Welcome to the FB review of Fringe season 2 episode 21 – “Over There – Part 1“. 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.
Note: For the purposes of clarity, at times, I refer to the alternate Olivia, Astrid, Broyles, Walter, Elizabeth and Charlie as: Altlivia, Altstrid, Broylnate, Walternate, Eliznate and Charlnate.
- The Mythology threw up some cool things in this episode, from Walternate’s plans to build a weapon to destroy ‘our’ side, to Peter apparently being the ‘battery’ which will power the weapon, to the reveal that ZFT has been published in the alternate universe. These are just a few of the mythological elements that gave the episode context and intrigue.
- Cortexiphan Reunion. It was a bit clunky and contrived in places (more on that later) but I appreciate having this story thread brought front and center. Having the Cortexiphan Kids combine their powers to travel to the Other Side was an acceptable way around avoiding using the Door and causing further damage to the universe. I like the idea that they were able to work together to achieve something that was both natural and unnatural.
- Alternate Universe (AU) Fringe Division. Oh my! They put our lot to shame, what with their limitless resources, organization and armed squads ready to roll at the drop of a hat. In all seriousness they provided useful insight on the Other Side and it was interesting to see that their scientific and militaristic approach is a direct reflection of the struggles their world is facing, even though they didn’t quite know the true nature of what they were fighting against. It was also fun watching the banter between the Team AU Fringe Division.
- It was fascinating to experience the Other Side up close and personal and get a better sense of how the Multiverse throws up inherent constants and slanted variations on the characters and settings we have come to know. Unlike “Brown Betty” were not viewing these characters through the eyes of Walter (or ARE we?), but from a different vantage point. This is what I love about the alternate reality theme, the characters get to look into the mirror and see everything they are and everything they can be.
- The Stakes. The episode gave us a better sense of the motivations of Walternate and what the stakes are. And make no mistake those stakes are high. This is potentially a fitting story arc with which to catapult us into next season.
- Peter and Eliznate. Beautiful. Heart-wrenching. I’m so happy for both of them. Peter even showed a bit of emotion and the world didn’t collapse. The only down side is that I forgot Peter was even part of the show until we saw him wake up. I’m like: “Oh yeah, we’re here because of Peter!”. 🙂
- The episode wasn’t as cohesive as I would have liked. It felt a bit mechanical in places, particularly with the sudden and convenient use of the Cortexiphan kids who, as it happens, have been awake for some time and doing just fine. There was a lack of breathing space in the narrative causing some character motivations and reactions to get lost along the way.
- The James Heath Situation. Where do I begin? I don’t think they did a great job in clarifying that Heath died shortly after the team crossed over. I was initially confused because we see him run to hide with the others and the next thing we know he’s lying on the floor dead. It came across to me like a deceptive device to shroud the opening scene in mystery for as long as possible. I love mystery but this one came over a bit flakey. I would have felt better had we seen Olivia and the others leave him behind instead of making it look like he went with them. And why did Heath bring money with him? Dude really wasn’t given the heads-up on what this journey entailed, was he. It was all a bit messy and ended up being distracting.
- Alternate Olivia (I’ll call her Altlivia). While I appreciate the purpose of polarising her with Olivia, I was left lukewarm by the depiction I saw. Torv rocked it, but that wig has to go. But it’s more than that – she seemed too forced, too self-aware. These are the attributes I have problems with – not the fact that she was less compassionate or layered than our Liv. I actually appreciate seeing an alternate version of Olivia who is vastly different because it’s interesting to see where their fault lines join up. But I was left somewhat stranded by this portrayal. Why did they choose this portrayal? I’m open to her changing my mind next week though.
- I Was A Cortexi-fan. While I enjoyed the fact that four of them came together in the episode, it was way less momentus than it should have been. Several of their interactions and responses to Walter and the situation in general felt hollow. Although they served their purpose (and what a tragic purpose) it feels to me like a lot of the good work done to develop them up in previous episodes has been undone by the fact they were just along for a ride that didn’t do enough to harness them. I really hope the damage is not irreparable as far as that storyline goes, because, y’know, “Bad Dreams” is only like one of my favorite Fringe episodes ever.
