Fringe Review: 3.17 Stowaway


Welcome to our Fringe review for chapter 3.17 – “Stowaway”.

In this review we provide completely 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 with our final thoughts and episode rating.

THE GOOD

  • Seriability babyFringe has embraced greater serialization over the course of the last year or so, but I sometimes find myself wanting more bleed-through – for events to pick up from where they left off previously. This episode pretty much did just that, setting the tone and facilitating a level of continuity befitting the show’s DNA.
  • The themes of fate, destiny, freewill and the soul have always held great weight in this story. I really enjoyed the way these notions were further explored. It felt both natural and meaningful, adding value to the main story arc.
  • It’s a Team Thing. Not a weak link in the chain. Stowaway was highly engaging because of its story, but also due to the teamwork displayed by our heroes. I enjoyed the way they put their heads together, eliminating the mysteries to find the answer.
  • Bellivia. The William Bell impression was not perfect, but I found it to be an enjoyable performance. You have to allow for some ‘disconnect’ from the real thing, but for the most part I felt Bellie’s presence in this episode.
  • New Blood. I enjoyed Over Here Lincoln’s contribution. He could so easily have been a weak Linc, instead he brought an interesting vibe to proceedings and gave Peter someone to shake hands with.
  • Dana Gray’s story was interesting in its own right.
  • Good pacing.

THE BAD

  • Not Sharp Enough. I found the absence of Nina to be a bit strange. Surely she would be with Bellie in the immediate aftermath of his return? I guess those new cup cakes at Massive Dynamic wont sell themselves? Sure, I’ll buy that Bellivia and Nina reconnected ‘off-screen’, but a dash of Blair Brown wouldn’t have hurt.
  • Gloss Over. I expected the team to have more questions for Bellie, particularly Walter. He’s happy to have his friend back, but let’s not forget everything that went before. And I still feel that the “soul magnets” could use a touch more grounding, even in a post Subject 13 world. I also thought Bellie took his return into a physical body rather easily. No consequences?
  • Two words: Decoder Key. I was hoping we’d get to the information on the shapeshifters memory disks since it was a big issue in the previous episode. I appreciate that not every story element can be squeezed into 43 minutes, but a perceived lack of continuity or natural progression will be noticed. To be fair, the episode did a fairly good job at masking it.
  • Lack of Urgency. I continue to have trouble with the Fringe Team waiting for signs of decay to fall into their lap instead of actively pursuing the problem, particularly now that Bellie’s back. It’s somewhat masked by the continued relevance of fate and the way it seems to dictate the ebb and flow of events, but even so there’s a level of disconnect because their inertness.

BIG MYSTERIES

  • Fate or Freewill?
  • What’s going on with Olivia and her momentary return? What is Bellie’s end game? What will he do now that he’s hit a road block?

BIG ANSWERS

  • As speculated, Bellivia confirms that he gave Olivia the soul magnets in the cup of tea she drank while in his office on the other side.
  • The soul magnets drew Bellie’s consciousness into Olivia’s body after his physical body died.
  • Olivia’s consciousness is essentially asleep.
  • Bellivia says that Olivia’s brain can accommodate his consciousness for several weeks before she suffers any negative consequences.
  • Dana was unable to die because her molecules were bound extremely tightly; they were super-charged due to being struck by lightening twice. Rendering her soul trapped inside her physical body.
  • Dana tried to go the afterlife by stowing away on the souls of the recently dead. In the end she tried to increase her chances  by killing a group of people.
  • Olivia’s consciousness seems to be aware of her cohabitation with William Bell.

FRINGE THOUGHTS

  • I guess I better start this by un-RIPing William Bell. Clearly dead isn’t always dead on Fringe. Maybe I’ll give it back to him if and when he bites the dust again. MAYBE.
  • It was always going to be interesting to see how this episode opened up. It was good to see Peter and Broyles’ reaction to ‘Bellivia’. They care. I was also grateful to discover that Olivia is OK. She’s essentially been put to sleep and “is perfectly safe”, according to Bellivia. Like Peter and Broyles, I have problems with Bellie violating Olivia..again.
  • That being said it’s interesting how the cycles continue to repeat themselves in new waves. Bellie manifesting his dreams, his ambitions through the girl he re-created. She may be the “strongest of all the children” but there are questions to be asked about Bellie’s ethics.
  • To hear him say “this is exactly as I planned it” didn’t fill me with a great deal of confidence, but the timing of his return does lend itself to Bellie’s awareness of the workings of certain things coming to pass.
  • I appreciate Bellivia making the distinction between physical existence and the consciousness. The natural comparison is the relationship between a computer and software – the latter being the consciousness, the “ghost in the machine”, if you will. Concepts we’ve discussed a great deal over the past few years, but Fringe actually has the fortitude to explore these notions in ways that are relevant to the main story.
  • Bellivia quips that he “never realised that a bra was so binding”. Good to see the old fella on such good form, though I’m sure it’s not his first time wearing a bra.
  • Loved Peter’s reaction to hearing that Olivia might not be back for a while:

“A WEEK!? No chance! I’m NOT going THAT long without sexin’ Mylivia!”

  • I loved Broyles even more for demanding to know when he’d get his agent back. In case you don’t know, he’s in the business of looking after all his agents – especially Olivia. That said, he did the right thing by ignoring Peter and giving Walter 48 hours to find a suitable host. Bellivia calling him “young man”? Priceless!

  • Bellie chimes:

“If I were to leave Olivia’s consciousness now I would die. Don’t you think my life deserves an extended lap?”

  • I find it  fascinating that a soul who’s essentially getting a second chance at life believes he “deserves” to remain “alive”. Why does he believe he deserves it?
  • Much like the question of whether shapeshifters dream of electric sheep, I find this equally intoxicating. I wonder whether Bellie has a certain obsession with immortality? Is it ego, or does he truly believe that his role in this grand game has more essential hands to play?
  • It’s probably a bit of both, but it does somewhat diminish his so-called redemption at the gates of reality in “Over There”. A possible retcon, maybe, but it’s about perspective. I can find value in the notion that, for Bellie, his ‘sacrifice’ was merely a necessary hand that he needed to play. He basically died so he could level-up, and there’s some interesting ingredients in that.
  • Peter is very interesting in this episode. I was glad that someone was more concerned about Olivia than anything else. But there was another underlying context – the return of Bellie resurfaced the question of fate, in particular his future with the Boom-Boom-Machine (BBM). I don’t question his desire to keep Olivia safe, but just as interesting was his re-encounter with these anxieties.

  • The rooftop scene with Dana Gray was one of the best ‘case-of-the-week intros’  that Fringe has done. Atmospheric and mystery-filled. I thought that Paula Malcomson was poorly used on The Event, but she was excellent here. Perfectly cast as this mysterious woman who couldn’t die. I loved the fact that we’re asked to piece together her story from these words of ambiguity:

Jim: “That was fast”

Dana: “You said I didn’t have much time, Jim”

Jim: “You didn’t. You don’t. You were right, it’s gonna rain. There is hope in raindrops, isn’t that what you say? What does that even mean?”

Dana: “It means..that every drop of rain, holds the promise of regrowth, each has a purpose, even if they don’t know it. I think, we can feel that way. That we don’t have a purpose. But we do.”

