Fringe - "Over There" (Part 1) - Season Finale

I will start this entry, as always, by saying that if you have not yet seen this episode of Fringe, I strongly advise you to not read any further, as this does contain spoilers. This episode, which is the first part of the second season finale, impresses me beyond words, and I am sure that the second part is going to be even better. Everything is top-notch and has an incredibly strong cinematic quality, including the writing, the acting and the direction. This may be one of the best episodes that we have seen yet, as far as overall quality is concerned, if not the best. It feels very much like a film, not an episode of a TV series, which I was expecting (because it has been hyped up as such for quite a few weeks now), but it's even better than I was expecting. It does have a potential continuity error, though. In episode 1.19, "The Road Not Taken," Olivia very briefly pays a visit to the Other Side, and Fringe Division is very similar to this side's department. Charlie is not bald, and he doesn't question why Olivia is blonde. Was it the same reality that Olivia was visiting? It would have to be because first of all, Charlie still has a scar on his face, and second of all, she was most likely designed to look into that reality, not some random one. Hopefully, all of that is cleared up and will make sense by next week. Even so, this is one of the easiest perfect scores (ten bald Charlies) that I have ever given an episode. I am very impressed.
What we first see in this episode is how much more advanced and organized Fringe Division is on the Other Side. In this reality, the government tried to shut it down (referring to episode 2.01, "A New Day in the Old Town"), but on the Other Side, it would appear as if the government gives Fringe Division everything that it needs, which I suppose is probably because Fringe Division is operated via Department of Defense, of which Walter is the Secretary. It even has a really cool logo (see documented photograph below). Also, Bolivia seems so much happier than Olivia. At first, I thought that Fringe Division is trying to help Newton, Walternate and Peter cross back over to that side, but instead, we learn that it is aware of a breach, which, of course, is made by Olivia, Walter, Nick and Sally. Altrid seems to have a much more prominent purpose than Astrid does; she is, after all, doing a lot more than just babysitting an old guy. She is very professional and seems not to be as laid-back or as sweet as Astrid is, which is strange. After seeing the Other Side in this episode, it doesn't seem to be "slightly" different all; it seems to be very different. For starters, it seems to be a good fifty to 100 years ahead of us technologically, and people and their personalities seem to be different, as well.

Walternate, for example, seems to be a lot saner than Walter, and he is also a great deal more professional. I don't see him as the kind of guy who would suddenly develop a random obsession with a food. Olivia sees herself when, from their hiding place, she watches Fringe Division study Heath's body, and she also watches herself through the other Olivia's apartment window (this time while the other Olivia and her partner, Frank, are having sex, which is a little weird), and that has to be strange. I would be freaking out if I were to see myself, but at the same time, it would be exciting to see how different or the same I am, and in this case, I think that the other Olivia is very different from Olivia. The episode is set up in a fashion that is very similar to how Alias episodes were quite frequently set up, with an event taking place before the narrative takes us to a designated point in time before that said event (in this case, thirty-six hours). I am very surprised by Peter's lack of reluctance to cross over to the Other Side. Even after Walternate explains the weight of his decision to him, Peter dismissively says, "Let's go." I understand that he is angry with Walter and is trying to find himself, and I understand that he is finally reunited with his "real" father, but still, it seems to me like he very quickly and prematurely makes a decision, which I fear could cost him, as well as some other individuals.
We see Olivia drinking a lot again, and even though there isn't really much anything further to say about that, I just find it interesting that she drinks so much, especially when she is under a great deal of distress, which is especially interesting considering the fact that the other Olivia apparently doesn't drink at all (which, once again, holds weight on the possibility that the two realities are not "slightly" different at all but instead very different). At the end of episode 2.19, "Brown Betty," we learn that September apparently warned Walter of something at one point, and my prediction was that he warned him never to allow Peter to return to the Other Side, and I was correct, with Walter suddenly remembering after seeing the drawing of Peter unleashing some sort of power through his eyes (see documented photograph below), which really reminds me of the drawing of Sydney on page 47, referring to, of course, Alias, something that I do quite often. Walter, in tears, tells Olivia that "something terrible will happen to Peter," and I wonder what exactly that is. Will Peter somehow be a Weapon of Mass Destruction, which will, in turn, kill him? What is the device that is depicted in the drawing, the device that we see Walternate with at the very end of the episode? Will this be used, or at least attempt to be used, to destroy this side?

