Review: 2.20 Northwest Passage


Welcome to the FB review of Fringe season 2 episode 20 – “Northwest Passage“. 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

  • Continuation of the central arc. As surprisingly good as Brown Betty was, it was great to get back to central narrative in a more ‘conventional’ fashion. A season ago this episode would have been “Midnight” – a good episode but with looser ties to the central mythology due to its flimsy stand alone nature. I’m always happy to see Newton and the addition of Walternate was an added bonus. This is an episode which left me wanting more and it did its job in setting up the season finale.
  • I was glad for some alone time with Peter. I’m not saying that this was the most effective centric ever made, but it did give me some useful insights into who Peter is when he’s not with Walter, especially now that he knows he’s “not from here”. Again, I would have liked a deeper exploration, but on the same token it did set the ball rolling.
  • Some nice direction. Good use was made of the natural scenery and there were some great camera choices. The only slight negative is that I would have liked to have seen more emotion from Peter conveyed through the direction, as well as the actor himself.
  • The music, the score – fantastic. It was atmospheric and, at times, creepy. I didn’t particularly notice it as much the first time around, but upon rewatching the episode I found that  it added another layer to the story that I wasn’t consciously aware of.
  • I don’t often single out guest stars unless their name is Sebastian Roche or David Call, but I thought Martha Plimpton was really good in this episode. She gave Mathis this quiet yet authoritative quality that really spoke to me. She had to carry a lot of the narrative due to the amount of screen time she had and thought she handled it well. I’m not sure if there’s natural scope to see Mathis return one day (perhaps when Peter finds out that Walternate stole him from Walternatenate?) but I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing her again.
  • The end scene – which is what this episode was about.

THE BAD

  • So let me get this straight. Peter sees Newton in the crowd and just lets him get away? I get that he didn’t want to raise suspicious or endanger the public, but DUDE, you’ve been searching all season for this guy, who might have the answers you seek, and just give up the chase without a fight? That one didn’t land quite so well for me. So much for “we’re done reacting, blah blah blah”. You’re all talk, Peta. ;) In truth, this is just one example of several character actions from Peter than didn’t seem quite right.
  • Miss-firing Emotional Beats. I thought some of the emotional moments weren’t allowed to resonate as I felt they should. A classic example is Peter discovering that Krista had been killed. Once he figured out that Newton was responsible I thought he should have displayed more regret, guilt and reflection. After all, he must have blamed himself to some extent. It was a great opportunity to show how Peter deals with the kind of guilt that we’ve seen his father struggle with for the past 2 seasons. This isn’t the only example – I felt that the attempt to convey a strong emotional attachment between Mathis and Ferguson missed its mark. I felt as though I should care, but it was hard to invest in their relationship even though I could understand her state of mind. It felt as though the there was an absence of shading which made it feel hollow. Perhaps there needed to be more ‘story’ there to make it work? Though granted, I still think that Plimpton did a good job.
  • I would have liked a deeper exploration into what it means to discover that your whole life has been a lie, and what it means to find out that your every thought, feeling and connection to this reality is nothing but a dream. We could have gone really introspective with this episode, it was a fantastic opportunity to make our hearts bleed for Peter, to connect with him on a level that raises questions on reality and what it really means. Instead that opportunity was passed up – at least for the time being. And I get that – Peter’s reaction will be explored over a series of episodes, if not seasons. I just felt that we could have gone a little deeper on Peter now – I mean how often do we get a Peter centric?
  • Walter suddenly remembering that objects from the Other Side emit a glimmer, when it was this very glimmer that brought the secret about Peter to such a critical point. This seemed somewhat contrived. If this was something that the entire team shouldn’t necessarily know then I could buy it, but wouldn’t it even cross Olivia or Astrid’s mind (let alone Walter’s!), bearing in mind the whole “Jacksonville” thing? Instead, Astrid’s response is “So?”. Oh Astrid, now I get to roll my eyes at you. Even more contrived was Walter purposefully entering the wrong numbers in the ‘Glimmer detector’. I appreciate that they were trying to convey Walter’s hope conflicted with his fear over finding Peter, but I felt that it could have been done in a better way. Having him put in the wrong numbers was excessive, and well, pointless.
  • Joshua Jackson and emotion. At times he taps into it, but on occasions in this episode I feel that he didn’t quite manage to find the right emotional connection to Peter and his mindset. I wouldn’t pin this all on the actor, but for whatever reason I thought he missed a few opportunities to really embellish Peter’s turmoil.
  • With that in mind, I find it odd that in a Peter centric episode I didn’t really come out of it knowing Peter much better. This has been lurking in my mind for a long time now, so I’m not only reacting to this episode. Peter is still very much a shell – unlike Olivia or Walter, the  creators and Jackson don’t seem to have quite found the right emotional connection for the character. But here’s my dilemma – this could, in part, be intentional, since Peter is from the Other Side and in search of that missing something. So I leave room open to that possibility, but the possibility is not strong enough for me to be completely happy with that as an explanation. I watch Olivia and Walter centrics and come out of them feeling like I know them even better. I came out of Northwest asking myself: Who’s Peter? Because really, who is he?

  • Even more so than “Jacksonville“, this episode seemed too tightly focused on the end scene. This may not seem like such a bad thing because episodes need a level of planning. But for me, I thought that the ending gave me more in those 2 or 3 minutes than the previous 40 or so minutes did. In other words the episode felt too much like a ‘set up’ than an exploration. The problem is that Peter can’t yet carry an episode on his own. He’s improving but he’s not there yet. Then we have Newton – an excellent character but he’s still immensely underdeveloped. We see him, but we rarely see him. I know, he’ll hopefully be around for a while, but does that mean we can’t get more insight into his character now, especially when he’s doing all manner of crazy things in the background, including bringing over Walternate. I guess my problem – if you can call it that, with this episode is that the different segments didn’t always mesh together as well as they promised. There was an ‘airiness’ to what I feel should have been a dense portrayal of a man who’s world had just reared up from under him. Things definitely improved on my second watch, but I still feel that the episode was essentially a (very good) 3 minute segue into the finale.

UNRESOLVED

  • What was the purpose of the transmission signals sent to Peter?
  • Was Peter hallucinating or were Newton & Co. really disappearing in front of his (and our) eyes? If so, why didn’t they use this technology before?
  • Craig – what the heck was his part in all of this?

ANSWERS

  • Mr Secretary is Walternate.

FRINGE THOUGHTS

  • When you’ve just had your heart broken, what do you go and do to make things better? Why you go get yourself a piece of pecan pie, of course. And a ‘date’ with a hot waitress. Oh Peter, whatever would Rachel Olivia say?
  • Krista:

“I might be able to get you on the list”

  1. She’s talking about her playlist, but I wonder if dropping the word “list” is a future clue? Could Peter be on some kind of list marking his importance?
  2. Don’t be too pleased with yourself Peter, she does it for all the boys. Burn CD’s I mean.
  • Recently, Peter’s been taking over from Walter in referencing his origins. Here’s one of his latest:

“Technically, I’m from nowhere you’ve ever heard of”

  1. Pfft. Peter’s such a drama queen. Who hasn’t heard of alternate realities? Krista looks like she may have seen a few Star Trek episodes down the years.
  • Krista goes on to reference one of the more subtle Fringe themes which I suspect also has significance to this episode:

“It’s a long road to I don’t know yet, I wanna make sure you stay AWAKE”

  1. It’s an interesting line, particularly since sleep is a strong theme in this episode. On several occasions were see people waking up from sleep, struggling to stay awake, and Peter’s state of mind is even put down to sleep deprivation. And then there’s that end scene. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – are things really as they appear, or is there an extra level of something involving dreams and consciousness bubbling under the surface of the show?

  • What were Newton & Co. trying to achieve with the interference signals and phone calls? My immediate thought was that they were trying to send Peter a message through his unconscious, perhaps to put him in a specific state of mind. There’s also the possible connection to the interference signals from TMFTOS which came through when the shape-shifter embryos were sent to our side. Did the signals that Peter experienced in this episode, in a sense, open up a door inside his mind? Since Peter’s mind has been alluded (in a number of ways) to be connected to Walter’s mind, perhaps they were hijacking information by proxy? I can’t imagine that we wont come back to this at some point.
  • I enjoyed seeing Peter trying to go off the beaten path with his GPS. It was only a small scene but it gave me a rare glimpse through the cracks of Peter’s mental state. The boy is just about coping, and he sees the irony of his search for meaning when Mars seems like a more fitting place to go than good old Portland. I loved Peter’s reaction when the GPS didn’t recognize Mars are a possible destination. Obviously Mrs. GPS is too closed-minded.
  • When is someone going to get Peter a new badge? It bugs me that they’re still using the season 1 cast photo for his ID. Seriously, Broyles, can we get someone on that? After we get your REAL office back, of course.
  • I like how Peter assumes that the only way that Newton knew where he was staying is because he extracted Krista’s memories. I mean, he couldn’t have just followed you back to the motel, could he, Peter? Of course, Peter’s right because the narrative came to that reveal, but there was a conventional way for Newton to know where he was staying and perhaps Peter should have mentioned that as well.
  • Going back to Broyles and his office for a moment. I guess I’m just going to have to accept that the recession has hit everyone hard, including Fringe Division. Perhaps they rented his old office out and moved Broyles into a more conventional office space? Ah well, better than a park bench, huh Broylesy?

  • I like the fact that Peter phoned Broyles to let him know where he was. Sure, he only did it because he kinda had to, but I still find it significant that he contacted Broyles before Olivia. No doubt she’s not exactly in his good books right now. I also find it weird that he didn’t even mention seeing Newton! “I stumbled into an investigation”. What? Really Peter, are you serious!? So you stumbled into an investigation – nothing major, just a small case you and the team once worked on – just like Walter stumbled you into our universe, right? Get real Peter, half truths – as you know, don’t help anybody. ;)
  • This phone conversation with Broyles really interested me. Peter then goes on to ask Broyles not to tell Walter that they’d spoken. Fine, I can understand that – Peter still wants Walter to suffer for what he did, it’s only natural. But Peter then goes on to tell Broyles:

“If you owe me anything, you owe me that”

  1. For a moment there I had to stop and think what he was referring to. What exactly does Broyles OWE you, Peter? It’s not exactly clear, other than dedication to the job by going AWOL on full pay. I guess he could be referring to the shape-shifter device he gave him back in “New Day”, which came to nothing. Or, perhaps he’s referring to saving his life back in “Of Human Action”? Yeah, I guess that’s it. To be fair, I’m glad that the writers remembered and referenced it in such an unshowy way. It took me a while to make the connection – possibly because it’s weird seeing these two convey emotion – but I’m glad they did it. It shows that they’re reaching a level where they don’t have to spell every darn thing out. As long as it makes sense then that’s good writing as far as I’m concerned.
  • On Peter and Broyles sharing an emotional moment – Broyles telling him: “take care of yourself” also landed weirdly, but it was one of those landings that you want to do all over again once the plane has come to a halt. It’s nice to see Broyles looking out for all of his charges and backing up his “duuuude, these people are like family to me!” statement from earlier in the season. I’m feeling you Broyles, even when you’ve been stripped of that magnificent office you can still find it in yourself to reach out for your fellow man. I should also add that Peter seemed momentarily taken aback by Broyles’ well wishes, which was also great, ‘cause Peter needed a bit of Bromance at that point – he was feeling low and deserted and needed a strong male presence, and Broyles was on hand to show him that love.

  • I find it odd that Peter was able to drill into the skull of the dead woman he was planning to do the sideways shuffle with a few hours earlier. Maybe it’s just me but it seemed like a violation. And Peter didn’t bat an eyelid. He’s becoming more like his father with each passing day. Question is, which father?
  • Peter the cynic now the believer:

“Believe me, if you can imagine it, it’s possible”

  • Peter:

“These are not your ordinary bad guys”

  1. Right you are. They might not even be “bad guys”. Sure, they’ve killed a few people, but this show is morally grey. Good and bad are not yet clearly defined. We’ve had Olivia labelled as a “good person”, which I still find interesting, and Walter called a “great man”, which makes me slightly sick. But this show has huge potential to really explore the nature of good and bad and what it really means within the context of the world of the show. I mean, is fighting for the survival of your world by any means possible a good thing? Is stealing a child from yourself a bad thing? One thing that does seem clear to me is that the science, the technology featured in the show rests smack bang in the middle of good and bad. It’s the human application of these tools which result in good or bad taking place, and I find that really interesting because I imagine that the more integrated humans become with technology, eventually, something will have to give. In fact, Newton and the shape-shifters would be an interesting case study. Hopefully we’ll get some exploration into their ‘humanity’ at some point. I still loved that victory hand shake and smile at the end of TMFTOS.
  • Mathis:

“In the darkness, there’s always a crack. That’s how the light gets in”

  1. I really love this line and I like the follow up that came at the end.  It was one of the better emotional beats in the episode. Why? For me it’s because it had a story behind it. It was both a metaphor and a story with potential for a future callback, and I liked that.
  • Can I also just say that I really liked Mathis. What an interesting and quirky character she is. I thought that Martha Plimpton did a very good job conveying her strength and vulnerability, while keeping the character completely human and relatable. I liked the fact she was open to the impossible, but also questioned Peter’s open-mindedness. This is Peter, the guy who was once the cynic, the disbeliever. Sometimes it’s easy to forget just how far Peter has come, but the boy has come a long way, literally.

  • Also, her “it’s an inside joke” – the same line was used in Lost recently and I enjoyed it’s use here. I’m wondering whether “find the crack” was also an inside joke in the writers room? In terms of its general use, to me, it conveys a sense of keeping faith – searching for the rays of light. It also could be a reference to the cracks that Walter put in the universe when stealing Peter. I imagine that Peter will find the crack – whatever its meaning – at some point in the future. I just can’t see them failing to bring that one back around.
  • I found it strange how Peter was so confident and unfazed by the possibility of Newton harming him, and yet the moment he gets another prank call from said shape-shifters, he freaks out and acts like a scared little boy. Don’t get me wrong, I can understand why he was shaken, but it contrasted markedly with the earlier scene where he’s laughing and dismissing any possibility of a threat. Was that all bravado or were we seeing through the cracks of Peter’s armour? I think it was a bit of both, along with a smidgen of character contrivance.
  • If it turns out that the transmission somehow put Peter in a vulnerable state (similar to what Olivia experienced in “Jacksonville”, perhaps), then I’ll give it a pass, otherwise Peter’s reaction the phone call was out of character. I’m not saying that Peter shouldn’t ever be scared, but it should take more than a couple of prank calls to set him off.
  • I loved this exchange:

Ferguson: “Doesn’t mean he’s legit. You read your books about UFOs and Roswell and whacked out theories on government conspiracies, I think that you want to believe. What makes you trust him?”

Mathis: “I don’t know.. I’m a good judge of character. I’m the only one here who likes you.”

  1. Firstly, nice X-Files shout-out there. Secondly, lighten up, Ferguson! Thirdly, the way Mathis said her line was perfect. She even appears to look at her darling Ferguson’s heart as she says the words “I’m a good judge of character”. Aw, I know I ragged on some of the emotional beats in the episode, but that was a much better moment.

  • I had to laugh at Peter finally getting his gun. :P It’s been an inside joke on FringeBloggers for the entire season, and even before that, so it was funny to see Peter become ‘The Man, The Weapon. The Bishop’. He’s constantly eyeing up Olivia’s piece so why not give him his own, right? Man, he wore that holster with such pride and spent an entire night counting the bullets. I think the boy was a bit too excited to tell you the truth, but it was good to see a dream realised. Makes you forget that he’s supposed to be weapons dealer. And thank goodness they didn’t have the Ammo guy be one of Peter’s old pals – that would have been a bit too much on the ‘Peter’s growing pool of underworld goons’ list.
  • Mathis asks an obvious question:

“What is it that makes you special?”

  1. Dur, have you seen him kick down doors and pick locks? Come on Mathis, haven’t you been watching the show?
  • Peter loses me here: He goes on about how Newton and his cronies have the answers and that’s why he needs to find them, yet he doesn’t want to call for back-up. I know that he doesn’t want to see or speak to Walter right now, but then why say that calling the FBI will result in them ‘descending on this place’, resulting in Newton disappearing. I hardly think the FBI would “descend”, Peter. I mean, they sent two guys to a bridge they knew was about to be harmonically fused with a bridge from the Other Side. Even Broyles only had two guys with him. I don’t think descend is in the FBI’s dictionary. Plus, it’s the recession, everyone has had to make cuts, right Broyles? Anyway, I get what Peter was saying, but he clearly hasn’t been watching the show.
  • I’m glad that Peter asked Mathis why she’s even listening to his ‘crazy’ talk about shape-shifters and memory extractions. Mathis was a ‘believer’, but as Peter said, it was more than that – she was desperate. Why is it that in times of desperation or fear or love that we turn to the unimaginable – be it on the side of faith, science or something in between. What is it about fantasy that makes us all believers?

  • I guess it boils down to hope – the need for there to be a possibility, even if it’s unrealistic. It’s something that I think is easy to identify with and it’s probably one of the reasons why I’m attracted to this show – it has the potential to go beyond your typical. I also wonder whether the ‘impossible’ serves as very important function in our role as humans. It’s because of the things on the fringes of possibility that connect us to hope – to the idea that the impossible can happen. So what happens as the gap between possible and impossible narrows. If everything is possible, do we lose something? Do we lose a sense of hope? Or does it mean that we have reached a level where hope is redundant because it is no longer needed? In such a circumstance, do we become less human? I don’t know, but these are the type of questions I hope Fringe explores through its characters and worlds.
  • I should also add that I liked that Mathis wouldn’t believe that Fergie was dead until she saw his body. The phrase, Seeing Is Believing springs to mind.
  • Peter:

“I am this close, and I am going to get my answers”

*Sigh* Peter, Peter, Peter. I know this is your episode and you’re heart is broken, but can we leave the emoting to Olivia?

  • Mathis:

“We pulled those phone records. Those calls never happened”

  • Yeah, not in THIS universe. I do love how Peter says “these people can pull memories out of brain tissue, you think they can’t make a couple of calls disappear – I can do that!”. LOL. I only laugh because he’s right and because it says a lot about Peter’s character that he can make calls disappear.
  • I didn’t expect to find this episode so humorous, but this exchange also made me chuckle:

“I understand, you don’t want me to be right, because if I am it means your partner is most likely dead”

“Hey…PETA..with the exception of who you are, I haven’t been able to verify anything you’ve said to me!”.

I just love the way she spat out the word “Peta”. :) But when did Peta become so cold? :(

  • I really loved the feeling Plimpton put behind this line:

“What if he’s alive? What if he’s out there thinking I am doing everything in my power, including calling the F.B.I., to save him?”.

  1. Firstly, I like the way she sits there before bursting out with “what if he’s alive?”. That just hit me as a very human thing to do – to be caught between silent contemplation and an urgent eruption of emotion. I thought she conveyed that so well. I also appreciated how this relates to Walternate’s search for Peternate. Although we don’t know much about his search for his son, we have to assume that he’s been looking for Peternate ever since he was snatched from Over There. Mathis’ sentiments echo those I expect from Walternate.

  • The supermarket scene with Walter losing his temper was a nice way to catch up on Walter’s state of mind following that bong. I liked how glasses were once again used as a metaphor for Walter seeing clearly, when in fact Walter seeing clearly represents the Walter of old – the man with less compassion, understanding and awareness of personal boundaries. His reaction upon seeing that he had terrified a little girl was like he was suddenly catapulted back into the real world, the world where he remembered that his actions have a direct consequence on the attitudes, outlooks and actions of other people. That little girl will grow up having nightmares of the terrifying man with glasses who ripped Scott a new one for working in a store that sold “strawberry flavoured death”. So once again we have actions vs consequences and perception being the driving force for the way in which we see the world, and the way others see us. The whole rant was Walter deflecting his own crippled conscience – denouncing something delicious yet deathly, in the way that his own desire to cure Peter was also good yet bad.
  • I must say, I didn’t expect him to fall into a crumpled heap by the Cheerios though. At first I thought it was a bit much to have him do that, but then Peter is his life raft and he’s gone out to sail leaving Walter barely afloat in the abyss. The man is broken, he can’t even shop for himself for goodness sake. He cares that the little girl saw him act a fool yet he doesn’t care if people see a grown man crying by the cereal. This is a broken man caught between hope and hopelessness. Can somebody PLEASE call Astrid?
  • I love the scene with Olivia and Astrid bringing Walter home to an absolute mess. It just goes to show how much Peter does for Walter. Even though almost two years have passed since he’s been out of St. Claire’s, Walter is still very much back at square 1 without Peter. Both literally and in a more emotional sense. I did wonder how Walter caused such a mess though? Did it accumulate during the period of time that Peter has been gone, or did Walter have a breakdown of sorts? I also found it odd that Astrid wasn’t keeping a closer eye on him. I didn’t expect her to sleep over (although if FOX are looking  for another gimmick, The Walter and Astrid Sleepover Party might be something worth thinking about), but she clearly knows that Walter can’t fend for himself in the big bad world. Or perhaps she just didn’t realise how big a part Peter plays in his stability? I don’t know, but I found it weird.
  • I guess Astrid’s next line explains some of that:

“Walter, why didn’t you tell me you needed help?”

