridiculous account? What about the FBI report? Does that tell the truth, and if so, why doesn't that have any credibility? Who are these conspirators, and why do they seem to have so much control?

Why does Olivia lie to Broyles? He asks her what finally triggered her ability, and she says “time,” which we know is not true; it's fear. I didn't understand the purpose of her lying, but lastly, anyway, I, have to talk about the final scene of the episode, which finally involves someone
knowing about Peter's origins. Now, as opposed to Astrid suspecting that something is wrong, Olivia knows for sure, and now, the question is what she is going to do with this knowledge. Obviously, the relationship between her and Peter has grown to new heights, but what is going to happen now? Is it going to continue to grow even though she is going to keep this secret from him (since that is my full-fledged prediction)? My jaw dropped when I first saw this scene, because even though I predicted about halfway through the episode that this is exactly how Olivia would find out, it was so awesome to see the secret finally no longer a secret, not from her, anyway. She knows now, and that knowledge is, either way, going to make this season a much better season as a result. The drama is definitely going to heighten. Either she does tell him, in which case, it is possible that he will shoot the messenger, or she doesn't tell him him, in which case, he will feel betrayed when he does learn the truth. I can't wait to see where this story is going; I really can't, and at this point, I really do think that it is more than safe to assume that at the end of episode 2.08, "August," September was talking about Olivia, not Ella, when he said that it was a shame that things were about to get so hard for her.

I have read a great deal of word in regards to the remainder of this season, and if you're someone who likes to stay completely spoiler-free, then I suggest that you don't read this final paragraph. Okay, well, firstly, as a lot of you probably already know, the returning episode airing on Thursday, April 1st is called “Peter,” and the episode will dive into his back story and show us how he died in this universe and how Walter stole him from the alternate universe (click this link to see a promo, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Weo6YPrHYMQ). There is also a sneak peek that has been released (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXVBQYOawbM&feature=PlayList&p=F095C30B074A851E&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=3) that reveals to us both that Nina knows about Peter's origins and has been keeping it secret from him as well as everyone else and how Nina lost her arm, which certainly is not to cancer.
Additionally, a few key elements of these last eight episodes have been revealed by the producers of the show. Firstly, Smallville's Kristin Kreuk might be guest-starring on an upcoming episode titled “Northwest Passage” (I don't watch Smallville and don't know who that is, but hey, it's fresh in Fringe news). Secondly, it has been mentioned not so quietly that Oliver's relationship will indeed grow and develop further. Thirdly, it has also been mentioned that we have not seen the last of Jessup, nor have we seen the last of (are you ready for this one) none other than William Bell (Leonard Nimoy), who will apparently experience an epic confrontation with Walter in the season finale. All right, well, that's all that I have for now. “Jacksonville” gets nine and a half creepy little Olives from me, and until next time, stay on the fringe. The final eight episodes of the season have been described as a “rollercoaster,” so be sure to hold on tightly.