Fringe Summer Rewatch: #214 "The Bishop Revival" ~ Fringe Television - Fan Site for the FOX TV Series Fringe

Fringe Summer Rewatch: #214 "The Bishop Revival"

      Email Post       8/20/2011 12:11:00 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.

This episode is one that still perplexes to this day. Many might write it off as a mere stand-alone that gave some insight into the Bishop family past. However, I hope that in Season Four we will find out some answers to some of the “mysteries that are destined to remain unsolved."

Purple Never Goes Out of Style

When Walter and Peter arrived at the Staller wedding crime scene, Walter spoke to Peter about when he married his mother. In a way, I found this very sweet, even as Peter was scared for his life with Walter driving. Walter spoke fondly of Elizabeth:

She was so beautiful, Peter. So beautiful in white. I won't deny I was never happier

But he had been hostile about her before. In The Arrival he told Peter:

Must you always be so small-minded? Damn it, don't be like her. Like your mother. Questioning my judgment. I am not a child. I will not be babied.
More insight into the nature of the relationship between Elizabeth and Walter is given in Peter and Subject 13.

Walter's question about Olivia has new relevance: “Do you think she’ll call me Dad?" Although she later married Peter, she was never shown calling Walter by the term. But the scene in The Day We Died in which Walter gave her “an appropriate welcome to the family” was very touching, and one of my favorites.

Walter told Peter “She’s just what you need. Someone who can see right through you.” I wonder if Olivia will be able to see through whatever way Peter returns in season four?

She saw through him in this episode. Olivia shook her head and let out a small disapproving laugh at Markams’s bookstore. Peter sensed this, and Olivia called him out on his real motivation for selling the books. Peter showed shame as he explained the sale was more of a way to get back at Walter for abandoning the family, by selling his most prized possessions. Peter’s discomfort is another small mile-marker in his relationship with Walter. It is also noteworthy that he did not want Olivia to think any less of him.

Tick-Tock

The Nazi scientist, Alfred Hoffman, made small conversation as he unleashed the toxin in a cafe, via a cup of tea. He said something that perked my attention:

These days are precious. Soon all you will have... are pictures.
(Tea in the Fringe universe seems synonymous with bad things going down... Bell used tea to have Olivia (and maybe Peter) ingest a soul magnet. The world Over There is so bad off, that tea is the hot beverage of choice due to coffee scarcity.)

Of course he was referring to the immediate situation with the mother and child in the café. However, as the series progresses, the audience is shown just how precarious life can be. Especially as we learn more about the conditions and life Over There. Pictures are very meaningful in Fringe, and many examples of this importance abound.

Olivia kept one of herself and Charlie.

Walter keeps family pictures with his own son that died, but he also keeps pictures with the adult Peter he cured.

Altlivia kept the photo booth pictures of herself with Peter.

Henry Higgins prominently displayed his family’s photo in his taxi cab.

Olivia admired a childhood picture of Peter in 6:02 AM EST. In the same episode, Lincoln Lee was shown looking at a photograph taken of him and Altlivia.

I think that the ultimate expression of this sentiment is found in The Day We Died, as Peter mourned the death of Olivia, and he saw the child’s drawing of their never-to-be family on the refrigerator. At the end of The Bishop Revival, Walter showed Peter a picture of Robert Bishop, but did not show him the one with Alfred Hoffman, a man that had not aged a day.

At the café crime scene, Walter offered to drive back to the lab. His key-chain was shown as a white rabbit’s foot. The white rabbit is one of the characters from Alice in Wonderland, known as a favorite book of J.J. Abrams. The White Rabbit was always obsessed with being on time. Walter mentioned to Peter in There is More than One of Everything that he did not know the consequences of not being on time. Plus, the Observers are always seen marking time as they write notes. There are digital clocks in many episodes, and an episode named 6:02 AM EST.

Also, misunderstood artist Eric Franco described one of Walter’s father’s books as “Alice in Wonderland Meets the Evil Nazi Experiment.”


Das Seepferdchen

Walter said that his father, Robert Bishop, came to the US in 1943. Robert’s gravestone in The Arrival lists his date of death as December 11, 1944. However, it has been stated that Walter was born in 1946...

