Welcome to our Fringe review for chapter 3.20 – “6:02 AM EST.
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.
- It’s great to come back to the main story arc and return to the essential pages of this novel. The mini ‘Bellvia’ arc was fun, mythological, and gave us the Man X mystery – but ultimately it didn’t really do all that much in terms of plot or character progression.
- The effects of the Boom-Boom-Machine (BBM). It was always going to be interesting to see what the BBM did once it was triggered. Perhaps not as jaw-dropping as it could have been, but it was an incremental illustration of the the power it yields. With the Machine now activated, the story has no choice but to claw forward.
- Peter being called upon to face his fate. I thought this was interesting and packed a couple of surprising turns.
- Walter in the chapel. This contained some nice follow-through from Walter’s story archive and brought the character forward a few steps. Since the dawn of time I’ve wanted Walter to be more selfless, so I found it extremely interesting and satisfying to see him reach a point where he’s putting other people first. This is why you focus on long-form stories, because it’s about the journey of characters. It was also a very convincing portrayal by John Noble, who also delivered a strong Walternate performance on the flip-side.
- It’s always good to see Sam. He had some interesting moments which will surely gather momentum in the next episode.
- Which brings me to the fact that this episode will indeed carry over into the next one. More of that continuity and serialization I’ve been talking about. And this time we’re directly addressing the main story so it’s even more rewarding and meaningful.
- See no BBM. Given the magnitude of the event, it was somewhat disappointing to not actually see the Over There BBM being activated. I can understand not showing it for budgetary and episode structure reasons, but some explanation of the process would have been welcome.
- I was unconvinced by some of the character motivations. Walternate, Lincoln, and a certain redhead assassin spring to mind. The BBM wasn’t the only plot device at work.
- Altlivia. It’s too big a leap for me to believe that she suddenly cares enough about the other side to behave the way she did in this episode. She may be a newly crowned mother but I didn’t find the exploration of her motivations very convincing. If anything, I found her mindset a little confusing.
- I found the episode a bit uneven. I don’t think the ‘Bellivia’ arc helped (although it was fun). It felt like the characters were suddenly rushing into position when they had plenty of time to prepare for the little matter of the APOCALYPSE. The lack of amber is almost unforgivable on Nina’s part and came across somewhat contrived.
- It’s disappointing that Olivia never really got the chance to keep her promise to Broylnate. While I’m sure she will do her best to save both universes, she has been forced into action rather than proactively following through on her word. It’s perhaps unfair to expect so much from her, especially after all she has been through – but this is our go-getter, our story chaser, our heroine. I don’t believe this is a statement against her character, rather her through line just got muddied along the way. Which is a shame, because ‘action’ and ‘reaction’ has different connotations. We’ll see how it all plays out though.
- Walternate used baby Henry’s DNA to activate the BBM – but how?
- Did the Observer deem the BBM activation important enough to observe?
- Why precisely did the Over Here BBM wake up once the Over There BBM was activated – particularly given that the opposite (presumably) didn’t happen when Peter triggered the Over Here BBM in “Reciprocity”?
- Why did the BBM reject Peter?
- Assuming that a person isn’t controlling the BBM, what is guiding its action? If it’s operating on its own accord, how is the degradation appropriated?
- Confirmation that Walternate used the DNA of Peter’s child to activate the Machine. They stripped out Altlivia’s chromosomes, leaving them with half of Peter’s genetic profile – enough to activate the BBM.
- Sam Weiss is genuinely concerned at the consequences of the BBM being activated.
- Altlivia named her child ‘Henry’ after Henry Higgins who delivered the child.
- Baby Henry is 3 weeks old as of this episode.
- William Bell introduced Nina to Sam Weiss. Bellie had great confidence in Sam and advised Nina to trust him implicitly. She consulted with him from time-to-time when Bellie went missing.
- Sam told Nina not to divulge information about to BBM to anyone or she would never see or hear from him again.
- Nina has also has the Russian version of the First People’s book in her possession.
- We open with confirmation that Walternate retrieved baby Henry’s blood sample (DNA) in “Bloodline” so he could activate the BBM. Brandonate was not secretly working against him. This played out as I thought it would.
- Knowing Walternate as I do, I was confident that he would find a way to activate the BBM using baby Henry’s DNA. It was interesting to hear Brandonate say they ‘stripped out’ Altlivia’s chromosomes.