  1. I really like how Jasika Nicole played that line – it came across very sincere.

“What am I going to do, call you every time I run out of Pudding Pops”

  1. I love how Olivia just interjects from the ether:

Yes. If you need them”

  • Again, perhaps I was in a funny mood while watching this episode, but that made me laugh. There’s something about Olivia’s response to things that never fails to tickle me. I had almost forgotten that she was even in the room and then her voice booms from out of nowhere and suddenly I feel reassured. Peter has the special touch, but Olivia has presence. It made me feel all warm and glow-y inside knowing that both Astro and The Dunhamnator have Walter’s back. They’re an odd family unit, but when one of them runs out of Pudding Pops, you better believe they’re gonna hit up Wal-Mart.
  • I also continue to be amazed at how Olivia and Astrid can be in the same room on so many occasions but fail to say two words to one another. Perhaps there’s a back story to all of this. Did Astrid borrow Olivia’s favourite lip gloss without asking or something? Let it go, Liv.


  • BTW, Astrid gets The Most Heart-breaking Expression While Leaning On A Fridge Award for 2010. While Olivia wants to reach out but there’s that little thing called Cortexiphan that prevents her from getting too close.
  • It’s reassuring to know that Olivia wont let Sumner gets his claws on Walter again. Not sure how she planned on doing that, but I guess it’s just one of those things you say to a man who’s on his last string of sanity.

“I do. I do need Pudding Pops”.

  • LOL. I’m going to find myself some of these ‘Pudding Pops’ to see if they’re really as good as Walter makes out.
  • Poignant that so much focus should be given to the bridge where Krista’s body was dumped,given that Peter saw Walternate on a bridge a couple of episodes earlier.
  • Peta’s big moment:

  • Unlike Olivia, he uses one hand. Unlike Olivia he misses the target. Back to school for you, Peta. Perhaps one day you can get to be like Dunham and the big boys.
  • I have to say, it was weird seeing Newton running through the forest like a little girl. That’s so not the Newton I want to see. That said, it was all put down to Peter seeing things. Personally, I don’t subscribe to Mathis’ theory. There were too many occasions when people just ‘disappeared’ for it to be an hallucination. The shape-shifters might well have some kind of perception altering gear, or maybe they have something that allows them to disappear and reappear at different locations. We’ll see where that one goes.
  • For someone so good at “reading people”, Peter couldn’t tell that Mathis wasn’t a shape-shifter? To be honest, I was also sucked in by that idea once I saw the blood (yeah, I know, no mercury). It was played well, especially since Mathis appeared to access memories on the fly: “My pen? It was a gift from Ferguson? My partner!?”. I would guess that director Joe Chappelle told Plimpton to play it ambiguously. I don’t like the idea of the writers going back on the shape-shifters capabilities though. I had assumed – with good reason, that they acquire the memories as well as the identity of the person they shift into (perhaps not immediately, but over a period of time). Evil Charlie appeared to know a hell of a lot about Charlie and Olivia (and surely, Mrs. Francis). He had to in order to fool them for 6 days, or however long it was before Liv figured him out. I guess the writers might be going with the idea that Evil Charlie had prior Intel on Charlie and other people close to Olivia? That makes sense, I guess, but it still seems a little weird that he’d correctly guess his mannerisms and other quirks. I guess this could also be explored with the idea that in taking on another person’s identity, they also gain access to their innate qualities, including the soul. Actually, that sounds too good to waste, can we explore that next season please?

“..Astrid, you’re a federal agent. I doubt that during your years of training you had dreams of babysitting a helpless old man”

  1. Thank you, Walter! It’s about time someone noticed that Astrid is an FBI agent. I loved Astrid’s: “you’re not that helpless”. Those words are full of truth. Sure, Walter is a crumpled heap right now, but how much would it take to set him free from those chains? I suspect not much when you think about it. I guess it depends what lens Walter is looking through at the time. It really does come down to the “P” word again and I like how this show drives perception through the heart, because our emotions are largely driven on matters of the heart. I just think that Astrid’s one little line is a reminder at how transformable humans are and how the mind is often (mostly?) governed by the heart. Again, I find this interesting considering the episode deals with the removal of brain pieces, when in truth, it’s focus is on the removal of the heart. Well, that’s my interpretation.
  • I touched on this above, but I do like the idea that while Walter wants to find Peter, he’s not sure whether it would change anything or lead to Peter’s forgiveness. I like that because it shows that he’s leaning from his past mistakes and realising that what he wants is not necessarily what Peternate wants. It’s all well and good that he technically saved Peternate, but the choice to bring him over to our side and to keep him, wasn’t necessary in order for Peter to survive. It was an act of selfishness by a man playing God.

  • On the flip side of that, I also realised that Walter is still being selfish even in his current thinking – he’s purposefully not trying to find Peter because he’s worried that he wont forgive him – “what will I have then?”. Notice the word I in that quote. But again, I love the show for doing this – for the most part, they continue to give us very real characters with very human motivations, thoughts and reactions. Having Walter be reluctant to put hope to the test in case it leaves him disappointed and without any hope is such a human thing to do, and as a human I can totally relate to that flawed logic. Walter is not only afraid of losing any chance of his son forgiving him, but he’s also terrified of losing his confirmation of God’s forgiveness. Sometimes it’s easier to leave hope in reserve, to not give it your all, just in case it lets you down. But that’s faith for you and that’s the test that Walter is facing.
  • And you have to love it – the very next moment a door opens, in comes Olivia, with news. They’ve found Peter. The universe can be infuriating, but that’s exactly how it works.
  • Thank you, Olivia, for asking Walter if he’d like to come with you to find Peter. It’s almost as though she made a point of asking so as to remind him of the importance of choice. Again, it’s Olivia so anything is possible. Oh, and you found Peter didn’t you Olivia. It had nothing to do with Broyles, did it? Just checking. ;)
  • I found that Peter lacked a certain empathy and tact in this episode. It was probably intentional to convey the connection between how a broken heart changed Walter for the better, and how it could change Peter for the worse.

  • It wasn’t clear to me what Craig’s role in the girls murder was? What did he mean he ‘couldn’t stop’? Go away Craig, you made little sense and seem like a contrivance.
  • Mathis and Peter:

“I wish there was something I could do for you. Whatever your experiences are. Whatever you can’t or wont tell me about. I think you’re looking for meaning in things that have no meaning”

“I don’t know who I am anymore”

  • I loved the ambiance of the scene. But I found Mathis’ line to be a little off, considering she had just had her eyes opened to the possibilities. How can she tell Peter that he’s trying to find meaning in things that have no meaning? Unless the plan from the writers was to convey the idea that Peter doesn’t need to look beyond what he knows to find his peace? Because otherwise, Peter’s search is very much a meaningful one. I did like Peter’s response, although my only problem with it reflects my main problem with the episode – it lacked weight. I just don’t think Peter would say those words to Mathis, and not in that situation. Maybe the intent was better than the execution  on this occasion, and I’m happy to consider that as a possibility.
  • That said, how you could not love words like this. Take it away Mathis:

“I was alone for a long time. But I’ve found my place..you will too”.

  • Obviously this entire scene is set up to foreshadow Peter being reunited with his father, and while I think that reunion happened a bit too quickly, I have to appreciate the fact that clues and foreshadowing are not just there for the audience to find, but also for the characters.

  • I really like how the episode effectively came full circle with Peter getting to play the soundtrack that whatsherfacepecanpielady burned for him. Now I adore this scene.  It was powerful to me because it told me more about Peter than the previous 41 minutes did. As the camera descended down into his eyes, I connected with him. I ‘got’ him. I felt his sense of disconnection to his surroundings as he shut himself off to the world with his headphones, only to be rudely interrupted by Newton.
  • And what can I say about the next part? To say I didn’t believe it possible would not be accurate, because it was always the most likely possibility. But I was surprised that Mr. Secretary turned out to be Walternate simply because I felt that a moment of this magnitude would be saved for season 3. To say the writers are ballsy is an understatement, but did it work, was it worth the risk (and I do feel that it is risk)? It’s too early to tell – the next episode should give me a better indication of that. But man, that last moment left me hanging on to the episode as if it were a cliff.

FINAL THOUGHT

There was one point in this episode (the first 10 minutes) where I thought we could be about to witness one of the very best Fringe episodes to date. To be honest, it didn’t quite deliver what it threatened. In some respects it was a strange episode – slow paced, but the pacing didn’t overly detract. It was Peter centric, yet I don’t feel as though we really got underneath Peter’s skin in the same way that we have with Olivia and Walter in their introspective episodes. And yet, once the episode ended I felt compelled to watch it again. There’s something about this episode that allowed me to enjoy it more than perhaps I should. Maybe it was the fusion of different thematic approaches, the underlying quirkiness that had me intrigued, or the final scene that saved it, but whatever, I liked it for what it did.

For me, this was a coming to terms episode. For Peter, it was coming to terms with the fact that everything he thought was real, is only slightly real. For Walter, it was a coming to terms with life without Peter. For me, it was a coming to terms with the fact that there are only 2 episodes left this season. Northwest Passage literally came across like a passage, or stepping stone, into the world of the final chapter of this season. Some of the story elements and character development seemed sacrificed in order to set up a very specific set of circumstances. Peter has been reunited with his real father, but Walternate’s next move could be crucial in winning Peter’s heart. What does he do next – will he make the same mistakes that Walter made? Will he let his heart rule his head? How will he try to relate to his son? What can he say to make Peter choose him over Walter?

These are just some of the questions I’m interested in exploring.

Season finale – Over to you.

Best Moment: Peter meeting Walternate.

Best Performer: Martha Plimpton

If you enjoyed “Northwest Passage”, you’ll like: “Grey Matters”, “Jacksonville”, “Peter”, “The Man From The Other Side”

Episode Rating: 8/10

Comments

  1. Madison says

    (Possible spoiler alert) I honestly think there’s going to be a very strong division between Peter’s relationship with Walter and his “relationship” with Walternate. I think Walter has come to love Peter as his own son, and Walternate…. based on the preview of next week’s show, I honestly believe that Walternate may use Peter for some devious ends. I don’t think he “cares” for Peter in a heartfelt way, but has only hunted him down because of bad intentions. Peter will only go through with it because of finding his mother again after so long. (She may even have an effect on him in the sense of pushing him towards Walternate’s plans for him).

    That’s just my theory, though ;)

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    • mlj102 says

      Personally, I think the more compelling story would be if both Walter and Walternate have pure motives (as much as Walter(nate) is capable of pure motives) and they both simply love their son. You have two parents who have the same intensity of love for their child, yet the child can’t be with both of them. Could you imagine Peter having to make that decision? How could he choose? I think it would be incredibly fascinating to see a story play out along those lines.

      The idea that Walternate has some evil agenda for which he wants to use Peter is interesting in that we could see an evil side to Peter… But I like the more ambiguous scenario that both Walter and Walternate simply love their son. And the other side is fighting against our side not because they’re evil and they want to destroy us, but because they see it as essential — just as we have been trying to protect our world, they are trying to protect their world. It would be fascinating to see that both sides have good intentions, and they see the other side as the enemy because of that. Our enemy isn’t the cruel, heartless enemy we thought them to be. It would become an issue of choosing between two good choices, which is often a much bigger dilemma than choosing between right and wrong.

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      • rosull says

        I think you’re on to something there. Which makes it hard to even guess where this will leave us at the end of Season 2/beginning of Season 3. It’s definitely strongly implied that “there can be only one” universe as a result of Walter bringing Peter over.

        You really have to wonder if this is going to come down to Peter’s choice or is this thing even bigger than him?

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    • LizW65 says

      I’ve been thinking along those lines myself actually–I don’t know if anyone noticed, but Walternate’s “Hello, son” exactly mimicked the intonation of the doppelganger’s “Hello, Walter” in “The Equation.” It didn’t sound like a loving father re-uniting with the son he lost 25 years ago; instead it sounded sardonic and a bit taunting in an “I know something you don’t” kind of way, and I found it disturbing for that reason. I’m not convinced that finding his son has been Walternate’s primary motivation over the years (which could explain why it’s taken him so long, for one thing.)

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      • bdp says

        I agree. I feel like Walternate does want his son back but that’s not the only thing he wants by far. It seems like Walternate wants Peter because he feels he is going to be essential for the other side to win this war between the two universes. I also just feel that the other side is the seems to be taking the more proactive steps towards launching the first attack against our side whereas Olivia, Peter, Walter, Astrid, and Broyles seem to be more focused on protecting our side not destroying the other. However, as the show often does, this could solely rely on one’s perception of what we’ve seen and this is just the way I see it.

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  2. says

    Could you please explain the dart to me? I have no idea what the purpose of that was. Or who really killed those women. Or who the guy with Newton was. And do you think Peter will go with Mr. Secretary willingly, or will they need to force him, judging by him being hooked up to medical equipment next episode? And was he just tripping balls in those woods or were they really trying to get him? Does Newton have a good side, and would Peter accept it despite all of the death as a result of him coming over to our universe?

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  3. Anjali says

    Wonderful Roco.

    Though I have to point one thing.
    When Peter realized that Mathis had feelings for her partner, I felt it was sort of foreshadowing Peter and Olivia’s relationship. Mathis = Olivia = tough cop. Peter = Craig = reckless.

    Also, Rachel, yes, I didn’t understand what that dart was all about. Maybe he was imagining it.

    It was a good episode leading to the finale. Martha Plimpton nailed her role. Perfect casting. The ending was just an ‘omg’ moment though I knew who the secretary was last episode. But that scene still worked very well. Peter’s expression during that moment was fantastic.

    Speaking of Walternate, I do think he has devious (ok, devious may be a bit of a stretch here) plans for Peter. I don’t think he’s just after his son. I think the only one who is going to be 100% happy to see Peter will be Alt-Elizabeth. But somehow, I feel that she may be push Peter to return back to our side as she knows that Walternate is not a good man. Just a theory. I have no idea what is going to happen. All I know is that Pinkner and Wyman wrote this episode and they are going to knock it out of the park. Oh, and so will Olivia and Alt-Olivia. :)

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    • says

      “When Peter realized that Mathis had feelings for her partner, I felt it was sort of foreshadowing Peter and Olivia’s relationship. Mathis = Olivia = tough cop. Peter = Craig = reckless.”

      Anjali,

      I agree, and nice catch. I didn’t mention it in my review because I didn’t find the Mathis/Ferguson connection powerful enough, although as you mention they were definitely reflecting Peter and Olivia to a degree.

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  4. Inkblood says

    This episode was great!

    “Joshua Jackson and emotion”
    Yes! I don’t care what universe you’re from, you have to be affected emotionally by something like this. Where are the far off looks? The pained expressions? The weeping in the night???(ok, maybe that’s a bit far…)

    “When you’ve just had your heart broken, what do you go and do to make things better? Why you go get yourself a piece of pecan pie, of course. And a ‘date’ with a hot waitress. Oh Peter, whatever would —— Olivia say?”
    She would bottle up her emotions and pretend she never loved him, only to go home, not sleep, and down another bottle of scotch. I hated Peter at this moment. I was like “You jerk!” and my lil sis looked at me with her “you’re crazy” look. That, to me, as just pathetic. Did he ever really feel anything for Olivia? Or am I just reading into this too much? My inner shipper is angry and she’s on the warpath.

    “It’s a long road to I don’t know yet, I wanna make sure you stay AWAKE.”
    Try the album, Awake, by my fav band, Skillet. Lovely guitar solos.

    “I like the fact that Peter phoned Broyles to let him know where he was. Sure, he only did it because he kinda had to, but I still find it significant that he contacted Broyles before Olivia.”
    Oh, my inner shipper DIED there! Like, died! Right on the floor!! Then she rose again, with serious doubts about Peter&Olivia, and stared planning other matches (how does Sam and Olivia sound?). This IS, from a storyline stand point, good, to show Peter understood Olivia’s involvement in the lie, and doesn’t trust her. Can they ever be friends again?

    “‘Cause Peter needed a bit of Bromance at that point – he was feeling low and deserted and needed a strong male presence, and Broyles was on hand to show him that love.”
    DUDE!! YOU JUST GAVE MY INNER SHIPPER A HEARTATTACK!!! Watch it! That Bromance stuff is dangerous! :-)

    “I had to laugh at Peter finally getting his gun.”
    Me too! I guess now that Olivia wasn’t there to protect him, he need to do it himself.

    “Dur have you seen him kick down doors and pick locks? Come on Mathis, haven’t you been watching the show?”
    If she had just watched what lies below, she would have seen what makes him special. :-) Ok, I’ll stop now.

    “The supermarket scene with Walter losing his temper was a nice way to catch up on Walter’s state of mind following that bong.”
    My friends think I’m crazy now cuz I spontaneously shout “STRAWBERRY FLAVORED DEATH!!” and then burst into giggles. I felt so bad for Walter, but the poptart thing was great!

    “I love the scene with Olivia and Astrid bringing Walter home to an absolute mess…It made me feel all warm and glow-y inside knowing that both Astro and The Dunhamnator have Walter’s back. They’re an odd family unit, but when one of them runs out of Pudding Pops, you better believe they’re gonna hit up Wal-Mart.”
    Yeah, I really feel Peter’s “little family unit” at this point. Olivia was really there for Walter, more than she ever has been, and it was good. She used a very soft, kind tone with him, and it seemed like, as she usually does when scared, she helped him. Olivia’s pain always seems to lead back to her helping someone…

    Astrid, you’re a federal agent. I doubt that during your years of training you had dreams of babysitting a helpless old man”
    Ding, ding, ding! We finally address the problem of the century! Huhdoy! She is FBI, not Child Care Services!

    “It had nothing to do with Broyles, did it? Just checking.”
    Well, that’s what happens when ya keep secrets! You don’t get credit when the problem’s solved. Just tell the truth Broyles! Nobody loves you! (except Nina*shudder*).

    Finally, I MUST address Peter’s magic touch! IT’S NOT NATURAL TO CALM PEOPLE JUST WITH YOUR TOUCH! I DON’T CARE WATCH ALTERNATE UNIVERSE YOU’RE FROM! Yeah, my inner shipper always claimed it was something special between Olivia and Peter but we all know better. The man can calm anyone and the camera ALWAYS zooms in on the offending hand. Thoughts?

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    • rosull says

      As to Peter’s touch, I think it’s the combination of his touch and his eyes that conveys a sense of trust in people. Even Krista th waitress commented on his eyes. Maybe (*wink wink*) Krista’s comment about his eyes is a clue for the next episode.

      also, maybe the Cortexiphan kids’ “powers” are an extension of the 5 senses: just more heightened. Olivia can “see” things, like things from the Alt-Universe, and Peter’s is more tactile.

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      • Anya says

        Krista the waitress mentioning Peter’s eyes in the intro, and then seeing his eyes (on fire?) in the teaser for “Over There”? Looks like you’re on to something, rosull.
        I’ve become a recent adult-Josh Jackson fan (liked him in Mighty Ducks, but never watched Dawson’s Creek). I enjoyed seeing a Peter-centric episode, finally, but I really wish the story about the serial murderer/coincidence with temporal lobes was better explained.

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      • Anya says

        Spoiler removed.

        I’ve become a recent adult-Josh Jackson fan (liked him in Mighty Ducks, but never watched Dawson’s Creek). I enjoyed finally seeing a Peter-centric episode, but I really wish the story about the serial murderer/coincidence with temporal lobes was better explained.

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    • LizW65 says

      “It’s a long road to I don’t know yet, I wanna make sure you stay AWAKE.”

      I can’t help but think that line may be a major clue for what lies ahead, rather than just a throwaway by a cute girl hoping to get lucky. The implication is that Peter will NEED to stay awake–to keep his wits about him, his moral compass intact, and to stay alert to the motivations of those around him–if he wants to come through his journey intact and find himself and his place in the world(s).

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  5. Cody says

    “Hey…PETA..with the exception of who you are, I haven’t been able to verify anything you’ve said to me!”.

    @Roco I think she said Peter not Peta. I swear she says PetER. Who knows, its no big deal.