  • I quickly found myself intrigued by Dana’s story. I like that Jim is asking her questions even though he’s on the brink of killing himself – it gives the sense that he’s not beyond being talked out of it. I also find it interesting that Dana’s story about the raindrops is essentially the framework for her own purpose.
  • The problem was she didn’t really believe in what she was saying. She was giving people hope but she was so frustrated about her inability to die that she had lost hope herself. What hope she had left was purely in reuniting with her family in the great beyond.
  • The scene were Dana crawls from the wreckage – wonderful. It almost carried a tinge of comedy, but it held firm.
  • Bellie suggests that maybe Peter is fated to power the BBM. Peter reminds us that he doesn’t believe in fate. Of  course, Peter is big on choice, on finding ‘another way’. And when that fails, he finds value in the notion of hope – as underlined in “6955kHz“.
  • Peter’s belief in freewill is very much rooted in his past, growing from those seeds that his adopted mom planted in his head. Seeds that cultivated a culture of imagination and dreams. Perhaps also fueling his ideology is his desire to be a “better man” than his father, not to mention holding on to what has with Olivia.
  • Bellie, meanwhile, seems to accept the notion of fate:

“I’ve lived a long time, Peter. So believe me when I tell you, that sometimes when one walks away from his fate, it leads one directly to fate’s doorstep.”

  • This speaks of the cyclical nature of events, the entanglement that Peter is caught up in. While freewill is a player in this story, the question is also whether certain events are laid out for a reason by a controlling force. It’s certainly interesting that Bellie is planting these seeds in Peter’s mind.
  • I guess Bellie is also talking from experience about fate’s doorstep. I’d like to hear more on his own perspective.
  • I found it a bit strange that Walter should think Dana’s falling was a possible sign of decay, given that she got up and walked away. That said, I liked the fact that Bellivia instantly knew what he was thinking, and that Walter’s fear of his world crumbling around him is still on his mind.
  • Bellivia says he’s “surprised it’s taken this long”. That’s an intriguing nugget. What led Bellie to think it would happen sooner? And what, if anything, prevented the decay from happening Over Here sooner? Why has nature taken so long to seek direct balance in that regard? Could our own characters ‘reflective’ mindsets have anything to do with it now that they’ve reached a specific point?
  • Yikes, Peter can barely bare to look at Belliva, such is his angst.

  • It’s strange to see an ‘outside agent’ brought in on an investigation. Under different circumstances I’d say it was a touch contrived, but we’re working under the premise of entanglement, so it makes more sense.
  • Lincoln seeing the Lab for the first time was very funny indeed. “This is the place where the mysteries of the universe get answered” Oh Peter, you’re a grower. :)
  • Was it just me, or did Walter do his best Walternate impression when talking about Dana’s molecules being held together? “An unusually strong electromagnetic bond”. Reminds me of Walternate’s amber, which in turn reminds me of Walternate’s resolve.
  • Walter says that the attraction [between her molecules] was almost unbreakable. I imagine that’s also a reference to the level of entanglement between the two universes, as well as the notion of fate. Can it be broken?
  • LOL at Astrid being creeped out by Bellivia. To be fair, he did cross the line and I could see him getting worse.
  • Dana’s boss said that she had an uncanny way of dealing with those feeling helpless. Was she good at her job because she needed to be to fulfill her ‘death quest’, or because fate attuned her that way to fulfill its broader purpose?
  • Brian tells Dana that she didn’t convince him to let her help, that in actual fact he was pulling the strings – he wanted her to come so he could tell her about the bomb. Another nod  towards the notion of fate masked as freewill.
  • He says that he doesn’t like his purpose and tells her about the location of the bomb before he kills himself:

“Like Azrael, let his angels carry my damsel to heaven”

  • Causing Dana to miss her hopeful jump to heaven, but providing her with the symbolism of Azrael which in turn led her to some interesting symbolism.

  • I don’t agree with Dana’s attempt to get to heaven by using the combined deaths of the people on the train, but you can see how her warped mind would have associated her situation to Azrael’s:

“The Ascension of Azrael. It’s about a sinner named Azrael, whose soul was condemned to purgatory, after years of watching him suffer, the angels asked God to let Azrael free, but God ignored them. So to angels went down to purgatory and lifted Azrael up to heaven. When God asked why they did this, the angels said Azrael had suffered enough, and the combined innocence of the angels souls outweighed Azrael’s sins. Finally God agreed, and Azrael’s soul was welcomed into heaven.”

  • Bellie actually suggested transferring his consciousness into poor old gene, huh? Now is probably a good time to mention that Walter’s lack of concern for Olivia was rather disappointing, for me personally. I’m sure he cares but I wanted to see more from him in that regard.
  • Peter’s past has parallels with Dana’s situation. She tried to kill herself to be with her family. Peter experienced something similar when he almost killed himself as a child (although not intentionally) to get back to his real family. And there’s also the fighting fate situation they were both faced with.
  • It was good to see Peter tell Dana that she did have a choice. Though again, it raises the question as to whether some things are inevitable. While Peter clearly believes in the notion of freewill, it’s possible that this is in part driven by fear – his own anxiety of being responsible for the destruction of a universe or two. It must be a huge weight on his shoulders, and I think it’s interesting to see him battle with these demons.
  • Dana describes her situation as an “impossible comic joke”. It must be hard to have hope in such circumstances. Though even if she did have hope, it seems that her fate would have remained the same. So in this context, hope is merely a mindset – it’s the choice within the framework of fate.
  • So what’s the message here? Is it about letting go, not being control? Would this have brought Dana more happiness or peace? How does this inform Peter’s situation? Should he enjoy his time with Olivia while he can and let fate do its thing, or should he actively try to fight the future in order to change it?
  • If there’s one thing I do like about Peter it’s his optimism.
  • Great to see Walter and Bellivia working together solving problems and finishing each others sentences.

  • Their solution nudges Dana out of the train and onto an open field where she tells God: “I don’t understand”. She is unable to see that her purpose in perma-life was to save all those people from the very bomb that she’s holding.
  • Be it the work of a benevolent creator or the intricity of entanglement, it seems that someone, something, didn’t want those people to die. But is that perspective too narrow? It should also be considered that Dana both influenced and was influenced by the Fringe Team. This web could be larger than them all.
  • I often talk about how events appear to manifest themselves as reflections and solutions to our heroes problems. The same could be said here with Dana’s trapped soul serving as a ‘convenient’ mirror for the return of William Bell’s consciousness.
  • I just think that perhaps Dana’s dance with fate (even the very idea of it) puts down somewhat of a marker for our team, particularly in regards to Peter’s role with the BBM. Will these events influence Peter in any way? Will they open his mind to a higher order, one that seeks to impinge, or control, this fearless architect? It’s hard to say, but if ever a case mirrored anxieties, it’s this one.
  • Sad to see Dana die, but that’s tinged by the fact that she wanted to die and the fact that her motives weren’t altruistic. She may have mostly targeted those who also wanted to die, or those seemingly fated to die, but ultimately she didn’t have good intentions in her heart.
  • Interesting, though, how her perspective on fate was actually turned upside down. She believed those people on the train were bound to die, yet her ‘choice’, influenced by the ‘choices’ of the Fringe Team, averted the passengers so-called fate and granted Dana her death, which is implied to be the intention. So how much can fate be trusted? Again, I point to the possibility that fate and freewill can both, at varying times, be illusions.
  • Lincoln signs out by telling Peter to give him a call if they ever need help. Peter continues his fine run of great lines by telling him to “be careful what you wish for”. That lends itself to wish-fulfilment being a major component of the story.
  • Peter’s absolutely right, people should be careful what they wish for – especially in this heightened reality where the subconscious mind can creep up on them and manifest deep-rooted desires and fears into being. In other words, choose your wishes carefully.
  • And what are wishes but energy. And we know all about energy, don’t we Bellie?

