Fringe Rewatch 401 Neither Here Nor There ~ Fringe Television - Fan Site for the FOX TV Series Fringe

Fringe Rewatch 401 Neither Here Nor There

      Email Post       11/25/2011 05:13:00 AM      

Join us during the fall/winter break every Friday for our Fringe Winter Rewatch.

Fringe episode #401 "Neither Here Nor There" begins the fourth season with Olivia and Bolivia exchanging case files and information since they are now supposed to work together. It is quite apparent that even though an alliance has been formed from the bridge, things aren't exactly smooth between the two of them. Immediately we find out that even in a Peter Bishop-less world, Olivia was still kidnapped and Bolivia infiltrated Fringe Division. There's still plenty of reason not to trust them over there!

Meanwhile the Observers are in a diner, discussing the fact that Peter was erased from the timeline and yet continues to bleed through. It is Septembers responsibility to end it completely and so later he builds a device used to erase Peter from the timeline completely.

In this new universe, the amberverse we quickly catch up with Lincoln Lee and his partner that soon becomes victim to a Fringe event. The Olivia that he meets is obviously different than his first encounter with Olivia (who had the time happened to be Bellivia). With the new timeshift, he has no recollection of meeting her and it seems to be the case vice versa. Olivia appears tougher and an almost colder sense. She refuses to tell him the Division she works for (Fringe) or the apparent case they've been working on. Instead she demands the body be taken back to their facility (without so much as naming it because this Olivia appears much more secretive) and Lincoln as she leaves catches her license plate. We know that we're not done seeing him. He's obviously very stubborn and wants to get to the bottom of what's going on.

Quickly we learn that the events of the bridge, the agreement between both sides to work together has only been going on for one week. Walter meanwhile is in the lab and injects a dead bird with a serum. It appears to come back to life, though Walter tells Astrid that it is still dead even as it is flying around the lab. Lincoln comes into the lab and the bird drops to the ground appearing dead once again. Why is Walter injecting a dead bird? What is he hoping to do, bring life back to the dead? Is this perhaps a Brown Betty reference from the second season?

Of course Olivia is rather unhappy to see Lincoln in the secret lab at Harvard. He threatens to expose the lab and her department if she doesn't bring him along as Broyles calls about their next assignment. She answers him with a rather snarky, "Okay, come. You can get fired later." Clearly she doesn't have time to deal with him.

At the next crime scene we find another body, much like Lincoln's partner where the body has a semi-translucent appearance. Shortly after, Lincoln meets up with Broyles and Olivia. He is given a higher level of clearance before being shown the bodies -- all two dozen of them at a secure facility.

Olivia and Lincoln return back to the lab. It's then that Walter first witnesses Peter's reflection in the mirror. He seems to go quite insane at the ordeal, which makes sense considering he believes them to be hallucinations. Lincoln asks if Walter is all right. Again we get more insight into this new amberverse, "Well, that depends on your definition of alright. He's functional. Except when he's not. But he is often quite brilliant. He just never had anything to tether him to the world." This new insight seems rather sad in regards to Walter. He's not the same man that our Peter grew up with.

As the case further unfolds, Lincoln rejects the idea that Fringe Division can't return the bodies to their families. He's upset by this, moreso than anyone else because his FBI partner and friend died. He knows that his family would want closure. Olivia admits to him that the reasoning is they would have to file documentation and it would draw attention to Fringe Division. She knows it may not be a good answer or one that he wants to hear but it is the truth. This Olivia appears quite blunt at times yet honest (as honest as she can be considering earlier she couldn't give information about the department of the FBI she worked for).

In the end, Olivia does try and help Lincoln by releasing the body to the family. Maybe it's the fact the case got to her-- as she discussed her old partner John and the similarities with the translucent skin, perhaps she remembered her own loss (as she never found out he was a trader and instead he died a hero in her mind). Or perhaps it was the fact that Lincoln did help her with the investigation and it was his partner that had died. Whatever the reason, she pulled strings and had his body released to the family. I can only wonder how his family reacted to seeing him and what excuse the government made for the way he appeared.

The final scenes of the episode had Lincoln get fully credentialed for the other side. He was taken to the bridge and sees a real glimpse of over here and over there at the same time when he looks up to the sky. Bolivia comes out from her side -- I have to wonder if she was called in advance or just happened to be ready for Olivia's own appearance. Olivia hands Bolivia a device, asking her to look into it. Olivia tells her that it came from a Human Shapeshifter as we've learned that this is the result of the massive amount of bodies we've seen. Olivia suspects Walternate and Bolivia tells her she'll look into it. We've yet to learn much more and can't help but feel suspicious in handing over the technology and asking for their help.

The very final scene has Walter sleeping in a room in his lab. A room he's very clearly made into his bedroom. Agent Timmy stands guard outside, never leaving Walter completely alone. Walter tries to watch television and as he shuts it off, we see Peter's reflection. The Agent comes rushing in after a loud scream and the sound of something shattering. We see that Walter has thrown something at the television and the reflection is now gone.


milostanfield said...

