Fringe Summer Rewatch: #201 "A New Day in the Old Town" ~ Fringe Television - Fan Site for the FOX TV Series Fringe

Fringe Summer Rewatch: #201 "A New Day in the Old Town"

      Email Post       8/07/2011 12:10:00 AM      

Join us for our Fringe Summer Rewatch, where we review every episode of Fringe during the summer hiatus. Comments are welcome as we dig into the connections made over three seasons.

Last season’s finale left viewers in awe as the camera panned away from Olivia looking out the window of William Bell’s office, revealing that she was standing in one of the Twin Towers.

The second season premiere of Fringe, opened with an unexpected bang. Or more like a crash. My first thoughts watching this scene unfold were, “Who the heck is this guy, and why do I care?”

It turns out that the introduction of the shape-shifters would prove to be more than just adding an enemy. Over the course of series, viewers see another instance of humanizing those that we would normally consider the “bad guys.” But for this episode, there is nothing to love about these organo-mechanical beings that kill others and steal their identities in order to infiltrate our world and fool those closest to the deceased.

The vehicle that crashed and that was supposedly driven by Olivia makes me think of a few considerations. Did the SUV get pulled over from the other side, sending another equal mass object over? Or was it quantum-entangled with a similar vehicle on the other side with Olivia as the driver?

Speaking of quantum-entanglement, this episode is where the vintage typewriter store was introduced, and it plays a continuous role in the series.


When the doctor at the hospital told Walter and Peter about Olivia’s terminal prognosis, Walter’s statement concerning life and death has a new interpretation.

Simple. Reductive. Absurd. Life and death, these are relative terms. Contextually defined, dependent on cultural specifics.

He is undoubtedly indulging in primitive diagnostics. Agent Dunham is not dead. She's not dead. She's not dead.

The matter of life and death was touched upon heavily in the third season. William Bell sacrificed his corporeal self in order to return the Fringe team back to their universe. But Bell "came back" using soul magnets. Roland Barrett tried to bring back the girl that he loved in Marionette, and almost succeeded, except for the lack of a “soul.“ Dana Gray wanted to die in Stowaway, but could not no matter how she tried. Walter and Peter “died” in Olivia’s mind in LSD. Peter took the gamble to go back and make a different choice in The Day We Died, because he wanted Olivia to live in the future.

Walter and Peter

Walter and Peter have become much closer this season, with Peter taking his father to the grocery store, and playing the ‘I don’t want a big deal made of my birthday’ game. Last season, Walter seemed to come to understand that the adult Peter that he now calls his son, is the alternate of the boy he buried. Yet, he still gets confused as he asserts that Peter loved custard as a boy, and Peter insists that he doesn’t like it and never has. Walter’s innocent statement about wanting to see Olivia eat his pudding, and Peter’s reaction was a great laugh. (Sorry, I love innuendo.) But on Fringe, the other shoe often drops whenever anyone is happy, and Peter’s look over the phone call he received sets the stage for an emotional and frantic roller-coaster of an episode.

Olivia and Peter

It always amazed me when some people thought that Peter and Olivia’s kiss in Over There, came out of nowhere. I always got the vibe that Peter felt a spark for Olivia, but was staying “at arms’s length” because of what happened between her and Agent John Scott.

There is a monumental importance to this series found in the hospital scene in which Walter examined “Olive” and broke down into tears, as Peter looked through the window, obviously about to breakdown himself. This is where the “epic” love story began, in my opinion. It only gets more obvious when Peter nearly choked up when Olivia's sister Rachel told him, “You know she liked you, Peter. Did you know that?” The grief on his face when he went to tell Olivia good-bye just… hurt.

Also, Olivia told Peter that he is good at taking care of the people that he cares about. Little did she know that in the future, he’d risk himself for the people that he loved.

From here on out, there was no doubt in my mind that Peter felt more for Olivia than just friendship. But like all good love stories - I won’t call it mere romance, because it is much more than that - it took a lot of time for these two broken people to come together.

The Greek Phrase

Einai kalytero anthropo apo ton patera toy.

This line has come into play so much in the series

During season three, I speculated that it would be used to let Peter know that the Olivia with him, was not the Olivia Dunham he knew. So, I was pleasantly surprised when finally, the phrase was brought up, and Oh! Alt-Livia failed the test.

But curiously, that was not the end of the line's importance. It would be the line that was typed on the quantum-entangled typewriter in The Last Sam Weiss, letting Olivia know that she could manipulate objects in the other universe.

Peter Shows Commitment

Walter had previously told Peter that his biggest problem was a lack of commitment. Episode 2:01 shows that Peter had deviated from that early character assessment. The man that wanted to run in The Arrival grew to become one that started to become accepting of caring for his father and working with the FBI while trying to make a difference.

Peter’s character has never been one to go over-the-top with emotion. When he breaks, he breaks silently. The bar scene with Broyles showed the determined but frustrated Peter that wanted to get answers, and who was tired of roadblocks and being jerked around.

Who would have guessed that this scene of frustration and mourning would come back to have a deeper significance after season three? Peter tells Broyles:

They're shutting you down? What were we even doing, anyway? We'd sit around and wait for somebody to die some grisly, macabre death, or for the entire fabric of the universe to come shredding apart. We were the clean-up crew, sent in to mop it up and make sure it was all neat and tidy for the file. We were always too late anyway.

In The Day We Died, Broyles tells Peter of his frustration, mirroring their 17 year old conversation in the bar, except this time, they knew that the fabric of the universe was literally shredding apart.

We're running around putting on band-aids, and every day more people are lost because of it, and Walter was responsible. I know him. And I know his intentions weren't this. But there's not a single person out there who hasn't lost someone they love because of him. You can't begrudge the anger they feel towards him.

