Welcome to our review for episode 9 of Fringe season 3 – “Marionette”.
In this review we give an honest opinion on the good and not so good aspects of the episode. We identify the answers that were provided and the mysteries that remain locked away. We take an in-depth look at the other aspects of the episode that made an impression on us, before rounding off the review with our final thoughts and episode rating.
- Value To Be Had. I enjoyed the allusions and possible foreshadowing that this episode exuded. Strong imagery and interesting parallels continue to make Fringe one of the most intoxicating television experiences, even in an episode that was much less thrilling than recent outings.
- Truth Be Told. I’m glad Peter told Olivia the truth in this episode. We’ve known about the switcheroo for a while now so it has played its part, and after last season’s big secret I don’t think this one needed dragging out over the course of several episodes. The consequences of Olivia knowing will have far greater emotional impact on both characters. Speaking of which, on a character level Peter earns points for being the better Bishop and showing a growth that can I appreciate.
- Level-up. Fringe functions on levels, and I thought they added another layer through the exploration of two versions of the same person in a way that they haven’t done before. We’ve seen twins, doppelgangers, dreams and nightmares, subconscious projections, fathers and sons – concepts which have examined the inherent nature of the individual. We can now add Amanda to that list. I thought her reanimation was another fascinating way of exploring human identity, experience, and duality. The resulting message was no less intriguing.
- Creep Factor. It takes a lot to creep me out, and while I wouldn’t say the episode was scary, the sight of Amanda’s big round Jeepers Peepers did give me one or two Fringebumps. I like that. I’ve always thought the show does well when it conveys fear through humans rather than flying badgers and the like. Again, not a majorly psychological episode, but the themes and imagery provided a useful statement about life, death, and the inbetween-y stuff. (Also, credit to Anja Savcic and the make-up dept.).
- Heart Matters. The episode had it in bundles. While it was no “Peter” or “White Tulip” in the hanky stakes, it did touch me. And I was willing to be touched because the episode had an honesty about it that allowed me to look past some of the contrivances and embrace the sentiment being offered.
- The Ending. September never disappoints! I continue to enjoy the way they frame him – Michael Cerveris IS the Observer and no amount of CGI can alter that fact. Just like coffee, there’s nothing like the real thing. More importantly he left us with something other than wet tissues and runny eyeliner to chew on over the break.
- And The War? It was somewhat disconcerting to see the team investigate anything other than a case involving the alternate universe. Is there nothing they could be doing with the machine, for instance? It’s not like they have a team of people working on it (and if their version of ‘Science Division’ is real, I find it hard to believe that Walter’s ideas wouldn’t come in handy). To their credit, the case-of-the-week worked better than I thought it would and I appreciate that it integrated on an emotional level. But it doesn’t excuse the fact that valuable time is being taken up on Gepetto and Pinocchio when Walternate has a valuable piece of the Vacuum AND Cortexiphan on tap. It’s just a bit unrealistic to see our Fringe Team investigating what could be deemed a mediocre (though reflective) case, even though I can understand the reason behind the ‘reset’.
- Low Burn. Probably the least invigorating case of the season so far? It was still perfectly functional, it just didn’t have some of the excitement or sheen of the previous outings this season. It was all a bit one-paced and inevitable. Probably too villain-of-the-weeky for my liking. Roland wasn’t fleshed out until the last, and while I was kinda satisfied with what they ultimately did with the character it just seemed a bit lackluster. Probably not the episode to go out on a 6 week Lowatus with.
- Walter Is My Problem. His humor was more on point than previous episodes – I’ll give him that, but overall I find him a bit MEH these days. He’s almost a caricature of his former self’s former self. Now, I love a good old laugh but at times it feels like Walter is being carted out for a joke or two before being wheeled off stage pulling his pants down. Where’s the heart, Walter? Does he need another great mind to bring the best out of him? Someone call Bellie and tell him to boldly get his ass back here, stat! To be fair, I can see why Walter is being employed in this fashion, but it doesn’t stop him from grating on me.
- Missing AU. I missed Walternate, Altlivia, and all our friends in the AU. I find Walt-Dog fascinating and Altlivia interesting – even though they’re both relatively underdeveloped. The alternate universe left an impression on me and at times in this episode I hoped we’d do the hokey-toggle and turn it all around. Alas, the blue lights never came. The blue lights never came!
- Does this spell the end for our star-crossed lovers?
- Who was September referring to regarding being ‘alive’ – Peter or Walter?
- Who was September talking to on his phone?
- Why is September seemingly uncertain about the future of Peter (or Walter) given his ability to see through time?
- Where did September just come from?
- The episode title “Marionette” refers to a jointed puppet controlled from above by strings attached to its limbs. This in turn is a reference to Amanda Walsh, who’s donated body parts were put back together again by Roland in a bid to reanimate her.
- The Yatsko Project – Bellie and Walter created a serum in the mid-seventies to question someone after death.
- Olivia describes Walternate’s main priority as using her to discover how to cross universes safely. We already knew that but it helps to define things through our protagonist’s eyes.
- Reanimation is possible in the world of Fringe, just don’t expect uncle Harry to come back as uncle Harry.
- Death looms over Peter or Walter. Probably the former.
- Olivia agrees that Peter SHOULD have known. She’s decided to move on.
- Intriguing opening. Though what would Roland have done had the dude passed out before he reached home? I guess he did his research on his daily routines (very Dexterish) – but still, probability, as we’ve seen, is there to be broken.
