Fringe Review: Black Blotter ~ Fringe Television - Fan Site for the FOX TV Series Fringe

Fringe Review: Black Blotter

      Email Post       12/17/2012 09:41:00 AM      

“Why are those mice shooting at us?”

The Theme of the Season is a question: how far will you go to save the world? And the answer has been: not too far. Last week, Peter chose to remain a member of humankind, sacrificing his time-reading abilities to stay a son, father, and husband. This week, a trip through Walter’s brain revealed that he, too, wants to maintain the best part of himself. He’s afraid that he has gone too far, now as then.

I was wrong a few weeks ago: I had thought Walter already had the pieces of his brain removed. Actually, he just made a deal for Nina to remove them once the revolution happens. As he becomes increasingly Walternative, the Walterish parts of him remind him of his sins: death, destruction, becoming a destroyer of worlds (a quote that haunts this show every season—and was apparently first voiced by lab assistant Carla).

Walter’s guilt stems from the part his portal-creation played in the formation of this terrible new world order, and the individual people who have lost their lives because of his actions. Keeping the parts of his brain that make him the “Water that was” is a tool and a punishment for what he’s done. The acid trip allowed him (to paraphrase W.C. Williams) “explain himself to himself.” And he does not like the explanation.

I hope he did like parts of the acid trip, because I sure did—especially the Monty-Pythonesque animation, and the way entire events were lost in his forgetful tripping. I also enjoyed the continuity with past season: not just Walter’s guilt over Carla’s death and the scenes from some 1980s flashbacks, but also the returns of Sam Weiss (now played by a cadaver) and the Little Observer.

Michael, as his adoptive parents called him, hasn’t aged since he was taken out of the pocket universe. He also hasn’t said a word. He experiences time differently, which means he remembers Olivia from the alternate timeline. And, hopefully, he will give the Fringe team a chance to actually win this fight in an upcoming episode.

Do they want to win this fight, though? On the face of it, the answer is: yes, you idiot, of course they do—what show are you watching, Josie? But, really, how much do they want to? Peter chose not to fall victim to the “on a journey of revenge, dig two graves” fate of dehumanizing himself to avenge Etta. And Etta’s death is the dominant motivation: our team has very few connections to this new world. It is not their own. Walter wants to make up for the destruction he has caused, but he doesn’t want to lose himself to do so.

Maybe I feel like the team isn’t fully invested in the possibility of success because they so rarely mention it. They find a tape or get a mysterious radio signal, they follow the clues, they lather, rinse, and repeat. But what do they plan to do after the revolution? If I were attempting to overthrow a totalitarian alien invasion, I’d have a list of fun post-revolution activities I’d want to engage in, like eating only the corners of a sheet cake (think frosting) or dying my hair purple. Our team seems to have nothing to look forward to.

Black Umbrellas:

• I was out of town this weekend, so I didn’t get a chance to watch this episode until Sunday night, which didn’t give me much time to think through everything that happened. Add your own interpretations in the comments!

• The can opener invention sounds 100% worth the effort.

• Did anyone else think of Indiana Jones in the “papers, please” request and subsequent fight at the dock?

• Not surprising that Walter sees the Emerald City, given his obsession with obliterating the man behind the curtain who lives inside his head.

Three and a half out of four seahorses. (Because I’m an impatient brat and want resolution!)


SheHateMeBro said...

Curious as to who the frog, toto, and seahorse represented? I was thinking the seahorse was Astrid, Toto was Olivia and the Frog (prince) was Peter. Not that it matters in the big picture, but curious as to whether might be hints there in these icons.

Zepp said...

@Josie Kafka said:

“Our team seems to have nothing to look forward to.”

Yes, for me, also seems to me. Putting aside the loss of Etta, also seems to lack a main objective, now, the whole team Fringe. But looking over the top, without sticking the details and minutiae, gives notice that they have agreed the amber eyes opened and encountered another world, a catastrophic future and no hope. Almost nothing is to be saved, I see. As soon as Walter "woke up", has been led to an "operation" of reconstitution your brain! Everything is happening very quickly, there's no time to get used to this reality now. This year, 2036, when the Fringe team, opened the doors of their consciences, were faced with a situation of finalizing a global invasion, to develop a process of annihilation and enslavement of humanity! And I ask myself, "save what, now?"

In future now, we as inhabitants of this planet, the few human resistance, human loyalists, who are subservient to the totalitarian regime and the great lords’ invaders Baldies. The Windmark and his minions are things more alien and lethal, which have appeared in Fringe so far. They are more determinants are global entities are super powerful, and not any localist, like shapeshifters and men porcupines. It's all a genuine war of worlds dimensionalities different time. I personally still do not quite understand, what were the real purposes of the Baldies with this invasion, in "their past", still did not understand, really. What I mean by this, is that definitely to save the world, to "kill the evil in the bud", only with a return to the past of Walter, Olivia, Peter and Astrid, is what one might think of really in final victory, this Fringe team, I think.

