Subject 13 and the W-alternate Perspective

It’s no secret that I have a lot of time for Walternate. While I don’t always agree with his methods, I see a man who has become a victim of his own broken heart and sense of injustice. Yep, I said it – a man who is a victim. Of course, when you’re dealing with entangled webs, a victim can just as easily be seen as an aggressor, depending on how the yarn spun.

Subject 13 went some way to balancing out the perspective from which the story is told. Not only in terms of Olivia and Peter, but Walter and Walternate. I personally found myself becoming even more sympathetic towards Walternate, as I traced the impact that hopelessness and hope had on a man falling apart at the seams.

But what about you – did Subject 13 give you a W-alternate perspective on the “Safety Czar”? Feel free to add your vote in the poll below.

Did "Subject 13" Make You More Sympathetic Towards Walternate?

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  1. William Bishop says

    I would say somewhat, the man is not a close friend of mine, yet, but I started to feel more about him, that part when he is watching TV and Eliznate turns off and he says “wait it’s about to get to the best part, they’re going to say how ironic is that the Secretery of Defense wasn’t able to protect his child”, is priceless.

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  2. Solis says

    Walternate’s Old suffering reminds me of walter’s current suffering
    and walternate current heartless-ness reminds me of Old walter’s
    they both shifted throught time because of differente circumstances, and yet if we are feeling for walter we should do so for walternate , it was just too hard for us not to haaaaaate seeing walternate brainwashing olivia’s brain and accepting to cut it for stupid studies, and before that forgetting about fatherhood and lying/using his son coldly to destroy the universe, but now that I saw how walter did merely the same thing in the past, using olivia as atest subject and lying to peter about his origines , I must admit that now I feel for walternate , but it he doesn’t regret his actions later and try to save the universes as walter did, I’ll change my opinion πŸ˜€

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  3. Dylan says

    Here’s a man who has a reason to be angry. His anger may have forced himself to lose focus, but the anger itself is justified.

    John Noble puts it much better in the ‘Walternate’ promo.

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  4. mist says

    Well, I always think back on why Bell removed Walters brain… Walter was afraid of the men he was about to become…
    And Olivia said that all the years in St Clairs (and living without parts of his brain) made him a “better person” (and father)
    …or something like that, I don’t recall exactly what she said.
    My point is that you always have a choice, no matter if you are the one (Walter) who crosses universes to safe a boys life, not thinking of the consequences of his actions at the time
    OR if you are the one who is left without a son. Of course Walternate loved his son to peaces, but he didn’t have to become a ruthless men. After what he did to OUR Olivia I feel no compassion what so ever for that man.
    He is a scary, ruthless man.
    JOhn Noble is such a fabulous actor! Exquisite!

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    • Tenison says

      Well, I see your point, and I never thought that I would defense Walternate, but here we go:

      By the time when Olivia was just Olive and crossed to Walternate’s lab without perceiving this, she was a child, and we already know that Walternate would never harm a child in anyway.

      But imagine how Walternate sees things: Olivia has grown up and if as a child she already could cross-over through the universes easily AND – most important – knew OurWalter, Walternate thinks – and we know he’s, at least in part, right – that his alternate version, our Walter, was experimenting on child and creating an army to destroy Walternate’s universe and that as an adult she is a powerful Terminator – as we know, she is more than this, she is DUNHAMnator.

      And he probably thought that the kidnapping of Peter was just a crossing trial, but I think that at this point he just thought that his plan was to kidnap children from Over There to do trials. And when its universe started to self-destroy, then he “realized” that it was part of the Cruel Walternate’s – in his perspective, in our persperctive our Walter – plan of destroy their world.

      Theeeeen, in his perspective, he – and his world – is just a victim searching for the heal of his universe – and for his revenge – and I really think he’s afraid of ours, ’cause he thinks that we are most developed than them and he doesn’t wanna put their operation in any risk – even if that mean harm or kill the one who gave him the answer of his life.

      From this, I guess that we can answer a question too. When Walternate discovered about the machine? Well, if he had knew about the First People and the Machine, one of his first thoughts would have been about another dimensions, right?* Then, I think that he just discovered The First People book later, when was researching about alternate universes and ways of crossing-over, and with it, the Boom-boom Machine.

      *I’m really sorry if you didn’t understand me, I’m brazilian and I’m terrible at the conditional form T-T Oh, and with prepositions.

