Fringe Episode Review - 4.07 ~ Fringe Television - Fan Site for the FOX TV Series Fringe

Fringe Episode Review - 4.07

      Email Post       12/01/2011 01:19:00 PM      


The Need To Be Seen


“The hours I spend with you I look upon as sort of a perfumed garden, a dim twilight, and a fountain singing to it.  You and you alone make me feel that I am alive.  Other men it is said have seen angels, but I have seen thee and thou art enough.”

George Moore


Timing is so important.  One can take all the proper steps for THE big date; be dressed to the nines, bring a big bouquet of roses, and a box of chocolates but if you show up at the wrong time all your preparatory work can go for naught.

How many refills is this?

Such is the fate of, ‘Wallflower.’  It came on the heels of the previous fantastic installment, ‘And Those We’ve Left Behind.’ Tough enough.  But then to become the unintentional Fall Finale, due to the pushing out of the airing schedule by one week because of baseball’s World Series, is truly a cruel twist of fate.

‘Wallflower,’ also came at a time when expectations were that major traction in the Peter story arc were about to commence.  Instead in this installment Peter was relegated to the sidelines to pin up drawings, provide courting help to Lincoln by giving him glasses fashion advice,  and go on a shopping trip to get various sundry items including underwear.  Not exactly the material of big things hoped for in the Peter story arc.

Though I did love and laugh out loud at the Peter/Olivia - “Hey/Hey” - moment.  

Further to the seeming paralysis in the Peter story pace; the Observers have been lost since the start of the season.  What is going on with September?  What ramnifications of his decision to not eradicate Peter had with the other Observers?  Is September on the road to becoming another August?  And where is the expansion of the Observer mythos promised by the showrunners before the start of the current season?

Episode 'Patterns': Add your own in the comments.
  • Olivia suffering migraines has a prescription. How long has this been going on?
  • Lee & Olivia in the diner. Lee freaking out about Fringe events.  Olivia phlegmatic.
  • man attacked and de-pigmentized by Invisible Man - ended up looking like Brent Spiner
  • Peter gets to go on chaperoned shopping trips & gets an allowance
  • Walter munching on beer battered Onion Rings
  • Astrid talks to a shrink everyday about her job.  Olivia’s self worry increases.
  • Eugene in elevator listening to his ‘girlfriend’ most apropos small talking about fall and the changing colors
  • Pigment = Death = Eugene’s desire to be seen = Suicide
  • Walter with the mice - John & Invisible Yoko - made visible with UV Light
  • Facepalm moment - Olivia searches for Eugene alone
  • Eugene’s monologue to Olivia about being seen, being recognized, and connecting emotionally with someone encapsulates Olivia’s issues
  • Eugene makes that connection with Julie in the elevator and then dies
  • Olivia confesses to Nina her doubts and whether her exposure to Cortexiphan has stunted her emotionally
  • Olivia feels she should know her place in life by now, Nina tells her that is not necessarily so
  • Peter gives Lincoln styling glasses.  ‘Trust me.’
  • ‘Hey!’  ‘Hey!’
  • another awkward Olivia/Lincoln moment as they stumble to make a date
  • spurious observation: for her ‘date’ with Lincoln - Olivia decides to keep her hair in a ponytail.  For her ‘date’ with Peter in Season Two’s, ‘Jacksonville,’ Olivia decided to keep her hair down.  Significant? Or not?
  • Nina ruins the ‘date.’  Olivia is gassed and given cortexiphan.
  • Is Nina evil or taking desparate measures, a la Walter, to protect Olivia?

All of the above factored into my initial viewing of the episode.  My expectations were so preset that my initial viewing of ‘Wallflower,’ left a bad taste.  And the preview for the real Fall Finale episode did not help.  Fortunately after a couple of days had passed, I was able to regroup, rewatch the episode, and judge it on its own merits.

And found ‘Wallflower,’ a solid episode.  Much of the mystery surrounding the cold Olivia of this timeline is explained.  My criticism of what Peter was given to do still stands.

