"Over There" (part 2) - season finale

As always, I warn those who have not seen this episode of Fringe yet to not read any further, as this does contain spoilers. This finale is mind-blowing, like the first part, and I give it ten secret herbs and spices. Something that now comes to mind after having seen the season two finale is the ending of episode 2.03, "Fracture." I don't think that it was our Walter that the Observers were watching, that was said to be dangerous; I think that it was Walternate, and speaking of "Walternate," I find it very odd that the nickname doesn't ring a bell for Olivia when Bell brings it up, since Walter surely uses the nickname when he tells her the story of Peter's origin in episode 2.15, "Peter," but maybe he didn't, or if he did, then maybe she forgot. Last week, I wondered if the nurses at the hospital who attend to Walter when he collapses would recognize him as their Secretary of Defense, and this week clarifies that they did indeed. They recognized him as Walter Bishop, their Secretary of Defense, and Bolivia, obviously confused by this, mentions it to Walternate. Something that I find rather odd is that Peter doesn't immediately refer to Walternate as "dad." He refers to him as "Mr. Secretary," and that is to be expected; even though Walternate is really Peter's father, Peter doesn't know him as his father, and that is exactly what leads me to my point, which is what I find odd. Before Olivia and Peter finally kiss, he then refers to him as "my father." Why the sudden change, I wonder, especially considering the fact that he just discovered that his father has fatal plans for him?

I find it so funny when Bell tells Olivia that on the Other Side, the Fringe Team answers to Walter, and she is shocked, repeating his name incredulously. Then, when Olivia goes to Walter's hospital room and Walter wants to make sure that Olivia really is Olivia, she says, "Come on, Walter, we don't have time for this," and Walter, relieved, says, "It
is you; that's wonderful." Olivia proceeds to ask Walter if he can walk, and he says, "I can dance if you like. They have absolutely fabulous drugs here." This was an incredibly dark (no pun intended) episode, so a little humor every now and then has its use, as does the recent episode "Brown Betty" (2.19). I am so angry with Peter, though, for saying what he says to Bolivia, which is that he likes her hair better. I could have killed him. Anyway, something that I noticed about Bolivia is that she doesn't tend to use contractions very often; she's very militant. For example, when Walternate confirms that he didn't tell Bolivia that the "invaders" would be them, she responds with, "No, sir, you did not." She stands, walks and talks like a soldier, which demonstrates that Fringe Division on the Other Side is much more organized and much more "official," if you will, which makes a lot of sense. We have seen, in Boston, the effects of Quarantines, so the need for Fringe Division would be much greater on the Other Side, as Fringe events are a lot more obvious. Now, it makes sense why Olivia sees Boston on fire in "The Road Not Taken" (1.19), but the question is, why did Boston need to be Quarantined? Who was crossing over? Bell, perhaps?

The KFC scene makes it bluntly clear that Olivia, Walter and Bell are eating KFC, which is definitely pure product placement, especially considering the fact that there were KFC commercials during the breaks. During this scene, Bell says to Walter, "We've accomplished a lot together, Walter, but she may be our greatest achievement," which, of course, is in reference to Olivia. I love this quote and I also hate this quote. My reasons for loving it should be quite obvious; it's memorable. However, I also hate it, because even after Olivia gives him a piece of her mind in episode 2.04, "Momentum Deferred" (which actually happens right in between "There's More than One of Everything" and "A New Day in the Old Town"), he still says something that suggests that he sees her as a successful experiment and not a human being. He speaks like exactly what he is, which is a zealous scientist. I find it interesting how on the Other Side, Charles Lindbergh either didn't have a son or his son was never taken from him, since Bolivia doesn't know what Peter is talking about when he compares himself to the "Lindbergh baby." Peter tells Bolivia that Olivia is "a lot like you," with which I wholeheartedly disagree, but I think that the striking differences between the two have already been discussed in detail. Peter, obviously in love, says in admiration that Olivia is "always trying make up for something, right some imaginary wrong. Haunted, I guess," and Bolivia's stoic response is difficult to interpret. I don't know what she thinks of that, but considering the fact that she later tells Olivia that she is nothing like her, perhaps, like me, she disagrees.

So, apparently, Bell likes Twizzlers, too. Perhaps, he is the one who caused Walter to love them so much. Walter eats them while he conducts autopsies, and Bell eats them while he drives. I guess that Twizzlers are a good multitasking candy. During this scene, we finally see what the Blight looks like, and it's horrendous, incredibly depressing, actually. There seems to be no plant life whatsoever, and the area around Harvard is encased in amber, much like the bus in episode 1.03, "The Ghost Network." Perhaps, the amber encasement is not a result of the Boston Blight but a cause of it. Perhaps, what we see in "The Ghost Network" is an experiment, a way to find out whether or not the gas would work, and when it was discovered that it would, someone crossed over to the Other Side and attacked Boston, using the gas, and that is what caused Fringe Division to Quarantine the area, thereby causing the Blight. If so, then I was right, since quite a while ago, I speculated that the Blight was a result of attacks being made on this side, whereas most people disagreed with me and said that it was a result of the Other Side's technology destroying their environment, and it's looking more like I was right, not that I intend to gloat. I do find pleasure in being right, though. I suppose, however, that it could be a combination of both; breaches cause a need for Quarantines, and Quarantine technology causes Blights.

