Tuesday, November 8, 2011

FRINGE Episode 4.04 (Subject 9)

WARNING: SPOILERS AND LONG POST AHEAD! 

After watching the fourth episode of the fourth season of Fringe titled “Subject 9,” I was left with very few answers and a great number of questions.  The episode felt very different compared to other episodes since other episodes made a huge point to highlighting the importance of Peter’s absence.  With this episode, instead of talking indirectly about Peter, they showed us Peter!  There was no tension that is usually generated due to the cases of the week.  This episode, instead, focused on character development and from what I saw, it made me happy, but also uneasy (more on that later).

- At the very beginning of the episode, when the energy ball attacks Olivia, the time progresses from 5:59am to 6am and when the attack is over, the time changes again from 5:59am to 6am.  Also, when Olivia inspects her home afterwards with Astrid, Walter sees what will happen to Olivia in the bathroom before it happens.  At first, I was incredibly confused about how such distortions occurred, but then I remembered that Peter is on another plane in time and so naturally, his entrance into our time would create time distortions.  I was also confused about the energy ball’s affinity for metal objects, but I’m thinking that that is evidence that Olivia had some role in conjuring the energy ball since in the timeline with Peter, she was known to be able to manipulate objects.  Also, the time of 6am is a reference to “6:02 AM EST,” the title of a season 3 episode where crucial things happen.  It also make sense that Peter would appear at this time of the day since he knows that dawn is Olivia’s favorite time of the day.

- After hearing from Olivia what happened to her that morning, Walter suspects that “Subject 9” from his past experiments is probably behind this occurrence since he could astral project.  Throughout this episode, I highly doubted that this person was the same person that was being alluded to in the episode title.  So far, all the previous episode titles referred to Peter, and I found it hard to believe that this episode title didn’t. Even after finishing the episode, it was quite clear that “Subject 9” had nothing to do with Peter, which I think is a lost opportunity that would have made the plot much more interesting.

- I’m really glad that Nina and Olivia have a closer relationship and it appears that Nina served as a mother figure to a young Olivia.  It appears that without young Peter there to encourage her to tell someone about her stepfather’s abuse, young Olivia ended up killing her stepfather to end the abuse and ran away…to Nina (?).  Nina would have known about young Olivia since she was aware of the experiments that Bell and Walter were conducting.  Maybe it’s because of Nina’s influence that this Olivia seems so calm and well adjusted.  Many people have noticed that she wears a lot more colors now.

- I really love Olivia and Walter’s relationship and I can tell that the actors enjoy this new character growth.  I was surprised that Olivia left Walter alone in the hotel room.  I know that if it was Peter, he would have slept on the floor next to Walter’s bed to make sure that he slept okay through the night.  I loved the wonderful moment that they both had while Olivia was patching up Walter’s hands and when they were sharing root beer floats at the restaurant.  Walter stepped out of the lab for the first time in three years in order to show to Olivia that he was capable and when Olivia ultimately decided that Walter did not need further hospitalization, I cheered, but a part of me knew all along that she (like Peter) would never suggest that Walter go back to St. Claire’s.  I really love how close Olivia is to everyone in this timeline (she’s close to Walter and Nina, she’s close to Astrid and she’s close to Lincoln).  She seems calmer and more patient.  I wonder how Peter will feel about coming back to a world and seeing how good her relationships are compared to the previous timeline, where she was always worried and scared and where her relationship with Peter was the only close relationship she had.  Will he feel like he held her back or affected her life adversely?  Will he feel like it might have been better had they never met?  Of course, her feelings of being scared, worried and of being inadequate were tied to her relationship with Peter since love tends to bring that out in all of us.  I love Peter dearly and it hurts me to imagine that he might feel this way.  Imagine coming back to a world where everyone “seems” better off- you wonder if you’ve made any impact at all on their lives.  Maybe we’ll see more cracks in her seemingly perfect armor once she interacts with Peter more and begins to realize what she had been missing (I hope!)

- Seeing Olivia and Walter interact with each other makes me ache so much for some Peter and Walter interaction.  I love how close they always were and how tactile Peter was when comforting his father- hugging him or taking his face in his hands to get Walter to focus.  I don’t think that Olivia will ever be able to replace Peter when it comes to grounding Walter and giving him a sense of purpose, joy and pride.  Nothing can replace the bond between a father and son and it disheartens me that many fans are forgetting this- glorifying the new relationship between Olivia and Walter (which I repeat, is wonderful), but failing to acknowledge that what Walter really needs is his son.

- I cheered when Olivia unlocked Cameron’s door from the outside.  It definitely was something that Peter would have done if he was present in the situation.

- Walter’s outburst at the hotel was some amazing acting on John Noble’s part.  I loved the conversation that followed and how Walter spoke of his contradictions (he deals with gruesome things everyday, but cannot stand germs and thinks Toy Story is very disturbing) and how his wife Elizabeth loved that about him.  She loved him, imperfections and all.  It was heartbreaking when he was talking about how she committed suicide after Peter died, but like all of us who try to find a silver lining in a bad situation, he says that he is grateful that she isn’t here to see the mess that he is, being afraid of things that he can’t even see.  He says that he liked everything about her which was very sweet and which reminded me of Peter and how he feels about Olivia.  He seems to love everything about her and even when she was being difficult last season (justifiably so!), he was patient with her and kept fighting for the both of them to work things out.  It makes me think of a quote that I read on Sahar’s Reviews when he was reviewing “Concentrate and Ask Again”: “Olivia feels like her past ‘broke’ her, which is why, in her mind, Peter should be with the unbroken version, i.e. Altivia. Of course what we all know is that sometimes, you fall in love with a person because they are imperfect and dealing with it in a perfect way.”