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  6. says

    As far as I can tell, the whole episode turns on a massive coincidence. Craig was a serial killer who happened to remove the exact part of the brain that Newton removes to extract memories. Newton WAS looking for Peter but had zero to do with the murders. The second girl having no connection to Peter proves this. I guess I can buy that, but Peter’s guessing right was hard to swallow, unless perhaps his latent abilities include a little ESP. Has Peter demonstrated anything like this before? Anyway, overall I liked it.

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  7. rosull says

    Thanks for mentioning Broyles’ sad office. It’s in a basement! They would have been better off not even shooting there than that sad place. I guess I just think so highly of the character:)

    as to why Walter was left alone: I’m sure it had something to do with Astrid leaving Walter at home (as at the end of Brown Betty) and thinking that Walter would stay put. I mean at least for a day so Astrid could get some errands done or FBI-stuff.

    The Dart: The dart has been bothering me too. It struck me that after Newton fires the dart into the tree, Peter shoots his gun and the bullet hits another tree in almost a “mirror” image. Take from that what you will, but it may lend more credence to the thinking that Newton and bald guy may have been a figment of Peter’s imagination in the woods.

    I also think that Newton’s partner was “dialing into Peter”. This may also explain the mysterious phone calls. This may very well be something we see pay off in the finale. Seeing as ‘Northwest Passage’ was more of a set-up or “bridge” to the final 2 episodes.

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  8. mlj102 says

    “I thought that the ending gave me more in those 2 or 3 minutes than the previous 40 or so minutes did…the episode was essentially a (very good) 3 minute segue into the finale.”

    Exactly. In the last few minutes I thought “Hey, the episode is finally starting!” and it was complete torture to have it end there. The full episode felt rather empty, in my opinion. It was mostly inconsequential. But those final minutes were huge. Talk about setting the stage for next week. Then you factor in the promo for the next episode and that’s what I’m talking about. I usually don’t say this about any Fringe episode, but everything prior to the last few minutes and the promo for next week felt like a complete waste. I just didn’t see the point to it. There wasn’t any emotional investment for me, no substantial character development, and no huge story development. There were good aspects to the episode, certainly, but all considering, it left me feeling largely unfulfilled.

    “Craig – what the heck was his part in all of this?”

    Is it sad that, when I got to this point in the review, I actually had to research to figure out who Craig was? I think that’s the first time I’ve had to do that. I just call him “Dairy Farmer.”

    “When is someone going to get Peter a new badge?”

    Actually, didn’t his badge get destroyed in A New Day when the secretary lady none-too-kindly told him his credentials had been revoked? That being the case, it’s even more bothersome that it’s still the old picture.

    “Sure, he only did it because he kinda had to, but I still find it significant that he contacted Broyles before Olivia. No doubt she’s not exactly in his good books right now.”

    I was under the impression that he specifically called Broyles because Broyles would be the one the Sheriff would contact. Broyles is the immediate supervisor and the contact person. No one would be contacting Olivia to verify Peter’s credentials. So Broyles was the logical person for Peter to alert. I’m still left unsure what Peter’s current feelings are towards Olivia.

    “For a moment there I had to stop and think what he was referring to. What exactly does Broyles OWE you, Peter? … Or, perhaps he’s referring to saving his life back in “Of Human Action”? Yeah, I guess that’s it.”

    You mean when he shot him in the arm? Yeah, he definitely owes him big time for that one! :)

    No, really, I thought he was just making a general statement that he’s been a valuable member of the team for the last two years and he’s never asked for any specific favors before (has he?) so in this case he can say that, in general, Broyles owes him for the last two years of his life.

    “I also continue to be amazed at how Olivia and Astrid can be in the same room on so many occasions but fail to say two words to one another.”

    What did you expect them to do, start chatting over the latest FBI gossip? They just picked up Walter after he had an emotional breakdown and brought him back to his home that seems to resemble the state his mind is in. They’re concerned about him and preoccupied about Peter… I just don’t see where there was much opportunity for them to be interacting much…

    ““I was alone for a long time. But I’ve found my place..you will too”. Obviously this entire scene is set up to foreshadow Peter being reunited with his father”

    I think there’s so much more to it than that. Who’s to say that Peter’s “place” is with Walternate in the other reality? I don’t think we can say that that comment was only meant to apply to Peter being reunited with his “real” parents. Actually, I expect that to be a theme that is explored by Fringe quite a bit more. Where does Peter belong? What is his real place? Technically, he belongs over there. That’s where he was born, it’s where his real family is, and that’s where he was meant to be. And yet, is that direct, blood connection more significant and stronger than the place he has established for himself over here. In a way, he belongs here more than he will ever belong over there. I think he’s going to be searching for and discovering “his place” for the next couple of episodes, if not longer.

    “But I was surprised that Mr. Secretary turned out to be Walternate simply because I felt that a moment of this magnitude would be saved for season 3.”

    I felt the same way. I couldn’t figure it out because I couldn’t say I was surprised by the identity of the secretary, but I was still surprised. I realized that I was surprised that they revealed his identity this soon. But at the same time, I realized that we’re in the last episodes of the season, and clearly he has a crucial role, so it makes sense that they would have to reveal that. It just came out of the blue somehow. I was very impressed with the reveal because my concern with Secretary being either Walternate or Bell was that it was too predictable and so when the reveal came, it would fall flat and have little impact. But somehow they managed to pull it off as a huge moment even though 90% of fans suspected who it was.

    “If you enjoyed “Northwest Passage”, you’ll like: “Grey Matters”, “Jacksonville”, “Peter”, “The Man From The Other Side””

    Seriously? Wow. You definitely liked this episode a lot more than I did. It just didn’t do anything for me. If it hadn’t been for the final scene with Walternate showing up, this episode would have left me feeling absolutely nothing. I didn’t feel the progression in the story line. I didn’t feel the emotion surrounding the characters. I saw it as a missed opportunity. It was good, but I didn’t see it as that good. As far as I’m concerned, those episodes you listed are in a completely different league from this one.

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    • says

      mlj,

      No, it’s not sad that you had to look Craig up. Craig was a waste of space and I’m never buying milk from that guy. EVER.

      Oh, I agree that he had to contact Broyles because he’s the bossman, although I still thought it was interesting that it was Broyles he contacted and not Olivia. In terms of the narrative, the writers made it so he had to contact Broyles. They could have made a situation where he would be more likely to contact Olivia. So as choices go – and I agree that Broyles would always be the most likely in this situation – I found it note-worthy that Broyles would be his bridge to Fringe Division. That’s some nice character development between them, while maintaining the possible Peter/Olivia angst which is sure to carry over.

      No, I don’t expect Olivia and Astro to start chatting about the latest FBI goss, but my comment is an observation on their general relationship. They barely ever say a word to one another, and considering Astrid is/was supposed to be Olivia’s assistant I find it….weird. I’m telling ya, they have beef! ;)

      I agree that there’s more to Mathis’ comment about Peter finding his “place”, but I don’t think I ever said there was only one interpretation. Her comment spoke to me on several levels – some of which you point out. But considering the review was hitting 30,000 words I had to select the one that seemed to encapsulate all of the possibilities. :) I agree, the theme will be explored over several episodes, if not seasons, and hopefully the writers are up to the task.

      Reading through your comments, I’m not sure that we disagree on the episode all that much. I too thought it was somewhat disappointing and a missed opportunity in many many ways. In the end I gave it an 8/10 because I found enough value in that end scene (and in the episode overall) to bump it up by .5. When I rewatch the episode I might not be so kind, but then again it was definitely a ‘good’ episode, IMO.

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      • MRG says

        You know, I find it funny that the biggest reason you won’t be ever buying milk from Craig is ’cause he kind of ruined the episode. Personally, the whole kidnapping people and drilling holes into people’s heads to steal parts of their temporal lobe thing is a way bigger turn-off in the what I look for in a milk-man category. Hey, but maybe that’s just me. :)

        I have to reiterate what many have said, the whole Craig storyline just didn’t make sense. More than that, it was so out of character for the show. Its not even so much that he didn’t turn out to be Newton and the crew, its just that usually even when the bad guy isn’t pattern/alternate world related they do a much better job of explaining the whys and wrapping it up. I mean, how did Craig know how to drill into the temporal lobe? Where did he get the equipment? what was he doing with the brains? The whole thing is very confusing for me.

        I agree with you guys…its like the whole episode was just filler for the last few minutes. What the hell was the point? I really want to believe we will find out why this episode was important later, but i gotta say…I haven’t been this dissapointed with an episode since “Unearthed.”

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        • says

          MRG,

          Hey, temporal lobe extraction I can handle. Story contrivances? let’s just say Craig went too far. I hope his nose really hurts. ;)

          To be honest, there’s probably only one way that the whole Craig thing can turn out not to be a contrivance. We’ll see.

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      • mlj102 says

        “Craig was a waste of space and I’m never buying milk from that guy. EVER.”

        Smart choice… I think I’ll join you on that one. You just shouldn’t trust milk from a psychopath killer.

        “They barely ever say a word to one another, and considering Astrid is/was supposed to be Olivia’s assistant I find it….weird. I’m telling ya, they have beef!”

        Personally, I just attribute that to the fact that the writers haven’t bothered to establish anything between the two characters — they’ve been more focused on the Walter/Astrid relationship, as well as the Peter/Olivia relationship. I’ve just never sensed any of the tension that some people claims exists in their relationship. It’s certainly never stood out to me as anything odd.

        “I agree that there’s more to Mathis’ comment about Peter finding his “place”, but I don’t think I ever said there was only one interpretation.”

        My bad — it sounded like you were implying that in your comment. You said that the entire scene had been set up to foreshadow Peter meeting Walternate, which, to me, sounded like you were suggesting that was the single purpose for the scene. So I thought I’d add to it. I understand that writing these huge reviews, you have to be selective in what you actually say…

        “Reading through your comments, I’m not sure that we disagree on the episode all that much.”

        Exactly — which is why I was surprised that you gave it such a high rating and grouped it with episodes like “Grey Matters” “Jacksonville” and “Peter” — episodes which I feel were stronger than this episode in so many ways. I felt like you had the same complaints I had, but those didn’t seem to factor in much to your final opinion of it, which seems odd to me.

        I’m curious, actually. You pointed out that this episode managed to avoid being similar to Midnight, but I don’t really understand why that is. Personally, I think it compares very well to Midnight. A good story, well done, but ultimately insignificant and an episode that failed to live up to all it was capable of. Midnight promised a great deal of insight into ZFT and the pattern, but it ultimately failed to provide any of that. I liked the episode, but it fell short in some areas. This episode also promised a great deal of insight to Peter and his reactions to knowing the truth. It even included Newton and the shapeshifters, which would suggest some big developments. But I just didn’t get that. Personally, I feel that Midnight did a better job at conveying emotion than this one did. I really felt Nicholas Boone’s love for his wife and how significant it was that he was willing to sacrifice everything for her. And the interactions between Walter and Boone were also significant. That episode at least left me feeling something and it made me feel like it had introduced important concepts and ideas. But this episode didn’t do that for me. So I guess I’m asking why you felt this episode was a success where Midnight was a disappointment. If it’s based solely on the last scene of this episode then I think that’s giving the last scene too much credit. Yes, it was an amazing scene, but I didn’t think it was good enough to redeem the rest of the episode for all the ways in which it fell short.

        But, again, that’s just me, and you’re free to rate the episodes as you choose. It just surprises me that, despite the fact that we seem to have similar opinions regarding the episode, for some reason you found it to be a stronger episode than I did.

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        • SF says

          Well put, mlj102, I agree with everything up including the rating for the episode. I think Midnight did succeed with Boone and his wife, and developing the themes of sacrifice and scientific hubris that were followed up throughout S2. If this is what Midnight did, then I think Roco is right, and maybe S3 will be about different layers of perception and reality, and where one’s home truly is.

          But I still don’t think this was anywhere near an 8.

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        • says

          mlj,

          But isn’t that a problem – that 40 something episodes in and Olivia and Astrid have barely spoken? We’re looking at an under developed relationship or BEEF (IMO). I’d rather hope that it was the latter, as this show has enough under developed areas as it is.

          I stand by my comment that the entire scene was set up to foreshadow Peter meeting Walternate – for me that was the primary objective since they needed to amp the final scene – but within that there are also related connections (as there always are in this show). I can see why that might not have been as clear as I intended it to be though.

          Hmm. I think you misunderstand my episode groupings. :) I’m not for one minute suggesting that Peter’s Passage was as good as Grey Matters, et al. My groupings denote episodes that are similar or enhance the episode in question. For instance, in my view, watching Grey Matters will enhance a viewers understanding and appreciation of Peter’s Passage, and vice versa. So look at it in terms of episodes that are either similar in style/format, or episodes featuring the continuation of a particular storyline – not episodes which are of equal value. Hope that helps! My bad for not making it clearer, but I kinda like leaving things down to interpretation.

          Interesting opinions on Midnight. I can see where you’re coming from and in some ways I do agree with you. Midnight certainly had an absorbing emotional core, with medium ZFT involvement. As you say, it also failed to deliver what it promised. My reason for suggesting that Peter’s Passage avoided being another Midnight is because I feel that it’s more of an integral episode. Rather than being a loose pebble on the shore of hope, it’s crab on the beach of continuity. By that, I mean it is connected directly to the main storyline. Sure, like the crab it’s a bit of a ‘sideways’ episode, but for me it has carry over from the previous episodes and will not doubt sling us into the season finale.

          Like I said, in many ways I agree with you on the short comings of Peter’s Passage, but I also feel that despite the (possible) plot contrivances, it does at least give us (or me) that semblance of continuity. It was different in style and approach, but I felt like I was watching part of a consistent story instead of a flickchart, Midnightesque standalone with little hope of being advanced in the next instalment.

          I do agree though. It’s weird that we seem to have similar-ish opinions on the episode, yet have found ourselves with such disparate ratings. Will we ever land completely on common ground, mlj? That’s the Fringe mystery I want to know! :P

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          • mlj102 says

            “I’m not for one minute suggesting that Peter’s Passage was as good as Grey Matters, et al. My groupings denote episodes that are similar or enhance the episode in question.”

            Ah — I understand better now. I had always known that the episodes you selected were ones that were similar in story, but I always thought there was an element of your rating for it that factored in with which episodes you selected, as well. Perhaps that’s because typically the episode rating is indirectly reflected in the kind of episode selected (mythology episodes typically have higher ratings). I guess in the past it has just happened that the episodes you select seem to fit both in story and in rating, so this time it seemed out of place to include this episode with all those strong classic episodes. But I understand your reasoning — thanks for explaining. (by the way, I like your clever title of Peter’s Passage — nice one!)

            “Rather than being a loose pebble on the shore of hope, it’s crab on the beach of continuity. By that, I mean it is connected directly to the main storyline. Sure, like the crab it’s a bit of a ’sideways’ episode”

            Can I just say, I absolutely loved this metaphor! Not only did it make me laugh, but it’s also quite accurate! Thanks to you, I think I’m always going to associate this episode with a crab walking sideways down the beach. :)

            I’m still not sure I completely agree with your opinion that this episode is more integral or features more continuity. Other than the last scene with Walternate showing up, I wasn’t at all impressed by the mythology or continuity. Yes, it was there, but it wasn’t extremely engaging or significant. Actually, as far as that’s concerned, I see it more as Dream Logic — the case really didn’t have anything to do with anything, but the episode featured character development (though, in my opinion, Dream Logic was far more successful in that area) and a final scene that really caught your attention and tied in to the mythology. Among other things, you criticized Dream Logic for having a boring case that was irrelevant, a lack of tension, and having not enough carry over from the previous episodes. In my opinion, Dream Logic was stronger in all of those areas than this episode was. I thought the character journey (Olivia grieving over Charlie) was more believable and more powerful, I thought the themes in the case were stronger (dreams and perception), I felt equally invested in the outcome for that case as I did for this one (but for Dream Logic I was more satisfied by the conclusion — at least it made sense), and in both episodes the strongest mythology continuity seemed to come at the end, and they were both pretty powerful scenes, though I agree that Peter meeting Walternate was stronger. So I guess I still don’t understand how you can claim that this episode is a “crab walking sideways” as opposed to “a loose pebble.”

            “Will we ever land completely on common ground, mlj? That’s the Fringe mystery I want to know!”

            Ha ha! Seriously! That mystery is as intriguing to me as any other mystery that Fringe has presented. I suppose only time will tell… Perhaps the finale will provide that opportunity. :)

            Actually, I just realized that our “debate” over this episode is different than usual because I think usually when we disagree, it’s because you’re claiming an episode was less than I think it deserves. It’s kind of an odd shift in things to have you playing the role of defending the episode while I’m the one being harsh…

            As always, I really appreciate your comments and I enjoy reading your opinion on things. Even though I don’t always agree, it does help me to look at the episodes in a different way.

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  9. StrawberryFlavoredDeath says

    All in all, I thought this was a pretty good episode. However, I have to admit that I wasn’t really paying close attention to the episode. I was just waiting for the previews for the season finale part one, and let me just say I wasn’t disappointed!

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  10. WeeDum says

    Not sure why everyone’s criticizing Peter for not being an emotional basketcase.
    Not everyone cries or throws tantrums everytime something bad happens to us. Some of us put on a straight face and go on with our lives. Also, maybe its not in Peter’s nature to cry like Walter. Peter has never been an emotional person and that’s the way Joshua precieves him. No need to bash him because of it.
    Olivia doesn’t exactly show her emotions either.

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  11. WeeDum says

    ETA: Might I also add to that its not like Peter had the emotional baggage that Walter and Olivia have. Walter was sent to a mental hospital for 17 years, lost his son and now lost Peter, again not to mention, he was preceived as crazy. Olivia had a relationship with a coworker who turned out to be a traitor who died in her arms, she found out she was experimented on by Walter, found out she has abilties.

    Now, has Peter ever had that? No. I also believe maybe it hasn’t suck in that Peter isn’t from here and maybe Peter has been starting to accept it. Peter is not the type of person to feel sorry for himself and that’s what makes him different than Walter and Olivia.

    Like that saying goes, what doesn’t kill us, make us stronger.

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    • mlj102 says

      I understand that not everyone shows emotion in the same way — I certainly wasn’t expecting Peter to have a breakdown in the supermarket. But everyone has emotion and they show it in some way. The emotion that came from Peter in this episode was essentially non-existent for someone in his situation, and when it was there, it was inconsistent.

      I completely disagree with your comment that Peter doesn’t have any emotional baggage. He has a ton of it — quite possibly more than any other character at this point! He grew up in a single parent home — that typically creates emotional baggage for someone. Additionally, he grew up hating his father. His mother committed suicide — again, add another suitcase to the emotional baggage with that one. He lived much his adult life as a criminal, showing how that emotional baggage had influenced him. Then, through some random twist of fate, he was reunited with his father and began to rebuild a relationship with him. He took a chance. And for awhile, he was happy. But then he learned that he’s really from another reality and his “father” kidnapped him and brought him here. That news alone is enough to provide more emotional baggage than some people have in a lifetime, not to mention all the added hurt and betrayal that came as a result. I’m sorry, but to claim that he has no emotional baggage is completely inaccurate. He has emotional baggage and the bulk of it has just been thrown onto him. It’s disappointing that they haven’t made good use of this opportunity to explore Peter’s character in the aftermath of that.

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      • SF says

        mlj102, I agree completely with what you say here. And then add to what you’ve said, the newer relationships he’s formed with Walter, and Olivia. I’m surprised that he showed no anger, no real reaction – I wonder if he was meant to be dazed, confused, afraid to feel everything? And that’s why there’s cracks in his thinking, in his reactions, in his beginnings of paranoia with Newton? If he’s repressing it all, that leads to much more damage in the personality. Here’s to hoping Peter cries, throws something, crashes something, does something risky and terrifying so he starts to feel again. Maybe he could pick up that phone and call Olivia, that certainly is risky and brave!!! lol sorry, I’m not making a joke, I’m so worried that the writers are not going to follow through on fleshing out Peter like they have Olivia and Walter, and I think my heart would break if they did that to him.

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      • annon says

        Well, honestly, as I have said down further, I think the writers just don’t really want to explore that in great detail. The whole of Peter’s journey is going to be all of one episode, at the moment. The whole situation will change for the next two episodes, so them looking into Peter, probably won’t happen. The grown up Peter’s turmoils have never been the show’s focus at anytime, until now, although briefly, and honestly I can’t see them starting now. That could change in season 3 though, however, but I wouldn’t hold your breath.