- Does it matter that Roland was a ‘sympathetic organ thief’ who apologized to his victims and kept them alive long enough so that they might survive? I think it depends. Did he do it because it made him feel more comfortable, or out of some genuine sense of compassion? Probably a bit of both – not that either mindset would make his actions any better. Seriously, who steals peoples hearts?…
- Hmm. I guess Dunham will be taking a few weeks leave before she returns to work, right? WRONG!
Dunhamnator: “I guess you weren’t expecting me back so soon?”
- Sporting a slight twist on her classical haircut, the Dunhamnator not only returned from the alternate universe, but she brought Broylnate’s office with her on her way back through the void. Is there nothing this woman can’t do? I honestly thought I’d have to RIP that office at some point this season, but wonders never cease to amaze me.
- Olivia goes on to describe Walternate as seen through her own eyes:
“He is driven. The way he sees things, it’s his world, or ours”
- A fair description. But is Walt-dog right, or is there a better way? I am wired to believe there’s always another way – the ‘your world, is our world’ philosophy can have altruistic connotations. The implications of such a mindset remains to be seen, but it’s one that Olivia HAS to chase with all her thunder.
- Olivia wants to see the analysis of the remaining Vacuum parts. Now that’s the Olivia I know. The one who not only follows up on her own work, but on other peoples. Playtime is over for our slackers!
- Broyles is in the business of looking after all of his agents. He tries to bench Olivia – who, I must say, is looking rather well for someone who’s been trapped in a nightmare for the past 8 weeks:
“To say you’ve experienced a trauma is an understatement. You need to process what you’ve endured over the past two months”
- I liked the way he put that – “process” what she’s endured. It helps explain why she’s seemingly so okay with things – she’s still processing; working out the events and what they mean internally. It’s not always a conscious thing. It’s something the likes of ‘Projection Peter’ will take care of down below. But these entities need time to reintegrate themselves into the raw material that is her subconscious melting pot. Though one wonders how ‘accessible’ these internal helpers will be now that they’ve passed through the fabric of her consciousness. To borrow a Lane, “sometimes what we wake up, can’t be put back to sleep”.
- Olivia understands where Broyles is coming from, but she can’t just put her feet up and do nothing. She’s just not built that way:
“I know, but I honestly believe that my ability to do my job, isn’t impaired“
- Lots of fun words here. Her “ability” to do her job is no doubt honest phrasing, but to me it indicates that she now sees her talents as Abilities. She’s no longer just F.B.I., she’s D.O.P.E. (Dunhamator: Omnipresent Protector of Earths). Further to that, she isn’t “impaired” – again, an interesting word given that perception is at the cornea of our story.
- Olivia reflects. Perhaps for the first time since she cut herself on Astrid’s broken glass, she stops to think about why she’s so driven:
“I’m not going to deny that the last few months haven’t taken their toll. But I made a promise to a friend over there. And I swore that I would do everything I can do heal both worlds. I need to go back to work”
- Her word is her bond and her bond is a ring of Saturn that encompasses everything. I loved seeing Broyles’ curiosity pique. Actually, he seemed to instantly know who this mysterious “friend” was – carry-over from the previous episode where he had to RIP himself.
- Meaningful stares give way to curiosity:
Broyles: “This..friend you’re talking about. What was he like?
Olivia: “He wasn’t that unlike you. He was..honorable, committed. He feared for his family. For their future.”
Broyles: “So he had children?”
Olivia: “A son and a daughter. And he was very close to his wife”
Broyles: “They were still married?”
*Broyles searches the folds of his being. It’s not just about his family. It’s about the spectrum of his family*
- Olivia’s request is approved off-screen. It’s amazing when you think about it – Olivia basically told Broyles that he is inherently good. That nature and nurture has produced a man who is a spectrum of honor and integrity no matter the universe. How many of the other characters could we say that for? Not many. It’s this..proximity to his doppelganger that intrigues me. Sure, there are of course differences; Broylnate was married and still strived to saved his world – he didn’t make THAT sacrifice. Although in the end, he kinda did. Sometimes what we have in common is just as useful as the ways in which we differ.
- What does this say about Broyles? Does this confirm his deepest fears that he lost the love of his life unnecessarily? Was there another way he could have gone about things to be with his family for longer? If the alternate universe represents the internal functions of the human condition (which I believe it does on its strongest level), then he will conclude what he already knew – that things could have been different?
- But where is life without the context? There is no vacuum here; as fate and other forces also play a part in shaping individuals. Never Never Land is what it is, but I hope Broyles uses this information positively – after all, that’s what it’s there for. Whether through design, culminative effect, of the construct of someone’s mind, his life was different from Broylnate’s. He shouldn’t allow himself to feel undermined or as though he failed in some way. There are many paths to take and some of them may lead to the same place, if not physically, then perhaps spiritually.
- Who knows, perhaps knowing about his double and using his sacrifice as a framework, Broyles can find a measure of peace. Because, as often as we don’t talk about it, I believe that it is something he also needs. Everyone is searching for something.
- Anyway, great stuff from Olivia. She delivered her message with warmth – as though it was her Broyles who sacrificed himself for her out there in the trenches. Because of course, in a manner of speaking, it was.
- Ah, the Bishop Boys. And Walter’s up to his usual nonsense. Did I dream that he received the keys to Massive Dynamic? William Bell must have been out of his mind. Though I don’t deny that the hour glass on Walter’s proactivity has yet to empty.
- Good to know that Peter called Olivia the night before, but he looks far too chirpy here for my liking. Do I detect an element of relief that Olivia is bed-bound after her AU exertions? And did Peter really let Olivia unknowingly sleep in the sheets of Altliv? Charming, Peter. Real charming.