The scene between Walter and Bell in the alter-lab is amazing and is very emotional. I was aware of this confrontation for quite some time, as it was revealed weeks upon weeks ago that the two characters would confront one another in the finale, and as I assumed it would be, it is amazing. Walter, obviously having remembered what Bell did to him (which answers the question as to whether the final scene of episode 2.10, "Grey Matters," is a flashback or a memory), demands to know why Bell removed pieces of his brain, and Bell attempts to avoid the subject. Bell insists that starting Massive Dynamic was not his idea, which begs the question as to whose idea it
was. Walter also reveals that he has known that the Shapeshifters were designed by Bell, which kind of annoys me, because after that, it is not mentioned again, and that seems like a pretty big deal to me. It may be true that that did not confirm that Bell's loyalties have been elsewhere, since he tells Walter that he couldn't blow his cover, that he had to do whatever was necessary in order to earn Walternate's trust, but still, he had a hand in creating the monsters that we have seen throughout this entire season. Like I said, that is a big, if not enormous, deal, and it also annoys me that Walter has not shared this hunch with the team. Also, if Walternate was not successful when he attempted to cross universes, then how come Walter and Bell are? What do they do differently? Is it because they have Olivia? All the same, I got the sense that their efforts to take Peter back to this side brought back the old days for them; after so many years, they were lab partners again.

Another epic confrontation between two characters is that between Olivia and Bolivia. It is a bit comic, because for most of the physical fight, neither of them get anywhere, and that is because they are technically the same person, the same person who has simply led two different lives. It therefore stands to reason that they would have the same intelligence and combat skills. I love how Scarlie tells Olivia that he feels obsolete, which is intended to be reminiscent of the epic speech that he gives in the pilot episode, in which he says, "The truth is, we're obsolete." It's pretty funny when Peter shakes Scarlie's hand with a big smile on his face, saying "Pleased to meet you." Obviously, he has met him before, which is the irony behind it. Olivia, of course,
finally tells Peter that she loves him, and the two of them finally kiss, and I saw that coming as soon as she started trying to convince Peter to come back to this side. "You have to come back," she says, "because you belong with me." When Olivia and Peter meet up with Walter and Bell, I find it odd that they don't question why she now looks like Bolivia, but at any rate, this scene asks a pretty big question. Bell says to Peter, "You're holding up better than I would have thought," and Peter says, "What's a little universe hopping between friends?" Bell then says, "That's not what I meant," and Peter annoyingly doesn't press any further. Perhaps, Bell just meant emotionally, since Peter is obviously now aware of his origin. Plus, I would like to mention that Bell's 77 is amazing.

Near the end of the episode, it is finally revealed (sort of) why Bell removed pieces of Walter's brain. Bell tells Walter that he did it, because Walter asked him to do it "because of what you [Walter] were becoming." This asks a rather obvious question; what does Bell mean by this? What
was Walter becoming? Hopefully, we will find out in season three, but with Bell dead now, I don't know how. Then again, it's very likely that Nina knows. Anyway, I find it very odd that when Bolivia, Walter and Peter come back to this side, Broyles is still standing there. Was he standing there the whole time? At any rate, his "welcome back" was very comforting to me as the viewer, because I was ready to go "home," so to speak. The Other Side seemed so dark, and I thought that an excellent job of portraying the Other Side was done. The universes are very similar but also very different, but the differences got to the point where it vastly outweighed the similarities, and I was ready to come back to this side. Peter ultimately says to Walter that although he can't understand his point of view, he is trying, and the fact that "you [Walter] did cross universes twice to save my life" has to count for something, so I think that it is pretty clear that Peter will be able to forgive Walter. Much like she literally does in "Brown Betty" (2.19), Olivia figuratively mends Peter's broken heart, which is ultimately what convinces him to come back and is ultimately what convinces Peter to figuratively share his heart with Walter, like he literally does in "Brown Betty."

Moving on to the very end, the big revelation, I saw it coming, but my jaw still dropped. I saw it coming, but I didn't want to be right. I was praying to God that I was wrong, that Altlivia did
not switch places with Olivia in order to cross over to this side. However, I was right, and the way that it was set up made it rather obvious, in my opinion. I am now pretty sure the the typewriter communicates with Walternate, but, of course, we don't see what Bolivia's orders are, which disappointed me but didn't surprise me. Then again, doors need to be left open for the third season, so maybe I shouldn't say that it disappointed me. My guess, although it's probably rather obvious, is that she has been instructed to try to get Peter back, which would be kind of comical, in a sense, because it really would be a lot like a "Tug '0' War" battle, then. The final scene, anyway, shows us Olivia being kept in utter darkness, completely alone and obviously scared to death. This scene shows us that she is sobbing, begging to be let out of there, and I can't believe it. Are alternate versions of a person truly only slightly different? I don't think that Walter would do such a thing to a person. It is literally mental and emotional torture, and it's possibly physical torture, as well, since it's unclear as to whether or not she is being fed. I can't believe that we are left with this torment all summer long, worrying about our dear Olivia. I wonder if Walternate is trying to scare Olivia so that her abilities will be activated, though, and if so, why?