I love it when, in season finales, we see a sudden and sharp but believable shift in (a) character(s), and in this case, I think that we most definitely do from both Olivia and Broyles. Olivia frequently loses her cool with Walter, especially when his lack of ability to focus acts as a hindrance to quickly solving a case, but in this case, she really loses her cool, slamming her fist on the table and sternly and loudly saying his name in order to get him to focus (which, of course, is, in this case, because he is vehemently worried about Peter). We also see a shift in Broyles. Typically, he defends Nina Sharp, saying that she has been nothing but cooperative in Fringe Division's investigation. However, now, he really goes after her. First, a Massive Dynamic employee says to Broyles, "I'm sorry, sir, I can't let you go in there," and he replies by saying, "Don't even think about it!" He storms into Nina's office and accuses her of "manufacturing weapons for the Other Side. This is a very intense scene, one which ends with Olivia breaking up the dispute between Broyles and Nina and telling Nina that Peter has been taken and that they need her help crossing over to the Other Side, and I can't help but wonder if every season is going to draw close to its end with Nina being accused of something drastic.
In this episode, we learn why it is that Bell's health is apparently declining and why it is that he therefore needs an oxygen tank. I was always pretty sure that it had something to do with his crossing over to the Other Side, but apparently, he has done it more than once. Apparently, he has done it several times, which means that in episode 2.15, "Peter," he could very well be on the Other Side already, which would in turn mean that Walter is not the one who is responsible for causing a crack between the two worlds; Bell is (however, Walternate confirms that the Pattern, or should I say Patterns, was/were caused by Walter's theft of Peter at Reiden Lake in 1985, so I don't know). Anyway, I am very surprised that Olivia is not incredibly angry with Broyles. Just now, he tells her that a handful of Cortexiphan subjects have been awakened, which means that all this time, he has kept that from her. If I were Olivia, even with Peter on my mind, I surely would have lashed out at him. What else, I wonder, has he kept from her, and why?
I love how Heath calls Broyles "FBI guy" before asking if they can have a break; that really cracked me up, and although this really isn't important at all, I wonder whether or not I am the only one who has noticed that lately, Olivia seems to wear a lot more makeup than usual. I really noticed it at the end of episode 2.18, "The Man from the Other Side," when she fetches Walter after Peter wakes up, and I really noticed it in this episode. Like I said, it's not really all that important, but it does demonstrate shifting in a character, which I think is important. Unfortunately, however, I don't know what that shift is. It seems to me like she starts to wear a lot more makeup right around the time that she finds out that Peter is from the Other Side, but considering the fact that that obviously initiated a great deal of distress, you wouldn't think that a stressful situation would cause her to wear more makeup; you would think that a stressful situation would cause her to wear less of it, but then again, I don't know how Olivia would roll as far as a potential relationship between stress and the amount of makeup applied is concerned. Why, I wonder, does she give her mother's necklace to Ella and then hug Rachel with so much emotion? Does she think that she won't ever see them again? If so, why is that? What does she fear is going to happen? I mean, I think I know what's going to happen, but I don't know why Olivia would have had such a fear at the time.
My prediction is that since Olivia needed the other Cortexiphan subjects to cross over to the Other Side, she and Walter will now be (temporarily) trapped in the other reality since all three of them are now dead. I also wonder why it is that Olivia is with Rachel and Ella in the first place. I thought that we had already been made to understand that Rachel and Ella are no longer living with Olivia, that they moved out. In episode 2.08, "August," for example, Rachel asks Olivia to babysit Ella, and in episode 2.16, "Olivia. In the Lab. With the Revolver.," Weiss visits Olivia, and Olivia, who has been drinking, is clearly alone. "We should do this more often," Olivia tells Rachel before leaving. "It's nice." I am therefore wondering if it was some sort of sleepover. Anyway, on to much more important matters, Walter is seen smelling Peter's clothes, and here, he has yet another breakdown, hysterically crying, most likely because of both guilt and grief, guilt due to what he did to those children back in the 80s and grief due to Peter being gone. I hate seeing Walter cry. In my opinion, he is a very sympathetic character, and I feel like hugging him every time I see him crying. Why, however, does Heath die? If I am recalling correctly, Nick and Sally say something along the lines of having lost their powers as a result of crossing over, but why would that cause Heath to die of the cancer with which he once infected people, especially since it is on the outside of his skin just like it is on the outsides of the victims' skins in "Olivia. In the Lab. With the Revolver." (2.16)?
I find it worth pointing out that on the Other Side, the Statue of Liberty is not green but is instead copper. This is interesting, since in this reality, the Statue of Liberty was originally intended to be copper, and it also does not appear to be located in the same place as it is on this side, but since I don't know that much about the landscape of New York City, especially not that area (since I have yet to see the Statue of Liberty myself), I could very well be wrong. When Walter keels over due to a gunshot wound in his side, I wonder if the nurses who attend to him or anyone else in the hospital recognizes him as the Secretary of Defense; surely, someone must, and how would Walter go about explaining that? Who, I wonder, is Bolivia dating? His name is apparently Frank Stanton, but I am wondering if he will come into play later in the series, become important? I am a bit disappointed, though, since I feel that seeing her with a man whom we've never known before this scene is rather anti-climatic. I would have much rather her love interest have been John Scott (even though I can understand why it would be difficult for Mark Valley and Anna Torv to work together) or Charlie. I immediately noticed the differences, though, between our beloved Olivia and the other Olivia. As previously mentioned, she seems to be much happier, and she doesn't drink. Also, instead of blacks and grays, she is seen wearing a bright blue shirt, and instead of a black bra, she is seen wearing a white one. What, though, I wonder, is up with the tattoo on her and Frank? Does it have something to do with Fringe Division, or did she get herself tattooed willingly?

