"Black Blotter" (5.09)

"Black Blotter" is this season's, which means, of course, the final, special "out of the box" episode of Fringe, and I am very pleased with it. I find it to be much better than last year's "Letters of Transit" because that ultimately serves as the season 5 premiere, not as a special "out of the box" genre-bending episode. The episode begins with Astrid in her pajamas as she hears the radio transmitting; it was kind of funny to see Astrid in her pajamas. I wonder from this scene, too, why Peter and Olivia don't share a bed. Is it because, perhaps, Peter isn't feeling all that well? Is it because the cots are so small? It is a bit perplexing but not a big deal, and I let it go. I really like how Olivia asks Peter if he needs anything, and he says, "No, I've got everything I need right here." That is such a sweet line and shows how powerful love can be. Even after losing their daughter, even in the world in which they live, they can find peace in just being together. I find it kind of ironic that Peter is now telling Walter what he thinks isn't a good idea. Walter tells Peter that Nina agreed to help Walter remove the pieces of his brain that Etta and Simon put back in, and Peter says that that is not a good idea. This is ironic because in the last episode, Walter was the one trying to tell Peter that Peter's actions were not a good idea. It is also kind of ironic that Walter now wants those pieces removed, even though it is for a very good reason, because if we go all the way back to the season 2 finale "Over There" (2.21) (2.22), Walter is extremely frustrated with Bell and angrily says that he is a broken man because of Bell having removed pieces of his brain in the past. I always find the parallels and the ironies interesting on Fringe.

I really love the scene during which Peter tells Olivia that he is lucky to have her. He says that he did the very thing that he promised that he wouldn't - left her again, and he says that he doesn't deserve her. It's really cool to think back on who Peter was in the pilot episode of the series, the lying opportunist and manipulative conman that he was, and who he is now. He has certainly developed and changed a great deal. The following is pretty cool because Sam Weiss is mentioned again; the man in the van was initially thought to be Donald, but then, Olivia finds out that he was, in fact, Sam Weiss. Sam Weiss is now dead, and I wonder why he was protecting the signal. Who tasked him to do that? Was he working with Donald? It doesn't make a whole lot of sense because Sam shouldn't have had any involvement in this timeline. When Peter was erased, that would have prevented him from ever bringing Sam back into the past with him and giving him the First People manuscript, but maybe, for whatever reason, he still helped Nina after she lost her arm. Wyman technically lied because he said that we would not be dealing with Weiss anymore, but I use the word technically because in a sense, we haven't dealt with him again since all we saw was a corpse, not Sam when he was alive, and obviously, Kevin Corrigan was not involved. It definitely came as a surprise, though, for him to have even been mentioned, as I figured that we were totally done with him.

What makes this episode the special episode? Walter, of course, goes on another drug trip. I do admit that I am tired of drugs being the source of the special episode. "Brown Betty" is an adventure that Walter tells Ella because he's tripping on a drug that he calls Brown Betty. "Lysergic Acid Diethylamide" is a drug trip through Olivia's mind, and this episode is a drug trip that shows us Walter's skeletons in the closet. Walter is desperate to remember September's plan and, therefore, figures that a drug trip might help him, so he takes something that he calls Black Blotter, and he sees a number of things from his past that haunt him. He sees Carla Warren, the lab assistant who died in the lab fire that he caused. She is very antagonistic and reminds him of how terrible of a man that he once was. At one point, we see her burned corpse, which is very macabre. He also sees Nina when she was a younger woman, who seems to be a bit more supportive; it's interesting how she, in a sense, represents the angel while Carla represents the devil, and that could be because Nina seemingly forgave Walter for having lost her arm, but Walter never received forgiveness from Carla because she died. I do find it odd that he didn't see Elizabeth, since he seemed to be seeing people that he had victimized, but maybe, the actress Orla Brady was not available. Besides, in a sense, he does see her because memories from "Peter" (2.15) play on the walls of the lab as a montage, which is a really great scene. "Peter" is still probably my favorite episode of the series, although it's tough to say for sure because I really love "A New Day in the Old Town" (2.01), as well. It is an emotional episode, for sure, as this is probably the most intimate experience that we have had getting inside of Walter's head.

The Observer Child, or, as we now know him as - Michael, is seen in this episode as the events of "Through the Looking Glass and What Walter Found There" (5.06) finally come to fruition. Michael's adoptive father says that Donald left a password with him so that when the right people came for Michael, he would know that they were the right people. Walter then has a really trippy Monty Python-inspired animated vision during which he rides a cow whom I am assuming was supposed to be Gene. We also see a frog, a dog, a seahorse, and babies, amongst other things, and many of these harbor connections to the series, as the frog, the seahorse, and the babies are all either glyphs or parts of a glyph (the apple glyph as babies at the core). I am not sure about the dog, although it could be the dog that Peter had as a child. I am not sure, not that it's all that important, whether Walter actually experienced this (meaning that he felt himself riding on a cow, etc.) or if it was nothing more than a vision in his head. Either way, it leads him to the realization that Black Umbrella, a term that he found in a book underneath a floor in the lab, is the password. Michael's adoptive father says, "I never doubted that Michael was important, that he was meant for something great." I love this line because it obviously hints at Michael being a pivotal part of the plan to defeat the Observers. This scene leaves me wondering something. In "Inner Child" (1.15), the Child is given to a family for adoption, and is this the family to whom he was given? Obviously, he is genetically different from humans, so what happened when the family took him to the doctor's office for physicals and whatnot? As a child, he would have been required to go to school, so what would that have meant for him? These are all questions that I have in my head but that probably aren't too important, though.

The scene during which the team tries to evade the Loyalists at the bay (or lake; I'm not sure what it is, exactly), Walter is pretty funny. A Loyalist tries to shoot at them, and Walter, confused, asks, "Why is he shooting at us?" I love this, as if he's not in a world ruled by emotionless drones that are bent on world domination. I love how he sees Emerald City across the water, yet another Wizard of Oz reference on Fringe, and there seems, for whatever reason, to be a lot of green in this episode. I also love how Astrid holds on to Walter; that is so sweet. She and Walter have such a special bond, an unconventional bond that can't really be explained because it's not really father and daughter, but it's definitely more than just friends, too. It can't be defined, and that's something that I've always loved about Fringe; it has always been about love, an unconventional, dysfunctional family that goes through turmoil but holds onto love at the end of the day. There are plenty of funny scenes during this episode, even though, by the end, you realize just how serious of an episode that it really is. For example, I love it when Walter flicks the green fairy away; that is hilarious. I wonder why he envisions fairies; there is a green and a red one, and all that comes to mind as far as that is concerned is the green and red repetition that we have seen since season 1. Also, Green Fairy is a nickname of absinthe, and Walter definitely saw the green fairy a lot more than he did the red one, so maybe, he drank absinthe along with dropping the acid? I doubt it because it seems like he would have said so, but it's just a thought. In closing, though, this is a pretty good episode, although I do wish that it had done something a little crazier like a claymation episode or a sitcom, something like that, but I guess that they couldn't do something too crazy with it being so close to the end of the series. I give "Black Blotter" 8.5 Walter Python trips.

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