Fringe: The Beginning of The Mend – Should Peter Forgive Walter?

We’ve seen the evidence – the origins of Peter’s kidnapping, the motivation that propelled Walter into taking nearly-Peter from his Other World to raise him as his own. We’ve witnessed the heartache, Olivia’s involvement and Peter’s continued semi-aware ignorance. Even God has weighed in!

So as we head closer to the moment of truth – some 30 plus hours of Fringe in the making, there is one question that seems to matter more than any other right now – Should Peter forgive Walter?

I must confess –  a few episodes ago I could barely stand the sight of Walter. Grandpa hat or no Grandpa hat, he came across as a deceitful, self-serving, child-smuggling, snivelling sneak – dragging Olivia into his lie and keeping her there against her better judgement.

But “White Tulip”, even more than “Peter“, represented a turning point for me. Maybe it was because, for the first time, Walter actually acted as though he had done something incredibly wrong – avoiding contact with his doting son instead of carrying on as if he was the best father ever. Or perhaps it was seeing Walter write that same letter over and over and over again that made me wish for his torment to finally end. More likely, it was the idea that if ‘God’ could forgive Walter, perhaps, maybe, possibly I can too – after all, he hasn’t betrayed “me”. (well, aside from the cracks in the universe and those clinical trials..).

I still have my doubts over Walter – burning the letter before God came knocking didn’t go unnoticed, but what’s done is done, and I feel it’s time to deal with the consequences. I suspect over the next few episodes Peter will have much soul searching to do. I hope he finds it close to home.

What do you think – should Peter forgive Walter for kidnapping and lying to him? Feel free to vote using the poll and we’ll see what Peter decides when the Fringe hits the fans.

Should Peter Forgive Walter?

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  1. Bishop Takes Queen says

    That’s a tough one. I can’t really make an informed decision right now, as there’s no way of telling what Peter’s life would have been like if “our” Walter had not stolen him from the alterverse. There’s just so much to consider.

    The kidnapping saved Peter’s life (we suppose, since it’s not entirely implausible to think that Walternate would not have EVER found a cure). It seems as if Walter and especially Elizabeth cared deeply for Peter, even if they were not his real parents. They seemingly did not mistreat him. Walter being institutionalized had a negative impact, and there’s no telling what eventually became of Elizabeth. Still, they are not his true parents and they raised him in a state of constant deception. But the love/caring seems to have been there.

    There’s also the fact that we do not clearly know the ultimate status of Walternate. Did the alter-Elizabeth knowingly let Walter from this side take her son, in hopes of a better life for him? Is Walternate evil/malicious? Is he the one who was hooking up car batteries to Peter before he was taken, or was that the doing of our Walter? (I need to go back and rewatch the episode where that was mentioned. If I remember correctly, Walter responded that Peter needed a “jump start,” so maybe our Walter is the sadistic one – a characteristic he has shown in the past concerning his “research.”) Was Peter being kidnapped an important event in the history of the 2 universes? Did Walter’s action actually benefit the subsequent course of events, or did it actually spur the interdimensional war?

    There’s just so many things to consider…the ramifications of the actions that have taken place…and the ones to come, to really decide right now.

    Speaking from the heart, it’s still difficult to say. Seeing as we only know bits and pieces of the presently convoluted story, there’s just not enough information handy to make a concrete decision.

    But Walter has seemingly done a 180 since he was released from St. Claire’s at the beginning of the series. He honestly does love Peter and has tried to be both a friend and a father to him. Peter’s going to be pissed off, as he was stolen from his true parents, his true home world. And the relationship will probably go back to being rockier than it was in early season 1. But in time, Peter will (and should) ultimately forgive Walter. Biological father or not, they have shared (and will share) so many profound experiences that extend beyond blood.

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    • modulegirl says

      BTQ, I agree. We really don’t know enough right now to know whether Peter should forgive Walter. I want him to (after much sturm and drang), but I don’t know if he should. I feel like by the end of the season finale we should be in a much better position to make that determination individually. Obviously the show will make its determination without us:-)

      The episode you are thinking about is “In Which We Meet Mr. Jones.” Peter remembers Walter hooking him up to car batteries and shocking him. Walter looks guilty as hell and mutters that he was gathering data. Peter replies, no, he was experimenting. I think the truth will be more complicated than either description.

