"Now there's a way and I know that I have to go away.
I know I have to go."--Cat Stevens, "Father and Son,"
Almost forty-one years ago a talented English musician, who called himself Cat Stevens, wrote a song that was a musical dialogue between a wise old, loving father, and his antsy, young son, who wanted to run off and join a revolution against the wishes of his father. This song "Father & Son," is a timeless classic of two generations trying to communicate in a bittersweet emotional moment. The above lyrics were screaming to me as I sat down to write this review for episode 320, "6:02AM EST."
On a second watching of this episode, I've upped my rating. This is a very good episode, that is almost as gut-wrenching as any to which Akiva Goldsman has contributed his writing talent. Almost, but not quite.
If you've been following Fringe all along you knew this time was coming, when our poor Walter Bishop would have to willingly let go of his "adopted" son, Peter Bishop, for the greater good. Interestingly, Walter was none too sublte about it: "I would have to sacrifice you to fix the problems I created." Note that Peter started the conversation on this topic:"Walter, we both know there's another way," and that he ended it:"I think this is what I'm supposed to do, but I can't do it without your help." Peter's mind is made up. What a huge turn from just a few episodes ago when he told us he wouldn't set foot inside the machine!
We've been told several times recently by the FOX Broadcasting ads, the showrunners, and even John Noble himself, that this first of the last three episodes is important, and that it is basically part of a three-part finale story arc. Packed into this Fringe timeslot we basically learned the following:
Kudos to the writers of this episode who must have scratched their heads while trying to incorporate the above points within a 43 minute time period. The pace is quick, and the only criticism I have about it is in the scene where FauxLivia prepares to go off to obtain means from AltBrandon to get Over Here. That scene starts with Faux singing to sweet little Henry(I should have made a bet with all those who didn't think she would name him that!). As she leaves Henry's room Lincoln is looking at a picture of the two of them smiling, Faux's arm around him as she proudly displays a medal. We learn it is a picture of her first commendation for saving Lincoln, her coworker at the time, during a Level 4 vortex incident. FauxLiv makes light of the situation, saying she was just going for his wallet and the $50.00 he owed her. Lincoln tries to reinforce the seriousness of their situation. You get the sense that this is how it's probably been with these two-Lincoln Lee trying to seriously engage her as she pulls away with humor and sometimes sarcasm, sort of a role reversal of the communication style of our Peter & Olivia.
Lincoln asks her to let him come with her, but in her ever dominant role, FauxLivia tells him she needs him to stay there and get baby Henry to her mother's in case she doesn't return. There isn't a whole lot of eye contact as she tells Lincoln he's the only one that she trusts. Then the writers have these questions come out of Lincoln's mouth:"You really think Peter Bishop can stop this? That he can heal both worlds?" And you know that Lincoln and FauxLivia have talked, and you have to wonder how much she's told him, about Peter, about her feelings for Peter, and about the machine. She tells Lincoln she doesn't know but if anyone can talk the Secretary into turning off the machine it would be his son, to which Lincoln nods. Then it's a "See you when you get back" from Lincoln, a decent hug, and FauxLivia's out the door. But like many scenes in this show, it's not enough, and it leaves you wanting more information on this couple and their dysfunctional relationship.
The good-bye scene between our Olivia and Peter runs parallel to Lincoln and FauxLivia's above in that there is no kiss or shared declaractions of love in front of the gang in the Massive Dynamic hangar, either. Peter stops Olivia with a hand on her arm and you can see that he wants to tell her as he swallows madly, one of his strongest tells. Olivia looks like she is swallowing emotion down as well as she tells him she'll call him from Massive Dynamic in New York. There's a slight shake of Peter's head and our Olivia heads out.
My favorite scene of this episode is when Walter is in the hospital's chapel. Your mind should instantly recall "White Tulip," when Walter asks God for a sign of forgiveness, and receives it by the end of that episode. It's hard to believe the writers could trump those scenes in 320, but they have, and if this chapel scene doesn't show you John Noble's talents are award-worthy, I don't know what does! "I have no other place to turn," Walter says, and you can feel your stomach start turning as well. The rest of his conversation is posted below:
I asked you for a sign and you sent it to me. A white tulip. And I'm so grateful! Since then, in moments of deep despair, I have found solace in believing that you have forgiven me. I was willing ot let him go. I was willing to let Peter die. I've changed. That should matter.God, I know my crimes are unforgivable. Punish me. Do what you want to me. And I beg you, spare our world.
Wow. His words of being willing to let Peter die reminded me of the story in the Bible of Abraham being willing to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice, which I think is intended here. Both Walters on both sides are willing to sacrifice their son, our Walter for the greater good, Walternate for the consummation of his revenge.
Also noteworthy in "6:02AM EST" is the sweet Astrid/Peter moment when she asks "You sure you don't want me to call Olivia?" before Peter heads towards the machine. Peter answers her, "If it doesn't work she's gonna find out soon enough." Astrid just looks at him with those huge eyes waiting for him to continue. Peter then swallows and says"Just tell her that-" and Astrid smartly interrupts him, stating that whatever he wants to tell her he can tell her himself."