- Walter knows all too well the dangers of keeping secrets from those you care about. In fairness to him he does the right thing – he encourages Peter to be better than himself. Though we have to give 100 points to Peter as he’s not planning on keeping the truth from her.
- I do wonder whether a deep, dank part of Walter sees Peter’s current pain as an opportunity to repair his own relationship with his son? Nothing wrong with that on the surface, but it could be argued to be ‘Peteploitation’ – moving in when his defences are down. Again, nothing entirely sinister – we do want Walter to be there for Peter – but it’s interesting to observe the subconscious metal-detector at work.
Walter: “You understand better than most, the pain a lie can inflict”
Peter: “Which is why, even though it’s going to change the way she fundamentally feels about me, I am going to tell Olivia everything”
Walter: “You’re a good man Peter. She knows that”
- Peter can indeed be admirable. Do I sense a measure of..not disappointment necessarily, but of regret in Walter’s voice? While he knows all too well the damage a lie can do, he also knows that the truth can be just as destructive. He’s quietly projecting the idea that good deeds don’t always get rewarded. That’s the nature of sacrifice – you do it because it’s the right thing to do, not out of expectancy.
- Does Peter truly understand these stakes? I don’t know, but I am proud that he’s not putting his own needs first. Olivia deserves to know the truth, however much it hurts her. I don’t subscribe to the notion that ignorance is bliss, not in matters of the heart.
- Peter’s reaction to seeing Olivia? A mixture of joy, relief, and ‘argh sh..oot!’.
Peter: “Shouldn’t you be restin’?”
- LOL! What he’s actually saying here folks, is: “What the hell are you doing here!? I’m not ready to deal with all of this right now. Get back into your box. Love you. Wow, you look hawt, kinda like other Oliv..oh crap, crap, crap!”
- Okay, so I exaggerated a tiny bit there, but his reaction wasn’t one of a completely loving boyfriend, was it. It goes without saying that he was happy to see her, but as I’ve said before, the instinctive mind can be muddy terrain. So imagine what the heart looks like down there. And I’m sure that later on, when Olivia recounts every single word he’s said to her, she’ll relive this slightly off-exchange as being a signpost for what was to come.
Broyles: “Agent Dunham has been cleared for duty”
Peter’s Mind: “Crap. Well, in that case, please don’t kill me?”
- Peter then TRAILS behind Olivia and the group so much, I thought he was a movie.
- And of course, the heart of the matter manifests itself into their reality, as if someone put it there to reflect their internal function. Who would do such a thing? I suspect robots:
Broyles: “They found the victim strapped to a table, chest cavity open and his heart missing. But then after they discovered him in that condition the victim regained consciousness and spoke, and died three minutes later”
- Walter relishes this reflective opportunity. It’s as though the mad doctor knows the value of repairing what lies below. Except when it involves Peter chasing his destiny, of course.
- Walter acknowledges the precision of the heart extraction and we get more embellishment to the idea that our villain of the week is not ruthless organ thief.
- The thing that really tips the Bishop Boys off on Roland’s trail? The first victim previously had heart surgery. Roland removed his new heart. Perhaps this idea will further play into our overarching Peter story, depending on how mach credence you give the “Brown Betty” episode.
Olivia: “Okay, what if someone is harvesting organs on the black market?”
- No really, listen to the woman, Peter.
- Has Peter ever conflicted Olivia like this in a case before? They’ve often had opposing approaches, but it’s almost as though this early ‘disagreement’ happened so automatically. Of course, the writing is creeping to the surface here in its need to tell a specific story, but I also like to think their subconscious elements are poking their heads up from their holes.
- Olivia is a super-heightened individual and Peter is feeling mega-guilty – I’d guess that their internal functions were well aware of what Peter did long before he consciously tells Olivia the truth in the next scene. In a sense we have ‘Projection Peter’ doing battle with ‘Protection Peter’. Though of course, Olivia’s internal has many different ‘characters’ that guard her well-being – Projection Peter is one of many.
- And so the moment has finally arrived – their first chance to really ‘catch-up’ on all the crazy happenings that disrupted their union. Olivia not only has her man back, but she’s already seeing the world differently – appreciating meagre cups of coffee like never before. She’s a changed woman! Except..she’s not, she’s still Olivia. She’d still drink you under the table. People change, but it rarely happens overnight. Or over eight weeks.
- And without rehashing too much, I’ll just reiterate my point – In my opinion, Peter should have known that Altlivia wasn’t *his* Olivia. Why was their more onus on him to figure it out than Walter or Broyles or Astrid? Because he is the one who’s supposed to be in love with her. He is the reason she risked life and split-ends to retrieve him from the AU. The rest of the team have not made that kind of intimate commitment with Olivia. They have not kissed her or cupped her face with all the tenderness of a feather. If it was any one’s responsibility (yes, responsibility) to notice she was gone, then it was Peter’s.
- I think it’s an extremely solid point of view – certainly not the only one, but a solid one.
Olivia: “You know when you go on vacation and you come back and some things are a revelation. Like, coffee or my favorite shoes. And then other things are just.. My mail was opened, it’s kinda disconcerting knowing that somebody else has been living your life.”
- I’m glad to get this from Olivia as I thought she was taking it all a bit too well up to this point. I’m also glad that one of the season’s core themes is brought to the surface in a pretty simple way – the battle of self. While this storyline has many different degrees from which it can be viewed, I’ve found it most interesting to go beneath the surface of what is being described. Shapeshifters, alternate universes, et al – they are fantastical notions that allow us to consider ‘being human’ without even realizing it.