- Character Motivations felt unnatural. Why wasn’t Walter more of a mess when he realised Peter had not only gone back to the alternate universe, but had chosen to do it without so much as a second thought? Let’s not forget this was a man who had been crying in the Cheerios a few hours earlier. Then there’s Peter – despite the fact that he’s hurting, wouldn’t he want a few hours to think through his decision to go ‘home’? These are just two examples of the characters acting a bit out of character in order to facilitate the needs of the narrative. I realise that dire situations can cause different reactions, but I felt that on this occasion several character moments where under or over-cooked due to the weight of the narrative and its need to move things from A to Z within a limited period of time.
- Some emotional elements were sacrificed. For instance, we didn’t experience Peter travelling back to the AU with Walternate. I couldn’t believe it! That would have been such an epic moment, instead we get CCTV footage. I get that they may have been hamstrung by the very specific way they wanted to tell the story with that nonlinear start to the episode but I think they really missed a trick in not giving us that emotional pay-off between Peter and Walternate. I can’t believe we never got to hear Peter’s immediate response upon seeing his father travel across universes to find him. I can’t believe we never got to look into Peter’s eyes or hear Walternate persuade him to come home. This would have been a great opportunity to get inside Peter’s head (‘Northwest‘ wasn’t enough) as well as Walternate’s. Now, perhaps we’ll get a flashback next week or something, so I’ll leave the door ajar on my judgement, but I’m not holding my breath because it didn’t look like they’re going to come back to it. What. A. Shame.
- The idea that Walter is able to survive a gunshot wound for 5 or 6 hours without treatment (I’m guessing) is a bit much. Am I to believe that he’d been stumbling around for hours with blood spilling from his gut and he didn’t even try to treat it? Speaking of which, why didn’t he bring a first aid kit or supplies? Yet he always remembers his coat. This contrivance is made all the more stark by the fact that Lane conveniently died within 30 seconds of being shot. And I gotta love how Walter collapses right outside of a hospital – because, that wasn’t convenient at all. That scene really bugged me. I’m going to pretend it never existed. What scene? See, it doesn’t exist. Lalalalala.
- In“Grey Matters”, Newton told Walter that The Blight had caused the grass and trees on the Other Side to die. Yet we saw enough greenery to suggest that this isn’t quite the case. Is the a retcon or do they have artificial plant life? Perhaps the decay has only affected certain areas – or hasn’t taken the full effect that Newton suggested?
- Why did Clarke and Lane’s bodies disappear after she fire-balled agent Lee? Was it just because they were at the source of the inferno?
- Who is Altlivia’s lover man? Where is he going after tonight? Why do they have the same tattoos, and what do they mean?
- How does Walternate expect Peter to power the weapon? Is Peter an energy amplifier or a battery of some sort, as past episodes have alluded? If this is the case, what is the science behind it? How did Walternate get the designs from Bell? How will this weapon end the world?
- Olivia confirmed that her mother is dead.
- Broylnate is still married.
- As suspected, Walter’s agreement with September was to never let Peter return to the Other Side, other wise he would be responsible for the end of the world (according to Walter). This is the warning September referred to at the end of “Brown Betty”.
- Nina claims that the weapon is Bell’s technology but was not built by him. How can she be so sure he didn’t build it in the alternate universe?
- Bell has crossed back and forth (emphasis on the back and forth), but inexplicably, Massive Dynamic have no record so don’t know exactly how he did it.
- Brandon posits that Bell has crossed back and forth so many times that his molecules have become unstable. Walter suggests this is why Bell has not returned – because he’s afraid he will die.
- Walter says that creating another Door to the Other Side could instantly shatter both worlds. (Um, Newton. Hello?).
- AU Fringe Division’s primary focus is natural and environmental disasters (holes in the fabric of the universe) that began in 1995 with the Zero Event at Reiden Lake. This correlates with the year and the place where Walter’s crossed over to kidnap Peter.
- The ZFT Manuscript got published on the Other Side, in
19851995, by Walternate.
- Elizabeth from our side was a vegetarian.
- Peter confirms that some of his confusion over his childhood stems from the fact that he thought he had imagined some of his earlier experiences on the Other Side.
- Agent Lee seemed to know Nick Lane – probably the alternate version.
- Unlike Olivia, Altlivia can’t stand alcohol. *hiccup*
- I liked the alternate intro titles. I didn’t expect them – perhaps because I didn’t anticipate the episode to start out on the Other Side. I’ll be prepared next time. 🙂
- Let me just say, it was great to see Charlie (Charlnate) again. He may not be the Charlie we came to know but there’s an inherent connection which runs through all of the alternates. Speaking of which, it was a nice to touch to have Charlnate also suffer from worm (or rather, arachnid) infestation – paralleling Charlie’s close encounter with Puff the Magic Dragon from episode 1.16 “Unleashed”.
