Review: 2.13 The Bishop Revival


Welcome to the FB review of the Fringe season 2 episode 13 – “The Bishop Revival“. In this review I present my honest opinions on both the good and bad aspects of the episode. I also take a look at the answers and unresolved mysteries, before sharing my thoughts on other aspects which may have been overlooked.

THE GOOD

  • Backstory on the Bishop family. I was glad for this as I’ve been waiting for more information on the mythical Dr. Robert Bishop to surface for a long time – since “The Arrival”. It was good to find out more about him, giving me a sense of the Bishop influence on history and greater perspective on why Walter is so very protective of family and science.
  • Heavy themes were introduced giving the episode a ‘real world’ sense of weight and reflection. The Nazi ambition for a “Master Race” and their obsession with advanced technology slots neatly into the context of this show. It also offers a sense of poignancy to the overarching storyline, particularly the conflict with the ‘slightly more advanced’ alternate universe, not to mention the ZFT prophecy of the destruction through advancement of technology.
  • Book sub-plot. Surprisingly, I thought this was a pretty interesting part of the episode. Markham, the struggling Nazi artist, Walter’s anger, and the discovery of the old photo with Robert and Alfred –  was all either entertaining or informative on a character level.

THE BAD

  • The pacing was a little off. A times I found myself zoning out. I wasn’t as glued to my screen as I was for the previous episode.
  • Could have done with greater exploration into what was clearly a mythology piece primed for serial investigation. I’m certain that we’ll revisit the themes raised in this episode – namely Robert Bishop and Nazi technology, but I also know from past experience that the next episode will not address these themes in great details. As a result of the format, potentially captivating elements like Alfred came across somewhat 2-dimensional.
  • Peter making the candle connection was a bit of a reach. He really had no reason to be sniffing candles – it all seemed a bit convenient.

UNRESOLVED MYSTERIES

  • How did Alfred (the Nazi killer) manage to appear not to have aged since the early 1900’s? The obvious possibilities are time-travel, suspended animation/cryonics and eternal youth. The latter seems to be hinted at in this episode (see below), but time-travel and cryonics can’t be ruled out.

ANSWERS

  • Robert Bishop is Walter’s father. We originally speculated this back in 1.04 “The Arrival” when we saw his grave. Robert was named “The Seahorse” because he was a good swimmer. He was a scientific pioneer and studied at the University of Berlin. According to Walter, Robert came over to the US in 1943. He was seen by the Nazi’s as a traitor because he was a spy for the Allies.
  • Alfred knew Robert’s formula because he was around at the time Robert created it.
  • Alfred attacked groups based on specific genetic traits using a chemical formula developed by Robert.
  • Walter’s tests on the Alfred’s fingerprints (telomere degradation) suggested that he was over 100 years old. Possibly hinting that he had found the secret for eternal youth.
  • Thanks to people in the comments for reminding me that Walter all but confirmed that Peter’s mother is dead – “God rest her soul”.  Whether this is acutally the case or not is open to debate. (added Feb 4th, 2010).

FRINGE THOUGHTS

  • Some nice Walter moments in this episode. We find out that he was “never happier” than when he married Peter’s mother. I found that interesting because I oft-get the impression that Walter doesn’t look back on her with too much fondness (although he did mention that she was “brave” earlier this season). It also seems relevant because we will surely find out more about Peter’s mother at some point.
  • More allusions to Mrs Bishop:

Walter “Did I ever tell you about when your mom and I got married?”

Peter: “No, I think I missed that one”

  • Allusions to Peter’s past and his mother:

Walter: “She used to say that you had ants in your pants”

  1. This also plays into the idea that Peter is a bit of a nomad – he’s been around (more than even he knows). This is in marked contrast to the Peter we see today, who has remained at Fringe Division to help Olivia ‘watch the gate’ and to further develop his relationship with his father.
  • Given all that is going on in this show, the following line by Walter is poignant:

Walter: “It seems science may have finally caught up with Nazi ambition.”

  1. A chilling statement. It makes me wonder how much of the alt-universe technology is at least partly an amalgamation of technology from their Nazi era and future knowledge. It would help explain why they often look old in appearance. Although, I’m still holding on to the idea that the amalgamation is due to inter-reality ‘fire from the Gods’ tech sharing/stealing.
  2. Which also makes me wonder whether the alt-universe Nazi history differs from our own? Was alt-universe Robert Bishop a Nazi spy like our RB, or did he help the Nazi’s develop their technology? Given the impact of the Nazi Germany on history it could be one of the ‘significant differences’ between over here and over there that the writers will explore.

