"Novation" is a great episode, but I was hoping for some more answers. I can't say that I was totally expecting a whole lot of answers, but I am disappointed that we didn't get more. I'm still not making much sense out of this. Why wasn't he expecting that people wouldn't remember him? Where has he been all of this time? If you have read the recently released second chapter of "Peter and the Machine" from the BEYOND THE FRINGE series, then you know that there are some contradictions, since, in that comic, Peter seems to both know that he is going to be obliterated from existence and know why. I was really hoping that in this episode, Peter would explain where he's been all this time. Since the first episode of this season, Walter has been seeing Peter, and that got to the point at which he was even hearing him beg for help. Is Peter aware of that? Does he have these memories? If so, he shouldn't have been surprised that Olivia didn't know who he was at the end of "Subject 9" (4.04). Peter says to Walter that Walter told him that only he, himself, could activate the Machine but that when he did, there would be consequences, so did he not know what those consequences would be? Based on that comic, I would say that he probably did.
Near the very beginning of the episode, I said that, most likely, they would think that Peter is from a third universe, and sure enough, Walter does suggest that that is a possibility. Peter seems to come to the realization that when he didn't die, he became a paradox, and now, for the two worlds to heal, he had to be deleted. He doesn't, however, understand how or why he's back, and neither do I. I also don't understand, like I said, why he seems to arrive at this realization for the first time when we know from chapter 2 of the "Peter and the Machine" comic that he already has arrived at that realization, but maybe he doesn't have those memories anymore. By the end of the episode, Walter thinks that Peter was sent to tempt him. By whom does he think Peter was sent? God, possibly? I love the "neither are you" line at the end of the episode, too, because I think that it is an intentional reference to a "The Man from the Other Side" (2.18). In this episode, Walter says that the boy that drowned in the lake was not his son, and "neither are you," and in "The Man from the Other Side" (2.18), Peter discovers that he's from the Other Side, and he bitingly says that "I am not your son" to Walter, and it was obvious that this really hurt Walter. This time, the table has turned, and it's obvious that Peter is now hurt.
Olivia is very protective of Walter. She tells Peter that she won't allow him to upset Walter any longer, and this tells me that she has really taken Peter's place as Walter's guardian. I am reminded of "The No-Brainer" (1.12) when Jessica Warren wants to talk to Walter about her daughter, Carla Warren, and Peter doesn't want to allow her to talk to him, saying that he won't allow her to upset him. Now, Peter is Jessica Warren, and Olivia is Peter. In this episode, we also learn why Walter has been so angry with Nina. Nina, just like in the old timeline, tried to stop Walter from crossing over, which caused him to trip and break the small vial of the cure that he had for Peter, which caused him to take Peter back to the Blueverse where he fell through the ice and died. Therefore, he has blamed Nina for what happened, and in this episode, he finally comes to terms with the fact that what happened is his own fault. I am, however, led back to the question of why September didn't choose not to intervene when he interrupted Walternate when Walternate was about to find the cure. Wouldn't it stand to reason that he would know that not saving Peter would cause Walternate to be even angrier, since his son died? Not interrupting Walternate when he was about to find the cure would have possibly meant that Walter never would have crossed over, and none of this would have happened.
When Peter realizes that September never pulled him out of the lake that night, Astrid, on the other side of the glass, asks, "What's an Observer?" We already knew that they had probably never encountered the Observers before, because in a scene that must have been cut from the premiere episode (since it was only in promos), Olivia walks by September and January and says, "Excuse me," without displaying even a hint of recognition, and this is when the Observers realize that the Fringe Division team no longer knows who the Observers are. Maybe, this is how it's supposed to be; like the Adjustment Bureau, no one is ever supposed to know of their existence. I also think it could have to do with the fact that the Observers are not bound by time and space like we are, so since they had dealings with the old timeline, they have never had dealings with this timeline; for example, August is more than likely still dead. Another reason that this episode disappoints me a bit is that we don't see how the Observers react to all of this. In the premiere episode, December says that they (meaning the Fringe Division team) can never know that the boy lived to be a man, and now, Peter is back, trying to convince them of just that, that as far as he's concerned, he didn't die as a young boy. I want to see what their plan is now. Will they discover that September played a role, and if so, will he be somehow reprimanded?