Charlnate: “As long as it’s not bugs”
Altlivia: “bugs like you”
Me: “We all do!”
- This episode gave us further confirmation that Olivia’s glimpse into the Other Side back in season 1’s “Road Not Taken” was accurate. Charlnate has a scar and Boston was in “lock down”. It also crystallizes the idea that Olivia was perceiving herself in that reality – and not necessarily embodying (or living through) Altlivia. With that in mind, the sheer accuracy of Olivia’s perception is frightening.
- It was interesting to discover that Fringe Division (or at least Altlivia, Charlnate and Lincoln Lee) were not aware of the true nature of the decay, believing it was caused by environmental factors.
- Broylnate has a way cooler office than Broyles’ rent-a-room. And they say the grass isn’t greener on the other side. Pfft. Oh, wait..they have a Blight, right?
“Can you tell me what you saw? Even small things could be important”
- Is this line also a nod-nod, wink-wink from the writers? Can we rest easy in the knowledge that our attention to detail is not in vein? I’d like to think so.
- Broylnate’s wedding band was such a small detail but it’s interesting in light of Broyles being divorced because he put his job before family life. Does this therefore inform us that when push comes to shove, Broylnate is less dedicated to his job than Broyles? If so, how does this variation affect the broader picture? Does having close contact with his family make Broylnate less willing to put his life on the line? Does Broyles’ detachment from his family make him more determined to look after his team and treat them as his family? I think these are just some of the compelling questions offered by this tidbit.
- Ah, a world where Astrid (let’s call her Altstrid) is actually an agent and not a nanny/baby-sitter/terrible baby-sitter. She was one of the most striking variations on an established character. I could still see traces of ‘our’ Astrid there but largely she was far more lifeless, weary and mechanical. Her eyes seemed to glow/reflect when calculating the quarantine radius which makes me wonder if she’s had something done to her to make her “special”. The glow seemed to happen when she was at her most anxious, tying into theme of fear, particularly in regards to Cortexiphan. It seemed as though her ‘calculations’ also involved perceiving the future, kinda like an Observer.’ Oh and her snarky “Calculating!” line was great. Because that’s what you say when someone asks you for your recommendation. “Roco, is Glee any good?”. “Calculating!”. 🙂
- Broylnate throws us a bone:
“We can’t have another Boston”
- A nod to the quarantined Boston Olivia saw glimpses of when she glimpsed into the Other Side in 1.19. I can’t believe how calm Lee and Altlivia where though. I don’t get why they would have to sacrifice their own lives. I guess this helps explain their mindsets though – they live in a world where they are largely desensitized. Their rather jokey attitude is probably an off-set of this. You can either be glum, or you can take the edge off life.
- While the depiction of Altlivia didn’t land very well with me, I did appreciate the room to compare the two Olivias. Altlivia is very different from Olivia and this makes her interesting right off the bat because there’s so much we don’t know about her (not that we actually know a great deal about Olivia!). So for me it was kinda fun trying to piece together the connections between two versions of the same person to find out just how interwoven they are. On the surface I found few inherent qualities (aside from the obvious – occupation, etc). Altlivia is extremely laid back and has a man. I’d also say she lacks the empathy of Olivia, but is very happy-go-lucky. A far cry from Olivia who is somewhat of a tragic character – not a victim, but a sad, searching, selfless character nonetheless.
- But I did detect a semblance of Olivia beneath Altliv’s surface. I saw a flicker of doubt when agent Lee quipped that her boyfriend was only with her for her money. It’s not much to go on but I almost get the sense that Altlivia is living in a dream world (I don’t necessarily mean that literally) – it seems as though it wouldn’t take much to shatter this facade and awaken her to the central core of who “Olivia” is. Or perhaps it’s the other way around – maybe Olivia is the slanted take on the character? That’s not to say they can’t be exclusive outcomes, as that seems to be the main idea, but I find it interesting to consider all the possibilities given that the lens has been pulled back in recent episodes.