The character/case of the week Eugene is borne with a mutation not just on the physical level but on an emotional one too. She has no connections emotionally and even worse, is rarely affected by the Fringe events she is consistently exposed to.   Something that Olivia of this timeline has begun to really wrestle with.  Even more so oddly, or perhaps not oddly at all, since the injection of Peter into the Season 4 timeline.

The reveal that Nina has continued the cortexiphan injections on Olivia explains much. It also, in typical Fringe fashion, raises new questions.  For those that have harbored a long standing distrust of Nina were given vindication.  Nina is evil!

Or is she?

Unquestionably Nina’s methods are reprehensible.  But will we find out that her actions are not nefarious in goal but rather driven by her belief that this is the only way to protect Olivia?  The answer is unclear and certainly there has been enough evidence to paint Nina in a bad light this season.  On the other hand is this another scenario, much like Walter’s crossing over to the other universe to save the other Peter?  Time will tell.

The most impressive accomplishment for me in this episode is that I am now truly emotionally engaged in what happens to this Olivia and Walter in this timeline.  This has been a big point of contention for those that believe these characters are superfluous because they will be wiped away when things are set back to their proper places.  After the direction that has been laid out in these seven episodes it is clear something more amibitious is definitely in play.

Eugene’s final scene in the elevator with Julie was beautifully done.  His joy at achieving recognition, even at the price of death, was truly touching.  As Eugene slid to floor, Fringe music composer Chris Tilton, skillfully composed the emotional underpinnings and poignancy of those final seconds.  

Connection made.

In his last moments who was Eugene meant to parallel then?  

Olivia? Peter?

Maybe both.  Or maybe that moment was his.


milostanfield said...

"in this installment Peter was relegated to the sidelines"

One function of temporarily backing Peter off the main story was to let the other timeline altered mains breathe and interact on their own for a bit. The scenes in the lab were much more pleasant for them, and us, without the disruptive presence of the "subject" to be painfully poked and prodded. We got to see them show the bonds they have developed over the years (and recently) in this timeline. They were just people who enjoyed working and being together. Walter was almost his old timeline self, much more chipper than he has been in past eps. With Peter directly in their lives, and in the lab, that couldn't happen.

I think that temporary "backing off" was necessary because it's crucial that we are led to care about these "new" characters or this whole "Peter in a different timeline" setup won't work very well. Whatever the upcoming resolution is, leaving this timeline, or staying, or blending, there has to be something at stake for us with ALL of the characters in both timelines. These new characters need to be (and for me already are) much more than Spock with a satanic beard, ala "Star Trek".

The writer's have set themselves a daunting task. They had three seasons to develop the old timeline characters and only 7 eps for the new versions. They did have a head start because the new ones are based on the old ones, but still, 7 eps is not a lot. Although I am already emotionally invested in these characters, from what I've heard and read from others, it appears they haven't succeeded yet.

Maybe they also oversold the "Where is Peter Bishop?" bit (as fun as it was) prior to Season 4. We may have had a little more patience this season without that.

45 said...

milostanfield, in other words, WHO CARES ABOUT PETER" right? Is that what you are trying to say you freaking Peter hater? I swear, OLIVIA was gone from our universe and they showed HER effin journey and anna torv got awards for it but PETER is gone for 4 damn episodes and pushed into the damn sidelines just so Anna, John, Jasika, Seth can play different versions of their characters and Josh/peter is a worthless character who should just be gone to please olivia fans! This is a big middle finger to Peter fans and Josh should just quit this show.

Konstantin said...

Aaah, cripes, I see the nasty Joshua Jackson fangrrl is back. Maybe you should e-mail JJ & tell him to quit the show, "45". Be interesting to see how you'd react when he laughed in your face.

trent said...

The problem is not bad timing, but that it occurred to them this episode was a good idea at all. I don't care about the L/O story one way or the other, but it should been have done, before they brought Peter back, instead of focusing on them now. The result is that there was no Peter in the first 5 episodes and there is still no Peter in a significant way now, because they have bigger fish to fry, meaning, Peter who? Olivia and Lincoln all the way!