- Because that’s another thing – if we view Olivia and Altlivia as inherently being the same person (which I think we must do, in conjunction with viewing them as distinct identities), this is exploring the notion of people being their own worst enemies. How much control do people have over their own lives? Are there internal elements as well as external ones that cause people to lose who they are from time to time? How do people reconcile the way they see themselves with the way others do?
Peter’s Heart: “There’s something that I have to talk to you about”
- Oh, Okay, interrupt me why don’t you!
Peter’s Nether regions: “..about her”
- Olivia’s heart sinks. I had wondered why she hadn’t even considered the possibility that Peter and Altlivia had ‘relations’ while she was gone, but of course she had. Of course she HAD. It’s just that some things we tuck away. The moment Peter mentions ‘her’ the envelope opens like the jaws of a hungry Burlap Bear.
Peter’s Memory: “I noticed…changes. Small changes. They were definitely there. She’s….
- Oh crumbs, tread carefully Peter, please for all that is moley, tread carefully!
Peter’s Defense System: “[she’s]..much quicker with a smile..and less..less intense, maybe. She said that when she was over there, when she saw her other life, it made her want to change, to be happier. And I believed her because that made sense.
- Oh dear. The Cortexi has not only hit the phan, it’s splattered all over Peter and will take weeks to come off! Now, I appreciate his honesty, he is absolutely doing the right thing by telling her. But, “quicker with a smile”? OUCH!
- It’s not that truth hurts (although there is that), but it’s that he’s undermining who Olivia is – just as I suggested earlier in the season. It’s one thing that Peter noticed these apparently ‘small changes’ and didn’t find them odd enough to realize that they didn’t belong to *his* Olivia, but it’s another thing that these changes are seen as improvements to him. As I’ve been saying, there’s no doubt in my mind that he *enjoys* these traits that Altlivia has.
- Peter went to places with Altlivia that he couldn’t have gone with Olivia. So how is Olivia supposed to take the news that her double has qualities that a). are not attributes that she herself has, and b). caused Peter to ignore the alarm bells because he enjoyed the smiley Olivia doll?
- This isn’t to bash Peter. In fact, I’m quite interested in exploring the ideas being presented here. By hook or by crook ‘the powers that be’ have given us a storyline that is incredibly intricate in terms of how its woven around our heroes hearts.
- To me, the fact that Peter’s love for Olivia transferred over to Altlivia, implies that his feelings for madame are genuine. How far those feelings can be separated is primed for debate, but it plays into the question of how much we really love the people we love. Do we love each and every single dimension of their being to the ultimate degree – without prejudice of the fact that they leave the seat down, or always burn the toast? Or do we love some shades of their being more than others? Do these shades override their ‘lesser’ qualities or help complete ours? These are not questions we necessarily think about consciously, but I sense that they are processed somewhere.
- For me, it’s a question of how closely the edges of Peter’s being matches the respective edges of Altlivia and Olivia. I’d say that when it comes down to it, he cares for them both in different ways. And while that’s probably an honest description of how people can love the different sides to a singular person (loving each attribute to different degrees), it’s still worrying to me in the context that Peter doesn’t necessarily value Olivia’s ‘intensity’ as much as I feel she needs him to.
- Because, guess what? It’s who she is. She’s pretty intense, she’s the freakin’ Dunhamnator and she’ll rip you a new one in a cake shop if she has to. To be told that you don’t quite match up to your doppelganger is akin to being told that someone kinda digs you on Monday to Fridays, but REALLY loves you at the weekends. It still hurts because maybe you’re not a weekend person most of the time. Maybe you prefer Fridays the most?
- Olivia leaps to Peter’s own defence – in truth, she’s also defending her own hemorrhaging heart:
Olivia: “There was no way for you to know. Everything happened so fast, I couldn’t even tell you how they did it. You know it’s OK. I’m here now”
- Aw. You are indeed, Livvy. But I fear that you’ve only just stepped into Altliv’s domain. I can barely watch the hammer blow..
Peter: “When you asked me to come back to this world with you, you said..
*Olivia takes the baton*
Olivia: “..that you belonged with me”
Peter: “..and so I came back for you..for us. And we started seeing each other, and I explained away the differences because our relationship was different. I thought she was you Olivia”
- Hmm..maybe she didn’t quite expect that after all. I find Peter’s style of storytelling interesting. He gives a straight account for the most part, before dipping into “and we started seeing each other”. Poor lamb, he’s already lived the future he was supposed to share with Olivia.
- Olivia’s first question, after about a million questions zapped through her mind? “Does everyone know?”. The first instinct is to barricade the heart – she wants to make sure that pride remains intact. Unfortunately, the cat was out of the bag before poor whiskers was put inside the bag.
Peter: “Olivia, I’m sorry”
Oh, Livia: “You know, she had a really full life, really sweet boyfriend, and if he hadn’t have been outta town, then who knows what could have happened. She had friends, people who loved her. People who risked their lives to help her. They, all believed that I was her, so I can understand how that..”
- Perhaps the most tragic thing I’ve seen in Fringe since The Newt drowned in a puddle of his own mercury. Because Olivia is actually telling Peter why Altlivia’s life has enabled her to be a degree brighter, while also letting him know that unlike him, she didn’t sleep with the wrong person. Perhaps Peter needs his own ‘Projection Peter’ to keep him on the straight and narrow?