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        • mlj102 says

          Forgive me for being blunt, annon, but that sure is a pessimistic way to view things. Honestly, I can see how the Peter character has been underdeveloped to a certain extent, but I don’t think that’s any reason to just assume it’s always going to be that way. I don’t think it’s fair or accurate to claim that the writers have no interest in developing Peter’s character. If he wasn’t important, he would not be one of the three main characters and they would not make him central to the storyline by making him from the other reality and continually mentioning how important he is. Honestly, how many times do they have to emphasize “The boy is important” before people will stop claiming that Peter doesn’t have any significant role in all this? Just because we haven’t seen it yet, doesn’t mean that they’re not developing it. I think there has been a very noticeable improvement in the way they’ve developed Peter’s character this season over Season 1, and we have every reason to expect that improvement will continue into Season 3. Personally, I fully expect to see them continue to develop all the characters in the future, including Peter.

          Again, I’m sorry if this comment comes across as harsh or attacking you — I’ve just noticed your strong opinions that Peter never has been the focus and he never will be, and I just think that’s completely inaccurate, and it’s also not fair to come to those kinds of conclusions.

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          • kittyofdoom says

            Just as a bit of a random add-on to this ongoing discussion re Peter, I’m wondering if perhaps this season we’re coming up on is going to be The Peter Season. Season 1 was very much about Olivia – Olivia losing her partner, Olivia discovering she’d been tested with Cortexiphan, Olivia going over to the other universe – and season 2 has been very much about Walter. Perhaps season 3 will be the one to delve into Peter’s character the way we’ve seen it happen with Olivia and Walter.

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            • SF says

              kittyofdoom and mlj102, I agree with what you say. kitty, I’ve often wondered if there is a progression in the stories being developed around characters as you suggest, so recently I’ve been thinking S3 might be about Peter. I certainly hope so. Like you say, mlj102, I’ve seen Peters’ character progress and change over these 2 seasons, and I want to see more.

              annon, I really hope you are wrong! Because all three deserve to have their characters explored. I have high hopes that S3 will give us more Peter exploring who he really is, what choices he has, and how these define him, and maintaining the character growth of Olivia and Walter also. Fringe has been able to show all three characters changing and growing because they know each other, and I hope being in the alt-world and S3 continues this. It’s one of the most satisfying parts about Fringe, for me. I think that’s why I’m a disappointed in this episode, because we’ve had bits and pieces of Peter for 2 seasons, and this was his. Oh well, I live in hope that Fringe will return to Peter’s character in S3 and show us how having all these things happen to him are changing him. He’s shown he can change and be reflective.

              I wonder, if this very strange episode is meant to reflect Peter himself? that, it’s so odd compared to the rest of the episodes, because it’s meant to portray how Peter sees the world? but that doesn’t fit with how he’s been caring towards Walter and Olivia.

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  12. Melissa says

    I thought the directing was wonderful. Martha Plimpton was amazing. Can’t say I agree about the “emotion” of the episode. But I can’t believe you didn’t mention Olivia’s awesome I’m-reading-your-mind-Broyles moment! That was brilliant.

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    • says

      Melissa,

      Yeah that was an interesting moment. In the end I had to let it go because it didn’t speak to me on the right levels. Perhaps when I rewatch the episode I will see more significance in that interpretation. I was definitely surprised by Broyles crumbling so easily, but I put it down to a writing contrivance to facilitate Olivia finding out where Peter was, while maintaining the Broyles integrity to an extent.

      I guess I did have something to say about it after all – thank goodness for the comments section! :)

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      • SF says

        No, i thought it meant that he did crumble before her – he knows how much Peter means to her (well, maybe not how she feels about him), how much she has risked over the last two years believing in Peter, her career, everything – it was good to see that his loyalty is first to Olivia, who is his direct responsibility. I like that Broyles and Peter have developed their own relationship this season and I agree that Broyles could be a strong male figure for good in Peter’s life. However, Peter did not say anything about not telling Olivia, either, so technically Broyles kept Peter’s request.

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      • MRG says

        well, Peter never told Broyles to not tell Olivia that they spoke….He only specified not telling Walter. :) Freudian slip perhaps? Maybe he really wanted Broyles to tell Olivia where he was…..

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  13. WeeDum says

    I also think its quite sad that a guest star gets best performer while Joshua jackson gets criticized. Shows how little the writers care about Peter or Josh.

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  14. annon says

    I don’t normally comment on episodes in a big way, but this one definitely saw me seeing red. The writer’s have come so far, why did we go back to being subpar again? Don’t get me wrong I really enjoyed this episode but it could have been so much better. Nice review, but as always I don’t agree with half of it.

    I was sort of dreading this episode, because they have never really written for Peter (there was the arrival, but I’m not sure that counts) and was sort of wary for what they would write in this episode. Glad to see that i was correct. Honestly, this felt like the writers just threw things together and not really put much thought into it at all. They obviously wanted Peter alone somewhere, so that they could do the big Walternate reveal at the end. The writers were all over the place and I wonder how much of it Zach and Ashman actually wrote (since there was four writers), because compared to their other episodes this was extremely disappointing. I was sort of shocked that they were involved with this episode. Not a good episode to go out on.

    Yeh, I don’t agree about the emotion part either. Peter has never been an overly emotional person. So, I didn’t expect much emotion from him either. He showed signs in the episode that shouted “I’m not dealing with this at all”, and I liked that subtlety. It’s a good contrast to Walter’s very emotional outpouring that he has been doing. Different people deal with things differently and they are showing that at the moment.

    I think out of the three main characters, Peter is the one that the writers don’t seem to have a handle on. His character is the one that is the most inconsistent. I think that comes from the fact that they concentrate so much on Walter and Olivia in terms of character development and fleshing out, that I don’t think much thought, on the writer’s part, has gone into who Peter is or how they want him to be. Depending on which writers you get, depends on how he is portrayed.

    Over the course of the series, we have continually seen inside Walter and Olivia’s heads, but this is really the first episode where the writers have attempted to do that for Peter. However, as other’s have stated, in the course of this episode they really didn’t go there at all, which disappointed me. Peter’s always been in the background in this series. Really only there to be Walter’s carer or Olivia’s helper, but there is never much emotional involvement/development from the writers with regards to Peter. If there is, it’s one quick scene here and there. I was ecstastic for Josh to actually get more than a couple of lines to say in this episode, because in general they never give Josh that many lines to say normally in an episode. (Well they do, but you get the point). So, to get a Petercentric episode kind of shocked me.

    I love all the characters but the writers definitely in my book, write for only two. All the other characters are wildly underdeveloped and I think that is what holds this show back so much. We just don’t get to know the other characters in this show in great depth.

    Getting back to this episode I thought the sheriff was a great character and I really enjoyed the chemistry that Martha and Josh had. Very well acted in that respect. Since the episode was pretty much them, if they hadn’t worked then it would have not been pretty. The whole case was not written well and it was very confusing as to what actually happened. Did the writers not read the final script? Considering how tight the previous episodes have been since the hiatus, this really surprised me, how wishy washy it was.

    Can I also say how much I loved the convo between Peter and Broyles. Loved it so much. Can we have more of that please. I think Peter could learn alot from Broyles and could even see him as a mentor. Love it if they ever went there. Peter needs someone like Broyles to guide him. Pleased that Broyles showed concern for him with the “Take care of yourself”. He understands that Peter needs time to find himself and I just love that about Broyles.

    However, overall I really enjoyed it. It was very different from what they have done previously and it was a breath of fresh air to see so much Peter. We have not had that before. Long overdue, I just wish the writers had done a much tighter script. Well done Josh Jackson. Considering the way they write Peter, I think you do a great job with what you are given.

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  15. says

    Ah, I was disappointed from the very first moment they showed Peter driving in the “northwest”, which, of course, is Vancouver.

    Why don’t they go back to Toronto?

    it’s like “Stargate SG-1″, where every show they traveled all across the universe to a place that very much looks like the forest outside of Vancouver. Meh.

    I just didn’t like this episode. Peter would not have driven to the NW, and certainly not rented a car w/GPS. The FBI would have found him so quickly, or at least had monitors on him.

    I would expect that Peter would have flown to New Orleans, Tampa, or even used the harbor in Boston to take a job on a ship headed to Bangladesh or someplace similar (you know, the kind that don’t have cameras on them). That kind of long trip would be the only way I could see peter coming to grips or at least trying to.

    In fact, the first thing that Peter would have done is make himself lost, or run away from the “Fringe” Division so fast and far that he would turn up in Hong Kong.

    Roco, I totally agree with you. The writers can’t seem to make up their minds. Peter had more character in the first episode of the series than he did in this one!

    another thing, the Walter-can-use-the-shimmer-to-find-Peter, only works if he is outside. Inside, he’s free.

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    • MRG says

      You know what bothered me about using the shimmer energy to find Peter? If that was possible, why didn’t they use that device to find the building in Jacksonville? Why didn’t they build a spectrometer then instead of subjecting Olivia to Cortexiphan again?

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      • mlj102 says

        I had the same thought. When I first watched the episode, I had thought they were going to reveal at the end that Walter’s theory was completely implausible and wouldn’t be able to work. I thought it would have been a fitting parallel to what was depicted about Peter possibly finding meaning in things that had no meaning, if they showed that Walter was essentially doing the same thing and allowing his perception and his desires to allow him to think certain things were possible that actually weren’t at all real or possible. But, instead they decided to show that Walter had purposely put in wrong numbers because he was scared that Peter hadn’t forgiven him. I still find that development rather odd and disappointing.

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        • LMH says

          I agree completely. A shimmer-detecting machine? Are we replacing a unique cortexiphan (or drug-tripping in Rebecca K.’s case) talent with a machine already? and if this was such an obvious solution why didn’t it pop up before it was decided that drugging up and scaring the crap out of Olivia was the only way to find objects from the other side in Jacksonville. I really thought it was pointless and veered off from the central mythology/rules of the show (like someone fell asleep at the wheel for a second there). I usually try to trust that the writers have a purpose for most things but this seemed so random and superfluous.

          Even more so because of the obvious parallels made b/w this episode and Jacksonville in the forest scene with Newton.

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          • SF says

            ooh, I didn’t think of Olivia in the forest in Jacksonville in the same light as Peter in the forest with Newton…..but there are similarities, especially if Peter was imagining Newton. I’m not sold on this theory though – just because the Sheriff couldn’t see them doesn’t mean they weren’t there. I tend to the theory that Newton was on the other side with the guy holding the device, and they had opened the gate and were shooting at peter to tranquilize him and bring him over. When that failed – he shot at them, which Newton knew from before that Peter doesn’t carry a gun – they decided Plan B, to bring Walternate and convince Peter to go without violence. Peter was the only one to see them because his senses are awakening to the other side, perhaps because the walls he put up in himself (ie blocking his own dreams, the strange little things in the new world he found himself in as a kid, etc) to know the truth are breaking.

            But if the forest was all about fear, then I can see the similarities.

            You’re so right, LMH, to say that a shimmer-device could have been built and saved Olivia going through it again. Couldn’t they have done that in 1980 and saved the trouble of doing the drug trials to begin with? They wanted to create supersoldiers, and Walter wanted to know if Olivia could see the things from the other side again. I hadn’t thought this little scene through before now, and now Olivia’s words to Walter in Jacksonville are even more true :’were you searching for answers to questions you shouldn’t have been asking in the first place?’ What if that is what both universes have been doing? What if both universes have created super-soldiers because four scientists (Walter and Bell and their alts) asked the same questions on both sides?

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    • West Coast Whunda says

      How many Torontonians does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

      – Two. One person holds the bulb in the socket and waits for the universe to revolve around him. Then the second person blathers on about what a world-class event it was.

      Goodness, maybe I have a touch of the dreaded western canadian alienation…. maybe I should calm down and stare at the gorgeous mountains outside my window which I can clearly see because there’s no smog……
      Go back to Toronto, puh-lease.

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  16. jade86 says

    I really liked Peter/Josh in this episode instead. There are different ways to show emotions and i think the actor did a good job!

    “The problem is that Peter can’t yet carry an episode on his own”.

    I disagree. I think that Peter has shown to know very well how to drive alone an episode without the help of other people instead ;)

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    • says

      jade,

      I wish I could agree. I’d like for Peter to be a driving force because it would make for a better show, but I just don’t see much evidence of it. ‘Northwest Passage’ was the perfect opportunity but I don’t see how he carried the episode to the degree that Olivia and Walter have in their centrisodes.

      Then again, we all see things differently.

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      • SF says

        I agree here Roco. There was an opportunity to let us get to know what drives Peter here- love? greed? fear? what is his prime motivation? Security? I still don’t know. My guess is, considering how happy he was for most of this season, he wanted to belong. Whether Peter likes it or not, his sense of belonging is tied up with Walter. As soon as Walter goes to St Clairs, Peter goes off for 17 years, and only comes back when Walter comes out – yes, I know Olivia got him out, and I know that Olivia is a big part to Peter staying around – but Walter is the prime figure in Peter’s life he was trying to work things out with. I think I would have liked to have seen Peter start a letter to Walter, dream of him, something that showed he was trying to make sense of what has happened. I don’t know, because the writers took this episode in such a different direction than I expected, that I’m still struggling to fully understand it. I’m not sure if that makes this a good episode or a weak one. Compared to Jacksonville or Ability, which were instantly amazing and the very best, this one is a strange episode – kind of like Peter, who doesn’t fit any pegholes either. I just think for all the anguish Walter has been allowed to express, and even Peter has had his moments with Walter, it would have been good to have some genuine emotions from him in this episode. I think the writers are to blame for this one.

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        • FinChase says

          I really like your suggestion here about having Peter writing a letter to Walter or at least flashing back in some way that we know that he was trying to make sense of the past two years. Roco’s point about coming out of this Peter-centric episode feeling like I know nothing more about Peter than I did in the beginning is dead-on! I was a latecomer to Fringe, starting with the season 2 premiere and then working my way backwards. I had a better sense of who Peter was in that episode than I did in all of “NWP”.

          I noticed that there were two different teams of writers credited, one of whom I’ve never seen listed for Fringe before. My guess is that team 1 turned in a script that was really bad, and team 2 (Stentz & Miller, who’ve written some of the best episodes of S2, such as “Jacksonville” and “Momentum Deferred”) tried to fix it, but there was only so much they could do without starting over from scratch. The episode just has this real “cobbled together” feeling.

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          • SF says

            Yes, I can’t understand why we haven’t learned anything more about Peter in this episode. Even if his world is shattered – I mean, Walter still loves him, Olivia is still his friend/love possibility, Fringe and the need for answers still exists. It’s just that his frame of reference is gone, and I think this episode was about that. I still would have liked to know more – when the sheriff opens up about the darkness, have him say he experienced that when his mother killed herself, or that he’s going through it now – something that let us know he’s aware somehow and connects. But he feels disconnected, and it would have been interesting to know if he felt something like that when he first left home after Walter went into St Clair’s, and then his mother died right after. That would have let us know that he’s looking for answers, and not just from Newton. We’ve seen Peter begin his journey of self-discovery with Bad Dreams, when he understands about Walters’ insanity for the first time. So he’s capable of it. I think I was looking for this from him, and not the numbness and disconnect; I wish we knew what was normal for Peter to react like when he’s had a crisis.

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        • annon says

          Of course the writers are to blame. The only depth the writers want to go into for the characters is Walter and Olivia. I love your scenario SF about what we could find out about Peter, but in my mind the writers are just not going to go there. They’ve proven that many, many times. They have had the chance to do so, in key moments in past episodes, but they have chosen not to go there. Here we are nearly to the end of the second series and we still haven’t gotten into Peter’s head. Only a glimpse perhaps.

          Anothe reviewer said, that Peter’s journey, which I suspect this is what this episode was suppose to be, should have started much earlier. That way it could have been an ongoing and much deeper exploration over the last part of the season. Instead, the writers have him find out (18), (19) it’s all about how Walter feels since Peter’s gone, he runs to find himself (20), then it’s over next episode because we we will be in the alt universe dealing with alter Walter. I think that’s why people are having trouble trying to understand Peter, because the writer’s just haven’t really explored it properly and it’s all been so, so rushed. We the viewer are just not going to see the depth that we want.

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          • SF says

            Thanks for the compliments from FinChase and you, annon! I don’t completely take your point that the writers have not explored Peter’s character this season – rather, I think they’ve been exploring it from one perspective, which is Peter coming to terms with Walter as he is now, and how he failed to visit him in St Clair’s. We saw that guilt in Grey Matters. I think they developed this theme so that when Peter did find out it would have the greatest impact, as it should. As you and I and many of us on here agree, I think we wanted some self-reflection from Peter, a moment in this episode when suddenly all those comments he’s made since the first episode about how what he remembers are different from Walters – have him suddenly realize that he wasn’t crazy either. Somewhere deep inside Peter he must have wondered why his memories were so different. In the midst of his anger, feel some relief that what he was rememebering was true, after all.

            *sigh* I’m doing it again, aren’t I? Imagining how this episode could have been done with a little more insight into him!! I can’t let it go! lol

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  17. FringeFan2009 says

    I have to say, I have never gotten angry when watching Fringe, but his episode made me angry and feeling empty. The only thing that I got from the episode, was a good 5 seconds at the end and the rest of it seemed like a waste. The story wasn’t well told. There are too many holes and “wtf” moments. Also, Peter turned into a irresponsible character that I didn’t like. He didn’t seem to care about anyone but himself. Being angry and confused is one thing, but no one has the right to put other peoples lives on the line to fuel his own agenda (which is to find out the truth). Let me see, he is so upset that he hits on a waitress and tries to get laid, and doesn’t care that she died because of him? At this point, we don’t even know if Peter and Olivia had a fall out yet over her knowing about his origins. Does he even know that she knew? All that agony, sleepless nights, to try to figure out if she should tell him, and he was possibly the cause of two innocent people dying, and nobody cares. Again, sorry for ranting, just didn’t like the episode at all, outside of the last 5 seconds, and I think it was a waste putting that scene in this episode, when they could have attached it to a much more meaningful storyline.

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    • mlj102 says

      I don’t think FringeFan was trying to bash Peter — I imagine FringeFan is only expressing disappointment because they like Peter’s character and felt like it wasn’t developed in a meaningful way. I just think there’s a difference between bashing and showing disappointment. Bashing would be saying “Peter is such a useless character and should never be given any screentime at all.” And I don’t think anyone is saying that. I think most people are just disappointed that this episode held a lot of potential for Peter’s character, which ultimately went nowhere.

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      • jade86 says

        I’m pretty sure that we’ll see the “explotion” of Peter’s character in the last two episodes :D

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    • FringeFan2009 says

      Sorry, it was my emotions talking. I wasn’t Peter bashing. It is just as mlj said, I didn’t like the way they developed his character. His role is important, as is everyone else. But they didn’t really show his importance in this episode. It’s like Olivia, we all know she is important because she is supposed to prevent the two worlds from colliding. We know her purpose and what has happened to her. The events of her life helped to mold her into who she is, and it makes sense. Walter, is important because he’s a genius and he can make the impossible things possible. Peter is important, because he can make sense of Walter’s erratic thinking. I think the bottom line is that this episode could have potentially been awesome. The production quality was great, guest stars were good, but the story was horrible and was not put together well. And it compromises, how far Peter has come, as far as his character. I think, and please let me know if you disagree, but one of the reasons why we love the show so much, is because, they are telling stories of good people. Or, people that are trying to be good. We are all flawed, and make mistakes, and we struggle with our decisions, but the important thing is that we ‘do’ struggle. The main issue here for me, is that I did not see Peter struggle, with his decision, and I didn’t see an emotional response to the dead girl or the potentially dead guy.

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      • SF says

        I was just thinking – after I wrote my long post below! – that it’s disturbing that Peter is able to cut into the brain of Krista less than 12 hours after making a date to sleep with her! Someone said he seems an awful lot like Walter on the earlier NWP post, and I agree. I do think the writers could have made more about the fear of becoming like the man who isn’t his father in blood only – because our Walter is as much Peter’s father as Walternate is. Wouldn’t it have been cool if Peter had panicked at the thought that he was losing it? That he was turning into Walter, and going crazy?

        That said, I thought from your original complaints about the episode that I fully agreed with you, and didn’t think you were running Peter or Joshua down, but the writers instead. I think they missed a golden opportunity to let us see a little of what makes Peter, Peter, and so special. I know he is, I think most of us fans know he is, but we’re not being given any clues other than that damn touch, that he is. And my Shipper heart is in a rage too that it’s not a connection between Olivia and Peter but something he can do to anyone. AAARGH!

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  18. LizW65 says

    “Also, Peter turned into a irresponsible character that I didn’t like. He didn’t seem to care about anyone but himself. Being angry and confused is one thing, but no one has the right to put other peoples lives on the line to fuel his own agenda…”

    But I think that’s the point–he’s reverted back to what he was prior to joining the Fringe division–the irrresponsible con man who cares for no-one but himself and ignores or runs from the consequences of his actions. We’re not SUPPOSED to like him.