We're rewatching this time after "Wallflower", and with a clearer idea of where the Lincoln-Olivia relationship may be headed. Walter, as he is picking up the just flown dead bird says "There's still a few kinks to work out, but it's a start". He says this as trespassing Lincoln and guard dog Olivia are glaring at each other. He (or really the writers) seems to be making a meta-comment about the just beginning relationship between L & O.

It happens quickly, partly because of the character changes with the timeline rewrite. The characters who changed the most, Walter and both Olivias, were the ones who were closest to Peter in the old timeline (OTL). The others mains changed subtly but not as much. In the OTL Olivia was driven by anger just after losing John Scott. In the NTL she is three years later, and is a sad lost soul, primed for a change in her life. Enter Lincoln. He has just suffered a loss eerily similar to her loss, which opened her up to Lincoln despite the initial hostility. It also helped that Lincoln is just a damn good gumshoe. In their first crime scene together, he "one of these things is not like the others" and uncovers a major clue. That impressed Olivia. When she lifts up the crime scene tape, that flourish signals that she is letting him in, both to Fringe Division and her life.

This L & O thing surprised a lot of us. Before Season 4 started I was thinking that Lincoln would fall for Olivia (and not the other way around) just because it happened in the other universe. Symmetry. Then as the season started, and L & O grew closer, I was "No way", the relationship between Peter & Olivia is just too important in the larger story. Even when she tentatively reached out to Lincoln I was thinking she was just seeking refuge from Peter's disruptive appearance. Wrong. I think making Lincoln a bit geeky was part of the curve they've thrown us. If he was more of a leading man hunk like Peter, L & O would have seemed more inevitable and less surprising.

What we have now is enough backstory on the altered characters that we can get into their point of view. That's big, because to them this NTL (whatever it is) is their real life, and Peter, and all that he knows (and we along with him) are the Fringe event, the intrusion. So the relationship between L & O is perfectly valid given their POV and circumstance, and I already have an emotional investment in it. But I still have all of the emotional investment in Peter and the last 3 seasons at the same time. And the more I become invested in L & O, the more complicated (and delicious!) this situation will get, especially as it moves to resolution. I really like Lincoln. He's just a damn nice guy. And he's the only one, besides Broyles, who's shown some love for Peter, and that counts big for me.

The Peter and Olivia relationship is the greatest love story in sci fi since Aeryn and Crichton in "Farscape". That story also had a bizarre triangle (Aeryn & TWO Crichtons) that complicated things. But this situation in Fringe is on a whole other level of complex. And it can't end well for everyone. Like Peter said near the end of "The Abducted": "Aren't all good love stories tragedies?"

fringeobsessed said...

I loved your comments.
While I am totally devoted to P/O, I have no problem with the developing L&O vibe going on in this new timeline, or NTL, as you put it.
Why do I not have a problem with it?

"But I still have all of the emotional investment in Peter and the last 3 seasons at the same time. And the more I become invested in L & O, the more complicated (and delicious!) this situation will get, especially as it moves to resolution."

Very true! I trust Jeff and Joel on this ride.
I suspected they were headed this direction soon after AltLink told Fauxlivia her loved her. And I love the L/O symmetry in the 2 universes!

Executive producers Jeff Pinkner & JH Wyman told us awhile back they are invested in P/O, so I have no worries. I just hope FOX will allow them to lead the series as a whole to its natural conclusion, whatever it may be.

milostanfield said...

"Why is Walter injecting a dead bird? What is he hoping to do, bring life back to the dead?" - samspade

I cannot figure the dead bird thing out. And it keeps bugging me. There's something significant about it, maybe more as a metaphor of something than part of a plot or a clue, but I have no idea.

It's similar enough to a scene in "Marionette" that seeing something dead reanimated, but still dead, "twice" makes me want to think it means something. In "Marionette", in one of the most over the top scenes in all of Fringe, Roland Barrett tries to "exercise" the reassembled dead Amanda by attaching her limbs to a series of pulleys attached to an old fashioned sewing machine treadle. Is that weird or what?! He makes the corpse "dance" while playing Prokofiev's "Romeo And Juliet" ballet. And she's still dead when it's over.

I'm not sure but I think the same ballet is playing when Walter animates the bird, just as Lincoln and Olivia get off on the wrong foot. "Marionette" was about Olivia coming to a crash after her Over There ordeal. Barrett's purpose as a character was to get to the point where he tells Olivia "I looked into her eyes and I knew it wasn't her", setting up her painful break with Peter. But I don't see a connection between the two stories other than dead things.

The dead bird and dead girl are like the Frankenstein story, but Shelley's monster really did come "Aliiive!". Hell, even a zombie has more life. It moves around and eats people. So it's all a mystery to me. Maybe a sharper mind can see it.

milostanfield said...

@ fringeobsessed

It's good to know that Pinker & Wyman said that. At least we kinda know where we are going. And the ride should be fun!

milostanfield said...

Two great Walter/John Noble flourishes in this one: how he shakes his head like a dog shedding water when he says "Not HIM! There was another man!", and how calmly he says "I'm growing an ear" to Lincoln while wearing all that silly stuff on his head. Never seen an actor who can be serious and hilarious at the same time like him.

Anonymous said...

Sorry but traitor, not trader. Great re-cap none the less.

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