Welcome to our review for episode 13 of Fringe season 3 – “Immortality”.
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.
- Walternate. Some really good stuff with Walternate in this one. We’re finally delving into his psyche, finding out where his limits are, and more to the point, what defines them. He was a shining light in the episode, and Reiko brought out a rarely seen side.
- Hey U. It was good to see the alternate universe again. At the very least it always provides a nice visual change, and seeing the little differences between the two worlds is fun and often informative.
- Love Bites. I may not be a fan of the current direction, but having gone there with Peter and Altlivia, I feel that the writers needed to be consistent regarding Altlivia also having genuine feelings for Peter. That was confirmed in this episode, thus providing added context to “Entrada”.
- Subject Me To It. It was good to get a heads-up on the other side’s progress with Cortexiphan. A short yet useful scene.
- Hope. Despite the inherent flaws in the Spawn of Petah storyline, I can certainly see interesting possibilities ahead. It just depends on what the powers that be do next.
- Contrived. Probably one of the most contrived episodes of Fringe in a long time. Pieces were moved from A to B in a way that was transparent and convenient. A bug infestation episode in which Altlivia finds out she’s pregnant? Really? I love that Fringe reflects its inherent messages in on itself in every episode – that’s not to be overlooked – but I don’t want that to become an excuse for convenient plotting.
- Sensationalism. The idea that the battle hardened Altlivia could mistake a touch of morning sickness for something eating its way out from inside her, is, frank-ly, a bit much. The episode played for sensationalism. It was so over the top that I just couldn’t buy into it.
- Miss Alone. Aside from some good Walternate stuff, this episode didn’t need to last 42 minutes. The final couple of scenes told the audience all they needed to know, which is disappointing really.
- Myth Alone. I would say this is the worst “mythalone” that we’ve had since the stand alone episodes where fused with the overarching mythology. “White Tulip” and “The Plateau” are examples of good mytholones. Both carried meaningful elements that felt satisfying or interesting. “Immortality” contained neither the weight nor the Fringe authenticity that I would hope to see. It was mythalone-lite, and coming on the heels of “Concentrate..”, it would be a concern if the writers are trying to water things down when it’s already been proven that the story responds best to main arc character-driven mythology.
- Altlivia. Another opportunity missed to embellish her as a realized character in her own right. We barely got any insight into how she feels about the alternate universe, Broynate’s death, and so on. She took turns in this episode that further depreciated the character. I just can’t take her seriously. I’d love this to be intentional and lead into some grand statement on the AU, but I’m not confident that this is the reason.
- Let’s Be Frank. He’s a plot device to rival Peter. Stories are made up of plot devices, but when you can see the ‘strings’ it’s harder to buy into the mechanics. Instead of being a meaningful character, he’s the faux-emotional beacon for the audience. Sorry Frank, but clearly you are no substitute for the real thing.
- Disappointed that no-one seems to be missing Broylnate. I can live with the fact that he gets no RIP because it’s a plot point that might prove interesting later on. But I would have liked more from the people he worked so hard to protect. We got a little bit, but not nearly enough. I guess that might be a commentary on life in the AU, but I wouldn’t chalk it up to that. The story just had bigger fish to fry.
- Pregnant Flaws. The decision to make Altlivia pregnant. It really does feel like a risk. While the clues have been building up over recent episodes, the reveal and the execution was one of the clumsiest, over-dramatic events I’ve seen in Fringestory. It’s almost as though the story itself didn’t agree with what was developing and tried to deliver sabotage proceedings. I love the romanticism in Fringe, some of the storytelling is sensational, but this pregnancy thing is so far removed from the Fringe I know.
- What will little Peter/Peterette be called?
- How will Peter take the news? How will Olivia?
- Will Walternate cross the line and use Cortexiphan on children in the end?
- Will he use Lil’ Peter/Peterette as a bargaining chip for Peter’s return?
- The official story on Broylnate is that he’s ‘missing’.
- Lincoln is the new Fringe Division boss.
- Sheep died out in 2001 in the alternate universe.
- Bug Guy was trying to recreate the skelter beetle (they died out with the sheep) to produce a vaccine for the avian flu.
- The piece of the Machine that Altlivia stole from the other side in “Entrada” is now in Walternate’s possession, having been sent over. It is fully functional and will be integrated into the Machine.
