Fringe Rewatch: 2.13 DNA – Death To Nazi Ambition

Welcome to the rewatch for episode 13 of Fringe season 2 – “The Bishop Revival”. In this rewatch we search for new perspectives as we battle against time.

We have renamed this episode: DNA – Death To Nazi Ambition.

Newly Observed Perspectives

  • Another episode big on memory. Encapsulated by this quote from DNA Death:

“These days are precious. Soon..all you will have are pictures”

  • He’s probably talking about making the most of life. But it also plays into the idea that life is comprised of snapshots, like the important events captured by the Observers.
  • Once again Olivia questions Peter’s attitude towards Walter – this time it’s over the books that he sold when he was angry at his father. Olivia doesn’t give Peter a hard time over it, but you can tell by the look on her face that she doesn’t quite understand or approve of Peter’s petulance. She’s been quite an ally for Walter, and it’s a partnership that was soon about to become closer by default.
  • I’ll get to the nitty-gritty, since this is one of the main questions posed by the episode: Was Walter right to murder to the DNA Death? The show has given us plenty to think about in terms of humanity and morality, and I’d be somewhat of a hypocrite if I believed that Walter was right to do what he did. That being said, he was defending innocent people who were being targeted because their genetic code happened to disagree with Nazi policy. So, forgive me if I don’t shed a tear for DNA Death. But I’m always brought back to what I think this episode wants us to consider – the idea that ultimately, Walter retaliated because DNA Death had abused his fathers work – used it for evil. I am reminded of the look on Olivia’s face – she could barely look at Walter afterwards.
  • This is a man she had defended on countless times, even to his own son, and yet he was capable, still capable of murder. After everything that Walter had been through, this episode suggested to me that he had not yet learned his lessons. The other thing to note is that he had no regrets. And it wasn’t a crazy Walter – this was a coherent and lucid Walter who spoke with measure and calm. I just think that a person is in trouble when they lose humanity like that. To be so resolute after murdering someone? For me this is one of the most difficult questions ever posed by Fringe, and I think it asks us all to find where that line is within ourselves:

“Family, is very important to me. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do.”

  • I feel for Walter, and like Dunham, I understand. I think we all do. So I’m not going to judge Walter because his motives, although murky, are also very human – to protect his family. But where there alternative courses of actions – perhaps evacuating the building? Probably wouldn’t have been effective and DNA Death could have escaped in the scramble. Such a tough episode to rewatch because of the polarizing reactions that it causes me to have.
  • Walter tells Peter “It’s a pity you never got to know [your grandfather], you too would have gotten along very well, I think” As we know, he’s not the only one to offer that sentiment.

Best retrospective performer: John Noble.

Best retrospective moment: Walter explaining his actions to Olivia.

Retrospective episode rating: 6/10

Useful Links

Next rewatch episode – 2.14 “Jacksonville” – TBA.


  1. Cortexifan says

    I just wanted to thank you for all the work and effort that goes in to these rewatches. I look forward everyday to read more on what inside you gained from each episode. It gives the episodes a depth that is incredible and makes me want to rewatch them all the time.

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  2. Sean says

    Only a 6/10? Ouch.
    Hey, I was wondering, did you happen to pick up an odd glimmer in John Noble’s eye while he and Broyles had that fantastic conversation? It has appeared in other episodes too, and I wanted to know what you thought about it.

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    • says


      6/10 is pretty good considering it’s a retrospective rating. :)

      As far as I’m aware, the glimmer in his eye is from cataract surgery.

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  3. number six says

    Nazis! Oh well, at least, Markham is back. I like how the relationship between the Bishops is developed, it’s really well done: Peter being ashamed of his actions and Walter rejecting his apology. It’s a nice role reversal, as Peter looked like a guilty kid, when it’s usually the other way round. I liked that a simple apology wasn’t enough for Walter, Peter had to work harder than that and retrieve those books for Walter. It was also a nice touch that Olivia sided with Walter here, again it’s another step towards her siding with Walter and keeping the truth from Peter.

    “Family, is very important to me.”
    I think the reason, he killed the Nazi, is that he was protecting his father’s work.

    Other than the whole team being rather dim at times, I find this episode really enjoyable.


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  4. italianstalian says

    hey WTF didn’t peter’s grandfather die supposedly 2 years before Walter was born? why is walter telling peter that it was ashame that he never met him, when walter (supposedly) never met him either?

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    • QuoteGirl says

      If Walter’s father (Peter’s grandfather) died two years before Walter was born… then Walter must’ve had a different father. It takes nine months for a child to develop, you do know that, don’t you?

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  5. says

    Lucid Walter can be very ruthless, obviously. That’s when you can tell that he and Walternate are ultimately the same person.

    The funny business with Robert Bischoff’s death date is probably a retcon. Or perhaps deception in-universe.

    I second cortexifan. Great work on the rewatches.

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  6. JustForFun says

    I have a question : the nazi guy use Walter’s DNA to attack him, right ? So why Peter is not affected by “the poison” ? I mean they are father and son, they share DNA. Perhaps it’s why Walter killed this man, to protect a secret about that more than this father’s work corrupted excuse ?

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