  • For a horrible moment I thought Peter was sneaking home from killing another batch of shapeshifters. :o
  • I don’t think Peter was too appreciative of Walter allowing Bellie to stay the night. Poor guy, just when he gets himself some good lovin’ something happens to take it away.
  • For a brief second, Bellivia looked like Olivia again. The expression was softer and the voice smoother.
  • If I were Peter, I wouldn’t be too quick to accept tea from Bellie – not after he put soul magnets inside Olivia. Indeed, if Bellie were really ambitious he might want to hijack Peter’s mainframe and grant himself access to the BBM. But this is Bellie we’re talking about, we can trust him! Right?
  • Bellivia says that the energy in the bomb reset the electromagnetic charge in Dana’s body, enabling her to die permanently. But then he says that it might be about something different altogether:

Bellivia: “What if, Peter. This isn’t about biology, or physics. What if, what we witnessed was the very reason Dana Gray couldn’t die? Because, she needed to be here to save those people’s lives”

Peter: “You think it was here destiny?”

Bellivia: “Well, destiny. Fate. Jung called it synchronicity. The interconnectedness of apparently unrelated events. Don’t you think it’s curious that we meet a woman who is unable to die at the exact moment my consciousness seemingly returns from the grave? As a scientist, I like to believe that nothing just happens, that every event has some meaning, some sort of message. You just have to be able to listen closely enough to hear it.”

[A bell rings in the distance]

Peter: “It’s a church bell. So tell me, what’s the meaning?”

Olivia Returns!: “Petah…”

Petah: “Olivia, is that you!?”

Bellivia Returns!: “Oh noes..”

Peter: “What the hell just happened right there?”

Bellivia: “I think I may have been wrong. This might be a little more complicated than I first thought!”

  • What to make of this? It seems that Bellie was trying to transfer over to Peter (what with all that tea around). As I speculated above, he might want access to the BBM. To his surprise the entry didn’t work – possibly because Olivia is fighting back, or because he is bound too tightly to her.

FINAL THOUGHT

From time-to-time I come across an episode that takes me by surprise. Stowaway is one such episode. It’s not that I didn’t think it would be good, it’s that I wasn’t expecting it to engage me in quite the way it did.

Best Performer: Anna Torv.

Best Line: “Welcome to the Fringe Division. Every answer you get just leads you to more questions” – Peter to Lincoln.

Best Moment: End scene with Bellivia and Peter discussing fate/Olivia’s brief return.

Episode Rating: 8.5/10

You can find all of our Fringe reviews here, while our Episode Observations can be discovered here.

Comments

  1. runpaceyrun says

    I will say that…..I LOVED EVERY minute of The Stowaway. Anna Torv was OUTSTANDING yet again! This Fringe ep is in my top 5 of all time favs. Have watched it 4 times already!!!! The entire cast was in fine form!
    Thankyou Mr Wyman and Mr Pinkner….another gem of an episode. You 2 are truely gods of the Fringeverse.

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  2. real1 says

    WOW Roco .. you let me change my thinking of this ep . :)

    “”If I were Peter, I wouldn’t be too quick to accept tea from Bellie – not after he put soul magnets inside Olivia. Indeed, if Bellie were really ambitious he might want to hijack Peter’s mainframe and grant himself access to the BBM. But this is Bellie we’re talking about, we can trust him! Right? “”

    Yes I agree , Peter never can learn first Walter with the milk and now Bell !

    “”What to make of this? It seems that Bellie was trying to transfer over to Peter (what with all that tea around). As I speculated above, he might want access to the BBM. To his surprise the entry didn’t work – possibly because Olivia is fighting back, or because he is bound too tightly to her. “”

    Wow , good thinking , Bell is a mystery , that he was thinking of immortality after death , but he claimed that he didn’t die just his body , … the big question why Olivia is able to be a suitable host and accepted the soul magnet but it’s difficult now to find any other host while they can feed the host by the soul magnet ???

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      • real1 says

        :P

        Well , after drinking a milk from Walter’s frigi and after hearing how Bell did deceive Olivia by a cup of tea , i don’t know how on earth Peter can accept any thing to drink from the both Walter and Bell , ;)

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  3. Megan says

    I enjoyed this episode and I plan on watching it again. I think Paula Malcomson was one of the best guest stars this season…. I really felt for her. Glad to see Lincoln, hopfully we will see him again. Also Bellivia wasn’t as lame as I thought it would be

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  4. Raph says

    one thing I notice was dana gray reminds me of dorian gray, in both stories there’s a kind of immortality that is also a kind of curse.

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  5. aci79 says

    Anna Torv has done a marvelous job with Bellivia. However, that doesn’t stop me from being so creeped out by it. I feel so violated on behalf of Olivia. I can’t imagine having and old dude occupying my body and being me everyday. Getting up in the morning, getting dress.. just plain creepy. I don’t blame Peter for being angry about the whole thing.. he can’t even look at Bellivia. Poor Astrid.. her awkward reaction toward Bellivia was priceless.. :-)

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  6. Page 48 says

    Paula Malcomson also had a death wish as Dr. Amanda Graystone in “Caprica”, as we see her take a walk off the Pantheon Bridge late in this clip.

    In “Caprica”, Paula Malcomson played the wife of Eric Stoltz, who we know to have starred in the Over There version of “Back to the Future”, a movie which (at least Over Here) also starred Christopher Lloyd, who, as Roscoe Joyce, is idolized by Walter Bishop.

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  7. mlj102 says

    Just a couple of really quick comments:

    “I enjoyed Over Here Lincoln’s contribution. He could so easily have been a weak Linc, instead he brought an interesting vibe to proceedings”

    Interesting. I actually considered Lincoln to be one of the weak points of the episode. Oh, he was all well and good and it was fun to see him over here. But nothing happened. He was just an additional character. I kept waiting for something — some sort of insight into his character, or some hint of how he is significant — but it never came. He was just there. It felt superficial and shallow to me and I was disappointed by that.

    “but ultimately she (Dana) didn’t have good intentions in her heart.”

    I disagree. When all is said and done, I felt that she did have good intentions. She genuinely wanted to help those people who called her. She did everything she could to talk them out of hurting themselves or others. That show in how she had such an impressive reputation as a successful counselor. But on those occasions when someone ultimately refused to listen to her, she took advantage of the situation. It’s not like she purposely went out to kill people in hopes of going with them. At least not until the end. And even then, she couldn’t bring herself to do it. I think she had good intentions.

    Overall, I was quite pleased with this episode. I missed our Olivia, but the episode did a good job of moving things along well enough that her absence didn’t feel like a gaping hole that held the episode back. Walter and Bell seemed a bit too childish to me at times, and their lack of concern or respect for Olivia really bothered me, but it was fun to see them interact. The humor in this episode was done very well. I loved the themes. The case itself was completely fascinating and I was invested in it.

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    • says

      “I disagree. When all is said and done, I felt that she did have good intentions. She genuinely wanted to help those people who called her. She did everything she could to talk them out of hurting themselves or others. That show in how she had such an impressive reputation as a successful counselor. But on those occasions when someone ultimately refused to listen to her, she took advantage of the situation. It’s not like she purposely went out to kill people in hopes of going with them. At least not until the end. And even then, she couldn’t bring herself to do it. I think she had good intentions.”

      I see it differently. Ultimately she still preyed on the weak, the vulnerable. I don’t see good intentions in what she did. Dana may have helped some people, but who’s to say that some of her failed cases weren’t the result of not being 100% committed to saving them?

      Then there’s the morality. If she truly believed that she could hop a ride to heaven (which see seemed to), how did she know that doing this wouldn’t impinge the souls (or what have you) of those she latched on to? It’s a similar scenario to Bellie violating Olivia’s body.

