I spent this entire episode waiting for something, watching to see how Fringe would avoid doing the obvious, plotting out how the eventual something would be sad—but resolved, as clearly the Over-Therians were destined to return, so it would all work out. But, frankly, I was overthinking it.
I’m referring, of course, to the death (and I was referring vaguely to avoid putting a spoiler on the front page). I knew there would be a death, because I didn’t get a chance to watch the episode until Saturday night, but I didn’t know whose it would be. Georgina Haig has been listed as a guest star, and fan reaction was mixed: it seemed too obvious that she would be the one to die. Viewed from that perspective, most of this episode felt like set-up for Peter’s death: his near-miss with the Observers and their wacky bomb, for instance, felt like foreshadowing. And so, I thought, clearly Olivia would die, since everything was clever misdirection.
It wasn’t. Or, in a way, it was. Peter risked himself foolishly and sweetly to give something of very little actual value, and incalculable emotional value, to his daughter. He put it all on the line for simple paternal love. Etta’s death is a death for Peter, in a way—when he and Olivia “lost” her all those years ago, he never lost hope. Now, he has nothing to hope for. If that’s not some kind of death…
What will that death mean? Will Peter be able to move beyond his grief? Will it fuel his rage and, by extension, the revolution? Will Olivia, Peter, Walter, and Astrid be able to learn how to control their thoughts the way Broyles can? It’s hard to imagine they could do so if the episodes maintain the same pace they have: is a smallish (year or so) time-jump going to happen to get us closer to any sort of success for Team Free Will?
In such a sea of questions, it’s nice to have a life-raft (or a dove, if we’re feeling Noah about the imagery) to grasp onto: Broyles. As a high-placed double-agent, he has been and will be invaluable to the resistance. But as a familiar face and old friend who hasn’t died, hasn’t gone evil, hasn’t even gone ambiguous—like Etta’s necklace, that has a price above rubies.
So does the return, however brief, of old Fringe cases. It was a nice call-back to past episodes, and I’m happy that Fringe is willing to give us fans a little treat like the porcupine man. I look forward to Walter’s basement of horrors being useful again. I really, really look forward to it, especially as Team Fringe will need all the help they can get deciphering the indecipherable physics.
But let’s return for a minute to my perpetually failed attempts at prognostication. The window to Over There made an appearance, and I can’t help but think it popped us to remind us of the people who we might never see, but could still see. Am I the only one hoping for a bit of Over Thereness? And how fascinating would it be, to see Olivia (for instance) at two different ages?
What Is Its Purpose?
• Astrid: “Walter, there’s nothing in there but lab equipment and your easy-bake oven.”
• Olivia: “You really had no idea that he was doing any of this?”
Astrid: “I wouldn’t have slept at night if I did.”
• Astrid: “Walter! Technically, this is a weapon of mass destruction.”
Walter: “So is the mosquito that carries the West Nile virus.”
• Walter: “You electrocuted me.”
• Walter: “Don’t you understand? This is Greek to me! Except that I read Greek. This is Aramaic to me. And not the western dialect, which I can speak a bit.”
• Broyles: “Agent Dunham.”
• Lot of good Astrid lines this week, huh?
• Ah, the pinko scare!
• Loved Walter and Peter playing skeet in an enclosed space.
• The Wikipedia article on “Kilroy was here” is rather fascinating. To me, at least.
Three and a half? Four? out of four donut holes, still spongy.
Josie Kafka reviews Fringe, The Vampire Diaries, and Game of Thrones for billiedoux.com.