The Moments and People that Define a Life
“Just as there is no loss of basic energy in the universe, so no thought or action is without its effects, present or ultimate, seen or unseen, felt or unfelt.” - Norman Cousins
It is amazing:
How one night can change and define the course of a life.
How one person can make such a large difference to the lives of many.
How the Fringe world has changed.
As this episode opened, a man was viewing a picture as another spoke to him. Pictures play an important role throughout the series. They are visual reminders of the past, good or bad, and of people that we love or not… In any case, they are the footprints of influence on life’s journey. What happens when the footprints of another are erased from the sands of time? Even if they’re not visible, are there still remnants that always reside in the soul?
In typical Fringe style, there are many callbacks for this scene:
In the episode Dream Logic, Dr. Nayak tapped into the dreams of his patients in order to receive an intense high.
Also, there are some serious elements from Grey Matters. Recall the scene in which the shapeshifter Newton interrogated Walter in order to map his neural pathways. Newton was looking for specific memories so that he could locate Walter’s doorway that he built between the two universes.
Here, the killer taps into the specific and happy memories of his victims, in order to receive a similar effect that Nayak sought.
Our Fringe Division was called upon to assist with this case. Olivia’s look to Broyles as she reviewed the Over There Olivia’s file, was one of disbelief. It seemed to say, “Sure, I’ve Noooo problem working with a woman that kidnapped me and stole my life.”
But this hardened Broyles gave Olivia no choice, and they went to the bridge-room. As they were scanned before entry, I was reminded of Olivia’s elevator trip to visit William Bell in There is More Than One of Everything. The lights seemed to scan her before she made the trip to the other universe.
The case discussion between Olivia and her alternate showed an uneasiness between the two women. It was revealed that the suspect had a 220 IQ. Somehow I get the feeling that in Fringe, intelligent people are doomed to struggle with emotional issues and attachments… but there is some truth in that paradigm.
Olivia was uncomfortable with the idea of sending the McClennan from her world, to the other one, in order to assist with their investigation of his doppelganger. It was no wonder, because she’s tried to distance herself from her alternate, as evidenced by her statement in Neither Here Not There: “Just because you walked in my shoes, don't you think for a moment that you know me.” Skeptical Olivia was told that the man from here is a forensic psychology professor, specializing in serial killers. I heard Peter echo to Olivia from The Ghost Network: “You know, they say the psych profiles of cops and criminals are pretty much identical. Ever consider a life of crime?”
|Cool books... and reflective glass dome...|
The duality theme is once again explored from a different angle. This case heavily reminded me of the Rose brothers in season three episode, Amber 31422.
Captain Lincoln Lee seemed very amused at his Liv dying her hair blonde. The guy was so obviously smitten, but in this timeline, Frank Stanton is still Liv’s boyfriend. As they met our Agent Dunham, she was quick to point out her differences: “I button my jacket.” Plus, she must have been going over the differences between the two Lees.
In the alternate universe, we saw a gas station, and either the .99 was per Liter, or I want to move there for cheap gasoline, coffee be damned. Hey, they still have tea!
I was on edge because I was certain that the killer was after the young girl, but he took her mother instead. An excellent piece of dramatic climax there.
Back in our universe, Walter seemed to be keeping a secret. He was blasting Mozart’s Requiem as loud as possible, in a set-up familiar to many - like in an old Memorex commercial. Walter was also covering every reflective surface he could find in the lab, because he was seeing a man who we know as Peter. Astrid tried to have him confess that something was bothering him, and Walter’s sad look into her eyes told me that he was frightened of being called mad.
As Fauxliva and Dr. McClennan viewed the apartment Over There in his profiling attempt, the irony struck me in basically describing one’s own modus operandi. Meanwhile, Lincoln and our Olivia sat in a parked SUV outside. Lincoln asked, "You hate sitting out here, don’t you?” When Olivia asked why, he said, “Because it would drive her crazy.” Olivia once again tried to distance herself and said she was fine with it.
