Saturday, September 24, 2011

Fringe: Season 4 Episode 1 - Neither Here Nor There

Hello Universe Hoppers and Alternate Timeline lovers!  Welcome back for another season of Fringe recapping!  I, for one, am thrilled that it's back!  I lifted the restrictions on the use of this word in last season's finale and I still feel confident that I made the right choice.  WOW!!!!  Fringe has returned and his not skipped a beat.  They left us with one of the most mind-boggling cliffhangers in TV history and it looks like they're going to keep us in a bit of suspense for a little while longer.  That said, they did alleviate some of the tension for fans who were scared that one of the cast members may have been erased from the cast permanently.  And they did this quite quickly.  It was never a question for me, for a lot of us.  Ever since that cliffhanger, I've been just trying to figure out HOW they'd bring him back.  Surely, there would have to be some loophole that would trigger memories.  And, while it's a bit more complicated than that, that would certainly seem to be the route they're going.

So, it's been a long summer and we're back in full force for the new blogging season.  If you missed some key announcements that I made that could affect future blogging in 2012, please take a look at this post.  And stay tuned to the end credits for information on my other blogging ventures this year!   Enough commercials, let's get to the recap!!

FRINGE Case of the Week
The case in the premiere was a case that tied in very closely to the ongoing mythology.  Of course, this is no surprise as it has been the "case" since the middle of season 2.  A new breed of shapeshifter has arrived in our world.  In the end it turned out that they were chasing not 1 but 2 translucent men who were abducting victims with "heavy metal" intake in their bodies.  It would seem that they were injecting their blood into themselves to try and give them a little more of an opaque shape.  (Love that I can use my 5th grade science terms again.  And we thought we'd never use them!! )  

One of the victims was our Lincoln Lee's partner, Robert Danzig. (perhaps a reference to the band that is most well known for their song "Mother"??)  You may recall from the season 3 episode "Stowaway" that Lincoln did not have a partner and that he had been following the case of the woman that would not die for a long time.  That was what originally drew him to the Fringe team.  Olivia was then occupied by William Bell so he hadn't actually met HER before.  But the Observers must have been trying to dumb down the discussion for our summer-lapsed minds as they explained to each other that Lincoln does not remember meeting Olivia before.  As in this new revised timeline, this is their first meeting.   So this episode plays a little bit of deja vu as Lincoln is RE-introduced to the lab, Walter, Astrid and Broyles.   But it was nonetheless riveting!! 

So, long story short with the case, Lincoln was persistent and defied rules to work his way into helping Fringe division and find out more of what happened to his partner.  Lincoln and Olivia tracked down the Shapeshifters 2.0 to some warehouse/lab.  They were split up due to tending a shot agent and then they each got to take down each of the translucent men.  I won't lie, at one point I thought one of these shifters was going to turn out to be Agent John Scott.  And when Olivia started recalling the pilot episode and her old partner, I was more convinced!  But, that did not happen.  But the man that Lincoln ended up shooting, did start to resemble his deceased partner, Robert.

One thing they did not see as they wrapped up the case was that there was indeed a 3rd shifter who was able to take full human form!  To Be Continued!  

Merging of Worlds
So, the other big turn of events at the close of season 3 was that Peter created a bridge between worlds.  The base of the Statue of Liberty now houses doors that allow the Fringe teams from both sides to cross over safely.  Of course, by the end of the episode we see that they have certainly beefed up security so there may be a little bit of paperwork required to just barge on over!  Here are a few highlights of what went down in this episode.
  • Olivia and Fauxlivia open up the episode with a little bit of a fun chat.  They are showing that they clearly have trust issues.  We start to see that while the timeline has been altered without Peter, a lot of the events that we have seen have still transpired.  Olivia still was kidnapped and taken to the other side.  Fauxlivia still planted herself on OUR side and pretended to be OUR Olivia.  There was just no man between them this time.  

  • The Olivias were transferring files of Fringe cases to the other side so they can catch each other up and what each world has been through.  Olivia told Faux that their side may recognize a lot of the cases since it was their side's fault.  Fauxlivia retorted the same thing back.  It was pretty much implied in the episode that while Walter may have not crossed over to save Peter, he and Bellie probably did cross over at some point which began the deterioration of their world. 
  • Walter, made it clear that he had similar trust issues with Walternate.  He still thinks that Walternate is up to something.  Astrid informed Walter that Walternate probably has issues with him too.  More evidence that Walter still affected the other world.  