We even get a little humor thrown in for good measure in that extended Peter-says- goodbye scene when Peter tells Broyles, "If this works and I save both universes, I want you to consider me officially retired," to which Broyles' face lightens as he replies, "I'll think about it."
FauxLivia never gets a chance in this episode to get Over Here. Either AltBrandon has duped her or she's not using the canister correctly. The episode ends with deja vu as Walternate walks down a dark, familiar hallway and turns on a light in a holding cell. FauxLivia has now come full circle to sit in our Olivia's same cell. They have a very interesting conversation in which Walternate points out that they are similar in that both of them are willing to leave their son behind in order to risk their life for what they believe to be the greater good. FauxLivia gives us a "heads up" moment when she emphatically tells Walternate she doesn't see how killing billions of people can possibly be in the interest of the greater good. Nice. Definitely signs of redemption of the Alternate Olivia Dunham character here. It's about time.
Things In This Episode That Point To Other Episodes
- Sheep-makes me think of how we learned the sheep are gone Over There in 313, "Immortality."
- Walternate's reference to Oppenheimer-reminds me of our Walter's reference to Oppenheimer in 302, "The Box" when Walter was yelling at Broyles while he was being put under pressure to find out how the box worked
- Shirtless Peter-reminds me of him standing shirtless at their apartment door in 102 "The Same Old Story."
- The scene in the field where thsheephandlers disappeared-reminds me of the soccer field in 120, "There's More Than One Of Everything," where Olivia and Charlie found the half a soccer player.
- Walternate pouring alcohol from a flask-reminds me of Walternate pouring alcohol in 315 "Subject 13."
- Walternate repeats "Give him the keys and save the girl-reminds me of the Observer and Walter saying the same in 310, 'The Firefly."
- Peter & Walter drinking a toast-reminds me of Peter& Olivia doing the same in 314, "6B."
- The circle that appears on the wall at the DOD after AltBrandon puts his palm on it-reminds me very much of the First People's calendar thingy in 306, "6955 kHz."
- FauxLivia running from guards on Liberty Island-reminds me of 301, "Olivia."
- FauxLivia running through the Liberty Island basement-reminds me of both 201, "A New Day In The Old Town," and 312, "Concentrate and Ask Again."
- FauxLivia stuck at the gate-reminds me of our Liv behind one in 116,"Unleashed."
- FauxLivia in Walternate's holding cell-reminds me of our Liv in the same place in 223, "Over There:Part 2."
- "You don't know anything about me"-I believe FauxLiv said the same thing to our Liv in 223, "Over There:Part 2."
- Astrid holding Walter's hand-reminds me of her holding Broyles' hand in 319, "Lysergic Acid Diethylamide."
- "We don't have alot of time"-similar to David Robert Jones' words to Olivia in 114, "Ability."
Things That Struck Me About This Episode:
- "Rocky Mountain Way" by Joe Walsh playing in the bowling alley-Check out the lyrics to that. I guess the writers are trying to tell us something about Sam Weiss.
- Sam Weiss and his Newton's Cradle-Dennis already gave you the wikipedia link for this. What's interesting is how it started without him touching it. Did Sam start it with his mind, and if he didn't start it moving, who did? Note that the biggest model of the Newton's Cradle in the US was made with bowling balls! Speaking of which, the red bowling ball knocking into the black bowling ball, but not seemingly affecting the blue bowling ball was interesting. According to that wikipedia page, the only thing that will change the course of the movement is a shock wave. Is Peter Bishop the "shock wave" that will affect the momentum? Or our Olivia? Or both of them together?
- If it's Tuesday, Walter must be cooking while naked-A fun scene when Olivia runs into Walter in the buff. Interestingly, there are stories in the Fringe fandom at fanfiction.net which have incorporated Liv running into a naked Walter in their house written a long time ago.
- "Tell Walter it's on!"-I don't think Nina means just the machine here.
- "Explanations are above my pay grade."-That's gotta be eating at Over There Lincoln. How long is he going to put up with that?
- Alternate Olivia named her son Henry!-That's just so fun.
- Neither Olivia kissed their man goodbye before they left for work-That's a little cold, don't you think, writers?
- "It wasn't supposed to be this way."-There's a paralell between September's situation of distracting Walternate 26 years ago and, Milo's discovery in 'The Plateau" that Olivia wouldn't use the inhaler, and what Sam's saying here.
- The First People's calendar under AltBrandon's palm ID-Exactly how much do they know about the First People Over There?
- The bottle of Brut aftershave on Sam's empty shelf-So who's the brut in this scenario? Is it supposed to be symbolic of Sam?
- "The current catch is so powerful. It's unlike anything I've ever seen. And the thought of what that could do to my son...I don't want him to suffer."-Hmm. Will the effects of that tie into the previous references to the "heart" in 220, "Brown Betty"?
- "If this works, and I save both universes, I want you to consider me officially retired."-From what we've seen in the promos it ain't gonna happen. Sorry, Peter.
- The calculus equation Sam Weiss wrote down-Integral or differential calculus? Anyone know exactly what that is?
- Ending the episode with Alternate Olivia in the same cell our liv was in-Priceless!
After re-watching "6:02AM EST" several times I have come to the conclusion that it is a very good episode. Not epic, but, very, very good. I give it 4.5 out of 5 bottles of Brut.