Fringe - "The Bishop Revival" (2.13)

The Bishop Revival” is far from being a terrible episode, but it's also far from being a good episode. It's a good detective story, and it also makes a connection with the comic book series, which I think is really cool, but there's just something about it that leaves me unsatisfied. Perhaps, it is the lack of closure at the end of the episode. Normally, I love a lack of closure, because it makes Fringe less like House and more like Alias and LOST (which I ultimately think that it is, anyway), but this time, I am apprehensive. I am worried that the purpose of this episode's ending is to leave us to draw conclusions of our own, never tangibly returning to the story at a later time, and that is simply no good. Anyway, I'll talk a lot about this episode's strengths and weaknesses as well as the story itself. Also, I would like to warn you that some of what I will talk about has already been discussed amongst The Fringe Podcast, and I apologize for that. I don't want anyone thinking that my ideas are not original because most of them are but are coincidentally also those of the podcast. If that is ever not the case, then I try to attribute credit. If you have not yet seen this episode, by the way, then please don't read any further, since this does contain spoilers.
Near the beginning of the episode, Walter and Peter arrive at the crime scene in a rather funny scene, with Walter attempting to drive unsuccessfully. Walter mentions Peter's mother to him, something that I don't believe that he has done since the ending of episode 2.07, “Of Human Action.” He once again mentions Peter's mother's beauty, but this time, he mentions the wedding, saying that he always dreamed of a day that he would have a son who would wear his purple tuxedo, and to make the story short, Walter brings Olivia's name into the conversation, rushing to the question, “Do you think she would call me dad?” What I find really interesting about Peter's response is that he simply says, “My guess would be no.” He does not say something to the effect of, “I don't feel that way about her.” It's interesting not because it clues us in to the possibility that Peter has romantic feelings for Olivia (although it does, I think that that is something that we have seen since season 1) but because he didn't deny that he does. He just played along as if it's already out in the open, which obviously, it is not. I suppose it's just me gentle heart, but I think that it would be so awesome if Peter and Olivia eventually do get married, and lo and behold, Peter wears Walter's purple tuxedo. If that isn't sentimental, then I don't know what is. I mean, Walter does say that “the day may come sooner than you think.” Were the writers speaking to us through that line, perhaps?

All right, well, here is the main complaint that I have about this episode. The previous episode, “What Lies Below,” ends with Astrid being clued in to the possibility that Walter has a very serious secret in regards to Peter. She may not know exactly what it is, but she does know that something isn't right, and in this episode, she acts as if nothing happened. She doesn't mention it to Walter again, and she doesn't even behave any differently around him. It is, as I said, as if that last scene in “What Lies Below” didn't even happen, and that is something that is difficult for me to grasp. How could she just carry on and pretend like nothing ever happened, like he didn't say what he said? I mean, perhaps, she has worked with Walter long enough to know that he doesn't always make sense, and I could understand and even support that argument if he had said that he didn't know what he was talking about or something to that effect when Astrid approached him, but he basically told her that it isn't any of her business, which did not debunk his hint that Peter is not from this side. Perhaps, she is so disturbed by what he said that she can't bear to talk about it, and so psychologically rejecting it, she still behaves the same as before. Speaking of Walter and Astrid, by the way, I love how he calls her Ostrich in this episode, and she doesn't correct him. Perhaps,
that is an example of her behaving differently, because normally, she does correct him.

Speaking of Walter's Walterisms, I also love how when at the restaurant, Olivia suggests that the toxin originated from a cup of tea, asking, “How about a cup of tea?” Walter misunderstands her and thinks that she is offering one to him, so he says, “Oh, yes, thank you.” Every time that I watch the episode, that line makes me laugh for two reasons. First of all, I love how the team is at the crime scene where there are dead bodies, yet Walter is so easily distracted by his thinking that Olivia has offered him a cup of tea, and second of all, it's as if Olivia would even do that. Again, they're at a crime scene where there are dead bodies. There is very little lighting at the restaurant (something that I think is frequently pulled off very well in
Fringe, as Caleb Braudrick points out in the podcast), and Olivia randomly asks Walter if he wants a cup of tea? I don't think so. Like I said, I love that line, and it is probably my favorite line from the episode, clearly demonstrating Walter's Walterisms, and since I am on the topic of that scene, I was very happy to see that that adorable little girl was not dead, but how could she not be? How did she escape? Did she run out of the restaurant? It seems to me like it would be too late at that point, since she would have already inhaled the toxin. I am happy that she survived, but I would like to know how she did. I mean, the little girl that we see receiving attention outside of the restaurant is the same little girl that was sitting so close to the cup of tea, the girl that was with her mother, correct?

