Welcome to our review for episode 12 of Fringe season 3 – “Concentrate and Ask Again”.
In this review we provide honest opinions on the good and the bad 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 other aspects of the episode that made an impression on us, before rounding off the review with our final thoughts and episode rating.
- Continuation of Mythology and Main Arc. While it didn’t take center stage, it was tremendous to the see the First People book-hunt spill over from the previous episode, and the Cortexiphan element was an unexpected, yet welcome piece of the pie. This was a standalone episode that was rescued by the mythos.
- Clever callbacks to seasons and episodes past.
- The Dynamic Between Olivia and Simon was enjoyable and informative.
- Interesting Direction that enhanced the framing of scenes and the overall storytelling.
- Nina in back-to-back episodes? Somebody pinch me!
- The Music Composition was pretty good.
- Out-Of-Character. While I appreciate that they’re telling a specific romantic story that has gleaned several rewards, for it to work it’s required Olivia to act out-of-character. This is not the Olivia we grew up with. She’s become far too needy, and has developed a transparency that is in danger of undoing her as a serious character. The attempt to make Peter the focus is having a detrimental impact on the story’s actual flawed hero. There has to be another way.
- Machine What? After the previous episode saw Peter undergo major changes as a result of his relationship with the Boom-Boom-Machine, we barely see any of it in this episode. There may be an undercurrent of BBM activity going on, but that’s not nearly enough considering where “Reciprocity” left off.
- The Plot of The Week was adequate, but it didn’t really compel me in and of itself. The side characters themselves where non-entities, and when you think back to how well developed the likes of Milo were, it’s clear that they have done better in this regard.
- The Cortexiphan Connection came a bit from left-field. I appreciate the mythology, but Simon didn’t strike me as the logical or necessary leap for Walter to take, particularly without exploration more obvious alternatives. It just felt somewhat out of whack.
- Taking The Pee-tah. We wait all this time for Sam Weiss, and he delivers the news that this whole thing hinges on who arouses Peter the most? That’s the lying, robotic, murderous, plot device that is Peter? This has to one of the most disappointing plot and character developments in Fringe history. It’s not helped by the way Sam conveyed the idea, but the idea itself is not compelling to me for many, many reasons.
- Why did Simon’s powers develop as they did? Was he predisposed differently from the other Cortexiphan children?
- How many others like Simon are there?
- Now that Olivia knows that Peter still has feelings for Altlivia, what will she do – how will this change their relationship?
- Can Sam Weiss be trusted? What outcome is he trying to influence? What is he not telling Nina?
- Who will Petah choose – Olivia, Altlivia, or his pillow?
- Nina found another First People’s book in William Bell’s mythology porn stash. This one is German.
- Project Jellyfish – the weapons project killed the unborn children of several former marines. They used the blue powder of death to strike revenge against those involved in the original project.
- Simon is a Cortexiphan subject who developed unintended abilities (mind reading). Walter kicked him out of the trials because he was worried he would read his mind and discover that he stole Peter from the alternate universe.
- A mysterious opening. Nina! Ancient Artifacts! Memories of Bellie! (*shudder*) Mythology Porn Stash! Photoshop nightmares!
- We got quite a bit from Nina’s expressions as she waltzed down memory lane. There was a sincerity about her that we only usually see in teeny glimpses. Her relationship with Bellie is now more firmly established – they knocked boots, but he couldn’t commit.
- I liked the way Nina gently ran her hand across Bell’s books – memories, physical manifestations of the things they shared, and the things he kept from her:
Nina: “The First People..you and your secrets”
- Question is, what does Nina do with this information?
- I was a bit surprised that she brought Olivia in on the discovery so quickly, but it made sense both for the story and the little character details that were to follow.
Olivia: “So, they all say essentially the same thing?”
Nina: “Not essentially, precisely – despite being attributed to different authors. A fantastical idea, and I have yet to uncover why William was pursuing it. That being said it was information in the books that led us directly to the coordinates, where we recovered the pieces of the device”
Olivia: “Heey! Exposition is Broyles’ job! Which makes them impossible to discount”
- Nina quickly tires of mythology, she’s in the mood for some girl-talk and she asks Olivia about Altlivia’s journal – “perhaps her writing might shed some light?”