- I find it interesting to look at that phrasing in the context of Altlivia’s ‘redundancy’ coupled with Walternate’s decision to keep her in play. Will there come a point where she’s obsolete?
- Bradonate says he’s proud to be a part of saving their universe, even though history may not recognize their efforts. While this guy has a morality vacuum, I continue to be intrigued by his enthusiasm – one that is offset by Walternate’s blend of determination and deep awareness of the consequences that await them:
Walternate: “Oppenheimer saved us too, but at what cost? He couldn’t bear the nightmares, the screams of all the innocents he’d killed. “Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds”. Only in our case, that really is true. We destroy their world to save ours. May God have mercy on us”
- Very useful to see Walternate’s conscience in action. He then hands the blood vial back to Brandonate, as if teaching the young scientist a lesson – a reminder that every action has a direct and equal consequence.
- Walternate is such an interesting character. He’s unflinching, yet he knows the ‘rules’ of nature. He knows this isn’t a heroes parade, but a decision that will likely destroy him. He asks God to have mercy on them for going ahead with an extremely negative action. All of this not long before Walter has his own meeting with God, asking for mercy, for protection.
- Freewill? Design? Entanglement. An illustration of how man’s greatest enemy is himself? When you involve God, the notion of a creator, these questions become more pertinent.
- I find it huge to discover that Walternate still places value in the idea of ‘God’, to the point where he would essentially ask for forgiveness. This from a man who not long ago reminded Brandonate that he’s still a scientist, that his Lab is the world. This from a man who I sense felt let down by the fact that God didn’t prevent his son from being kidnapped.
- So it’s useful to see that this man, who took it upon himself to bring balance back to ‘nature’, actually has some sense of his place. Yet, he also feels justified in what he’s about to do. This isn’t a down on his knees, pleading for God’s mercy, display. No, it’s almost a courtesy call.
- And the impact of his action are swift in arriving. Animals are always the first to notice something bad is coming. I thought the sheep would arrange themselves in a Fibonacci Spiral, though that may have been too on the nose – as they say in noseville.
- The power of the BBM is devastating as it rips through the poor farmers. Where was I at 6:02 AM EST? Luckily, I wasn’t down at the dang farm!
- Sam Weiss looks very troubled when we first see him here. More troubled than we’ve previously seen him, and this is before he even notices his balls knocking together. I like the idea that the bowling balls are more than just bowling balls. They’re essentially a measuring device, early warning system. OK, they might not be, but I like the idea.
- Sam takes a deep breath before inspecting the Kinetic Balls (or Newton’s Cradle). The last time I remember him inhale/exhale so visibly, was when he told Olivia that she was a good person. This might just be Kevin Corrigan‘s interpretation of the moment, but it would be interesting if the two gestures relate on some level.
- Sam’s concerns are deepened once the balls start swinging, confirming that something was triggered in the alternate universe – for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
- Cut to the hope of morning. Olivia feels optimistic about life. I found the scene a bit contrived, but it’s there to contrast with the subsequent doom of the Boom-Boom. I also wonder whether the activation of the BBM added a little extra tint to the sunrise, which would make Olivia’s comment even more ironic.
- Walter theorizes that a vortex ate the sheep and farm boys, and says that his worst fears have been realized. I found Peter’s questioning a bit odd. He seems surprised, as though such a thing was unlikely. It wasn’t too long ago that they thought the Blight was having a party in apartment 6B.
- Nina’s reaction is also a bit weird. I think the dramatic tension didn’t quite hit the mark. She’s too hyper. Sure, the BBM has turned on, but I can’t recall her being this flappable when it activated in “Reciprocity”.
- I think the problem isn’t helped by the fact that the team have been sitting on their bottoms for most of the season. They’re really not very proactive when it comes to the BBM, or tying up lose ends like Peter Mercing the shapeshifters as a result of his symbiotic BBM connection.
- That aside, it’s interesting that the ‘Blue BBM’ should activate as a result of the ‘Red BBM’ turning on. Not surprising, given the reciprocity of the two universes, but interesting. Especially given that only half of Peter’s DNA profile was used to trigger the Red BBM.