But it all fell apart when the professor discovered a chair from his childhood, and a picture of his father, nestled in a collage of photographs. I did like how Lincoln allowed our Olivia a chance to deal with the situation. It was hilarious that Faux also wanted to show her individuality from Olivia, as she huffed and unbuttoned her jacket.
Olivia still has a way to show compassion with the people that she works with. Thank goodness that hasn’t changed. Professor McClennan revealed that like Dexter, he had dark urges - that led to killing things. His father beat him in an misguided attempt to try and fix him. This scene hurt for me, because looking at Olivia and knowing where she had come from.. It was right there on Anna Torv’s face. Fauxlivia observed in the background, and I do hope that she starts to feel some empathy for Olivia. I admit that they can learn much from each other.
McClennan revealed that a woman - named Marjorie - was his guiding light in the darkness. That she gave him “moments” that he could hold onto. When all felt lost, he could step out of the darkness and find the light. (In Northwest Passage, Sheriff Mathis gave a pen to Peter that said, “Find the Crack.” She told him that, “In the darkness, there's always a crack. It's how the light gets in.”) While Olivia has had the benefit (?) of meeting her double, she counseled John that he could not find his double and “fix” him. Basically she said, his choices had sealed his fate.
As Olivia listened to altAstrid’s calculations concerning the whereabouts of an escaped Professor McClennan, she did not let the Mentat-like abilities daunt her. She was able to make connections that surprised her alternate.
Both of the McClennans came face-to-face. As the professor spoke, his words were a perfect illustration of “The Road Not Taken.” At one point, there was a defining moment in each of these men’s lives. A place where everything diverged. One Night in October…
From the past timeline, we know that one of Olivia’s defining moments was shooting her stepfather. It made me gasp when she flat-out, with no remorse, told Faux that she killed him in this timeline. My first thought was to cheer. On second thought, what drove Olivia to kill him this time around? Was the abuse so terrible, that it drove her to finish the job? She had revealed to Peter in the prior timeline that she couldn’t do it. I have a feeling that there is an untold story about what drove Olivia to the point of killing her stepfather.
(Also, we still do not know if Faux had a stepfather like Olivia.)
The killer McClennan overtook his counterpart and performed his happy memory drain. He told him, “Tell me your happiest memory.” From this, yet even another layer is found in The Arrival, when Peter was being tortured by Mosely!
Think about your father. Good. Good. Now think about a time before he was sent away to the institution. A happy time, a time when you still believed that your father loved you.
During the sweep of the farm, I really enjoyed the interaction between Olivia and the AltLincoln. Though I am hoping that he isn’t her type…
When they found the red-John, he said something of interest: “I wanted what he had. I took her from him. I shouldn’t have.”
I hope that maybe, just maybe, September had realized that the Observers can not take Peter from Olivia and Walter.
One of the big questions often asked by Fringe fans is why didn’t Peter and Olivia remember meeting as children? Maybe this episode is a start at some explanation. Professor McClennan had selective memory loss. But even though he could not recall Marjorie, her influence thankfully stayed with him. As Broyles said, “I’ve always thought tha there are people that leave an indelible mark on your soul. An imprint that can never be erased.”
I had mentioned Olivia killing her stepfather. Maybe THAT was part of Peter’s imprint on her.
Finally, Walter attempted to get some rest. But despite his best efforts he heard:
“Walter… Walter, can you hear me? Walter, I’m right here!”
“Help me, Walter! Please! Help me!”
Where is Peter, and why does he sound so desperate and calling for help?
In Brown Betty, Walter said that Peter went into hiding because he had a very special heart, “unlike none the world has every seen.” All indications point to the idea that Peter made a choice to remove himself from the timeline we knew. But now, he sounds desperate for Walter’s help. The Observers were working under Nina Sharp in Brown Betty, and were hostile to Peter.