- Of the 10 subjects tested with Cortexiphan in Walternate’s trials, 9 died within 30 minutes of being injected. The other displayed telekinetic abilities, but died shortly after.
- Altlivia is pregnant with Peter’s child.
- Nice opening shot of the zeppelin. The sight and sound seems more foreign to Altliva than it did a few months back.
- The Guess Who? game with Frank got real tired real quick, especially because I know that Altlivia’s not quite as invested in their relationship as he is. Poor guy. Foolish guy – as we’d soon find out, but poor guy.
- And, of course, the feigned “I don’t recognize you” plays into the the prominent identity theme.
- The villain-of-the-week (aka Armand Silva, or Bug Guy) makes his introduction: “Everyone talks about the weather and nobody does anything about it”. In other words, he’s proactive.
- His unsuspecting victim asks if he’s stranded too, to which he responds: “I’m waiting on someone who got delayed” – that someone being himself; his own name in the history books.
- His story was mildly interesting, but as I said earlier it lacked real weight. Every scientist introduced in the story is a substitute for Walter and/or Walternate in some sense, so I think the character needed to be more compelling to make a significant impact. Instead, he’s just a guy who was on the brink of changing the world until the world changed up on him. Boo-hoo.
- While I definitely appreciate the theme of leaving something behind – and suspect it to have broader connotations for the season – the idea of Bug Guy immortalizing himself just wasn’t compelling or sympathetic in this instance.
- Frank asks Altlivia if she’s alright – she doesn’t seem like herself. At least he notices – another blow into the heart of Peter! That being said, he didn’t exactly notice that his Olivia had been replaced either. It’s a shame they haven’t given us insight into how Altlivia feels about this. Even if though she has feelings for Peter, wouldn’t it affect her on some level, given that she has attachments to Frank? I guess we’re supposed to believe that she doesn’t care, but I don’t buy that based on what we’ve previously seen.
- Anyway, I’m surprised Frank buys her deflections so easily. She claims that everything’s a little overwhelming since Broylnate went missing. That’s right Altliv, use faux concern about Broylnate to cover up the fact that you had an affair with another man. Making matters worse, we see that she’s been fantasizing over Peter’s picture while Frank was away.
- Her duplicity was difficult to watch – partly because they made Frank so oblivious to Altlivia’s shady behaviour. But Frank’s horny and accepts Altlivia’s invitation to get some.
- Frank tells Altlivia that he’s missed watching her get dressed in the morning. He enjoys it very much because always get dressed by the mirror, meaning that there’s two of her. Frank enjoys it very much. He suggests that they get away over the weekend.
- Poor Charlnate having to confront a buggy case with his..condition.
- He teases Lincoln about his new position as team leader. There appears to be little change in the dynamic – will that change over time?
- Can we mention Broylnate? Desperately sorry for him and his family. He was not only executed, but he died doing something extremely heroic and hardly anyone knows the truth. I guess there’s an ‘immortality’ tie-in there.
- How can Walternate live with himself after ordering the execution of his friend? I guess he saw it as treachery – helping the perceived enemy to escape. Yet, he was planning to send Olivia back to the other side alive before Brandonate had his ‘bright idea’. Anyway, I hope Diane knows the truth, or that somehow Olivia can tell her how incredibly brave her guy was.
- For me, the best moments of this episode involved Walternate. First up, he examines the piece of the Machine that Altlivia obtained with contained glee. But Brandonate has bigger news. Those Cortexiphan experiments have yielded results.
Brandonate: “This subject was given his second dose of the day. 43 minutes later, this happened..”
Walternate: “Crossed over?”
- Walternate watches open-mouthed as the subject displays telekinetic abilities. On the video, ‘Subject 10′ explains that he’s “just thinking it, and it’s happening”, which is good insight into how the abilities work and congruent with the story’s notion on thoughts influencing reality.
- Interesting that the first question on Walternate’s mind was whether he had crossed over. That’s what he’s most invested in. If he could yield one thing from Cortexiphan, it would probably be to enable humans to cross between realities without suffering adverse affects. While that might render his dear old shapeshifters obsolete, it once again suggests something about his plans. It’s not just about the Machine.
- Does he want to bring Peter back to the Red universe? That seems likely, for obvious reasons. Does he hope to use Cortexiphan to do it? Possibly. Though could there be a larger goal beyond that? If the Machine can create (and destroy), perhaps Cortexiphan could act as some kind of fail-safe – a means to travel to something created, or away from something destroyed?
