Welcome to the rewatch for episode 4 of Fringe season 2 – “Momentum Deferred”. Join us as we navigate our memories in search of a mystical man named Willum and the secrets that he told us before the glass hour.
We have renamed this episode: Becomes Natural.
Newly Observed Perspectives
- It really is amazing just how many sleep references there are in this show. Fake Charlie AKA Farlie gets this episode’s sleep references started: “I didn’t get much sleep last night.” On its own it’s fairly insignificant, but taking a step back and looking at the theme as a whole, it’s pretty easy to see that sleep/dreams/waking are powerful themes ingrained in the DNA of the story.
- Walternate wouldn’t let Farlie come home for repairs, even though he was dying. The stealthy hybrid was in too well placed inside enemy ranks and had Olivia’s trust. It will be interesting to see if Altlivia can do as good a job as Farlie, who managed to go something like 6 weeks undetected. He would have gone longer too, if things hadn’t come to a head.
- Unbelievable character portrayals: Our team knew that the Shapeshifter was still alive, they knew that Charlie was the last known person to have interacted with it, and yet they somehow contrive to get 2+2=90. Even after all this time I find that disappointing. And the Bishops are supposed to have how high an IQ again? Sure, it was a plot device, but it was another clunky one.
- Walter talks about perception, and within that we see the different perspectives that have arisen from Walter’s experiments. Olivia, as we know, has resentment towards Walter and Bell for what they did to her as a child, while Rebecca Kibner, bless her soul, is grateful:
“Our experiment triggered an ability to see beyond the limits of your vision”
“You gave me a great gift, Walter. You..opened my mind“
- Interesting that Olivia didn’t experience the time-slips until she actually met with Bell inside his office. She had already been pulled across to an alternate universe some time earlier without suffering from the disorientation. This is more evidence that several methods, if not leaps, were involved in getting Olivia from A to Z, with the final jump in the elevator knocking her consciousness even further out of whack/transporting her to the correct universe. That, and the emotional response to being face to face with the man who tortured her and wants her to call him “Willum”. *shudders*
- Bell describes Olivia’s talent as being “natural“. As you probably know, I’m constantly intrigued by the nature vs nurture element in this story, so it’s interesting to be reminded of Bell’s exact words here. He claims that had it not been for her natural talent, she’d have been ripped apart in the journey to the alternate universe. Are we to place more emphasis on her natural, predisposed, ability than Cortexiphan? Or is Bellie referring both her natural and unnatural talent when he says this? I guess it has all fused into one ability, and has become natural in that her body instinctively protects her during these feats. Still, it would be interesting to know where the natural begins and the unnatural ends.
- Looking back at their meeting, it might be interesting to see if there are any other important parts that Olivia hasn’t yet remembered.
- It seems likely that much of the us vs them debate will boil down to intent. Bellie claims that he never intended to hurt anyone. While I don’t believe him (he certainly intended to save this world by ensuring the destruction of the other), it’s the degrees by which actions and their consequences differ that may help us decide who we sympathize with most. Right now Walternate is beyond angry, he’s vengeful and possibly parading that under the banner of protection (let’s be honest, even if he does want to protect his world, which I don’t doubt, there must still be a significant revenge factor fueling that motivation). But as much as I sympathize with him, like Walter, he can only push that card so far. I’m desperately hoping that somewhere along the line he becomes the ‘Bigger Walter’. Please don’t let me down, Mr. Secretary.
- Olivia detects that Bellie is trying to appeal to her childhood instincts. As we’ve noticed, it seems that her inner mind is a perceived source of weakness for her opponents. Little do they know she was forged in the rings of Saturn.
“You were the one, Olivia. Of all the children, Walter and I prepared. You were the strongest. You were always the strongest.”
- Were did this strength come from? (OK, Saturn, I know). I’ll keep asking it until it gets some more exploration, but it’s fun to speculate.
- At this stage Olivia couldn’t fathom why the First Wave would want to kill Charlie just so they could open up a door to the other side. She wants to know why they couldn’t just call that known expert, doorsmith Peter, to kick down the door for them. It seemed a piss-poor reason to take someone’s life, right? While I’m sure she still finds what happened unacceptable, by the end of the second season, it’s clear that she realizes that the other side had enough motivation to warrant their pursuit. Doesn’t make it right, not by a long shot, but it’s about much more than just opening up a door.
- In this episode we technically experience three realities. Olivia’s universe. Her meeting with Bell in the alternate universe. Her memory of the meeting with Bell in the alternate universe. (I’m cheating a bit there, but in terms of the presentation of these events, I think you’ll get my point). The way that it was edited together is still brilliant to this day, especially when Peter and Walter wake Olivia up just as she’s retrieving the final piece of memory from deep within.
Best retrospective performer: Anna Torv.
Best retrospective moment: Memory of meeting Willum /exiting the memory.
Retrospective episode rating: 8/10
Next rewatch episode – 2.05 “Dream Logic” – TBA.