Fringe Podcast does mention the old-fashioned typewriter on Hoffman's desk, and I have to say that, because I didn't even notice that, to be honest. That is one of the many reasons why I love that podcast, though. It gets me thinking about topics that I would normally probably not think about, and this is an example, since I didn't even notice the typewriter. I did, however, return to the episode to look for it, and I did find it. Obviously, what it suggests is that Hoffman might be from the other side, since we see the Shapeshifter making contact with the other side using an old-fashioned typewriter in a couple of episodes early this season. Is it possible that Hoffman is a soldier from the other side and that that is why he has not aged? That could be why he is taking people out, but then, I don't understand the Nazi connection. Also, there doesn't seem to be a mirror with the keyboard. Hoffman is very old, even though, for some reason, he doesn't look like he is (perhaps Jacob has given him a “gift”?), so perhaps, the old-fashioned typewriter is simply to fit the old music which sounds to me like it's being played on a turntable, or something very old, anyway. There is also another possibility, although it does not do anything to explain his age or the typewriter. We know that ZFT has German origins, and obviously, Hoffman was German, so is it possible that he is ZFT? This is also something that I cannot claim as my own thought, since I didn't even think about it until the podcast mentioned it.

In the very first episode of the series, Broyles says something like, “it's like someone is experimenting, only the whole world is a lab,” to Olivia, and that is one reason why I do like this episode. It is very representative of what Broyles says in that episode, since Hoffman really was conducting experiments on people to try to find an effective way of eliminating “inferior” races, so it really is “the whole world.” That brings me to the same thought process to which I have been brought throughout this whole season, though. What happened to the Pattern? Are we still seeing the Pattern? What about the aforementioned ZFT? This season, we have only heard the other reality mentioned, while meanwhile, what about the mole-baby living underground (2.02, “Night of Desirable Objects”), the doctor who is addicted to dreams (2.05, “Dream Logic”), the Chinese Snakehead that infects people with an incredibly large and terminal worm (2.09, “Snakehead), the disfigured people of Edina, New York (2.11, “Johari Window”) or the ancient virus with which Peter becomes infected (2.12, “What Lies Below”)? Are these incidents all part of the Pattern, and if not, then what are they, exactly? Why are they happening? I want the mythology of the Pattern and of ZFT to come into play again. Don't get me wrong; I love the parallel universes arc of the mythology, but the Pattern and ZFT haven't even been mentioned this season, and it's frustrating.

Well, now discussing the ending of the episode, first of all, during the scene in which Walter inhales the toxin in Hoffman's basement and Peter notices Walter's sweater right before Walter begins choking, how did Peter not see that beacon of boiling purple liquid when he was in that area, when he noticed the sweater? That really annoys me, because I know that I would certainly notice that before I notice a sweater. Also, at the conference itself, when Olivia and Hoffman nearly brush past each other, how did Olivia not see him? I replayed that scene two or three times, and she definitely would have seen him, and I don't understand how she doesn't. She knows what he looks like, yet she walks right past him in proximity consisting of less than a foot, and speaking of the conference, it makes perfect sense for Hoffman to have targeted a World Tolerance Conference. If one is trying to eliminate races that he or she sees as “inferior,” what better place to go? It's a really good thing that Walter stopped Hoffman when he did (I would like to just say, by the way, that I agree with the podcast. If Walter continues going rogue and taking matters into his own hands, Broyles isn't always going to be so forgiving), because the body count at that conference most likely would have been incredibly high. Then, there is the final scene in which Peter asks Walter how Hoffman got a hold of the formula if not from the books, and before we see the photo (The photo, by the way, really confuses me. Is that Walter or his father in the photo?), Walter says to Peter that “perhaps there are some mysteries that are destined to remain unsolved.” This line reminds me so much of what he tells Astrid at the end of “What Lies Below,” which is that “some things are meant to be left alone.”

Lastly, I want to briefly talk about the comic book connection. Those fans who have read the six comic books that take place prior to the pilot episode of the series are definitely rewarded in this episode, since a connection is made. In the fourth comic book (the one with the seahorse on the cover, of course), we learn that Walter's father was a Nazi spy (something on which is then elaborated in the fifth comic book), so, for me, learning that in this episode was no surprise, but it was rewarding for that connection to be made, anyway. In the comic, however, Walter's father's name is Hans Froehlich, not Robert Bishoff, and although The
Fringe Podcast brought that up and talked about it for a bit, I see it as a relatively simple equation. Since he wasn't actually a Nazi but was instead a spy, trying to bring about the Nazi Party's destruction by learning its secrets, he most likely would have used an alias. I do have to admit, however, that it is indeed odd that Walter does not clarify this to William Bell in the comic. In fact, he seems to immediately know that Froehlich is his father just by hearing his name. Perhaps, Walter's father told him this story later, and Walter was therefore aware of the alias. That still doesn't explain, however, why he wouldn't have mentioned that to Bell. Anyway, “The Bishop Revival” is an okay episode but nothing fantastic. Leaving me drastically dissatisfied, I give it six cinnamon candles. If nothing else, it makes a really good detective story, as previously stated.

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