Synopsis: Olivia experiences “awake dreams,” seeing elaborate visions of things not really there. While investigating a disturbing case of a woman who apparently spontaneously combusted, Olivia throws caution to the wind and explores her unexplained visions further. Meanwhile, Walter discusses key information about the Z.F.T. manifesto, and Peter reveals a secret that yields unexpected results in the case.
Below the jump I share my new observations and perspectives, and take a quick look at the unresolved and closed mysteries from “The Road Not Taken”.
New Observations & Perspectives
1.) Looking back, I found it note-worthy that Walter was absolutely determined to absolve William Bell of any ill-intent regarding the ZFT manifesto. This the same man who seemingly left Walter to rot in a mental institution whilst he racked up his billions. (although I’ll reserve judgement on that until we get more information on Bell’s back-story). I have to think that by clearing Bell of any wrong-doing, Walter was also cleansing his own name – as we saw in “Unleashed”, he’s begun to realise the heavy debt he owes society.
2.) I always thought it was a bit too obvious when Nina said that Bell was “travelling” – obviously it sticks out like a sore thumb now.
Also, this episode went a long way in revealing the boundaries in Phillip and Nina’s relationship – they are close (she calls him “Phillip”, no-one else does), but they also have their own agendas at the end of the day. That Nina didn’t receive a courtesy call from Broyles regarding Fringe Division’s investigation into William Bell, says a lot, in my opinion.
3.) Sanford Harris asks why the ‘entire 13th floor is trying to implicate William Bell in the attacks’ – interesting that he should mention that floor, of all floors. Considering the thirteenth floor was missing as Olivia rode the elevator to meet Bell in the finale. I don’t think this is important whatsoever in the story, but it caught my attention.
4.) Harris is overly protective of Massive Dynamic, almost too keen to keep them out of Olivia’s intrepid reach – is this evidence that he was indeed working for Bell’s ZFT? As I’ve mentioned before, I have to think that there are at least two separate ZFT factions, with Jones part of the rogue arm.
5.) At times Peter is beyond belief – he is immediately dismissive of Walter’s theory about moving objects with the mind, and yet at the end of “Ability”, he was the one who was convinced that Olivia disabled the light box bomb…with her mind. Perhaps he’s forgetful.
6.) How ironic (or intentional) that Olivia once said that her emotions are what makes her the agent that she is – and it is these emotions which facilitate her travel between realities and her powers in general. This was alluded to when she was a child (starting/controlling the fire) and during the back-end of season 1 (turning off the light box, crossing over). And of course, we also saw how emotions were at the heart of Nick Lane’s ability, not to mention the fire-starting twins.
7.) Let’s assume that the alternate reality glimpsed in this episode IS the same reality that we are seemingly going to war with. If this is the case. it’s likely that the war has already started – “half of Boston is on lock-down” and “the city was on fire”. So someone on our side (either literally or figuratively) has already begun the attacks over on the other side – with our side yet to feel the overt reality of the war (though we do have “pattern events” and minor skirmishes, not openly attributed to the war as of yet).
I just find it interesting that ‘we’ may have struck first. Another possibility is that the two worlds don’t operate on the same time-line – although not according to the newspaper in Bell’s office.
8.) In our reality Susan Pratt went missing 11 years ago – separated from her twin ala Olive and Nick. Does this give us some indication as to when the Cortexiphan kids were deactivated? What I find interesting though, is that the twins where together in the parallel reality – Olivia saw them both burned to a cinder. So in this alternate world, why were the Pratt’s not separated?
9.) Walter seems sincere in his belief that he and Bell ran clinical trials on children in an effort to help our world. Olivia can’t understand this, and I find it difficult too, on a philosophical level. If only one side can survive, what gives us the right to be that side? I guess it’s only right to have a fighting chance, but I still wonder how Walter and Bell know that only one of the worlds can survive Is time-travel involved – have they seen the future? If so, does what they’ve seen justify their course of action?
10.) In one of Olivia’s alt. reality glimpses, we see a building on fire as if it has been bombed. In Olivia’s words: “the city was on FIRE” (intentional wording, I’m sure). I’m assuming this is the result of a Cortexiphan kid (or an attack on that reality from ours), which leads me to wonder..who are the aggressors? If that world is the same reality that houses William Bell (likely, due to the “He Is Here” clue), then what can this tell us about the complexion of the war?
11.) Walter’s illustration of ‘the road not taken’ analogy is still brilliant. It does make me wonder thought – who, or what, is in charge of these choices. In a broader sense, what makes the alternates different, what makes them arrive at their decisions? Perhaps it’s random chance, but surely there has to be some guiding mechanism, somewhere.
12.) Peter used his excellent people reading skills yet again – this time on Emmanuel Grayson.
13.) Grayson reiterates George Morales’ (“The Dreamscape”) firm belief that Massive Dynamic are a “cover” for William Bell to do whatever the hell he wants. How Grayson would know this is any-one’s guess, but that’s conspiracy theorist’s for you.
14.) If Massive Dynamic are working on behalf of the US government, the President isn’t being kept in the loop, but Nina does have Mr. Obama on speed dial.
15.) I find it ironic that it was Peter’s project which led to Walter finding the ZFT’s missing chapter of “Ethics” – considering the unethical way that Walter seemingly got hold of his replacement Peter.
16.) We all know that Walter finally got Astrid’s name right – but could it have been the Observer’s sudden presence that gave him the clarity he had been lacking?
1.) What happened the last time the Observer “appeared with this kind of frequency”? Bearing in mind Broyles told Olivia that he had only been aware of the Observer for 10 months.
1.) I’m fairly confident in saying that Isaac Winters is the “man with the glasses” who Nick Lane mentioned in “Bad Dreams” (credit gillybee). We can see that the Pratt’s and Lane were being somewhat hastily activated, with Harris involved in the project, keeping tabs on Olivia, using her Intel and keeping her out of the loop. Sneaky bugger.
The question now is, who was Harris working for – David Jones or William Bell? I’ve gone back and forth on this, but again, it could well be that he was working for Bell, since Massive Dynamic have closer links with the government than Jones – and Harris had a ‘government’ position.
If this is the case, I find it interesting that Bell should want to activate his ‘children’ so crudely – he must be in a rush to gather his army. Question is, which side does he want to protect? It’s probably worth bearing in mind that he’s seemingly doing exactly the same thing on the other side (as alluded during Olivia’s vision of the burned Pratt twins).
2.) Peter’s (not so) mysterious project was a present for Walter – some kind of digital converter to restore his old and damaged record collection.
Best Moment: The Observer whisking Walter away.
Best Performer: John Noble
Retrospective Rating: 9.2/10
Our original “The Road Not Taken” posts can be found here.
Next Episode Rewatch: Season 1 Finale – “There’s More Than One of Everything”.