- When I was watching the episode, I was trying to find some pattern regarding when the energy ball appeared.  It appears when Olivia is sleeping, it appears when she is inspecting her home with Astrid, it kind of appears when she is leaving Walter’s hotel room and heading towards her own room (or that might have just been Walter), when Olivia is talking to Walter about returning him to St. Claire’s, when they are talking to Cameron near his apartment elevators, and when they are in the field with Cameron, attempting to shatter the energy ball.  Is the energy’s ball appearance being controlled by Peter’s desires or by Olivia’s desires?  My theory is that Peter is trying to break through into their time, and Olivia’s abilities are making it easier for him to do so.  But, as far as who is more powerful, I’m not sure.

- It was interesting about how nonchalant and calm Olivia was about the experiments that were conducted on her as a child and how much more indignant Walter was about it.  In the previous timeline, their sentiments were the opposite- Olivia was indignant and Walter was nonchalant.  Also, Olivia apparently is unaware of her powers in this timeline and hasn’t meet any of the other subjects that participated in Walter’s experiments.

- When Cameron talked about his father and how he used the money acquired from Cameron’s participation in the experiments to buy drugs, he asked what kind of father would do that to his son.  A son should be ashamed to carry the name of such a father.  It reminded me about Walter and how he pretty much shattered Peter’s life by kidnapping him and taking him away from his home.  It was interesting when Cameron was talking about the experiments and how it attempted to make the children involved special.  But, he is neither special nor normal- he’s a freak due to unintended side effects.  Just like Walter intended to save Peter, it created an unintended side effect that caused damage to the fabric of time and caused Peter to be torn between two words, unsure of where he belonged.  Now that he’s back, he really is a nomad, not being able to call either universe home.

- I thought that it was cool when Olivia fired her gun to stop Cameron from dispersing, shattering and destroying the energy ball.  What was even more cool, however, was when the scene shifted to a lake, the camera traveling along the surface of the lake (you can see some blue light hovering over the surface).  Peter comes bursting through the surface of Reiden Lake, reborn from the same place where he supposedly died as a young boy in this timeline.  Reiden Lake is an interesting place since as a child, Peter thought that it was a place where the two worlds connected (much like the bridge that he created) and he nearly drowned himself in the lake in an effort to get back home after he was kidnapped.  He reemerges from the lake, into a world that is his “home.”  Ken Tucker from EW mentioned how emerging from a lake complements the idea of Peter being “born again” since people are generally baptized in water so that they may be “born again” religiously.  An observer (supposedly September) is watching as Peter calls for the help of a father and son (how appropriate!) who are fishing in a boat nearby.  September, you are in so much trouble!  :)

- It saddened me that Olivia doesn’t remember Peter, but it’s not really surprising to me considering the nature of the situation and what happened with Peter (also, I read a lot of spoilers!).  Their relationship now kind of reminds me of the lyrics for the song “Faithfully” by Journey: “Wondering where I am/Lost without you/ Being apart ain’t easy on this love affair/ Two strangers learn to find love again/ I take joy in rediscovering you.”  It would be a very beautiful story to see Peter and Olivia find and rediscover each other and their love again.  Many people have been asking whether Olivia will be able to love Peter again even though she doesn’t remember him.  I think that an equally valid question would be whether Peter can love this new Olivia.  I think that the answer to both questions is yes, but that’s just me being a hopeless romantic.  :)

Some Questions:

- Does Peter know that Walter doesn’t remember him?  The first three episodes certainly emphasize this when Peter sees that Walter doesn’t attempt to find him, but instead runs away from him.  Or does Peter not know exactly what’s going on and thus, his confusion increases when he finds that Olivia doesn’t remember him?

- Going back to who is responsible for Peter appearing as an energy ball (Peter’s determination or Olivia’s subconscious need for him), if it is Peter, why is he appearing to Olivia?  Is it because his attempt to get through to Walter have failed?

- Why does Walter hate Nina so much?  What happened between the two of them in this timeline?

- Why did Peter burn Olivia when the energy ball attacked at the beginning of the episode?  Is it because, as they say, “love burns?”

- Weren’t the Cortexikids suppose to forget what happened to them?  How does Cameron remember what happened to him?

- Why does Peter appear differently to Olivia and to Walter and is his pull on Olivia stronger than his pull on Walter since Olivia was the one that was able to bring him back?  In the TV Fanatic Round Table discussion, it was suggested that Walter is so unstable that it is quite easy for Peter to enter his thoughts while he is awake.  Olivia is so tightly wounded and so in control of her emotions (especially in this timeline) that the only way that Peter can enter her mind is when she’s asleep.  Regarding who Peter has a stronger pull on, I honestly don’t know.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for deciding to leave a comment! I greatly value each and every comment/opinion and I personally respond to each comment too!

I ask that you please be respectful and keep things clean! :)