Observer Mission
The observers were pretty content with themselves at the end of last season as they successfully erased Peter from existence, well, as an adult!  That little bit of clarification was made in this episode.  We did suspect it in our lengthy discussions.  We suspected that maybe RED WORLD Peter would be dead and maybe OUR Peter might have lived.  But no, that is not the case.  Both Peters died without Walter's intervention.  
  • You may recall, that this is ALL September's fault in the first place.  Our favorite observer distracted Walternate from seeing the cure that would save his son, but then Walter SAW that he had stumbled upon the cure and had to cross over to save Peter.  Then, when they returned, Walter and Peter almost drowned in Reiden Lake, but September came to their rescue.  It set forth a pattern of events that would eventually lead to Peter getting in that machine and causing himself to disappear.  And now?  Well, he's not quite gone yet. 
  • Another observer (December??) had a sit down with September saying that while Peter is erased, there are traces of him that are bleeding through.  They are trying to ensure that events play out as they were/are supposed to prior to September's intervention.  The world can never learn that the boy lived to be a man!  Ahhh, gotta love this paradoxical/time-altering stuff!  I live for it!  September is tasked with destroying the traces of Peter since it's all his fault that Peter existed in the first place. 

  • September goes all MacGyver and finds a bunch of gizmos and whozeewhatsits to assemble the "PETER TRACE DESTROYER".  I don't know what is all in it but it includes some tech from the other observers, a component of an old tube TV and then a trigger switch that September dismantled from another device.  Gotta love his electro-shocking touch don't you!? 

  • Of course, at the end of the episode September has the device all ready to go and he looks up and appears to be a little sad.  And then, it would seem that he didn't trigger the device and decided to power it down.  Hmmm, does September have a bit of a soft spot for the Bishops??  I certainly hope so as he always struck me as one of the good guys! 

  • The big question is, what are the events that are supposed to play out WITHOUT Peter?  What happens if Peter DOES exist?  Are the Observers truly just TIME COPS making sure that the plan/time/fate remains unaltered?  Whose plan is it then?  Is it the right plan?  
  • Did anyone see that movie, The Adjustment Bureau with Matt Damon?  At the time of its release we all thought it was a rip-off of Fringe with their hat wearing time-keepers.  But apparently, the movie is based off of a Phillip K. Dick short story that preceded Fringe (1954 actually).  So, Fringe seems to be borrowing from THAT story.  So, perhaps the questions I bring up SHOULD be asked as they were very prominent in the movie/story.  Good movie by the way! 

Fallout from the Case
  • When Walter examined the bodies of the 2.0 Shifters, he found a device inside the wrist of one of the men.  This tech is not of this world, but resembled the OUTSIDE of the body devices that were used in the 1.0 Shapeshifters.  Walter explained that the difference between the shifters is that these new ones are actually human.  Huh!?!  So what, did they volunteer to have this failing technology inserted into their bodies!?  (well, it appeared to be failing, but it looks like there is at least one successful one so far)

  • Whatever the case, Walter and Olivia's trust issues with the other side are reinforced as this technology seems to be from the other side.  And who came up with the Shapeshifter technology in the first place?  You guessed it...WALTERNATE!  (My memory may be foggy, but I'm pretty sure William Bell helped in their design as well in order to stay relevant on the other side.  Could be wrong there.)  
  • Olivia ends up giving Lincoln Lee full clearance to all things Fringe by the end of the episode as she takes him to the place where WORLDS meet.  I was hoping that she'd bring Lincoln over to the other side and give him a glimpse of Manhatan (with one t as always!) but what we did see was great.  The sky looked different through the windows on each side of the room.  And Fauxlivia arrived to face Olivia and our Lincoln.  You could tell that she recognized Lee but she didn't bring it up.  I'm guessing there will be an eventual meeting of the Lees too! 

  • Olivia gave the tech that Walter discovered to Fauxlivia and used it as an opportunity to take an "I definitely don't trust you now" jab at her.  Fauxlivia took the device, said she'd look into the new shapeshifters and left. 
  • Then we got a nice shot of a zeppelin flying by and we can now consider Lincoln officially fallen into the rabbit hole!  

Where is Peter!?! 
Of course, it wouldn't be a Fringe episode without at least one appearance from Peter Bishop, right!?  In the middle of the episode we find Walter is missing.  Lincoln, however, hears him swimming around in the sensory deprivation tank.  Why, you ask!? 
  • Well, either Walter was a big Michael Jackson fan or he's just being chased by another MAN in the mirror!  (Hey, if I got paid for this, my jokes would be better!)   Walter was terrified about this image that he saw in the mirror.  I'm sure most of us caught on at this point that he was seeing Peter.  Who else would be haunting him in reflections!?   

  • After we see September powering down the device, we see Walter in his bedroom/lab (more on that in a bit) watching television and drinking his milk.  He turned the TV off and then we all jumped as we saw Peter staring at him from the reflection!!! Whaaat!?!?!   Walter smashes the screen and screams for help.

  • Woa, totally didn't catch this the first time around.  But after Olivia and Fauxlivia part ways in the beginning of the episode, there is a glimmer of Peter looking at Olivia!!  Must have been looking at my phone or something.  How could I miss that!? 

