I definitely prefer "6:02 AM EST" to this episode because I feel like a lot of hype was built up for this episode before it aired, and the episode simply doesn't live up to the hype. Yes, we get some answers, but while I expected to discover everything there is to know about Sam Weiss, we don't find out everything there is to know. For example, am I the only one bothered by the fact that in "6:02 AM EST," Nina tells Olivia that Sam told her that the fate of their universe would depend on which Olivia Peter picks, and then, Olivia never questions him about that in this episode? We still don't understand why Sam said that, or if he was telling the truth, and I have a feeling that if we ever do see Sam again, it won't be for a good while. Sam did not write the manuscript, which is disappointing. I would not have written Sam's story this way; I would have written it so that Sam was a First Person and found a way to use soul magnets to keep moving from body to body. How do we know that is the last, though? I was really expecting him to die, and although I am glad that he didn't, the episode title is definitely a bit misleading, because as of now, he might not be the last. He is the last as in the final but is not the last as in the final, not definitively, anyway.
I also find it interesting how Sam feels guilty for having intervened, because apparently, he is not supposed to intervene, which is frustrating. I really was expecting to have all of my questions regarding Sam answered, and they definitely were not answered, and it's frustrating that Olivia doesn't push him when he makes cryptic statements such as this one. Why can't he intervene? Who said that he can't intervene? What consequences does intervention have? It reminds me a lot of the Observers, since they are not supposed to intervene, even though they seemingly do intervene. Also, how does he know where the key would be? Who put that there, and why? Did one of his ancestors put the key there? If all along, Sam knew that that key would be essential, why did he wait so long to take action? Is it because, as he tells Olivia, he is not supposed to intervene? At this point, I have seen the season finale, so I don't want to say too much, because I would rather wait to talk about the finale. All I will say is that while Sam is not in the finale at all, we learn who the First People are, and it completely wrecks my theory regarding the soul magnets, anyway. I don't like how they wrote Sam's story but like how they explained who the First People are, which, interestingly enough, are in conflict with one another.
Regarding the museum scene, though, why would the museum director allow Olivia and Sam to do what they do, go into the museum and take an artifact? Did Olivia simply have to say that what she is doing is classified, and that was that? How is all that is going on explained to the public? I wouldn't imagine that the public is aware of the parallel universe, because after all, the public on the Other Side is not aware of the parallel universe, and it's a lot worse over there. How do they explain the amber to the public? I love the scene during which Olivia and Sam need to get out of the museum because the lightning strikes are getting really bad, and Sam intricately stops a gate from closing on them by rolling something to cause a jam, and when Olivia expresses stunned amazement, Sam says, "I work in a bowling alley." That is a great line, and I'm sure that under different circumstances, Olivia may have found it funny (we have previously seen her lighten up around him) but not now. This is definitely a very Olivia-centric episode, but overall, I would still argue that despite what Josh Jackson said at the beginning of the season about this being "the Year of Olivia," I would say that this season has definitely been more about Peter than it has been about Olivia. So far, Season 1 was Olivia's season, for sure.
Now, we know that both Peter and Olivia have a connection to the machine, but why? I really love that in this episode, we see some parallels to season 1. For example, Walter mentions David Robert Jones, and we finally find out what the "lightbox" was and why ZFT was using it on their subjects. Additionally, Olivia is very reluctant to believe that she is capable of getting the typewriter to work, which is consistent, seeing as how Jones does tell her in season 1 that it's expected that Cortexiphan soldiers will be unwilling. However, as much as I love the idea that Olivia, much like Peter, is tied to the machine in some way, we still don't fully understand why, and my fear is that we won't for a good long time because I fear that the series will not explore this for a while. Olivia can apparently bend energy with her mind, which Sam identifies as telekinesis, something that surprisingly, he doesn't seem to have known already. It's really nice, as well, to have more or less discovered how the typewriter works, and I am so glad that the “quantum entanglement” story of “6B” (3.14) has not been dismissed, as I feared that it would be. I love how the writers plant seeds like that, and sooner or later, I think that we are going to realize that many seeds were planted a long time ago, seeds that we didn't even know were being planted.
