Fringe - "Peter" (2.15)

After a very painful two-month wait, Fringe returns with “Peter” (2.15), the highly anticipated episode that finally reveals the mysteries involving Peter's childhood. This episode easily receives ten silver dollars from me because as I expected it would be, it truly is amazing. It's exciting to be getting so many answers at once; it means that there is so much more of a story to tell that has not yet been revealed to us. I am imagining that the season finale, which by the way (mark your calendars), airs on Thursday, May 20th at 8/7c on FOX, is going to introduce a great deal of new mysteries while also solving quite a few, and I am really looking forward to it. I actually already have some information regarding the season finale, but for the purposes of those who want to stay completely spoiler-free (since the information that I have is, in fact, pretty major), I will not share any of that information at this time. What I will share, though, are some thoughts about this episode, “Peter.” As per usual, though, if you have not seen this episode yet but would like to see it, then please, don't read any further, since this does contain spoilers.

I speculated quite some time ago that Walter had some sort of involvement with the U.S. Army, mainly because it is
repeatedly hinted at during season one, and here, in this episode, that speculation becomes more than just speculation. It becomes fact, since Walter was indeed heavily involved with the U.S. Army, as is shown in the very first scene of the episode. I had to laugh when he showed the cell phone to them, explaining that it was technology from the alternate universe. At this point, we have been led to believe that the other side is slightly more advanced than this side, but if in 1985, the alternate universe had access to cell phones, then I would definitely say that it is a lot more than just slight advancement. When Walter shows the U.S. Army the alternate Manhattan (or Manhatan), a zeppelin can be seen in the sky, and obviously, the purpose is to give us a clear visual of how the other side is more technologically advanced than our own. Until now, we have only heard about the other side being more technologically advanced; we have not actually seen it. A zeppelin is also seen at the very beginning of the scene involving the Observers outside of the movie theater.

As I think that I have said before, I think that the Blight on the Other Side is because of its advanced technology. I think that the Other Side's technology has advanced to such an extent that it is destroying its environment. That is one of two theories that I am finding plausible right now. My other theory is that the Other Side's Blight is the result of this side's handiwork, that we are indeed winning and that that is why the Other Side is going to such extremes as cultivating Super Soldiers. I think that the first theory discussed here is more likely, though; that is the one with which I am sticking. First of all, the Other Side's technology is more advanced that this side's, and second of all, based on the ending of episode 2.07, “Of Human Action,” it is very likely that this side is creating its
own soldiers, which is what I think that the Cortexiphan trials are. They don't seem to be as strong as the Super Soldiers from the Other Side, though, which returns to the fact that the Other Side's technology is more advanced than this side's technology, and for both of these reasons, I don't see it as being very likely that this side would have the high ground. I think that both are at least somewhat sound theories, though.

Then, of course, I was incredibly surprised by the new opening. For a short while, I didn't realize the point, which is that it is supposed to give you a retro 80s feel, since the majority of the episode takes place in 1985. I think that it was a really cool and creative idea, and kudos goes to whoever had the idea. Fringe Sciences named during the opening are Personal Computing, Cold Fusion, DNA Profiling, Nanotechnology, Cloning, Invisibility, Genetic Engineering, Laser Surgery, In Vitro Fertilization, Virtual Reality and Stealth Technology. What I find really funny about most of these sciences (I am not familiar with all of them) is that in the world of 
Fringe, they would not be considered Fringe Sciences in 2010, but in 1985, they would have been. Even in real life, DNA Profiling and Nanotechnology are far from being a Fringe Science. It is also worth mentioning that the hand in the opening only has five fingers, as opposed to the usual six fingers. I didn't like it at first, the new opening, that is, but now, I have really warmed up to it. For the purposes of this episode, I think that it really works well.