I wrote an article some time ago about the importance of books in Fringe. Of relevance to this episode:

In The Bishop Revival, we learn that Walter’s father, Robert Bischoff, left his library of books to Walter. Walter reveals that his father was actually a spy for the Allies, as he worked for the Nazis in Germany. His father hid important notes about his work among his books so that they could be smuggled to America and kept safe from the wrong hands. As Walter searches for them, we learn that Peter sold the books ten years before because, “he needed money.” This brings out the angry side of Walter that insists the books were HIS and that his father entrusted them to him to keep safe. Walter lashes out to Peter that because Walter had failed to protect them, his father’s work was killing people. This is of interest because Peter was concerned about Walter’s work hurting people.

Another sweet Bishop father/son moment occurs when Peter returns what was left of the books he had retrieved. Walter was clearly thankful, and finds a group picture that had Robert pictured. Walter tells Peter, that he wished that he and his grandfather could have met, and that they “share the same noble brow.”

(Am I the only one that feels this is an allusion to Josh Jackson’s trademark forehead?)

Walter exhibited a single minded mentality when he set out to kill Albert Hoffman, instead of allowing for him to be captured. Walter stated that he would do anything for family, then he glanced over at an unknowing Peter, leaned up against a wall and chatting on the phone. Later, it would be revealed that yes, Walter did quite literally anything to save another version of his dying son, including risking the stability of the fabric of reality.

This offers an interesting parallel in Walternate. He also will do anything to achieve what he sets his mind to. However, his motivation switched from his son (family) to revenge for taking that son away from him.

Show and Tell

Alfred Hoffman was shown in his own basement lab, complete with phonograph and an antique typewriter, along with modern computer and lab equipment.

Some might wonder why Peter was not affected by the toxin in Hoffman’s lab. Hoffman must used a hair from Walter’s sweater to make the toxin specifically to target Walter, not just any Bishop.

Maybe the same “Cellular rejuvenation” listed in the 2026 Fringe opening was the same process that kept Albert Hoffman looking young? Walter had also mentioned that the Nazis were seeking a biological “fountain of youth.”

Parallels in History

The Nazis used humans as unwilling test subjects, including children.

It has often been noted that the men responsible for these atrocities thought that they were doing the right thing for their country and the betterment of humanity. They were mostly normal men, with families. Some people, like the artist character, Eric Franco, are not amused with showing “history’s tyrants, as these regular smucks.” Peter sarcastically quipped to Franco, “That’s deep.” But really, it is exactly that.

Walter often tried to justify the Cortexiphan trials. He told Olivia that that he and Bell were trying to prepare them. To make them more capable. At other times, Walter insisted that “they were Belly’s trials.”

The Nazis perceived the Jews and other “undesirables” as a detriment to their country and persecuted them. They questioned the humanity of these people. German citizens were brainwashed into believing the propaganda, and as such, many did terrible things to those chosen to be eliminated by the State.

Walternate explained to AltLivia that the people in the blue universe were “monsters in our own skin.“ He said that although they may look like “us,“ to not be fooled. In season three, the war between universes escalated. Peter saw things differently from his biological father. He explained his feelings to AltLivia in 6955 kHz:

There are billions of innocent people over there... just like here... people with jobs, families, lives. I got to believe there's another way. And whatever my part in all of this is... I got to believe there's another way. There's always hope, right?

In The Day We Died, it was revealed that Walter received his own trial. He became the scapegoat for the destruction of one world and the problems of another. To the people in 2026, Walter’s face was the face of evil.

Unanswered questions

Who was Alfred Hoffman?

Was Hoffman’s statement about Walter looking just like his father literal?

How did Robert Bishop die at such a young age?

Why was Walter supposedly born after Robert’s death?

If Peter was Removed From the Equation

Peter really didn't seem to have a direct influence on this episode, which was mainly concerned with Walter and his father's work. However, Walter’s books may have never been sold.








5 Comments:

Berlie said...

One thing i found interesting was in the begining of the episode when walter was talking about the possible marriage between Peter and Olivia. When Wlater asked Peter if olivia would call him dad, Peter just said that she probably would not.... he never said the he would not married her!! So the idea of him marring her its not that impossible for him to imagine....

