"One Night in October" (4.02)


We definitely get a couple of more answers from this episode than we do from the premiere, but we still don't get very many. We learn that the Machine created the Bridge, but that ultimately leads to more questions. How was the Machine capable of that without Peter? Was he not necessary in this timeline? If that's the case, then why was Peter necessary in the first place? The producers said that in this timeline, everything happened the same way except none of it involved Peter; that's why some of this timeline is the same and some is different, but Peter was directly linked to the Machine, so how did any of that happen? How could the Bridge even exist? We didn't learn to whom the new breed of Shapeshifters belong, but it was, at least, mentioned, which makes me happy. We learn that Redverse Olivia was not abused and, in fact, probably didn't even have a stepfather, and I say that based on her asking what happened to the stepfather; to me, the way that she asked suggested that she never had a stepfather. We also learn that Olivia, in this timeline, killed her stepfather instead of leaving him alive. Is this because of Peter?

Basically, we meet two versions of a man named John McClennan; the one from the Blueverse is a professor, and the one from the Redverse is a serial killer. The serial killer is abducting people and then performing a process that involves stealing their happy memories, since he, himself, is unhappy because he was seriously abused by his father when he was younger. The Redverse decides to bring Blueverse John over to the Redverse, not telling him, of course, where he is really going, so that he can go through the household of the Redverse version of himself and conduct a psychological profile. This is where the episode loses a point in my book, because it is simply a dumb, terrible idea, especially since photographs and other personal items are not first hidden. Redverse Olivia is kind of funny because she doesn't seem to take anything seriously; everything is a joke to her, such as when Blueverse Olivia tells her to button her jacket, which is especially why it's so funny when Blueverse John realizes that something is wrong, runs out of the house, and encounters Blueverse Olivia, realizing that there are two of them. That lack of seriousness is still detectable, but you can also sense shame.

It does sort of annoy me, too, that John seems to very easily accept the explanation that Blueverse Olivia gives him; don't get me wrong, as it is, obviously, the truth, but what a truth it is. He doesn't tell her that he doesn't believe her, and he doesn't seem to be in denial at all, which is a bit strange. I think that the general consensus is that Redverse Lincoln's father died during a Fringe-related event, so it's really interesting to me to see that he, like Blueverse Astrid, is open-minded; there doesn't seem to be any hostility at all where he is involved, as he and Blueverse Olivia seem to get along just fine. The two Olivias are still hostile toward one another, but I think that even that is calming a bit as they are getting more used to working together; they have a conversation about Blueverse Olivia's stepfather, and Redverse Olivia seems genuinely interested. Granted, that is understandable; if I had the chance to meet an alternate version of myself from a parallel universe, I would want to know how his life was different from mine. I love how Olivia remembers the license plate number on the tractor from the photograph of John's father, because we have been seeing that ability since the first season, and Redverse Olivia seems pretty amazed if you ask me.

Another reason that this episode doesn't receive my unconditional love, if you will, is because one scene, in particular, is not realistic at all. In broad daylight, with other people around, Redverse John is able to abduct the woman at the gas station when her daughter uses a bathroom. I am reminded of a similar scene in "Inner Child" (1.15), during which the Artist abducts a woman by stuffing her in his trunk while other people clearly would have seen what he had done. That is annoying, but I try to overlook such issues, because what's most important to me is that the writers are telling good stories and answering questions that they ask, and certainly if you count this as an answer, Charlie and Mona "Bug Girl" Foster (now Francis?) are now married, and as I have said before, I am so happy that Mona was not never to be mentioned again, because I think that most of us really liked her. I wonder, too, if Redverse Olivia is married, or soon to be married, to Frank, since he asked her to marry him and she said yes, and obviously, she never got pregnant. I'm thinking that she isn't married yet, or else it stands to reason that that would have been mentioned. Blueverse Olivia and Blueverse Astrid definitely seem to be a bit more sisterly, and, of course, Astrid's line that maybe Olivia's type doesn't exist is another stab at Peter.

Another reason why this is certainly not my favorite episode ever is the fact that John Noble is in so very little of it; in fact, Anna Torv and Seth Gabel dominate this episode, and don't get me wrong, they are both fantastic, but we are now two episodes into the season, and we have not seen Walternate. During the small amount of time that we do see Walter, we see that he is covering reflective surfaces, obviously because he fears seeing Peter. We also see that he is listening to the first movement of Mozart's Requiem as he is in some sort of subdued state from which he doesn't awaken until Astrid turns the music off, to which he angrily replies, "Do you have any idea what it cost Mozart to create that movement?" He is referring to Mozart's dwindling sanity and his eventual death, so it's very understandable why he would want to listen to that, as I think that there is an argument to be made that we listen not to music that makes us feel good but to music to which we can relate. I absolutely love how he refers to Lincoln as Kennedy, obviously confusing his presidents. Again, he seems to be getting Astrid's name right, but it's others' names that he is not remembering, such as Lincoln's and Tim's, his night guard. Astrid and Walter obviously don't have the same kind of relationship.

I do love how the case reflects the arc, since now, we are left to wonder how Blueverse John will be different now that he doesn't remember Marjorie, and obviously, people don't remember Peter; Broyles then says that he believes that people leave an indelible mark on your soul that can never be erased. Did anyone else notice the apple on the ground in John's memory of Marjorie? It looked very much like the apple glyph, but I doubt that it had any deep significance other than that. Another Easter Egg that I caught is Broyles telling Olivia that the John on the Other Side killed twenty-three victims, and "23" is one of the LOST numbers. At the very end of the episode, Walter hears Peter shouting for help, saying, "I'm right here." I think that he is "out of phase," if you will, begging to be remembered, which has to be torment. I also want to mention the title, since when I first read what the title was, I thought for sure that we were going to meet a new Observer, and I am disappointed that we didn't, but it seems that the title refers to how "one night in October," John ran away from his father, which had very different results depending on the universe. "One Night in October" is an average episode, and I give it 7.5 Maddening Requiems.

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