  • It was great to see Markham, the antique bookseller again! We last saw him back in 1.14 “Ability” when he helped the gang get hold of the ZFT manifest. Thematically, I think the antique bookstore and Markham’s manual record-keeping system added to the feel of old meets new.
  • Markham asks Olivia how she ended up with Peter. Olivia, subdued but willing to interact, tells him: “..It’s my job”. Of all the answers she could have given, she gives the most straight forward one. It’s her job. We saw evidence of this in the previous episode when she helped save Peter and he thanked her for being herself. As I mentioned last week, I think she’s feeling a bit ‘mother hen-like’ of late, looking after the Bishop’s and protecting the world from known and unknown terrors. I know that Peter’s also helped Olivia out a lot, but I get the sense that she’s missing a John or a Charlie – someone she can really lean on and confide in.
  • Walter to Astrid: “We need to take the higher ground” as they prepare to tackle the Nazi toxin. I really loved this line. It worked on a literal level because it was how Walter used the killer’s toxin against him – from above. It also worked on a metaphorical level, with Walter Astrid taking taking the high ground with their superior ethical and moral outlook on humanity. “Higher Ground” is also a strategic military tactic. Like I’ve said before, Fringe works on many levels.
  • After Walter has taken matters into his own hands by murdering Alfred, he and Broyles share a moment which visually resembles the scene from Johari Window where Walter pleads with Broyles not to reveal the Edinans true identity. This time, however, Walter is not for pleading. He accepts responsibility and doesn’t regret his actions. I found this to be extremely meaningful because it confirms so much about Walter, whilst inviting us to question to morality of his actions. He went outside of his jurisdiction to murder a guy. But the guy was a Nazi killer with long-held ambitions for a “Master Race”. That made it OK by Walter. It made it understandable by Broyles. But was it ethically right? Is it OK to fight fire with fire? What does it say about humanity, rehabilitation, the law? I have to admit, the more I think about this, the murkier it becomes. Had Olivia killed him I don’t think it would be much of an issue (although I would probably think about it), but Walter is still technically a civilian and the ease with which he executed Alfred was, well, chilling.  But of course, Walter’s action was about something bigger….

  • …it was about family. A deep-rooted need to protect both his father’s integrity and his son.

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

  1. The fact that he felt the need to tell Olivia this was very interesting to me. It showed that he was aware that he had crossed a line – and that in doing so it affected the way Olivia saw him (again, perception). Take a look at the picture above..look at Olivia’s eyes, her contrasting expressions – each one a different degree of unease, distance and distrust. She’s just found another reason to doubt whether saving Walter back in “Grey Matters” was the right thing to do. Which might seem like a stretch, but put yourself in Olivia’s shoes – the experiments, the lies, the responsibility that has fallen on her shoulders – all because Bell and Bishop picked her to be their poster child for the coming war. Olivia doesn’t trust Walter – she can’t, not fully. She also doesn’t know whether she is included in his ‘family sphere’. I should also say that love Anna Torv’s work in this scene. She only says two words (“I understand” – a lie by the way), her eyes do the rest of the talking. Fantastic.

FINAL THOUGHT

The Bishop Revival was a good episode with a lot of intriguing elements. It also featured additional layering and character dynamics that I found very interesting. I am even more intrigued by the Bishop’s role in shaping history as we know it (and as we don’t know it). I also feel both proud and uneasy at Walter’s actions in this episode. We can count ourselves lucky that he is as redemptive as he is, but we can also be somewhat unnerved that nothing or no-one will stand in his way when it comes to Peter. As a viewer that’s fantastic, as a member of society, it’s disconcerting.

On the down side I think it’s such a shame that an episode ripe for serial exploration was essentially given the stand-alone treatment. As a result the show is not as immersive as it could be. The writers, FOX, whoever, have a responsibility to keep the show on the air, but also to make it as good as it can possibly be. Fringe is a serial show, please treat it like one.

I really like episode title -“The Bishop Revival”, alluding to Robert Bishop’s work being brought back from the annals of history, as well hinting at some elements of past-Walter’s character being restored.

Best Moment: Walter explaining to Olivia that family is very important to him.

Best Performer: John Noble

If you liked “The Bishop Revival”, you’ll like: “The Equation”

Episode Rating: 8/10

If you want to dig deeper into “The Bishop Revival” stop by tomorrow for our Fringe Obserations on this episode. Fringe Observations specifically focus on the clues, connections, mythology and suggestive elements – we don’t consider our reviews complete until we’ve added the Fringe Observations. ;)

Comments

  1. says

    Just a thought, but I assumed that the Nazi’s un-aging was tied to being able to genetics. He was able to single out specific genes, so perhaps he targeted things within himself so he would stop growing older.