Also, on the other hand, assuming freely, I feel that would be decisive, fundamental a return of September, in this juncture that all meet. But when I think in the Observer September, I believe in time travel, a possible return to what things were before in a past that future now. In other words, it is crucial for me, a return, a journey through time to the present, a little before the year 2015, the Fringe team to actually annihilate the Baldies, once and for all, I have the impression.

But as writers and Wyman are actually and demonstrably, very creative, I'll wait for what they have prepared for the end of Fringe, I am here, waiting...

Anonymous said...

"papers please?" was a 40 year-old cliché (stereo-type) when Indiana Jones was made. All kind of movies from the 40s, 50s, 60s+ about late-30's, early-40's Europe use that "papers please?" nugget. "The Great Escape" is all about the POWs having the best falsified 'papers' to pass that particular challenge. Cheech and Chong even have a comedy routine from the early seventies based loosely on it (yu muzt zign zezz paperz).

My two big concerns that nobody is talking about:

1) The puzzle. Beacons, magnet, kid, quartz, thought unifier. Seems like all of these are about to find a use - but what? Beacons vibrate at 2MHz and at 4MHz. Quartz has a unique quality. Magnet is super strong. Unifier is supposed to remind Walter how they all go together. My guess is the plan will suck up all of the Observers on the globe. One beacon held September. Maybe the boy is the bait. He is a prototype Observer that doesn't need the primitive tech, so this wave of tech-dependent Observers consider him the next step in their evolution process. Maybe September hid the bald kid in the distant past, where he was found in the catacombs. Perhaps the kid will mentally lure the Invaders to the mega-EM Beacon and then they all get vacuumed-up. The next ep is "Anomaly XB-6783746" - maybe XB is "eXperimental Boy", and Michael's unique skills make him that anomaly. Then we have an episode - "The Boy Must Live"... anyway, you see my drift. Time for the master plan to start in motion.

2) I am not sure Walter is as whacky as he feels he is getting, the LSD just gave him more access to the root cause. Simon and Etta gave him a procedure that helped him regenerate the missing portions of his brain. After that, Walter only had a few days before Windmark was inside his head slogging around. Plus, we don't know if Walter was brain-washed 21 years ago during his first captivity. He may have had things implanted then and was released. Bell removing brain bits back then may have been to get the compromised portions of Walter’s mind out of the loop. Windmark did not get a full session with Walter on this go-round - however, he may have had enough time to see and manipulate the Carla Warren memories to deliver Walter and the master plan that neither of them (Walt/Wind) can access. In this ep, the Carla Warren vision had Walter ready to drive to Observer HQ and hand over his notebook full of goodies. I think the Carla Vision = Windmark theory is supported by his claim that he is ''really good'' at running futures and manipulating the path of key people.

Unknown said...

As always I love hearing your perspective Zepp. Feels bitter sweet want the questions answered but don't want the show to end!

SheHateMeBro said...


Anonymous said...

Just saw the spoiler!!! I was wondering why they invited him to the 100th episode celebration. Can't wait!!! :)

Anyway, I think the reason why they aren't thinking about how to celebrate is because they haven't won yet. And perhaps still mourning their daughter. But I do wonder why someone hasn't at least figured out one part of the puzzle. Especially Peter. No one has any idea at all, which is hard to believe.

And I do wonder what happened to Bell's body.. Since we already know what happened to Simon (bless his Scottish heart), they should have found Bell's body too and dissected it. I guess it's a detail that the writers felt would be overlooked by a lot of people and getting Nemoy to come back for the third time is probably nearly impossible... ;P

I'm still waiting for Olivia to work her cortexi magic. But probably won't happen either. And what really happened to Etta? I remember someone saying she was abducted by the Observers? Which Observer? How did she escape? But I'm still hoping she transported herself out of fear. And how did her adoptive parents find her and not try to look for her real parents? Still so many questions..

Anonymous said...

My primary question this season has been this: Where in the bloody hell is September? I hope I didn't merely miss an explanation as to why, but seriously...where is he? Nine episodes in and still no appearance!

Lccf said...

@JoshCrowder :
I got a feeling that we'll have the answer tomorrow ... no, I don't read spoilers, that's just a hunch ( mystery man in the trailer for next episode = September ? I hope so ! I'll try to not even look at the credits at the beginning of the episode, since I remember "Brave new world" ones spoiling Bell's return ).

@DocH :
"The boy must live " could refer to Michael, but we've heard these words before, and they refered to Peter, so we can't be sure who this title is about ... Since the episode after that is titled "Liberty", as in Liberty island, Peter's connection to the boom-boom machine could be a huge part of the plan. Isn't that weird that "Letters of transit", when exposing Walter's plan, showed us the hologram of a big machine, very similar in design to the BBM, and it hasn't been brought up since ? Shouldn't Etta have mentioned that ? Sure, I'd be a little disappointed if the solution turns out to be an updated version of the BBM, but I can see that happening.

Jonah said...
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