Since Brown Betty is the mother of all Fringe foreshadowing, I’d say we are in for an interesting encounter with the Observers soon.
It is a goal that many of us seek, but for many it alludes our best efforts. There have been many studies about what makes people happy, but time-and-time again people cite their relationships with others as a key to bliss. So what happens to those that have had little to no positive relationships? Loneliness and isolation can be devastating to one’s “soul.”
Think of some important people in your own life that make you happy, and imagine never meeting them.
Humans would like to think that there is a point to their existence, some sort of purpose and meaning to our lives. There is a saying that, “A thousand words will not leave so deep an impression as one deed.” Peter Bishop was never a man of empty words. Peter did things for those he loved.
The people that we love mean so much to us, that we’re willing to sacrifice our own lives for them. In fact, The Bible even teaches that there is no higher love. There are many such examples of such sacrifice in Fringe.
But what if that sacrifice doomed loved ones to a life without your influence? And despite what you may have thought, it was terrible?
The More Things Change…
There are some events that still similarly occur and some that are different.
Olivia was in the other universe, but she was kidnapped by Fauxlivia.
Walter was still bribed with pastry, while Fauxlivia still stole parts of the machine, and the other universe still sought destruction of ours. But how was the machine activated if Peter never fell into Fauxlivia’s “vagenda?”
Walter may be getting Astrid’s name right, but poor Lincoln will probably go through more presidents than Kennedy before the end of the season.
Alt-Charlie married Mona the “Bug girl!”
AltBroyles never had to help Olivia escape in this Peterless timeline, so he is still alive.
It seems that in this timeline, Olivia has learned her lesson about dating coworkers, much to the dismay of the well-intentioned shipper, Astrid. (Yes, I cheered that at least that relationship idea seems to be crushed.) But on a positive note, she seems to be more personal and maybe even friends with Astrid, and she makes all kinds of excuses for not seeing Lincoln, stating he isn’t even her type. Astrid replies, like any good girlfriend would, “Do you ever think… that maybe that your type… just doesn’t exist?”
However there is a parallel here that is sad for Olivia. In Brown Betty, Astrid told Detective Olivia:
“I can't believe you got sucked back into business over true love. You know that's your problem, isn't it? You're always looking for something that doesn't even exist.”
One Man’s Impact
Just so there is no doubt, here are the ways Peter’s influence was missing from those that he cares about:
1) Peter did not show any outright hate to the other universe just because there were a few bad people. He wanted to try and save both worlds if possible. When Walter went Over There in the attempt to rescue Peter, he saw firsthand the damage caused by his actions in kidnapping the boy. As a result, when Season three drew to a close, Walter showed some empathy with Walternate and the difficult decisions he had to make - because he would have to ask the very same questions and act in the same manner. In this episode, without Peter, Walter views the other universe and everyone in it as monsters.
2) Walter is a gibbering wreck and can barely function. Peter kept him grounded.
3) Like Marjorie was to John, Peter was part of Olivia that she has to hold on to. (The Plateau)
4) When Fauxlivia came to our side in the previous timeline, she was shown a different mindset through Peter’s eyes. Peter may have been born Over There, but his home was Over Here. He showed compassion to people he had never met, while her side was wanting to destroy. Her eyes were opened and she was humbled because of Peter. In this timeline, she’s as cocky and petulant as before.
5) In Subject 13, Peter told Olivia to tell Walter she was being abused. He gave her hope and encouragement. In a world without Peter, she may have not had anyone on her side, and the abuse continued until it reached a point where she had to act in a mortal strike. Or, maybe his “indelible mark” was left, so she was able to act and kill the abuser.
6) Olivia is so hard now without the moments of joy she shared with him. She is so small and seems unsure. Peter gave her confidence. Not once did he ever feel she was not capable of what she set out to do. He always told her "You can do this" and "I've never met anyone that can do the things that you do."