Fringe Ep. 4.06 Review ~ Fringe Television - Fan Site for the FOX TV Series Fringe

Fringe Ep. 4.06 Review

      Email Post       11/13/2011 07:25:00 PM      


And Those We Left Behind

The Peter Paradox: Constant or Wild Card?


Hearkening back to Season Two's, 'White Tulip', 'And Those We Left Behind(ATWLB)', is outwardly a high concept SF time travel episode. Both episodes Trojan Horse'd time travel elements to explore very human conditions which is when Fringe is at its best.

And both episodes are stories about lost loves.

With 'Novation' inserting Peter gingerly back into the altered time line, this week's episode expands on the implications and possible pitfalls of his return. Opening with a perfect day dream sequence we see Peter, wedding band visible, with Olivia and the swing setting Walter in a park. It is naturally all too perfect and ends on an ominous note with Olivia telling Peter there is a problem. 

'He is a Fringe Event.'

And that problem is Peter.




With that, Peter's mind set is laid out for the audience before the Case Of The Week(COTW) kicks in.  Often the best instalments of serialized television are those that directly involve one of the regular cast members – (for example, if anyone watches Castle with Nathan Filion you know what I mean). ATWLB is one of those exceptions as it does not directly involve any cast regulars – though indirectly Peter starts time jumping in very cool sequences midway through the episode. But the story line of the COTW so beautifully mirrors Peter's current dilemma that it transcends the need for any direct connections.

Powered by the poignant acting duo of real life partners Romy Rosemount and Stephen Root, whom play Kate and Raymond respectively, we discover the root of all the time slips is a husband's desperate time cheating gambit trying to save his wife from a terrible fate. A fate which in some ways is worse than death especially for someone whose mind is their greatest tool; a theoretical physicist. But as we have seen time and time again in this series, trying to cheat the natural order of things invariably has consequences. It happened to Walter. It happened to Raymond in this episode. And it is happening to Peter in this season. The extent of the ramifications of Peter's actions have yet to be still fully determined.

Episode 'Patterns': Add your own in the comments.
  • Touching opening – 'A Perfect Day In The Day' Peter dream sequence that adroitly lays out Peter's mind set
  • 'You, Peter. You are the problem.'
  • Walter on the swing
  • Olivia's choice of jacket color for Peter – visual cue he does not fit in
  • Walter's petulant ignoring behaviour around Peter
  • Time Bubbles – with no clear rules ie girl turns into baby yet mother is unaffected
  • Breach Detector from the RedVerse with, in Walter's opinion, a poorly written instruction manual
  • Peter is a Fringe Event
  • Olivia keeping her distance from Peter
  • Intriguing - Peter unaware that he was showing up to Walter in the lab prior to his appearance.
  • Peter time jump sequences. 'This could get annoying.'
  • Walter listening to Styx, 'Too Much Time On My Hands'
  • The Fibonacci Golden Spiral
  • Cool Time Bubble special effects at Kate and Raymond's house including FBI agent who turned to confetti
  • Peter The Constant! - Faraday Cage (A Lost reference for those not in the know.)
  • Olivia and Peter simultaneously volunteering to put on the Faraday Cage
  • Olivia's grimace at the Faraday harness neck probe – nifty tie in to her Season 1 encounters with it
    Walter's Spiderman FannyPack
  • Raymond to Kate, 'We Don't Have Time!' , 'I lost you Kate. Lost you.'(More Lost echoes?)
  • The Walter Bishop Faraday Harness
  • Walter remark of grudging admiration that Peter is very smart
  • Kate's equation blackouts = Peter's erasure
  • Kate's answer to Raymond's anguished, 'How do I repay you?' - 'Just love me & live your life.'
  • Peter believes his appearance allowed Raymond's Time Bubble Machine to start working
  • Peter gets the house
  • 'Do I get an allowance?'
  •  Is Peter's belief that he is not in the right place correct?

The thrust of this episode lays out that Peter does not seemingly belong in this new time line. From Peter's dream, to Walter's ignoring behaviour, to Olivia's work/personal barrier she has set up between her and Peter, to Broyle's terming of Peter as a Fringe event, to the parallel of Peter's presence versus the displacement effects of Raymond's Time Bubble, and to Peter's conclusion at the end of the episode that his presence is why Raymond's Time Bubble Machine started to work; makes such a conclusion quite logical

But is Peter right in that belief?

