Fringe Rewatch: 2.01 Point Of Old Return

Welcome to the rewatch for episode 1 of Fringe season 2 – “A New Day In The Old Town”. Join us as we return through the gates after scouring the other side for new perspectives and William Bell.

We have renamed this episode: Point Of Old Return.

Newly Observed Perspectives

  • Introducing the lovely Agent Jessup. What a shame she had to go steal that password and get sucked into an alternate reality. Her and Olivia could have formed a great team, solving crimes and kicking ass in half the time and twice the pretty. I’ll forgive Jessup if you will, TPTB.
  • Olivia’s Super Dunham assault on the windshield gets better and better with each viewing. What helps sell the moment is Jessup’s Dunhamesque lookey-over-the-shoulder technique, before the momentary silence, and then, BOOM! Even the universe cannot contain Dunham. Wonderful stuff.
  • The whole Dunham RIP thing wasn’t quite as convincing though. I mean, seriously, I doubt even Dunham herself thought she was going to die. It was just an excuse for Peter to do his thing. And Peter’s reaction to Olivia’s potential death? “Ah, come on!” No, you come on, Peter! I expect tears and possibly some screaming. Heck, even kick something if you want. If you’re going do it, put some feeling into it. :)
  • Jessup: “There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of..” Peter cuts the eager agent off and probably foreshadows her existence. Maybe she was just a dream and we all imagined her? Shared dreamstate.
  • Staying on the dream/sleep-tracker for a moment, here’s a reference from Peter: “[Walter] also likes to check that I’m still breathing, when he thinks that I’m asleep, which is a little creepy.” If only he knew.
  • Walter’s old test subject Rebecca Kibner developed the ability to see people from the alternate universe. Back in the day she identified shapeshifters from the other side. Does this mean that back then Walternate (or someone) had discovered how to create shapeshifters and send them over? Does this in any way help explain Newton and how long his head was frozen for?
  • And now for one of my favorite quotes: “He’s from another Universe, man!” Thanks Becca, your job here is done.
  • I’m not even going to mention the Charlie: Furnace Of Death hiccup. It was bad. Obviously they really wanted to do the whole Charlie-switcheroo thing, but it unless the shapeshifters have Speedy Gonzalesesque moves that we don’t yet know about, then I still don’t see how he could have pulled off the switch so quickly, and retrieved the nurses body, and changed clothes, etc. And after finding the shifting device, neither Peter nor Jessup considered the possibility that the Real Charlie Francis had been killed? Oops, looks like I mentioned it. Oh well, RIP Charlie (again), may the flames preserve your memory in the folds of time, and may your wife never know that she was sleeping with an embryo for six weeks.

Best retrospective performer: Anna Torv.

Best retrospective moment: Olivia smashing through the windshield.

Retrospective episode rating: 8/10

Useful Links

Next rewatch episode – 2.01 “Night Of Desirable Objects” – TBA.


  1. Alex says

    I agree that Peter’s reaction to Liv’s comatose state was highly unconvincing – after all they’d been through together he could at least look a little more sad/angry. Quite a lukewarm response, i think

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  2. hal says

    i remember when i first watched the intro to this.. i literally exclaimed “holy sh*t!” to myself. as im sure many people did in unison, all over the world in countless languages.. or something. yes.
    what i’m sayin is.. something like this will probably happen next week. except more so. it’ll be like, really profuse swearing and screaming, with mental breakdowns and crying and slapping myself etc.. but no.. i’ll leave that to the other fringeblogger posters

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  3. Kiki says

    I am rewatching Fringe Season 2 on DVD right now and wondering where the heck did Agent Jessup go. Did any of the TPTB mention her character’s absence?

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  4. FinChase says

    I was a latecomer to Fringe, so this was the first episode I actually saw. I knew a little bit about it. From the moment Dunham came smashing headfirst through that windshield, I was totally hooked. This has to be one of the single greatest entrances in TV history. Certainly it was the most jaw-dropping.

    Jessup seems like such a plot device. Her only function (besides keeping Peter from being arrested when they inexplicably don’t even recognize him at the Boston Federal building after he’s been going there for a year), appears to be so that Peter can explain about Fringe division to catch newbies like me up. I didn’t mind it the first time I saw it because it did help me catch up, but now it irritates me.

    I loved the little scene between Olivia and Charlie. She’s putting on her “I’m fine” act, and Charlie just cuts right through it. She simply melts with him. It just makes his loss even greater.

    I can’t believe you didn’t comment on Rachel’s wonderful appearance, knowing your warm feelings towards her. Honestly, she didn’t bother me here. She came to her sister’s bedside like she was supposed to do. Peter’s meeting with her seemed a little strange. They were supposed to be friends and her sister is dying, and he doesn’t even give her a hug? How cold is that?

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  5. charliefan19 says

    Ah, the beginning of the Charlie fiasco. Little did we know it would take six weeks and countless mercury thermometers until the Fringe team figured the “switcheroo” out…

    Agent Jessup? I keep forgetting about her. Understandable…

    Peter’s scene by Olivia’s bedside didn’t bother me then, but it bothers me now. he goes from a nearly emotionless state at her apparent, imminent death to crossing universes for her?? Please…

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    • mlj102 says

      Don’t worry LBJ. I wouldn’t know either, if not for an old episode of “The Pretender” that directly refers to “TPTB”. From what I understand, it means “The Powers That Be” or, in other words, the people in charge, whether in the networks, producers, writers, or any other obscure role, who make the final decisions.

