Fringe Rewatch 405: Novation ~ Fringe Television - Fan Site for the FOX TV Series Fringe

Fringe Rewatch 405: Novation

      Email Post       12/23/2011 12:00:00 AM      

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

Law . the substitution of a new obligation for an old one,usually by the substitution of a new debtor or of a new creditor.
the introduction of something new; innovation.

Peter, though happy to be back clearly looks resigned to whatever Broyles has in mind for him and doesn’t even put up a good Bishop-fight over his newest living arrangements at the FBI headquarters.

Olivia discovers Walter hooked up to a machine that is beeping wildly and you can tell by the look on her face that she is having flashbacks to the lobotomizing incident prior to Peter’s return. When Walter abruptly wakes up, Olivia startles and he explains that this is the only way he can sleep since the “stranger” has come into their lives. A stranger that Broyles has denied him access to.

This is when Olivia informs Walter that not only does the stranger refuse to talk to anyone but Walter but he is claiming to be Walter’s long dead son, Peter Bishop. When I first imagined the scene of Walter finding out that the stranger is claiming to be his son, I expected a lot more emotion and I have to admit his look of mild shock was disappointing.

The intro is orange/yellow like we’ve all gotten used to again and that really threw me off. After all, Peter was back now and everything would be right in the world – even if no one remembered just yet. So why the orange/yellow introduction still? Is this the Writers-that-be’s way of telling us that this really is a third alternate universe after telling us long ago that they’d only ever delve into two universes?

Walter himself theorizes that perhaps the stranger is a Peter from a third universe after Broyles informs him of the 99.7% probability that the stranger is in fact related to him. Olivia counters Walter’s theory stating that people from other universes don’t just pop into dreams. Walter grows even more agitated and when Broyles hands him a list of questions to ask he tries to pull back and get out of the task. Astrid reassures him that he can do it and Olivia tells him he only has to say he wants out and they’ll come in and get him. Walter resigns himself to entering the room and facing the man claiming to be his son and the trio of FBI agents gives him concerned yet watchful looks.

Walter keeps his head down at first, refusing to make eye contact, but when he does you can tell it hits home and he sees his son in the man before him before quickly looking back down. When he reaches the table, his Germaphobe side kicks in and he gently pushes the chair back with his foot before taking the seat; careful to continue staring down.

“You don’t know who I am, do you.” Peter states it more than asks and watching it is like taking a punch to the gut. Walter shakes his head ‘no’ and Peter swallows down the sadness and fights to continue. Peter then begs him to help him find the reason that no one remembers him and Walter hesitantly agrees as he glances at the window where he knows safety is lying in wait. Taking his words as assurance to continue, Peter weaves the tale we all know about alternate universes, but at the mention of the machine and the idea that Walter created it, Walter begins to awaken, denying that he had built the machine. They go back and forth telling the story of this universes Peter and the Peter in the room and this is when we find out that the Peter that Walter went across to save drowned in Reiden Lake while trying to get back. The Observer never stepped in to save him.

The real change in Walter occurs when Peter reaches out to touch him and begins rattling off theories much like he was used to before everything was turned upside down. Walter jumps up and back, yelling that he wants out and Olivia is the first to run to his rescue while Peter continues asking for Walter’s help to find out what went wrong. For a brief moment as Walter is escaping, Peter and Olivia catch gazes and you can actually see the silent conversation. In my mind it goes something like this…

“Who are you?” – Olivia
“You have to help me! You have to remember me!” – Peter
“Well you are really hot…” – Olivia
“Oh baby…” – Peter

Okay, so maybe the last two lines were just in my mind, but you get the point. Olivia is pulled away by a phone call from Lincoln Lee who is on his own case and brings Olivia in on it.

Our next scene is Olivia arriving at the house where an apparent robbery/homicide happened. We see a glimpse of the old Olivia as she dryly jokes about Lincoln dragging her to a mundane case, but Lincoln isn’t used to her humor and/or takes the job more seriously because he immediately fills her in on the translucent skin victim found on the scene. He informs her that the house belongs to Dr. Truss of Massive Dynamic who is now off the grid. Unfortunately for Dr. Truss, the shapeshifter finds him first.

Olivia and Lincoln head to Massive Dynamic to speak with Nina Sharp. They’re both waiting in her office when Lincoln spots a picture of a much younger Olivia with a dancing ribbon and is immediately intrigued; asking her why the acting CEO of Massive Dynamic would have pictures of Olivia as a child. We find out that after Olivia’s mother had died and before she and Rachel were put in the foster system, Nina pulled some strings so that they could live with her. Upon finding this out, it was hard not to smile at the idea of Nina Sharp playing mom, but it really makes you think about a softer side that has only been hinted at prior to now.

When Nina does enter the room she is all polite business and asking her slight questions, one of them being how Walter is taking the news of Peter’s entrance into all their lives and Olivia informs her that he isn’t taking it so well. In seasons past, the relationship between Olivia and Nina has always been tense. Nina would slowly try to pick away at Olivia with her kindness and offers of help while Olivia has remained undeterred and suspicious of the older woman. In this scene we see a completely open Olivia who has nothing to hide from Nina.