- So what happened to take Altlivia down this different path? Obviously her environment was different – the result of growing up in a slightly different world as well as her more immediate influences. Perhaps she had a better childhood – I’m guessing she wasn’t Cortexiphaned (although she might well be, we’ll have to see with that one). Maybe she doesn’t have R*chel for a sister? This makes me feel more sympathetic to Olivia. She didn’t have to be this way, she diidn’t have to be damaged – life could have been different for her. That said, if things had been different then she wouldn’t be the person she is today – and let’s face it, the Dunhamnator is pretty awesome. Sure, she may give Astrid the stink-eye from time to time, but she’s brave, empathetic and strong – a great role model for Ella and a gate-keeper in the making. I like Olivia more than I do Altlivia (in this brief glimpse), so it’s worth reiterating what Lane said: “fate can be tricky”. At the end of the day who knows how interwoven these different iterations of the characters are – perhaps there is some grand plan that is far bigger than the more immediate us vs them saga?
“They heard a tearing sound and saw a blue flash through the window”
- YES! 😛 We were right to pay attention. (although I feel we got conclusive proof a good few episodes ago). Nonetheless this is more evidence that the blue flashes do hold significance other than Bad Robot’s love for lens flares. 🙂 Also, on the tearing sound – how descriptive. It really conveys the image of mother nature giving birth.
- Altlivia smiles a heck of a lot. If we watched Fringe in the alternate universe, those who criticize Olivia not smiling enough wouldn’t have any problem. Personally, I wouldn’t swap our Olivia for the world. Does that make me as bad as Walter? Quick, someone send me a white tulip!
- I’m really glad that Walternate gave Peter the choice over whether or not to go back with him, instead of bundling him to the back of a van and teleporting his ass out of there. It’s more than Walter ever did. So instantly that put me on a good footing with Walternate. Again, I wish we got more on their interactions, I would have loved to have seen the emotion on Peter’s face when he made that decision. Instead it came over as slightly mechanical. I still cannot believe we probably wont ever get to see those first minutes of father meeting son.
- Can we assume that Walternate’s method for travelling back to the Other Side with Peter is the same – or similar – method William Bell used to yank Olivia to the alternate universe in the season 1 finale?
- While I wasn’t happy with some of the character motivations, at least we can count on Olivia to remain consistent in some respects. *glug*. From the past couple of episodes we can establish that Peter turns to pie and Olivia to the bottle, in times of crisis. I feel I know them so well.
- Isn’t it a funny coincidence how Walter and Olivia’s thought patterns kinda converged when they realised Peter may be in danger. Then again, perhaps we need to reconsider the nature of coincidences and what purpose they actually serve. On the same token the nature of freewill also has to be re-examined. The Observers are not supposed to get involved yet they do when it suits them. They may only be dropping breadcrumbs here and clues there but they are shaping people’s future actions. Perhaps they felt it OK to intervene because they perceived Walter ‘naturally’ coming to the conclusion that there was something he had to remember so decided expedite that process? Coming back to that coincidence thing again, it turns out that perhaps it wasn’t so much coincidence, but an outside observer influencing events without directly influencing them. Again, I think this raises an interesting perspective on coincidence and its potential purpose in making people think they is no grand influence at work.
- I love the scene where Olivia demands that Walter think of a way to get Peter back. Walter was mumbling something about Peter’s freewill and Olivia just bangs on that table “WALTER!”. Love it. I have to say, I’m glad that Olivia was the driving force in trying to get Peter back – had it been Walter it wouldn’t have sat very well with me at all. That man has put enough dents into Peter’s freewill, the last thing I wanted to see is him blindly putting a crowbar through the cracks in mother nature to get ‘his’ son back. Sure, they did go to the Other Side, but not in that context. It was Olivia who realised the need to warn Peter about what he might be responsible for, and in spite of skirting with contrivance, this works neatly within the context of the episode and what mama Peter says to her son later (more on that in a bit). In my view, the idea of getting Peter ‘back’ is secondary. It’s not about that – it’s about giving the boy the choice and allowing him to be responsible for the consequences of what he could be involved in. We don’t want another Walter on our hands, do we.
- There are times when I love Broyles. Like every minute of every day. This was another time:
Random MD guard: “Sorry sir we can’t let you go in there”
The Broylnator: “Don’t even think about it!”
- That’s right, punk, you better not think about laying your hands on Broyles or Dunham or Walter. Big boys rolling though! 🙂
- The Broyles/Nina face-off was interesting. I guess there’ll be no more booty calls for a while? I liked the fact that Nina said “how dare you!” – she was hurt by Broyles’ accusations that she was developing weapons for the Other Side. It’s not often that we see Nina wounded. I love that it was Olivia who had to be the peace maker, taking a less accusatory approach and appealing to Nina’s better senses by straight out telling her that “Peter’s in danger”.