- And that right there – Olivia’s response to this devastating news – is perhaps the number #1 reason why Peter should have known: because clearly it matters quite a lot to Olivia.
- Of course, throughout all of this there’s the underlying theme of ‘second chances’. We see it with Roland’s victims – who were each given another chance through Amanda’s organ donations; and Roland himself, who wanted to bring his ballerina back to life. But are second chances all their cracked up to be? Can Olivia and Peter reconcile their pain to see one another in the same light as before – or has that initial perception been tainted too much to ever recapture the brief, yet vibrant, glow?
- It’s like lightening in a bottle. But it’s even more complicated because I believe that Peter’s heart has already been stolen – partially, at least – by Altlivia. So it’s also a question of how much does Peter want Olivia now that he’s grazed in the green, green grass of her other side?
- The serum used by Roland to slow down cell degradation in his victims – could this idea tie in with Peter’s untold back story? There’s still much we don’t know, especially in light of Bellie’s comment in the season 2 finale. Perhaps it relates to something more recent, like the Sleep Me injection Altlivia made him take?
Peter: “Why bother to slow down his death, they already stole his heart?”
Walter: “I’m betting it hepled our organ thief sleep well at night”
- It’s interesting that Roland displayed more of a conscience for his actions than Walter did when he stole Peter from his double. I guess it could be argued that Walter’s efforts to hide his technology is an example of his conscience at work, but how much of that was for the alternate universe, and how much was for his own world and the things he holds dear? Granted, the two worlds are so entangled that it’s difficult to separate any action being exclusively for one or the other. But I’m interested in character motivations.
- Want to know how well Peter knows Olivia? All the proof is in this icky pudding:
Walter: “How did she react?”
Peter: “Surprisingly well”
- Say, WHAT? If he thought that was Olivia taking it “well” then the man is even more far gone than I thought. I love Walter here though, he actually said something REALLY funny. Look!:
Walt-HA!: “Do you think possibly they replaced her with a robot?”
- Haha, Walter! Even he knows that Olivia wouldn’t take the whole Altlivia thing well. Walter is more perceptive than Peter. That’s it, we’re all screwed. To make matters worse, Peter actually ponders the robot theory. And Bad Robot is a real life person. The End. Actually, there’s a little bad robot in each of us, but that’s for another time.
Walter: “Peter, what time is it?”
Peter: “Do not speak to me of time, for there is no such thing!”
- The (other) moment we’ve all been waiting for – Olivia burns her house down…with her mind! Well, not quite. Call off the hoses, people. But, she does give her clothes and bed sheets a good spin wash. And what’s this? Oh, it’s Peter’s M.I.T. shirt (stands for Man In Trouble).
- Poor, poor Olivia. She probably doesn’t know what’s worse, being trapped in Walternate’s void, or coming back to this. Seeing, what is effectively, Peter’s ‘superhero costume’ was the last straw because it probably represented one of her own idealistic fantasies – perhaps she even thought she would one day get to wear it and Peter would comment on the fact it was too big for her, but they would laugh because it was cute. Aw.
- Instead, she gets a visual clue on just how comfortable her Nemesis and Boy Wonder made themselves in her absence. It took this to bring her to tears. The last time she was this drenched she was in the Bra and Panties Tank™! (Oh, B&P Tank™, will your usefulness ever fade?).
- And not just any tears. Silent, deadly tears – ancients say those are the worst kind because they’re internal. Heck, if we had an x-ray machine we’d probably see Projection Peter crying somewhere inside her too; wiping his shiny eyes with the sleeve of that jacket. Gotta love the director on this as he backs the camera operator the hell out of there. “We’ll come back in the morning, Dunham” *walks backwards*.
- As we saw earlier, Olivia has a hankering for coffee since she got back. I guess she spent enough time thinking she was their Olivia to have built up such an appreciation for its scarcity on the other side. And finally, Olivia and Astrid say more than two words to each other. Seriously, they BARELY ever talk! Is it contrived that suddenly there’s room for them to bond? Yes, of course. They needed someone (possibly a woman) to have the sensitivity to see that Olivia was hurting. Peter’s usually the one who plays that role, but um, “Peter’s unavailable right now, can I take a message?“
- That being said, I didn’t really mind because sometimes you can’t have it both ways (although I’m sure Peter would like to. What?).
Astrid: “Bad night?”
Olivia: “I had a lot of laundry to go through”
*smile smile smile*
- It’s revealing that Olivia doesn’t waste much time in putting her Peter Problem out in the open. It starts off as a pride thing, and perhaps professional reflex – but it descends into desperate curiosity:
Olivia: “You saw them together. What was he like with her”
- Gawd, all I could think about was Newton’s “now I know how weak you are!” taunt from last season. This is such a moment of vulnerability from Olivia. She’s so damn intrigued that she’s openly going against her own grain and asking Astrid whether Peter was happier with her Nemesis than with her. Talk about putting someone on the spot.
Olivia: “He didn’t seem different, or like, happier?”
- From this I get that Olivia is now extremely conscious of her own lack of swiftness with a smile. Not that she wasn’t before necessarily, but before it wasn’t a problem for Peter. She was just herself and there were no expectations. Now that’s all gone to sunshine and it’s easy to see how introspective her lens has become. Her curiosity also shows that she cares about Peter’s happiness. That’s the first thing she asks Astrid – because to her its the most important thing. Did she ever make Peter happy, or could she only take him to a certain level before the baton had to be passed to her Olympic Champion double?