Here's something that really confuses me, though. In episode 1.19, "The Road Not Taken," the woman who can start fires is named Nancy Lewis, not Sally Clark, and Lewis is also played by a different actress. Now, my guess is that the actress who plays Lewis could not be recast for some reason, and consequently, a new Pyro character was used. However, Broyles introduces the characters to Olivia in a way that would strongly suggest that they are people that Olivia knows. Now, obviously, we know that this is the case when it comes to Nick Lane and James Heath but not when it comes to Sally Clark. It should have been made more clear that this is not Nancy Lewis because until I discovered that her name is Sally Clark, not Nancy Lewis, that's who I thought the character is, and I assumed that a new actress was cast for the part, which I actually would have preferred; either that, or have Sally demonstrate a totally different ability in order to make it clear that she is not Nancy Lewis. Why couldn't Nancy be awakened? Why did a different Pyro have to be awakened, and speaking of the Cortexiphan subjects, why is it that Broyles introduces five of them to Olivia, yet only three are used? Who are the other two individuals, and why are they apparently not important? Also, since Walternate wrote the Other Side's version of the ZFT, I wonder if that confirms that Walter wrote this side's version; that's definitely something to think about.

This episode, as has been said, is epic, and I remain confident that next week, which is the second part of the finale, will be even better. Although I know that some people have had their complaints about the various openings that we have seen, I really like them, and this one is no exception. This opening is almost the same as the usual one except for two differences; (1) the background is crimson red instead of the usual blue, and (2) "Parallel Universes" is replaced with "First People." The only explanation that I can offer for the term "First People" is that perhaps, that is what the Other Side calls people from this side, although I can't imagine why. At this point, I will tell those who prefer to remain entirely spoiler-free to stay on the fringe, since the rest of this entry will contain spoilers pertaining to next week's episode. If you have seen the promo, then you know that we are in for a real treat. Olivia and Bolivia will engage in a rather epic fight, which is crazy (can you imagine fighting yourself?). Due to outside information, I also know that Walter and William Bell will confront each other, and it will be something epic, indeed. I am
really looking forward to this, even though I have heard from sources that devastating tragedy is on its way, which obviously scares me. I am sure that, whatever the outcome of that is and whatever the cliffhanger will be, we are going to itch all summer long, screaming in agony for September to arrive (the month, that is). Until next week, though, stay on the fringe.

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