- Peter suddenly feels inadequate when he realises his Machine BBM’d up without him. Oh, NOW you want to go inside the BBM, Peter? 😉
- Walter puts two and two together and figures that the vortex was caused by the activation of the Blue BBM. He says, “if it’s the end of the world, this is just the beginning”
- But how do you define ‘beginning’, Walter? Technically, the beginning could apply to when you snuck over and stole Peter from his own universe. Or when September foolishly interrupted Walternate just as he was about to discover the cure for Peter. I know what he means, of course, but the word “beginning” in Fringe is worth a raised eyebrow.
- What is interesting though is that Walter doesn’t assume that the world will end in the blink of an eye, he seems to believe it will be a somewhat drawn out process. I guess he knows about the 6 year plan?
- Peter talks about his BBM complex. He just can’t get his head around the fact that something else turned her on. He probably should have considered this possibility before. It’s not like I begrudge him or Olivia happiness, but they had plenty of time to do more as far as investigating the BBM is concerned. It seems like they put themselves first.
- Given that two worlds are at stake and that they even had a prophecy drawing to guide them (accurate or otherwise), they’ve been a touch selfish. And goodness knows Broylnate died for a good cause, right Liv? 😮 Otherwise dude could have spent more time with the wife and kids and made the most of whatever time his world had left.
- When it’s the end of the world its fine to enjoy every last second of it, but those that can do something about it really NEED to do something about it. Of course, we have to suspend disbelief here and there because we’re watching a serialized story and not a movie, but that doesn’t mean it’s not an issue.
- Walter now figures that the Red BBM was at fault for the vortex because it shares a magnetic field similar to the Magic Typewriter Altlivia used to communicate to the other side. He believes the events will increase exponentially.
- He then says that Walternate has won. Is this a game to you Walter? I guess on some level it is. His struggle to be the equal of his equal is a very competitive perspective. I have a problem with that, in some ways, because it suggests that Walter is looking at the situation too narrowly. But on the other-hand it reflects the personal responsibility that Walter feels towards the situation.
- What I will take issue with is his ability to throw the towel in quicker than a tower thrower. Seriously, Walter!
- Aw, look at Baby Henry. Little does he know that his DNA has just pooped on an entire universe. It’s actually an interesting situation. Walternate – who I presume didn’t want to take Peter’s blood when he had the chance out of some choice-principle – had no qualms violating any choice that Baby Henry (or his mother) had over the use of his DNA.
- Perhaps he felt justified in that he had saved the child from VPE, and that the manner in which the blood was obtained was a natural one that he merely took advantage of? Has Walternate thrown himself off his own moral high ground? Has he crossed his own lines about not experimenting on children? I think there’s two very weighty arguments to such a debate, but ultimately I do feel that he has created a scenario to minimize his perception of his own hypocrisy.
- And to be fair, Walter has done the same thing over the decades, justifying situations based on circumstance and ignorance. Removing pieces of his brain so he wouldn’t remember what a monster he was. Doing whatever it took to fill his heart because he wanted to save the boy, because he didn’t want to hurt the universe by taking him back. How convenient.
- I continue to have greater sympathy for Walternate though – let’s remember that he’s essentially flying solo, with only the warped Brandonate by his side (and Reiko in his bed).
- Though I do still speculate that Brandonate is a foil to keep Walternate afloat. He needs Brandonate to be as vial and ruthless as he is, because he himself is unable (unwilling) to be play that role. In that sense, Brandonate is a frickin’ projection.
- I’m not feeling Altlivia and her involvement here. I’ve found her interesting throughout, but she’s never convinced me as being a fully realized character. (“Bloodline” was perhaps the closest she’s come). She’s a mother now, but what does that mean?
- Apparently, it means she sees the world with new eyes and suddenly cares for the universe she actively plotted to destroy. I’m also for redemption songs but this one lacks a few notes.
- BUT, she does score some points for calling baby Henry a “nugget”. LOL, Altliv, he REALLY IS!
- She also says “I love you”, which was nice, but pretty meaningless in the grand scheme of things. I love Henry’s red hat but that doesn’t make me deep and all. I just happen to like Red, OK?
- The BBM’s roar is a class nine event. Scratch that, it’s a class TEN event. This should tell us something about just how much energy that bad girl is giving off.
- Walternate and Brandonate had hoped that environmental degradation levels on their side would begin to improve almost immediately. Walternate then says, “reversing this many years of damage will take longer than a few hours”. This at least implies that there’s more than a bloodthirsty lust for revenge on Walternate’s tongue, which is more in-keeping with his overall arc.