His presence is not an issue of 'Where' but 'When'. As Peter noted there seems to be much variation in the scope of what effects time distortions create. Peter also experienced said randomness first hand when he began time jumping midway through the episode. His quest to go back 'home' could have the opposite effect. The Time displacements could become worse instead of better.

The answer almost assuredly lies not just in scientific theorems but in the human heart too. The right answer may be as simple as home is where the heart is.

Kate Erases Herself.  Just Like Peter Did.
Science Fiction is at its best when it explores the unknown. Season 4 is definitely an exploration of that. During the journey the uncertainty experienced may not provide the comfort food type of television viewing that dominates the television landscape today. But the payoff at the destination can be huge. Fringe does what it name implies. It takes risks on the edges of story telling.

Given what we have seen so far from Fringe to date, not just this season but since the pilot, my expectations still remain that payoff will be huge.  It should be noted that the initial introduction of the RedVerse characters was met with resistance. The more we saw of them, the more they become fleshed out, and the more compelling they became, until they emerged as welcome new characters in the Fringe character universe. Now that is becoming more and more apparent that these new 'old' characters are not going away soon, even if they may turn out to have a finite shelf date, they too are becoming intriguing characters worthy of further exploration.

'And Those We Left Behind', mixes the extraordinary with everyday human elements. The mix of the two can create wonderfully, engaging stories.

This is an episode worthy of many rewatches. This is Fringe, pushing boundaries, at the top of its game.

14 Comments:

wetcat said...

This episode had so many Lost nods that I expected one of the characters to show up! Even the feeling and structure of time shifts were reminiscent of that show's last season (flash forward, flashback, flash sideways). I get the feeling that the fall finale will leave the viewers unsatisfied since the episode after it was intended to be the finale. This episode was the season's best so far- without Olivia opening up, Peter has become the heart. I am expecting, any episode now, for an Observer intervention, unless Peter gets to time travel back and save himself at Reiden Lake or even before: what if he went back and delivered the cure? If both Peters live and thus no portal between worlds is opened, the problem is solved. Well, except that this Peter would puff out of existence again. Oops. Like I said, it's time for an Observer to break the rules.

Konstantin (refugee from Fox Fringe community, still down) said...

Another time reference: After Walter stomps off to his room, you can hear music very faintly in the background, as if it's coming from behind his door. The song is "No Time" by the Guess Who, released 1969:

No time for a summer friend
No time for the love you send
Seasons change & so did I
You need not wonder why

FringeFan said...

@Old Darth

Nice review. Although you missed out one pattern:
Prime Olivia was important to Peter.... is important to Peter. And this one knows that now.

Finally something for Peter's story. So he's at the right place at the wrong time (remind me of PoP Warrior Within). Would he ever get back to the right place in the right time? Will that happen in BTWYHNB ;)?

scaperanya said...

I think you're right that Peter's dream set him up to feel that he's in the wrong time. He came to this conclusion after overhearing Raymond, but also after Olivia repeatedly called him a stranger. After watching that scene again - Peter asking her if her dream involved them in the park, Walter on a swing set, and "knowing" him - seemed to catch her off guard.

I'm interested in seeing Olivia's dreams. I wonder if she's *still* dreaming about him, now that he's back. If she is having dreams of them in a park, or if they were sensual/passionate in nature, I'm not sure if she would admit that to someone she met just three days ago.

Olivia's comment in the premiere about having a hole in her life makes me think that this is our Olivia, and I hope, as John Noble said in one of those Fox interviews, that the timelines (Amber and Blue) will merge at some point.

This was my favorite S4 episode so far. I loved Novation for the scenes with our main characters, but the shapeshifter storyline wasn't top notch. The guest cast this week, however, was amazing and moved me to tears.

chillip said...

No mention of the plane Peter picks up at the very end... I found that a 2x4 myself.

Janis said...

Did anyone else see what I saw? Olivia's attraction to Peter: the way she looked at Peter giving the child the stuffed elephant, the look on her face when Peter was close to her in the lab looking at the computer, her obvious concern for Peter as he entered the bubble house, her disappointment that Peter is looking for his lost Olivia. I sensed she was putting up her defenses after the humiliating and hurtful John Scott relationship. Just as Peter is searching to regain his true love, Olivia is searching too. I don't know if Peter is truly home or not. It will be fascinating to see how the writers play this one out.

Inter-dimensional Dave said...

OD, if Peter doesn't belong in this timeline then why did September refuse to complete the job when he had the chance to thoroughly erase him from any connection with Walter? Also, if Peter is sent back or returns to where he "belongs" doesn't that mean he didn't fix anything between the two universes?

