"The Man from the Other Side" (2.18)


Before I begin, I want to advise those who have not yet seen this episode of Fringe not to read any further, as this entry does contain spoilers. The first comment that I have to make is simply, wow. This is an incredible episode and deserves and receives ten adorable shapeshifter embryos. I am hoping that the season finale is going to be even better, and although you'd think that it naturally would be better, since it's the season finale, last year, I thought that “The Road Not Taken” (1.19) was better than the finale, “There's More than One of Everything” (1.20). I even think that this episode is better than last year's finale. However, if the finale will indeed be better than this episode, then we are in store for one heck of a thrill ride, because, as I said, I think that this one is a thrill ride. I am just so nervous that there are going to be senseless deaths, that they will senselessly kill Newton off just like they did Jones last year. I do have a lot of information about the finale, but I won't share it until the very end of this entry, in honor of those who wish to stay spoiler-free. What I will say now, though, is that due to the information that I have, my gut is definitely telling me that the finale will be even better than this episode. I will also speak briefly of next week's episode (“Brown Betty”) and the following episode (“Northwest Passage”), which are both going to be incredible, I think. There is a lot that confused me about this episode the first time that I watched it, and I'm still not sure if I fully understand everything, but all of that is to be discussed in this entry. Despite my minor confusions, though, like I said, this episode is epic on so many levels.

The kid near the beginning of the episode, who we discover is named Dave, is plain stupid. To put it bluntly, I would have run like hell, not try to poke the embryonic shapeshifter with a shovel. Like I said, that's just plain stupid. So, these two kids are chosen just because they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, but why do the embryos end up in that warehouse when they cross over? Is that warehouse significant somehow on the Other Side? Is it, perhaps, where shapeshifters are created? Why didn't the third shapeshifter develop properly? I love how shortly after the team begins its investigation, Olivia asks Walter if he has ever seen anything like it (the undeveloped embryo, that is, which they don't know at the time), and he says that he has, since it reminds him of a bean bag chair that he once owned in 1974, which clearly frustrates Olivia. She then, much to my satisfaction, makes a connection to the nurse, and it's clearly difficult for her to say Charlie's name, which is so heartbreaking. I didn't understand the signal interference, though. I understand that the signal came from the Other Side, but why? What caused that to happen? I understand that it happened right around the same time that the shapeshifters crossed over and that it's therefore connected to that, but does this happen every time that a shapeshifter crosses over? Was it intended for Newton so that he would know what time the universes would be in sync? Why is time slightly out of sync between the two realities? Does it have to do with the fact that the two universes vibrate at different frequencies? Does this mean that when one crosses over, he or she is technically time-traveling, too?

How does the unnamed “female” shapeshifter get away with killing McAlister? The two of them are outside of a bank in broad daylight where a good amount of people would clearly witness a killing. Anyway, Astrid tells Peter that “Walter's convinced Newton wants to build a door to the Other Side,” and I don't understand what her reasoning is for saying this. Don't they know this already? That's why Newton naps Walter in “Grey Matters” (2.10), and Olivia reiterates it in “Jacksonville” (2.14) by saying that that is why the two buildings collided. We get an answer in this episode that was very difficult to receive, which is how Elizabeth Bishop died. She couldn't bear the guilt of having taken Peter from the Other Side, and she therefore took her own life, which is so tragic. Also, in this episode, Walter and Astrid once again say something in unison, which is that as they say in Finland, “there's more than one way to roast a reindeer.” They are so unbelievably adorable. My friend Sam, with whom I watched this episode on television, said that if Walter were a lot younger or Astrid a lot older, the two of them would make an awesome couple, and I had to laugh. What would those shippers be known as, Wastrids? I'm just going to say that it is most likely safe to assume that we aren't ever going to have to worry about finding out.

The scene in which the embryonic shapeshifter is brought to life is one of my three favorite scenes in the episode (the other two being the bridge scene and the hospital scene); it is incredibly creepy, and the lights purposely go out to add to that factor. I made the connection, as did David Wu (who is oddly featured in this episode), to
LOST, because the creature says “help me” much like Jacob (or whoever that was) does in episode 3.20, “The Man Behind the Curtain.” I would like to point out, though, that I find it odd how the team just happens to have candles and lighters right on hand; it seems a little too convenient for me. What makes this scene especially weird and creepy, though, is that the embryonic shapeshifter holds Walter's hand and apologizes, which is a big part of the reason why I think that the man from the Other Side, Mr. Secretary, is Walternate, although William Bell, alter-Jones and alter-Charlie briefly crossed my mind. I remain convinced, though, that it is Walternate who was brought over. Another reason that I find this episode to be incredibly heartbreaking is because, for the first time, Peter finally calls Walter “dad.” He says, “I want you to get some rest, dad.” I just about lost it during this scene, because Walter is incredibly nervous, and Peter comforts him and then calls him “dad,” and I obviously knew what was coming later in the episode. “We're going to figure it out just like we always do,” he says with a smile, which just wrenches my heart.

Now, I am not responsible for making this connection (the credit goes to someone in the
Fringe Podcast chatroom, and I unfortunately can't remember who), but, as has been briefly mentioned previously, it is discovered in this episode that the two universities vibrate at different frequencies, and so does the Beacon from episode 1.04, “The Arrival.” Is this related somehow? Does the arrival of the beacon have something to do with the Other Side? The last time, as far as is known, that a/the Beacon made an arrival was in 1987, which is two years after Walter opened up the doorway to save Peter, so it would make sense if the Beacon is related to the Other Side. It must somehow be traveling between the realities. Anyway, something that I am wondering is if Newton faked his death in order to get into the morgue because he knew he couldn't get Verona after Verona was apprehended by the FBI. He must have discovered that the FBI brought Verona in very quickly, because the scene directly after the FBI apprehends Verona is the scene in which Newton fakes his death. Either that's poor transition or I missed something. It isn't too long before the team discovers where Newton is planning to make his exchange, and Olivia realizes that it would make perfect sense for Newton to make the exchange on a bridge, since all of the water underneath the bridge would absorb the excess energy, and the look on Peter's face is priceless. It's like the look on his face asks, “How do you know that?” and the look on Walter's face is one of pure shame, because, obviously, he knows how Olivia knows that.