This episode raises even more questions, too. Bell says that they need Olivia to cross back to this side, and they are seemingly able to do it with Bolivia. Does this confirm that Bolivia was given Cortexiphan, as well? If not, then it at least has to confirm that she was given
something so that she could safely travel between the universes. If so, then she must not have been aware prior to receiving Walternate's instruction to switch places with Olivia, because we know that she wasn't aware of the existence of the Other Side until Walternate tells her in "Over There, Part 1" (2.21). It's rather obvious that the team will eventually find out that Bolivia is not their Olivia, but I wonder what it will take. Will she and Peter come close to having sex when Peter notices the tattoo on the back of her neck? Will she incidentally slip and say something that she shouldn't or perhaps not have knowledge that she should have? How will Olivia free herself from her pitch black prison? Will she right away, or is this a story that is going to be drawn out for a few episodes? I am hoping that Bolivia will not end up dead, because that would just be so convenient, and although I currently can't stand her, she causes a great deal of dramatic tension that gives the story an incredibly interesting dynamic. For obvious reasons, Peter doesn't have an alternate on the Other Side, and if the same were true of Olivia, I would simply not be okay with that. This season, a shapeshifter pretended to be Charlie (obviously), and that story was resolved within four episodes, one of which Gnarlie doesn't even appear. I am hoping that this story is not handled the same way. Although I want Olivia out of that cell, I don't want Bolivia to be compromised right away, and I certainly don't want her dead.

We don't see Sam Weiss in the finale, but there are two major clues in this episode that pertain to him. First of all, the glyphs spell out WEISS, and second of all, during the scene between Walter and Bell in the alter-lab, a message is written on the chalkboard. The message says, "A demon's twist rusts." I did not discover this myself (I instead read it online), but this is an anagram of "Don't trust Sam Weiss." I don't think that this is speaking to anyone except us, the viewers. David Wu of the Fringemunks has a very interesting theory, one that I'm liking more and more. He thinks that Weiss is really Bell from the Other Side, who is pretending to be whoever this Weiss dude is. Let's not forget what Bell says in this episode. He tells Walter that it
seems as if the Bell from the Other Side was killed in a car accident as a young man, and a "car accident" is always the lie, the cover-up story. It was a cover-up story in Alias, and it has been a cover-up story twice so far inFringe, the first of which being Walter having told Peter that his mother died in a car accident when she really committed suicide and the second of which being the story that Walter told Peter about the "ice incident," if you will. At any rate, I don't believe Bell, regardless of what did happen. Weiss could potentially be a spy, just like this Bell was. I am hoping that in the third season, we will finally found out how he conducts the business card trick in "Dream Logic" (2.05).

Season two has been quite a journey. It has had some disappointing moments (one of which was just discussed) but even more rewarding moments. Amongst the disappointing moments are lack of any mention of Jones, ZFT or the Pattern, and the ratio of "stand-alone" episodes to "mytharc" episodes is much higher than that of season one, since "Night of Desirable Objects" (2.02), "Dream Logic" (2.05), "Earthling" (2.06), "Snakehead" (2.09), "Johari Window" (2.11) and "What Lies Below" (2.12) are all "stand-alone" episodes, some more so than others, whereas "The No-Brainer" (1.12) is the only season one episode that I would consider a "stand-alone" episode. Another disappointment is that at the end of "What Lies Below," Astrid is clued in to the fact that Peter is from the Other Side, but then, there is no follow-up. We never see her initial reaction when she discovers the truth. Once again, Astrid has been used as a tool but has had very little development of her character, which is incredibly frustrating. Another disappointment that season two brings is Jessup. She is uncannily in the first two episodes but then doesn't return, which is beyond annoying. I recently read that we haven't seen the last of Jessup, and I hope not. Her appearance in the first two episodes annoys me, especially since she is seen connecting Fringe events to the Bible.

Overall, though, season two is exponentially better than season one. The mythology is more complex, and the character arcs as well as the character development (for
most of the characters) is more intense. The season finale is better, and Anna Torv has grown as an actress on such a level that I can't even describe. I was surprised to learn that Walternate is the Secretary of Defense on the Other Side. When Newton calls him Mr. Secretary at the end of "The Man from the Other Side" (2.18), I assumed that it was a codename or something to that effect. I do have hopes and expectations for season three, though. Firstly, I want Jones to at least be mentioned. Seeing him again (I am aware that it would have to be alter-Jones) would be awesome, but even a mentioning would be nice. I still don't fully understand how he was able to blast himself through the wall of his hospital room in "Ability" (1.14). I am also hoping for more information regarding ZFT, what its purpose is exactly and why it kills people on this side. Loeb tells Olivia that Jones is just a part of the army, yet after his death, ZFT attacks seemed to stop. I would also like the story involving Olivia's stepfather to come into play. Season three premieres on Thursday, September 23rd at 9/8c, and I am really looking forward to it; this summer is going to be incredibly painful.

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