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    • mlj102 says

      I understand what you’re saying, but I still think they went about it in a poor way. I can understand them showing that, as a result of learning the truth, Peter has reverted back to the person he was before. But they never really explored that or elaborated on it much. They didn’t show the process or the inner battle of that taking place. Plus, his actions felt inconsistent. At times he seemed perfectly fine and at other times he seemed completely damaged… and the way it was portrayed didn’t make me feel like that could be just because he was protecting himself or his emotions. Besides that, even if he has reverted to this completely irresponsible con-man, we should still be able to see the character we’ve come to know over the last two years and to sympathize with him. But I didn’t feel that in the way that I should have. My frustration with this episode is that I can kind of see where they were trying to go, but I never felt like they actually got there, so what we actually got was just a mess of a whole bunch of different things that never actually delivered anything substantial.

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  19. SF says

    The first time that I watched this episode, I thought it was awful, one of the worst done, and I was shocked and deeply upset because I love Peter’s character. I wanted to get to know him better, and I thought this was our chance finally. I even vented in the first NWP comments section! I read everyone’s comments, and began to realize that maybe I went in with too-high expectations. That I expected to know everything about how Peter’s feeling. Peter himself doesn’t know how he feels. Once I realized that, I was able to rewatch the show with the idea that Peter is cracking open. He doesn’t see the light yet – I suspect that light will be along the lines of what Martha said to him, that he will find his home eventually. I think he already has it, with our Walter and Olivia, but he doesn’t know it yet. It’s very key that he calls Broyles, with whom he has the least personal relationship, on the team. I was hurt that he didn’t call Olivia, and disappointed that he would really run away from her by sleeping with the waitress rather than confronting her and seeing what their relationship really has. but that’s what I ended up with this episode: we see Peter acting a little like his previous pre-Fringe self, we see Peter acting like he’s part of the team, and we see Peter lost and homeless. I think you are spot on, Roco, when you say that the last three minutes are the best of the episode – that you know how Peter is feeling, finally as he escapes into the music. I do too. I wish the episode had started off with that and not the stupid waitress scene and the pie – I still don’t like the Twin Peaks reference, it doesn’t belong in Fringe! Fringe has its own mythology and I wanted this show to refer back to that.

    As in, Peter is avoiding sleeping – what if he starts to fall asleep and had that nightmare again that he spent his entire childhood avoiding, that he had at the end of Dream Logic? That would have been a brilliant link for him to make, and could have given him a place to start processing the enormous anger and loss he feels towards Walter. But,maybe he’s afraid to sleep, period. We don’t actually know why, unless every time he falls asleep, he hears the telephone – then that scene would be much more powerful and mean he’s linking somehow to the other side.

    I really enjoyed your review and you made me laugh Roco at this episode that I disliked so much initially! The second viewing made me raise my rating slightly – it’s now a 6. It is moody and atmospheric, and it’s disconnected just like Peter is, and we do get an idea that Peter no longer knows what to call reality, that he really is falling apart.

    I think though that I would have liked to see some emotion from him – some tears, some anguish, something that showed him going out of control – drinking or gambling. And on a boat to China where he could never be tracked. I think Peter wanted to be found, but couldn’t reach out to them until he called Broyles. I also think that Peter doesn’t trust himself with Olivia right now. He can’t separate Walter and her yet – and I think he’s afraid to reach out, in the same way that Walter was afraid to find out that Peter wouldn’t forgive him, Peter was afraid to find out for sure that Olivia knew and didn’t tell him.

    I also think that when Martha talks about her and Ferguson, I get the feeling it’s about Peter and Olivia and their relationship too. When Martha says: My partner thinks I’m doing everything in my power, including calling the FBI, to find him”, that it was a message that Olivia was already doing that to find him. That Olivia and Martha represented each other in this episode – I think another commentator picked this up as well.

    But I still wanted to see Peter feeling something, and because that wasn’t there, this episode is empty for me. So I guess I feel like Peter does now!! I’m not even going to go into the serial killer stuff, I still feel that was badly written and confusing as hell and why he wanted their pineal gland was more than bizarre…….

    I do like how you say Olivia has presence, because in this dark and gloomy episode (and by the way I grew up in BC, so most of this episode had scenes that I miss terribly from the forests to the mist to the mountains!) when she comes on, she was light and almost incandescent, especially at the end when she comes to say Peter has been found. She’s so relieved and happy, I could feel my heart start to break for her because I think her ‘hardest time’ is yet to come, and just about to arrive. I like most of your comments and agree with them Roco, we just don’t come out with the same score for the episode!

    note to writers: please let Peter find a way to express how he’s feeling. If he can cry when Olivia’s brain dead at the beginning of the season, why can’t he have a scene now where he is devastated at the enormity of the lie he was told? and how did Newton find him here, and why in the Pacific Northwest? Can we at least have a reference to the boundaries being weak between worlds, which is what I thought the scene in the forest was – that Peter himself is beginning to see the other world too?

    I also have to say that once again, given the material they gave him, Joshua Jackson did a solid job portraying a man who might be losing it. It was only when he made reference to not knowing who he was, or where he was from, that I got a sense of the despair he’s feeling, and I wanted more of that. I do think it could have been made a little fun if he was questioning everything, a return of his cynical self, instead of him finding he believes everything unquestioningly. Again, this goes back to the writers, and not to Joshua, because despite my criticisms of this episode, I didn’t doubt for one minute that I was watching Peter.

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  20. LizW65 says

    “…And on a boat to China where he could never be tracked. I think Peter wanted to be found, but couldn’t reach out to them until he called Broyles…”

    I commented on this in the other NWP thread but it didn’t come through for some reason. I was speculating that if Peter really wished to disappear, he could have done it far more effectively than he did…and that perhaps on some subconscious level he WANTS the Fringe team to find him, which is why he only went as far as Washington State when realistically he could have burned his credit cards, ground his cell phone to powder, and jumped on a merchant ship bound for halfway round the world.

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  21. jinx1764 says

    I haven’t left a comment before now but this episode really grabbed my attention and has prompted me to comment this time. Before I get started, Roco I LOVE YOUR BLOG!!!

    -My initial reaction to this episode was that I loved it but I was a bit confused and definitely had to rewatch it.

    -The murders were real but were committed by the dairy farmer and were unconnected to Newton in anyway.

    -Peter hallucinated Newton, the phone calls and the attack in the forest until the last scene. (because – who was the additional man with Newton in the forest which was not scene again, where did the tranq dart go? If they wanted to shoot him then why didn’t they do so in the hotel room later? Radio signals in the forest that only Peter heard, no record of phone call which could be faked but with everything together probably weren’t)

    -Peter is connecting dots that don’t require connecting. He’s still in Fringe mode and he MISSES IT! He was cleared of the murder early on, he could have easily walked away and disappeared. He offered his services to Mathis and deliberately put himself in a position in which he had to contact Broyles. While he asked that Walter not be told he didn’t ask that Olivia not be told. He knows that Broyles will spill the beads sooner or later to Olivia. I agree with an earlier poster-Peter needs to be found/rescued because he can’t reach out to them himself. He needs to know that Olivia will go anywhere to bring him back again even if he fights her.

    -Peter has not been eating or sleeping well or at all for the last 2 weeks. This alone will mess with perception, memory, emotional responses and moral decision making abilities. His physical appearance and the way his rubbed his face and eyes numerous times is evidence of his sleep deprivation. My job has extreme sleep deprivation (paramedic) 17 years has taught me to recognize the physical and emotional signs. It will seriously mess with your head/heart in ways that you don’t even realize until you’re no longer sleep deprived. You’ll look back after you’re rested and see yourself as a completely different person and wonder how the hell you could have thought/acted/felt that way just days ago. Coupled with the stress of his new reality and loss of family/stability as sent him towards a nervous breakdown.

    -Peter’s emotions are flat deliberately because he currently as no affect. Which means he’s numb. Through a combination of subconscious and deliberate choices he’s shut down emotionally out of self protection. Emotions are all or nothing and once he begins to deal with his issues he’ll have to feel everything and he just can’t do that right now without serious risk of complete breakdown. So for the time being he’s chosen to shut down. Therefore all of his emotions and interactions are off. His sense of humor is skewed, he’s timing is wrong, everything because he’s completely disconnected from humanity.

    -Peter doesn’t really want to be disconnected anymore because he can’t go back to being the nomad of before and he knows that. So he’s conflicted and he’s tries to connect with people ie the waitress but it’s half hearted and rather pathetic and doomed because it means nothing to him.

    -Peter never intended to permanently leave the Fringe Division because he kept his ID and stayed in the states. He doesn’t WANT to leave his family. He wants to be happy and stable but now he has to somehow reconcile his new reality with his old desires. Sometimes ignorance is bliss for a time.

    -Some were saying how much they didn’t like Peter in this episode but I liked him and felt very sorry for him. I’ve personally been in a similar emotional state and let me tell you it’s a very empty, lonely place. Paramedics must learn how to balance being compassionate with their patients without becoming emotionally invested otherwise they risk emotional breakdown and a very short career. It took me years to swinging from too much emotion to complete shut down before I figured out how to walk the healthy line. I think once viewers understand where the character is at emotionally that they’ll see that Jackson hit it exactly as written!

    -I was disappointed that we didn’t get to more emotions like punching walls or screaming but I think that is yet to be seen. I think he was initially very angry and betrayed but after the initial rage wore off he’s mostly just incredibly disappointed, sad and empty. They say the opposite of love isn’t hate isn’t indifference and I’m afraid that Peter is skating very close to indifference right now. And he knows it which is why he needs someone (Olivia) to find and rescue him before it’s too late.

    -I’m really excited to see the season finale and to see if my ideas are right and how the characters interact once they see each other again. I think while Peter is still angry; especially at Walter and wanting answers about who he is, once those issues are dealt he’ll be missing his old life more than anything else. If Olivia can finally get over her issues and be honest with him about her feelings then maybe he’ll be able to forgive them enough for now to come home by the end of the season.

    *fingers crossed!!!*

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    • LizW65 says

      Some very interesting observations there, especially coming from your background as a paramedic. Hah–how ironic would it be if everyone was critcizing Jackson’s performance for being TOO realistic? :D

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      • jinx1764 says

        Thanks, I think it was very realistic.

        FYI- I just realized that I was poster #47 woohoo Alias shout out!!!!!

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    • Jodie says

      Jinx1764, finally someone else sees this episode the same way that I saw it. I also think that Jackson really showed what Peter was going through at this stage of the story. If viewers (and this does refer to Rocco too) would just spend even 50% of the effort analyzing Peter’s character that they spend on Olivia’s character, we might not have had so much angst and anger over this episode. I really feel that viewers have missed a lot about who Peter is and what his role in this series is all about.

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      • jinx1764 says

        Exactly! Now I admit as much as I loved the episode right off it took me a another watch and a few days to get my brain around all the subtly in order to explain why I loved it so much. I think people are expecting this huge emotional explosion from Peter and instead that got an implosion. He completely shut down emotionally. I’ve seen it happen to patients for years. Other family members expect all this drama and when someone just shrugs and goes cold they can’t understand why they “don’t care”.

        Problem is they do care, too much and they’re protecting themselves by closing off to everyone including themselves. Almost going catatonic. Basically he has no rudder right now and is drifting around the country trying to find something to give him direction. IE Mathis and her pen which will be back!

        I just really loved the subtly of this episode and that the writers are accepting that us viewers have more than 2 brain cells and are able to figure out what they’re trying to say without having to blurt it out like Jerry Springer.

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      • mlj102 says

        “If viewers (and this does refer to Rocco too) would just spend even 50% of the effort analyzing Peter’s character that they spend on Olivia’s character, we might not have had so much angst and anger over this episode.”

        I can’t speak for everyone, but personally, I would be more than happy to put in effort analyzing Peter’s character, but the problem is that they didn’t give us much to work with in this episode. And I don’t think it’s a valid argument to claim that it was there, but people are just ignoring it or they missed it, because anything that’s substantial should be clear enough that people can see it and understand it. I’m not saying they need to spoon feed it to us, but they do need to give something, which this episode didn’t do. People can analyze Olivia so much because in Olivia episodes, they actually give us something to analyze. Olivia episodes are so powerful because they provide that character insight and character development and emotion. But the writers missed out on an opportunity to do that with Peter in this episode.

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        • SF says

          Yes, I have to agree here. I spend much of my time analyzing everyone on this show, and I don’t like being told that I’ve ignored Peter in this one when I spent the last week anxious for an episode about him finally! – and then the last 72 + hours analyzing what happened, what I wanted, what I saw, what others saw, what works and didn’t because I wanted more drama, more emotion, especially some understanding of what makes Peter tick. I still don’t know – and I’m a Peter lover! That said, I do understand the point of shutting down that he does – if I didn’t make that clear before, I think he does, but given how much emotion he has been expressing, it doesn’t fit how the character has developed. I speak from experience here, since I did shut down completely in my childhood after traumatic experiences, and I know how easy it is to do it though I fight not to now. Did we see that in Peter this episode? I don’t think so, not the inner struggle to keep the self he was developing in the group intact. I do take the point of jinx1764 here, but we also have to consider if Peter does shut down, or if he just runs away. I wish we knew that about his character, so we would know if he’s acting realistically for him or not.

          I don’t like assuming anything about a character, and FinChase made the point earlier that we shouldn’t have to work so hard to figure this out. The writers do have give the actors material that let them show the inner workings, and given Joshua Jackson’s acting talents and how much he made Peter realistic in this episode, I still wish the writers had plumbed his depths a little more, so we know him a little better before we head into the final two episodes. I love his character, but he is still a mystery to me, although this may be the point to – if we take the ‘gray areas’ of morality, and the idea that other commentators posted much earlier that S3 could be a struggle for Peter to choose good or evil, maybe this episode was to show that he does not have his center yet. In which case this will be a brilliant episode for him, though the serial killer part still and always will. But we shouldn’t have to work so hard and watch this 3 times before we can perhaps dig out a theory about Peter’s character. He deserves better, and so do we the viewers. That was the point I was making. So I’d say 95% of my effort in this episode has gone to Peter!!

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    • annon says

      Wow. What thoughts. Funnily enough, this is how I saw Peter’s state of mind actually. I could never express as well as you though.

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        • jinx1764 says

          Thanks, Annon! I’m still not 100% about Newton/hallucinations ideas but I think the writers intended this episode put us viewers inside the mind of Peter and what a mess! He’s never really belonged anywhere and for the first time in his life he’s happy, content and feels a sense of belonging, acceptance and maybe even wants to fall in love for real and suddenly he finds out (like a bandaid being ripped off) that’s it’s all based on a lie.

          The things he’s always craved, that we all crave, are based on lies. Now that doesn’t mean that the love from them wasn’t real but how does he reconcile that? How does he decide that he can ever trust them again?

          I think we feel unsure of the type of character he is and his reactions not because of lack of history but because he himself has never experienced this type of situation before. Can any of us predict how we would respond to this type of revelation? Would we be ‘in character’ for ourselves?

          The writers are trying very hard to allow us to experience the emotions/confusion with Peter instead of telling us what he’s feeling. That’s very good storytelling!

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    • fedorafadares says

      Yes! This is how I viewed the episode, too. Peter is overwhelmed, crushed, in shock and confused about the perception of his own reality — the one he’s lived with Walter and Olivia. He was enjoying his life before he learned the truth and didn’t really want to let that reality go, so he got as far away as he could without severing ties.

      The emotional stress he’s under naturally leads to insomnia, and that sleep deprivation leads to rash decisions, bad judgment, hallucinations.

      I think this episode made sense. Just because Peter wasn’t emoting didn’t mean he wasn’t reacting.

      Besides, who would he emote to?

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    • says

      jinx,

      It was very interesting to read your comments, particularly how you incorporated your personal experiences as a Paramedic with your view on Peta’s state of mind. Can’t say I necessarily agree with all that you say, but that doesn’t detract.

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      • jinx1764 says

        LOL, thanks! Well, if we completely agreed then not only would it be boring but we’d all be quarterbacks and cheerleaders, lol!

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  22. Christopher says

    I agree, if he’d really wanted to be GONE, disappear, he could have.

    And Peter’s not counting bullets in that scene, he’s modding them for a surer kill. He’s also bought a sawed off shotgun, he’s a lot more familiar with (illegal) weapons than Olivia has any idea. I think he only missed Newton because Newton is flitting around with that little device–he materialized in Peter’s room at the end.

    Can we have Matthis back in the finale, or is that too much to ask?

    And Walternate, I think he’s bent on revenge, not a reunion.

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    • jinx1764 says

      Yes, he’s not counting bullets, he’s filing them. He’s much more of a badass then he wants Olivia to know.

      And I believe he missed Newton in the forest because Newton wasn’t really there-Peter is hallucinating.

      Sleep deprivation can make you hallucinate. I have experienced first hand and it’s incredibly freaking and frightening.

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    • says

      Christopher,

      On-camera we saw Peter modifying the bullets. But you just know that off-camera he counted them ten thousand times before putting them back in the case.

      Revenge/reunion – can’t we have both?

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  23. Jodie says

    “Was Peter hallucinating or were Newton & Co. really disappearing in front of his (and our) eyes? If so, why didn’t they use this technology before?”

    I really think that Peter has been hallucinating Newton in this episode. How can Newton and co. really disappear before our eyes? I suggest that he can’t. If the shape shifters could do this, then why haven’t they before? If you’re in Olivia’s hospital room, and you’ve failed to kill her, then why not “pop” out of the room. Why jump through the window and allow Agent Amy to shoot you in the back? If you’ve finally extracted the information you need from Walter, why not just “pop” out of the house? Why jump in a van just so Olivia can kill you? You wouldn’t.

    I was a literature major, and when you read a novel or short story where you can’t trust the narrator because s/he is lying or insane, the writer always points the way for the reader. The writer wants the reader to understand what the truth is; what is happening within the story. The person pointing us toward understanding what is happening here is Sheriff Mathis. She tells us over and over again that Peter is hallucinating. She tells us that she checked out those phone calls, and they didn’t happen. She tells us that the only thing about your story that checks out is your identity. She tells us that Newton was not in that forest with the tranquilizer gun. Peter shoots and misses because there is nothing there to shoot at. Seriously, that was a great scene, and I thought that Jackson did a wonderful job showing us all how close to the edge Peter actually was. When trying to understand how Mathis couldn’t see Newton run right past her, he concluded that she must be a shape shifter herself and then points the gun at her! I’m telling you, if I had been Mathis, and I’d finally convinced Peter to put his gun down, I would have slapped him silly and taken it away from him. No one who is that unhinged should be allowed to carry a fire arm!

    “I would have liked a deeper exploration into what it means to discover that your whole life has been a lie, and what it means to find out that your every thought, feeling and connection to this reality is nothing but a dream. We could have gone really introspective with this episode, it was a fantastic opportunity to make our hearts bleed for Peter, to connect with him on a level that raises questions on reality and what it really means. Instead that opportunity was passed up”…

    I don’t think that it was passed up at all, Rocco. It is kind of funny that you mention dreams here. It finally hit me last night as to why I’m so convinced that Newton was never in Washington until the very last scene in Peter’s hotel room. There is a scene in “Bad Dreams” where Olivia and Peter are waiting to see the director of the hospital where Nick Lane was institutionalized. Peter tells Olivia that he had always thought that Walter’s illness was something that Walter had done to his mother and to himself. That it wasn’t something bad that had happened to Walter. Then he says that it must be terrible “not to be able to trust your own mind.” On the surface, this line relates to Olivia. She literally can’t trust her own mind, but I always felt that this was actually sweet irony. That on a deeper level, this was foreshadowing for when Peter would find out that he’d been kidnapped by Water. When he would find out that everything that he thought he knew about himself was all just a lie. That just like Walter, he would be brought to a place where he wouldn’t be able to trust his own mind. I’ve had to wait for over a year for this story to be told, but it finally happened. It wasn’t rushed. It was told very well.

    And yes, we do come out of this episode knowing Peter a bit more. Peter likes to think of himself a a “tough guy.” I can’t remember what episode he says this in but he’s talking to one of the bad guys and says: “you’re a tough guy, I’m a tough guy, we’re all tough guys.” Something to that effect. If you run up against a bad guy, you just smack him. If a door is locked, you just kick it down. If the woman you love betrays you by protecting the man that kidnaps you, you just flirt with a pretty waitress. But in reality, we’re shown that Peter is much more fragile than he wants to think.

    I’m talking about that beautiful last meeting between Peter and Sheriff Mathis. The scene opens with Peter kneeling before that pail of water. We really get to see just how alone Peter really is. He just looks so vulnerable and small with the background of the dairy farm. Mathis walks up to Peter and she is feeling so grateful that Peter has saved the man that she loves. All Peter can say is that he doesn’t understand what has been happening. But Mathis tells him that it doesn’t matter, he saved the day. And then she finally tells him what that pen really means to her: she had everything taken from her, but she “found the crack,” that ray of light. She found her place in the universe and that Peter will too. It was such a well-acted scene between the two of them.