- And by the way, let me just say that perhaps Peter might want to consider the quality of a smile and not the quantity? And I know, I know, Peter didn’t mean to be mean. But for the love of Fringe, way to give someone a complex.
- Bless Astrid. It can’t be easy. I get that, but I’m not sure I liked this:
Astrid: “Olivia wait. He thought she was you”
Olivia: “I understand, it’s fine”
Astrid: “It’s not fine. Whatever feelings Peter had, they were not about her. They were about you. And they were real. They still are”
- I didn’t like it because as valid as the possibility is, I don’t agree with it in this particular instance, and I’m not sure Astrid did either. I mean, is she really qualified to speak on Peter’s behalf? It’s not as though she was any the wiser to Altlivia’s sneakery. Just how informed is Astrid? What’s the basis of her belief? Now, if it was Newton saying all this I’d be more confident. That man could read people like a Kindle.
- Now naturally, Peter’s feelings began with Olivia and he still has strong emotions for her. But to essentially say that he doesn’t have any real feelings for Altlivia is Astrid closing her eyes, sticking her fingers in her ears while humming the Fringe theme tune. Because in those eight weeks Peter became visibly happier. Even if it started as a lie, he went places that he found extremely meaningful.
- But it does continue to raise the interesting question of what is real and what isn’t? Contrived or otherwise, Peter has experienced different levels of love with two versions of the same person that cannot be untangled – not without open heart surgery. Falling in love with someone is only the beginning – the extension of that voyage is to travel that emotion, stay in it, and fall deeper. Peter, at the very least, remained in love with Olivia through Altlivia. To me that says a lot. It tells me that he didn’t miss Olivia’s definable and indefinable qualities enough.
- That being said, relationships change, and things evolve along the way – connections; the intricate threads that bind people together in the first place are capable of shifting. These roots can grow into something else or they can become invisible through the layers of new experience. That in itself is an interesting point. But it just seems that Peter lost all sight of the fundamental elements that brought him and Olivia together in the first place. Imagine if Olivia and Altlivia were literally one person, it could be argued that their relationship hit new heights from the moment she changed.
- So basically, this story also asks whether a person should have to fundamentally change in order to make someone else happy? Is change the only way for Olivia to take Peter to the dizzy heights, or does she have enough in her own locker to achieve the same effect using her distinctive natural attributes? I think that’s the seed of hope here – the very real idea that there’s more than one way to a persons heart.
- Give a man an awesome office and you give him back his swagger:
Broyles: “Yes it’s urgent, immediately means urgent”
- I’m so going have to borrow that one.
- Roland’s belief that the organs didn’t belong to his victims is interesting. He’s right, but it wasn’t his decision to make. This plays into Walter stealing Peter from Walternate. There’s no doubting that the former was wrong to do what he did (there was another way), but now that Peter’s an adult, does Walternate have a right to try and get him back? Of course, Walternate has another agenda, but it will be interesting to see if he continues to give Peter the ‘choices’ he did at the end of last season.
- Poor Peter, he’s really trying to avoid those eggshells. Mere mention of the word “dating” turns him into jelly. The scene with Amanda’s mother is when we really get some context as to why the case informs what’s happening personally to Olivia (and Peter). Like Olivia, Amanda didn’t have many friends. Her reassembled organs represent both the demands being placed on Olivia and the gradual piecing together of her identity. There’s also the fact that only one thing really made her happy – ballet.
- Which begs the question, what really makes Olivia ‘happy’? Drinking large quantities of alcohol? Nah, that’s something to dampen the raw emotions, not turn them upside down. Other than roller-coasting with The Littlest Ella, I can only think of two things – her job and, I guess, Peter. But even saving people is a different kind of happiness, it’s really more of a responsibility. So that leaves Peter. So that leaves…a whole lot of pain.
Peter: “Mrs Walsh, how did your daughter die?”
Mrs. Walsh: “She took her own life”
*Peter and Olivia exchange concerned looks as things get a bit too close to home*
Mrs. Walsh: “My daughter was..clinically depressed”
- So her world stopped spinning despite the ballet. We’ve examined depression on Fringe before, but this one lives in its own space. At this point I didn’t really feel anything for Amanda, but I could detect the relevance it had for Olivia and Peter. Olivia always identifies herself with the female victims, and Peter doesn’t want to send her over the edge. Because he cares about her, but also because he’s experienced his own mother take her life and has seen the damage mental illness has done to Walter.
- The ‘Look! We’re using Sprint!’ product placement was very on the nose, but I’ll happily let it slide if it gives Fringe Division some extra cash. Maybe Broyles will get to keep his office?
- Amanda’s mother? It seemed a bit too clean and easy, didn’t find her believable. But who knows what goes on behind closed doors?
- Annnd, Walter eats Amanda. I found Astrid’s “O.M.G” and Peter’s “That’s a person!” more amusing. But fear not folks, Walter didn’t in fact eat a person. It was only concrete and some other stuff. Delicious concrete. No wonder that man always has digestive issues.
Walter: “I believe whoever is stealing these organs is trying to put this girl back together again”
- But can you fix what is broken? Perhaps more to the point, did Roland have a right to bring Amanda back after she chose to end her own life? It’s an uncomfortable question, but I imagine the answer will sit somewhere in the middle. It’s good to have someone who will do anything for you, but to what point? To the point where it overrides your own freewill? I think this may have been a point in making Amanda 17. Hate to be so brief on a delicate subject, but one must proceed..