Anonymous said...

I agree with those who feel that the focus on getting Peter back may well have distorted our perception of what was going on with the other characters, and with the story itself. Like Peter himself (because, like him, we wanted him to slot back into their lives and make everything "normal" again) we just didn't see them. So Peter isn't seeing that Olivia is possibly in grave danger (what is going on with her own perceived emotional coldness, is it linked to Nina manipulating her, is it linked cortexiphan injections etc) and even if he did, would he even want to help someone he as defined as not "his" Olivia? The "hey" moment stood out for me too, but it didn't make me laugh. They were deliberately doing to one another what science did to Eugene - making themselves invisible to one another. That felt wrong to me. But just as the end of the show raised the possibility that Eugene's love had always seen him, he just hadn't known it, perhaps we should be questioning Peter and Olivia's assumptions.

So here's a thought. The blue and red universes we have now really are the only blue and red universes around (of course there will be other universes, but not linked ones aware of all the others.) This Olivia and Walter are the only ones going. When Peter stepped into the machine he really did destroy the universes, or the ones which had developed from the moment that Walter crossed over and upset the balance. Removing himself from both red and blue universe reset them to the point they would both have mutually reached before the transgression. So this *is* his Olivia, and she needs his help, and it *is* his Walter, and he needs his son, still.

But so far, these three main characters have been more or less "ambered". Olivia is the most obvious example, because of her difficulty connecting with her emotions. But Walter is deliberately ignoring the momentous return of the son he needs so much, and Peter just wants out of a situation he finds really cold and repelling. But perhaps to save this universe he needs to reconnect and remake the relationships he had with Olivia and Walter in the previous blue universe.

Which makes September's actions all the more baffling. Does he think the two universes, now joined, can cope with the destabilising existance of Peter? Does he think Peter's existance is now necessary to save what his existance previously threatened?

One thing is for sure. When you start meddling with cause and effect, you are are opening one heck of a can of worms.


Jeff in 92833 said...

I am more than a little surprised at the obvious (to me, anyway) continuity error that has, up til now, received no comments.

In the beginning of the episode and through the all-night diner (the first 4 minutes), Olivia's hair is a good 5 inches shorter than it has been since the beginning of the series. For the rest of the episode, it is the usual length.

Dave Thompson said...

I don't get it... all other shows are continuing well into December, why couldn't 4x08 be show last week or this week? Wouldn't the episode make more impact letting us seep it over for a couple of weeks instead of being frustrated at being left with Wallflower?

JM said...

IMO the worst episode fringe has ever produced, it is a testament to the show that by industry standards it is still an "ok" episode

Anonymous said...


Word. It is the worst episode of the show. However, I disagree that it's still "ok", it was beyond mediocre bordering on very poor. It looks like they did what they could to alienate a bunch of fans if the reactions on some sites are any indication. I have to admire the producers' arrogance that they don't need all the support from the audience they have left. It's truly outstanding.

JM said...

@ Anonymous, i dont like to say its word, because always get torn apart for saying that :L so i always say IMO :P, but i can see why you would say that, however I would argue "Everything Will Become Clear" but yes everything about "wallflower" is better left forgotten by both fans and the producers.

Old Darth said...

Thanks for the feedback.

@Dave - I agree. Surely they could have found a slot for 4.08 to air between now and the holiday season.

45 said...

Konstantin, until Walter and Olivia get sidelined in their own damn storylines don't talk.

CuriousGirl said...

I definitely agree with Milostanfield that there needed to be time/space to develop the characters in the Amber universe. I missed Peter like I assume everyone else did, but the question of how writers will reconcile this/these plotline(s) is more exciting than disappointing to me so far.

And I don't think the writers necessarily 'should' have resolved whatever will happen between Lincoln and Olivia before Peter got back. There's never really a perfect time for anything in life, and there certainly wouldn't have been an optimal time for Peter to come back (especially from his perspective since he hadn't existed since he was an urchin in this timeline).