- I also found this short exchange interesting:
Nina: “Dear God. What side is this?”
Walter: “Does it matter?”
- Interesting choice to make Nina reference “God”. I know it’s something people say but coming from Science’s Iron Fist, it stood out to me. Probably of more immediate significance is the idea that it doesn’t matter what side the weapon is on. But does this infer that Nina was asking because she knows that if it’s activated on the Other Side it will bring about our destruction – and vice versa? Which in turn would put Walter in somewhat of a good light considering he was more concerned that it was going to be used at all and less worried for his own mortality. Like I’ve been saying, I find it difficult to accept the idea that one world deserves to survive over the other. Can’t we all just get along? I guess the point is that there are literally some things that can’t be undone, the degradation has already set in. But do we really believe that both worlds would die if nothing is done to save either? Perhaps we should let fate decide? I don’t really buy into that but it’s a peaceful option.
- Thank goodness Brandon toned it down a few notches in this episode. People seem to like him but he’s never done much for me – far too hokie for my taste (although he was better in Brown Betty).
- Olivia over-cooked her “I can’t control it, not on my own” speech. It was way too forced, purely serving to set up Walter’s idea on combining the Cortexi-powers, rather than giving us an authentic insight into Olivia’s desperation. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of the Cortexi-brats working together to achieve great feats, but parts of it were a bit mechanical in execution.
- I’m not sure the time was right for a Walter tangent, given that his son was about to be responsible for the RIP of the world, but he gave us one anyway:
“You know, Bellie and I always agreed that primal part of the brain which allows us to cross universes is also responsible for a host of paranormal activities. Pyrokinesis, Telepathy, Thought Control”
- This actually turned out to be one of the most interesting nuggets from the episode. Unlocking the imagination of children has long been promoted as the objective of Walter and Bell’s early experiments, recently the primal element has been growing in importance. There’s probably not much difference between the two, since primal means beginning, but it ties into the idea that fear can activate certain predisposed individuals. I’m sure I’ve said this before, but it interests me that the ‘beginning state’ of mankind is still the most sought after. People like Bell and Walter figured that while they couldn’t replicate Gods work (and lets be clear, Walter believes in God, so I think it’s fine to view God as an important player in this story), they were able to unlock what he had hidden. The question is, why do children have access to these abilities – and why are they unable to use them without science? Is this part of being “natural and unnatural”?
- Walter’s next line actually suggests that it’s not only children, but all of mankind who once had access to these abilities:
“..we all had these abilities. until there was a moment in history when something was done to us and it was shut down”
- This is a bit of foreshadowing in my view. Although It’s worth speculating why children were spared – why did this supposed ‘moment’ in history leave children with access to these abilities and not adults? Is it because adults become corrupted through experience and would abuse these gifts – as we’ve seen, ironically, with Walter and Bell. Also, what WAS this MOMENT and when/why did it happen?
- I also find it worth mentioning the contempt with which Walter speaks of this deprivation. Because he wouldn’t know anything about taking something away from someone, would he. Dude is a contradiction, but I guess that’s part of his appeal.
- His next words lose him all credibility:
“I suspect aliens”
- So let’s do the reverse and take his words very seriously. I suspect Walter is on to something. Whether it’s little green men with six fingers, or beings resembling ourselves, I don’t think this show can ignore the idea of aliens. It just depends on what your definition of aliens is. Technically, the alters are “aliens”. Peter is an “alien”. The word alien literally means “anyone who does not belong in the environment in which they are found”.
- So there’s now only just over a dozen Cortexiphan kids unaccounted for? I guess they really wanted to whittle down those numbers because a few episodes ago there were 30-something unaccounted for. I’m finding it hard to swallow the idea that Olivia wouldn’t have been informed of these developments. I know it’s Massive Dynamic that we’re dealing with but shouldn’t Broyles have told Olivia that her pal Nick Lane was out of that coma? I thought the idea of him finding love in another Cortexiphan subject was cliched and not realised very well. As soon as I saw the chocolate strawberry scene I thought “Uh-oh, that’s the end of this pair!”. As for James Heath, well I’ve touched on this already, but for whatever reason his character just didn’t fit. He displayed some of the angst I expected a Cortexiphan subject to have towards Walter, but the narrative and perhaps even the performance didn’t land very well. It felt clunky.