- At any rate, I kinda get the impression that until this point Walternate had assumed that Cortexiphan unlocks the same abilities in each person. Olivia’s ability (at least, her more prominent talent) is to see and travel between realities, but I feel it’s important to remember that all of the original Cortexitots were apparently predisposed to something.
- Are their abilities derived from something natural within - or were their talents crafted, moulded? It’s interesting to speculate because while there’s evidence for the former (including the fact that Simon developed “unintended” mind-reading skills), there’s also the notion that these abilities were nurtured to some degree. So perhaps it’s a bit of both, inherent ability, and, in some cases, nurture?
- My main point here is that Walternate now has an array of new possibilities open to him. That being said, he might not have the time to nurture these abilities (the universe collapsing and all), and more to the point he’s unwilling to cross a moral line.
- Perhaps the most interesting detail to come from the episode – and what a detail. I’ve hoped for more insight into Walternate’s character and we definitely got that in this episode.
- He’s not concerned by the fact that Subject 10 (and 9 others) have died as a result of his experiments. Like Bug Guy he sees them as necessary casualties. Yet, the moment (the ever twisted) Brandonate suggests experimenting on children, he’s totally aghast:
Brandon: “Age. This subject was the youngest of the group which would make sense given your notion that the human brain is infinitely capable at birth. We simply need younger subjects, I think that children..
Brandonate: “Sir, we may be close”
Walternate: “No children, that is not an option, we have to try something else”
- Finally we have a line that Big W. isn’t willing to cross. It’s amazing how quickly his eyes welled up as he realized what he was being confronted with (though I suspect, given his genius, the same answer must have previously crossed his mind, before he buried it deep within).
- This is where the Bug Guy storyline supports the main story. Walternate is so close, but to get to his dream he has to cross a few lines. Ah, there it is.
- His reaction was the one I was looking for. Anything else would make him an even bigger hypocrite than he already is. He’s experienced what it’s like to lose a child and it’s not something he wants to put other parents through. But it’s more complicated and selfish than that. He doesn’t want that blood on his hands. After all, he’s supposed to be the antithesis of Walter’s ‘Candy Man’.
- So how is it that this man can be so callous in the extreme with an entire universe, and even his own ‘subjects’, yet draw the line when it comes to children? It’s perspective. As we’ve seen with Walter, Walternate can only truly relate when he’s confronted with a scenario that reflects his major hang-up. For Walter, it’s a father losing a son. For Walternate, it’s a child being taken from a father. Two sides of the same feather.
- I think this is one of the ‘truths’ that Fringe has put forward – Not to get all melodramatic, but it’s easier to watch or judge struggles from afar, yet the moment it’s on our doorstep it suddenly gets personal. People are often insular. But it’s also why there’s a hopefulness in humanity – if only we could relate on a broader scale, we’d balance the scales.
- And to be fair, that’s why humans are so interesting. We each have our own stories and perspectives. More than that, we each have duality – the subtleties that define us, the fine lines that make us both capable and incapable.
- For me, it’s not a case of good or bad. It’s a case of what would need to happen to cause this character to change? This may be why I’m often perceived as being hard on Walter. Because on a character level, it would be huge for him to consider the world beyond Peter and to apologize to Walternate. For Walternate, the key is for him to forgive and to let Peter choose his own life. Two sides of the same feather.
- Looks like Charlnate has himself an admirer.
“Maybe you just need someone to scratch it?”
- Yikes. Back away slowly, Chaz.
- A bit weird to see Frank at Fringe Division. But whatever, we’ll get to that. He asks Altstrid: “where do I get one of you?”. She seems to take offense, and no wonder, given that he’s essentially treating her like a machine. “One of you” – yeah, even Petah wouldn’t be dumb enough to say that to a woman. Would he?
- Fringe has always been good using underlying themes to bring the surface story to a nice gentle boil. But I feel like this episode poured the soup over the head. It’s a fine line, but along with the general hammering throughout, Charlnate’s: “So they look the same, but they’re not the same?” comment was a bit much.
Frank “What changed?”
Altstrid: “Why don’t you just ask”
- You mean, concentrate..and ask again?
Altstrid: “When you don’t know the answer to something you ask someone who does”
- It really is amazing how fine that line is. And while there’s nothing really wrong with it, for whatever reason it just landed between my eyes a little bit.