- Needless to say I found the ‘Pinnochio‘ scene disturbing, but no less interesting. It really illustrated how Roland had idealized memories of Amanda. He didn’t just want to bring her back, he wanted to see her dance. On some level it’s about control. The heavy wires went against the essence and effortlessness of ballet, but he was making her dance, he was guiding her through the steps that he wanted her to make.
- I think this scene was very effective at contrasting that fine line between love and control, particularly in relation to dealing with grief. Clearly Roland loved this girl – weird and creepy as that is – but I think it’s fair to say that he gained the illusion of power in his actions. Underscoring all of this is that fact that he hurt others and ‘Amanda’ to achieve his goal. A goal which failed.
- Side thought: Will it turn out that, like Amanda, Robert Bishop’s body was also stolen? Surely we have to get more on that story at some point?
Astrid: “You don’t really believe that it’s possible to bring a dead person back to life, do you?”
Walter: “No. Not for lack of trying. Bellie and I dabbled in that area for years. But alas, we never could revive Yatsko. Peter just loved that cocker spaniel”
- I’m surprised Astrid asked that question – considering all that she’s seen. Walter’s response was even more surprising. Fair enough, it’s in-line with the previously implied ‘rules of Fringe‘, but we’ve seen things that come very close, such as that shapeshifter embryo they revived from the dead. Doesn’t that count?
- Ah, the fall-out continues. Olivia is very much in CONTROL in this scene and she’s making sure that Peter knows all about it. Projection Peter has never been so deeply buried. Hell, he’s getting murdered down there.
Peter: “You’d think that someone who was working so hard at being OK would get some sort of pay-off”
Ouch Livia: “Well, it doesn’t always work like that”
- Peter being Peter doesn’t realize that Olivia is projecting. Or, he’s choosing to ignore it – take your pick. Olivia uses this opportunity to explain to Peter why he should have known in his bones that she was missing.
Olivia: “Profiling is not just about checking off the facts, you have to weigh them, you’ve got to feel it in your gut”
Peter: “So what don’t you fe..”
Olivia: “He doesn’t love her”
Olivia: “Whoever’s out there fighting to give Amanda back her life, even though she chose to end it, loves her. Okay!”
- Gotta say, I love the “okay” at the end there, Olivia. Your point has been made in terms that even Peter can understand. I do feel sorry for Peter though.
Peter: “Don’t be, let’s just move on”
- Don’t be like that, Peter. I mean, perhaps there’s also a point in saying that Olivia expects too much of you? I don’t think she’s wrong to do that, but there you go.
- Perhaps the second most meaningful moment of the entire episode as Roland brings Amanda back to life:
“Amanda, Amanda it’s me, it’s Roland. You made a terrible mistake, it’s okay now, you’re back. I always told you I was going to be there for you the way you were there for me, remember?”
- As he cups her face in his hands and looks into her eyes, he sees it. Or rather, he fails to see it. The recognition, the spark, the intuition. This…thing is more unique than a fingerprint or DNA. It’s that knowing that Olivia mentioned earlier. Roland realized it was gone within seconds. He brought back the wrong person.
- Which is why this scene deserves so much praise for its conception and portrayal. It crystallizes, without any words, the absence that Peter failed to observe in Altlivia.
- Now, I do think there’s still an issue regarding Roland’s ‘shock, horror’ moment. I mean, he’s essentially caused another version of Amanda huge pain and distress. This was made somewhat neater by the fact that his horror was interrupted by the team.
- I have a lot of time for thoughts on the soul and whether Roland was too hasty in his reaction. I guess we can consider the soul to be distinct in that it went along with the original Amanda. The absence of spark could be argued to be the absence of the original Amanda’s soul. Which implies that the soul leaves with the original bearer. Maybe that’s a better way to look at it – we are defined by our souls? All interpretation of course, but I find it interesting when Fringe tiptoes in those corners.
- But yeah, very creepy. He essentially brought back a stranger – a Tabula Rasa.
- Roland – probably the world’s most adept re-animator. Definitely the world’s worst escape artist. Seriously dude, make LOTS of noise and run with your head down straight into the great wall of Dunham. You’re really going places! Jail, to be precise.
- I enjoyed Broyles slowly turning the door knob, followed by the spooky dungeon search.
Roland: “I was trying to correct a wrong. She made a mistake”
Olivia: “What was your relationship with her?”
Roland: “I just wanted her to have another chance. I wanted her to life her life. Her eyes. When I looked into her eyes, it wasn’t Amanda.”
- I’m glad he mentioned the eyes because ties right into something I spoke about regarding Olivia in the previous episode.
Roland: “I don’t know what I brought back but I know it wasn’t her”
- So there you have it. Once again we have one of our central character’s internal issues being reflected on the world around them. It’s a hybrid of the storytelling mechanics – making the stories more interesting and meaningful. It may also tell us something about whose eyes we are mostly seeing the show through – whose perspective do the writers want to mostly engage us with? But it’s also something that is true of life – perception influences reality.
- How we feel inside often has a bearing on the world around us – if not actually, then certainly the way in which we see it. That we cannot control the ability may be down to other conflicts (such as logic), a lack of awareness, or maybe the aliens shut down our powers. Who knows, but there’s no doubt in my mind that Fringe is most powerful when it keeps the drama flowing through the characters we care about. It’s reflective in more ways than one.
- RIP Amanda. You had strings to hold you down, to make you fret, and make you frown. You had strings, but now you’re free, you’ve got no strings on you.
- Amanda’s second death must have touched Walter in a significant way as well. I mean, he’s already lost his son once, it’s clear that not allowing history to repeat itself is never far from his mind.