Rodrigo said...

How did Robert Bishop die at such a young age?

Why was Walter supposedly born after Robert’s death?

Well, if we dare to think something out of the box here, he may see that in the picture the father of Walter looks just like Walter in the picture!!! Something to think about it...

cortexifan said...

-Walter is re-learning how to drive. In 3.12 Concentrate And Ask Again he is driving to NH to see Simon and in 3.19 LSD he makes the car skid, although Peter is probably not the best teacher:)
-Too bad we didn’t get to see Peter’s and Olivia’s wedding, wondering if he got to wear the purple tuxedo:)
-Purple: Walter’s tuxedo, Mrs. Staller’s dress, the toxin for Walter (all others were blue)
-Walter; “Do you think she’ll call me dad?” In 3.22 The Day We Died, she didn’t.
-Walter: “She’s just what you need, someone who can see right through you.” For one later in the episode, she knew he didn’t sell the books just for money. In 2.14 Jacksonville at the end, she sort of saw through him as he glimmered.
-Walter: “Agent Dunham, don’t you look lovely today? Doesn’t she look lovely, Peter?” That reminds me of 3.09 Marionette where Walter says something in the same manner: “Look who’s here. Oh it’s good to see you out and about. Peter, look its Olivia.”
-lots of blue in the lab, even the blood, also red and yellow.
-Cinnamon is one of Walter’s favorite flavors. In 1.17 Bad Dreams it was added to the coffee, in 3.12 Concentrate And Ask Again, Walter had it on his mind as he meets Simon by the lake.
-When Walter was talking about the Nazi’s being scientific pioneers, he mentions eternal youth, is this how Hoffman stayed young?
-As Hoffman orders his tea, there are “Jaegermeister” bottles on the shelf. It’s a German herb liquor, tastes yucky :)
-Don’t know what to make of it but it stood out: “These days are precious. Soon all you will have are pictures.”
-Cup of tea. This one killed people; the other turned Olivia into Bellivia :)
-Rabbit’s foot on the key chain, cup of tea; references to Alice in Wonderland. Later Franko even says: “Alice in Wonderland meets the evil Nazi experiment”
-Sea horse; it’s one of the glyphs. Peter has one on his bag in 3.11 Reciprocity.
-Where and why would have Walter needed to fudge the entry date for his father?
-Olivia seems stuck quite a bit with them when they argue about family stuff. Must be awkward.
-Walter said: “My father’s work is killing people.” Peter could say that as well about Walter. How many people have died because of Walter’s work?
-Hoffman grabs an apple out of Walter’s fridge. The apple is also a glyph. The way he bit into it reminded me of Loeb at the end of 1.08 The Equation.
-I forgot to mention Markham in previous re-watches. I like him. Especially in 3.06 6599 khz where Fauxlivia said good bye to him. He probably thought: “She said something, and I didn’t even ask her a question.” All the other times Olivia encounters him, she only says something to him if he starts first.
-Peter: “Why don’t we just poke around a bit.” Obviously Olivia has no more objections to “breaking and entering” :) like she did in 1.03 The Ghost Network.
-Peter and Olivia do a lot of things the same way, like standing the same way and here they have the same look when Franko said the mosaic was for sale.
-At the art center an agent over speaker says to Olivia: “This is Cantrell in the northwest corner...”
-Wow, Olivia can’t even look at Walter, after Hoffman died.
-Walter: “Family is very important to me. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do.”
-I finally figured out who Peter was talking to on the phone after Walter said that he would do anything for family. He’s either talking to Franko or Markham about getting the books back to Walter.
-Walter: “Perhaps there’s some mysteries that are destined to remain unsolved.” Now if that’s not Fringeology, then I don’t know what…:)


If Peter never existed in this episode…
-Would the books never have left Walter’s possessions? Would this case still have come up? Would Hoffman still have looked for Walter?
-Would Walter have had an accident driving back to the lab? :)
-Would Olivia have had enough time to get Walter out?

Aimee Long said...

I've thought about Walter being a clone of his father. OR there is speculation of Peter actually being Robert Bishop. But right now, we don't know. Hope to know soon ;)

Anonymous said...

Albert Hofmann invented LSD.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Hofmann

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