Peter also lamented being “too late for Olivia” in 2:01, and he decided to not be too late in TDWD.

Peter took it upon himself to save Fringe Division. The shape-shifter device that he gave to Broyles was proof that there was a real threat to the country - and the world. In Over There, Broyles explained that the snazzy new Fringe Division headquarters was part of Peter’s demands. This could have been the basis for the Fringe Division in TDWD.

Peter’s line to Broyles:

From now on, we're calling the shots. We're done reacting. We're not gonna be too late anymore. After all, somebody's got to save their asses, right?

Does part of calling the shots and no longer being too late involve time-line alteration? It is interesting as well that Peter is the one that ends up trying to save everyone.

Biblical Imagery

Jessup was seen near the ending of the episode making connections between Fringe cases and the Biblical Book of Revelations. This plot seemed to drop into whatever vortex Jessup was sucked into. Or did it? Our Fringe team of Walter, Peter and Olivia has often been referred to as a Trinity, much like the Christian concept. The name Peter Bishop has definite religious significance as it was the Apostle Peter that Jesus referred to as “the rock” upon which he’d build his church, and Bishops are religious leaders. Interestingly, The Day We Died had this line from Astrid:

The End of Days. Ha. That's one of my father's favorite sermons. When the world dies and a savior arrives to end the suffering and usher all the worthy into Heaven.

Despite the disappearing Agent Amy Jessup, and the death of Charlie Francis, this is one of my favorite episodes. I always describe it to people as where Fringe Division, and especially Peter Bishop, got teeth.

Unanswered Questions

Of course, everyone wants to know what happened to Agent Jessup, and what was the deal with her Fringe cases versus the Book of Revelations?

Who gave Agent Jessup the password to access the Fringe team’s files?

Who set-up Olivia’s accident?

What did the other side (Walternate?) know about Olivia’s meeting with William Bell?

Why did Peter’s mother tell him a phrase that was also known by William Bell?

Who is the typewriter store owner? He’s not a shape shifter. Is he a human subject sent to our universe, or what?

If Peter Bishop Never Existed?

I think that Bell would still pull Olivia over to the other side, and her accident would still take place.

Fringe Division may have been shut-down without his resolve and tenacity.

If the theory about Peter and Olivia having a metaphysical type of connection is true, then Olivia may have never woke up from her coma.


Nicki said...

I wonder about Bell knowing that line too, but if I recall correctly, wasn't it Bell who introduced Peter's mom to Walter in the first place? How then did Bell meet Elizabeth in the first place? Is she some pawn put in place so that Peter could exist in the first place? Did she learn the quote from Bell? Always questions!

cortexifan said...

-The Shapeshifter getting out of the car is actually a stunt coordinator.
-X-Files playing on TV as he changes.
-The way Walter approached the car made me think he knew what happened with Olivia.
-Olivia laying there is the same pose she had after crossing back over in 3.08 Entrada.
-When she was brought to the hospital, it resembles Peter being brought to the hospital in 3.20 6:02 AM EST.
-Walter and Peter look quite lost when they stand together in the hospital.
-Why did Broyles give Jessup a different report to sign? Why was she digging deeper? Who gave her the pass code for the files? What do the numbers represent? It’s not any numbers Olivia ever used. In The Pilot and The Arrival she uses different numbers to contact dispatch.
-”Death is a relative term” fits well with “real is just a matter of perception”.
-When Walter says good bye to Olivia, it breaks my heart every time.
-The bar is the same on as in 3.08 Entrada where Broyles doesn’t have to pay for his drink.
-Walter is in “lala land”, reminds me of 2.19 Brown Betty, 3.10 The Firefly (especially the opening song), and 3.16 Os where Walter smokes drugs.
-Rachel says: “She liked you Peter.” So I guess there is not threat from Rachel. Did Olivia and Rachel ever talk about Peter?
-Why were Peter’s credentials revoked and by whom? At this point was Senator Van Horn already a shapeshifter and was it him?
-Reed collected telephones. In 3.11 Reciprocity, the last shapeshifter collected globes.
-Was the shapeshifter communicating with Walternate?
-The episode has one of my favorite Walter moments, when he eats a Red Vine, fiddles around in the body and then tries to taste the batter for the custard.
-I love the Olivia – Charlie moment. He knows her best.
-Olivia says: “I’m so scared”. In 2.14 Jacksonville she says she’s not afraid of anything anymore.
-Sorry, but I flinch every time I see this, when Nina kisses Broyles. How deep is there relationship really?
- As closed up as Olivia is, I was surprised she shared with the nurse.
- Ok, so if someone wanted to kill Olivia: choking doesn’t work! 1st attempt in Midnight, 2nd here, 3rd Momentum Deferred (Charlie) and 4th Fauxlivia in Over There Part 2.
- Peter has a 02 on his jacket. Lincoln has a 3301 on his in 3.01 Olivia.
-Greek phrase. We know it was Bell who told Olivia as she was with him. Peter should have used it a lot sooner than wait until 3.08 Entrada. Would have saved himself from a lot of trouble.
-Why was Jessup comparing the cases with Bible references?

If Peter never existed in this episode…
-would Olivia have been able to wake up? She needed to hear his voice in order to do so. (special connection between them)
-would the shapeshifter still have come after her?
-would someone else have made the connection between being a soldier, staying on mission and that Olivia was the target?
-would Fringe Division have been shut down?

fringeobsessed said...

Nice, cortexifan.
"Rachel says, 'She liked you Peter.' So I guess there is not threat from Rachel."
Well, if you look at that scene Peter is touching Rachel at least twice. I can't infer from that scene if it was the two of them in Rachel's bedroom at the end of "Bad Dreams" or not. I believe we will never know.

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