- The next scene I found a bit incongruent. Altlivia, bless her, is aghast that Walternate would trigger the BBM and potentially kill the people Over There. I guess she also underwent an accelerated morality bone in “Bloodline”, because this surely can’t be the Altlivia we grew up on! Characters change, but this struck me as a plot-driven adjustment for bright eyes. I’ll just accept that she’s a plotty character, although I expect more from her for some reason.
- And I know there’s the Peter factor, but that strikes me as flaky.
- Walternate response also surprised me somewhat. I can understand that he wants to protect his world, even at (or especially at) the expense of the other side, but the whole thing about destroying Peter in the process also felt rather out of place. Almost as though the story didn’t have room to make the character motivations consistent.
- The general idea seems to be that because Cortexiphan has failed on adults (and he wasn’t willing to use it on children), he’s accepted that he wont be able to get Peter back – so he’s given him up and offset this anguish with the love and devotion to his Peter II (baby Henry).
- It just about works for me, but given that his entire mission was just as much about getting Peter back as it was saving his world (and I do believe both objectives were almost equal), it seems weird to have him ‘suddenly’ arrive at this decision. We’re left to swallow it like hard candy, so from my perspective it doesn’t digest as sweetly as it could.
- Still, earlier in the season I did suggest that Walternate had essentially given up on Peter when he used the world “irreparable”, so there are some seeds there. I just wanted to see more of that character journey, but I’ll take what I can get.
- I have to come back to Walternate’s wording though, as it’s very interesting:
“Peter chose to leave. He chose his allegiance. I chose to give up my son, so that you could keep yours”
- Obviously the buzz word there is “chose”. This word has followed Walternate around since the back-end of last season. This is a father who feels hurt by Peter’s ‘choice’. Don’t be fooled by the harshness of his tone – moments before he says these words he looks visibly hurt and pained. But like his avatar, Amber, he encases it and hardens his emotions.
- And I don’t necessarily pin the blame on Walternate either. I’ve always said that Peter was far too quick to run back into Walter’s arms. Boy Wonder has to take a measure of responsibility for what has transpired. Ironically, there was “another way” that only Altlivia (in the story) has thought of.
- Meanwhile, Walter is afraid to act. Let’s not worry though, Bellie said that whatever choice he makes will be the right one. Walter cooks bacon while naked? It’s a just decision, let the man cook!
- Good to see Olivia’s experience with the anomalies on the other side affording the team knowledge on how to go about establishing an early warning system. Again, I’m not sure why this wasn’t followed through after the events of “6B”, but my name isn’t Broyles, Walter, Olivia, or Boy Wonder.
- Olivia tells Peter “there’s gotta be a way to stop the Machine”. On some level I think they both knew that Peter was going inside the BBM. The unspoken ‘goodbye, hope to see ya later’.
- Walter considers the possibility of encasing the Blue BBM in lead – this was a nice insight into Walter’s mind playing catch-up with the other side, who made a similar consideration hours earlier. While Peter utters his trademark line, “we both know there’s another way”.
- He spent a season running away from his ‘fate’, only to be coerced into the BBM anyway. I knew he would take that step. This turn of events is also interesting because it offers additional perspective on the prophesy drawing. Walter’s right, “we don’t know what it means”.
- Peter concedes that “somehow that machine was made for me”. I’ve been waiting for someone to come right out and say it. For me, the question has always been ‘what came first – the BBM or Peter? Peter seems to believe that he came first – though it may depend on how we perceive time.
- Walter figures that this was part of the Observers experiment – “give him the keys and save the girl” – preparing Walter to let Peter go when the time came. By creating a scenario where Walter proved to himself that he could sacrifice Peter for the common good, this in itself affected a change. It opened a door in Walter’s outlook. It’s a crafty piece of manipulation by the Observers, though whether it’s as altruistic as it seems probably depends on their ultimate goal.
- And Walter may later question whether this really was the intended moment of sacrifice, given that things didn’t pan out as he expected.
- It’s a touching moment between father and son. The way I look at the situation, as a whole, it’s a very entangled way of solving a problem by creating a problem.
- Even though Peter is not sacrificed by the episode’s end, it’s important that Walter understood the nature of sacrifice.
- It was also touching to see Peter embrace his fate, to accept the BBM as being his very purpose in life, and then to ask Walter to essentially, potentially, help him die. When I think of all that Walter has done to keep him alive (however immoral), it creates a moment forged on a the arc of authenticity.
