"Back to Where You've Never Been" (4.08)

Out of the first eight episodes of the season, "Back to Where You've Never Been" is definitely my favorite episode; it's a pretty fantastic episode, earning 10 crossed lines. Admittedly, however, I am tired of dreams being used as an opening sequence, and I don't just mean on Fringe (Fringe doesn't even use that tactic all that often); I mean in general. This is the second time this season that the episode has opened with Peter having a dream, and I wonder if there is a reason that he is dreaming so often about getting back to his Olivia and his Walter and his Astrid; there is the obvious reason, which is that he misses them and that they weigh heavily on his mind, but I wonder if it is something deeper, something orchestrated. I really like the scene during which Peter brings food to Walter in an effort to secure his assistance in getting home but to no avail, and Walter, in a mirror, says, "I may be the only man that can help you, but I'm also the only man that cannot help you," and the fact that he is looking into a mirror is ironic because Peter decides to ask Walternate for help, and Walternate is technically the same man, which makes Walter's statement truer than he realizes; the writers of this series are simply brilliant. The fact that Walter is standing in front of a mirror, in fact, may be what gives Peter the idea of asking Walternate.

I like that Olivia is still having migraines because it means that the writers are not going to throw the ending of "Wallflower" (4.07) away; in case you need to be refreshed, Olivia, throughout that episode, is experience migraines, and at the end of the episode, it is revealed that that is because Nina has been dosing her with Cortexiphan. I sort of know why that is, but I won't say any more than that until I write my "Enemy of My Enemy" (4.09) review. All I'll say for now is that there is a brief correspondence between Olivia and Peter in this episode that is possibly telling. Peter asks Olivia, "What do you even need Walter's device for when you can just cross back and forth any time by yourself?" Her response is, "When I can what?" Obviously, this is a strong indication that the Cortexiphan trials didn't last long enough to have had a major effect or that she doesn't know that she has that ability, but it also ties into the probable reason regarding why she is being dosed with Cortexiphan. I love how Olivia says, "Walternate is an untrustworthy son of a bitch," as that line really made me crack up. Another somewhat funny scene is the scene during which a young boy enters a bathroom and sees, in a bathroom stall, what is really a man being killed by a Shapeshifter but what is interpreted as (rightfully so, mind you, as it is, indeed, what it looks like) two men having sex in a bathroom stall.

What doesn't make much sense to me regarding Peter's question, though, is that I didn't think that Olivia has ever mastered her crossing over ability. My understanding was that she could not cross over whenever she wanted to but that there had to be certain conditions; after all, if she had the ability to do it when she pleased, she wouldn't have been trapped in the Redverse during season 3. Something else that kind of confuses me is that Peter and Lincoln use the device that Walter used in 1985 to cross over so that Broyles won't know (using the Bridge Room would require his knowledge), but when Walter used it in 1985, there were obvious serious repercussions. Was the device perfected by Massive Dynamic, so that it doesn't have such serious repercussions? If not, maybe it's because they used an area that was already a soft spot and there was consequently no damage done to either universe. Unfortunately, we don't see much Blueverse Olivia in this episode, but to be fair, we generally see a lot more Blueverse Olivia than we do Redverse Olivia, so one episode during which Redverse Olivia plays a much more prominent role certainly isn't unreasonable. With the exception of the even episodes of the first eight episodes of the third season as well as "Immortality" (3.13) and "Bloodline" (3.18), it's Blueverse Olivia on whom we are centered, so this was a nice shift.

Blueverse Olivia has never really stricken me as the type to listen to music in her car; Redverse Olivia, on the other hand, definitely does, but not Blueverse Olivia, so I wonder, then, if it is Olivia or Peter listening to music in the car. The primary reason that I bring that up is because the song playing is a groovy post-hardcore song called "Changing" by the Airborne Toxic Event; prior to hearing this song in this episode, I wasn't really familiar with the band, but I really love this song, and if you listen to the lyrics, it's certainly very appropriate to Peter's current situation. I like that scene, but it is a blatant Nissan commercial, which is incredibly annoying; I do wish that Fringe would be a little bit more subtle where product placement is concerned, but after all, if increased and blatant product placement helps fund the series and increases its chances of staying on the air, I'm all for it, even if it is in your face, and I do appreciate Nissan sponsoring the series. As I believe I have said before, Blueverse Lincoln is so adorable, and I love his reaction to seeing the Twin Towers, to which Peter replies, "Hey, Scarecrow, watch out for the flying monkeys," and it shouldn't be news to any cortexifan that Fringe loves Wizard of Oz references.