So, where is Peter Bishop???  Who knows!?  Is he hidden somewhere in their memories and only by triggering these memories can he exist again?  It's probably going to be a little more layered than that but that would seem to be what is happening.  This, of course, is just a taste of things to come.  Something tells me he'll be making more appearances in future episodes to help piece together what is happening.  So, if/when he does return, it will be interesting to see what happens to the events that are playing out right now.  Do they become altered as well to insert Peter back into them?  Am I over-thinking this just a bit?  Probably, but over-thinking things is my job on this blog!  And it brings back some fond memories of LOST-pondering! 

And we're not quite done with the recap yet folks.  As always, I've saved the fun stuff for last!

  • Glyph Code of the Week - APPEAR - Well, that certainly does seem fitting as we caught a glimpse of Peter in the TV reflection at the end of the episode.  Something tells me we'll be seeing more appearances over the next several episodes. Thanks to Fringepedia as always for the screen-cap!
  • Observer Spotted! - They weren't really hidden in this episode.  They were all over the place and will be key figures in this whole Peter saga. 
  • Food Cravings: Walter was all over the map on this one.  At first, I thought he was craving that dead bird he took out of the fridge, but no he just wanted to bring it back to life for a little bit (but he did state the bird was clearly still dead.  I missed Walter!).   Walter was eating popcorn as he instructed Astrid to investigate a victim's anus.  Mmmm, everyone else hungry?   He also was hoping Agent Lee brought gum drops with him one of the times when he arrived. 

  • Walterism of the Week:  So many to choose from!  But, I think my favorite was when naked Walter (stripped from his tank-soaked clothes) was talking to Lee about how clever and wrong he was and then quickly made a sidebar to Astrid saying, "I'm not wearing pants."   Classic Walter!    Another great one was when he elatedly said to Lee "Look under the dome, I'm growing an ear!"  
  • New Fringe Titles for the "Peter-less" Universe.  I love how they keep changing this up for every new phase of Fringe.  But, they may start running out of colors soon!!   I did notice that some of the scientific studies on this one seemed to serve as possible clues to Peter's disappearance/reappearance.  And of course, a Harry Potter reference with the Philosopher's Stone.  The Philosopher's/Sorceror's stone was a stone that Voldemort sought to serve as an elixer of life and become immortal.  Of course, this isn't just a Harry Potter reference as the term existed pre-Potter.   Other interesting terms, Ethereal Plane, Quantum Entanglement, Paradox, psychic surgery, Bi-location and just the plain ole "EXISTENCE".   All definitely seem geared to asking/answering the question of WHERE IS PETER BISHOP!?!   We all would like to know.  

  • Just as we previously observed little nuances between universes, we now have the opportunity to observe what is different in a world without Peter?

    There were a few lines thrown into the episode that were meant to help us explain how Peter's absence is being felt.  The first was where Olivia explained to Lee that Walter is often brilliant but there is nothing to tether him to the world.  It would be Peter that kept Walter a little more grounded.
    The second was when Walter was examining a body and noticed the girl was engaged.  He said that he couldn't think anything worse than when two people are meant to be together and something intervened.  This could be a reference to Peter/Olivia, or even Peter/Walter.  But probably the former since later Olivia explains how in her entire life she has felt that there was this hole in her life and she thought that coming to Fringe division would help her find her answers.  She hesitated at one point when talking.  It was almost like she remembered something, right?

    It would seem that Walter doesn't get out of the lab much, or possibly at all.  His bed is in the lab and there is an FBI agent guarding the door at night.  Also, Astrid is a field agent that works on behalf of Walter at the crime scenes.  She uses some crazy bluetooth-ish camera to transmit an audio/video feed to Walter.

    Of course, one thing that has not been addressed and not sure if it ever will be.  If the machine still exists and brought the worlds together and Peter no longer exists....who operated the machine to bring the worlds together now?  Do none of them remember?

    So far, we have not seen anyone that has previously died and is now living as a result of Peter not being around.  The main 3 that I would think people would be wondering about would be OUR Agent Charlie Francis, Alterna-Broyles, and of course...WILLIAM BELL.  

  • Things that are still the same:

    "One of these things is not like the other" - Agent Lee used this line at a crime scene to point out a girl who didn't seem to fit in.  She ended up having evidence.  Lee used the same line in the Stowaway episode last season.  He said it to Peter as they were investigating the woman who could not die.   When Peter asked him about it, Lee had said something like "What, you never watched Sesame Street?"