- Such bravery and pain. Triggered by the boy’s biological father on the other side. Triggered by the boy’s decision not to understand that father. Triggered by Walter’s decision to steal a boy. Triggered by the human heart and soul needing both redemption and forgiveness. Can someone stop pulling the damn trigger!
- Nina really is underprepared for all of this isn’t she. Not enough amber? Really Nina? What use is Massive Dynamic if you can’t whip up amber like chocolate? Of course, she trusted Sam Weiss, and in doing so didn’t believe it would come to this since Peter had chosen Olivia. Still a contrivance, but given the context of what went before it’s difficult to iron out.
- While I’m sure Nina didn’t get where she is by believing everything she was told, it does give me a new perspective on the “Don’t trust Sam Weiss” clue that was planted on Walternate’s chalkboard at the end of season 2. Perhaps that early warning system (from the elusive Fringe narrator?) doesn’t point to the devilish properties of Sam Weiss, rather the fact that he is fallible, and would misjudge the situation?
- Until we see the next episode, I think it’s certainly a viable interpretation – even though the clue itself doesn’t do much for us, or the characters who weren’t aware of the anagrammed message in the first place. We’ll see though.
- I thought Nina was a bit too smug when telling Olivia that she’d already met her mystery man – Sam Weiss. This is the same woman who was flapping about anxiously a moment earlier. There’s a time and a place for smugness, Nina. This ain’t one of them!
- Sam’s looking more and more concerned as he calculates the fate of the universe, or something. Either way, it’s bad for Blue – and maybe Red too.
- I do like this though – we’re seeing the weight of responsibility that Sam has been guarding on his old shoulders. Whether or not we can trust him, it’s clear that he’s being authentic in these moments. He didn’t expect things to turn out like this. It would appear that he doesn’t have the sight to see over into the alternate universe. Perhaps this places him somewhat below the Observers on the ‘Mystical Entities’ totem pole? This reminds me of when he told Olivia that she had gone beyond his realm of expertize. Dude wasn’t kidding! But anagrams? He’s your man.
- A nice scene between Mother and baby, but my emotions wont be twisted. Again, I believe Altlivia loves baby Henry, but I don’t believe that the love of her child/being a mother would suddenly make her care about the universe she fought against. Certainly not enough to leave (dare we say, sacrifice) her own child to go back to the other side and ask Peter to speak to daddy. It just makes very little sense from her perspective.
- I’d almost buy it if Altlivia was a crazy projection in Olivia’s mind or something (and don’t rule that out). And Lincolnate babysitting? Linc, do you think Broylnate would babysit?
- The logical person to babysit would be Mother Dunham. It’s easier to use Lincoln because Seth Gabel is pretty much a regular, but it seems a wee bit contrived. And is Altlivia taking advantage Lincolnate’s devotion, given that she knows he loves her?
- Given that it crossed Altlivia’s mind to travel to the other side to get Peter to convince his father to turn off the BBM, why doesn’t Peter consider going over there to do exactly that? (they’re called PEACE talks, Peter!). It’s risky, but so is climbing inside of a BBM that might destroy one – or both universes.
- As for the DoD break-in. I can accept that Altlivia would have increased access because she’s the mother of Walternate’s grandchild. But these ‘escape scenes’ don’t really hit the spot for me.
- Altlivia suddenly reverts back to the character that talks out of the side of her mouth – while also sounding a bit like Bellie?
- I’m glad for more information on the technology that Walternate used to cross over to get Peter, but I found it strange that Altlivia didn’t seem to have a problem with these risks. She’s a mother, right? On one hand we’re supposed to believe that being a mother changed her, but in the very next hand we’re seeing her taking nonsensical risks. Motivations can be splintered, but it didn’t quite work for me.
- I can only reason that Altlivia didn’t know the extent of the risks she was preparing to face. Perhaps she was unaware that Walternate would have died had Newton not been on the other side to nurse him back to health. Maybe she believed the spirit of Newton would come to her aid?
- At least Bradonate’s not as foolish as I feared. For a guy so proud to be a part of saving his universe I thought he gave up the technology very easily. I was glad when it turned out to be a trick.
- What is difficult to justify was Altlivia’s decision to knock Brandonate out cold. I’ll be the first to say that dude had it coming in general, but shouldn’t you have asked him for the instruction manual first, Altliv?