Frank “I don’t know what they pay you here, but I definitely need you in my life”
- This time Altstrid looks pleased with his comment, since he treated her more as an individual rather than coffee machine or batched good. Her expression seems that of someone who hasn’t been complimented in a long while – nice touch. I wonder what ‘calculations’ she’s done on their chances of hooking up?
- But it’s as though they are already setting Frank up for a new romantic liaison in light of what was to come at the end of the episode. It’s a cushion I didn’t need. It’s overly sentimental and it’s not a consolation to think that he might still find love with Altstrid.
- OK. Really weird moment. For some inexplicable reason, Frank tells Lincoln that he’s going to propose to Altlivia. There is so much wrong with this picture. First, Lincoln getting comfy in our dear Broylnate’s office. How dare he adjust the height of the chair! In honor of Broylnate, the chair should remain at the height big Philly left it. To be fair, Lincoln did look a touch uncomfortable.
- More to the point, I just don’t see how Frank would confide in Lincoln. Whether or not he knows that Lincoln has to hawts for Altlivia, he’s not a character I would personally trust with that information, nor do I detect that they have that kind of relationship – given Linc’s comments about him in “Over There – Part 1″. It was just so plot device-y.
- Of course, Lincoln being Lincoln he immediately tells Altlivia – which was mildly funny, I must admit.
- Altlivia’s reaction was weird though. It’s difficult to place this character. We’re supposed to get that she’s conflicted – happy about getting some bling on her finger, yet confused because she has feelings for Boy Wonder. Which is fine, but I wasn’t overly intrigued by this reaction. I guess one of her problems is that it’s not easy to care about her as a character. She wasn’t realized early on and so any redeeming fragments are difficult to buy into.
- Bug Guy has his next victim. Luckily he crashed his car in an isolated area and in such a specific way that the bugs fall from of his cavity like Corn Flakes from a box. Very convenient. Such a considerate victim.
- Some nice character detail with Lincoln feeling inadequate, comparing himself negatively to Broylnate who he’s sure would see something he’s not. I like the idea, although I found it rather empty. It was Lincoln telling the audience that he’s inferior rather than the audience seeing it for themselves.
- Evidence of Lincoln’s inferiority – getting caught in the freezer room – came after he hit us over the head with it. So I found those character insights to be a bit of a mixed bag.
- I loved the next scene for several reasons. One of the detractions of the alternate universe this season has been the absence of Eliznate. It didn’t make much sense. Whether it was because Orla Brady was unavailable or the producers didn’t feel that the character was needed within the spectrum of the stories they were telling. I thought they could have at least had a phone conversation between her and Walternate, or show her picture on his desk – or something.
- So to discover that they are no longer together – or that he is seeing someone else – made a whole heap of sense. Though it does make me wonder whether Peter picked up on that when he stopped by for a bacon sandwich in “Over There”? Did Eliznate and Walternate decide to play happy families just for Peter’s sake (i.e. their own sake)? Not sure, though again, it might explain why we didn’t see Walternate at the house.
- I find this interesting because it might provide useful insight into the the role blame played in their fractured relationship once Peter was kidnapped.
- After all, we’ve spent the best part of this season dissecting whether a person should be able to recognize the soul, the unique spark, in the people they love. So what does it mean for Walternate that Eliznate essentially allowed his doppelganger to take their child away to another universe? We have got to get more on this because it’s simply yummy and tragic like a gigantic bowl of ice-cream.
- Back to the present. Reiko couldn’t be more different from Eliznate. At least that’s what I gathered. She’s a signed up Walternate flag-waver, someone who doesn’t doubt him even for a second. You might recall that one of Walter’s big issues was Elizabeth doubting him. In the episode “Peter“, he told both Elizabeth and Eliznate not to doubt him. Eliznate responded as though this was something Walternate himself would often ask of her. So we can see why Walternate has found solace in his dear Reiko.
- She gives him something that Eliznate couldn’t. Absolute trust, total faith, and the emotional warmth and encouragement to persevere. It’s a neat and tidy way of re-establishing the themes of the season, particularly the idea that any relationship is (on some level) about an exchange of needs. This is something his son is trying to work out right now – which Olivia makes him feel better about himself? The ‘better’ version or the more damaged version? I don’t believe it’s always a simple choice because it depends on what fits better. It’s not just about how a person makes you feel, it’s about how you make them feel. I guess, this is Peter’s excuse for ignoring his spidey-sense. Though again, I find Peter’s argument to be flawed given the context.