      PS: While writing this, I had a thought: Walter and Walternate finally meeting each other – after Walter recover at least part of his grey matter – , Walter telling Walternate why he kidnapped Peter and why he didn’t returned him, and both of them, the most brilliant men of both worlds, united – but not likin’ to be united – to heal the two universes.

      If well developed, it could be a cool scene. But I don’t think it’s gonna happen – at least, not so early.

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      • William Bishop says

        First of all what you’re saying is very clear, there is no problem. Now, you’re probably right about what Walternate was thinking that time, but remember that he sent shapeshifters and had the typewriter, not to forget that he crossed over, so from some point he knew that we’re less developed, now he could deny that, and he probably is, and that should act less agressively and at least try some comunication to make things clear, or at least “officialy” declare war, so right now he is more agressor than victim.

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      • Robert Gertz says

        I would note in the regrettable mistake of the scene with Walternate’s mistress (no offense to the wonderful Joan Chen but it was a mistake gladly to be rectified in the alternate timeline to give Walternate a mistress) he agrees that he still hopes to recover Peter. I don’t know if he knew Peter might die using the machine, I suspect he believes if Peter chooses his home universe he’ll be safe and that for Walternate this is the ultimate test of whether he can recover his son or no. Imagine, after learning about Olivia’s ability, he created the shapeshifters and spent decades trying to study our universe (new question, why didn’t he have Walter killed long ago, was that Belly’s doing? And when did Bell develop the ability to cross over?)

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  5. Jophan says

    Yes, Walternate is a victim of a terrible crime. But it’s difficult to have that much sympathy when his reactions are almost all of injured pride and damaged ego. The scene in Peter’s bedroom is the only one that seemed to indicate that he loved the boy at all. So I wound up with “not really”, though the answer is more “some, but not much”.

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    • mlj102 says

      “But it’s difficult to have that much sympathy when his reactions are almost all of injured pride and damaged ego.”

      You have a point with that. But, out of curiosity, how would you describe Walter’s reactions to events in his life (Peter’s death, learning of the damage he caused to the other side, keeping the secret from Peter, responding to Walternate, his interactions with Bell, etc.)?

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      • Jophan says

        I don’t excuse Walter, either. Even when his motives were good his methods were irrational. In “Peter”, his compulsion to save the boy overrode sensible cautions; he damaged both Elizabeth’s and Peter’s psychological health by insisting on the lie that he was their own; and his initial reaction to Olivia’s ill-treatment was to rely on its continuation for his own purposes. (Fortunately, he responded to Elizabeth’s outrage on this last point.) I don’t know enough directly about his interactions with Bell; his own reminiscences are suspect. As for keeping the secret from Peter as an adult, it was wrong but understandable given his level of dependence. He still appears to be obsessed with Peter as much or more than he actually loves him. But he does seem to be trying to reform. It’s still in process.

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    • NayaRivera1 says

      To be fair to Walternate, do we know what Walternate went through during the last 25 years Peter has been missing? Walternate did find out about Peter and the AU in Subject 13 but during that time, what else did he do?

      I’m not going to say walternate’s evil because of his actions in the last few episodes since we never gotten Walternate’s side of anything.

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  6. dana says

    we can’t just sweep all the ruthless things he’s done to the side just because we saw him sad. It did melt my heart a bit, but not enough to ignore all the bad things he’s done, he has been and will stay ruthless (or he should for character continuity).

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    • Annette says

      Yes, nothing says “thank you for letting me know where my son was taken those many years ago,” like vivisection. Of course, he was mad at her for luring Peter away from his ‘verse. So I guess slicing her up while she was alive was justifiable in his mind. Do I feel sorry for Walternate… nope. He chose to become a monster.

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  7. KLA says

    I sympathize with Walternate more because I now have an understanding of how badly he missed Peter, and what that did to him. I mean he was beyond devastated. And, when he found out where Peter was, he fiercly devoted nearly 20 years of his life to get his precisou son back. Just like we know why Walter kidnapped Peter and what he was going through when Peter died, Walternate went though a tremendous amount too.

    Now, that does not excuse some of the ruthles things he’s done as Dana above said, or as Solis perfectly pointed out. I mean using Peter’s love for Olivia to scam him was just fowl, cheating on poor Elizinate was wrong, brainwashing and drugging Olivia so she would think she was Fauxlivia was horrible, and the list goes on.