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  2. Kallikanzarid says

    I like Walter, I’d forgive him right away. It’s hard to me to understand why everyone is so worried about Peter’s reaction, since he didn’t really suffer from the event. If I were Walter, I’d worry much more about bringing ecological disaster to all the people on the other side – now THAT was a tangible harm!

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  3. Meow Again says

    Regardless of whether Walter lied to Peter, I think he should forgive him, even if it should take a long time to achieve. I mean, even if what Walter did is absolutely evil, that is still the past. Walter truly believes that he has done wrong, and that’s all that matters, isn’t it? The past has passed, and if Peter doesn’t forgive Walter, Peter will have to break up the family he so wished to keep. And what’s more, if you think about it this way: a family member lying to another family member about something for their own good/because they do not want to look bad in that family member’s eyes is perfectly natural. While Walter took this lie to an extreme, if Peter truly thinks about it, I think that he should (hopefully) be able to understand Walter’s intentions.

    Sure, if it were me, I would be shocked at the betrayal and I would probably not forgive Walter, for a long, long, long time at least. But eventually I will, because not only do I have Walter as my only relative alive now (with Eliz. presumably dead), Walter only has me.

    And, just as Bishop Takes Queen said above, Walter /did/ save Peter’s life, and Walter really did intend to only do just that and return Peter to his real parents afterwards. And what happened afterwards was only understandable human flaw/weakness.

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  4. says

    Yeah, Peter should forgive Walter, but first he should “wig out”, go running off from the Fringe team to who knows where, maybe the alt. universe, and “Fringe” should end S2 with Peter hanging out in the wind. Then it’ll be funny (in a twisted sort of way) because Walter and Olivia will have to confront the “other side”, not knowing where Peter is. The ramifications of what Walter did should also have some very real effect on Nina, and Broyles.

    It’s important to remember the presence of the Observer, who came to Observe alter-Walter (there, I made up my own name) finding the cure, was actually what messed up the sequence of events. Walter knew immediately that alter-walter had found the cure, but was distracted and let that moment of discovery go by. It was only then that our-Walter made the cure, and it was only the bottle being broken that led him to take Peter-nate back to our universe.

    Also interesting was September’s point-of-view as he rescued Walter and alter-Peter from drowning. He had no qualms about Peter being taken and raised by our Walter.

    Their is no difference in how Peter was raised by this side’s Walter and elizabeth, only some guilt they might have shared. But the love they had for Peter was the same. Just like if you are an adoptive parent; you don’t love the adoptive child any less because you didn’t birth him or her.

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  5. FringeFan2009 says

    I guess I just don’t know enough information yet to really make a decision regarding this issue. I guess it really depends on what Walter does from this day forward. Also, I guess we would have to find out what happened to Walternate and Elizanate as a result of Walter taking Peter. So, in short, I agree with BTQ above. I wonder if the car battery experiments contributed to Peters memory lose regarding that period of time.

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  6. mlj102 says

    Like Roco, I had very little sympathy for Walter, even just a few episodes ago. Jacksonville and Peter both caused me to look on him in less than positive ways. I still can’t get over the fact that he just took alternate Peter: after interacting with alternate Elizabeth, seeing how much she loved her son, knowing she was his rightful mother, and even promising to return him, he just snatched Peter away from her. That just doesn’t sit right with me.

    Walter has done some things that are completely unacceptable and not right. Consequently, Peter has every right to be furious with Walter. Not only did Walter effectively kidnap him from his real family and his real life, but he lied to him about it his entire life. I know I would be extremely angry if I found out my parents had done that to me.

    The thing is that, yes, what Walter did was completely wrong, but you can’t deny that he did it for good reasons — he did it all because he loved his son. As wrong as it was, you can’t really blame him for that (though I have to add that I think his actions have become less understandable and acceptable as he seems more and more motivated by his own selfish reasons as he has continued to lie to Peter).