      But ultimately, what prevents me from seeing her intentions as being ‘good’, is the fact that she was prepared to blow up a train load of people, rather than save them. It was only the intervention of the Fringe Team that prompted her to leave the train, thus avoiding custody.

      Fate’s plan, perhaps. But does that redeem Dana? Certainly she played her role, but ‘good intentions’? Not for me. :)

      Still, it’s a game of opinions.

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      • SF says

        I’m with you, Roco. I kept waiting for Dana to leave the train willingly, to save those people. When I realized she was going to let the bomb explode and kill everyone, I was shocked. She can’t die, so allowing all those people to die – it really turns the idea of ‘sacrifice’ inside out, doesn’t it? Those people were going to die so that hopefully she could die. If she was really about saving people, there is no way she could have let that train load of people die. She had no good intentions, only her own intentions – selfish, vs selfless. It was accidental that she saved lives in the end. How that let her go up to heaven I’m still wondering about….

        So I think your idea of Fringe team nudging her to her proper fate – that which she was originally saved, in order to do something later – fascinating. I wonder what was in Dana’s makeup that she couldn’t see this? find some solace in saving lives? I suppose if her falls, jumps, shootings etc saved the suicidal one’s lives, instead of them dying on her the way her family did, might have let her see it differently. I don’t know, this is quite an interesting character they have written her here. I think it might have to do with a reflection of the ultimate grief the Walters felt over the loss of Peter – that eventually, if they hadn’t found solace/a reason to go on, they would have ended up wanting to be dead too because they missed Peter so much.

        I wish they could have made a little more about what happened to Dana’s body after she was struck by lightning (was it twice?) because I’ve known people who were hit by lightning and survived! I’d have loved to have seen the electromagnetic reader go off the scale at the lab!

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      • mlj102 says

        For someone who has always been so quick to give Walternate the benefit of the doubt, it surprises me that you aren’t willing to extend the same courtesy to Dana. I mean, really, you have always been Walternate’s number one fan, yet what he’s doing/has done, really isn’t all that different from Dana. In both instances, they have lost loved ones and they feel that loss very deeply. And in both instances, they are willing to go to extreme lengths, even so far as to hurt others, in order to ease their suffering and to react to what has happened to them. I agree with your perspective on Walternate, but it confuses me that you don’t see Dana in the same way.

        “But ultimately, what prevents me from seeing her intentions as being ‘good’, is the fact that she was prepared to blow up a train load of people, rather than save them. It was only the intervention of the Fringe Team that prompted her to leave the train, thus avoiding custody.”

        But that’s kind of the point. Yes, for a time, she was willing to sacrifice those people if it meant she might be reunited with her family. She was desperate and nothing else was working. It was the only option she could think of and she felt she had to try. But what’s important is that she ultimately abandoned that attempt. And from the moment the idea entered her mind, she was uncomfortable with it. She doubted if she could really bring herself to do it. I think the intervention from the Fringe team was simply the last push she needed to see that she couldn’t go through with it. I never viewed her as a ruthless killer who took pleasure in hurting people. There was nothing malicious in how she treated the people who called her. She was just misguided in her efforts to escape from the living nightmare she found herself in. I don’t think that means that she had bad, evil intentions.

        I viewed her as the flawed hero in this episode. In a lot of ways, this episode was the story of her journey: we were introduced to her and saw her attempting to talk the man out of killing himself, we saw her disappointment as her efforts once again failed, we saw her resort to more drastic measures when the opportunity presented itself, we saw her ultimately choose to do the right thing, we saw her hit rock bottom, and in the end, we saw her ultimately achieve her goal and (in theory) find peace.

        Her situation is, in many ways, a mini version of the overall story with the machine. The theme of hope and choices and finding another way has been very big this season, and this was yet one more example of that. At first, she didn’t see that there was another way. In fact, even when she reluctantly took the bomb away from the train, she didn’t see how there was another way. Which is why she was in the ultimate depths of despair as she pleaded for understanding. When you consider what she was going through, can anyone really blame her for momentarily being willing to resort to whatever measures necessary in order to find rest from her constant suffering and torture? I’m not saying that what she was willing to do was right, I just don’t think it’s fair to claim that she didn’t have good intentions. She was doing the best she could with what she was given. She wasn’t a bad person, but rather a good person who found herself in an extremely miserable circumstance and was trying to find a way out.

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        • says

          I’m not sure the Walternate/Dana comparison is the most fitting. Dana was looking out for herself, while Walternate has the added weight of trying to save his universe from destruction (alongside his personal goal of getting Peter back, or whatever it is he’s hoping for). I can find a lot of fault in Walternate’s discrete actions, and I’ve pointed them out along the way. There have certainly been times when his intentions have not been the best. Neither am I saying that Dana is the worst person in the world. But it’s not the most suitable comparison, in my view.

          “But that’s kind of the point. Yes, for a time, she was willing to sacrifice those people if it meant she might be reunited with her family. She was desperate and nothing else was working. It was the only option she could think of and she felt she had to try. But what’s important is that she ultimately abandoned that attempt. And from the moment the idea entered her mind, she was uncomfortable with it.”

          We’re definitely seeing this one from different perspectives, and that’s fine. But, since she very much believed in the afterlife, I find problems with her willingness to risk damaging the ascent of other souls.

          I just don’t find anything praise-worthy in the fact that she abandoned the attack – she was goingto do it but for the intervention of the Fringe team. This wasn’t a conscious decision on her part. If it was, I could take it as a sign of her overcoming some issues. If anything, we should surely be praising Peter and the gang.

          No doubt there’s a statement on offer about the true nature of freewill (is it more ‘collective’ than singular?), but for me Dana’s decision wasn’t her own. A thief who intends to steal a car, but sees the owner approaching before s/he can steal it, is still someone who had negative intentions in mind. Of course, the introduction of an ‘outside agent’ (in this case, the owner) could be entangled with the thief’s own personal path and could be viewed as some kind of reprieve – soul protection. Indeed, I’m not closed to the idea that we all need ‘outside forces’ to assist us in our journey (and “Fringe” is very much exploring this notion). But, if we’re looking at it in terms of right/wrong, I think ‘Dana’ was very wrong. I don’t see anything amiss in saying that her intentions weren’t good – and to be fair that’s all I’m saying, I’m not exactly saying she’s the devil. :) She had a role to play and she eventually played it.

          “I think the intervention from the Fringe team was simply the last push she needed to see that she couldn’t go through with it.”

          Because Peter begging her down the phone earlier was’t enough? :) I see what you’re saying, but under this premise we could argue that Walter’s intention to steal Peter and risk the degradation of the universe was only negative because he’s been made to suffer for it since. Aside from us not having a story, I wish that Nina had been a less flimsy outside agent for Walter. But even if an obstacle had prevented Walter from stealing Boy Wonder, the intention to do so wasn’t a good one. Everyone has negative intentions at various points, so Dana and Walter certainly aren’t alone. I’m just saying that I don’t find those intentions to be very good.

          Certainly, Dana got a nudge, but it was more a “Oh sh*t, I’ve been caught and don’t want to go to jail” kinda nudge, rather than an ‘Holy Moley, I’ve seen the error of my ways’ catharsis.

          Maybe if she had handed herself in when Peter and crew arrived, I might have seen her in a slightly different light at the end. I mean, had the bomb not killed her, can we say she would have looked for..’another way’? I’m not confident. Sure, she was in a unique situation that asked a lot of her, but I think she lost the light. Ironically, fate had accounted for this.