- The great wall of Olivia rises, but she answers the real question that Nina was asking:
“I’ve already read the file and she didn’t mention the First People or the Boom-Boom-Machine”
- I doubt Altlivia knows about the First People in much depth. Speaking of which, how much does Walternate know about them? I would think that he knows at least as much as the team Over Here does, given his understanding (limited or otherwise) of the BBM. Anyway..
- Nina gets all maternal. She has always treated Olivia as a kind of mystical daughter – indeed, one of her first pieces of advice to an adult Olivia embraced that very notion. What does this tell us about Nina? What does it tell us about Olivia and the traits she projects?
Nina: “I..imagine that must have been awkward? Reading her account of her time with Petah?”
- Very interesting. I detect that Nina has experience of this type of thing – perhaps with Bellie, who loved her but didn’t love her all the way. Nina learned how to handle being second best in Bellie’s eyes. So, will she pass this outlook down to Olivia, or will she propose something different?
- I didn’t expect Olivia to open up like she did. Again, I put this down to contrivance (not enough shading to bring these two characters up to this point).
- Nor do I feel that Olivia would be so ‘needy’. I accept that experiences bring out different sides to people, but it doesn’t quite mesh. Nevertheless, it’s clear that Olivia has been reaching out for a female perspective – having spent the past couple of weeks getting utterly USELESS advice from Astrid, she turns to Nina almost without realizing it. If you told me this would happen in season 2, I would have said “HAHAHA! LOLz”. Because, really, Olivia wouldn’t let her guard down so easily.
Olivia: “It seems that somewhere along the way she did start to develop genuine feelings for him”
Nina: “I see. And, did that surprise you?”
- Didn’t surprise me either, Liv. I know that some people didn’t believe (or didn’t want to) that was were the story was heading, but I felt that it was the natural storytelling direction from the moment Peter and Altlivia swapped saliva, if not before. Having Altlivia genuinely fall for Peter was the writers upping the stakes, making things more interesting, while fusing it with the main arc. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s a very fine line, as we’d eventually find out.
Olivia: “I mean, I understand how that can happen”
- Olivia hesitates, unsure whether she can go all the way and reveal her insides to Nina. Orange Hair invites her to continue with a non-judgemental expression of sincerity. Remember, this is a powerful bisniz woman we’re talking about. Nina is fierce and Olivia has previously had a complex about Nina’s perception of her (think season 1).
- So to go there, to open up like this, and for Nina to beckon her to do so is BIG. It’s bigger than Peter’s machine. Note Olivia’s lack of eye-contact, note her dipped head and feigned smile. This is not comfortable terrain, to say the least.
- Again, it’s contrived, but it’s interesting enough. As was Olivia’s visible ‘gulp’ as she pleads for Nina’s point of view:
Olivia: “It makes me wonder if he feels the same way..”
- Probably a bit too on the nose there – I wonder whether Anna Torv truly buys into the way that Olivia is behaving? (I’d say that she doesn’t), but you can’t help but feel for Olivia. She’s vulnerable.
- Yet she’s often been that way. I guess her current behaviour is so OTT so that everyone can see where she is at the moment – let’s not forget this is the same character who some people had trouble warming to back in the first season. The writers want to break the character down, but are perhaps over-steering the wheel in this instance.
Olivia: “And I would understand if he did. I was her for a while and she’s..she’s like me but bettah”
- CRUMBS, OLIVIA. First, I don’t believe that Olivia would understand. Second, it’s heart-breaking to hear her say that Altlivia is better than her. No-one should think that of themselves. But you know, I’m not sure that Olivia truly believes that Altlivia is better than her – she’s basically asking Nina to tell her that she’s wrong, to give her some sort of validation.
- Furthermore, it’s the way that she says it, and the context, that is telling. Notice how Olivia literally spits those words out. She doesn’t like the taste of them, they taste like bacteria – they’re foreign to her. And the context isn’t that “she’s a better person than me”, it’s more like “she’s luckier, more fortunate than me”. BIG DIFFERENCE when context is applied. And I think this is what the writers are getting at with the idea of “better”. In this sense, there’s no doubt that Altlivia is a better version of Olivia.