    That said, Peter has come to love Walter. Despite learning what Walter has done and despite how upset he is sure to be, I think that love will win out in the end. And it should. Even considering all that Walter is guilty of, if he is truly sorry and he is working to make up for it, then even he deserves forgiveness. Walter may not have been a good man in his younger days — even now he still does things that make me feel uneasy and uncertain (like the way he killed Hoffman in The Bishop Revival). But he’s trying. And I think he has paid his price and I think he is trying to change his ways. As Olivia said in Grey Matters, going crazy seems to have made Walter a better person. And, as Walter expressed in the Pilot, “Whatever punishment you think I deserve, I swear I have already endured it.” He has already paid dearly for his past mistakes, and he will continue to suffer the consequences for his actions. I think that’s sufficient and he seems to genuinely regret his actions.

    I think the final step for me is the fact that Walter finally seems to be willing to take responsibility for his actions. By first telling Olivia and later admitting what he did to Peck, it shows that he’s starting to acknowledge what he did and that it was wrong, rather than continuing to live in denial and refuse to look at what he did as wrong in any way. That’s a big step in the right direction. And the ultimate part in taking responsibility for his actions will be in telling Peter the truth. A couple of weeks ago, I never would have believed that Walter would willingly tell Peter the truth (and he still may not be able to bring himself to tell Peter before Peter finds out on his own) but I think he could actually do it. The fact that he is willing to come clean and to take responsibility for his actions and to do what is necessary to put things right again really says a lot about Walter and that he is earning forgiveness.

    It’s certainly going to take time to mend things and it’s not going to be easy to regain Peter’s trust and to build back up to the strength that currently exists in their relationship. But I do think they will get there. I think Peter has it in him to forgive Walter and I think Walter deserves that.

    Bishop Takes Queen: “there’s no way of telling what Peter’s life would have been like if “our” Walter had not stolen him from the alterverse”

    That’s true, but I think that’s beside the point. No matter what his life would have been like over there, it was his life and it wasn’t Walter’s place to interfere with that. Walter had no good reason for keeping Peter here — it’s not like he knew Peter was going to live a horrible life, so he was simply protecting him from that. In fact, all signs indicate that he could have lived a very happy life over there. He was clearly loved by both his parents, and I think that’s the biggest factor to consider. But even if there was something awful awaiting his future over there, it was his life and Walter had no right to take him from that.

    CrazyLady25: “It was only then that our-Walter made the cure, and it was only the bottle being broken that led him to take Peter-nate back to our universe.”

    See, I’m not completely convinced of that yet. We have no way of knowing what Walter would have done had things not happened the way they did. Sure, he can say he had every intention of only curing Peter, and returning him, etc. But I have to wonder if he ever could have stopped at simply curing Peter. Walter was on a slippery slope in his actions from the very beginning. One simple, justifiable thing slowly led to another.

    It all started with spying on Walternate and alternate Peter. In a way, he was torturing himself, not allowing himself to mourn his own loss. Sure, one possible outcome could have been he was simply comforted by knowing that somewhere Peter was alive and would grow up. But there’s also another way of looking at that: I could see how it could easily lead to resentment. If he spent too much time observing them and thinking about the circumstances, he could start feeling bitter, wondering why his Peter had to die while Walternate got to still have Peter in his life. In a way, he was simply adding to the pain he already felt and he was preventing himself from grieving and from moving past his loss. He was keeping the wound open.

    Then Walternate missed the cure, which led to him deciding to cross to the other side. Again, it seems understandable enough… but if he hadn’t been spying on the other side, he would have never been aware of the developments in the first place. And I have to wonder if he really would have been content with curing alternate Peter and returning back over here. He’d already lost Peter once, could he really bear to cure him, then just leave him over there? We all saw how he reacted when he first saw alternate Peter — touched him, spoke with him. At that moment, I don’t know if he would have been able to just cure alternate Peter and leave him there had the cure not been broken. Again, he was only making the situation worse by putting himself in a situation where he would essentially be losing Peter again. I imagine the thought that Peter would still be alive somewhere, though not with him, would have brought little comfort at that time.

    So while one could say that events happened in such a way that Walter essentially was required to do what he did, I also have to wonder if he would have ever been able to be content leaving alternate Peter over there.