- Walternate explains his dilemma to Reiko. He asks if it makes him weak, which is such a fascinating thing for Walternate, of all people, to say. I love this, because I take it as being a relatively new experience for him. He’s so used to being ‘strong’ that this sudden morality reflex is foreign to him. It’s not so much a ‘weakness’ that Walternate is experiencing, it’s human emotion – a reflection of what he’s covered up inside. He simply can’t hurt children.
- Back in “The Abducted“, I mentioned how the low kidnapping rate, brought about by Walternate, was essentially an extension of his personal hang-ups. We can now see more evidence of that. In fact, the more of the alternate universe that we see, the more we see it to be a reflection on his own internal function. At least in my view.
- I’ve spoken on many occasions about The Blight being a metaphor for his heart, but it doesn’t stop there. People put their imprint on the things they touch, and Walternate is such a big part of the Red universe, given his position within the story and his role as secretary of Defense, that it’s as though we are (largely) looking into his subconscious whenever we visit Over There. It permeates, it dominates.
- And let’s get it straight, it’s exactly the same for the other side (perhaps both sides) with Olivia, Walter and Peter. We’ve spoken about it for years, but the deeper we go the more apparent it becomes.
- Reiko tells Walternate that he’s not weak, that the cracks in his armour make him the “most brilliant man I’ve ever known, and the fact you beat yourself up over these decisions, that’s what makes me sure of your strength”.
- Firstly, Joan Chen is brilliant here. The way they wrote her character is also fantastic. I’m intrigued by Reiko’s perspective on Walternate – as I said, she’s a signed up member. She’s only sees the good in him, which I’m sure many will scoff at, but it’s not really for us to judge (aside from the fact we’re witnessing a story play out! ).
- But put it this way, I can completely buy the idea that she sees him with such a warm glow. Maybe it’s because Walternate has my sympathy, though I believe it’s more to do with the idea that I’m a believer in the value of perspective. Furthermore, there’s the consideration of how well do we truly know anyone? I mean, those nooks and crannies run deep.
- It’s also interesting to note that Walternate and Reiko have had similar discussions in the past. He’s beaten himself up over his decisions before – again, we last got a good sense of this in “Amber” and then “The Abduction” in his scenes with Broylnate.
- Furthermore, something I’ve been meaning to say in these reviews regarding my perceived ‘harshness’ towards Peter, is the fact that unlike Olivia or even Walternate(!), Boy Wonder doesn’t seem to show much remorse for his harmful actions. I think that’s something to be said about his character, which is fine, everyone is different. But this is partly why Peter suffers as a under-realized character – there’s little emotional movement, even though there’s clearly a lot going on under the surface.
- I actually think this is somewhat intentional on the part of the writing and perhaps the delivery. Or let’s say, it has become intentional. Being kidnapped and taken to an alternate universe, witnessing both parents lose their minds, that must take its toll. But that being said, could Peter be realized more effectively as a character? Absolutely.
- The brilliant Reiko is playful with Walternate – she knows how to make him tick. He tells her “I wish I had the same faith”, and then he allows us deeper into his world:
“I’m afraid I failed, Reiko. Peter was here. He was here of his own choosing, because he needs to be. And I lost him. I underestimated his attachments Over There. I hadn’t factored-in the girl“
- It’s almost at odds that a scene like this should be in this episode. There’s so much good character stuff there – Walternate admitting failure, reminding us that Peter chose to come back with him, suggesting that he needed to be back home. These are all important considerations, factors that make up the melting pot that is his mind.
- He essentially lost his son twice over. It’s something that Walter didn’t let happen to himself when he stole Peter.
- Yet Walternate admits that he didn’t see the bigger picture – how could he? He didn’t know that Olivia would have such a huge bearing the sequence of events. This in turn reminds me of Milo, or better yet, the Observers and their ability to see the different scenarios based on the possible choices. I think the writers were trying to make that point with this line, or perhaps the story just found a natural connection. Who knows? (The Shadow knows).
- Either way, it works beautifully and brings the notion of ‘probability’ closer to home. We all make calculations based on our perceptions. The more pieces of the puzzle we have, the greater our ability to see the whole picture.
- Reiko reassures Walternate that he’ll get Peter back. He asks how she can be sure. She asks whether he trusts her.