    Like: Thumb up 1

  2. Laura says

    I didn’t find Peter’s checking out the candles that much of a stretch. Unlike the wedding party candles, the tainted candle wasn’t pure white. It was a bit yellow and stood out. That is what first caught Peter’s attention. Not the scent.

    Like: Thumb up 1

  3. PrimulaBlue says

    You forgot to add that Walter references Peter’s mother as being dead. Did we know that before? Because I sure don’t remember it!

    Like: Thumb up 0

  4. Betynha says

    As always, a great review!

    May I mention that we finally saw Broyles in his office? And twice? :D

    And I’d like to know why the writers are giving so much reference on a future relationship between Oliva and Peter. Not that I don’t support it, but it’s intriguing for me that they are giving out all these little hints… Could it be important for the future as something that would make Peter think twice before leave the Fringe Division after he discovers who he is?

    Like: Thumb up 0

  5. mlj102 says

    Nice review, Roco. I was surprised, though, that you had relatively short Good and Bad lists. They’re usually longer. In general, however, I agree with what you said.

    Like Laura pointed out, I was under the impression that Peter found the contaminated candle because it stood out and looked different. That lead him to start comparing it with the other candles by looking at other attributes, such as the scent. The fact that it smelled different only sealed the deal that there was something wrong with it.

    I liked your analysis of Walter’s decision to kill Hoffman. Even though I can see why he did it, something about it just didn’t sit well with me. It was too deliberate, too chilling. I think it showed just what Walter is capable of — which may or may not be a good thing.

    I don’t think Olivia is so much in doubt of whether or not she made the right choice saving Walter. But I do think his actions served as one more thing to put a little wedge between their relationship. She’s been a little more reserved around him ever since she learned that he’d been involved in experimenting on her as a child. And this is yet one more side to his character that kind of scares her. I got the impression that she was stunned by how direct and cold he had been in that choice.

    Speaking of cold, can I just say, to all those who claim that Olivia is cold-hearted at times… What she has is nothing compared to what Walter showed in this episode. Now THAT is how I would define “cold-hearted.”

    Anyway, you claimed that Olivia was lying when she said she understood. I have to disagree with that. I think it’s possible to understand why someone does something without approving of those actions. And that’s what I felt from Olivia’s reaction. I got the impression that she truly did understand how Walter was offended by Hoffman using his father’s research to kill. She understands how family is important to Walter. But that understanding doesn’t mean she condones how he chose to handle the situation. Like you pointed out, it was quite clear that she was uneasy with the way Walter handled the situation. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t understand why he did what he did.

    Finally, I also wanted to add that I liked the mini-conflict between Walter and Peter. It was particularly interesting in the way that it parallels the inevitable conflict between them once Peter learns the truth. The difference is that, in this instance, it was Walter who was angry at Peter. The biggest moment for me was when Peter apologized and Walter was quick to inform him that his apology was not accepted. At that moment I thought how Walter should be a little more merciful to Peter if he expects Peter to even consider giving him a second (third?) chance when the truth comes out.

    Like: Thumb up 0

  6. OceanSouL says

    I always read these reviews and I must say that you are doing a great job, Roco.

    In the scene during the pre-wedding you can hear the cellos playing the german national anthem. (http://bit.ly/a6nWnS)

    Love how “Fringe” plays with lights. I always have.
    So, in this episode Peter got the red lights again.
    http://www.abload.de/img/blueredlights9wic.png

    John Noble was fantastic in this episode and he spoke the german words very well :). And I agree, Anna did a great job too.

    I was wondering why Peter hasn’t to struggled in the basement when Walter did. As I got it right this toxin based on Walters DNA – so it does Peter… Okay, it could be different if you are from another universe. *lol*

    Peter didn’t deny Walters daughter-in-law wishes.
    That must just mean something ^^.

    “She’s just what you need. Someone who can see right through you.”
    IMO, a nice hint to the next episode.

    (And I apologize for my poor english skills ^^.)

    Last Words:
    “Agent Dunham, don’t you look lovely today? Doesn’t she look lovely, Peter?” “You look lovely, Agent Dunham.”
    lol, that scene (esp. her face expression) cracked me up.

    Like: Thumb up 1

  7. Fringefan1991 says

    The idea that the alter-verse is heavily influenced by Nazi science was interesting. It could mean that Robert Bishop on the other side was not a spy. Walter called his father a pioneer so it is possible that Robert’s own research for the Nazi’s along with alter Walter’s own work are the cause for the other side’s clear technological advantage.

    Like: Thumb up 0

  8. Jodie says

    I thought it was strange that Walter said the same thing to Peter as John Mosley did from the “Arrival” episode when they were at Robert Bishop’s grave. I think that it was almost identical if not the exact phrasing: It’s a shame you never got to know him. I thought that exchange was really strange – it was a taunt. I thought that Mosley might be traveling through time, but maybe Robert is still alive. Did Walter know his father? It sounded like it. I sure thought that Mosley was suggesting that he knew Robert. Is Peter going to meet Robert?