- It’s apparent that this was a very half-baked plan that was lucky to have gotten as far as it did. And once again the DoD is the least secure place in Walternateville. I found it hilarious watching Altlivia trying to activate the ‘Go There’ technology when she didn’t even know the first thing about it. I thought she was going to resort to shaking it at one point!
- Interesting moment when Broyles asks Walter what he “as a father” thinks of Peter going into the BBM. It was nice to see Broyles take it down to the personal level of fatherhood. Being a father himself it makes sense for him to consider what this must be like for Walter. As lovely as it was, I also found it strange that Broyles would ask. Would he have ordered Peter to step down if Walter gave him enough cause?
- It’s one of those moments that doesn’t quite land right. I like that Broyles and Walter are connecting in this way, but let’s not forget that Broyles is the head of Fringe Division and has the safety of an entire world to think of, not just the personal heart-strings of Walter Bishop.
- Now, perhaps Broyles was just showing Walter some love, or simply trying to get his perspective so he can better understand the situation and use the information accordingly. Perhaps, but that’s not really how it played. It played more like a scene designed to give us insight into Walter’s thoughts. He was speaking to the audience, not Broyles. Which is fine, it just played too thinly.
- Anyway, it was nice to hear Walter confess that he doesn’t want Peter to suffer. He had accepted that Peter might die but as a last request he didn’t want his boy to endure pain. Suffering does have a specific negative context. ‘Death’ (certainly on “Fringe”) carries a different, more peaceful, weight. Though perhaps Bellie’s soul magnets have gone to my head.
- Speaking of Peter, he looked pretty cheesy in the
X-ManMD suit. Interesting that he didn’t want Olivia to know what he was about to do. As I suggested earlier, I think they both kinda knew.
- Still, he wants her to know this other big important thing: just in case the BBM BBQ’s him. “just tell her that….”
- That WHAT? That you left the cooker on? What, Petah, tell us! Another reason to roll my eyes at Astrid. Seriously, I know you’re feeling delicate, dear, but perhaps you should have jotted that message down..just in case.
- It was touching though. Astrid, offering hope. Walter, offering precaution. Broyles, offering luck. Three gifts and Peter only has a snarky remark:
“If this works, and I save both universes, I want you to consider me officially retired”
- Oh Peter, you and your snarky snarks. And thanks for REMINDING me that you’re also trying to save BOTH Universes.
- And the cuddle between Astrid and Peter was rather sweet. “We’ll be waiting for you”. Aw!
- Walter just about tops it with his “I was never good at letting you go”. A great line that sweeps through the pages of three chapters. But it’s the way he said “you” that gave it an extra kick. I’m not sure how intentional the phrasing was, but it was nicely weighted.
Peter: “This time you have to.”
Peter: “…I know”
- There are times when it doesn’t need to be said. Walter’s craving for choc pudding can wait ’til lunch.
- Peter turns to face the Machine like a man and then walks towards it with a purpose and a swagger. His eyes never leave the shiny panels of the BBM. The diabolical contraption sneers at his confidence. Peter clenches his teeth, then his fists. He hovers forward as if to display his craft, then stands eye to BBM eye with the device to end all devices.
Peter: “Why did you make me kill those shapeshifters? Why!??”
BBM: Huh? It was what you wanted. I was enjoying my 6 bajillion year hibernation and then YOU come along with your deep rooted desires. And yeah, I know that you still have feelings for the other Olivia. Prepare to meet your end”
- Peter reaches out to touch the BBM but gets instantly repelled backwards, his head crashing down onto the ground below. Round II goes to the BBM.
- All joking aside, it was a very interesting moment. Why did the BBM repel Peter? Does it have a consciousness of its own? Is it because Walternate turned on his BBM first? Is the prophecy wrong? Did someone change things? Did Peter’s consciousness jump into the Machine?
- Seems that for some, the prophecy isn’t worth the paper its written on.
- Astrid tells Olivia that the BBM tried to protect itself. Very interesting language, which I think we’re supposed to take as being what the BBM did. I wonder if my crackpot theory edges closer?
- Walter’s meeting with God was one of the episode’s stand-out moments. He begins by saying he doesn’t know his way around here, yet he soon settles.
“I have no other place to turn”
- He’s come a long way for a man who once threw God out of his Lab.