          If anything, I will say that Peter and Clark Kent Lincoln redeemed her in some odd sort of way. But I can’t see good intentions in what Dana was intending to do.

          Anyway, I think it’s an interesting discussion which in turn has heightened another notion regarding Peter’s (and agents in general) ability to ‘redeem’ others. Thanks.

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          • mlj102 says

            I just now realized that you had posted a response to my comment. So this is late, but you made some good points that I wanted to address:

            “I’m not sure the Walternate/Dana comparison is the most fitting.”

            Well, you make a good point in that Walternate does have the additional reasoning of feeling like he needs to protect his world as a whole, while Dana was acting more out of personal reasons, but I still feel like the comparison is pretty accurate. They’re both responding to events in their lives by pushing the limits of what is generally considered acceptable. People are willing to resort to extreme measures when presented with the right types of circumstances. Both Walternate and Dana responded to their circumstances by putting everything on the line, even the lives of complete strangers. It may not be a perfect comparison, but it’s the same general idea, and I would still expect you would be more understanding towards Dana given that you are so willing to give Walternate a bit of a break for his actions.

            “Certainly, Dana got a nudge, but it was more a “Oh sh*t, I’ve been caught and don’t want to go to jail” kinda nudge”

            I didn’t see it that way. I don’t think Dana was worried about being caught. Considering the condition of her life after she lost her family, she didn’t seem to have any concern whatsoever for her own well being. She didn’t care what happened to her. What could the police possibly do to her that was worse than the torture she was already being forced to live? I never got the feeling that she was afraid of being caught. I think she realized that their intervention would prevent her from following through with her plan, but I don’t think she cared one way or another if she was caught and put in prison.

            The analogy of a thief is interesting to consider. I think it all comes down to motivations. Sometimes people with the best of intentions still end up causing problems and doing something bad out of misguided efforts to help fix something. They have good intentions, so they rationalize that the bad thing they’re doing is for a good cause. I think there’s a difference between your intentions and what you actually do.

            I don’t deny that Dana’s choice to keep the bomb on the train and kill all those people was wrong. That was a bad thing, and it would have been terrible if she had actually let it happen. I’m not supporting that at all. But she wasn’t doing it because she took pleasure in killing people. She didn’t want to kill them. She just didn’t see any other choice. She was desperate. So, yes, her actions were bad, evil, not right, etc. But I don’t think that means her intentions were also bad, evil, and not right. She was miserable with her life and was looking for a way to find peace. She was trying to reunite with her family. I can’t blame her for that. She didn’t want to hurt people, but I imagine she had tried other ways of killing herself that didn’t involve hurting others, and it hadn’t worked. She saw no other way. Her solution was bad, but that doesn’t make her intentions bad, too. Just like Walter crossing over. His actions of disregarding the risks and being willing to destroy two worlds was not good. But he had noble intentions. He was trying to save “his” son. You can’t fault him for wanting to prevent Peter’s death. But it’s the way he did it that was bad. Similarly, Walternate has done plenty of things that are evil. But it can be argued that he, too, has good intentions despite the fact that the things he’s doing are wicked.

            I understand what you’re saying, but I don’t think it’s fair to claim that Dana had bad intentions. Yes, her intentions to kill all those on the train in an attempt to die herself were certainly bad. But she wasn’t doing that because it seemed like fun. She wasn’t going around actively looking for ways to hurt people. She was simply trying to find a way to escape the terrible situation she was in. The method she chose to do that was bad, but her intentions/motivations were not necessarily bad. They were understandable. She was doing it because she couldn’t think of any other possible solution to her problem. In general, I think that she was an average, everyday good person who had been put in a very difficult situation. And she was desperate to escape that. And that had driven her to try things she normally wouldn’t do. I don’t agree with her actions, but I don’t think that makes her intentions bad.

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  8. Dylan says

    Why would fate have a woman not be able to die so that one day she will find the man wanting to commit suicide, learn of a bomb, and end up saving the people who would otherwise be victims of it? Why would fate do this, especially, considering that another suicide-support personnel would have gone to him anyway and he would have told them, like he told the immortal-woman, about the bomb, and she, unlike the immortal woman, would have told the police and therefore saved the people on the train.

    Strange.

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    • Donna says

      I’m writing that up to Roco’s supposition that the whole plot required the involvement of the Fringe team onsite at her for-realsies-death, leading to Bellivia and Peter’s heavy conversation about the mother of all ultramagnets – fate.

      (It bugged me too. Roco’s rationalizations often calm me.)

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      • mlj102 says

        While I was intrigued by Bell’s suggestion that it was fate that kept Dana alive until she was able to fulfill her purpose of saving the people on the train, I’m not completely convinced by that explanation. If that were the case, I would expect fate would “intervene” through a series of events that continually ended with her narrowly avoiding death. For example, she was supposed to be at home the night her family was killed, but something happened so that she wasn’t there when the rest of them were killed. So it would constantly appear as if she was the luckiest person ever, as she realizes that deadly things were happening in a place where she should have been or a place she had been in moments before. And that kind of scenario is almost as intriguing and just as Fringey as her not dying after jumping off a building, etc. I just think that fate is more subtle than that… it has certain rules it has to abide by just like anything else. So I would expect to see fate protecting her from those things in the first place rather than making her impervious to death over and over again until she actually died. That just seems a little bit too far fetched, even for fate.

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        • SF says

          Well, I think it goes to choice, and thought, and free will, mlj. I think fate did spare Dana so she could offer herself to save others – there must have been something in her original mindset that made her assume her only choice was to be with her family(to try to die again). It’s awful that she was using other people to try to die, rather than accepting her fate and looking around her to see what she could do with her gift (which was, she couldn’t die). I think if she had done that, then she would have ended up in the same place – helping convince people who wanted to die, to live – but with a different perspective on why she was doing it. Then she would have offered herself to save those people on the train as a true sacrifice. So it’s interesting that this didn’t happen. And she still got to heaven! I think the writers want us to think about it, because it will play a big role somehow to do with the machine and Peter’s eventual choice.

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  9. Judy Lim says

    I don’t know what to say. I like all the storylines and think the analysis here is all good and well, but at the end of the day: what is wrong with the writers? I mean, at the end of the day, the pace of the show is (by now) to a large extent driven by the pace of developments between Olivia and Peter. Yet, every time there is any progress in that relationship, the writers keep throwing up roadblocks:
    – first the whole faulivia with her vagenda
    – now Bellie in her body
    – Bellie already saying that things may be more complicated than he thought: ok, here comes another protracted sidebar that will keep olivia out of the picture

    I like the messages and ideas that are being intertwined in the story, but I will say that, if we keep having these interruptions with olivia, I am going to tune out soon. I have absolutely ZERO interest in fauxlivia’s travails. The writers must be able to condense her story much more (e.g. shoot a scene in which Walternate and the creepy scientist discuss what went wrong with her ‘pregnancy’ and they show that they have a fauxlivia-clone that now needs to be reanimated: one whole episode (next week) can be told in 3-5 minutes) so that we can get back to what/who we are interested in.

    The directions are good, the thematic arcs are good, but the pace is just way off and I don’t think that the show deserves many more chances if they keep going like this. Even though Fringe has been one of my favorite shows on TV for a long time

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  10. says

    “As speculated, Bellivia confirms that he gave Olivia the soul magnets in the cup of tea she drank while in his office on the other side.”

    Hold it for a moment: hów did Bell linked the magnets to his own soul? And when Olivia drank the tea, where these magnets active? And if, hów come that Bell was still walking around (with his soul) before his dramatic dissapearanceat the end of S2? And if nót, hów did his soul find these specific magnets?

