How do I love thee '6B'? Let me count the ways?
I can almost picture the writers' brainstorming meeting for this episode. Someone says it'll be a Valentine's week airing and there's discussion about what that means. Inevitably all the forms of love come into conversation and Shakespeare's name is bandied about. Or, knowing the genius of executive producers Jeff Pinkner and JH Wyman, this episode which came to be known as 6B was built into the story arc in rough form way back in Season 1.
That would definitely not surprise me.
'6B' is a bittersweet tale of love and loss, and I daresay, probably the heaviest dose of foreshadowing we've been given since 'Brown Betty' in Season 2. Having seen '6B' three times now(that's not much for me) I think this episode was brilliantly written. It's also a none too subtle reminder of where Fringe is right now and where it is headed. The blue universe has a new gigantic elephant in the room we can label the threat of holes, not soft spots as Olivia is corrected by Walter. No one's been giving too much thought as to the decay of our side, until now when the threat looms large and fresh in Brooklyn, a location very close to the first and huge vortex that formed in the East River Over There. I guess we should feel lucky, their vortex began in 1989, so the whole(pun intended) process is beginning more slowly on our side.
Although the main plot of this episode is a little far-fetched as to its scientific basis it is very important. A woman named Alice Merchant('Alice' because JJ Abrams loves all things 'Alice in Wonderland,' and Merchant is in Shakespeare's play 'The Merchant of Venice.') lost her husband Derek of 45 years. We find out in the middle of the episode that in another version of the close-by universes it's the reverse of that, Derek Merchant lost his wife, Alice, of 45 years.
The remaining spouses are both devastated by the loss and openly mourn their loved one in an apartment of the infamous Rosencrantz(where you looking for Guildenstern also?) building of Brooklyn, New York. Somehow the intensity of their emotions and refusal to let go of each other has caused this thinning of the two worlds that is reaching cataclysmic proportions and our side's first vortex to form. Our Olivia's description of this merits mentioning:'This intense grief they're both experiencing is somehow blending our universes together." Hmm. Anyone else feeling the hairs standing up on the back of their neck? Something is rotten in the state of Denmark, folks. Perhaps this is foreshadowing of the birth of yet a third universe- a theory that's been discussed all over the internet? In a nutshell, the still living Alice Merchant(who did a splendid job, by the way) and Over There's still living Derek Merchant are communicating with each other in a way that's causing big changes for both worlds. Peter Bishop's description of Einstein's concept of 'quantum entaglement' or "spooky action at a distance," as Walter puts it:"Two objects interacting with each other even though they're separated by a great distance." Uh oh.
This could also means Peter's going back over to the red universe *sighs*.
Interestingly Olivia wasn't able to get Alice Merchant to let go, but Peter's heartfelt speech did the job:
"And I know that when you have something so real, you'll do anything to keep from losing it.
But please, you have to let him go."
Alice listened to Peter but she wasn't convinced, until Other Derek told Alice 'the girls' missed her too. Then she knew Olivia and Peter were right. Alice Merchant of our side had no daughters. Alice delivers words to Other Derek rife with foreshadowing that make me want to head for the hills: "I'm not your wife. Your wife is gone. And so's my Derek." Gosh! Just change the names people and you'll see there's major chaos and loss ahead! This might be a good time also to point you to my new Peter Bishop theory in the 'Episodes' section of this website.
Alas poor Derek hears Alice's words, and disappears, and not surprisingly the vortex is avoided. This time. But the damage is already done, our Walter has been spooked by the proximity of the event, and the thought of the further damage others will inevitably bring. He's wringing his hands in one scene just like in one of Shakespeare's plays.
An interesting scene follows after with Nina and Walter having a private moment in the CEO's office of Massive Dynamic's New York headquarters. Nina sees Walter looking consternate and upset and tries to console him. Walter's words:"Today wasn't a victory. Today was a vision of things to come." Wow! The message doesn't get any clearer than that does it?!
I loved how Walter takes Nina's hand and they share a look, so we can see the parallels between Walternate and his Reiko and our Walter and Nina. Does this mean Walter will sleep with Nina? Maybe he has already and that's why he's staying overnight in New York City, just like Walternate?
And we get another round robin in this episode which I love. After we get the intro with people dying under mysterious circumstances that sets the episode up, we get a delightful scene with Walter preparing a stunning breakfast for two(with candles). Naturally Peter's curious why the set-up and Walter tells him he's missed Olivia. Peter jumps in with a dissertation on why his and Olivia's business is not Walter's. Walter answers with another thematical comment:"Your happiness is my concern." Truly, Walter Bishop is the biggest P/O shipper. There's a knock at the door. Our Walter cupid has set them up for breakfast! Walter puts 'Feeelings' on the turntable and disappears leaving them in a very awkward situation. Olivia bales and says she's going back to the office. Surprisingly Peter mans up and tells her she should stay and explain what's bothering her. We get a genuine, gloves-off P/O conversation which is a gift in itself. Better yet, progress is made. Olivia tells him she knows he still has feelings for Faux. She tells him she doesn't think he's been completely honest with her. And he tells her he hasn't told her everything. Peter could've come clean with his role in the shapeshifter murders at that point but he does not. He tells her he knows she has trouble with trust issues. She returns that the reasons are real she doesn't make them up, to which Peter replies he never wanted to be one of the reasons. (Then you should have come clean now, darn it!) The rest of Peter's words are below because they in combination with his words at Mrs. Merchant's apartment lead to the end scene:
"And I still think about her because I spent so long going down that path with you, imagining what it would be like wake up in a bed next to you, to sit around just the two of us having a cup of coffee, reading the newspaper, and then, finally, I had it. I've seen what the two of us together looks like, and it's beautiful."