- Just like sometimes we are all the better versions of ourselves – when we succeed, when we excel, when we’re in the right place at the right time. Sometimes it’s luck or timing, sometimes it’s skill or hard work. But it’s all about context. When we’re not at our best, when we’re not winning every round, we can often be stronger, more resilient, more admirable, more redeeming. These are some of the qualities that Olivia has. So being better isn’t always a fact..it’s a circumstance. We all have our better days and our not so bettah daze.
- What is particularly interesting with the Fringe approach is that they’re exploring the individual through a parallel universe scenario. So we get to see a take on what it means to go up against ourselves, to both understand and repel the different corners of our being and the impact they have on our own outlook and on others. This is one of the reasons why I don’t dislike Altlivia as much as some seem to – she’s simply Olivia under slightly different circumstances. I find her compelling, I just wish the writers would realize her more as a character rather than a plot device.
- And while many people disagreed with me, this is why I felt Peter was undermining who Olivia was when he fell for Altlivia. He was enjoying a circumstance rather than holding on to the reality of his Olivia. Nothing wrong with that, you might say. After all, Altlivia is (in theory) a fully realized person. Except, when the story tells you that two people love each other, there’s a point to be made when one of those people ignores/fails to notice inherent differences in the other. You might call Petah a ‘fair weather’ BF.
- Nina’s reaction to Olivia’s heart-wrenching, yet slightly forced self-pity, is interesting. Orange Hair is almost embarrassed, but not quite. She seems to intuit that Olivia is processing through self-depreciation.
Olivia: “I mean, she still has her mother and she wasn’t experimented on as a child, and she can laugh, has real friends. She even wears a dress once in a while”
- I pretty much touched on this above, but it was interesting to see yet more evidence of Olivia changing her own reality merely by projecting her inner desires – to wear a dress once in a while. Now, I wonder when THAT will happen for our Liv?
- It’s not just the dress though, it’s what Nina says next:
“But even so, you don’t know what Peter is thinking”
- Now, if Olivia could just magic up a situation where she could know what Boy Wonder was thinking. I feel that this is one of the secrets to the Fringe storytelling. It’s constant layering through story and character. It’s wish fulfillment – it’s the ID monster, it’s an example of how the internal can affect the external. It’s reciprocity, if you will.
- We find out Nina’s advice to Olivia: “if you want to know how Peter feels, ask him”. Good on you, Nina. She doesn’t want Olivia to make her mistakes, but she expresses this in a way that enables Olivia to make the choice.
- Good to see the Magic 8 Ball roll back around. 8 also being Olivia’s special number.
- Holy creepy dolls and bone dissolve powder, Batman!
- Walter talks some nonsense. I’m just going to ignore him from now on.
Me: “Haven’t you got your own drama to deal with, Peter?”
- Peter finds the source, calls it “an odd delivery system”. One might say the same about you, Pete. Show us your back, do you have a pully thing too?
- The Fringe Team find a trail which leads them to a suspect. Peter tries to poison Olivia with otherworldly coffee. Olivia swallows the mysterious potion so as not to offend Boy Wonder. Peter finds photos of a girl. Olivia’s Olivia-dar immediately kicks into gear.
Olivia: “she was obviously important to him..”
- Seriously Liv, is this “Marionette” all over again, or something? I’m beginning to wonder whether someone has switched OUR Olivia! Hey, it’s better to be on the front foot..just in case.
Olivia: “Do you still think about her?”
- Olivia, I recognize the distant light in your eyes, the spirit in your heart, and haunted-ness of your features. But I do not understands the words coming out of your mouth.
- To be fair, these are questions I want the writers to address. It just makes sense. Whether it makes sense for Olivia to be raking this up while on a case or in such ‘needy’ fashion, is another matter!
Peter: “Exsqueeze me? Let me pretend I didn’t hear you so I can buy some time to think up something to say”
Olivia: “You heard me. You’ve bought me a hundred cups of coffee, and you know that I take it black with one sugar, but this morning you brought me one with milk, and I’m assuming that’s the way the OTHER Olivia likes HERS. She’s taken EVERYTHING, even the way you order me coffee!”
- The cogs in Peter’s mind go round and round. You’ve got to almost feel a touch sorry for him, being cornered like that at work. The guy dare not move for Olivia to strike him down with angst and tissues.