    Like: Thumb up 0

    • mlj102 says

      Nice catch, Jodie. I had also picked up on the similarity between Walter’s comment and what John Mosley had said in the Arrival. It seems like they’re trying to make a point with that, but I’m not sure what that point is. Like you, I got the impression that Walter must have known his father quite well. But that confused me since, based on the information we have, Robert Bishop died in 1944, and Walter was born in 1946. That alone brings up inconsistencies since it would indicate that Robert could not be Walter’s father. So there are a couple of explanations. It could simply be an inconsistency error on the part of the writers — they goofed up somehow with Walter’s birth year or Robert’s death year. But with something that seems to be as significant as that, I would expect them to be more careful and precise. It could be that, just like Walter purposely recorded a false year for when Robert came to the United States, he (or someone else) also falsified his death year. That definitely wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility. And, along those same lines, it could be that Robert may not even be dead at this point. Or, it could be indicating something bigger and more complicated, like time travel, cloning, or other such Fringe science things… It will be interesting to see where they take that.

      Also, I forgot to mention this in my earlier comment, so I figured I would quickly add it here. Regarding Peter’s mother, I thought the same as Roco in that I have always gotten the impression that Walter and his wife had a very tense sort of relationship, like there was a lot of conflict and differences of opinion. So it struck me as odd that Walter was speaking of her with such fondness. It makes me wonder if I’ve been interpreting their references all wrong. I can’t wait to learn more about her and what the story is surrounding her.

      Like: Thumb up 0

  9. Melissa says

    I was royally pissed at Walter for that. First I was just shocked because I really wasn’t expecting it, but then I just got really, really mad. I guess he’s just been playing the “lovely insane” dude so much the last few episodes I sort of forgot about his seriously antiethical past.

    Like: Thumb up 0

  10. jkyarr says

    Anti-ethical is in the eye of the beholder. The fact that Walter has had to deal death and judgment so handily does not make him void of ethics. I think the writers in particular have gone out of their way to stress to the audience that we’re not dealing with a psychopath nor a sociopath. Walter is profoundly bound to logic and reason and has a long history of suffering both from being willing to take the actions that were required for the greater good and from being unwilling or unable to take those actions in other cases. You’ve seen him grieve over the loss of his son and the loss of other human life. That he would, without the protections of the law, take another man’s life is affirmation of his ethics, not a lack thereof. He did what was necessary to save lives against a very tangible threat. This was not a phantom of of possibility situation. Death was imminent. Further death would have ensued.

    Now whither or not those ethics coincide with a social norm would be something for shrinks and juries to decide…

    Like: Thumb up 0

    • mlj102 says

      Hi jkyarr! It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you post on here. Glad to see your opinion on the episode.

      While I understand what you’re saying, and I agree that I wouldn’t categorize Walter as a psychopath or a sociopath, I disagree with your claim that Walter is mostly ethical. I think scientific advancement comes first in Walter’s mind. Always has, and still does. That is shown in his willingness to participate in experimenting on children, as well as the fact that he shows little concern for the well being of the test subject involved in any given experiment. There are many examples of this, such as the guy who got burned when he hypnotized him into thinking an ice cube was a hot coal. Even after the fact, Walter showed little sympathy for the fact that he intentionally burned that poor guy. Or when he was getting ready to experiment on Roy McComb and he asked if he was required to keep him alive — I didn’t get the impression that he was joking in that instant. Walter seems rather desensitized to the ethical implications of his work. Like he’s said once (though I can’t think of which episode off the top of my head), he doesn’t think about the consequences — never has. Yes, he grieves over the death of others, but he also can have a seemingly disregard for human life. Like how excited he gets when there are dead bodies he can examine, and how disappointed and bored he is in a case until there are bodies he can examine. It almost comes across as him not caring that someone just died.

      Now, for the most part, I think I would agree that family is an exception to the way Walter typically behaves. Like he said, nothing is more important to him than family. And yet, even that didn’t stop him from testing Peter’s electrical tolerance as a kid (though we can’t be sure of the circumstances surrounding said experiments) and who knows what else he may have done that Peter is unaware of. It can also be argued that kidnapping someone else’s son in order to replace your son who died (even if he’s essentially an exact duplicate of your son) is also unethical. Yes, he did it out of love — he was a grieving parent — but that doesn’t make it right.

