If I had been asked to name this episode, I would have entitled it 'Distraction,' because all of the Fringe-related characters were quite distracted, with at least one thing apiece, in 302 except for Astrid, who seemed to be able to pretty much stay on task.
Walter was distracted by, of course, the strained post-reveal relationship he now finds himself in with Peter. Astrid told us Walter has not explained his side of the 'Peter' story to his surrogate son since they returned from 'Over There,' and she demanded he do so immediately, which was very Astrid. As if that wasn't enough distraction, Walter Bishop was distracted by the posthumous reading and revelation of his best friend, William Bell's will. It was quite telling that he did not respond to Peter's asking of what he received, but instead revealed the information instead (twice) to Astrid.
FauxLivia was distracted by the full-time job of pretending to be our Liv. She did get some help from Newton in the form of classified documents, files, videos, and other information on our favorite Fringe characters on 'our side.' Interestingly, we learned that Newton has been on our side since FauxLivia was in high school (quick math would say at least 13 years!). On top of that FauxLivia got distracted by an unexpected visit from Peter Bishop while she was trying to hide her dirty work. As the blood from the poor victim's body started flowing under the bathroom door, FauxLivia had to do some quick thinking and further distract our already distracted Peter. Luckily for her she was saved by their cell phones (from a firm P/O shipper, thank you for that Jeff Pinkner!). She was also distracted by the urgent need to save Peter from being run over by an approaching train he couldn't hear, and for a girl without cortexiphan powers, she moved pretty quickly!
Most interesting in this episode was our thoroughly distracted Peter Bishop. It's amazing he was able to think clearly at all after all he's been through in the recent past, and further amazing how adroit he was at walking down the train tracks and disarming the killer box (yes, Jeff Pinkner must like boxes) after at least 2 shot glasses of something strong. Peter never catches a break. He was distracted in this episode by his strained relationship with his kidnapping 'father,' Walter. He was distracted by the 'doomsday device' and his perceived puzzling role in its construction and execution, and didn't appreciate his boss Broyle's pushing him to get Walter and him to figure it out more quickly. He told us he continues to be distracted by the photo our Liv showed him in the second part of the Season 2 Finale of him with fireballs shooting out of his eyes, and strapped to said doomsday device. Enough so that he showed up at our Liv's apartment, unannounced, to vent to her. And also, to put it bluntly, he was and continues to be distracted by Olivia Dunham. Period. In my opinion, he currently sees her as an ideal that he can hold onto literally and figuratively, the one constant in his current state of uncertainty, which will make it all the more tragic when Peter finds out he's been duped and that his ideal, isn't.
It was fun to see Thomas Jerome Newton distracted in this episode. He's been presented to us in the past as a cocksure, unstoppable half-human, and it was entertaining to watch him as FauxLivia told him a third man took off with their box scheduled for Peter's hands.
Another interesting, distracted character in 302 was the ever unreadable Nina Sharp. She gasped when Walter gave her a sympathetic bone-crushing hug, and it makes me think even more that there is a definite back story to Nina and Walter. We usually see Nina in the utmost control, but she sat there passively during the reading of Bell's will, and nearly cracked her well-constructed facade when she was presented with a bell (haha) to remember her moments in Tuscany alone with Bell (hmmm).
The episode ended with FauxLivia getting more distracting orders from 'Over There' to "work on Dr. Bishop." Can't wait to find out what that means? Neither can I, but I'll bet there's distraction involved.
I give 'The Box' 4.5 out of 5.