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    • Arun says

      Yeah, I was wondering about that too. Did Bellie’s soul just wander around with our Olivia on the Other Side after he disrupted his atomic structure? And did he latch onto Olivia to get back Over Here?
      I’m thinking that maybe his soul went directly over to the magnets in Olivia, and stayed there until Walter activated them.
      I’m still not sure though. :/

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      • jophan says

        The prop lab notes on “soul magnets” indicated that Bell would create a “quantum vacuum respository” for his soul until the trigger activated the magnets. (There’s a transcription in the forums.) Or if you prefer, you could think that the magnets created a copy of Bell’s psyche and stored it in Olivia’s body when she was in his presence in “Over There”. Either way, it’s handwaving.

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  11. AG says

    I love this episode too. Great perfomance from Anna Torv, as usual. I also found Belivia hitting on Astrid was quite amusing, however, I thought Bell and Nina had something going on between them that they were more than just friends emotionally. Should william bell flirt with Nina instead of Astrid and suggest to have Nina to milk him once he transfer himself into a cow?

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    • says

      Funny !! Trying to picture Nina squat in a position, face-to-udder with Gene. Now that would be priceless. Especially if Gene is in an ornery mood.

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  12. says

    Great read Roco… Do you think that the end justifies the means ? Are the morally wrong actions of William Bell necessary to achieve the morally right outcome. Bellie must have a master plan otherwise he may be going to hell in a handbasket.

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    • says

      Great question, Betty.

      I’d say it depends on what the end is, and whether there were alternative, less harmful, means open to him.

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  13. loveit says

    I LOVE the idea that Bellie is trying to gain access to the BBM! And it sort of ties into (my so-called) epiphany. We were told by Bell that Alter-Bell died in a car crash and never met Walternate. What if Alter-Bell never existed? We have no corroborating evidence of Bell’s explanation. What if Bell is a first people? This may also explain why he seems to be nudging Peter towards excepting his fate in the BBM…..it would be interesting if Bell was trying to take Peter over – does it suggest that only Peter’s DNA is important and not his soul or consciousness? (in regards to the BBM)
    This is my end-game theory: Bell is a first people and the first people have some kind of agenda to have the BBM activated.

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    • Robert Gertz says

      Bell’s giving the soul mags to Olivia while alive but damaged from repeated crossovers suggests his death at the end of S2 was not a heroic act…He knew his body was disintegrating and he’d prepped the best possible host before hand. In fact he may have needed to destroy his body while Olivia was at hand to bind his soul to her. Whether he believes he’s too important to Humanity to be allowed to die or simply fears death, he acts as a mirror to Dana Grey who would do anything to die, though in fact she has scruples. She saved many more lives than she let die as Joan the counselor and her decision to try and die with the train victims suggested complete despair not selfishness. We can guess that Fate or “God” decided her soul had suffered enough…Perhaps the souls of those who would have been her victims even interceded for her, in pity though the conscious train passengers weren’t aware of it.

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  14. lizw65 says

    Interesting how, whenever a character on this show mentions being ‘very old’ we immediately think “First Person!” That honestly hadn’t occurred to me in relation to Bell before, but if we work on the assumption that he is a kind of Puppetmaster orchestrating events from behind the scenes for some unknown endgame, it does fit.
    I too noted that Walter was behaving very like his alternate in the scenes with Bell, also that Bell seems to have an almost Svengali-like hold over Walter. Several people noted that we were seeing a much different side of Bell from the kindly, avuncular old gent from “Over There”–Bellivia seemed harder-edged, more lacking in ethics. Some of that may be Anna Torv’s performance, but we may also be getting more of the full picture now, so to speak.

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  15. Paulina says

    Great review. I agree with pretty much all of your points. This episode surprised me in how much I enjoyed it for the same reasons you mentioned. The handling of the fate, destiny, freewill theme was masterfully done and I enjoyed the parallels being drawn with Dana’s story which was interesting in its own right. I was really happy actually with how themes and parallels were weaved into this episode, as I was disappointed by “Os” because the father/son parallel felt like Fringe was beating a dead horse.

    I also enjoyed that Fringe was returning to the science and faith theme with Bell’s words:

    “As a scientist, I like to believe that nothing just happens, that every event has some meaning, some sort of message. You just have to be able to listen closely enough to hear it.”

    I think it’s fantastic that you could substitute the word “scientist” with “believer” or “religious person” or any religious affiliation. This fits in nicely of course with Walter in White Tulip and his believing or wanting to believe in a God who can grant him forgiveness. Gotta love that conversation with Peck.

    Also, I loved the parallels to 117 Bad Dreams as Olivia’s consciousness has been invaded once again. When she reappeared briefly at the end, it felt like she was struggling for air and water and was going to ask Peter’s what’s going on before she disappeared again. It reminded me of their hospital scene where she asks, “Peter, what’s happening to me?”

    Poor girl. :( Glad that Peter and Broyles were rightly indignant over Olivia being used again without her permission. I was worried that the show wouldn’t give enough space to that issue, but I felt pretty good about its treatment here.

    Once again, Bell and Walter make me uncomfortable with how easily they are willing to use others for this “greater good.” Walter really was being like his counterpart Walternate. Just as Walternate forced Altlivia’s memories into Olivia, Walter was more than happy to let his old friend take over Olivia even if she was “safe.”

    But yeah, besides the glaring omissions of Nina Sharp and Bellivia giving us some much-needed information since he’s back and all, I really enjoyed the episode. 8.5 sounds just right. Also, Anna Torv was amazing as usual, but I was particularly impressed with Joshua Jackson’s performance in this episode. He was perfectly angsty!frustrated Peter, given him losing Olivia (even temporarily) again and being confronted with his own “fate” and “destiny.” But “we all make our own choices” he tells Dana Grey…I guess we will see what happens. And then his reaction to Olivia’s brief reappearance, his tiredness and frustration switching quickly to hope and happiness then back to anger and frustration was fantastic.

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    • SF says

      I really enjoyed your thoughts here, Paulina! I agree with everything you say. It was a well-done and really well-acted episode, I thought. It was fun watching Olivia as Peter, because she would move and tilt her head, considering, like Bell would.

      You’re so right, Walter didn’t even protest at the loss of Olivia, he just accepted it, didn’t he? I wonder what his reaction would be if it had been Peter that Bell moved into? Bell having access to the machine makes me *shiver*.

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      • KLA says

        Good point SF. Walter would have been beside himself if his precious Peter was the one inhabited. He probably would have overdosed on Brown Betty because of the distress. But, no real concern for Olivia, or what this could do to her relationship with Peter, and espsecially if she is damaged when Bellie departs.

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  16. Leo says

    When Dana says: “I’m stock here” I reminded the scene that olivia is in the other univerrse, and goes to that field where the massive dynamic supposed to be, and say the same thing..

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  17. lilli says

    awesome episode…I really love this play with science, fate, God and a superior order of things. I find that it is still very challenging and uncomfortable for many people of science: thus, it deserves to be investigated more ;)

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  18. KLA says

    Hey Rocco. As always, great review. With regard to the ending scene, at first (and I have not had my second watch yet) I thought that Olivia was trying to expel him from her consciousness, and Bell’s comment about it being harder was about staying inside Olivia, as I assumed he planned on staying longer than the 48 hours he agreed to.