      Now, in this episode, I think the motives for his actions are questionable. I believe he was acting more out of a desire to get revenge than he was from a desire to protect people. He’s never attempted to get involved in the protecting aspect of a case before, even though they have encountered many bad people capable of inflicting a great deal of death. But this one was personal. And there was no guarantee that the FBI wouldn’t be able to handle the situation. In fact, by all accounts, they were well on their way to getting things under control. Peter had found the source of the toxin at the conference, so they had eliminated the immediate threat. They had already located and taken control of his home/lab which included all of his supplies, so he had nowhere to go, and we don’t know how long it would have taken him to get back to work. And that’s even assuming he had been able to escape the conference. That place was full of FBI agents who all presumably knew what he looked like based on the pictures they had of him. There was a high possibility they would have caught him. Walter’s actions would have worked as a precaution, but he didn’t stop to assess the situation and see where the FBI was at. He didn’t care. He wanted to kill Hoffman. And no matter how evil the person is, simply killing them without warning is unethical. For example, what if Olivia had located Hoffman in the busy conference hall and, without any warning, without even trying to apprehend him, she simply pulled out her gun and shot him. Everyone would be saying how that had been out of line and full on murder. That’s essentially what Walter did.

      In all of these examples, he may have had good intentions, but good intentions still don’t make it right or ethical.

      Like: Thumb up 0

      • jkyarr says

        mlj102, I’ve been here all along, just had to go silent for a while because of other priorities IRL. You make very valid points but it seems to me that they are simply pointing out differences in our perspectives (meaning most “normal” people) and the multiverse in which Walter has lived for decades. The example of experimenting on children, while on the surface seems completely unacceptable to us, in actuality they were the only possible candidates. As explained in due course of season one, the immature development of the toddler brain was the only demographic that qualified. If this were a cancer treatment why would you experiment on people with heart disease? Now its obvious that Walter wasn’t trying to cure anything so the comparison is not quite apples to apples. Still I use it to make my point. There was no one in the fringe field of science better than Bishop and Bell back in their day. Years of practical experience and wisdom went into each progressive design of an experiment. There’s always a great deal even Walter doesn’t know when it comes to the fringe, but there’s always a great deal more that he is familiar with than he ever lets on to anyone. That’s why he’s as good as he is at helping to solve the unexplained. These are waters that he’s used to swimming in. He’s not unlike Sherlock Holmes. Not sure if you’ve seen the new film, but the villain performs these acts that appear to be supernatural, bordering on god-like and all of england is terrorized because they don’t understand. Holmes on the other hand, gets to the bottom of each act and in true Sherlock Holmes fashion, has a big reveal scene during their last confrontation in which all the unexplained is given context. This is Walter on Fringe also. So my question to you and to all of us that don’t swim in Walter’s waters is should he be judged by our outlook on the universe or is he deserving of some benefit of the doubt due to his wider understanding and greater context of the multiverse?

        I too agree that it seems they were closing in on the Nazi and had seemingly already prevented his act that day at the tolerance conference. I too feel that it was more a personal vendetta – Nazi uses Walter’s sweater to target Walter exclusively, Walter survives and turns the Nazi’s scheme on himself. Poetic justice or vigilantism? I’d say the answer is Yes! Is any articulation of disparity beyond that even applicable? Or is our view an orange we’re comparing to his apple?

        Now I’d never undertake to say “how can we judge him?” because I hate the argument that we’re somehow incapable of judgment! (really I do) I just want us to properly identify the basis on which we’re making our own judgments, which we are certainly entitled to make. Against our usual standards I think Walter would get the electric chair. But perhaps against the standards of his peers…. those closest to him and the situation, it would seem while it was a very hard thing of all of them to accept, accept it they did. Are we in a justifiable position to countermand their judgment? We may be capable, but is there wisdom/benefit in doing so?

        Oh and now we’ve arrived at the exact question that Walter has made time and again and its the very question for which we now judge him. Perhaps we’d best be careful how we pass down our verdicts so that those that will surely come afterward and pass down their own upon our heads might show us mercy….?

        Like: Thumb up 0

        • mlj102 says

          You bring up some interesting points. I understand what you’re saying about perspective, and I agree that context is everything. That idea has been a recurring theme in Fringe since the very beginning. And I find it fascinating. That’s part of what I liked about Johari Window so much — it was all about perspective and how your perspective changes when you view events from a different context, or you learn new information that changes how you see things. That’s what this whole thing between Peter and Walter is about: Peter is more than likely going to be incredibly upset with Walter once he learns the truth. But really, Walter himself hasn’t changed. It’s Peter’s perception of Walter that has changed due to the new information. I’m not sure which will upset Peter more: the fact that Walter kidnapped him, or the fact that he has lied to him this whole time.