    Sigh. . . . .

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  8. mlj102 says

    Oddly enough, this has been one instance where Roco and I actually seem to be in agreement. While I don’t condone the choices Walternate has made, I can see why he has done them. He was certainly a victim and he responded accordingly. He’s doing what he believes is necessary to protect himself, those he loves, and even his whole world. As misguided as that may be when you consider that he doesn’t have all of the facts, I think he fully believes in what he is doing. Yes, in some instances he has twisted the facts to fit his incorrect view of what is going on, but it’s also understandable based on what he has experienced. And I truly believe that if the roles were switched, Walter would have made the same choices. And in some ways, he has. So if we can sympathize for Walter despite the things he has done, it seems only right that we should be willing to sympathize with Walternate as well. For just as I don’t agree with some of Walternate’s choices, I also find myself very much opposed to some of Walter’s choices. And I think a big reason we sympathize with Walter is because we have seen him. We’ve seen how he’s more than a cruel, heartless man. And I think that if we had started out watching Fringe from the Over There perspective, seeing Walternate, his life, and what has made him who he is, we would have a similar reaction and be willing to sympathize with him, despite disagreeing with some of his actions. So, yes, I sympathize with Walternate, and Subject 13 helped expand upon why we should be able to sympathize with him.

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  9. says

    The sympathetic feeling towards Walternate, comes more from the fact that ‘our’ Walter is de-humanized by his actions in ‘B13’. Nevertheless, the effect is the same: we now understand Walternate a bit more.

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    • mlj102 says


      6B or Subject 13? I think all these numbers are starting to confuse you, Observer… :)

      Whichever episode you’re referring to (and I imagine it’s Subject 13), while I agree that some sympathy comes from seeing what Walter is capable of doing, sympathy also comes from exploring Walternate’s position — what he experienced, why he did what he did, and that he’s not just some evil man who’s out to destroy the world simply because he can. As we learn more about his character, we can relate more to what he’s doing. Not necessarily agree with what he’s doing, but understand it. And before you know it, you realize you’re starting to feel a little bit of sympathy for him. I think a lot of it comes from seeing how similar the two Walter’s really are.

      I love how they’re developing both Walter’s. The best villain isn’t someone who’s purely evil. The best villain is someone who is ambiguous and conflicted, someone who deeply feels like he’s doing what needs to be done. He doesn’t see himself as a bad guy. And that pretty much describes them both.

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      • says

        In my language, no symbol is the same (yes, i mixed up quite a bit with the titel, LOL :P), and as for Walternate to becoming more a human person to us, is way due. It needed to happen a long time ago, and i’m quite happy the way he is portretted, not only as a character, but by the writers.

        Good job that did the trick.

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  10. augusta says

    i put “somewhat” because there was no option for “yes and no”. Still working it out but…

    On the level of the masses (doing what he must to protect his people) I do have more sympathy for him. He is in a very difficult situation that he didn’t put himself in. Like Tenison put so well, from Walternate’s pov, he is just doing whatever he can to save his world. I understand his perspective — his thoughts and feelings — a little better now since we’ve been shown a little more of what he as going through. That understanding has definitely increased my sympathy for him.
    On the other hand, on a more personal level, subject 13 revealed that Walternate knew about Olivia, and a little about what she was going through as a child so it kind of hardened me further towards him as well. It would have helped if they had shown less of him being so indifferent (to put it mildly) to our Olivia while she was Over There, especially since he knows that Peter cares for her. Or if, while Peter was over there, they had shown some scenes where Walternate is actually trying to reconnect with his son (for purposes clearly outside of winning the war.
    Like Jophan mentioned, it’s hard for me to see his love for Peter clearly — it’s wrapped up in his role and his power and responsibility… and on top of that, Walternate isn’t really connected to anyone. So even though I can sympathize more now with Walternate from the perspective of his responsibility as the Secretary, in terms of his own personal life, things are kind of murky. He seems to be projecting his…issues… out onto his professional role… or maybe I am :)

    I think his heart has been frozen (…or stolen…), and that’s terrible for him (and for everyone else unfortunately). But I would like to see him more conflicted over the choices he’s making, those ruthless decisions . Hmm.. his heartlessness really encourages me to be heartless towards him… i think i’m going to go watch Brown Betty again…

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