I am very happy to see the two Lincolns finally meet, even though it's not in the original timeline; obviously, as I kind of expected that they wouldn't, they don't really get along, to say the least, but I guess that that is understandable, since no one and his or her counterpart has, thus far, has gotten along. I wonder if the Massive Dynamic file regarding Walter's inter dimensional device being numbered 317 is intentional on the part of the writers to refer to episode 3.17 ("Stowaway"), since that is when we first meet Blueverse Lincoln. I am also very happy to see that Manhattan over there is still being spelled as Manhatan, as I would have feared that there would eventually be a lack of continuity and that it would eventually be spelled the way that it is in the Blueverse. There is something that baffles me about the Show Me situation, though, and by that I mean Blueverse Lincoln eventually being caught in the act of attempting to impersonate Redverse Lincoln due to Redverse Lincoln discovering that his Show Me was reported lost; because Blueverse Lincoln didn't have a Show Me, not only did it result in his being made, but it also slowed him down, and he and Peter needed to get lost as quickly as possible, so couldn't they have manufactured a Show Me? Peter has spent some time over there, and even the Olivia from this orange timeline has spent some time over there, so they should have known that, and that kind of bothers me.

Additionally, I don't understand why Peter and Lincoln don't get off the pier while they have the chance. When Redverse Lincoln calls the guard about his Show Me being reported lost, the two of them are still standing on the pier very close to the guard, and that's just ridiculous. Why didn't they get lost? They knew that they didn't have much time. Redverse Olivia is her usual hilariously snarky self; for example, when the Department of Defense storms through the area demanding that Fringe Division leave, it says that it's because it's now its own jurisdiction, and Redverse Olivia says, "The hell it is; on whose orders?" She, like Blueverse Olivia, can be mouthy but in a much different, perhaps more upfront, manner, as she is a lot more confident. During another instance, she confronts Peter (obviously not knowing who he is in this silly timeline), and when he tells her that he needs to speak to Secretary Bishop, she nods and asks, "Who the hell are you?" As much as she can get under your skin sometimes, she is often extremely funny, and I think that I can probably agree with Peter's sentiment that at the end of the day, she is a good person. She is, after all, Blueverse Olivia, isn't she?

She has apparently gotten to a point at which she doesn't trust Walternate. We had seen that in the original timeline, but events have happened differently in this timeline, and in this timeline, that didn't happen. Of course, she has good reason not to trust Walternate. As she is well aware, for example, he was sending the first breed of Shapeshifters to the Blueverse, and we know, as the audience, that he can be very manipulative and deceptive. Even now, he admits to Peter that he has been spying on the Blueverse, which is how he knew of Peter's presence. However, when Walternate finally agrees to help Peter but asks that he first tell the Blueverse that he is not their enemy, that they have a common enemy, Peter says, "I was wrong about you; you're not the man I thought you were," to which Walternate replies, "You are exactly the man I thought you'd be," so does this mean that if and when Peter returns to the original timeline, he will hold different feelings toward Walternate? Walternate is able to prove his innocence to Peter by killing Redverse Brandon, whom is revealed as a Shapeshifter, but I doubt we've seen the last of him because if and when the timeline is restored, he will obviously be back again. I can't say that I was too emotionally invested in the revelation because this is a different timeline, so it didn't have a big impact, but much of this episode, for me, did.

It was really nice to see Elizabeth, even though her lack of age is a bit of a possible continuity error. When we see her in "Over There" (2.21) (2.22), she is aged, and she looks, as she should, older than she does in "Peter" (2.15) and "Subject 13" (3.15), yet in this episode, she looks about the same age as she does in those two episodes, and it doesn't seem to me like the crew would overlook something like that; as someone on Twitter pronounced while the episode first aired, she looks like she could be Peter's sister. The Amber Riots of '06 are mentioned, and that is curious because in the original timeline, it is revealed, along with the actual revelation that trapped Ambered victims are technically alive, that Walternate has not disclosed and does not plan to disclose the truth regarding the Ambered victims to the public, but a likely reason is that the rioters wanted their loved ones freed so that they could be afforded a proper ceremony. We learn that Jones, having successfully crossed over since Peter never stopped him, is behind the Shapeshifters 2.0, of which I was convinced, anyway, and I'm really excited that he's back, even though I'd rather it be in the original timeline as Redverse Jones. The episode ends with September facing the aftermath of a gunshot wound as he warns Olivia that in every possible future, she has to die; I want to know who shot him, and I don't want to lose September. I know that I complained a bit about this episode, but I stand by my perfect rating of 10, as it is eventful, game-changing, monumental, and Jones is back, in this timeline, anyway.

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