I think given how they treat each other, both Olivia and Peter and not expressing their feelings, especially as we know (thanks for including that key, website creaters! I've never known how to do that!!) Olivia was incredibly distressed about dreaming of Peter.

Regarding non-relationship stuff, I am incredibly curious to learn about Nina's motivations for injecting Olivia with cortexiphen and how far Olivia's adult abilities have developed in the Amber timeline. Without Peter and David, I assume not far if at all. Looking forward to January!

Scully8 said...

I agree with both comments by Anonymous and @curiousGirl.

I didn't love Willow or the impending or possible romance between O/L, but I'm looking forward to see (and watch) how the writers will bring everything together. I have faith in them!

Old Darth said...

Me too Scully8!

Mike said...

At my work we have three year contracts for our employees, once you get passed the 6 month probabion period it is impossible to fire someone until their three year contract is up. One employee made it passed that point but it became obvious that the bosses realised that maybe he did not fit for some reason a little too late. For the last year of his contract they paid him but let him go out on interviews and did not give him work or include him in meetings, etc.

This is what is happening with Josh Jackson…they do not like him, do not want him around that much and when he is around…..they do not want him to do anything important….he has so much time off in the last two years I hope he was auditioning.

When I spoke to the employee at my company, it was so disheartening for someone to feel like that…to feel that under appreciated. I just do not respect Wyman or Pinkner anymore. All I will say is you reap what you sow….Karma is a funny thing. This is going to come back to bite you in the butt…I hope at the end of the season when you are cancelled.

CuriousGirl said...

I guess I'm surprised with all of the frustration regarding the "Peter's return" storyline. I'm new to this forum and so I've tried to read/learn before jumping in, and I certainly don't want to come across as anything but respectful of others' opinions, but I still think Fringe is a fine example of television story telling.

Like many of my other favorite t.v. shows, Fringe engages is long-form story-telling. I love the fact that writers are taking the risk of changing the relationships they had previously built in this season. And holy shit, the erasure of Peter shows how amazing his sacrafice in the season three finale was. If it had been so easy to resolve his timeline, well... I would have found that far less believable.

From what I understand, Fringe was originally envisioned as a six-season series. Who knows if Fox will allow writers and producers to go for the complete story as they originally foresaw. But they've hooked me, mainly because they rarely do what I expect (which I would find boring). So I just want to encourage those who are feeling frustrated. We're only a third of the way through the season!! There's (probably) so much more to the story we get to see!

45 said...

CuriousGirl, Peter's erasure/sacrifice was NOT amazing, it was a ploy to make Lincoln the brand new male lead, to have Anna work with her oh so favorite costar Seth more, to give Josh less and less screen time. So, this whole story is stupid.

CuriousGirl said...

Okay, 45, I'm legitimately curious. I haven't seen anything regarding Anna Torv's off-screen connection/preference for Seth Gable, so if you have some information/links I haven't seen, I'd would love it if you slapped them up (I'll also be goggling... I promise I'm not a lazy blog reader) so I can check them out and brace myself for where the season is going. What is your take on the link I shared in my last post? I actually thought it would make people feel more confident in the season.

45 said...

Here it is

Notice how quiet she got when the interviewer asked her about Josh and how she was practically gushing over Seth. Its also sickening how in Wallflower she was all smiling and giggling with Lincoln but didn't smile at all with Peter. Anna is just shoving her dislike for Josh on screen as well.

CuriousGirl said...

Thanks for posting that clip! I hadn't seen it before and Anna Torv definitely didn't say as much regarding Joshua Jackson than her other castmates (I am glad that Andre Royo got a shout out! I loved The Wire.)

Regarding her performance in Wallflower, I'd be much more likely to interpret her scenes with Joshua Jackson and Seth Gable as script-based, but we'll definitely find out for sure in later episodes. As the creaters/writers said that Peter is going to be a primary focus for the rest of the season in the clip I posted, I think a lot of these concerns will be addressed.

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