      I felt like this was a strong season premiere. As has been pointed out, there are shortcomings. The Charlie switch definitely could have been done better. The Jessup disappearance is annoying when you watch this episode and wonder what happened to her, but other than that, it’s all rather forgettable. Peter’s reaction does seem a bit odd, though I attribute a lot of it to shock/denial. His reaction in the hospital room with her was definitely more what I would have expected and more believable. And despite those shortcomings, this episode still holds up well. It introduces a lot of important things, has some great moments, and was a suitable follow up from the events of the finale.

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  6. jophan says

    Yes, Jessup was a plot device, but a smoother one than the Mysterious Committee in “Same Old Story” or Harris’ recap in “Bound”. It was nice that they gave her a second appearance, but that was enough.

    The arrival stunt was fantastic.

    I may be using facts to fit my own theories, but I wonder if Walter had a reason other than emotional reflex to deny that Olivia was unrecoverable. Some mostly-lost knowledge of the future?

    As for the Charlie switch, magical wardrobe changes are a repeating convention in this show. Back to the Pilot, Olivia manages to dress in seconds while holding a phone to her ear, and the dancer in Bad Dreams had the magically appearing bra… I know, it’s no excuse, but it’s consistent.

    As for Peter’s reaction, this is a man who spent x number of years in a war zone and may well have lost friends there. He stays on his mission — escorting Walter and trying to stabilize him — then has a couple too many drinks and saves his real reaction for a private moment. Maybe a bit stereotypical-stoic-hero, but not that unlike Olivia’s reaction to his leaving a year later.

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    • annon says

      Thankyou Jophan. You nailed Peter’s reaction for me. Peter’s character is one of little emotion. However, Peter’s reaction to Olivia’s situation very subtley keeps on changing as we get further and further into the episode. With each scene this facade that he puts up at the beginning (yes, I think he was in complete shock/denial at the beginning), slowly, slowly disappears, until his private moment with her at the hospital.

      I wouldn’t expect tears and screaming, that’s not really Peter’s style. He keeps his emotion in check. The kicking down doors emotion, came later in the season. That’s the biggest emotional anger reponse we have seen from him. Even when confronting Walter about his true origin, it was a very controlled response, no screaming or crying.

      Olivia and Peter are very alike with their emotional responses to things. Walter is the emotional one out of the three.

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  7. says

    Was Jessup just there as a fake-out replacement heroine to make people worry that Olivia was gonna bite it? I can’t really think of any other point for the character.

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    • LizW65 says

      I think she may have been intended as a Charlie replacement, but proved unpopular with the viewers, and was dropped as a result.

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  8. Bishop Takes Queen says

    Can you all feel it? Spotlight on the Molebaby is next! I’ve been dying for Roco to revisit that episode…

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  9. Name says

    And let’s just chalk up the Charlie-switcheroo fail to us being dense. Clearly, the nurse’s body was hidden down there already, since the shapeshifter was probably going to burn her body later.

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    • says


      I’ve removed your spoiler since this isn’t a spoiler post.

      As for your theory. I’d be willing to buy it, except…the nurse’s body isn’t the only problem. Shapeshifter also had to shift into Charlie, which as we’ve seen, takes at least 30-60 seconds on its own. SS also had to undress Charlie, undress herself, change into Charlie’s clothes, hide any traces of mercury from the shots ‘The Real Charlie Francis’ fired off (although this is not such a big problem), hide TRCF’s body. Not to mention drag into position the nurse’s body that, let’s just say, was conveniently dumped nearby.

      Peter and Jessup might not be the most fleet-footed duo in the world, but they didn’t take longer than, what, a minute or so, at the most, to get there?

      And if the editing is the problem, then that’s still a problem. You can’t blame the viewers for that. If anything we’re sharper than they’d probably like us to be.

      And let’s not kid ourselves. This isn’t the only incident of this nature. Season 1 is littered with them (albeit on a smaller scale), and there are more problems of logic in season 2.

      Patiently waiting for an answer that will explain the problem, but until then It’s a glaring hiccup or the Shapeshifter can move like Speedy. Or they used the green, green, green, red. But now I’m just massaging the plot for the sake of making it, some how, make sense.


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  10. number six says

    That was a spectacular scene entrance for Olivia. Simply awesome. Kudos to that stunt double.

    The good:

    – Peter the whole episode. The first time I watched the episode, I feared he would be written out of character and make him have a breakdown. I would have bought such a reaction if this had been with Walter dying, but not with Olivia at this point. Great characterization there by the writers and Joshua Jackson.

    – All the Walter/Peter scenes, as always.

    – Olivia waking up. I freaked out.

    – The scene at the hospital with Olivia and Peter. “Take care of the people you care about.” Yes, he is really good at that.

    The bad:

    – Olivia’s invisible life support.

    – Agent Jessup. I’m glad TPTB realized their mistake and the character was dropped like a hot potato.

    – Peter’s leather jacket. How could they do such an awful thing to such a lovely man?

    Although I was sad about Charlie’s death, I liked that he died fighting the enemy and not from some lame bug infection. It was a good death.


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