Throughout the episode, I was consistently wondering to myself whether or not Carla Warren is the lab assistant that was killed in the fire. I remembered Jessica Warren but couldn't remember her name, so I recently did my homework on 
Fringepedia only to find out that, of course, she is indeed Jessica Warren's daughter, which means that, yes, she is the lab assistant that was killed in the fire. I wonder if we're going to see more flashback episodes in the future, such as an episode, for example, that shows us how Carla died, or how Elizabeth died, for that matter. I am definitely game for such episodes, because they are mysteries that I want solved eventually. This episode also makes me think a lot about Nina. Obviously, we now know that she never had cancer, or at least that cancer is not what took her arm. In the pilot episode, she lies to Olivia about that, and I think that that is for one of two reasons. Either she was intentionally keeping Olivia in the dark (which she has done before), or she made some sort of deal with Walter to keep what happened a secret. I don't know which flavor of Kool-Aid I'm drinking, but, again, I think that both are sound theories. I also wonder about her position in this episode. Massive Dynamic obviously has not been established yet, so what exactly is Nina's position?

In an episode of
The Fringe Podcast, speculation was raised that possibly, Walter was a better father to Peter on this side than he was on the Other Side, and I think that this episode confirms that theory. On this side, Walter has a conversation with Peter directly before Peter dies, reminding him how to perform the silver dollar trick, and this conversation clearly displays a very loving relationship between the two. On the Other Side, however, a very similar conversation takes place later in the episode, but this time, the conversation is between Elizabeth and Peter, and it once again involves the silver dollar trick, which tells us that on the Other Side, Peter was closer to his mother than he was to Walter. It totally explains why Peter used to say that Walter was not there for him as a child. Was Walternate (previously referred to as alter-Walter by most fans) not there for his son on the Other Side the same way that he was on this side because Walternate worked so hard to develop a cure, harder than this Walter did since technology is more advanced there? The main point that I have to make about the scene between Elizabeth and Peter, though, is that it would have been such a good opportunity for the writers to make use of the Greek phrase alluded to in episode 2.01, “A New Day in the Old Town,” the phrase that translates to “be a better man than your father.” I would have liked Elizabeth to have said that to Peter in this scene just to make the tie-in, and I feel like it ended up being a wasted opportunity.

So, Walter pretty much started the war, or at least the Pattern. I think that it is funny (not haha-wise) how Walter says to Olivia at the end of the episode that the incident was “the first crack in the pattern of cracks in the places between the worlds,” and I wonder if he means this literally. Is he aware that he is responsible for so much chaos? I mean, it is very interesting how he uses the word “pattern,” after all. He says to Olivia near the beginning of the episode that “I always knew that one day, I'd have to pay the price for my deception,” and wow, there is indeed a great deal of deception. He lied about the time travel machine. He tells Peter during a season 1 episode that when Peter was young, he became very sick and that he therefore built a time machine in order to find a doctor in the future to help him find a cure for Peter but that Peter miraculously recovered. Obviously, this is a lie. I do find it interesting, though, that apart from Peter's miraculous recovery, most of what Walter says is skewed truth. Although he obviously did not build a time machine, he did try to retrieve help from a doctor (himself), and even though it wasn't exactly the future, the Other Side is more technologically advanced. He also lied about the details of the ice incident, saying that their car went off the road. I am surprised, however, that he does mention September to Peter.

Speaking of September, I love how December and August walk out of a movie theater after having seen
Back to the Future (since the Observers are not limited by the constraints of time), and then, while the two of them discuss the movie and whether or not what it has to offer are theories or entertainment (which, by the way, thanks to The Fringe Podcast, I now know definitely takes place in the alternate reality, since Back to the Future, in this reality, stars Michael J. Fox, not Eric Stoltz, who was originally supposed to play the role), they drink what appears to be Slusho, J.J.'s favorite frozen drink. It's strange, though, that they would be drinking Slusho when normally, they eat incredibly hot food, but I don't really know what to make of that. In the background of the scene, a Clue movie poster can be seen outside of the theater, and I am wondering whether or not this serves as this episode's hint at the next episode, since the next episode is titled “Olivia. In the Lab. With the Revolver.”