I'm still frustrated by the lack of involvement by the Observers in this season. This seems to be all their doing so where are they????

OK, maybe you can sense a little frustration in the tone of this comment. I am frustrated! Just like "Lost" Fringe is running a parallel storyline to a previous season. I didn't like it when Lost did it and I don't like it here. We're practically back to square one with investigating Patterns etc.

See, I can be all sweetness and light when I right my own posts but here I'm going to complain. I have hereby designated you my "Fringe Therapist" so start taking notes and charging me $90 an hour.

Anonymous said...

@od loved your review and i think you are closer then most.I believe Peter is in the right place but Olivia will be the key.But knowing tv like i do it will be next year before we have any real shows to sink our teeth into.Right now we are just at the appetizer stage of this meal a true feast for the mind man i love this show
KDHFF (kevin die hard fringe fan)

Dave Thompson said...

Let's talk about the elephant in the room.

This episode made it clear, we are in a de-facto 3rd universe (yellowverse). The opening sequence was a hint from the beginning of season 4.

But what makes a universe split you ask me?

Walter in Night of Desirable Objects:
"We assume that our universe is the only universe. But that's not true. There is an infinite number of universes. And in each of them, there is a version of us You, me, and agent farnsworth-- But each one slightly different... Changed over time Based on the accumulation of our choices."

So Peter's different choice has created an alternate universe. The one we're in right now, the yellowverse.

There probably won't be an infinite number of universes, probably only 3 who are kept together by the machine or Peter or the Observers or something.

Blue, Red, Yellow. Simple, elegant.

Peter will probably find a way to "go home" to the blueverse. This is what we should be rooting for.

So if a different decision (from either September or Peter) makes a different universe, we have to ask where the red verse comes from.

Looking at all the clues (the existence of the zeppelin in particular), I would think the Red/Blue split, and/or the Red/Yellow split, happened in the 1930's, when Robert Bishoff, Walter's father, defected to the US.

I think we're going to find out why/how he did, and I'm sure it has something to do with preventing the Hindenburgh disaster.

Now think back to The Bishop Revival... weird young nazi with a toxin to kill based based on their DNA, and presumably a similar one to keep him young... How did he get that technology? I think it has something to do with cellular regeneration...

Not to mention that Peter shares his grandfather's "noble brow" and that they would have gotten along well together...

That has got "grandfather paradox" written all over it. And this is Fringe so you know they're going there...

We all the know the incredible amount of foreshadowing in Brown Betty, it would be foolish to think the 1930's setting itself is not a clue.

SO... you're still with me? :)

When Peter got in the machine and "destroyed" the redverse, did he really? Or was it that the existence of the bridge collapsed the one that existed already between the red and the blue, and they thought that universe dissapeared, when in fact it was connected to the yellowverse from now on.

What about that black & white opening sequence in Season 3 finale The Day We Died? Is that the badverse, the one that had to be corrected in the future, leading to the 3verse split?

We're in for some serious mindf*cks.

Old Darth said...

ID - my bill is in the mail.

I too, am perplexed by the lag in followup on September's action or, more properly, inaction way back in 4.01.

Your first point is bang on. I think Peter is wrong. He is home. He just does not know it yet.

Dave Thompson, I know you confused me! ;) I'm still holding to a timeline convergence done as a joint effort between Olivia and Peter. And I'm SWAG(Some Wild Assed Guess)-ging that it will be Yellow.

The_Observer said...

Faraday isn't a Lost reference truthfully, Michael Faraday was a famous physicist who invented his 'Cage' in 1836. Lost named the character after him, just like the majority of the characters on that show. Good review tho..cheers!

DK said...

Just another little something special I caught was the little girl in the beginning wanted to read the book Burlap Bear. The book Ella's and Olivia read in season one and it was in season 3 with the candyman case.

Also, the three universe is really interesting. In pigment color there are 3 primary colors red, blur, and yellow. Maybe we are looking for the green (mixing yellow and blue)?

The fall finally is gonna be maddening because you know its gonna end with lots of questions and no answers till after the break... Still cant wait.

Binkleyinc said...

Just wondering, I'm trying to figure out the brand of jacket that Peter was wearing in this latest episode.. looks kind of like a Carhart field jacket, but I cannot find one like it.

Binkleyinc said...

Never mind.. It IS a Carhartt Style # C26 jacket.

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