    In fact, Walter is handling the situation much better than Peter. He actually comes to realize how he is being perceived in that grocery store. He is able to control himself in the end. Peter never really sees what is happening to him. He is just so lost.

    I know this was horribly long, but I really feel that you’ve missed the point of this episode. It was a bit confusing, and parts were contrived, but I’m really glad I got to see Peter’s break down.

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    • Michelle says

      Well said, Jodie– I think your insights are spot on and that maybe people missed the nuance of Northwest Passage because of it coming on the heels of Brown Betty and the Man from the Other Side. Maybe they’ll get it when they watch it again?

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    • says

      Jodie,

      I wouldn’t be too fast to rule out the possibility that Newton and co. were present in this episode. But let me explain my point of view a bit better.

      Personally, I think that it is worth considering that they might not have had the ability to ‘disappear’ before this episode. As I touched on in my review, the arrival of the Secretary and Peter’s revelation about his true origins may have opened up other Doors of perception, perhaps allowing the Other Side the ability to tap into Peter’s mind (the signals). Or giving Peter the ability to create reality – even on an unconscious level. But again – what is reality? Newton was there from both Peter’s and ‘our’ perspective, so on some level, he was there.

      Using that as a platform – the question of ‘what IS reality’, I’ll try to drill down a bit further.

      As I said in my review, I don’t think Peter was just ‘hallucinating’ in the ‘traditional’ sense of the word. There was, in my opinion, something else going on here (although we might be missing each other’s point by a few degrees). But this also depends on what we each mean by the word ‘hallucinate’. If I’m understanding you correctly, you don’t believe that Newton was ever really there until the final scene and that he had nothing to do with Craig? That’s possible, however it would require a major coincidence in that Craig just happened to be removing people’s brains independently of Newton. Again, this is possible, but I wouldn’t necessarily like that, unless, somehow – subconsciously – Peter’s brain was manifesting its own reality, bringing him into a situation were his experiences were both mirrored and foreshadowed.

      Again, I’m not disputing that Peter wasn’t exactly stable in this episode. In my view his perception has been compromised. Whether it has been self compromised or breached by a third party, is the real question, in my view.

      The fact that Newton (and Walternate) did come for Peter has to be explained in respect of Peter’s earlier Newton sightings and the phone calls. As I’ve said, I don’t think we can simply put this down to an hallucination in the typical sense. I think it has to go slightly deeper. I think it’s worth considering the possibility that in this episode we saw Peter perceiving reality/future events – which is similar to the idea of ‘creating’ reality, except the former implies that he has less control over what happened to him in this episode. Either of these two possibilities would make more sense to me, because both infer that Peter’s mind is like a beacon, of sorts. In this case, his ability would go beyond touching people and calming them down, but it extend to facilitating outcomes, whether that’s activating Olivia’s powers (1.14 “Ability”), or, perhaps, manifesting/predicting reality.

      Were the Newton sightings Peter’s mind warning itself by foreshadowing future events, similar to how Olivia’s mind protected her from spilling the beans to Evil Charlie? I would put this forward as another possibility.

      Mathis said that Peter was ‘completely off his rocker’. I don’t buy that as an explanation for what happened in this episode. I think you have a point in highlighting her point of view as being a breadcrumb. But I think that Peter’s “I know how this must look, from your point of view, I was there once too”, also serves as an indicator. We may have a situation where there are different levels of perception, each being ‘real’ in their own respect. This could mean that neither Mathis nor Peter are wrong in their outlooks, just that they are viewing reality through different lenses.

      I just think that Newton’s appearance at the end is in some way Peter’s vindication that his experiences in the episode were in some way ‘real’. Bear in mind that I believe that ‘dreams’ are a big component of this show.

      I’m not sure that I’ve “missed the point” of the episode like you claim – although that’s your perception. I think it’s important to remember that this show in particular is open to interpretation, and that we each find different levels of value in different episodes. Personally, I found quite a lot of meaning in this episode – hence the 8/10 rating. Although I do believe that the execution wasn’t as good as some of the other episodes.

      I’m glad for your views however, as they’ve given me a chance to drill down on some of the points I offered in my review, and you make some good points. I think our two perspectives boil down to how we both interpret the word ‘hallucination’. For me, Peter seeing Newton definitely had meaning within the context of the show. Although I am open to the possibility that I could be looking for meaning where there is none.

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      • Jodie says

        Rocco, Are you saying that you think that Peter’s abilities are growing? Yesterday, the the pre-episode blog, I wondered if Peter himself were influencing the manner in which Craig was killing his victims. That it wasn’t a coincidence that the killed them in the same manner that Newton had extracted Walter’s brain tissue from those three patients in “Grey Matter.” The killer was at the diner waiting for Krista to leave. I think that Peter, in his agitated state of mind, affected Craig. Peter didn’t create a killer, but only influenced the way Craig decided to kill.

        “I think it’s worth considering the possibility that in this episode we saw Peter perceiving reality/future events – which is similar to the idea of ‘creating’ reality” So if I understand you, your saying that Peter is not actually seeing Newton there, but he perceives an event that will happen. So in a way, Newton is there, but isn’t. I like that idea. Peter is intercepting (with his growing abilities) Newton’s and Walternate’s plan to kidnap him back. So when he receives his phone calls, there isn’t any record because the calls didn’t happen, but he is intercepting communication from the kidnappers via his abilities. I could get behind that. However, I still think that the writers are giving me that view of Peter losing his grip with reality. And I still believe that Jackson did a very good job in acting this part. I think that he deserves the best performance in this episode with Martha Plimpton receiving an honorable mention.

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        • says

          Yup. I’d say that Peter’s abilities are indeed expanding. I think there are several possible explanations for the events that took place in the episode, and Peter manifesting events (or some of them), or being drawn to mirrored events could be just one such explanation. I think we share some common ground here.

          We could even take this further and suggest that Craig and some of the events in this episode were ‘constructs’, similar to how Peck’s Red balloon may have been a construct – a manifestation allowing a form of redemption for the ‘observer’. Again, this is just another possible explanation.

          Yeah, that’s partly what I’m suggesting. It’s perhaps a no-brainer to say this but I do believe that perception is key here. I respect the hallucination point of view, but I think it does boil down to Peter’s growing ability to interact with objects that others can’t necessarily see – possibly because they haven’t happened yet, or because they are taking place in another ‘place’ (if perception influences the way we feel about the world, isn’t it possible for the world to directly mirror the way we feel). Or that Newton was somehow manipulating him. Either way, Newton WAS there on some level. That transmitter gizmo the other shape-shifter had wasn’t there for no reason, IMO. I also wouldn’t bet against it being mixture of these suggestions – after all, Walternate is Over Here, in part, to see his son again.

          I do agree with you in that the writers wanted to convey the sense of Peter losing his grip with reality. Although I’m not seeing much daylight between that and what I suggest happened in this episode. I just think we’re approaching it from slightly different perspectives. That’s not to say you are in any way wrong – rather, we are each seeing a piece of the puzzle and collectively we can help each other to get a better grasp on the episode.

          Who knows, perhaps Peter was just hallucinating. But again, how far do we examine the mechanics of this ‘hallucination’? I think we’d have to drill it down a bit further to find the answer.

          As for Jackson, I don’t think he was terrible, but I don’t think he nailed it either (though granted, his performance did, somehow, improve on my second viewing). I just feel that in general the Peter character needs some work next season. To give him the best performance in this episode would be me lying to you. I can only be honest with my personal assessment. If and when I give Jackson the best performer, it will have been earned. That said, I also appreciate that we all see the episode and performances through different eyes, and it’s good that you are sharing your views.

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      • mlj102 says

        “I think it has to go slightly deeper. I think it’s worth considering the possibility that in this episode we saw Peter perceiving reality/future events – which is similar to the idea of ‘creating’ reality, except the former implies that he has less control over what happened to him in this episode.”

        When I first saw the scene where Peter was chasing Newton in the forest, I actually wondered if Peter had some sort of sixth sense and he could sense where Newton was as he ran through the forest. After the episode ended and it presented questions to whether or not Newton had really been there, it caused me to adapt my theory, wondering if maybe Peter has some sixth sense that allowed him to perceive that Newton was nearby and plotting something, which caused him to see Newton, even though he wasn’t there. It’s actually similar to the concept Walter introduced back in The Ghost Network concerning the way our minds have a tendency to see things that aren’t really there simply in an effort to make sense of random input it receives that doesn’t make sense. If Peter had been receiving some sort of signal alerting him to the fact that Newton was in the area, and his brain didn’t know how to interpret it, so it presented it in the form of seeing Newton even though he wasn’t actually there, that would explain a lot. So not necessarily that he was influencing events, but that he was just sensing things that he wasn’t even aware of. If they come back and build upon this idea, elaborating and explaining it, then I will be more forgiving towards certain aspects of this episode. But as it is right now, it just feels a bit sloppy and incomplete and confusing.

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      • jinx1764 says

        After some of the updates especially the morse code info I want to revise a bit. I still think Peter was hallucinating but how much is pure hallucination and how much is his brain trying to interpret/influence foreign signals…who knows. Obviously, Newton was after him and how much was a set up??? How much was chance???? And I think we’re not supposed to know. I think the writers want us the viewers to feel what Peter’s feeling. The confusion, temporary insanity, paranoia, lack of emotion and the overwhelming need for direction and clarity. We’re very much inside Peter’s mind right now and it’s a mess.

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        • says

          “how much is pure hallucination and how much is his brain trying to interpret/influence foreign signals…who knows.”

          Exactly.

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  24. FinChase says

    “It’s reassuring to know that Olivia wont let Sumner gets his claws on Walter again. Not sure how she planned on doing that, but I guess it’s just one of those things you say to a man who’s on his last string of sanity.”

    When I heard that Walter was fearing he’d be sent back to St. Clair’s (a reasonable fear since the person who is listed as his guardian has left Walter behind with no indication that he plans to return), I really hoped that this would play a bigger part in the episode. I feel sure that, in spite of what Broyles told Olivia in the Pilot, Homeland Security could secure the release of a patient without immediate family consent. However, he’d probably still need a guardian, and I thought it would be a wonderful piece of irony, in view of her conflicted emotions towards Walter, if Olivia agreed to take on that responsibility. Those two have such a tangled past and conflicted presence, but they are both united in their love for Peter, and I think they care for each other far more than they admit. Olivia’s anger over what Walter did to her as a child is completely justified, but I think she’s already moving past it, especially since he’s finally taking ownership of the things he did to her and to Peter. They’ve really been supporting each other in the last few episodes. I think it could have been an amazing character development opportunity but we didn’t get that. The closest we got was Olivia going to Walter and asking if wanted to come with her. And I agree with you, Roco; I like that she gave him the choice.

    I appreciate that the writers/producers wanted to give Peter his own episode, but it seems to me that this episode failed to deliver on several levels. It’s a bad sign when the most excited I get during the entire hour is when the preview of the next episode airs.

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  25. jade86 says

    Oh god!
    I reed a comment from an user on fringebloggers.com. He discovered that the weird noises in Peter’s phone call were actually morse code, and the translation was:

    TARGET*PETER*BISHOP*LOCATION*NORTHWEST*PASSAGE*TIME*8*47AM

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      • Fringefan1991 says

        That is an interesting find jade86 because it would support Roco’s theory that Newton was actually present in this episode before the final scene. I think Newton and his men using Morse code to communicate ties into perception. Its an old form of communicating and it ties into how the two Universe communicate. Nina has her old computer and the other side has their type writer. You would not think that people using telephones would relay messages without speaking. Another question I have is how did Peter pick up the signal?

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      • LizW65 says

        Check out the “eastereggs” thread on that same site for yet another interesting tidbit: apparently the “Bazooka Joe” comic is from the Other Side…

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  26. kether12 says

    Thank you both Jodie and jinx1764!! I had to read the review and all the comments until I finally found some people who really make a point. This episode was great in my opinion! It described perfectly how Peter deals with all this… or better said refuse to deal with that as much as he can… It’s something like “This isn’t real, this can’t be happening”. You know sometimes our mind tries to protect itself and reject some painful, harmful thoughts and this is exactly how Peter feels… numb, not able to react normally…
    – he laugh when he shouldn’t have – you don’t laugh when you know that some bad guys are after you (and trust me I can understand that particular reaction better than anyone else)… and later he lose his temper at the phone… it reveals that he is NOT at all OKAY as he had tried to show
    – he flirt with the waitress trying to avoid the way he feels about Olivia, as if she didn’t or doesn’t exist… just because he feels betrayed (I doubt that this could have led to more than that if she (the waitress) would have got to the motel)…
    It’s an episode full of contradictions… maybe a little bit crazy and too subtle … but this was the best part of it… you should just read between the lines… it would have been so easy to see a very angry Peter… to see him cry or kick asses… or make something stupid… But this is not Peter at least not THIS Peter (after the Fringe division/Walter experience)… It may have been before when the problem he tried to deal with where in the limits of normalcy (it’s not easy to deal with the fact that your father is in a mental institution and your mother comitted suicide, but at least is something that could happen’… unfortunate but not unreal)… but being kidnapped from another universe and discover that all your life was a lie… and that you have been betrayed by all the people who you began to care about and trust, especially when you became so attached, for almost 2 they were you little odd family… this is kind of hard to deal with… So yeah… numb it will perfectly describe how Peter felt during this episode…
    One more thing… can’t help to appreciate Peter reaction at the end :) it was PRICELESS and Josh play it so well ! During this episode I’ve seen a child trying to play a grown up man… (gun and all cool stuff) But this “lost child who wants to be found” (maybe it a little bit to much I know but it’s a child in each one of us) appeared at the very end… if you’ve miss it (but I don’t think so) look again at his face :)
    I want to apologize for my mistakes (English it’s not my native language) and I dare to give this episodes 9/10 points :)

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    • jinx1764 says

      Excellent points, Kether. He is still that lost little boy who is looking for love and acceptance from a family he’s never had. There’s a saying…Even when you hate your mother-you love your mother. Peter is the epitome of that.

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  27. Jo says

    Well, I’ve also never commented here before but I wanted to respond to the review/other posters because while I found the episode deeply frustrating for a number of reasons, the one part of the episode that really rang true for me was Peter’s emotional state and his responses to everything that was happening around him.

    I thought Joshua Jackson did a great job of showing Peter as lost and somewhat empty—not angry anymore, like he was in the hospital scene, but in that deep sadness that comes once anger like that breaks. The idea that his response after checking out of the hospital would be to just get in a car and start driving away from Boston made perfect sense to me, because he wanted to get as far away from Olivia and Walter as possible. But it also made sense that he wouldn’t truly leave or go off the grid because, as I think we see throughout the episode, even though he is reverting to form by running he can’t and doesn’t really want to go back to who he was before. It surprised me to see people describe his flirting with the waitress as happy-go-lucky because I thought that even in that early part of the episode you could see the cracks in his façade—in his tired expression, his relatively subdued smiles and particularly in the look on his face when he answers “I don’t know yet” to her question of where he is going, which is the look of someone who, were he to give in to that small moment of thinking about of what his life has become and what is ahead, would be on the verge of tears.

    Given how adrift he is it made perfect sense to me that he dives into the case rather desperately as an opportunity to give himself meaning, purpose, and ideally, answers. But even that fails because in the end he finds that even though he solved the case, his conclusions seem to have been totally wrong. Nothing he says or thought he experienced can be verified and his theories and reactions come across as paranoid and somewhat insane. The scenes at the end resonate because we see him finally facing the fact that he really has no place in our world. Not even particularly because he is not from here or because his entire life (which was no picnic to begin with) has been a lie, but because his experiences with the Fringe Division have left him entirely unable to interact with society in a normal way. His skills and knowledge make him only fit for the Fringe Division and yet he feels he can’t go back there. He can’t trust his own reactions to or perceptions of things and is probably beginning to doubt his sanity. Somewhat like Walter, he’s lost the ability to trust his own mind. Given that his entire life prior to fringe was built on his ability to be smarter/one step ahead of everyone in the room, he really has nothing left.

    But while I loved Peter himself I was still disappointed by the episode because I thought the writers really took a lot of shortcuts. It felt like they really cheated with the mystery in order to create confusion about Newton’s involvement/whether Peter was hallucinating. I’m still not 100% sure what actually happened in the case but if it was just a coincidence that the guy starts taking people’s brains just when Peter gets to town then that just feels cheap. Yet I can’t figure out a purpose for Newton’s involvement, since it seems like he definitely didn’t need the memories, unless it was to keep Peter around and in one place so they could set up the meeting with the Secretary? Whatever the case, even if we were meant to come out of the episode with some doubts about Peter’s perception (which I think we were), the total confusion over what actually happened in this episode/case seems to indicate a failure on the part of the writers. That said, I do think Newton was there and tracking Peter in some way; while Peter was definitely sleep-deprived and his perception/conclusions were getting more desperate and less plausible as the episode went on, I don’t think he was straight up hallucinating, or that the calls weren’t really happening in some sense. I’m hoping that next week, with Olivia and Walter presumably going to Washington (which I hope we’ll see), we’ll get a little bit of follow up on this case and what was real/what wasn’t. It’ll also be interesting to see how their wishes alter their own perceptions of what happened—i.e. assuming that Peter was captured and needs to be rescued when at this point it seems very likely that he would go willingly.

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    • mlj102 says

      Jo —

      First, I want to say that I really liked your comment. It was very well written and insightful. Even though I don’t completely agree with your final assessment of how this episode succeeded in the emotional aspect of things, you certainly made a clear point that made me consider things that were different from how I’d initially thought. I hope you will comment more often!

      I don’t want to say too much in response because I’ve already said a lot about my opinion regarding how this episode portrayed the emotional aspect of things, and that hasn’t really changed. It just didn’t come across to me as rich and as in depth and as powerful as I had hoped it would. I really don’t care what kind of response/emotion they choose to depict or how they choose to convey that — I just wanted it to be shown in a meaningful way, as they have done so many times before. Fringe has done so many great things with emotion, so when I look at this episode in comparison with all that, this just doesn’t stand out or hold anything significant.

      That said, thanks again for sharing your view of it all — I really enjoyed reading what you had to say.

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    • annon says

      Loved what you wrote also Jo and and I saw it like you did as well, with regards to Peter. Hope to hear your comments on other episodes.

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      • SF says

        I really enjoyed your comments too, Jo. I really like the idea of him not being able to go back to his old life, or be with Fringe, and driving aimlessly while he tries to sort through his grief. Maybe that’s what he did for 17 years after Walter and his mother ‘left’ him in their ways. He drifted, because he had no home, since Walter and Elizabeth were his home. Literally too, without them, he had no place here. So he’s reverted to that behavior of aimlessly wandering, which I haven’t looked at his past actions as.

        That all said, I’m still with my initial reactions on this show that emotionally it was missing a lot. I think that I’ve worked too hard on this episode to try to work it out, so somewhere the writers failed to really show us what we needed to know. I enjoy puzzles, and figuring things out, but this was much more work than almost any other episode of Fringe (for me, anyway). FinChase mentioned earlier the 4 writers credited to the story, and I think that’s a valid point to consider. It’s like they almost succeeded in portraying Peter’s loss of frame of reference, but not quite. We’ve needed each other to work it out! sort of!

        Does anyone else get the feeling that Peter is going to find out he doesn’t have a home in either world? That he will come to realize that your home is where you make it, not necessarily where you were born or from?

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        • jinx1764 says

          I think that’s exactly the conclusion he’ll reach. Remember the Wizard of Oz references!!!! The answer lies in your own backyard, home is where the heart is.

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  28. Denise says

    I have to give this episode about a 4. The dialogue seemed contrived and the pacing cliched, and for instance, the old-western style music when Peter got his rifle seemed almost like a mockery of the moment. Maybe the mood of it all just surprised me, but I definitely did not feel this time that I as an adult was the target audience, but rather it was written for the 15-year old girls. I don’t want to be too critical, but just note that I always appreciated the show for its deeper emotional moments, and this came up short for me.

    As far as Peter goes, though, from the first scene in the diner, I saw him coping by reverting back to his free nomadic persona, detached from relationships in the large sense, but basically ruling his own corner of the world. He is a guy that nobody tells what to do or how to do it, period. That can seem cold for now, but maybe we will see some chinks in the armor when he “Finds the crack”!

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    • ApplesBananasRhinoceros says

      You know, i think this whole episode was just a crazy mixed up dream he had after falling asleep on the couch waiting for the waitress and stumbling back to his room. I think he is intercepting transmissions from the other side in his dreams and he knows they are coming at 8:47 am and he wakes up for real right when Newton and Walternate come in.