Walter: “Strawberry milkshake..with extra whipped cream”
Pete-HA: “Don’t push it!”
- Peter, I..I laughed.
- My smile quickly faded as I saw Olivia looking as lost as I’ve ever seen her, hands in a prayer-like position. An important statement, perhaps? She’s never really been a woman of faith; she couldn’t understand how Mother could believe in spite of all that she went through. But she’s seen faith now, she’s seen the trust that people on the other side have placed in hope and in her. Her body language suggests that she’s more instinctively open to miracles than she was before she took one giant leap for Peterkind.
- Of course, the main point here is that she’s currently in the Garden of Broken Hearts and she doesn’t want Peter touching her shoulder. That doesn’t work any more, Peter. You are indeed powerful, but those walls are too high for you to scale right now. Like I said in my “Entrada” review – how can Olivia ever let her guard down around Peter again? It may happen eventually, but it’s got to be brick by brick, and even then he may find that she’s constructed a great Wall of China.
- What is also telling is that Olivia covers her face/holds her head in her hands. She can’t even pretend to be okay, because she’s not. It’s all coming out now, the one thing that gave her the strength to come home turns out to be the one thing that could hurt her this much.
Peter: “What is it?”
Olivia: “You know what Barrett said. He said that he looked into her eyes and he knew that it wasn’t her”
Olivia: “I understand the facts, I know that she had reams of information about me, about my life and about the people that were close to me. And I understand that if she slipped up, she would have a completely reasonable explanation for it. And I guess to expect you to have seen past that is perhaps asking a little too much. But when I was over there I thought about you. And you were just an figment of my imagination. But I held onto you and it wasn’t reasonable, and it wasn’t logical, but I did it, so..why didn’t you?
Olivia: “She wasn’t me”
*Bring it home, girl*
Olivia: “How could you not see that? Now she’s everywhere, she’s in my house, my job, my bed, and I don’t want to wear my clothes anymore, I don’t want to life in my apartment, and I don’t want to be with you”
- But Olivia, you’ve still got..
Olivia: “She’s taken everything”
- Olivia exits the garden. Peter never stood a chance, this was an encounter he just has to soak up and take. It would have helped had he looked marginaly more interested in what Olivia was saying, but there was not much else he could do. “You belong with me” has never looked so far away. In fact, it’s so distant I hear they’re renaming Pluto after it.
Peter: “…………………………………………………………I’m sorry”
- It’s a small gesture, but it goes a long way. Does it matter that Olivia couldn’t hear it? Not really, I’m sure he’ll get more chances to tell her in person. To express such regret when no reward or recognition is in sight? That’s something all of us Peter fans can cling on to. Let’s face it, the boy was flat out with the ref just about to send him to the locker room. But those words, those two little words delivered to the Garden Fairy are like medicine to the soul.
- There’s a lot to be reconciled here. We know that Peter is sorry and of course he didn’t mean any of this to happen, on a conscious level. But he could have been smarter. He could have known Olivia a little better, because goodness knows he used to.
- As for Olivia, well you have to feel desperately sorry for her. How could things get any worse after John Scott? But as much as this hurts right now, and may do for a long time to come, she has to remember that it was her capacity to love that saved her life. She did that. Maybe she needs to learn to love herself a bit more – to appreciate who she is? That being said, her road looks difficult. But there’s no reason why she can’t grow from this – that in itself is a form of change. Everything that has happened so far has a sort of rhythm to it. Perhaps learning from this entire experience while keeping hold of her true self is what she has to do next.
- After all, who is Olivia if she isn’t many people in her own right? It’s just about finding the balance, and who knows, perhaps Peter will have a role to play if he still wants it.
- Because that’s my big question – how much does he love Altlivia? Not to go on about it, but it’s something that I would like to see explored because the writing has taken it there so far. To scrub it out and say that Peter only has eyes for Olivia would be, I think, to undermine the interesting themes that have bubbled to the surface. I think it just depends on how the writers explore the ramifications – multiple paths are open as long as Peter’s relationships with both Olivias are examined.
- September, you little rascal, you. Love the over-the-shoulder- cam, and the sound of his gizmo is..heavenly.
“I have arrived”
- Three words containing so much meaning. Did you travel by foot or gust of wind?
“Yes, I am looking at him as we speak. He is still..alive”
- I take it he’s referring to Peter? Which would mean that we’re going to get some follow-up on Bellie’s comment about being surprised at how Peter was holding up. Or perhaps September’s comment relates to the Sleep Me serum Peter was made to inject himself with in the previous episode?
- This is even more interesting because it implies that Peter could just as easily be dead right now. Despite perceiving the future, September is only able to confirm Peter’s ‘health bar’ now that he’s captured the moment. Is there something blocking September’s perception of Peter’s future? Has a new time-line recently been triggered – one that is somewhat obscured to our bald friends? Is this even *our* September?
- Of course it is, look at those eyes.
Marionette. Not the best episode ever to be injected into my veins, but it had a function to perform which it did well. My lasting impression centers around the idea that though leaving can be painful, returning can be just as difficult. There’s also the idea that we are defined by something more than just our physical shells. Memories continue to play an important part in our story, and the spiritual connotations continue to percolate. But perhaps most of all, there’s the importance of hope - of not losing it, and of keeping the fire alive long enough to see past the next bend.
She’ll be alright. No-one can bend it like Dunham.
Best Performer: Anna Torv.
Best Line: “She’s taken everything” – Olivia.
Best Moment: Olivia and Peter in the Garden of Broken Hearts.
Episode Rating 7/10