    But, trying to inhabit Petah so he can get to the BBM seems much more plausible, and, quite frankly, sinister on the surface. If true, poor Peter. That guy has been used, kidnapped, lied to, stolen, abused, scammed, tricked by a “quick with a smile” vegenda, and the list goes on. I am surprised that he hadn’t called Dana at the suicide hotline before this episode. I think I would have swallowed cyanide by now. Anyway, my thoughts of Bell are changing. I always assumed he had the best for this universe in mind, and now I am not so sure (unless this is is a hoax by the writers). If, as loveit said above, that Bellie might be one of the first people, that would be interesting and could explain a lot, although the Observers are still a mystery.

    Can’t wait to see how this all plays out.

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  19. YourPique says

    I think the fact that Peter and Lincoln got along so great is something to note. The producers have said that Lincoln is in Fringe Division Over There because Peter wasn’t.

    Speaking of similarities, the finishing-of-sentences goes back to Bell and Bishop both having the same initials…two parts of the same person?

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  20. Sajjad says

    Thanks Roco for a great blog, I really enjoyed reading the blog as i have watching this episode and all the other episodes of fringe, you seem very observant and certainly give perpective to think differently on same issue. I always get really fascinated by the facts and stories portrayed in Fringe and different movies on different unexplainable topics such as time travel, alternate universe. I love the approach of the script writers and writers, I wish and do hope that the show continues. Thanks once again Roco for a detailed review and blog. Fringe rocks…

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  21. AnTo says

    Great review Roco, I agree with almost everything.

    The tea at the end, I do not think that even Bell can just replant soulmagnets,
    I think in his arrogance he just underestimated the willpower and mind
    of our Olivia, she did retrieve her memory against that of Altlivia as well.
    And Bell is not a nice guy, cannot be, how he abused children, and now Olivia again, I rember him saying that he wanted to meet her such a long time, nice, and then give her a speech and some tea, so that one day, he will violate her once again. Very curious what Our Olivia is going to do : intern boxing match in 3.19?

    Anna Torv was absolutely amazing, the body language, the eyebrows, the speechpattern, the voice. Everyone knows that voices change under the influence of emotions, different way of speaking (Bell spoke more from the back of his mouth) and another language.But to this, and with a triple different accent, amazing.

    Anna, 31, female, Nimoy, 80 male, nice task you gave Anna, Pinkner and Wyman, no wonder she hyperventilated.

    Finally :Anna Torv so brilliant, awesome, if you can do this, you can do everything.

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  22. Aaronia says

    Thanks for the review, I also enjoyed this episode very much.

    In a second viewing I got the idea that the synchronicity of Bell’s ‘reanimation’ with Dana’s final solution was supposed to be the explanation of her death. I believe the first suicide, the fall from the rooftop to the taxi, might have happened before Bell manifested as Olivia (Astrid says the video was recorded the night before), so that when Dana approaches death again (with the bomb) it’s the first time since Bell is back. Perhaps the Universe is balancing that a soul which should not be here (Bell’s) is compensated so that a soul which should have been gone long ago (Dana’s) is finally allowed to go. This could also be interpreted as fate.

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  23. Count Screwloose says

    A character named Dana going on about “just because you’ve read a lot of FILES on me…” Well, I laughed.

    Also, don’t think it’s Bell. It’s Sam Weiss, who likes our Astrid as much as the other one, which he demonstrated when he was pretending to be Frank.

    He’s a Rogue Observer.

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    • Anne Sophie says

      And Nina figured out Sam Weiss is connected to the First People. I just hope they start digging into that again soon.

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  24. Blind says

    “Fate or Freewill?” you ask. The answer would be: both. The concept of fate is that we are all heading somewhere and that will not change. It is our choices, or free will, add up to become our fate. I think people get rubbed the wrong when they think that someone has pre-decided their fate. If that were true there would be not free will.

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    • SF says

      I think that’s the point here: does Peter (as an example) have a choice, or is every choice he makes going to lead him to the same place, ie fate? If that’s true, that’s not free will, because he is not necessarily deciding to end up in that place at the end. I think Fringe takes the side of free will, that free will is important in deciding one’s fate. I also think that Fringe is exploring the idea of fate, can one choose one’s fate? And how much choice is there in life? Or, is there only fate? These are really interesting questions and I like how Fringe goes into them in so many angles and levels.

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  25. Leonardo Souza says

    You know what I thought was going to happen?

    The Fringe Team would bring Dana to the lab (while still alive and not against her will), figure it out a way to release her soul and then Bellie would use her body!

    That would be perfect!

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    • SF says

      See LizW65 below, she said much the same thing and I agree with both of you, I thought they were heading that way with the story.

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  26. lizw65 says

    Did anyone else think that Dana would end up brain-dead at the end of the ep and that Bell would find a new home in her body? I was rather disappointed that this didn’t happen, as the writers seemed to be building up to it, but the idea that Bell was hoping to find a permanent home in Peter (and thus activate the Machine) is far more interesting–not to mention sinister.

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    • SF says

      I did! I really thought that Dana would give up her ‘soul’ or spirit willingly and let Bell move right on in. Trust Fringe to take it in another direction!! which I also really enjoyed.

      Yes, I think it awfully sinister if Bell ultimately wants to get into Peter’s body. I find this horrifying. Because Peter is his own person, a living being, and doesn’t deserve his self taken over like that. Especially when he has to go to sleep. It is horrifying, isn’t it?

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  27. T says

    I must say…not my favorite episode. I know I am in the minority but I find Torv’s voice when portraying Bellivia annoying. Also this story arc about the soul magnets is, in my opinion, weak. As a non-scientist I at least like to think of the things they deal with and do as remotely possible…but this soul magnets thing is rediculous. Bell’s memories and intellect are attached to his energy?! What?!

    That being said, I still love the show and hope it gets a S4. Can’t wait until next week to see what is going on in the alt-universe.

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  28. Fringie6989 says

    Roco, great review! I very much enjoyed reading it and I pretty much agree with both the good and bad parts you mentioned. I also appreciate how you delved into the mysteries that this episode brought to light…I was having a hard time keeping track of them before reading this.

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  29. SF says

    I’m surprised you didn’t comment on how Dana was so lost that she had no innocence left – for if she wanted to get to heaven/die, sacrifice herself, why didn’t she think of saving the people on the train? It’s interesting to see her logic twisted so badly by the loss of her family, that she can’t see that she was kept alive for another purpose, to save lives, not destroy them. It’s funny though, but looking back, those who wanted to die, did, but as you say, the one who doesn’t want to kill innocent people with the bomb (but can’t stop himself), is the one who leads Dana to her destiny. I really like how you tie it to the Fringe Division making it happen – the eventual saving of the people, by forcing Dana to run away – by their belief those people shouldn’t die, that the innocent should live – which ties in with why they desperately are searching for a way to save both universes.

    I also think it shows how remarkable Olivia, and Peter are, because despite every calamity and horrible act they have been through, they both retain a sense of innocence, that life deserves to be saved, guarded, protected. I do wonder if Peter still has a death-wish from his younger self, a desire to return to his real world, but the way he will find his peace is to save both worlds because they both belong to him.

    Maybe the universe was cracking already, and Peter was taken because all along he has been the one who would save the two worlds? that only he is capable. Which would make sense considering how old the BBM is, and the books of the First People. Maybe these two worlds were always going to come together, and the Observers interfering with Walter/nate was their way to ensure a Peter would live to carry through saving both universes. I guess I’m like Peter and Olivia, I can’t see one or the other being the better world to save, they both deserve saving. It would be interesting if we do find out if Fringe division has been a means to prevent the decay of our world from happening so fast. That is a very interesting idea, Roco. How would we compare it to the Fringe Division on the other side and what they are doing there? Have they been a means of preventing the whole destruction of that world, then?