In this episode, we find out for sure that Nina did take care of Olivia and Rachel, but I think that that was already a safe bet to make. We just don't fully understand the circumstance; all we can safely assume is that it probably has to do with the fact that Olivia killed her stepfather, but we don't know how that happened. My previous theory was that since Olivia never had that conversation with Peter in the white tulip field, she never told Walter that she was being abused, and Walter never threatened her stepfather, so he continued to abuse her until she had enough rage in her to fire that extra shot. She first tells the stepfather story in "The Cure" (1.06), and she tells Peter that she wishes that she would have fired an extra shot to kill him; maybe, in this timeline, she did fire that extra shot, all because she never had that conversation with Peter in the white tulip field. However, while I still strongly believe that that is plausible, someone on Twitter posited a different theory that I absolutely love; she said that Peter never calmed her down in the white tulip field, so when she went home that night, she set her stepfather on fire, and that's how she killed him. I really like that theory. In fact, it could account for why she went to live with Nina, because maybe, she didn't just kill her stepfather; maybe, she accidentally killed her mother, too, by setting the house afire.
Something that hasn't changed since season 1, though, is that I don't fully trust Nina. I think that she does recognize Malcolm Trust's name and that that is why she says that the name doesn't ring a bell, since she knew that William Bell had been involved. Then, all of a sudden, she remembers him when she sees his photograph, and this is too reminiscent of something that happens in "Ability" (1.14). Olivia mentions Cortexiphan to Nina, and Nina replies the exact same way, that Cortexiphan doesn't ring a bell, and when she looks it up on her highly technological handheld device, all of a sudden, she knows what it is and explains to Olivia that it was based on a theory that William Bell posited, a theory that said that children are born without any mental limitations but that limitations expanded as they got older and that Cortexiphan was designed to prohibit such limitations from presenting themselves. We now know that Nina was definitely aware of the Cortexiphan trials and that, for some reason, she was lying, pretending not to have ever heard of them. I think the same is true now, especially since she says that Trust's name doesn't ring a bell. I'd be interested to know what other fans think of that. I just think that we need to bring ourselves back to "The Dreamscape" (1.09), when Nina is clearly depicted as a potential enemy. We had episodes like that for a reason.
Also, not that this is all that important, but why is it that every time we see Nina in her office, her office is different? Don't get me wrong; I do understand that this is a different timeline, but this has always been the case; even in the old timeline, she always had a different office of a different color and different size. Maybe, she has multiple offices? Considering her high standing at Massive Dynamic, I think that that is very plausible. I just find it odd that Bell shut Trust's project down. Trust says that Bell said that some things are not ours with which to tamper, that some things, instead, are God's, and I have never thought Bell to be much of a religious man, let alone one to know too many boundaries. In fact, when Bell leaves his Massive Dynamic legacy to Walter, he leaves him a note that says, "Don't be afraid to cross the line." Based on what we know of the first series of comics, he was very different as a young man. Then, he was always hesitant and apprehensive to take risks, but as he got older, that changed, and it would seem as if somehow, Peter dying as a young child kept Bell in that way of thinking. This is a great way to make a transition into talking about who I think is in charge of the Shapeshifters 2.0; Darrell of The Fringe Podcast thinks that we are still dealing with Walternate, but that is just too easy and would be a major letdown and would be so anti-climatic. I think that we have more evidence against David Robert Jones.
To begin, Peter never lived to be a man in this timeline, which means that he couldn't have been at Reiden Lake to stop Jones from crossing over, which, mind you, he did at the very last minute, splitting Jones in half. In fact, I don't think that anyone was at Reiden Lake that night, because when Peter shows up there at the end of "Subject 9" (4.04), it doesn't ring any sense of familiarity for anyone other than Walter, so it stands to reason that Jones successfully crossed over that night and killed Bell. Jones used to be a Massive Dynamic employee, so that would explain how Nadine Park had so much inside information regarding Massive Dynamic, and it would also explain how she knew to look for Malcolm Trust. At the end of season 1, we learn that Jones held a grudge against Bell for firing him because he accepted that as a rejection of his importance, his legacy, if you will, and Nadine, in this episode, urges Trust to help her even after he learns that she is a Shapeshifter so that he can begin to take back what Bell took from him by shutting the project down - his legacy. This tells me that she is answering to someone who feels that way, feels that his legacy was taken away from him by Bell, and who else would that be? We also have to keep in mind how Jones looked the last time we saw him, so it could be that Jones wanted this project picked back up so that he could reverse his deformities.
