Saturday, November 5, 2011

Fringe 4.5: Double Return

Last night's episode of Fringe - 4.5 - showed why Fringe is not only the best science fiction on television this season, but among the best science fiction series ever to be on television.

The episode brought us two stories - now slightly intertwining, soon to be more - the shapeshifters and Peter, both of whom have returned.

Dr. Truss used to work for Massive Dyamic, until Bell put an end to his research.  Truss's work was in cell regeneration, or the science at the basis of shapeshifting.  In terms of his genius, belief in his own work, but guilt when things go wrong, Truss is in many ways another version of Walter.

The real Walter has his hands and mind and heart full, as Peter, now in Fringe Division custody, asks Walter to help find out what happened to him.  On the way to his first meeting with Peter, Water hypothesizes that this could be a third Peter, from yet another (third) alternate universe.   Olivia refutes the hypothesis, pointing out that it wouldn't account for why she had been seeing Peter's face in her dreams.  And we viewers of course know that this Peter is our Peter - that is, the Peter from last year's alternative universe (the alternative universe of all seasons thus far), whom Walter kidnapped/saved as a boy.

In one of the most touching scenes ever seen on Fringe, Peter pinpoints in his conversation with Walter just where and when the new reality - without Peter - came to be: the Eternal Bald Observer did not save Peter when he fell through the ice all of those years ago.   Yet he - our Peter - is back now.

Walter, for all his genius, still can't quite accept this.  His heart tells him this is the Peter he raised, and knows as an adult.  His brain tells him this too.   But the guilt he still feels for breaching the two universes, and losing Peter in the water anyway, blocks his coming to terms with Peter's return now.  But give him time.

Meanwhile, Peter is making his customarily excellent contribution to the Fringe team, helping them in their attempt to understand the shapeshifters.  But we'll need more than understanding to beat them.  Their agent has now transformed into someone working in Fringe division, and - guess what - they're under the likely direction of Walternate, or someone from the alternate universe that communicates with ours via clacking typewriter.

Kudos to J. R. Orci and Graham Roland for writing a really memorable episode.

Hey, check out my essay The Return of 1950s Science Fiction in Fringe in this new anthology

See also Fringe Returns for Season 4: Almost with Peter
... Fringe 4.2: Better and Worse Selves ... Fringe 4.3: Sanity and Son ... Fringe 4.4: Peter's Back, Ectoplasm, and McLuhan

See also Fringe 3.1: The Other Olivia ... Fringe 3.2: Bad Olivia and Peter ... Fringe 3.3: Our/Their Olivia on the Other Side ... Fringe 3.5: Back from Hiatus, Back from the Amber ... Fringe 3.7: Two Universes Still Nearing Collision ... Fringe 3.8: Long Voyages Home ... Fringe 3.10: The Return of the Eternal Bald Observers ... Flowers for Fringenon in Fringe 3.11 ... Fringe 3.12: The Wrong Coffee  ... Fringe 3.13: Alternate Fringe ... Fringe 3.14: Amber Here ... Fringe 3.15: Young Peter and Olivia ... Fringe 3.16: Walter and Yoko ... Fringe 3.17: Bell, Olivia, Lee, and the Cow ... Fringe 3.18: Clever Walternate ... Fringe 3.19 meets Inception, The Walking Dead, Tron ... Fringe 3.20: Countdown to Season 3 Finale 1 of 3 ... Fringe 3.21:  Ben Frankin, Rimbaldi, and the Future ... Fringe Season 3 Finale: Here's What Happened ... Death Not Death in Fringe 
See also reviews of Season 2: Top Notch Return of Fringe Second Season ... Fringe 2.2 and The Mole People ... Fringe 2.3 and the Human Body as Bomb ... Fringe 2.4 Unfolds and Takes Wing ... Fringe 2.5: Peter in Alternate Reality and Wi-Fi for the Mind ... A Different Stripe of Fringe in 2.6 ... The Kid Who Changed Minds in Fringe 2.7 ... Fringe 2.8: The Eternal Bald Observers ... Fringe 2.9: Walter's Journey ... Fringe 2.10: Walter's Brain, Harry Potter, and Flowers for Algernon ...  New Fringe on Monday Night: In Alternate Universe? ... Fringe 2.12: Classic Science Fiction Chiante ... Fringe 2.13: "I Can't Let Peter Die Again" ... Fringe 2.14: Walter's Health, Books, and Father ... Fringe 2.15: I'll Take 'Manhatan' ... Fringe 2.16: Peter's Story ... Fringe 2.17: Will Olivia Tell Peter? ... Fringe 2.18: Strangeness on a Train ... Fringe 2.19: Two Plus Infinity ... Fringe the Noir Musical ... Fringe 2.21: Bring on the Alternates ... Fringe 2.22:  Tin Soldiers and Nixon Coming ... Fringe Season 2 Finale: The Switch

See also reviews of Season One Fringe Begins ... Fringe 2 and 3: The Anthology Tightrope ... 4: The Eternal Bald Observer ... 7: A Bullet Can Scramble a Dead Brain's Transmission ... 8. Heroic Walter and Apple Through Steel ... 9. Razor-Tipped Butterflies of the Mind ... 10. Shattered Pieces Come Together Through Space and Times ... 11. A Traitor, a Crimimal, and a Lunatic ... 12, 13, 14: Fringe and Teleportation ... 15: Fringe is Back with Feral Child, Pheromones, and Bald Men ... 17. Fringe in New York, with Oliva as Her Suspect ... 18. Heroes and Villains across Fringe ... Stephen King, Arthur C. Clarke, and Star Trek in Penultimate Fringe ... Fringe Alternate Reality Finale: Science Fiction At Its Best

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The Plot to Save Socrates

"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book

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