          But, back on topic. I agree that Walter has a unique perspective and that shouldn’t be ignored. But I still think that, while I understand why Walter did what he did, that doesn’t change the fact that it was ultimately wrong. And that’s what bothers me.

          If you’re going to look at perspective and context like that, one could argue that perhaps what Hoffman was doing was ethical. Perhaps he had reasons for doing what he did. From his perspective, he was involved in a noble cause that would make the world better. But does that perspective make his actions right or ethical? Certainly not. And I don’t think it’s different for Walter. He acted purely out of a desire for revenge. No matter how evil a person is, no matter what they’ve done to you, no matter what your perspective is, killing someone in that manner is not right. I still maintain that what Walter did was unethical, despite his perspective or his motivations.

          I’m also not trying to say that I think Broyles should have arrested Walter or anything. I agree with their choice to accept what Walter did. But I don’t think any of them were comfortable with his actions. I think that, while they accepted what he did, none of them felt it was ethical. And I think that incident has caused them to feel a bit more distanced from Walter. They’re a little more cautious with him, a little less sure what to think of him. And they have every right to feel that way. Walter essentially stooped down to the pitiful level Hoffman was at by choosing to kill him like that. And that caused me to lose a little respect for him and to trust him a little less. I accept what he did, I understand it, but that doesn’t make me feel better about it.

          Finally, I agree with your point that we should only judge others in a way that we would want them to judge us. Which is why the whole story between Peter and Walter this episode was so ironic. Walter was angry with Peter. In a sense, he judged him based on his actions of selling Walter’s books. And, yes, I believe he had a right to be angry with Peter. But, if he had considered Peter’s perspective — that he had been a neglectful father, essentially abandoned him and his mother, and showed little concern for them — he would have at least been able to understand why Peter did it, and maybe he would have been a little kinder when Peter apologized. But Walter wasn’t willing to acknowledge that. He was angry and he wasn’t going to make it easy for Peter to be forgiven, despite the fact that he truly did regret his actions. Compare that to what’s going to happen when Peter learns the truth. He’s going to be furious. I imagine he will be extremely reluctant to forgive Walter, even though he sincerely feels bad for what he did, and he knows it was wrong. And, yes, Peter could stop and look at it from Walter’s perspective and see that Walter acted out of desperation and love for his son who died. He would be better able to understand why Walter did what he did. And that would greatly improve the situation. But I don’t expect Peter will do that — at least not at first. And why should he? Clearly Walter wasn’t willing to do that when he was angry with Peter. So your whole idea of judging others as you would want them to judge you applies here — Walter could have taken a moment to think of how he hopes Peter will judge him when he learns the truth, then chosen to give Peter the same courtesy. But he didn’t.

          Anyway, sorry I started rambling a bit there. My point is that, while it is important to treat others in the same way you would hope they would treat you, murder is a big deal. And I think it sort of speaks for itself, no matter how kindly you choose to judge.

          Like: Thumb up 0

          • jkyarr says

            I’m interested in how you’d differentiate what Walter did with the smoking gun and what a conceal carry permit holder does when he prevents the death or imminent injury of another by killing the perpetrator of the threat. Walter didn’t know whether or not the Nazi’s ability to kill everyone else at the conference had been neutralized or not at the time that he unleashed the smoke. Its not clear on what Walter understood about the Nazi’s ability to release his toxin if he were dead, so perhaps Walter was given incentive by his own reasoning that the threat would be contained if he eliminated the Nazi. Such supposition would have ultimately proven false if Peter had not actually stopped the lighting of those fuel cells. Still we have the convenience as viewers of a neatly made tv show to follow the continuity and chronology of the events of the show with a perspective that is unique and distinct from any one character in the show. We know in essence more about the machinations of the plot as viewers than any specific character does at any point during the episode. I believe that it is only our perspective as observers of the show in the context of the sequence of the events as unfolded by the writers that leads us (or you and many others) to convict Walter of knowledge and perspective that he doesn’t have. In fact only the viewers have it. And we don’t exist in the fringaverse!

            The moral, physical, metaphysical, and pseudo-spiritual relativism in a show about multiple parallel, perpendicular, and otherwise-angled realities is so magnanimous as to be utterly useless. If every possibility is carried out across all versions of the multiverse then all outcomes occur and everything is therefore true and possible. The only reckoning we can then have is our own relative experience. You call Walter’s act bad. What would your alterverse self call it?

            So whats the point of losing respect for Walter?

            Like: Thumb up 0

            • mlj102 says

              I differentiate the two with the fact that Walter did not seem to be motivated by a desire to protect — he was motivated by a desire to exact revenge on the man who threatened his life and corrupted his father’s work. I have mentioned that on several occasions in this conversation, and you yourself admitted that you felt “it was more a personal vendetta”. Throughout the entire thing — before he got to the conference center, when he arrived, and after he killed Hoffman — Walter’s actions and his attitude gave off the impression that this was simply a personal thing for him — that he merely wanted to get back at Hoffman for what he’d done.