Nadine also tells Trust that "one man shouldn't stand in the way of progress, not even William Bell," so again, I think that she is reflecting upon how she knows her "boss" feels. Also, if Jones crossed over, demanded to know of a way to reverse his deformities and then killed Bell, that could explain why Nina is the "acting C.E.O." of Massive Dynamic and not Walter. Bell may not have had the opportunity to leave a will saying that he wanted his legacy to be left to Walter. I am convinced that we are dealing with David Robert Jones, and I hope that I'm right, although I want people to remember Peter; I want the old timeline back, and if we get it back, then none of this will be a problem since Jones will be dead again and these Shapeshifters 2.0 will probably cease to exist, and I am interested in them, and I want to see Jones again, even though the context will obviously be disappointing; I would honestly rather see Redverse Jones, but at the same time, this will hopefully be a good way to explain how he was able to Hulk himself out of a hospital and how exactly the teleporter made him special. Walter says to Astrid in "Ability" (1.14) that the teleporter does something unthinkable to you but that it doesn't kill you, and then, in "There's More than One of Everything" (1.20), Jones, just before he dies, says that the teleporter may be killing him but that it has made him something special, so why the contradiction?
Peter tells the team that these new Shapeshifters can look like anyone that they have killed, not just the most recent person that they killed like the previous Shapeshifters, and since they are human hybrids, they don't have mercury blood so will be next to impossible to tell apart from humans. He hints that if a Shapeshifter infiltrated Fringe Division, they would never know it, and it surprises me that at that point, they don't start questioning whether or not he, himself, is a Shapeshifter, because honestly, even I did for a second even though I know better. Are we to be expecting that to eventually happen, for someone to infiltrate Fringe Division like one did in season 2, killing Charlie and then taking his place? I knew that the agent at the end of the episode was the Shapeshifter (in fact, I expected Olivia to be pushed off the roof), but they are now aware of that, and I think that Nadine just used that as an escape route, since she must have known that the body would be found. Something else that sort of disappoints me about this episode is that we have been told that when Peter would eventually come back into the fold, he would be different, not himself, and so far, I don't agree with that. He casually says, "Just like old times, sort of." He still has the same laid-back, carefree, macho demeanor, even now.
We only see him panic a couple of times in the episode, once when Walter leaves the room after Peter touches him and he begs for help and once near the end of the episode when Walter, once again, leaves, saying that he doesn't deserve the chance to see his son as an adult, especially, since, he is not his son, and Peter frantically says that Walter doesn't understand, but for the most part, he maintains his usual demeanor, stays calm even though he is imprisoned as a ghost that no one remembers. The love of his life for whom he did all of this treats him like she is afraid of him, which she probably is, actually. Near the end of the episode, Olivia experiences deja vu when someone hands her a file twice, and Darrell of The Fringe Podcast that when he first saw the episode, he thought that that was because Lincoln was the Shapeshifter and that the actual Lincoln was dead, but thankfully, no, Peter's presence is causing time anomalies. He exists in a timeline in which he shouldn't, so it stands to reason that he is going to cause some serious problems, which is what the next episode, "And Those We Left Behind" (4.06), is about. Speaking of Lincoln, is it possible that Blueverse Lincoln is gay? It could just be me, but he seems to me to be infatuated with Peter, and at the end of the episode, Olivia asks him out to dinner, and he refuses; just a thought.
Overall, I really like this episode and give it 8.5 (Hopefully) Not Grimm Ratings, with the "hopefully" in parenthesis because now that we have seen the ratings, we know that Grimm did not affect the ratings; in fact, Grimm's ratings are down, and Fringe's are up, so that's good. Grimm is a good show, but I won't ever watch it live instead ofFringe, even with Fringe being in this alternate timeline. I love how Walter parallels what Carla Warren said to him in 1985 when he tells Nina that "for the sake of one life, I destroyed two worlds." The scene near the beginning of the episode when Walter uses something to help him sleep is really funny, and he looks so scary when he wakes up. Olivia's facial expressions are priceless, as well, as anger and frustration flash across her face. Also near the beginning of the episode, I am reminded of the version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers with Leonard Nimoy, since the man is living with whom he thinks is his girlfriend until he discovers the truth and finds the body of his girlfriend. I can't wait until "And Those We Left Behind" this week, as it looks like it's going to be a great episode, and I do hope that Blueverse Lincoln is gay, since I have tweeted Joel Wyman in the past and said that I wishFringe would have LGBT characters, since it's just about the only show on FOX that hasn't had one single LGBT character, not even an insignificant episodic character.