I would like to say how loud I cheered when when Olivia shoots the cop directly in the head, only for us to see that the two cops are really shapeshifters (which I, along with Sam, kind of surmised, anyway). Wow, she is damn good, as we have seen time and time again. She immediately realized that they weren't really cops when one of them grabbed his cell phone to call his “sergeant,” because she knows that cops don't call their sergeants on their cell phones. During the scene on the bridge that follows, there is very little dialogue, which I think makes the scene even more effective and, as this episode as a whole is, epic. What I don't understand, though, is why they would allow Peter to stay on the bridge. They couldn't have known that he wouldn't be affected due to the fact that he's from the Other Side. Walter may have, since he seemed incredibly nervous, but there's one of two reasons for that. Either he didn't know that Peter would not be affected and therefore feared that he would disintegrate like the FBI agent does, or he knew that Peter would not be affected and therefore feared that Peter would find out that way. Regardless, though, Peter obviously does find out, and I have to discuss this scene, because it is beyond epic. It honestly made me cry, because much like I do at the end of “The Road Not Taken” (1.19) when Olivia approaches Walter and bashes him for his involvement in the Cortexiphan trials, I just want to hug Walter and tell him that everything is going to be okay, even though I don't know whether or not that it will be okay.

When Peter wakes up, he sees Olivia standing there saying, “Welcome back.” What I don't understand, though, is that even though he is scowling at first, he then smiles, and his smile seems to be genuine. One could argue that since he obviously has feelings for Olivia, it is a genuine smile, but he is still smiling after Olivia leaves and Walter enters (completely giddy that Peter is okay, which makes what happens next even more difficult to watch). However, after Walter enters the room, Peter's smile quickly fades, so maybe the smile is just because he still has Olivia on his mind. Based on this scene, it wouldn't seem as if Peter has realized yet that Olivia has known and has kept it from him, so maybe he doesn't have any ill feelings toward Olivia quite yet, but I think that he will once he realizes that she has kept it from him, which I think he will realize. Anyway, this scene, especially since, as previously mentioned, this is the first time that Peter calls Walter “dad,” is heartbreaking and incredibly difficult to watch. I remember reading that John Noble said that the scene was difficult even to film, so I was expecting it to be heartbreaking, and boy, it sure is. I teared up when Peter says to Walter, “I am
not your son!” Walter, shaken and teary-eyed, leaves Peter alone at Peter's request and then, looking back at Peter one more time through the window of his hospital room, leaves. I swear, I choke up every single time I watch this scene. This is the third time that Fringe has made me cry, the other two times being the aforementioned scene between Olivia and Walter near the end of “The Road Not Taken” (1.19) and a great deal of “Peter” (2.15).

What doesn't make any sense to me, though, is why the vibrations don't affect people from the Other Side, why they don't affect Peter. Maybe that is something that will be explained later, because I would really like to know. Plus, my understanding is that Newton was trying to exchange something, so what did he send to the Other Side? Now, the very last part of this episode involves two very short scenes, the first being the scene between Newton and Mr. Secretary and the second being the scene in which Olivia tells Walter that Peter is missing. I've talked about the first scene, as well my reasons for believing that Mr. Secretary is Walternate, already, so I'll move right along to the final scene of the episode. Walter insists on either being driven or calling a cab to the hospital at six in the morning, obviously because he needs to see Peter, either to try talking to him again or to merely ensure that he is okay. Then, however, Olivia arrives and tells Walter that Peter has checked himself out of the hospital and is not answering his cell phone, which causes Walter to start crying, and this is how the episode ends. I have very good reason to believe that Peter is up to no good, but as promised, I am not going to share that reason just yet, because I want to honor those who wish to stay spoiler-free, so if you're one of those individuals, then I appreciate your readership. Please, keep reading, and, in the meantime, I wish you farewell. As far as everyone else is concerned, though, this is everything that I know about the rest of the season.

Next week, obviously, is “Brown Betty” (originally titled “Overture”), a musical episode that will take place inside Walter's mind as he tells Ella a story, a story that takes place in the 1940s. The week after that is an episode titled “Northwest Passage,” and what I understand of this episode is that Walter is struggling with the possibility of returning to St. Claire's while Peter tries to find Newton. Now, I think that Peter will try to find Newton for one of two reasons. Either he'll simply want to ask him for help returning to where he belongs, or he will intend to join Newton and become a “bad guy.” The episode after that is the first part of the finale, and then, finally, on May 20th, season two will come to a close with the second part of the finale, titled “Over There.” In the finale, Olivia and Walter (and possibly Astrid) will cross over to the Other Side where they will meet their alter-selves (which is the
only reason why I am throwing alternate ideas in the air as to who Mr. Secretary is); also, Walter and Bell will finally face an epic confrontation, and lastly, Kirk Acevedo might return to reprise his role as Charlie; yes, that's what I said. The fact that Walter and Olivia will cross over, though, is why I say that it's possible that Peter will go there; that might be why Olivia and Walter cross over. I also know that it is likely that Bell will die, since Leonard Nimoy has retired, and it is also likely that someone else will die, too, someone important, but I don't know who. I am very excited, and in the meantime, stay on the fringe.

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