      I think that would be so awesome!!

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  29. ApplesBananasRhinoceros says

    You know, wasn’t Olivia’s dream in Jacksonville in the trees, too? we’ve had so many references to trees. And wasn’t Twin Peaks ultimately all a dream?? If this is the case, i change my rating to an 11…

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    • LMH says

      Yeah, Liv’s dreamworld (“really tall trees” and “there’s someone else here”) were all foreshadowing in my view for the events in this episode, especially Newton’s crazy running and disappearing among the trees. Watch both scenes again. I love that connection.
      Can Liv see glimpses of the future in her drugged out cortexiphan world? Hmmm…

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      • LMH says

        Oh and it wasn’t a dream unless Peter burned himself that CD labeled “Peter from Boston,” or if he was dreaming about laying down on the bed and popping in the CD, only waking for real when he opens his eyes to see Newton. That’s a fun thought.

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        • ApplesBananasRhinoceros says

          What if he and the waitress DID meet up at his hotel, she gave him the CD, they talked (or whatever…), she went her separate way and he went back to his room to listen to it. i know this is circumstantial, but at the end if you listen to the scene closely, the music stops abruptly BEFORE Peter wakes up and Newton comes in, almost as if the CD had played itself out and then he wakes up.

          And if you look at the whole ep as a dream of Peter’s, things start to take on a whole new meaning. If you listen to Sheriff Mathis and Peter talking on the bridge, Peter asks her “isn’t it protocol to check in once he gets here” and she says “he doesn’t always do that. Dummy.” I think that is PETER telling himself what a dummy he is for not contacting Olivia.

          The events in the ep are arranged much like a dream, taking bits and pieces of your day and whatever is haunting your subconscious (and Peter’s got a lot haunting his subconscious right now) and stitching them together in weird ways–Newton, the brain surgeries, the bridge, the same triangulation technique they did in TMFTOS, the blatant Twin Peaks references, the partners in law enforcement who are more than just partners. I think this makes a lot more sense than just bad writing or at least I hope so…

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          • LizW65 says

            I was speculating on this possibility myself…question is, were the scenes with Walter, Olivia, et.al. part of the dream as well? Maybe it was intended as a bookend to “Brown Betty” showing Peter’s fantasy world/inner life instead of Walter’s. Hopefully we’ll get some producer commentary on this episode, as it’s been so confusing to so many people.

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            • SF says

              LOL, here we are 4 days later, still trying to work it out!! I also had wondered during the first viewing if this was a dream of his. It wasn’t bookended well and certainly not made clear that it was, which once again would mean the writers messed things up. It would help with the lack of narrative voice though, and make sense of the disconnect. then yes the episode might get a 7 or 8 from me – because really, Peter should have had a nightmare instead!

              While I like the trees connection, I don’t see this as the same as Jacksonville – I think the Jacksonville scene was entirely about Olivia looking for what was blocking her from seeing the truth/the other side, expanding her awareness. It’s not Newton. It’s herself. She’s blocking it. Jacksonville scenes reminded me of a fairy tale, another common motif running through Fringe. Now if they’d stuck a wolf into NWP, or some other fairy tale reference – what about a troll under that bridge where Peter possibly glimpses the other side? lol – then NWP would tie into so many other episodes of Fringe.

              Although, I have to say if you put Olivia’s view of the forest from Jacksonville next to Peter’s view of the forest, then what you find in the forest – fairy tales and monsters, lost and scared little girl and people from the other side – fear – the emotion is exactly the same. Then that scene is all about fear for Peter. Good point! thanks, LMH. Peter’s afraid they’re coming for him, and he was right. They were looking for him.

              Why did Newton wait so long to get Peter, if that was the aim of the other side (for now)?

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              • ApplesBananasRhinoceros says

                Isn’t a healthy dose of fear needed for whatever the abilities are of the cortexiphan kids?? So they could be trying to instill that fear through the phone calls and through Peter’s dream. If they need his abilities for whatever reason to open the door, then this could be the reason they had to wait to get him. And also it’s a basic war strategy–divide and conquer. The team is divided and broken and now they can take Peter easily.

                Spoiler removed.

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              • mlj102 says

                “Why did Newton wait so long to get Peter, if that was the aim of the other side (for now)?”

                Ever since he got put back together, Newton has had a plan and has been working on it. He retrieved the pieces of Walter’s brain so he could learn how Walter opened a door to the other side, he experimented with that, and ultimately he succeeded. His actions have been very logical and organized. I think he waited to get Peter because he was waiting for Walternate to arrive over here.

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                • LMH says

                  I still can’t figure out what is supposed to have *actually* happened and what did not. Maybe Peter burned the CD and wrote “Peter from Boston” on it and imagined the conversation about origins with the waitress because of this search for home/identity/belonging. Maybe this was all a dream for Peter, but even calling Broyles? which I’m presuming was how Olivia found him. Think we might need outside assistance on this one if that’s the case. Wait for the commentary as someone suggested. The only part that was real was after Peter woke up (guess that CD didn’t keep him AWAKE out there Krista!) and saw Newton standing there. OR only parts of his perception were dreamlike as a warning or 6th sense as pointed out here. But, I think the events probably happened the way they seemed to, however, maybe the writers are messing with us winking “like all good stories, things aren’t always what they seem.” Whether intentional or not, they have succeeded in screwing with out minds and that’s ok with me.

                  I think I’m gonna give it a 3rd watch at some point, and see how I ‘perceive’ this whole thing. I’m definitely still leaning toward the events as actual. If not, the episode works for me if the dream began when Peter returned to the motel from the diner, slept in his bed while dreaming that he woke up on the couch in the lobby waiting for Krista, only to wake up when he saw Newton still in bed. I still don’t think this is the case (yet), but obviously all of the little nudges about dreaming, sleep and staying awake here and previously on the show are tantalizing to think about.

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                  • LizW65 says

                    Something else has occurred to me: over the last several episodes the writers and showrunners have all been uncommonly chatty, sharing insights and snippets of “why we did this” and what we can expect…which makes the silence on this episode all the more deafening. (And we could really use some insights, as it has been contradictory and confusing in so many ways.)

                    Maybe I’m reading altogether too much into it, but I can’t shake the thought that we, the audience, have been set up for a major fake-out with this one.

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  30. says

    I’m coming around to the thought that Newton was definitely there tracking Peter. It makes sense that since Walternate crossed over for the express purpose of getting Peter, they would immediately go about finding him. I’m seeing it now that they were testing the ground, trying to figure out the best approach to confronting Peter. First we see Newton with almost a taunting smirk and very much wanting to be seen. It’s as if he’s saying, ‘Yes, we’re here and we’re here for YOU.” When the mysterious calls come in they are intended to get him freaked. The camera angle is even from inside the bathroom as though he’s beeing peeked at from a hidden place. He had massive guns at his disposal at the time so it made sense not to nab him in that state of mind. Next, we see a taunting light coming from the dark forest pulling him in. At this point in the forest, I do believe that the sounds we’re hearing were a call to Walternate and the syringe was meant to hit him and sedate him. But then the Sheriff came by and the plan was foiled. They then decide to wait until his guard is down, when he won’t jump to the defensive and in walks Walternate. I may be missing a bunch of things that contradict this theory, but it seems to make some bit of sense.

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  31. anita says

    Your reviews are so much more full and rounded than the show deserves. These writers should be shot. It’s, for the most part, pedestrian, juvenile, newbie writing, not at all convincing, and I am really beginning to think that the few times that they hit the mark are sheer accident. It’s not good enough. I cannot believe that this show is the same length as LOST. Lost is so viscous and delicious on many levels, layers. This is too thin, too focused on the “big idea” rather than the characters. Good storytelling comes from the characters, is organic, and grows and branches from them. Who gives a rat’s ass about the other dimension if it is not seen organically thru the eyes of our characters. If Walter was not in this show(with this actor) It would of barely lasted 1 season, and the reason he is because he is a multi layered character, and we are in no doubt as to who he is now, are are intrigued about who he once might have been. Poor Astrid, the token AA, thrown the odd line, cardboard cut-out assistant who does a ban up job… Peter has potential but the writing is letting him down, and poor old Olivia, I bet that actress wishes she had of scored a part on MADMEN where we might have explored her talents. COME ON GUYS… LOOKS LIKE YOU NEED SOME FEMALE WRITERS WITH A LITTLE LIFE EXPERIENCE TO GET SOME HEART IN THERE AND TOSS OUT THE CARDOARD, SHALLOW, CONTRITE, CHEAP, OVERDONE, CLICHE CHARACTER TRAITS. Hense the reson why i enjoyed Sam… interesting and fresh.

    Keep up the great reviews, perhaps those writers might read your notes and act accordingly.

    Your above this, truely.

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    • mlj102 says

      Ummm… Okay. I think you’re being a bit harsh with this comment. I take that back; I think you’re being extremely harsh. You made several very strong, negative comments that I really don’t believe are accurate reflections of the show.

      “It’s, for the most part, pedestrian, juvenile, newbie writing, not at all convincing”

      Well, that is largely a matter of opinion, so that’s up to you, but personally I completely disagree. I don’t consider any part of the writing to be “juvenile” or “newbie.” I am often very impressed with the writing and I think the stories are not only convincing, but they’re also compelling and entertaining. Sure, some episodes are better than others, but I hardly think one can claim that they only hit the mark once in a blue moon, and when they do, it’s an accident. Personally, I feel that the episodes usually hit the mark right on, and it’s the exception when they happen to slightly miss the target. I’m not exactly sure what you’re expecting — what do you think would improve the writing?

      “Good storytelling comes from the characters, is organic, and grows and branches from them.”

      I agree, but unlike you, I feel like the Fringe writers have done a wonderful job of doing just that. They often focus on the emotion and the characters involved, which is truly a refreshing thing considering how many shows seem to just tell meaningless stories without connecting it at all to the characters and allowing the viewers to see and feel what the characters feel. Just looking at the last six episodes since Fringe returned from the break, every episode except for this last one (in my opinion) has focused on the characters and the emotion. Again I ask, how would you improve upon that?

      “If Walter was not in this show(with this actor) It would of barely lasted 1 season, and the reason he is because he is a multi layered character”

      Now, I agree that Walter is a wonderful character and they’ve done a great job with developing the character and making him a valuable part of the show. But he is definitely not the only reason I watch and I disagree with your bold claim that Fringe wouldn’t have made it past Season 1 without him. Clearly, Walter is essential to the story and his character does add a great deal to the show, so for that reason it’s nearly impossible to imagine the show without him. But I do not think you can claim he is the only redeeming quality to the show. I think the episodes are high quality, the stories are engaging, the mythology is fascinating, the characters are relatable, and the themes are strong. Fringe is a show that makes me think. I love looking for things, I love pondering the ideas that are presented, I love theorizing about what could happen, and I love analyzing the characters. Fringe is a great show for many reasons. One of those reasons is Walter, but there are so many other things in addition to that one character that make Fringe my favorite show.

      I don’t mean to sound unkind, but honestly, if you really feel that strongly about it all, then don’t bother watching, because clearly this isn’t the show for you. Fringe is what it is — and a lot of people like what it is. But if you truly believe that what you’ve been seeing isn’t good enough, then move on. There’s no need to continue watching just so you can get online and complain about how it isn’t Lost or Madmen.

      That said, by no means am I trying to tell you you can’t have your own opinion, nor am I trying to make you feel unwelcome or like I’m trying to convince you to stop watching Fringe. I only said what I did because comments like yours that seem to have no purpose other than to complain about what a terrible show this is really annoy me. If I have misinterpreted your comment, then I apologize.

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    • FringeFan2009 says

      I have to agree with everyone else. This is great show. I complain when there is a reason to complain, but this is the best show I’ve seen in a long time. There is a lot to think about. The fact that Roco and the fans can derive so much from it in the reviews, really does say a lot about it. I’m not sure if you’ve watched all of it, from season 1, but you really can see the character development through-out. Maybe you should give it another go, before coming to harsh conclusions, or, it may not be for you.

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    • LizW65 says

      “…LOOKS LIKE YOU NEED SOME FEMALE WRITERS WITH A LITTLE LIFE EXPERIENCE…”

      Whoa, gender-biased much? I’m female–AND a writer–but I find this frankly offensive.

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    • Inkblood says

      Whoa. Did, like, miss your run to Starbucks this morning? You just totally freaked on us.

      “…LOOKS LIKE YOU NEED SOME FEMALE WRITERS WITH A LITTLE LIFE EXPERIENCE…”

      All females in the house raise your hands *raises hand*. Ok, so being a female and being a writer makes be more than qualified to respond to that. These character have potiental, and that potiental is what sparks the views attention and imagination. Just because the story line is a little slow, doesn’t mean you should bash the show.

      Oh, and I agree with kittyofdoom(love that name!); why are you bothering to take the time to come here and complain to us?

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  32. Organized Mess says

    when Mathis heard the gunshots…those were two consecutive shots if i remember correctly. Which proves Newton was not a hallucination….but then, what IS Craig’s purpose?

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  33. Frobozz says

    Can’t really add to such a good and thorough review of the episode. The one thing I loved were the strange EVP-style phone calls Peter was getting. Creepy.

    Anyway, just a general comment of Season 1 vs. Season 2, since we’re so close to the end. I’ve been re-watching the Season 1 DVDs and it struck me last night: Season 1 and Season 2 really are two different shows. Season 2 is a total reboot of Fringe and has very little to do with Season 1 (so stop holding out for an answer to the Zeno canoe!).

    We’re missing so much from Season 1:
    – ZFT..it was more than just David Robert Jones..they were a whole organization who worked to liberate Jones. There’s no way they just “vanished”.
    – the mysterious glass chips being found inside people…MD was trying to decode them, remember?
    – Nina Sharpe, Broyles and their mysterious “council” we saw in Pilot.
    – Sanford Harris’ real boss
    – Mitchell Loeb’s real boss
    – John Scott’s true allegiances (he was “chipped” after all)
    – the Pattern. Even the drug cartels were talking about it.
    – Peter’s mysterious past with “Big Eddie.”

    But overall, we’re missing the Pattern. It really seemed by the end of Season 1 that the implication was that the technological advances on both “sides” were responsible for the weakening of the wall between worlds. The Pattern “attacks” were designed to accelerate this. “Basically, we happened” is what Nina Sharpe said…science and technology were out of control. In Season 2, this is entirely absent. The “war” is solely caused by Walter’s interference with the other side, and Walternate’s response to it. The ZFT manuscript is non-existent. And we’ve got several different ways to “cross over” now, none of which seem consistent (the “flaming entry” of the shape-shifters…William Bell’s “momentum deferred” way…Walter & Bell’s 3-harmonic way…Walter’s Wormhole (which only used TWO panels, not three, and didn’t “exchange” anything)…and if the preview from next time can be believed, the Cortexiphan way.)

    Basically, Season 2 has been “Season 1″ for a whole different interpretation of Fringe. I’m personally missing the multiple threads of Season 1…the double agents, ZFT.

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    • Elaine says

      Funny, I was thinking about this very thing last night before I went to bed, and the conclusion I came to was the end of S1 allowed us to delve into the next chapter, but from a completely different perspective. I’ve read many a novel where the first chapter was full of whiz bang excitement and drama that drew me in. But then the next chapter was decidedly slower, more involved, and focused on another aspect of the story or characters…and by the end it made sense why the writer made that decision.

      This season has been notably more emotional and introspective. The consequences that came as a result of the choices made by not only Walter, but many of the characters we’ve met throughout. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of this cells or ZFT members working and experimenting in the shadows…I just think this aspect of the story had to be told in order to open now to open up the narrative. Eventually bringing everything we’ve seen so far together.

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    • FinChase says

      You make some excellent points, and like you, I’ve just finished a re-watch of season 1. Most of all I miss the Pattern from Season 1. I’ve heard it suggested that Olivia solved the Pattern by identifying that all the incidents pointed to Reiden Lake in the season 1 finale, but that just seems too simplistic. I know that they want to focus on the war but part of the thing that interested me in Fringe was the mystery of the Pattern and the forces that were behind them.

      There was a recent interview with the producers (it may have been posted on this site) who mentioned that there were important clues planted in the Pilot and hinted that these would be revisited. The Zeno kayak certainly fits the bill, as does most of what we saw in Olivia’s dream sequence. I hope they will return to some of these themes next season.

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    • FringeFan2009 says

      Totally agree! I was thinking that too, when I was rewatching season 1. What happened to all those really cool things, that just kind of disappeared.

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  34. TRACYW says

    Back in Season 1, Olivia received “strange” telephone calls from “John Scott” which sounded EXACTLY the same as the calls Peter received at each motel. I have no doubt this is not a coincidence.

    I am struggling to believe that Walternate is actually alive – it would propel the center arc of the series if what we saw was actually a shapeshifter. If Walternate is really alive, then we must conclude he is responsible for assasinating all the cortexiphan kids as Season 2 has developed. Would Walternate, even accepting all of his ethical/moral flaws, really be capable of that?

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    • fedorafadares says

      I’m going to guess that Walternate IS responsible for activating/assasinating cortexiphan kids on this side. In earlier episodes, many of the cases Olivia investigated involved technology that Walter ostensibly created. Is it possible that “Walternate” actually created these things and our addled-brained Walter recognized the technology and just assumed it was HIS work?

      I think “Walternate” has been aware of our side’s work and the implications of that work for some time.

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  35. Gil_Cdn says

    “BTW, Astrid gets The Most Heart-breaking Expression While Leaning On A Fridge Award for 2010. While Olivia wants to reach out but there’s that little thing called Cortexiphan that prevents her from getting too close. ”
    – Brilliant Roco, I love how you’ve put it ….. got me laughing for a whole minute! And again, great review!

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  36. MikeMike says

    The way the writers pinned the killing on the strange dairy farmer was dumb, contrived and frankly unimaginative. So that guy was cutting the exact bits of brains out of the people he killed as Newton did? Puh-lease!

    Given that Peter knew the danger around him, how would he really let himself fall asleep with headphones? It seems too “easy.” He should have been more cautious.

    Lastly, I have never been a fan of shows throwing something shocking at the last minute. They did it with Brown Betty and they did it with Passage. It is like the writers are saying “in case you didn’t like the episode, here you go BAM” at the very end. Seems cheap to me.

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  37. LMH says

    Upon FINALLY getting to watch the episode a second time (since I was distracted multiple times while it was airing), I really liked this one. The way the characters were portrayed and the relationships between them were explored only in a very subtle way, the nuanced nature of it all (and the kind of ambiguity and slight creepy or haunted quality of the atmosphere) was what I enjoyed.

    For Peter, this episode seemed to demonstrate his swinging back and forth between “old Peter” and the Peter we have gradually come to know as a very different Peter than the one we met in the Pilot. He laughs off danger and plays it cool, even cold and detached one minute, only to have a reflective moment and connect with Mathis. Peter runs in order to find himself, but habit dictates that he tends to go about it in such a way that undermines that very goal. Perhaps Peter has always run to run away from himself as well as his problems, but what he realizes now is that his is utterly adrift and what he needs to find is some anchor (or “rock”=Peter) within himself. This time running away is more of a pilgrimage than an escape, a journey with a destination or goal that that is self-consciously oriented internally and motivated by the desire to discover one’s own identity and place in the world. I think this is what may be implied by that somewhat soul-bearing conversation b/w him and Mathis when she gives him the pen. Actually, what may be implied by the entire episode, especially that scene and the GPS scene. I thought it was a very clever way to touch on the subconscious desire for a place in the world that Peter could really put his finger on…”Mars”= how in the hell do I find a place in the world now? “Old Peter” (who buries his emotions much like Olivia but with an armor of sarcasm and an ‘I don’t care’ attitude) laughs it off. “Our Peter” (more self-reflective and serious) towards the end opens up an admits what is really boiling underneath the surface: that he has lost his sense of self-identity and any feeling of home, place or purpose. Newton showing up at a time like this is intriguing as the universe may be plopping his purpose right into his lap. Like it or not Peter, you’re special, Walternate is your father and you’re about to hop back onto the Fringe Express to disaster! Find out what your purpose is and try to do the ‘right’ thing.