“I know you, you’re the man who experimented on us. I could kill you were you stand”
- Someone tell me why this man is only now finding out who experimented on him? Wouldn’t he have asked this question while training at X-Men class? And while I liked the scene with Walter apologising to them, I kept wondering how they could go to war for this man on the drop of a dime. Lane and Clarke had found love, would they really risk losing that – even for the world – after everything they’d been through? Then there’s the idea that they were doing this the protect the universe. Although that worked on some levels, it was a bit contrived, in truth they were doing it to help Walter get Peter back. I have a problem with that because as poetic as it was it punctured the episode slightly. I’m sorry, but however positively they may now look on their ‘gifts’, they wouldn’t just be able to forget and forgive so quickly. It doesn’t take away from what Walter took away from them. The saving the universe aspect was also diminished by the very fact that Nick placed rescuing Peter as his primary goal in all of this. I don’t mean to be a harsh but Lane was better when he was pied-piping people off buildings.
Walter: “Horrible as it is to say. Today, is the day for which you were created”
- I really thought Heath was gonna smack Walter when he said that. It’s things like this that make me dislike Walter. How dare he, it was unnecessary to talk to them as though their only purpose in life is to guard the Gate. I get the element of fate in all of this, believe me I do, but hearing Walter talk as if he were God doesn’t help his case.
Walter: “Well, if none of you are going to kill me. I think I’ll go have a bit of a cry”
- Self pity will get you nowhere Walter. I’m all for your redemption but they’re the ones that should be crying, not you. Take it like a man. You did this. You.
- Again, in many ways I liked this scene – it WAS necessary – but at the same time I wish it could have been portrayed differently. The Cortexiphan kids came out looking weak and lacking in self worth. I understand Olivia’s ‘acceptance’ a bit more because she cares about Peter and has had longer to come to terms with the Walter situation – but the rest of them should have showed more.
- This exchange caught my attention:
Lane “Man, that’s not the same guy I remember”
Heath: “He’s exactly the same”
- I appreciate that, at least, because it reinforced the fact that we each see things differently, even if our experiences are similar. It also poses a question as to whether or not Walter HAS really changed. Sure, he’s good at crying these days, but as I said the other week – does he still have some of the old Walter in him? I think that terrified little girl from the previous episode would say that he does.
- Heath asks Broyles for a night off before they go save two worlds. Olivia persuades him with a nod. I’m like, “no, no you can’t Heath. This is serious shizz. We can’t have you wasting your energy dipping strawberries into chocolate, Lane. As delicious as that may be, we need to conserve that imagination of yours!”. I know, I’d make a terrible Broyles/Olivia, but if they’d listened to me the Cortexi-three might still be alive right now. Just saying is all.
- I do love ambiguous lines:
Heath (after healing sick girl) “I was never lucky, you know. Sometimes people need some good luck. Tonight I guess that’s me”
- Was Heath telling the girl that he was bringing her luck, or that he was ‘lucky’? Anyway, I liked the sentiment and it’s good to have LUCK brought into focus. In trying to understand Heath’s mindset, I guess he’s also dismissing the idea of FATE (which Lane later attributes being a factor) by putting his current upturn in fortunes down to luck, random chance. Even though I wanted more from these guys, this is an interesting character nugget. And let’s not forget this man was a killer, so the idea of him going around healing people is somewhat a redemptive turn.
- If we were in any doubt as to Walter’s state of mind the image of him sniffing Peter’s boxers would clear that up. It was a nice contrast to how the others spent their last night on before the trip to the Other Side – Olivia with a bottle of gin (what? did we not see that?), Heath healing the sick, and Lane and Clarke getting their freak on. Poor Walter. It’s moments like this that I feel sorry for him. I also found his “please God” to be another insight into his spirituality and desperation. It was out of his hands, he knew it. He was about to use science to cross over to the Other Side, but perhaps only God can bring Peter back to him.
- I appreciated Olivia’s little moment with Ella. She woke Ella up early for a change – at least the lil’ one had a taste of her own medicine. I was really glad for this scene, it was important to see Olivia acknowledge that this could be her last moments on our side. What she was about to attempt was literally out of this world and it helped me buy into the idea that she had so much at stake – her own life, her desire to find Peter, the Universe, and the possibility of never seeing Ella and Ella’s mother again.
