Tuesday, November 8, 2011

FRINGE Episode 4.05 (Novation)

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!

This episode was a really good one for FRINGE and it was wonderful to see Peter again after all this time.  He really does bring FRINGE’s heart back and makes the previous episodes pretty bleak in comparison.  It’s a relief to see Peter on screen again since he represents something that is familiar to me since he is the same Peter from the last 3 seasons.  I love how they are using Peter to voice the audiences’ own frustrations and confusion regarding what is going on.  Some comments:

- I must admit that Joshua Jackson is looking very nice in this episode.  :)  I love the first scene in which Boyles is escorting him to the prison cell that Peter will stay in until they figure out what to do with him.  Peter scoffs at them as if to say: “Are you kidding me?”  In his interview, Joshua Jackson says that Peter feels a bit self-righteous since he just saved both universes and now that he is back from drifting aimlessly in space for an extended amount of time, they lock him up in a prison cell.

- When Peter talks with Walter for the first time, he gets an opportunity to finish the sentence that he wasn’t able to finish in the Season 3 finale since he disappeared before he could: “So that we can work together…to heal both worlds.”

- Generally, Peter’s touch has been known to be calming, but when he touches Walter, Walter panics and screams for the fringe team to let him out.  Apparently, Peter didn’t quite realize that he was dealing with a very different Walter (as he admits later).  Also, the observers haven’t made an appearance to the team so far which gives proof to the fact that they probably hung around as much as they did in the old timeline due to the fact that Peter was in it.  Peter asked in season 1 what the observers were observing.  Was it Peter?

- I really admire how calm Peter is since if it were me, I would be freaking out and scared out of my wits.  I think that it has a lot to do with what Peter’s mother told him in “Subject 13” : “Sometimes the world we have is not the world we want.  But, we have our hearts and our imaginations to make the best of it.”  It think Peter is trying to figure out the situation, but I admire the fact that he is not crying about it in a corner.  He is instead trying to work with the situation as it is.  He obviously can’t appeal to these people emotionally since they don’t know him at all and so instead, he reverts back to Season 1 Peter who dealt with people through manipulation.  I don’t see this as a bad thing: he is doing what he has to do to get what he needs in the given situation.  In exchange for helping the team with the shapeshifters, he asks to speak with Walter again.  Also, Lincoln Lee seems to recognize how calm and confident Peter is.

- I loved the conversation between Nina and Walter.  The Walter from this timeline is much more self-aware of his actions and feels the guilt of what he did to the children in his trials and to Peter as a boy.  When Nina suggests that Peter’s reappearance may be a second chance for Walter, he states that he doesn’t deserve a second chance.  It was touching when Walter pulled out Peter’s things and remembered them fondly, especially the coin.  When Nina first entered the lab, she noted that Walter was making Custard, Peter’s favorite desert.  Actually, as we’ve learned in the past, Peter hates Custard.  I think that Custard was a favorite of Walter’s Peter.  It makes you realize that Peter will have a huge obstacle that he’ll have to overcome in re-establishing his relationship with Walter- he’ll have to get Walter to accept him as his son, but to also accept that, at the same time, he is not his son.  Peter will have to compete with the intense love that Walter still has for his own Peter.

- I really love the look at Olivia and Peter share once Walter runs out of Peter’s room after their first meeting.  The look that they share with one another is that of frustration and confusion (on Peter’s end) and fear and animosity (on Olivia’s end).  Once again, the relationship between the two is broken.  You can hear Peter’s voice breaking a little bit at the end of the episode when he says how Olivia looks at him like he’s a stranger, like she’s afraid of him.  I wonder why Olivia so afraid of him.  Is she afraid of the fact that she is drawn to him for reasons that she doesn’t know?  Is she afraid of the fact that while he was once in her dreams, he’s here now in the flesh and she doesn’t know what that means?  I would really love to see what the content of her dreams were so that we can more fully understand why she reacted the way that she did.  From her dialog with Lincoln, we learn that she doesn’t understand why Peter evaded her mind and from Lincoln we learn that her conflicting emotions are so obvious that even he’s picked up on them (“You didn’t want to get him his equipment just because you had a dentist appointment”).  It’s so interesting on Olivia part why she is avoiding Peter since she’s never run away from anything- she always faces whatever it is that she’s afraid of.  I love how Fringe is going down the path of traditional science-fiction shows and portraying a romantic couple who are constantly getting separated due to supernatural phenomenons.  It really makes their love seem so epic.  It’s like their love is constantly being tested and if they remain together in the end, then they know that things were meant to be and they’re stronger for what they went through to remain together.  Plus, after going through all this, any domestic problems should be easy!

