Fringe Season 4 Episode 3 Review ~ Fringe Television - Fan Site for the FOX TV Series Fringe

Fringe Season 4 Episode 3 Review

      Email Post       10/08/2011 07:47:00 PM      

Read Mind Vine Time

‘Alone In The World’

The show continues it’s exploration of what a world without Peter is like and its impact on those he left behind.  Till this episode that journey has been an interesting one with the success of the journey relying heavily on how interesting the case of the week is. In my books translucent shape shifters and serial killers trump killer fungus any day.
‘Gus’ was too flat a threat to get very excited about.
Pity too because John Noble acted the heck out of the episode. So did Anna Torv - when she could break away from the case of the week imposition.  Special marks for Jesika Nicole too.

Oddly enough on our last FBI - Fringe Benefits Inc podcast, (which you can find under the Podcast tab here at FringeTV), we remarked it was curious that Peter was only trying to contact Walter and not Olivia. The previous two episodes had a definite lack of Walter and we hoped for more of him. Both of these items were addressed in this episode.  

2 for 1 His 'N Hers Suit Sale?

One quite successfully.  The other not so.


John Noble was amazing, as always, in every scene he had.  From the interview with Dr. Sumner, his apparent breakdown in front of Broyles, his scenes with Aaron, and the coups de grâce; his final anguished moments driven to deliver a self administered prefrontal lobotomy.  So tortured is Walter and so afraid of being sent back to St. Claire's Mental Hospital, he undertakes this radical procedure in hopes of ridding himself of his ‘hallucinations’ rather than return to being institutionalized.
That final scene as Walter and Olivia shared their secrets was wonderfully played by both Noble and Torv.  Between that and Noble’s performance through out the episode, ‘Alone In The World,’ is a worthy viewing experience.
Where the episode fell flat was pretty well anything to do with the case of the week plus Olivia and Lincoln.  No doubt the intent was to show through their dress code and glass ware choices how alike Olivia and Lincoln are but in doing so the episode diminished Olivia throughout. During the case Lincoln was making the observations and insights that Olivia always did before.  Hopefully, this is a short term issue that goes away once Peter returns.  Lincoln should be paired up with Astrid and Olivia with Peter to allow the best mix of differing character types.
What really bothered me this episode was the conceit that Olivia seemed oblivious to Walter’s deteriorating mental state even though it has been going on for several weeks.  It could have flown better if the scene between Olivia and Lincoln in FBI headquarters never happened.  Are we really to believe Olivia calls Lincoln in to provide support for a phantom feeling while a very real issue with Walter, that everyone else is privy too, has slipped under her radar?  
While this Olivia may be more tightly wound up, the conceit that she would keep her Peter dreams to herself while remaining oblivious to Walter's deteriorating condition runs counter to her observational abilities as an agent and her sensibilities of helping others.

Episode 'Patterns': Add your own in the comments.

  • two bullies meet an unexpected end in typically weird Fringe style - ‘Gus’ strikes back
  • William Sadler makes an innocuous return from Season 1’s ‘The Equation’, as Doctor Sumner, who has grave concerns about Walter being released from the St. Clair’s Mental Institution
  • Peter in the clipboard
  • Olivia can draw
  • Olivia & Lincoln seem to shop at the same His & Hers store - dueling glasses too
  • Astrid runs interference for Walter with Broyles
  • ‘Doctors scare me.’ ‘You’ll like Walter.’ uh maybe not.
  • candle snuffing & lambda sensor
  • exploding skeletons & spores
  • Olivia calls for flamethrowers
  • Aaron & Walter bond - home can be a lonely place
  • Walter’s a busy man but has time for tin hats and strawberry milkshakes
  • find out Peter we know drowned at Reiden Lake after crossing into our universe with Walter
  • after hearing Walter’s two Peters death stories, Aaron questions Walter’s sanity
  • Aaron & fungus - ‘Gus’ - are psychically linked
  • Walter desperate to save Aaron proposes a lobotomy
  • Lincoln is a little freaked out
  • ‘Peter visions’ force Walter to try doing a lobotomy on himself
  • Olivia reveals she has been seeing a man in her dreams
  • her sketch matches the man Walter is seeing - ‘I’m perfectly sane!’

Flamethrowers, of course!
Of course, the reason for Olivia’s delay in comprehension was to save that moment for the last scene but it should have been constructed in a manner that did not diminish Olivia.

Now that Walter’s and Olivia’s shared experiences are revealed, the return of Peter cannot be that far away.  Given the dynamics of these different, yet so familiar, characters the arrival of a Peter from an alternate timeline will be an interesting one for sure.

If you have a green thumb this episode may have played better for you. Sadly, neither of my opposing digits are of that color.

7 out of 10 Genes


Dave Thompson said...

Gus was sort of a boring plot device but it's a metaphor for the emotional connection that Peter has with Olivia and Walter.

Old Darth said...

Yep and yep.

Dan S said...

What's up with Olivia and Lincoln suddenly going casual mid-episode?

trent said...

They are so cute together, they talk on the phone, before they go out and agree on what they're going to wear to work. Squee!

Ron E. said...

I agree that this episode didn't work as well as the previous ones this season. It's time to bring back Peter and advance the story of what the renegade Observer is up to.

FringeFan said...

The only thing I thought was out of place was Olivia's "I'm there for you" talk with Lincoln. In this Peter-less timeline she's more reserved, has more trust issues, etc, etc, etc. Then suddenly this. Out of the blue man. Everything else was perfect and the best one was Walter connecting with Aaron.

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one who thought the Gus plot was brilliant? I mean, I like serial killers and alteruniverse storylines but it's nice to have something more sciency for a change. Moreover, I was genuinely surprised by the little twists

g33k said...

I thought the Gus plot was good too, it mirrored the quantum entangled state of our main protagonists well and was more science based. Walter IS a mad SCIENTIST after all...

Its a shame the science couldn't have been explained better, but I think that can be forgiven because a) it wasn't central to the plot to include the explanation and b) if they had explained it better we would all have been saying how stupid it was that the characters wasted time on exposition lines to explain the creature when the story had time limitations in it to save the boy.

Anonymous said...

what is olivia's cell phone? htc?

LC_07 said...

Yeah, Gus was not sooo interesting, but it served its purpose (just as wrote this, i realized it's the same sentence the observer says about Peter!). What I mean, is that the case has it's peculiarities, so that the writers could give pinpoint the elements needed to move on with the Peter-coming-back storyline.
The one thing that really bugged me was the whole "I'm here for you" thing. I agree that is completely uncharacter like for Olivia, and it was unnecessary to the storyline for me. And I REALLY hope they aren't developing a romantic scenario between Lee and Olivia (like it was suggested by Astrid on the first episode of the season). Things are complicated enough with two Olivias and Peter (and maybe Frank and the Alt-Lee?!) there's no need for someone else in this love, could i say, triangle?!

Noble was rea

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