              Even in the midst of the threat Hoffman presented, it still was protocol to try to apprehend him before just going out and killing him. Walter never gave him a chance — just released the toxin that lead to his death. There were other ways to approach the situation, but Walter didn’t try any of those methods — he chose the method that would certainly lead to Hoffman’s death. And he knew full well what he was doing.

              “Walter didn’t know whether or not the Nazi’s ability to kill everyone else at the conference had been neutralized or not at the time that he unleashed the smoke. Its not clear on what Walter understood about the Nazi’s ability to release his toxin if he were dead, so perhaps Walter was given incentive by his own reasoning that the threat would be contained if he eliminated the Nazi.”

              I addressed this in one of my earlier comments as well. It’s part of why I believe he was acting out of selfish reasons rather than acting out of self defense and because he wanted to protect people. He knew the FBI would never approve of his actions, so he never consulted with them or told them what he had in mind. Even Astrid had no idea what he was planning. At any point he could have called or done something to get some sort of update on the situation. But he didn’t even try to see what their status was. He didn’t care. He just went in there and released the toxin. I understand what you’re saying that, as viewers, we have a larger perspective of events than what the characters have. But the fact is that Walter never even attempted to gain a clearer perspective.

              Walter has never before shown any interest in being a part of the “protection” group. He’s part of the “investigation” group — he’s the one who comes up with solutions, while the others carry out those solutions. When it comes to taking down the bad guy, he leaves that up to Olivia, Peter, and the FBI. The only time I can think of when he has personally become involved in that part of a case is in Unleashed, when he felt personally responsible for what was going on. But at no other time has he chosen to intervene in the FBI efforts to apprehend a suspect. And it seemed quite clear that he chose to intervene this time because he wanted to punish Hoffman for what he’d done to himself (Walter) and his family.

              He acted on impulse, for his own selfish reasons. And that resulted in a man being killed. There were other options, but he never considered any of them. He knew what he was doing. It seems rather clear to me that it was unethical, because of how he chose to get involved, and his subsequent approach to the situation.

              Like: Thumb up 0

      • Jodie says

        “In fact, by all accounts, they were well on their way to getting things under control. Peter had found the source of the toxin at the conference, so they had eliminated the immediate threat.”

        Walter couldn’t have known that Peter had found Hoffman’s source at the conference. He was not in contact with anyone there at that time. It’s obvious that Walter took great pride in his father so I just don’t think that it is out of character or unethical for Walter to want to end this quickly. I felt that Walter saw it as his duty to stop Hoffman from killing people with his father’s work. That this was Walter’s personal responsibility to keep as many people alive as possible and save his father’s reputation.

        Like: Thumb up 0

  11. hal says

    awesome episode. it had me thinking a lot about the Fringe COMICS… remember the one about the nazi time machine? maybe the comics are really part of the story? which would mean walter and william really did travel back and time and all the crazy stuff that happened. this would give a possible explaination why that nazi guy didn’t age.
    didn’t anyone else make that connection?

    Like: Thumb up 0

    • Vsxe says

      That is just what I was thinking!
      Of course I did the connection. Even when I saw in the promo that the episode had to do with Nazis, I read that comic again. And, yes, I also thought time travel could be an explanation why that Nazi guy did not age.

      Like: Thumb up 0

  12. Elaine says

    mlj

    “Also, I forgot to mention this in my earlier comment, so I figured I would quickly add it here. Regarding Peter’s mother, I thought the same as Roco in that I have always gotten the impression that Walter and his wife had a very tense sort of relationship, like there was a lot of conflict and differences of opinion. So it struck me as odd that Walter was speaking of her with such fondness.”

    ~~~~

    This struck me as odd initially, too, but then I got to thinking about how Walter was referencing their wedding day. Naturally, (one would assume) he would look back on it with fondness. I’m getting the impression of late that while Walter has spoken critically of the late Mrs. Bishops (?) mindset as being small minded, he’s also recognizing that at one time he loved her very much. He considered her the strong one in their family unit, and was very proud to have her as his wife. Whatever degradation or ill feelings that crept into their family came years later…perhaps around the time Peter died, and shortly after Walter’s mind began to slip. Just a guess, of course.

    Roco, great review as always. Loved the sequence of screen shots you posted of Olivia’s reaction to Walter’s statement regarding family. Like mlj, I don’t think she was lying when she said she understood why Walter felt he needed to take the course he did to stop that threat, but she didn’t necessarily condone it either. I think, like the audience, it left her unsettled. And it perhaps placed another wedge in the mistrust she probably still harbors towards Walter for what he and Bell did to her as a child.

