Fringe - "Northwest Passage" (2.20)

Before I begin discussing this episode of Fringe, I will warn those who have not seen this episode yet to not read any further, as this entry does contain spoilers. This episode is really reminiscent of The X-Files, and I am not the only one who has said so. It has an X-Files mood to it, with the cloudy weather and such, making it very melancholy. There are even a couple of shout-outs to the series. Ferguson, for example, tells Mathis (superbly played by Martha Pimpton) that she reads a lot of material about UFOs and government conspiracies and such and then says, "I think that you want to believe." Obviously, UFOs and government conspiracy is at the core of The X-Files mythology, and "I want to believe" is what Mulder's poster says and is also the title of the 2008 film. It speaks for Mulder's journey throughout the series, and, really, it speaks for Scully's journey, as well. Anyway, returning to Fringe, I give this episode seven and a half mix CDs. I find most of the episode to be rather slow, but the ending is awesome, and it's very satisfying to know that I have been right about my Walternate theory, a theory that I've held on to for a very long time. It is a pretty decent episode, and I am so pumped for this season finale.

What I find really odd is that despite the fact that Peter just recently found out that he is from the Other Side and that the man that he was finally beginning to see as his father betrayed him, he seems somewhat gleeful. First, we see him having fun with his GPS system, telling it to take him to Mars and then laughing when it tells him that it doesn't understand his request. It's quite obvious, though, that he uses a fake name so that the FBI has difficulty finding him, but then, oddly enough, he calls Broyles. What I find really odd about this scene is that he asks Broyles not to even tell Walter that he talked to him, and he then tells him, "If you owe me anything, you owe me that." I don't understand what Peter means by that. What does Broyles owe Peter? If anything, I thought that it was more or less decided in "Of Human Action" (2.07) that Peter owed Broyles, since he involuntarily shot him. I just find that to be a very odd thing for Peter to say, and apparently, Broyles doesn't put on a very good poker face, since Olivia almost immediately realizes that he knows where Peter is.

Peter also seems a bit nostalgic. He says that he will be checking into the hotel under the name Gene Cowan, and he says this with a smile, as if he has to do that for old time's sake. What doesn't make any sense to me as far as Peter is concerned, though, is how it is that he doesn't understand why Newton is trying to find him. I mean, he
has to know. He just recently discovered that he is from the Other Side, and he knows that Newton is the leader of the Shapeshifters, which are fighting for the Other Side's survival, so you would think that he would put two and two together. Then again, he is in a very confused state right now, and I do feel incredibly sorry for him. As he says in the episode, "I don't know who I am anymore," and that's true. He doesn't know where he belongs, and he doesn't know who his father really is. I would definitely be torn apart if I were him, but then again, I would be torn apart if I were Walter, too. I feel sorry for both of them, and I can't really take a side, especially since there are more than just two sides. Walternate and Alterbeth need to be taken into consideration, as well. As we see from "Peter" (2.15), a mother and a father were left most likely incredibly confused. I can only imagine what must have happened when Walternate came home without Peter, having no idea what Elizabeth was talking about when she demanded to know where Peter was, and I don't take kindly to that.

Walter is drastically falling apart, and I am left to wonder how Peter would respond if he were to see him in such a state. Why did Peter go to Washington, I wonder? Obviously, he wanted to get as far away from Walter as possible, but why Washington? Perhaps, it's because he knows that Walter hates it there (referencing episode 2.05, "Dream Logic") and would therefore be less likely to think of looking for him there. As mentioned previously, it certainly makes for a good setting. The setting in this episode really is a lot like a character, as the cloudy weather sets the stage for a cloudy, melancholy story. Walter goes shopping for groceries and experiences a severe mental breakdown, soon fearing that without Peter, he will need to return to St. Claire's. Olivia and Astrid, however, are very supportive of him and are trying to do everything that they can for him. I find it funny because after Walter tells her the story of what happened in "Peter" (2.15), she is very supportive of him, which is in clear opposition to the look of disgust that she gives him when she first finds out at the very end of "Jacksonville" (2.14). After she and Astrid see that Walter's house is in complete disarray, Walter asks, "What am I going to do, call you every time I run out of Pudding Pops?" and Olivia immediately replies, "Yes, if you need them." She makes it very clear that she is there for him, which is so sweet.