    While Greg’s role remains up in the air, it seemed on my second viewing to fit in with that open-ended and unsettling ambiguity that seemed to underlie the episode. That lack of a clear wrap up and tied ends gave it a good X-Files feel, or at least that’s how I experienced it personally.
    Though I think it is highly unlikely that Greg was just some dairy farmer who got off on abducting girls and extracting important brain tissue, oh no, this guy was tied to Newton, an unwilling scapegoat. Again, remember Peter’s insistence on the capabilities that Newton and the shifties have, that they could easily have had this simple man do, say and possibly even think whatever they wanted. Newton’s minimal appearance in this episode also added to its creepy, even DREAMLIKE (yes) atmosphere, and it makes a Newton sighting have more impact on the audience. Too much Newton (we saw him so much in MFTOS) might diminish that cool factor that he just oozes and makes Newton so damn fun to watch as a counterpoint to our team. But again this is just my personal take.
    I think I spotted a Rubik cube on the file cabinet behind Mathis in the station. Also we have two snow globes again, alluding to Nina’s Pauli exclusion principle demonstration, and our last snow globe was in White Tulip. Snow globes also made of glass; so much glass going on these last few episodes, and we also have Greg organizing his glass milk bottles.

    On Mathis: Loved her character and portrayal of the character as well as the X-Files connections. Wish she could stay, but then I think we’d have a different show.

    As a whole, I really took this to be a highly psychological episode that just teased to character emotions and mental states, the main theme of which was place/identity/uprootedness/ambiguity. I sometimes find that more intriguing because it mirrors experience in real life: we cannot get into the minds of those around us, only in small glimpses which are rarely offered freely. Not saying that this was the writer’s purpose, but only how I experienced the episode. Perception yet again ; )

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  38. LMH says

    Just wanted to add that I also agree with the frustration that more wasn’t done to reveal Peter’s reaction to the news, but this show seems to do that A LOT. It is such a tease, something happens that MUST evoke intense initial reactions and we don’t get to see them (ahem, Jacksonville date anyone?). Oh the things we’ll never see. Where the heck are the big man tears alluded to?! Are we saving Peter awesomeness for season 3? Are you building me up (Sam: “buttercup”) just to let me down so I will be all the more shocked in the finale or next season?

    And the glimmer detector machine thing is driving me nuts. This was such narrow episode in terms of scope, a very thin slice of an episode, so why throw in the building of that unnecessary and story-wrecking attempt to build such a device? I usually try to give the writers the benefit of the doubt but I cannot see the point and we had 4 writers working on this one! Was this a result of a writers compromise? Why?! Does Walter know something about Peter’s ‘signature’ (ability/alt-origins-wise) that somehow relates to this? Doesn’t appear so as he just talks about the signature of the objects from the other side as though it were the same as Peter’s. It just seemed so random like it was thrown in just to give some insight into Walter’s (weak) avoidance mechanisms. I have to agree that this seemed contrived and completely unnecessary = (
    Onward and upward to the finale. Hopefully this one and Brown Betty were dinner, and the finale will be a rich, chocolate-fulled dessert that still leaves you with a little wanting for more. I love dinner, but who doesn’t dream about dessert through the whole thing?

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  39. Elaine says

    After going back and re-watching the episode last night, I’ve come around a bit on this episode–at least to the extent where I can appreciate what some of you who felt the episode explored Peter’s state of mind well.

    However, I contend that the sense of urgency that this episode needed going into the final two hours of the season weren’t achieved. IMO, I believe if they had established that while Peter felt adrift emotionally, he was also sensing that there was danger closing in on him as the episode opened rather then it coming after his trip to the diner, or his locate Mars moment in the car as he was heading out of town. While ‘Brown Betty’ gave us a good idea what’s going on in Walter’s head, it didn’t explore Peter’s inner turmoil. So, it was important to establish Peter’s emotional state immediately given the already in progress approach they took going in to ‘Northwest Passage’. Honestly, I think they would have done themselves a world of good had we seen Peter driving into town, checking into yet another shabby hotel room on his destination to nowhere journey, falling on to bed just to stare blankly at the ceiling much like he did after waking up in the hotel lobby. As big and expressive as Joshua Jackson’s eyes are, I have no doubt he would have done wonders with a muted scene like that. But alas, it is what it is, and by and large, it wasn’t terrible…just a little underdeveloped.

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    • Jodie says

      Elaine, I thought that the diner scene set up the fact that Peter was obsessing about Walter/I was kidnapped/I don’t come from here internal loop that was playing in this head. “Man from the Other Side” opened with Peter walking into his house with a bag of groceries. He tells Walter that he bought the ingredients for Walter’s favorite pie. He suggests that they make it right then. The end of that episode shows that Walter did make the pie and was planning on taking it to Peter who he thought was still in the hospital. In this episode, we see Peter ordering a piece of pecan pie. To make sure that everyone knows that it was pecan pie, the camera gives us a view of the receipt. It was important for us to see. Peter is thinking of Walter therefore he orders Walter’s favorite pie. His obsessing on this nightmare of a life of his is what this episode is about. When I thought more about how everyone has been confused about exactly what is going on in this episode, I realized that the writers have done a really great job of bringing the viewer into Peter’s mind. We have been brought right into his turmoil, into his nightmare. When Peter tells us in that last scene with Mathis that he doesn’t understand what has been happening, we are right there with him. I think that this was intentional. The writers want us to feel Peters anguish with him.

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      • LizW65 says

        Rather ironically, Joshua Jackson’s official bio states that he is allergic to nuts. Good thing the script didn’t call for him to actually EAT the pie! :D

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      • Elaine says

        “When I thought more about how everyone has been confused about exactly what is going on in this episode, I realized that the writers have done a really great job of bringing the viewer into Peter’s mind.”

        I wish I shared your sentiment, because as much as I was looking to be brought soundly into Peter’s state of mind…my heart completely ready to go out to him as he dealt with his inner turmoil, and uncertainty that he was losing it…I simply came away confused on exactly what they were trying to convey. Honestly, I barely took notice of the pecan pie or the signficance of Peter ordering in connection to Walter from ‘TMFTOS’. My first thought was actually of ‘Men In Black II’ when ‘J’ told his new partner he needed pie. :-)

        I still contend had the episode opened with a similar scene like the ending of Peter lying in bed, his eyes tired and tortured it would have done wonders setting the right tone that the writers were bringing the audience into his state of mind.

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  40. LMH says

    How about those “Walter’s call log” clips with Morse code in light of this episode? Connection maybe? As Roco points out, we already have similar interference signals or orders from the other side in TMFTOS. Maybe these were supposed to suggest Walternate and Newton’s tracking of the Bishops. September has been keeping close watch on the boys maybe because of the very intensity of this tracking by the Secretary; his warning in Brown Betty perhaps connects with this knowledge that the other side was close to getting their hands on Peter who is somehow the key to all this.

    http://www.hulu.com/watch/138417/fringe-walters-call-log?c=Drama#s-p2-sr-i1

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    • Inkblood says

      Yeah, before I found out about the morse, I noticed that the sounds where similar. Could Newton and Co. have been tracking him all along?

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  41. jimp says

    For those who don’t already know,
    “there’s a crack–a crack in everything,,,
    that’s how the light gets in”
    comes from Leonard Cohen’s great song “Anthem.”
    The words immediately preceding are “Ring the bells that still can ring;
    forget your perfect offering. . . .”
    Wasn’t Leonard Cohen mentioned by Walter an episode or two ago?

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  42. LizW65 says

    Here’s the full lyrics, for anyone interested; REALLY interesting in the context of this episode and especially Peter’s character:

    The birds they sang
    at the break of day
    Start again
    I heard them say
    Don’t dwell on what
    has passed away
    or what is yet to be.
    Ah the wars they will
    be fought again
    The holy dove
    She will be caught again
    bought and sold
    and bought again
    the dove is never free.

    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack in everything
    That’s how the light gets in.

    We asked for signs
    the signs were sent:
    the birth betrayed
    the marriage spent
    Yeah the widowhood
    of every government —
    signs for all to see.

    I can’t run no more
    with that lawless crowd
    while the killers in high places
    say their prayers out loud.
    But they’ve summoned, they’ve summoned up
    a thundercloud
    and they’re going to hear from me.

    Ring the bells that still can ring …

    You can add up the parts
    but you won’t have the sum
    You can strike up the march,
    there is no drum
    Every heart, every heart
    to love will come
    but like a refugee.

    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack, a crack in everything
    That’s how the light gets in.

    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack, a crack in everything
    That’s how the light gets in.
    That’s how the light gets in.
    That’s how the light gets in.

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  43. Techman9 says

    First off, it was set in WASHINGTON! My home state, awesome! SIDEBAR: the tv that was on was on a real channel. Q13 fox news is our local fox affiliate. props for accuracy.

    Second thing. Washington? There seems to be something special about it. We have had two episodes so far set predominantly in Washington, both relating, more so than others, to dreams and perception. As far as i know, this state, by far the best, by the way, has been featured in Fringe more than any other place outside of Boston. Any thoughts?

    -Techman9

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  44. Jbou says

    Peter is Helen of Troy, and Walternate is going to wage cross-universe war to get him back and have revenge. Just my guess.

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  45. Xochitl says

    When I first watched the episode I liked it, then I went to the thread discussion and started to think that the episode had more holes than mi socks, but I still liked it.

    I’m asumming that the lack of fringe division was due more to convience, with anna torv, jhon noble and company shooting their scenes as their “over there” doubles, and obviously joshua jackson wasn’t doing that. I also remembreed an interview I read somewhere some months ago where the writers said they didn’t know exactly what they were going to do with the situation of Peter finding out, his reaction, and it seems they kinda got stuck with that, so they handed the last two episodes in the middle to not the usual writers and they went with the end, now it feels like this one and brown betty were more like fillers, I want to believe that’s not the case.

    As mlj102 said on the previous discussion, what kills me is the lack of reaction, and that was kinda my point when I said I didn’t like “The man from the other side”, the writers keep on showing us how difficult the situation is for Walter, which I don’t doubt it is, and it’s okay but they have been going in circles with this, it took 20 episodes for us to know and 38 for Peter to find out, and I don’t know how Olivia reacted and I really wanted to see that, and the confrontation, now this could be due to two things; one; again, they didn’t know how to handle it, or two; they are bulding it to be big, ot at least is what I’m expecting now, that if Olivia is going to show a stronger emotion or break down it has to be big, really big, tears and everything, I just know that if Olivia showed even a crack, let herself think, really think, for even two seconds what is happening she would break down and I don’t know if she could glue herself back, how much more can she take? And Walter’s breakdown, Oh my God, I cried.

    “Who’s Peter? Because really, who is he?”

    And Peter, I can’t even start with Peter, again, I said months ago that I felt I didn’t know Peter, he is basically still a puzzle for me, and I make my point again, I don’t know what he is feeling and the writers are not giving us anyt of that (and I blame the writers not Josh, he has done wonders with what he has been given), I mean, the guy has a lot in his head right now, how do you cope with that? I’m really hoping for a sign on the season finale.

    “When you’ve just had your heart broken, what do you go and do to make things better? Why you go get yourself a piece of pecan pie, of course. And a ‘date’ with a hot waitress. Oh Peter, whatever would Olivia say?”

    I don’t really have anything against him flirting with the waitress, this is old peter we are talking about, he ran, that’s enough probe, I assume that is what he used to do, I also understand why he didn’t go with anybody, he would assume everyone would lie to him right now, he trusted them and they lied to him, he can’t even call Olivia because he is too angry, he called Broyles (and yes, my shipper side was crying too)I also think he didn’t called Olivia because if Olivia asked him to return he would do it just for her, I’m implying a bunch of feelings here that maybe aren’t even there.

    I think he is kind of like stuck, in the middle, somebody said in the preview discussion that it was as if he is trying to get back to where he was before meeting olivia and who he is now, he is lost, he said it, he doesn’t know who he is anymore, I can see that, he is just trying to decide who he is now mixing both parts of his life, everytime he was going to answer a question he seemed to be weighting his answer, like that huge breath sam took before telling olivia she was a good person at Olivia…. is likehe he is going backwards and forwards the whole time, undecisive. why help the investigation and keep loyal to the FBI but not want them to come? Well, that’s obviously due to dont’ want to see Walter.

    Now, the phone calls, they sounded like something it would come from the other side, like the interference video signal at TMFTOS, why was peter receiving them I have no idea, and the dead girls, I do think newton had something to do, maybe influecing the guy, pushing him to do something he already wanted to do, maybe? And it just ocurred to me while rewatching the episode that maybe newton had to do because they were stallling, making time in washington, I’m imagining that they are going to cross over from where they are now, and if walternate had to wait for the two worlds to be synchronized maybe they are waiting again, does that makes sense? And of course it would also be useful to check that Peter is indeed alone and his state of mind, making sure he is not anymore with the fringe division.

    The thing with the pecan pie and the other one in the car, askig the navigation system felt like something he got from Walter and Olivia, like he was attached to them somehow, I don’t know, weird feeling at the scene.

    The preview for next episode is awesome! The only problem now is that I have this idea in my head, and I have had it for a while now, that Peter and Olivia are going to end the episode pointing guns at eachother or something as bad as that, it’s going to be awful if the turn out to be natural enemies.

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  46. jinx1764 says

    I’ve been rewatching season 1 and just started watching season 2 again and I’ve realized something about Peter’s emotional response. Or at least his history of emotional responses. In “A new day in an old town” when he thought Olivia was dead and any attachments he felt towards her were still new but real he didn’t cry, didn’t scream, punch walls, etc. While he didn’t shut down to the extent as he did in “Northwest Passage” it obvious that his first, normal response to emotional stressors is to hold in the physical responses so that others don’t see his weakness. Peter doesn’t normally express his strong emotions with physical signs of crying, emoting, violence so his between this and his emotionally numb state it’s no wonder he doesn’t express satisfactory responses for the audience.

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    • mlj102 says

      But the difference is that, in A New Day, I could still tell that he was deeply affected by Olivia’s imminent death. No, he wasn’t outwardly expressing those feelings, but it was still clear to me that he felt something. I could tell by his actions, his expressions, etc. that he was hurt and sad, even though he kept those feelings to himself. But in this episode that same sort of feeling was noticeably absent. I can understand people who keep their emotions to themselves — I’m the same way — but we should still be able to see to some extent how these events are affecting him and I just didn’t feel that. Yes, we can stretch it and, if we look really hard, we might be able to come up with some sort of reaction. But it shouldn’t be that hard. And that’s my problem with how the episode addressed the issue.

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      • jinx1764 says

        I can understand way you feel frustrated by the lack of emotion mlj. I guess it doesn’t disappoint me because I’m used to seeing in real life. People often shut down and/or self destruct through sleep deprivation, etc rather than express their violent emotions. Denial is very common and since Peter is used to not expressing his emotions and now he’s been hit with this huge emotional bomb he does what he does best. He regresses further and goes into complete shut down. Granted it doesn’t make for exciting TV but it I believe based on what we know of his character so far it’s a very realistic reaction. I know as viewers we also want Peter to stay in character and grow realistically.

        -We know Peter has repressed memories of his childhood: nightmares, inconsistent memories. He probably learned to repress emotions at this stage whenever he questions his “new” parents and they told him he was wrong, etc. It was either repress emotions or go crazy. After all people who loved you wouldn’t lie to you right?????? sure…

        -We know Peter has ran from previous emotional ties: left home early, characters from his past often accuse him of running away, etc, major trust issues stemming from his parents’ lies

        -We know Peter uses his sense of humor to deflect when things get to close to the truth or emotional most of the time (Olivia seems to be an exception often)

        -He admits to being a “card carrying cynic” – Midnight but also a closet romantic. He has learned to hide his emotions they have been used against him repeatedly.

        -We know Peter is very private with his emotions to the point of repressing most of them. He was more expressive of them during “Grey Matters” when Walter nearly died showing that Peter was gradually learning how to deal with showing his real emotions towards people he cares about. But he stills very new at this.

        -As a conman/criminal you’d better hide your real emotions are you’ll be real dead real quick. This is not just a habit it’s a lifestyle. I suspect Fringe Division is one of the only places Peter has felt safe enough to really start showing any authentic emotion. Then…bam…they betray him, too just like all the other criminals of his past. Of course he would return to repressing his emotions like he’s done all of his life. It’s always worked before only this time the stakes are much higher and it’s not working.

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        • mlj102 says

          Jinx1764 —

          I think you’re misinterpreting what I’m saying. I completely understand your point about how it’s natural to expect Peter to be repressing his emotions, and I have no problem with that. But even if you are in denial and you’re disguising your true feelings, you still feel something and we should be able to see that he is affected by what has just happened. Even if that’s what he’s doing, we should still be able to understand that and see that in his actions. But I just didn’t feel anything. They didn’t explore his reaction at all. The whole thing was just hollow and empty and fell short. I should still be able to feel something — sympathy or remorse — in watching Peter try to cope with things, even if he is hiding his emotions.

          That said, you provided some great examples showing Peter’s “style” of reacting to things. Might I also add, however, that when it comes to Walter, when Peter disagrees, he is very vocal about his opinion on the matter. When Peter found out that Walter had experimented on Roy McComb in Ghost Network, he was furious with Walter and he had no problem voicing those feelings. Same with Unleashed, when he found out Walter had known that there were connections back to his work, but he didn’t tell them. Again, he was extremely upset with Walter, and we could clearly see that. So despite his tendency to repress his feelings or hide them, he is also very capable of expressing his anger and other emotions, and he does that pretty often. So I don’t think it’s completely accurate to claim that it’s Peter’s natural reaction to repress his emotions. He just can do that when he feels it’s necessary or he doesn’t want to face those things.

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          • jinx1764 says

            mlj- I’m sorry that you think I misunderstood what you were trying to say. I understand that you felt that the episode didn’t explore his emotions enough to make the viewer feel any connection towards understanding Peter. That’s the great thing about this blog-having a forum to discuss our differing options and get new and interesting viewpoints. I was attempting to explain why I did understand and sympathize with Peter. While the episode did hold back on a lot of emotions and that was obviously very frustrating for most viewers; I think it was well within a normal reaction for the character. I also think it was the writers’ attempt to put the viewers into the mind of Peter in a subtle manner.

            I agree with you that Peter is more than willing and able to express his emotions when it suits him. I meant to say that he represses personally painful/harmful emotions out of a life time of habit and self protection. It’s not natural for him to immediately express those types of deep emotions when they’re connected to his heart and more than just anger.

            You say you didn’t feel anything during the episode – I put to you that’s the point. Peter’s shut down emotionally and he’s not feeling anything either. Plus he may or may not be going a little insane, he has no moral compass. He’s utterly lost and empty emotionally. I don’t know if you’ve ever personally experienced that emptiness so perhaps it’s difficult to imagine. Either way it’s my opinion that it’s was the writers’ intent make the viewers feel the emptiness.

            We still may disagree and that’s absolutely ok! I’m quickly addicted to posting here after this episode and look forward to comparing opinions with you and others on this totally awesome show in the future!

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            • mlj102 says

              “I’m sorry that you think I misunderstood what you were trying to say.”

              No need to apologize — I wasn’t upset. It’s just that reading what you said sounded like you had misunderstood my point of view, so I wanted to try and clear that up. As you mentioned, one of the wonderful things about being able to comment here is that we can share our various opinions and see things in a different light based on another person’s comment. I certainly respect your assessment of the episode… but I’m still disappointed with the episode.

              I too look forward to discussing future episodes with you and everyone else. I agree that commenting here is rather addicting — I never intended to be commenting on a regular basis, and yet here I am! :)

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  47. Alison says

    Hmmm….well I thought that the”Secretary’s” identity would’ve been less predictable. I mean, EVERYONE thought it was Walternate, even I thought it was him at first, but after thinking about it, it didn’t make sense to me, and it STILL makes no sense to me. The creators better come up with a good explanation for Walternate’s plans because I can’t come up with a theory that isn’t full of holes and inconsistencies. And I do mean other than “to get his son back”. I find Walternate’s actions completely absurd and a bit extreme for it to be that factor alone. I wonder what Peter will think when he puts together the fact that it was his “father” who was behind the killing of so many innocent people, not to mention Charlie’s death AND Olivia’s attempted murder.

    Don’t get me wrong, I loved this episode! It was excellent, and it took place in my home state! (btw, there is no Noyo County in Washington) I am just REALLY anticipating the next episodes. I want to figure out ALL the reasons Walternate is trying to take back Peter and why it took him 25 years. I am curious as to what Peter will do. I hope his loyalties will still stay to our side, but who knows. Although, I DO think Peter will be meeting Bell by the end of the season.

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  48. TomC says

    Only got to see this last nite (in UK). Gotta say, not the greatest episode, but still good to keep the mythology going.

    I liked the fact that it was playing around with Newton doing the killings until you found out it wasn’t. I actually thought the same as the sherrif that they were hallucinations…. BUT they weren’t…. Brilliant!!!

    If im right in thinking the US gets the finale this week?? Im hoping they do a double next week here and show ‘Over There’ part 1 & 2 together… cant wait, but im am sad that i’ll have nothing left to watch. FRINGE & LOST finishing…. BOOOOOO!

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