- Olivia gives Peter this look that I’ve never seen her give before (actually, I might recall something similar from “Ability”). It’s fascinating because I’m thinking – what is the actress doing here? Does she simply hate the way her character is behaving, or is she giving a really interesting interpretation of how someone would ‘surface-handle’ such a painful question?
- One thing I had to remember is that Olivia still ‘loves’ Peter (whatever that means). The previous episode gave us some foundation for the way she’s behaving, so in some respect there’s continuity. Where I have a problem is that the continuity has risen like some terrifying shark from the subconscious of the character I used to know.
- And I’m not saying it’s all bad, it’s just not congruent with the character. And I worry that she seems to be falling more deeply in ‘love’ with Peter since she discovered that he slept her with shadow. Are the writers consciously doing this? One some level it makes sense. Olivia is competing with Altlivia, with herself. She’s had so much taken away from her that the only way to heal that pain is to get it back, to win it back. And the only way to do that is to keep her heart open to Peter, to see him as being blameless, even though in the corners of her heart she knows that her gut reaction was right. “I don’t want to be with you anymore!”
- At least Peter is ‘honest’ (heh):
“Yes, I think about her all the time”
- Except he loses me here. He’s very harsh with that opening gambit. Very harsh – and you know why? Because he’s manipulating his way out of a corner. He’s purposefully setting Olivia up so that his next line acts like a cushion made of bliss:
Peter: “I think about, how she used my feelings for you – to manipulate me. How she lied to me, and everybody else.”
- I thought I smelt BS on Peter a long time ago, and he goes and proves it. Olivia is confuzzled, but she’s not stupid:
Olivia: “..before you knew she wasn’t me..She was fun, right? She had an easier smile, I mean that’s what you said”
*long-ass silence in the library*
Peter: Olivia, I said that because I wanted you to know that I noticed the differences that I should have noticed but ignored. But I thought it was because of me..because of us. I thought that I was bringing out a different side in you because I’m SO awesum. But it was never because I wanted to be with her more. Because I *cough* don’t”
- GAWD. It’s like a game of emotional table tennis!
- I’m glad that Olivia threw the one about Altlivia’s ‘easy smile ‘back at him. I said at the time that it would linger with her. Peter is telling slither of truth about thinking that he was bringing out the sun in Olivia, but that’s not the whole story. He purposefully ignored his spidey-sense. He turned a blind eye, and to some degree, that makes it worse.
- I can live with his ego, but I struggle with the murky reality of him both failing to recognize Olivia and kind of not wanting to test his suspicions enough. There’s a ‘darkness’ in that, and it lurks in his heart, for sure.
- Olivia seems to buy it – she has to, she wants to. But as I said, ultimately, she can’t.
- Peter apologizes for the milk. Can we talk about that for a second? How on earth did he make such a bone-headed mistake in the first place? Yes, he’s got Altliv on the brain, but it’s still pretty stupid. And to think he bought that ‘Olivia’ suddenly developed a taste for milk in the first place. But, we’ve been over all of that!
- And I get it, it’s difficult for him. But what I would like to see is for him to be honest with Olivia. For me, it’s obvious that he’s more attuned to Altlivia, so why string Olive along? Is she his fall-back chick? Fallback Dunham and let this one go.
- Moving on. Broyles says that serialized stories are the most shiny. Isn’t that what he says? Needless to say, I agree with the man!
- A rooftop chase ensues. Peter is no Olivia, but he’s learning. The runaway (Mr. Downey) gets hit by a car who happened to be walking in the road, and the next part of our plot begins: Find a way to read the man’s mind while he’s in a coma. Hook Peter and the Halo device up to the guy? Nah, Walter has a Cortexikid stashed away somewhere.
- Walter goes in search of his off-the-books Cortexibrat, runs out of gas, and has Olivia and Peter join him on the quest. Fairly mechanical, and I can’t imagine Walter doing any sort of serious driving without having a breakdown of the mental kind, but the idea of unlisted Cortexiphan subject is an interesting one.