I don't understand the scene in which Peter sees something in the forest, chases after it and then finds Newton, who quickly disappears. One theory that seems to be popular is that, like Olivia, he can see into the Other Side, but I disagree. Newton is not on the Other Side; he's here, so it wouldn't make sense that Peter briefly sees him because he can see into the Other Side. Oddly enough, Mathis doesn't see Newton, but Peter does. Another theory that seems to be circulating is that Peter's clearly exhausted mind is hallucinating, and although I think that that is much more likely, I don't know if I'm willing to drink that Kool-Aid, either. It seems to me like there has to be greater significance to it, but I'm not sure what. I really like Mathis's character, but I wonder whether or not this is the first time that someone outside of the FBI has been clued in to the existence of the parallel universe. Peter basically tells her everything, and I'm pretty sure that it's the first time that anyone with knowledge about the parallel universe has directly shared it with anyone outside. Also, another question that I have is who the blonde woman, Gwen, is. I don't think that that is really ever explained. Why was she killed?

I love the whole "Find the Crack" inside joke between Mathis and Ferguson. It reminds me a lot of the "you're gonna be fine" line that Charlie delivered to Olivia when the two of them first met. It is, of course, very representative of Peter's current situation. He is in a state of darkness, but "finding the crack" is exactly what he needs to do, a crack that will let the light in. Perhaps, Olivia will be that crack, and she will mend his heart much like we see her do in Walter's story (in reference to episode 2.19, "Brown Betty"). Regardless of what that crack may be, he needs to find a place of belonging, and he needs to be comfortable with who he is. I wonder, though, what is up with the phone calls. Does he imagine them, or are they made by Newton? Darrell of
The Fringe Podcast offers a theory that the noises made during the call would not have been heard by someone from this reality, that they were targeted toward Peter to see if he would respond to them. I really like that theory, and although I won't say that that is definitely the case (just because there is no solid evidence), I think that it is very plausible.

Also, who is Craig Shoen? What ties does he have to Newton? He tells Peter that he just wanted to get close to the girls, but what does he mean by this? Why does he have Ferguson? Peter says that no incision was made to Ferguson's head, that it's just ink, but what is meant by this? Why would there be ink on his head? Perhaps, it is ink meant to guide the "surgeon" as to where he needed to cut? I'm afraid that either these are questions to which I
should know the answers, or they are questions that won't be answered, both equally frightening. I really like Mathis's character, and although I would really like to see her again, I don't think that we will, unfortunately. She comes off as a "stand-alone" character to me, one that we will only see in this episode, but I want so badly to be wrong. Again, I really feel like this episode is rather slow up until the end. At the very end of the episode, it is revealed that Mr. Secretary (of which I was thoroughly convinced) is none other than Walternate, and (also something of which I was convinced), he has been going to the extreme to get his son back. It only makes sense, since that is what Walter from this side did, and ironically enough, that is what he will do now; it's like a Tug-of-War battle between the two sides.

All right, well, I am going to talk a little bit about what I know as far as the season finale is concerned, so if you're one of those individuals who would like to stay spoiler-free, then thanks for reading, and stay on the fringe. Otherwise, I will first discuss what we see in the promo. I definitely feel as if that promo revealed way too much. We know from the promo that we will be seeing a bald alter-Charlie, we know that Peter will apparently be responsible for the destruction of this world (which I think is because he was always intended to fight for the Other Side), and we know that Peter will be reunited with his "real" mother. Too much information, if you ask me. Also, we see Altlivia, who is oddly a brunette. Although it does bring me much pleasure to be reminded of Sydney from
Alias and Elektra from the film of the same title, both played by Jennifer Garner, I think that this might be a continuity error. When alter-Charlie sees Olivia when she quickly crosses over in "The Road Not Taken" (1.19), he doesn't question why her appearance is so strikingly different, and also, he is not bald. Hopefully, that will all make sense when we see this upcoming episode, "Over There, Part 1," which is the first part of the season finale. It appears as if I was right, that Olivia and Walter will cross over to find Peter, but until then, cortexifans, stay on the fringe.

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