- Fascinatingly, Walter asks God about the white tulip sign he asked for and duly received:
“I asked you for a sign, and you sent it to me. White tulip, and I was so grateful. Since then, in moments of deep despair, I have found solace in believing that you have forgiven me”
- Walter, of course has no conscious recollection of the fact that Alistair Peck sent Walter the white tulip because he told the time-traveller his secret request. Again, I don’t believe this necessarily lessens the sign, because who’s to say that Peck (or Walter himself, in some time-bendy fashion) wasn’t a means for God to give Walter the forgiveness he sought? Science or faith, it’s just a matter of perspective, I feel.
- The question for me is not whether or not God was involved, it’s how Walter used this Power-Up. It seems that he found strength through it, which is good, though he did delay in telling Peter the truth about his origins. He only responded because he had to, because Peter found out another way.
- That said, Walter has begun to make the necessary changes. And let’s be honest, change is difficult. It’s interesting to note that Walter turns his back on God and walks away. Although he’s grateful, it pains him to think that he let Peter go for what could end up being no great reward.
“I was willing to let Peter die. I’ve changed. That should matter.”
- God doesn’t respond. Walter, sensing that he’s yet to find the core of God’s plan, tries another approach:
“God. I know my crimes are unforgivable. But punish me. Do what you want to me. But I beg you. Spare our world.”
- A very moving scene. To see Walter remonstrate with God – to go from broken, to aggrieved, to remorseful, to willing. It’s a moment that feels warranted and authentic. Another important step on Walter’s path to redemption.
- What I particularly liked was that it wasn’t a “blah, blah, blah, please save us all” type moment. Walter being Walter, and a father who had just sacrificed his son, was frustrated with God. Yes, he knew his place beneath God’s wisdom, but he was confused. He wanted God to know that he had changed, because he felt that somehow God might have missed those episodes. And ultimately, I think he realized that he might not have been asking for the right thing.
- This is all interpretation, of course. It’s interpretation in the way it’s written, performed, and received. But this is what I liked about the moment – ultimately underscored by something I’ve been willing Walter to do for a long time – to look outside of himself AND his boy. This is such a monumental moment for Walter that I almost can’t believe he did it.
- Olivia’s grief was also somewhat touching. Just when she had found happiness, the BBM button was pushed. She notices the rusty light outside, calling back to the earlier scene in the morning. From sunrise, to sundown. The BBM is not just ‘calling’ Peter, but also Olivia.
- Sam’s investigations have obviously led him to seek Olivia’s help. Whether she can trust him with the BBM is another matter. As I speculated earlier, there may be two kinds of ‘trust’ involved here.
- Sam tells Olivia that they don’t have enough time. By the way his hair is graying, I think he has less time than the collective “we”.
- How cyclical. Altlivia ends up in the same cage where Walternate once (several times) put Olivia. Walternate says he knows this must be hard for her. Altlivia smiles, and says “oh, you don’t know anything about me”.
- Well, he knows your womb extensively. Which is shocking, but true. It’s the typical Altlivia remark that doesn’t hold much water. Perhaps she believes there are some hidden facets to her personality that he doesn’t know about. But in context, are you saying that this isn’t hard for you, Altliv?
- Walternate says they’re more alike then she thinks, which is an interesting perspective. I love the fact that Walternate is making these observations, probably forged from the pillow of his dreams. Altlivia tries to take the high ground:
“I don’t understand how killing billions of people could possibly be in the interests of the greater good”
- I’ve already said my piece on this, but I do wonder where she gets off? Has she been mind-wiped, causing her to forget her part in all of this?
- Walternate’s comeback is sublime though:
“That’s because you still have the luxury of your ideals. I have to be pragmatic.”
- Is that what it’s all about? Are ideals a “luxury”? Not that I particularly agree with Walternate – he’s made a choice – but this does help us to further understand him.
- Interesting that he decides to keep Altlivia in play – albeit it where he can see her..and where she can probably escape two minutes later!
6:02 AM EST felt very much like a set-up episode at the start of a trilogy. Not as coherent or polished as, say “Bloodline”, but the shine came in the form of the emotional engagement towards the end, when I was reminded just how invested I am to our strange little family unit.
Get well soon Peter, you’ve survived everything else.
Best Performer: John Noble.
Best Line: “Do what you want to me. But I beg you. Spare our world” – Walter to God.
Best Moment: Walter’s audience with God.
Episode Rating: 8/10