After sharing information back and forth, Nina informs them that Dr. Truss worked with skin cells and the reproduction of good cells to compensate for the bad.

Meanwhile the shapeshifter convinces Dr. Truss that she is a cancer recovery patient who benefitted from his research but is still dying and needs his research to try and find a cure for herself. After hearing her story, Dr. Truss agrees t help her, telling her that all the information she needs is in his head.

Back at the Federal Building Peter is growing restless and Olivia is catching Broyles up. They theorize that the shapeshifter is flawed and needs Dr. Truss’ research to perfect itself. Peter, overhearing this having hacked the speaker system, informs them that he knows quite a bit about the shapeshifters and the discs they run on.

Lincoln, in a moment of stubbornness, tries to get Broyles to let Peter have a crack at the discs since no one else can figure them out. Olivia questions Peter and why he would want to help them and that there had to be something in it for him. Peter responds that he just wants to talk to Walter again and Olivia gets defensive of Walter, clearly wanting to protect him from more emotional damage. Peter apologizes and states that he was treating Walter like the man he knew and not like the man he is now. When he tells her that she is different, she shoots him a look of stoic disbelief but he continues on. Finally, they agree that they don’t have much of a choice and Olivia agrees to try and talk to Walter.

At the lab, Walter has opened an old lunch box filled with small knick knacks and toys. He pulls out a sea shell and holds it up to his ear while smiling and then rifles around for the silver dollar; performing the trick he had taught his son.

Lincoln calls Olivia out on the tension she’s creating between her and Peter and she finally takes the bait. She explains that she can’t figure out why he had shown up in her dreams. It makes sense for Peter to show up for Walter, but she is confused as to why he would be in her dreams. Broyles interrupts them with the news that Dr. Truss has been found and then they’re off again.
The shapeshifter has already created a entire lab filled with everything he would need to continue his research and help her. Dr. Truss uses the quote “Some things are not ours to tamper with. Some things are God’s” by William Bell, who had shut down his project. This sounds very similar to the quote Bell used to Walter and traveling between universes.

Walter and Nina finally talk at the lab and we discover the reason for the animosity between them is that Nina was there the night Walter crossed over to save the other Peter and he blamed her for losing him because he also blamed himself. Walter also claims that he saw the Peter that had drowned in the man’s eyes he saw earlier and though most people would view Peter’s reappearance as a blessing, he feels he doesn’t deserve this second chance to know his son.

Meanwhile, Peter has figured out the discs and informs Broyles that these new shapeshifters can take on any appearance they’ve taken in the past down to the molecular level, which would make it impossible for them to determine if someone was an imposter short of surgery. As if the original shapeshifters weren’t scary enough… He’s also figured out that they all have GPS built into them, but whoever is controlling them would realize he had hacked their system soon so they had to move fast. He also said there were two sets of coordinates. Dr. Truss ends up finding out the hard way when he tests a serum out on “Nadine” and she takes the shape of his wife. He tries to flee, but obviously he is no match and is now forced to help the shapshifter against his will.

Lincoln and Olivia arrive at the warehouse and there’s a shootout between them and the shapeshifter. Two other miscellaneous agents chase her onto a roof where a switch is made, but it’s discovered too late and the shapeshifter escapes the scene.

Back at the Federal building another agent hands Olivia a stack of files, but she seems almost oblivious as she makes a beeline to Lincoln. She tries to reassure him that they’ll find the shapeshifter and that they are making progress. When he doesn’t seem placated, Olivia, in the most awkward moment in Fringe history asks him if he wants to go grab some dinner and he quickly shoots her down. After Lincoln leaves her standing alone the same agent as before hands Olivia the same stack of files. Confused, Olivia asks the agent if they’ve already done this and the agent gives her a very bewildered look before walking away. It would appear that this is another taste of the déjà vu she had in the combustion case where she was seeing across to the other side or the time loops of the next episode have already started.

As part of the deal Walter visits Peter again and he makes his plea for Walter’s help once again, taking a softer approach so as not to scare him away. Walter finally believes that Peter is who he says he is to an extent but in a heart breaking moment, claims that he doesn’t deserve to have Peter back and backs away. When Peter tries to argue back Walter tells him that the boy he tried to save by crossing universes is not his son and either is this version of Peter. Of all the Peter/Walter moments, this scene definitely took a spot in the top 5 most emotional scenes and makes me cry every time. The look on Peter’s face is heart wrenching and the emotion in Walter’s voice makes you ache for him.

The last scene is our shapeshifter sitting at a train station and pulling a typewriter from a locker after giving herself the treatment that fixes her. The response she gets is automatic and in the familiar way we have all grown used to and the message is clear…


CuriousGirl said...

This episode is so sad. Nobody was in their 'right' place or connected in the relationships we know they could have. I think that's the great twist about watching things unfold in this timeline. We know they can connect because they have before.

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