Something else about this scene that I really find it crucial to mention is that it is so ironic that August reprimands September for getting involved by distracting Walternate, because, as we know, in reference to episode 2.08, “August,” getting involved is exactly what August will do twenty-four years later, only to be reprimanded by September. Near the end of the episode, after September saves Walter and Peter from drowning underneath the ice, before September tells Walter that Peter is important and therefore must live, he says exactly what Walter says at the exact same time, something that we have seen the Observers frequently do, and as I am sure I have said before, I wonder why they do this. Also, do both the conversation that the three Observers have outside of the movie theater and the aforementioned conversation that Walter and September have after Walter and Peter are saved confirm that there are not alternate Observers, that they are not only not limited by time but are also not limited by a single dimension?

Lastly, I would like to discuss the alternate Elizabeth Bishop. I really do feel terrible for her, both for her and for Walternate. I can't even begin to imagine the scenario on the Other Side. Walter most likely came home from the lab, and obviously not having Peter with him, was incredibly confused by Elizabeth's certainty that he had, in fact, taken Peter with him to administer a cure, a cure of which Walternate would have no knowledge. I wonder, though, if Walternate was aware of this universe at the time. I think that it is plausible, since this Walter was aware of the alternate universe, and if so, then I wonder if alternate Elizabeth was aware of it, as well. If they both were, did they come to a conclusion as to what happened? I am certain that Walternate did, so certain, in fact, that I remain convinced that Walternate is doing everything in his power to get his son back, perhaps even initiating war. Who would have guessed? How ironic would that be? Walter acted, and Walternate reacted, therefore beginning a war between the universes. That is a theory that holds high merit for me, because I am very confident in it. Let's not forget the scene in episode 1.08, “The Equation,” when Walter seems to see himself at St. Claire's, because I think that that was a big hint that which we were supposed to catch.

Anyway, though, it is so heartbreaking when alternate Elizabeth says to Walter, “Bring him back to me,” to which he replies, “I promise,” and then, when she looks out the window at the two of them leaving, that is the very last time that she ever sees Peter. It's very difficult for me to watch that scene. What most surprised me about this episode, though, is that we learn that Peter being from the Other Side was not solely Walter's fault. Walter's intention was only to administer the cure, not to keep Peter on this side. It was Elizabeth, however, who could not stand the thought of losing Peter again, and the look on her face when Walter tells her that he is not theirs and that he therefore has to take him back says it all. There was simply no way that she was going to allow Walter to do that. Like I said, though, this is an incredibly impressive episode, and it marks the only time so far in
Fringehistory that I have given two episodes in a row perfect scores of ten, the previous obviously being episode 2.14, “Jacksonville.” As I have said, the remainder of the season has been described as a “roller coaster” ride, so I am really looking forward to what is to come. The titles of the next four episodes have been announced and are, respectively, “Olivia. In the Lab. With the Revolver,” “White Tulip,” “The Man from the Other Side” and “Overture.”

In case you have not yet heard the news about any of these episodes, I will talk about what I know, but if you are afraid that I am going to say something that will spoil you by saying more than you want to know, then please, don't read any further. The next episode will involve people suddenly dying of diseases that they never had, and Olivia will vehemently struggle to keep Peter's origin a secret from him. I don't know anything about “White Tulip," and I know very little about “The Man from the Other Side.” I am guessing, based on the episode's title, that it has to do with the alternate reality. “Overture” is going to be a fun ride; that's for sure. The episode will be about Walter telling Ella a bedtime story, a story which we will see, and as a result, the episode will be a musical episode, so
Glee is going to have to step aside and make room for Fringe for just one week. Then, there will only be two episodes left until the finale, during which a supposed epic confrontation between Walter and Bell will take place. I am also thinking that Peter will learn the truth regarding his origin in the finale and will, as a result, leave the team. It's going to be epic, and I think that it is going to be even better than last year's finale. Meanwhile, though, stay on the fringe.

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