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  7. hal says

    honestly, and as weird as it is to even try to imagine this.. i think if i were to put myself into this position of peters and to realize the truth, well..objectively there really is nothing to be upset over. he wouldn’t be who he is if it hadn’t been for walter altering his entire life.. he can’t say walter is not his father now.. it’s basicly like..he’ll find out.. but then get OVER it

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    • mlj102 says

      You’re right — OBJECTIVELY, there really isn’t anything to be upset about (although there’s still something to be said about your supposed father — who you should be able to trust — lying to you your whole life and betraying your trust). Ideally, you would be able to look at the bigger picture as you suggested, and see that nothing has really changed and no harm was done. But really, who is objective at a time like that? When you learn about a secret that has been kept from you your entire life — a secret that is really part of who you are — you react emotionally, throwing all reason and logic out the window. You’re not going to be willing to sit down and think about it objectively for quite awhile.

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  8. says

    CrazyLady25: “It was only then that our-Walter made the cure, and it was only the bottle being broken that led him to take Peter-nate back to our universe.”

    mlj102: “See, I’m not completely convinced of that yet. We have no way of knowing what Walter would have done had things not happened the way they did. Sure, he can say he had every intention of only curing Peter, and returning him, etc. But I have to wonder if he ever could have stopped at simply curing Peter. Walter was on a slippery slope in his actions from the very beginning. One simple, justifiable thing slowly led to another.”

    I think that Noble played it like our Walter looking at the other side because he would see alter-Walter find the cure, administer it to Peter, and then that would give him some relief that Peter was alive.

    mlj103, i do agree with you; it would be a slippery slope. Would Walter keep looking in on Peter’s life? Probably. Would him doing this become an obsessive thing that would break up his marriage? Absolutely. And then he would have gone spiraling out-of-control.

    But I do also look at September showing up at the alter-lab at just the point in time that alter-Walter found the cure, but actually causing alter-Walter to miss his cure. That set the whole thing in motion.

    We know our Walter made the cure, stored it in a bottle to take it to the other side, and then found the bottle broken because of Nina.

    So, Nina has some real culpability in the matter. I can’t believe Nina told Olivia that she had really come so that Nina could tell her to not tell about Peter, and Olivia bought it.

    But I keep coming back to September and his culpability in the matter. First, in making alter-Walter miss the cure, and then in his “correcting” his mistake by rescuing Walter and alter-our-Peter from drowning. Obviously, September and the other two Observers felt that our Walter getting alter-Peter wasn’t a big deal.

    As long as Peter was alive it didn’t matter which universe he was in; just that he was alive.

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  9. MissNisha06 says

    That was so sad. I think Peter should try to understand what he was doing and how Peter had to live in order to help what is going on. Does anyone else feel that the man from the other side is the other Walter?!? I think that the worlds will never be the same until Peter is back on the right side. There is a constant fight to balance things and I think the other Walter knows that and is coming to get his son.

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    • Inkblood says

      “That was so sad. I think Peter should try to understand what he was doing and how Peter had to live in order to help what is going on.”
      OMTL, I totally agree!(see the comment I made on the episode review) peter, at the very least, should have stuck around to hear the whole story.

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  10. LizW65 says

    Unless the writers are planning on breaking the team up for good and taking the show in some completely different direction from now on, I think it’s inevitable that Peter eventually will forgive Walter–at least enough to continue working with him after a “cooling off” period. I also think that next season’s story arc will include the healing of the relationship(s). Anything else would play havoc with the show’s formula.

    While there’s always the danger of a show like this becoming too formulaic, there’s equal danger in tampering with the formula to such an extent that it alienates the viewers (the old “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” adage), so the writers will be treading a fine line there for a while.

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  11. SF says

    Oh, I don’t think Peter can forgive Walter for a while. It’s one thing to discover that your father brought you over from the other side; it’s another thing to discover you have been lied to all your life. That’s the bigger betrayal, and something Walter still has to answer for. Why didn’t he tell Peter? Ever since they learned of the alt-universe, even with his faulty memories, Walter has known the time was coming when what he did would be revealed one way or another.

    I think it would really weaken Peter’s character if he forgave his father in an episode or two. This is a game-changer moment for Peter, and for our fearless trio. Do they continue as a team? How can Peter bear to be around the person who stole him from his real parents? While I think Peter will eventually forgive Walter, I think it will come only after he understands why Walter did what he did, and possibly after he attempts to get to the other side. I think Peter has to take his time with this – not half a season, please! – but he is shocked, and angry and terribly hurt, and he did what Peter always does – he runs away. Does anyone think Olivia will try to find him? Do you think he will try to find a way to the other side – the Northwest Passage (thanks to my friend for this one!)