Walter: “He wasn’t in the records. He didn’t complete the program. Simon was beginning to develop the ability to read minds. We hadn’t intended it to happen, none of the other children were affected in such a way”
Peter: “You threw him out of the trial, didn’t you, Walter”
- Very nice from Peter – a casual ‘why doesn’t this surprise me’ reaction, with a hint of contempt.
Peter: “cause you knew if he read your mind, he’d know your secret. That you’d taken me from the other side”
- Self preservation from a ten year old. You don’t surprise me either, Walter.
Walter: “Whether or not he completed the trials is inconsequential, he had the ability once”
Olivia: “Well, how do you know he can still access it?”
- Walter says that it’s probably dormant – which is consistent with the idea that Mr. Winters, Agent Harassment, et al, didn’t get round to ‘waking up’ all of the Cortexitots, not least those scrubbed from the records like Simon. Except, as we see, Simon’s ability is having 24 hour parties in his head, and everyone is invited! Just bring beer, cake..and your thoughts!
- I enjoyed the way Simon was introduced. We immediately get the sense that all is not well with our latest Cortexling. From the ‘you’re not invited to my head-party!’ gated entrance, to the axe of danger, to Walter taking a toilet break – there was much to unsettle us.
- Simon can’t help but read Walter’s mind, but he doesn’t know what the heck Reiden Lake is. This helps us to see Simon’s ability in action, while providing wonderful insight into the way that Walter’s mind works – his thoughts cycling through in his head, so very surface level. A compelling detail that I really loved.
- In other mind-reading news, Simon is unable to penetrate Olivia’s thoughts:
Walter: “She’s another Cortexiphan subject – forged in the rings of Saturn, embellished in the mountain of Etna, dipped in the Sea of Tranquility. Sometimes you kids are immune to each others abilities.
- Some really nice storytelling elements as Simon passes out from Walter’s nonsense. Hey, we’ve all been there, Si!
- Walter looks at what he created – a man broken, tortured by a past that permeates his present and dampens his future. Again, I ask how Walter can live with himself? He must be somewhat desensitized to it, as he seems to relate better to the circumstances of broken men, than he does children who he experimented on. Anyway, I’ll leave Walter for another day.
Peter: “How many more, Walter? How many more are gonna come crawling out of the woodwork?”
- I liked Peter for asking the question, though I’m not best pleased with his tone. Perhaps more directed at his father, but there’s a hint of disdain for Simon and those like him. I realize it’s a commonly held expression, but he likens the guy to an insect. I’d ignore this if it wasn’t for Peter’s later remark, which we’ll come to in due course.
- Oh, and Walter doesn’t answer the question – just in case a fire-breathing Cortexiphan subject is needed in future episodes.
- Olivia makes Simon some of his own tea. He thanks her for his own tea, because this is Olivia’s house. Kidding.
- Olivia notices the creepy drawings of some girl hanging on Simon’s wall, but she gives him a warm marmalade smile. Simon smiles back, he doesn’t have Olivia in his head, which is kinda great, considering his abilities and all. I really enjoyed this scene – it’s a bit on the nose, but there’s a nice vibe between Si and Olivia that befits their connection as Cortexiphan subjects.
Simon: “Do you know how it feels to be burdened with something that makes it impossible for you to relate to another person? That makes you feel completely alone in the world?”
- Olivia is brilliantly captured, and Torv does some of her best facial work since Altlivia left the situation. “I can imagine”. So strange she should use that word, after our previous review. Coincidence, but perhaps we’re picking up on a thread.
Olivia: “Simon, I know that dealing with our capabilities can sometimes be difficult, but they can also help people.”
- Notice the word she uses – “capabilities”. Such an interesting yet natural alternative to “abilities”. Again we have slight degrees of context that puts a different glint on how the character sees herself. Or how she’s learning to see herself. Underneath the recent angst, she’s not accepting the idea that she’s a victim. I’ve always admired that about Olivia.
- I also tipped my hat to the goodness in our Gatekeeper. She delivers an important message about empowering yourself to shape, or realize, your own destiny. This is the Olivia I know – the one who doesn’t do self-pity too often, the one who inspires others, a natural and unnatural leader of men, women and molebabies.
- Simon allows the moment to fill with wonderful air, and then he responds with a weary smile:
Simon: “I don’t have to read your mind to know you want something”
- Olivia uses her silver tongue to get Simon to help with the investigation.