In this episode, Walter encourages Olivia as she tries to get the typewriter to work, and I love what he says. “I wish you could see yourself the way I see you,” he says. “You have no idea how extraordinary you are.” I think that this really helps demonstrate the difference between Walter and Walternate, not that we really need help seeing that difference, and I love how he refers to Astrid as Ostrich, something that I didn't catch until the second time I watched the episode. He is definitely very negative during other scenes of the episode, but I can't really blame him for that, because, after all, he doesn't have a whole lot of reason for hope, since the situation isn't looking too swell. I wonder, however, what happened to wanting to reconstruct his missing brain cells. Did he simply give up on that idea when he had Bell as a lab partner? After discovering that Bell's consciousness was inside of Olivia's body, did he figure that, instead of reconstructing his brain cells, he would simply secure Bell's help? If so, then why don't we see very much interaction between Walter and Bell regarding the Weapon? I am just kind of disappointed that that story was thrown away, because I was expecting Walter to regrow some of his missing brain cells and become more like Walternate, something that would have likely had tragic results, which is not what I wanted, but I think that it would have made a great story.
Peter is confused throughout much of the episode, apparently thinking that he was on the Other Side, and that is a bit confusing. Is it that some sort of scientific event caused him to temporarily be the Peter that would have existed “over there” had Walter never taken him, or is it simply that the concussion confused him? He knows that the situation “over there” is worse than it is here, so maybe waking up and seeing the electrical storm caused him to think that he was on the Other Side. I was really expecting the cab driver to be Henry and was kind of disappointed that it was not Henry, but maybe Henry is not a cab driver in the Blueverse, if he even exists at all, for that matter. The electrical storms are pretty epic, and I wonder if they happened “over there.” Vortexes happened “over there,” and so did the Blight, so it stands to reason that severe electrical storms did, as well, or, for that matter, do. I would really like to know more about the Redverse and really hope that we will indeed learn more about it and its problems next season, because we definitely do not know as much about life “over there” as we do about life here. Just how severe can the fringe events get, and are they glimpses of what will happen here eventually? I think that that has more or less been confirmed, but I would really like to know if the Other Side experienced such severe electrical storms, and I would really like to know more about the Other Side's history.
When Olivia finally does get the typewriter to work, it seems that it is Olivia having concentrated on the sentence “Be a better man than your father” that gets it to work, and I wonder why that is what it gets it to work. Could it have been any phrase, and that's simply the one that happened to work? Why does the typewriter start working when it does, when Olivia is not around it? Is it that it needed Peter and Olivia together in order to work? I remember two years ago, when fans theorized about Peter and Olivia having some sort of connection after having seen “Bad Dreams” (1.17). Olivia, in her mind, is living as Nick Lane, and Walter tells Peter to comfort her. I personally didn't think much of it, but there were fans that suggested that it indicated some sort of connection between them, and now, it's plain to see that they might have been right, since there is a connection between them, and maybe that is what Sam meant when he said that whether or not their universe would survive would depend on which Olivia Peter would choose, since the Weapon apparently needed the both of them to operate. What doesn't make any sense about the Weapon, though, is that it is operative on this side even though the other Olivia stole a piece of it. I thought that the purpose of stealing that was so that we could not use ours, and seemingly, Walternate didn't even take that into account.
I am so happy that Olivia finally says “I love you” to Peter, but, of course, he doesn't say “I love you” back, which is annoying, and the expression on her face seems to indicate that she is waiting for it, too, which is really sad. When Peter makes his way to the Weapon, I really love how we see the flashback sequence, but it is obviously merely intended for us and is not intended to be something that he is actually seeing, because it shows a glimpse of the scene at the end of “The Plateau” (3.03), during which Peter kisses Olivia while she is “over there” thinking that she is the other Olivia, something that obviously did not actually happen. I love it, though, because it has such great sentimental value to us. It kind of makes sense now why the drawing of Peter depicts him with fire coming out of his eyes, because it was intended to depict him seeing an apocalyptic future, and the drawing of Olivia, which we see for the first time in this episode, was intended to depict her using her ability to bend energy to manipulate the Weapon so that it would allow Peter inside of it. I really like this episode, but because I did not receive some answers that I was expecting to have received, I give the episode 8.5 Lightning Bolts, something that you will recognize as a respectable but not exceptional Bunsen Burner rating if you know me and how I rate Fringe episodes. Obviously, there will be more to talk about discussing the season finale, but until then, stay on the fringe.