- I also enjoyed the continuity – in “Unearthed” we found out that Olivia’s mother was religious and that Olivia didn’t understand how her mom could place her faith in God. So it’s interesting to see that Olivia might be coming around to her mom’s way of thinking by giving her the cross to Ella:
“My mother, your grandmother gave it to me before she died. She told me that it would keep me safe. So now I’m giving it to you”
- There were so many levels to this that appealed to me. We have the idea that despite not fully believing in God, Olivia’s journey to this point has given her a greater appreciation of the IDEA of faith and how important it can be for some people. There’s also the sense that Olivia feels that she no longer needs protecting, or that Ella needs it more than she does. Then there’s the idea that Olivia believes she might die on this “trip”, so like her mother before her, she’s giving the necklace to the closest thing she has to a daughter. Bearing in mind Ella is oblivious to what Olivia is really saying to her. Again, small moment but this was handled much better than some of the larger parts of the episode and I have to wonder why that is.
- And things really picked up when R*chel showed her face, putting to bed any lingering
hopethoughts that she may have kicked the bucket it in Walter’s fairytale. Good to see her though, always a pleasure.
R*chel: “think you’ll be home for dinner, because I could really do with Spag Bol. Perhaps you could have it ready for me by 6? BTW, I’m off to Disney World tomorrow, I’ve left Ellen some marbles for pocket money.”
- LOL R*chel, can’t believe you said that. Also, R*ch, when your sister gives you a hug like THAT, you surely have to know something is up! I expect it from Ella, she’s like 2 years old, or something.
- And did you see R*chel’s face when Ella showed her the necklace Olivia gave her? My word, I detected more than a little hostility there. This actually makes R*chel a bit more interesting. Didn’t she know that Mama Dunham preferred Olivia over her? Anyway, see ya next season, R*ch, don’t forget to water Ella. 😛
- I almost chocked on my popcorn when Olivia told Broyles that she trusts Bell. WHAT!? Olivia, you’re shattering my world view here, what do you mean you “trust him”? Where did that come from? Plot contrivance? Out of character reaction? Which is it, because I know you can’t be that naive. Can you? Bell may turn out to be working for ‘our’ best interests, but regardless, you can’t tell me that he’s trustworthy. He’s not. He steals people’s brains and puts them in other people, for heavens sake! Olivia, I’ll put this down to blind faith and pretend those words never came out of your mouth. Trust Bell, indeed. Pfft.
“Remember your shakespear dear. All the world is a stage. Or in this case, both worlds”
- In a week when I question the realiability of the Fringe narrator, I wonder, could this be a clue that the events we are seeing (and have seen) are not completely as they appear? Is it all a stage? I suspect there’s another layer to this story that we are not yet fully aware of.
“Maybe you did damage us, but maybe you made us special”
- Go wash your mouth out with soap! That is just such an unrealistic thing to say. Walter violated you. He took away your childhood, damaged your adulthood and caused you to kill hundreds of people along the way. What is “special” about that? Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve oft-commented on Olivia’s inability to see the irony in her ability to help others thanks to Walter/Bell, but Olivia has not relieved Walter of all his crimes in a heartbeat. Maybe love went to his head? I’m not saying he should have held a grudge forever, but for me it’s unrealistic to ignore the damage that Walter has caused. In time, maybe, but not after a few hours.
- On the other hand it does show huge understanding from Lane. There’s nothing more perspective shifting than someone showing you kindness after you have wronged them. In this regard, Lane deserves credit for being able to look on the bright side. I hope Walter remembers the sacrifice he and the others made for him – ultimately they were just tools who fell long before the war had even started.
- Crossing to the AU was better on second watch. I really should have noticed that Broyles had disappeared. I still find it weird that their powers should turn on them or be rendered useless. Except Olive, or so it appeared. What is her power anyway? It seems like a combination of abilities.
- Interesting that ZFT got published on the Other Side and that Walternate wrote it to cover up the truth about the “natural decay of [their] world”. The question of why? interests me – WHY would Walternate want to hide the truth about the existence of an alternate universe, and what impact did this have on the course of events? Did he believe the knowledge of this other world would destabilise his world? Did he keep it secret for his own ends, giving him time to plan his counter-move? It’s notable that he’s moved from science to military. Did losing Peter to his alternate self cause him to ditch the science in favour of a more militaristic ethos? I think we could answer “YES” to most of these questions, but again, I’m not sure that I like them painting Walternate as the “bad guy” in all of this. I hope they broaden his character over time.