- Another creepy doll murder. Makes me wonder how they knew no-one else would pull the string? Simon tries to read Mr. Downey’s thoughts, Olivia touches his hand and amplifies him like Peter did to her way-back in “Ability” (spec). He pukes up the tea she made him earlier, but he got something: a hernia and some informations!
- The team use the info and call Nina. Olivia observes that Walter and Bell’s trials ruined Simon’s life. Heartless Peter thinks he knows what Olivia wants to hear and belittles Simon and Olivia in one swoop:
“Olivia, I know what you’re thinking. You and he are nothing alike”
- Maybe it was better when Olivia didn’t let you get a word in edge-ways, Peter? This talking thing only makes things worse. How can he say that to Olivia? Clearly there is a correlation between Mindscape and Olivia. Especially, in these fragile times where she’s relating every daily experience to her own life (or, her own life is manifesting in her daily experiences..).
- To put down one Cortexikid, is to put them all down, in a manner of speaking. Peter should really know Olivia better than this. Anyone would think he was a robot, or something!
- Somewhere deep inside Olivia, Projection Peter is dissolving in a haze of blue powder. And rightly so.
- That being said, Olivia may be broken, but she’s not quite as hopeless as Simon. Her abilities are more positive, I’d say. It’s often the way Peter says things that causes trouble.
- Olivia is really transparent while talking to Simon. Without taking anything away from Dunham, in a way it’s all about her. She’s using him to work out the problems in her own life. But that’s always been interesting – we’re seeing these characters solve internal and global problems. Almost every major mythology component is analogous to something else, something human. Think: the Blight, Cortexiphan, shapeshifters, the AU, etc. It’s storytelling.
- Essentially, Olivia is asking: “Isn’t it better to know?“
- And that’s the question at the heart of this installment. I like it. I find Olivia to be a bit jumbled, but it’s an interesting question. My personal view is that it’s not better to know – not through unnatural means, just like it’s not better to play god and make decisions that we can’t possibly hope to make and make well. To clarify, I think that Olivia needs to know the truth about Peter, but only needs to use her gut to work out the answers. She doesn’t need to read minds for that.
- But, perhaps one day humanity will have the ability to know things by means once considered unnatural. Heck, we’re already on the cusp.
Simon: “No one should know exactly what someone else is thinking”
Olivia: “Probably not, but I wouldn’t mind having that ability right now”
- Transparent, Olivia. Though I like exploring Olivia wanting another person’s ability. It’s similar to how she’d like to have Altlivia’s life (in some respects). It’s always greener on the other side, but I’d be particularly interested to know whether Atlivia’s life is really all it’s cracked up to be? How does she really feel in that skin of hers? As much as I’ve bemoaned the lack of true characterization, there’s still an opportunity for the writers to really develop Altlivia in her own right.
- It doesn’t have to be explored through her life being worse than it seems (we already know that he world is in physical turmoil, which carries it’s own weight), but I think it would be incredibly interesting if Olivia’s (and our perspective on the character) was turned upside down.
- I mean, what really goes on behind those bright eyes? I get the sense that she was bringing more than Peter’s photo back to the AU with her, so I hope we get some more juice from that.
- Simon reads Peter’s mind, and Olivia retreats, slightly embarrassed for being so see-through.
- Nina and Broyles hook-up. There’s no kiss-kiss, but we do get a blast from the past in weird-creepy CIA Guy. Nicely done, I must say. And this heightens speculation that Massive Dynamic had a hand in sending the shadow back out to space. Nina has many men under her thumb:
CIA Guy: “Nina asked me to do some digging, and we both know that what Nina Sharp wants, she gets”
- Sexual connotations alert! Nina smiles a satisfied smile, “all men shall cower before me, for I am Nina of Iron Fist and Kevlar skin”. Was she trying to make Broyles jealous? 😉
- The team follow CIA Guy’s tip, which leads Olivia to a swanky function where she gets to…wear a dress! She will, she WILL go to the ball!
- And to be fair, she wears the dress pretty well. Doesn’t she, Peter?