Walternate: “More than anyone”
Reiko: “Well then, trust my perspective on this. I know you Walter. I’ve seen your determination. Your will. I don’t have a single doubt in my mind that you’ll find an answer. You always do”
- Lovely stuff. The idea that knowing a person (or a situation, if you want to take it meta) completely, gives you the necessary perspective to know what they’re capable of. Equally though, she’s giving Walternate what he needs at the particular moment. Which is why it’s so easy to buy them as a couple. For me, this is a wonderful scene with two quality performances.
- I should mention, it will be interesting to know whether Walternate is going behind Eliznate’s back. Given the hotel setting, it’s possible. More on that if and when.
- I don’t know if it happened to anyone else, but it did cross my mind whether Reiko was a shapeshifter. Yikes!
- Oh Frank. I’m really not sure what to do with you. Instead of waiting until the weekend and sparing us all, he proposes to Altlivia. Couldn’t he see that she was in a rush? It just didn’t make sense to me. I can only put it down to the fact that it was plot contrived. The duplicitous Altlivia says “yes”, as butter melts in her mouth.
- Altlivia and Linc go in search of Bug Guy. Linc makes a school-boy error and gets trapped in a freezer. Oh that’s such a Broylnate thing to do, Linc. Altlivia gets freaked out and falls through the floor – I kid you not, the universe has literally had enough of her lying ass. And this is where the story really begins to unravel.
- In the next scene we’re made to believe that Bug Guy infected Altlivia with bugs, and I’m like really worried because if there’s one person in that room who doesn’t deserve to be bugged-out, it’s our Altliv! He gets out the camera to go with the handcuffs, as Altlivia has flashbacks from that time with Peter in the blue universe.
- But of course, it’s all contrived. Altlivia has the nerve to offer Bug Guy a morality speech. He rattles on about the world, “this decaying madness” (nice line) robbing him of his legacy. Again, a nice idea but it lacks emotional gravity.
- Lincoln escapes the freezer room thanks to some ingenuity and a canister. He’s really going places. Somewhat surprisingly, his ear-piece still works.
- Bug Guy rather conveniently only needs one more human host to bring the queen beetle to term. Altlivia thinks he’s impregnated with her a baby beetle and some faux drama ensues. Lincoln arrives, with a deep desire to kill Bug Guy. I’m not sure why he’s so Killzone? Sure, he trapped you and the woman you have the hawts for, but wouldn’t you want the guy alive? Again, faux drama.
- The super-fast backup arrives, and Frank is with them. So THAT’S why he was at Fringe Division earlier. Again, I’m seeing more strings than in the “Marionette” episode.
- Lincoln continues to be overly hostile to help sell the reveal that Bug Guy actually infected himself. This might be viewed as a heroic act on his part, I don’t see it that way. It was all about his name being immortalized – he said as much himself throughout the episode, and his last breath to Lincoln confirms the root of his motivation.
- It could be argued that there’s nothing wrong in wanting to be remembered, but when you’re killing people in the process – people who didn’t even sign up for his experiments – well, that’s going beyond what even Walternate is doing with his Cortexiphan trials. Although, I’m hardly letting him off the hook either.
- So, Frank is about to stick a needle in Altlivia’s belly, when EMT Dude tells him to stop because he sees something kicking. “What do you mean, stop? I gotta save my bride!” thinks Frank. Then he realizes:
“The picture on the sonogram. You’re not infected. You’re pregnant”
- Oh Fringe. You actually went there.
- I’ll be honest, it was a car wreck to watch. So OTT. If the Sam Weiss ‘revelation’ from the previous episode was tough to swallow, this one stuck in the throat.
- I always try to look beneath the story to see why characters and plots behave the way they do. This one is just disappointing because it was totally unnecessary. I warned against the Olivia/Peter romantic arc to begin with, and it’s developments like this that remind me why I was against it. Suddenly Fringe is less cool.
- Here’s the thing, Fringe has always been a romantic story, in my view. In its writing, the characters, messages and the thematic nature of things. The father/son love story was the one. It made the show so distinctive, even for those who didn’t really understand that they were watching a love story.
- This latest detour is similar to why the LOST series finale caused such an out-roar in the fanbase – years of careful storytelling unhinged by a commercial, poppy revelation that felt like an easy way out. And yes, LOST is immortal, but it undersold itself at the last.
- Altlivia explained the convenience of her morning sickness/bug infection threat to Frank.