- The notion of good and bad is given more depth in the scene with Peter and his mother. She essentially tells him that he has to be responsible for his decisions, both the good and the bad. This is a healthy way to look at things as suggests that whatever the circumstances, the right choice must be made. It would appear that Walternate, though a victim in all of this, has ambitions of aggression and revenge. He’s apparently prepatred to use his son as a weapon to destroy our side, which makes him less sympathetic than he probably should be.
“As you know, I am not a lover of war. They must be found, and they must be found quickly”
- Peter’s reunion with his biological mother was one of the stand–out moments. I like how both characters played it – Peter bursting to give his mom a hug and Eliznate respectful of his situation but clearly overjoyed to have her son back. Her reaction was perhaps a bit more considered than Peter’s because it had already been 3 days since he came back, but it was great to see her trying to establish her boundaries with him, mindful not to call Walternate his father and asking him if he still liked bacon. And finally we see some emotion from Peter. I have to say,they sold that scene to me, and did they ever do a good job on Orla Brady!
- I also found it believable that Eliznate would be curious about her alter and whether she took good care of Peter. Reading between the lines I also sensed that she was asking whether his mother from the other side was a better mom than she had been. Peter’s response is interesting, he informs her that she committed suicide and that she was very sad. He blames himself as he looks for Eliznate to tell him he is not to blame, which she duly does like any good mother would. I just love how quickly Eliznate is being mother once again. I am reminded of how loving she was towards him in “Peter” and how they appeared to be closer than Peter and Walternate. It makes sense that Peter would reach out for reassurance – and for the first time for as long as I can remember, Peter is in the child role. Because even in those “Peter” flashbacks he seemed older than his years, reassuring Eliznate that he ‘wasn’t scared’ of dying, and giving her his lucky coin.
- It was great seeing the Other Side. I was hoping for more signs of decay and excess but I guess that’s not the story they wanted to tell in the finale. To be fair we did get some good illustrations of just how different (and similar) things are over there. I loved hooded Olivia though – that was a nice touch.
- RIP Nick Lane. You could light up a room with joy and bring gloom to a balloon party. You had a scar in the shape of a “2”. You liked Lady Gaga. You called Olivia “Olive” – Aw. You found love and forgave Walter. You risked it all, Lane. You will be missed. Rest in peace.
- RIP Sally Clark. I didn’t know you very well, but you could create fireballs with your mind. How cool is that!? You were smoking in the literal sense. You saw a cabbage patch doll. You died.
- RIP James Heath. In the theatre. On the Other Side.
- Altlivia shoots at Walter and doesn’t bother chasing after him. So not our Olivia! She seemed mesmerized by the sight of him though.
- It looks like Peter is considering helping Walternate to use the weapon. I’m not sure that he knows all of the details yet, but it was interesting to see him thoughtfully reading the schematics. I doubt he’ll go through with it. Walternate could lose his son again over this.
- Why didn’t Olivia just go to Massive Dynamic instead of Altlivia’s house? I guess she was curious but it felt like a weird priority. It was hilarious to see Bell scare the living daylights out of her though. That man loves stepping out from the shadows, doesn’t he.
“My dear Olivia, I know you have good reason not to trust me, but I’m afraid you’re gonna have to”
- Yeah, because when someone tells you that you can’t trust them but you’re going to have to trust them, that’s reason to trust them. Bell is quite the character!
I thought Over There Part 1 was a very entertaining 42 minutes of television. I particularly enjoyed seeing the characters in their smaller moments as some of the more epic moments felt lacking or contrived. That said I’m trying to view this episode as a set-up to next week. We’re over there now and we’re beginning to understand the motivations and landscape of the Other Side.
I’m hoping for more Peter, and a Walter/Bell and Walter/Walternate face off. And would it be greedy of me to ask for some Olivia on Olivia action? Olivia was star struck on two occasions when seeing her double. We need more on that.
Best Moment: Peter and Eliznate meeting for the first time in years and re-establishing boundaries.
Best Performer: Orla Brady
If you enjoyed “Over There – Part 1”, you’ll like: “Road Not Taken”, “There’s More Than One Of Everything”, “Momentum Deferred”, “Peter”, “The Man From The Other Side”
Episode Rating: 8.5/10