    As previously mentioned, a lot of history is still the same just altered for Peter not to be in it.  Agent John Scott still was killed in the first Fringe Case.  Olivia still got Walter out of the mental institution to work the case.  We will probably continue to get information like this in each episode to indicate what's the same and what changed.   It's Fringe's version of It's a Wonderful Life
Well I think that's all she wrote folks!  An awesome premiere for an awesome show.  I can't wait for more Fringe!  And I hope the ratings stay decent enough for Fox to keep the show on the air.  There is nothing else quite like it on Network television!  Can't wait to get back into our discussions in the comments about this as well!  So it's your turn.  What did you think!?   I'll be back next week to continue the discussions once more.  Hope you enjoyed my ramblings as always and I'll see you next week! 

End Credits
  • This season I will be recapping Fringe, Terra Nova, The Walking Dead and Alactraz.  If one of these new shows ends up not doing well, I may bail on it quickly.  This could make room for a show that DOES end up doing well!  
  • As always, there are other shows that I watch as well and would be happy to discuss with all of you. For a complete list by day, you can check out my "FALL TV" post.  


Anonymous said...

I was kind of disappointed that there are still shape shifters showing up. I had hoped that part of the story was over or at would at least be less prevalent now that both sides were working together. Could these shape-shifters be the beginnings of the "end of days" terrorists from 2021?

No mention of Massive Dynamic - are they still a powerful company?

Also, do they remember that Peter told them that both worlds were intertwined and neither could survive without the other? If so, then they have to trust each other. I wonder what benefit either side could gain by being dishonest if their universe will ultimately en

Mike V. said...

Hi anonymous, interest idea on the 2.0 Shifters possibly being the start of the End of Dayers. Although, I thought that they came into existence once Over There was destroyed and they wanted to destroy THIS world too. So, if they're working towards preventing that future from happening, then maybe the end of dayers don't/won't exist? Obviously, they want to show that while these 2 sides are supposed to be working together now...there still is a lack of complete trust. But, that doesn't mean that the new shifters are Walternate's creation. The writers just may want us to think that. I'm fine with there being a new breed of shifters. It's part of the show's DNA and I'm all for it!

As for no mention of Massive Dynamic...I'm fine with that. Obviously MD is a big part of Fringe and it will come into play eventually, possibly even in the next episode. It's a long season so we just need to be patient. But, I would still guess they're a powerful company. It really seems like most of the world has come to be just as it had when adult Peter did exist. The difference? So far, it seems mainly to be in Olivia and Walter. Their lives are a bit incomplete. I do think we'll still find out that some people might be alive in place of Peter but that has not come to be yet.

I do not know if they remember what Peter told them. I don't know how they would because he didn't exist to tell them! It's a bit mind boggling (and intended to be I presume). Olivia did say at the end of season 3..."it doesn't matter how we got here, we have to work together now to fix things"....Or something like that. I'm still confused to how they would even be in that room if they didn't know Peter put them there. But hey...maybe they don't remember how they got there either! Building trust between these people will take time. There obviously would be some animosity based on everything they HAD gone through (and now have gone through in a Peter-less existence too).

That's my opinion anyway! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Anonymous said...

No, thank you Mike for your in depth reviews.

Or could there be a 3rd parallel universe sending these new 2.0shape shifters? LOL


MJ said...

Yeah - noticd the new colors since we are a blended story now. LOL

I'm probably over-thinking it but the issue with the machine and Peter are what created teh bridge to begin with - so what do these people now think created this bridge ?

And I commented during the show that Walter now has absolutely no reason to hate Walternate and vice veersa now. And why are these worlds still in trouble since Walter never went over and took Peter ? Interesting that you assumed that Walter and Belly must have still gone over for another reason. Guess I was expecting them to share that with us though.

Well - Nimoy retired and our Charlie is on another show now, so don't think they are coming back from the dead.

Mike V. said...

@Bill - No problem!! My pleasure to do it. 3rd parallel universe? Not a bad idea. I know they've been sticking to the 2 for now and I'm not sure how much the 3rd world would differ from these 2. lol I don't know if they want to open that door or not or if they're open to giving these actors ANOTHER persona. We'll see!!

@MJ - I had read that the opening titles are simply to indicate a "world without peter". Even the words mentioned in the opening titles seemed to be geared towards peter being missing and possibly ways of retrieving him. So, I think if Peter ever comes back we'll be going back to Blue and/or Red depending on which world the story will be focused. We'll see!!

I thought the same thing in the recap about the bridge thing. I have no idea who they think created that bridge now. I wonder if we're supposed to just go off of Olivia's comment "it doesn't matter how we got here, now we need to fix things" (still paraphrasing because I can't remember it!) I would hope there will be some kind of explanation for that.

I've just read so many interviews with the cast and producers since the finale that they have just made comments like that because Walter and Bell were so obsessed with the other side, they would have found another reason/way to cross over at some point. I'm sure they'll indicate something in an episode of why/when Walter crossed over this time. Maybe it will even be another wacky flashback episode.

Ugh...I didn't remember Kirk A (Charlie) got picked up on another show! That stinks!! I figured if Nimoy was coming back, I would have heard something by now! lol