- When Peter is talking with Walter he explains what the viewer already knows: That he was erased by virtue of the fact that the observer never rescued him from the icy lake as a child.  But, nevertheless, he reappeared in the new timeline where he shouldn’t be.  He’s a paradox, a fringe event, a scientific anomaly and the one thing in this new timeline that doesn’t belong.  He’s was a few of those things in the old timeline as well.  Currently, he is in the wrong place and in the wrong time which is a lot for anyone to handle.  I can’t tell you how much I look forward to the day where Peter screams out that he is none of those things and that he instead has a purpose and was meant to live.  That would transform Peter from being a passive agent (as he’s been for most of the past 3 seasons) to an active agent, taking control of his own destiny.  When I read the review on Give Me My Remote, they proposed a crazy theory that in order for Peter to right the wrongs of this new timeline, he would have to go back in time to the 80s (which contrasts to him going forward into the future in the season 3 finale) and somehow convince the observer to save him or, better yet, do the deed himself.  In “Novation” Peter seeks other people to help him.  Maybe, in the end, Peter is the only one who can save himself and who can right the wrongs done to him.  Walter and Olivia haven’t exactly been helpful in that regard.  It would demonstrate a very powerful idea.

- Another question that I have revolves around Peter’s emergence into this new timeline.  With Peter’s appearance, why didn’t the timeline reset itself?  How will “time” reconcile this discrepancy that is Peter?  Regarding the scene between Olivia and the co-worker that handed her the files, there was a time loop/glich in effect as the scene replayed itself.  Olivia noticed the difference as she asked the co-worker why she was handing her the files again.  Was this evidence that Olivia was crossing over?  If so, where was the combination of fear and love?  I think that it occurred because of Peter and the fact that “time” is trying to right things again.  Thus, weird stuff is happening with time.  According to the previews for next week’s episode, we’ll see this happen more as small time distortions evolve to become bigger problems.  Will this ultimately lead Peter to the choice of eliminating himself again or will “time” do the job for him?

- It was great to learn about the reason why Walter hates Nina so much.  He blames her for the death of the “Over There” Peter since if she hadn’t been trying to hold him back, he would not have broken the vial containing Peter’s cure once he crossed over.  Thus, Peter would not have died once they crossed over again and the ice broke.

- The last scene between Peter and Walter was heartbreaking.  Walter saw his boy in Peter’s eyes and it gave him so much joy, but he doesn’t feel worthy of such joy.  Peter’s smile as Walter held his face was wonderful.  When Walter started to talk about how this Peter was sent as a punishment for Walter, Peter insists that’s not the case, believing that his father is being too unjustifiably hard on himself.  Peter was very confident throughout the episode, but at the end, you can really see the cracks in his armor begin to show.  I really feel bad for Peter when he says that he doesn’t know what to do about the given situation that he was dumped into.  I really felt awful when Walter told Peter that he wasn’t his son.  It mirrors how Peter said in Season 2 that Walter wasn’t his father.  More than anything, this episode cemented the fact that the father needs the son just as the son needs the father.



- I honestly wished that there was more Peter in this episode.  I would have liked to hear where Peter thought he was all this time and whether he recalls haunting Olivia and Walter.  Also, intelligent Peter is awesome Peter.  I loved how he manipulated the intercom in his cell so that he communication could go both ways while he was inside his cell.  It’s amazing how much faster the investigation on shapeshifters went once Peter was allowed to help out, a fact that I’m sure Lincoln appreciated.  Oftentimes, Peter’s intelligence is overshadowed by Walter’s intelligence and Olivia’s Heroics.  It’s great to see that he’s a capable character in his own right too.

- I was so glad that Lincoln turned down Olivia’s invitation.  I don’t think that she was trying to ask him out.  I think that she just sensed that he was troubled by this whole shapeshifter issue and that he might need something to take his mind off things.  I wonder why Lincoln turned her down though.  Did he sense that she had some unresolved issues with Peter?  Seth Gabel hinted at the fact that the Lincoln over here might have some feelings for the Olivia over here, mirroring what is going on between their “over there” counterparts.  But regarding any future Lincoln/Olivia reactions, I have this to say:  :)



- Finally, the glyphs for this episode spelled out STILL.  The title of this episode is NOVATION which, as a word, means the substitution of something old with something new.  This could refer to the fact that a new timeline is replacing the old one or the fact that Peter’s old roles (that of an object that is coveted by both Walters and Olivias) are being replaced by new ones (that of an object that is not wanted by anyone).  Regardless, Peter is STILL our old Peter and to some extent, the old characters are STILL present in their new counterparts.  The old timeline is also STILL there, it’s just inside Peter’s mind.  It gives me a little hope that things will return to the way that they were.  Whether the old timeline will return completely or partially remains to be answered.

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