    I have to disagree with your interpretation at the end though, Roco, when you say that Olivia showed her face for a moment, I thought that meant not that Bell was trying to get to Peter, but that the ringing bells called Olivia to consciousness. That he didn’t know it would be so difficult to hang on to his perceptions, because this girl he is so proud of and had a hand in creating, is also refusing to stay asleep any longer than she has to. I was thrilled when she came to for just that moment – it was quite striking to have Olivia back for just a moment, such a change from Bell being there in her all through the episode. I think Bell’s ‘difficulty’ is with holding on to himself in another body.

    And I have to wonder, if Bell and Walter are so connected, did Walter know Bell would come through in someone? and he didn’t care who, he just wanted Bell back for some answers. In that moment, we see the old scientist Walter, who didn’t care about consequences and never has.

    I thought this was one of the better ‘Fringe’ episodes of this season. I really enjoyed it. I loved that Peter was so uncomfortable with Bell in Olivia’s body! I really liked the themes, of sacrifice, loss, love, family, dying, going home, and saving lives, all presented in another story. I really liked Dana, and understood her grief, though I didn’t quite understand why she felt such guilt that she was alive and they were dead, and why she couldn’t find anything to live for. Maybe she was presenting another view of Walter’s/Walternate’s grief over Peter and what they were like when they each lost him. Is the idea that some losses we can’t get over? like Peter Weller in White Tulip? The woman in 3B? It makes me wonder if the ultimate mystery is faith, and if that is the way out for the machine. It has to be used with faith.

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    • fedorafadares says

      “I also think it shows how remarkable Olivia, and Peter are, because despite every calamity and horrible act they have been through, they both retain a sense of innocence, that life deserves to be saved, guarded, protected. ”

      I know the pep talk on fate was aimed at Peter and his destiny, but I actually think Dana’s story holds more parallels to Olivia and her role in the story of Fringe.

      Olivia has experienced loss after devastating loss: her childhood to an abusive father and the loss of her mother, the loss of control over her body through Cortexiphan and the Bellie invasion, the loss of her love with John Scott, etc.,. But despite her losses, she retains the will to save and protect others. She’s the helpline to the unwitting victims of the universe, teeteing, however unwitting, on the brink of destruction.

      At times, she’s been an unwilling savior, much like Dana who stopped and atually asked “why me?” While Olivia hasn’t (yet) dropped in desperation and asked “why me?” but I have a feeling that she will come lose to that level of desperation when her ultimate purpose becomes clear.

      We’re all so fixated on Peter’s destiny. What about Olivia’s?

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  30. Ben says

    Another great review, Roco. I look forward to the observations. Add this to the list of episodes with unlucky or endangered commuters. Hell, trains alone you have quite a list.

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    • FinChase says

      I think Bad Robot is trying to make us all bike riders by taking out planes, trains, and automobiles! There’s been quite a few horrific car accidents in Fringe too, and a couple of nasty bus incidents. And don’t get me started on what they’ve done on planes! :)

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  31. Gabriel Almeida says

    Well… if memories and thoughts are just energy and Belly is able to manipulate it, what happened to the memories of Walter?
    I mean… Walter could now get his memories back by putting a soul magnet on himself and calling it so it comes back to him, or is it permanently dead with his brain parts?

    Sorry if I couldn’t express myself more clearly, its just an idea…
    Fringe fan from Brasil.

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  32. Laura says

    Great review, as usual, amico.
    I found this episode hilarious, as only some of the “X files” were able to be.
    Great performances for all the actors: Torv, first of all, then Gabel and Jackson. Peter’s look just after the opening credits made me laugh out loud.
    I really, really hope this series will get a 4th season.

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  33. Peanut says

    Roco, thanks for another of your outstanding reviews.

    This episode featured two examples of the Fringe (not really) dead, Dana Gray & William Bell. Of course, the contrast is that Dana is trying her best to die while Bell is going to unprecedented & morally questionable lengths to live. I am not quite as clear on Dana’s stance—maybe that’s why her last name was Gray—to highlight the moral dilemma involved in her situation. It might have been helpful if she had been seen counseling 1 of the 37 people that she helped save instead of only the two suicide cases.

    I enjoyed meeting our Lincoln Lee, or Blincoln, as I’ve seen him referred on the forum. Disappointing that Olivia was not “at home,” so to speak, during his visit.

    The Bell scenario is another overly elaborate Fringe plot. I still want to know how the soul magnet thing works. If Bell dropped the soul magnets in the tea, then does that mean that he was soulless from then until his “death” at the end of Season 2? I suppose that it is not really the soul but his consciousness that is meant but still a handy thing to keep with you while you’re still alive? Olivia must have had at least a couple of physicals since her first visit Over There—the first visit being the one in which she went through the windshield & was brain dead. Her recovery from that condition was never explained—maybe the soul magnets somehow helped her survive? Then she had a seizure after returning from her second trip Over There & went to the hospital where she must have had considerable medical attention. Yet no medical personnel noticed the soul magnets during the two hospital stays? No test for soul magnet detection, I guess. I will point out that the cross-universe trips entailed near-fatal events for the Dunhamnator, which left her survival in doubt so maybe she wasn’t the best choice for a host. Then Bell leaves Nina the bell; it was under a glass case so it could have gone years without being rung except for Walter’s curiosity. I admit that it is an intriguing idea that a man can sort-of die in one universe & return in a different body in another universe.

    I am curious about why Bell chose Olivia as his vessel, so to speak. Was it because she was the strongest of the children so would be less likely to be harmed by the invasion of another soul? Certainly, as we saw indicated at the end of this episode, Bell may not have envisioned all of the ramifications of two souls occupying one body. Presumably, knowledge of how the soul magnets functioned has been strictly theoretical up to now.

    How can Fringe bring back Bell but not have Nina in the episode? I know that The Sharp One got around back in the day, but I don’t think that she would approve of Bell’s lecherous advances to poor Asteroid. All of that time spent in the ether—or wherever it is that he has existed in since Over There, Part II—must have dimmed Bell’s recollection of a certain red-haired woman with an iron fist and the consequences of getting on her bad side. Maybe he feels safe from the fist while he’s inhabiting Olivia? When Bell asked if his life was worth an extended lap, I have to say that I was thinking, based on his behavior in this episode, that he was talking about lap dancers. (My mind must still be in a haze caused by my recent vacation.) I hope that Astrid has a whip & a chair in her FBI kit in the lab so that she can keep the “dynamic” duo of Bishop & Bell in line. Actually, Bishop & Bell seem like the kind of guys who might prefer Astrid with the whip & the chair.

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    • Peanut says

      One of the reviewers had a different transcription of the Bellivia conversation indicating that the reference was to an “extended nap” (Olivia’s), rather than lap.

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  34. says

    Anyone notice how everyone in the other universe is just way cooler? Francis, Lincoln, Olivia, and even Broyles?

    Everyone’s so stiff up on ours side. :(

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    • Ben says

      Not everyone’s “cooler” over there, what about Walternate? Or Altstrid? Assuming you mean ‘cool’ in the sense of them being more laid-back, and not how interesting they are as characters, which is entirely subjective. :)

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  35. Maddy says

    As much as I loved this episode, especially all the Bellivia and Walter moments, I reallllllllllllly missed Nina :(
    BOO!

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  36. real1 says

    Say thank God , he didn’t mention that Peter was going so quickly to MD in order to bring the box for Bellivia and the DECODER KEY so no one will notice what Peter did .. oh wait …is Belivia wanting to do a cover for Peter ??

    ;)

    I found Roco’s comment is nice :D

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