Peter: [“note to self, tell her she looks grrrreat! and I’ll score a few more points”]
- I’ll be honest, when I saw this scene in the promo photos I didn’t think it reflected a very promising episode. The scene itself was pretty good, some nice visuals and some Dunhamnating. Olivia has always been a good shot, but clearly Altlivia is ‘rubbing off’ on her. Calm down, Peter.
- The take-away? Don’t mess with Dunham, or you’ll get it in the neck.
- Probably one of the best moments for me was the silent scene between Walter and Simon. Walter tries to say something meaningful, but Simon just cuts him off with a look of ‘don’t bother’ (though he seems to accept Walter’s thoughts on some level). Subtle, but informative. There needed to be something more between them before the episode ended, and at least we got something.
- Olivia’s all about Simon creeping his imaginary girlfriend out. Simon reminds her (in case we weren’t paying attention first time round) that there are somethings you shouldn’t know.
Girl: “You drew creepy pictures of me? I imaginary un-date you!”
- Olivia also leaves Simon with some wise words: “don’t let you ability stop you from living your life”. Ah, the eternal optimist, she doesn’t truly know what it’s like to be him.
- Simon leaves Olivia with Peter’s Mind!Thoughts, and she now has confirmation of what some of us have been telling her for the past 11 episodes. I’ll say it again, it’s pretty much impossible to untangle his feelings for the two Dunhams. In an ideal world, he’d alternate between both.
- Nina didn’t get where she is for no reason. She cracks the Seamus Wiles > Sam Weiss anagram, we get a bit of naked hand action, and she pays her Jedi tutor a visit.
- Finally we have them on-screen together and gain some perspective on their relationship. It’s not quite as I’d imagined – Nina is plenty in the dark about old Samuel.
- It’s as though Sam had planted clues over the centuries, waiting for the connections to be made.
Sam: “So you found it”
Nina: “You never told me about this”
Sam: “I’m not your problem, Peter Bishop is”
Nina: “Go on..”
Sam: “What I can tell you is this. That device can either be used as a tool of creation or as a weapon of destruction – it depends on your point of view. And Peter Bishop, is uniquely tuned to operate it. Whatever frequency Peter’s vibrating at, will determine how the machine reacts”
Nina: “What determines Peter’s frequency”
Sam “It depends on his state of mind, which in turn depends on who he ends up with – Olivia from here, or Olivia from over there. Whichever one he chooses it will be her universe that survives”
Nina: So in that case there’s no cause for concern. He’ll choose our Olivia.”
Sam: “I wouldn’t be so sure of that..”
- Most suspicious Samuel of Weissington, ever. I like the notion that Peter (and all of the characters) are frequencies. It plays into many of the ideas established throughout the series, and it’s something I half-joked about at the end of the “Marionette” review.
- I found Nina’s confidence in her universe surviving to be short-sighted. I’m not sure where her faith in Peter’s judgement comes from, and hasn’t she heard of ‘balance’, ‘reciprocity’? Why is one world surviving OK with her? And does she have reason to believe that Sam is batting for her side?
- Moreover, I’m not in love with the outcome of two universes resting on which Olivia stirs Peter’s pants the most. I understand that love can influence a person’s outlook, which is the larger idea here, but it’s dangerously close to over-cooking the Romance Goose.
- The direction of the story was interesting enough without labelling it in such direct fashion. And as far as I’m concerned, Peter doesn’t deserve either woman. It’s just not something I can see myself staying invested in. Furthermore, I don’t like the idea of Olivia being a pawn for Peter’s whims.
- The crumb of comfort is that Sam Weiss is apparently not to be trusted – and that was clearly illustrated in this scene. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s ‘bad’, but he clearly has a vagenda. What?
- Anyway, go run yourself a hot bath, Olivia. There are plenty of machines in the sea.
A diluted mythalone experience that wasn’t as good as recent episodes, but it was better than I expected. I agree with Sam that Peter is a problem. And the relationship funk needs to be curtailed. That being said, I hope the title of this episode is as on-point as the previous installment. I’m prepared to ‘ask again’ at a later point.
Best Performer: Omid Abtahi.
Best Line: “No one should know exactly what someone else is thinking” – Simon to Olivia.
Best Moment: The silent interchange between Walter and Simon.
Episode Rating: 7/10