- Frank stands there like a plum, and asks: “How far along are yer?”
- Alt-lie-via smiles at him, “Frank..”.
Frank: “Liv, how long have you been preggo?”
Altlivia: “..Six weeks”
- Frank considers calling up Altstrid to calculate the math for him, but he just about gets that he can’t be the father.”
- He undermines himself by asking, “are you in love with him, the father?” Oh Frank, is that really your first concern?
- And you know, I’ve probably ground a few people’s gears with my insistence that Altlivia has feelings for Petah, but I feel for those who were surprised by her answer. Or non answer, as it were.
Frank: “That’s all I needed to know”
- Please gather your self-respect at the door, Frank. All the best, thanks for turning up this week.
- I’m being a bit hard on Frank. I know it’s not his fault, and to be fair it’s not out of the question for him to ask whether or not Altlivia loves the father. My main problem stems from the fact that he’s even more of a plot device than Robot Peter. The writers can’t service all the characters into full-blown entities, but I’m disappointed with the way he’s been used. Gone are those mystical tattoo days! Speaking of which, he might want to have his removed. Newton?
To Be Frank: “You..we’re gonna marry meh”
- Thanks for the reminder. She was, wasn’t she? Gosh, what a witch. And she didn’t shed a solitary tear? I guess we’re supposed to hate Altlivia instead of explore her as a character in her own right? That’s also disappointing, but there you go, the road is long and winding.
- A variation on the Newton Death/Petelivia Sex music plays, but not even that can make me sympathetic towards Altlivia. But I don’t hate her. And I find that interesting, because it tells me that I’m just not invested in the character – she’s not real to me (in a story sense, please). Whereas someone like Walter, though I loathe him, it’s important that I feel strongly about the man, because it tells me that somewhere in my robotic heart, I still tick for him. I guess there is e-p-o-h for the two of us?
- And hey, I still find Altlivia interesting – just less interesting or relevant than I did before. Like, 90% less.
- On his way back from rocking Reiko’s world, Walternate receives a call from the ever-creative Brandonate, who informs him that he might have another way to bring Peter back from the AU. It’s unclear whether he’s referring to Altlivia’s pregnancy, but the last scene would tend to suggest that is what he has in mind.
- Altlivia arrives home to her apartment, and all of the stuffs is in boxes. I guess Frank is moving out and taking all his stuffs with him. Even the crow picture? Even the crow picture.
- Knock Knock. Who’s there? Walternate. Walternate Who? Walter don’t hate the fact that you’re pregnant! (Ding Ding).
- Another good Big W. scene. Walternate looks like the cat who’s got Gene’s cream. Suddenly Altlivia is a lot more valuable to him.
“I heard the news. About your pregnancy. It’s all over the radio ga ga. Don’t worry, your position within Fringe Division will remain intact. You’ll have whatever resources you need. After all, you are the mutha of my future robot grandchild”. (he literally bares his teeth, ladies and gentlemen).
- Altlivia nods, almost appreciatively.
Altlivia: “I guess there’s an upside then. Unlimited resources you say? I want U2 from the other universe brought over here right now!”
Walternate: “Done, my dear”
Altlivia: Liberty Island. Mine?
Walternate: “I signed the papers yesterday, princess”
Altlivia: “And I want the other Olivia’s Northwestern T-shirt”
Walternate: “Why, it’s already on its way, my sweet”
Altlivia: “And I want to name the child..Walter, after you, sir”
Well that was a bit bonkers, wasn’t it? At times I wasn’t quite sure whether someone had slipped me the old “brown betty”, because that was quite a trip. I’m not going to butter it up, by now long-time readers will know the kind of Fringe I think works best. Clearly the story has gone down a bit of a mangled path – but I’ve always treated this as a journey – through the good and the bad.
I think there’s enough backstory and set-up for interesting developments to emerge from this. Will this episode live long in the memory? Ironically “Immortality” wont (aside from the fuzzy outline of Baby Wonder haunting my every nightmare). But this baby is all of ours now. It’s up to us to raise it, because sure as hell Altlivia and Petah are gonna need our help.
Best Performer: John Noble
Best Line: “I’m afraid I failed, Reiko. Peter was here. He was here of his own choosing, because he needs to be. And I lost him. I underestimated his attachments Over There. I hadn’t factored-in the girl” – Walternate to Reiko.
Best Moment: The Walternate/Reiko scene.
Episode Rating: 6.5/10