    Random thought: In ‘Safe’, Mr. Jones attorney mentioned that it was understandable that the German government wasn’t exactly forgiving since he stole (tried to steal?) government secrets from them. Now, what secrets might those have been? Was it what Robert Bishop was working on? Were they what this Randoff (?) guy was able to perfect and use to carry out the Nazi agenda?

    Lastly, I might be alone in this, but I got why Walter wasn’t willing to accept Peter’s apology right off. I’m sure Walter knew the real reason Peter sold those books, but there are some things you just don’t do, regardless of how angry you are at someone. The conflict likely will have greater implications once Peter discovers the truth about his origins.

    Like: Thumb up 0

    • mlj102 says

      I like your explanation for Walter’s mixed feelings towards his wife. I’m still very curious to find out more specifics about their relationship — how it started, what caused it to get bad, what Walter’s opinion of her is, etc. — but I think you managed to clear up a lot of my confusion from this episode on that matter. Thanks!

      Like: Thumb up 0

  13. Pedro says

    I give it 5/10

    1. because this would have been a great myth episode, but instead it was made into a slow paced, sometimes boring standalone episode.

    2. Frankly, I didn’t think it was a great story, a bit cliched. Nazi’s trying to make a master race through science.

    3. Olivia and Broyles saved it in the end with their reactions to Walter.

    I am not saying this was the worse episode, or a waste of time. I am just saying that as stand-alones go, this is not in my top 5. I think the last two stand-alones were better than this one.

    Like: Thumb up 0

  14. Frobozz says

    Yeah but everyone has missed one important detail…We FINALLY got to see Broyles back in an OFFICE for the first time since Season 1. Ok, maybe not the same office but still…they finally made an effort to make him look like he does something other than hang out in a park feeding the ducks.

    Like: Thumb up 0

    • mlj102 says

      LOL! I like the part about feeding ducks in the park.

      Actually, Betynha mentioned the return of an office in one of the earlier comments. But yes, I will admit that I cheered out loud when I saw Broyles call from an actual, genuine office. And I was rather surprised that Roco didn’t single that out in the review. Come on, with all the complaints of that this season, doesn’t that deserve a spot in the Good list? It still wasn’t at the level of his office from Season 1, but it was definitely a step in the right direction. :)

      Like: Thumb up 0

  15. Pedro says

    ONE MORE COMMENT:

    While I didn’t really like this episode. I do find this episode fun to dissect. There were some cool things hidden throughout the show, so I enjoy watching it a second time to find those things.

    Like: Thumb up 0

  16. charliefan19 says

    Ditto what Pedro said above me. My feelings exactly about the episode. Except I didn’t watch it twice.

    I think the writers are leaning toward a Peter/Olivia relationship…something I’ve expected since John Scott died. I originally thought it would end up being a Olivia/Peter/Charlie triangle, but then found out Charlie was married. Oh yeah, and Charlie died in 2.1. >:( I’m not fond of the idea of Peter and Liv getting together, though.

    And apparently I totally missed Broyles being in an office…when was that??? Or are you just pulling my leg? haha. Maybe I was getting more popcorn.

    Like: Thumb up 0

    • Frobozz says

      Yes, Broyles can be seen for a second or so in an office somewhere answering his cell phone right near the end of the episode. It’s only for a moment, sadly, and not his great office set from Season 1.

      Like: Thumb up 0

  17. Mark L says

    Hi there, sorry to be a pain but does anyone know the song that was playing during the montage-esque scene in the middle of the episode? It sounded rather lovely, but the version I watched cut off before the end credits.

    Like: Thumb up 0

  18. LizW65 says

    While they may never have stated outright that Walter’s wife was dead, it was certainly implied. Neither he nor Peter have ever asked about her health or expressed any interest in seeing her–and Peter, at least, seems to have had a very good relationship with her.

    My theory, FWIW, is that his mother’s death is what prompted Peter to drop out of high school; he doesn’t strike me as a kid who would have tolerated foster care, and he may have preferred simply to disappear off the grid until he reached legal adulthood.

    Like: Thumb up 0

  19. Pamela says

    This was an excellent episode. The writing continues to amaze me.

    I loved the scene in the beginning when Walter was wondering if Olivia would call him dad. Great scene. I LOVE a Peter/Olivia romance. It would add depth to the story arc.

    Like: Thumb up 0

  20. Dennis says

    Did no one notice that the episode took place in “BrookLINE”? Even Broyles said it at 13.47. Does this mean that this episode is also from a parallel world?

    Like: Thumb up 0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>