After reading Walter’s 1.12 Lab Notes, I’m wondering whether the ‘computer virus’ can also offer a metaphorical explanation for Walter’s mirror image (or “Alter Walter” as he’s come to be known), who we saw during his venture back inside the walls of St. Claire’s in “The Equation”? Walter refers to his mirror twin as a “Ghost in the Machine”, coined from the 1967 work by Arthur Koestler. This description leads me to believe that the “Alter-Walter” is a manifestation of an earlier version of Walter Bishop; a sinister part of himself who he somehow managed to banish to the confines of his memory – a memory which is, thankfully, fragmented. Once again, this hints at the duality of Walter and makes me wonder; just what was he like in his earlier days, and does he deserve the forgiveness of Jessica Warren for the death of Carla Warren? What if it wasn’t an ‘accident’?
How much influence does the Alter-Walter have over the post-St. Claire’s Walter Bishop that we see today? As we saw in the “Equation” episode, when he’s confronted with his ‘ghost in the machine’, it still induces fear into Walter. This seemingly evolved (and sinister) version of Walter still rattles around “unresolved” inside of his head. You’d have to think that at some point this ‘ghost’ is going to cross over to the other side.
Which brings me to another underlying metaphor from “The No Brainer”; the idea that our brains could one day be superseded by computers, as was the case with the victims of the computer virus. Evolved forms of our own minds, with programmes and viruses which could soon see us become the ghosts in our own machines; relics of our past consciousness.
As an aside: Whilst some people believe that the ‘cyber hand’ (pictured above) was part of Brian Demsey’s programme; that he somehow found a way to make the victims ‘think’ that the hand was real. Walter’s Lab Notes suggest the opposite; that the hand was something far more ‘fringey’ (if not ‘otherworldly’).