Olivia beams for a moment and then says,"Peter, she's the one that took it away from us, not me."
And in true soap opera fashion, Peter replies, "And now? Who's the one stopping us now?"
Ooh. Touche Peter.
There's a short P/O scene in the middle necessary I guess to move the story along.
Peter and Olivia go to the bar across the street from the Rosencrantz building to warm up and share some fries. After some rather typical P/O banter, Olivia says something revealing. In reference to Peter's earlier words that's he's seen what they were like and it was beautiful, Liv says "I want to know what that feels like." Peter stands there waiting for the 'but' he thinks is following and actually says the word aloud. She shakes her head that there is no 'but' this time and leans in and kisses him. She pulls back looking spooked, says she needs some air and runs out of the bar. Of course Peter follows her. Outside he tries to find out if she thinks it was a mistake but she cuts him off midsentence, telling him when they kissed that he glimmered.
He states that she's afraid which she affirms. "Maybe I'm just incapable of being vulnerable."
Peter jumps in and tells her he knows this isn't true. She tells him she thinks she's the one stopping them from moving ahead and that she's terrified she can't fix this. She looks away toward the upper floors of the Rosencrantz building, seeing the otherworldly shimmer, and the plot advances.
Now we get to the last scene. There's a knock on the door of the Bishop residence.
Peter opens the door and Olivia's standing there looking a tad awkward. She produces a good-looking bottle of scotch and says maybe she's being presumputous but she thought they could have a nightcap. Peter looks a little lukewarm as he says "sure" and lets her in, but after the last 2 P/O conversations I guess he's entitled to appear lukewarm. He brings back glasses and pours them each at least 2 fingers of hard liquor. They have an interesting toast, "To disaster narrowly averted, or at least postponed," which is foreshadowing for all the nasty fallout ahead for our favorite couple. Then for the second time in this episode, Olivia gets right down to business.
"Peter, what you said to Mrs. Merchant...I want what you want." Peter smiles at her and delivers one of the sexiest lines of the season,"What do you think we should do about that?" Olivia initiates a tender kiss(again) but pulls back when it gets a little heated and gives him the same look she gave him 'Over There:Part 2,' a look of love and longing(and maybe some fear). Peter is wondering if he's glowing again and has to ask for his own sanity. She whispers "no" to him and many have specualted that she is lying. To me, the truth doesn't matter, what does matter is that our Liv is finally dealing with it, with everything. And you can't blame the alcohol, she only had a small sip. She moves past him and extends her hand. Peter puts his in hers and together they make their way up the stairs with Olivia in the lead. Many fans have criticized the P/O consummation in this episode, but I thank the writers and specifically Mr. Pinkner and Mr. Wyman. They really know how to throw those P/O bones when we need them.
And be forewarned P/O fans, when Pinkner e al throw us a bone, bad P/O stuff looms on the horizon! I wish there was another hiatus right now, so we could leave them alone for awhile, but apparently doom and entropy are a-calling.
I love Shakespeare and P/O scenes so I give this episode a perfect 5 out of 5 soul magnets.
Comments and Questions:
- "The laws of physics are being disrupted here." Doesn't that apply not only to the Rosencrantz building but all over Fringeland?
- Walter's snapping and sarcasm toward even Astrid in this episode. Is that signaling he's becoming more like Walternate? Can Walter recognize this?
- Regarding Olivia's reference to Barry White. Peter says in 'The Box' that he's never heard her make musical references before. Is that the FauxLiv talking in our Liv's brain?
- More Peter Bishop door-kicking! Oh how I've missed it!
- Olivia presumably had relations with 'Mechanized' Peter rather than Non-meachanized Peter. How will that change things?
- "That's where you draw the line? Ghosts?" A nice reference to Peter's words to FauxLivia in 'Entrada'
- "How did Derek die?" Another reference to 'Marionette'?
- "He was part of me, then he was gone." Oh Dear, more P/O foreshadowing. See my Peter Bishop theory in the 'Episodes' section of this website.
- "All I wanted was him, even if it meant dying myself.(A future reference to FauxLivia?) And that's when he came to me, when I needed him most." (I won't give my thoughts here on this foreshadowing for Season 4 or 5. If you want to hear my take on this leave me a note and I'll elaborate in either the 'Spoilers' or 'Episodes' section of this website.)
- Regarding those 2 poor people encased in amber in Massive Dynamic headquarters. When will someone realize they are still alive and able to be revived? Will that happen?
- Why were Peter and everyone else suddenly able to see things/people from Over There? Can everyone over here see things from Over There if the universe's fabric is thin enough? I don't remember people commenting on that in NYC before the hotel got sucked up and away in 'Jacksonville.'
- How scared did Broyles look when he called "Dr. Bishop?!" Broyles is as scared to start using amber as Walter is to become Walternate.
- Anyone else catch the amber-releasing canister start-up sequence? Green-green-green-red!
- "If the impossible is possible, who's to say that someday I won't see him again?"(Alice Merchant) Oh boy! This made me think of William Bell, but it could apply to ANYBODY on Fringe!
- The last scene where Peter shuts the door after Olivia steps in. The way that scene was shot gave me a genuine deja vu of the same shot in 'Jacksonville.' I believe that was done purposely to show that Liv's finally getting past the intial set-back of the glimmer and all it represents.