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  12. Tom says

    I believe that once Peter understand’s the imortant role he is supposed to play, whatever that may be (harken back to the episode “Peter” where the Observers maintain it is important that he live), Peter will forgive Walter! Until that is revealed it will be touch and go. Plus, who was the person getting ready to cross over that was getting the shot at the end of the last show? Or did they just cross over and needed the shot to ease the effects? Was it Peter getting ready to cross back over or was it the other Walter? Just who, we are not told yet! Ought to be interesting.

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  13. Inkblood says

    Ya know, if some one had told him, instead of keeping it a secret, then he would have been a lot less angry.

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  14. Ari says

    I think Peter should forgive him. For all of Walter’s mad scientist unethical and irresponsible actions there is what is perhaps the only shred of human decency that tethers him back to earth, and that is his love for his son. When he stole Re-Peter from the PU it is clear that for once his ambition was not to achieve something, but because he loved his son, and could not bear the thought of “letting” him die a second time (in the PU). (anyone who is parent would “get” this..) It is clear that his motivation was to save his life, and at least originally did not intend to keep him. I think it is obvious that his wife was greatly responsible for guilting him into keeping Re-Peter, and she eventually could not live with the regret. Walter had to deal with the ethical dilemma of stealing Re-Peter vs. the emotional dilemma of potentially loosing his wife, if he did not give into her desire to keep the stolen boy. We don’t know for sure wether Walternate would have failed at saving Peter, all the evidence seems to suggest he would have failed, which is supported by the fact that The Observers explained that Walternate missing the reaction that would have produced a cure was due to the Observer’s interruption in the lab, and the observers considered that event a MISTAKE that needed to be corrected, and a comment to the effect that “the boy must live”. Hence the obersever’s ongoing help and reassurance to Walter (in this universe).. which leads me to believe that in the future we will find why it was Walter who was helped in his retrieval and treatment of Peter. Dont forget, Nina and Mr. Bell already knew of Re-Peter’s true origin, all this hints towards a “greater-good” type reason why everyone was OK with what Walter did… so… Peter needs to get the whole story, accept his messiahood and forgive Walter, because theres bigger issues at hand, and he probably would be dead if it wasnt for coockoo walter. A parent is not the one who gives birth to you, but the ones that build a portal to another world, without regards of ethics and Nina Sharps hand in order to save your life! if thats not love, what is????

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    • mlj102 says

      “I think it is obvious that his wife was greatly responsible for guilting him into keeping Re-Peter”

      Yes, she did have a part in the decision, but I still believe that the majority of the blame falls on Walter. Elizabeth would have never been in that position if Walter hadn’t brought alternate Peter over here in the first place. No one can blame her for reacting the way she did once she saw “her son” in the same room she was in — no one can blame her for not wanting to let him go. She reacted as any parent would in that situation. But she wasn’t the one who actively brought him over here and, in the end, she wasn’t the one who decided to keep Peter here. Walter was the one in control. He could have taken Peter back if that’s what he really wanted to do or felt he was obligated to do. But he didn’t want to lose “his son” again. So while Elizabeth may have influenced his decision, it was still his decision, thus the majority of the responsibility is still his. While the dilemma was real, I don’t think it was that hard for him, because he wanted to keep Peter just as much as Elizabeth did, if not more, so she simply made it so he could justify keeping Peter.

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  15. LITTLE HILL says

    i think peter should forgive walter and he can still be mad at walter but let walter know that he will never forget the secret about him not being from this universe. But yeah i think eventually peter will some point in time forgive walter maybe once he knows the true story about why walter took him from the other universe in the first place.

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  16. kIYAN_THE_GREAT says

    Is everyone forgetting that walter did not initially plan to steal peter? he was trying to cure him ASAP, without risking to lose him again. ONLY after crossing the other side and seeing the glass of his cure being broken, he planned to steal Peter, and it looked like peter had very little time anyways, so the probability of peter(nate) surviving without walter’s intervention is significantly low,
    that being said , we have to consider that Peter doesn’t know the whole story about why Walter took him. All Peter knows right now is that Walter stole him, and that disgusts him.

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