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Fringe Episode 4.03: Alone in the World

by on October 17, 2011

Fringe (TV series)

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I told myself that I was going to get around to reviewing episode three of the current season before the new episode is broadcast tonight (as of the writing). Sigh… They say that people read reviews even after the episode aired, and sometimes even after they have watched the episode themselves, either to validate their own opinion or to scoff at the idiot who would date think that something they thought was amazing was crap.

Anyway, I’ve been enjoying Fringe very much this season. My expectations are lowered for what this show is going to be, going forward. It’s still a good show, and has the potential to have a great episode. But I no longer believe in the payoff of the overall story arc. But the first two epsiodes have been very enjoyable and good. I miss the presence of Peter, as it softens Walter quite a bit and gives Olivia a purpose, but otherwise it is good.

Fringe – Season 4, Episode 3: Alone in the World

Last week on Fringe:

  • The Fringe team from the alternative universe requests help from the other Fringe team.
  • A serial killer is murdering people trying to steal their memories of happiness through technological means, that freezes their brains from the inside.
  • In the Blue world, the serial killer is a professor of forensic psychology who tries to help his alternative self until he becomes the next victim.
  • Walter has been covering up all reflective surfaces as he has been seeing Peter all over the place.

Synopsis

  • Walter is meeting with his psychologist, from St. Claires, and talking about the covering of reflective surfaces.
  • A boy is being chased by two other bullies, he runs into a tunnel where the two boys are infected by a fungus and killed.
  • The bodies of the boys explode and release spores of the fungus, both at Fringe headquarters and at a morgue, killing two technicians.
  • Fringe division decides to kill the fungus with flamethrowers, but the fungus has developed a symbiotic psychic relationship with the boy.
  • When the fungus kills another person, the Fringe team attacks it with a toxin, and Walter convinces the boy through emotions to release it’s connection to the fungus.
  • Walter tries to self-lobotomize himself, but Olivia catches him and she shows him a picture of Peter who she has been seeing in her dreams. Walter realizes he’s not crazy.

Changes Since Peter’s Sacrifice

  1. Walter is required to meet with Dr. Sumner, from his former mental institution, periodically.
  2. Olivia was able to check Walter out of St. Claire’s, as Walter had no next of kin.

Questions and Answers

A: Both Olivia and Walter feel a connection to Peter, but no one else seems to have one.

Q: Does Walter have a connection to Massive Dynamic now.  Last season he was the owner of the company.

Quotes

Dr Sumner: I asked if you’ve been keeping up with the new medication I prescribed for you.
Walter: Yes. For the most part. With my own modifications, of course.

Walter: I mean, really, this is a most extraordinary species, don’t you think?
Broyles: Admiration aside, Dr. Bishop, how do you recommend killing these things?

Olivia: I’m not convinced that U.V. is the most efficient way to destroy it.
Broyles: You have something else in mind?
Olivia: I’m thinking flamethrowers.

Walter: I can’t promise that I’ll have any time for entertaining you, understand. I mean, I’m a very busy man… (cut scene) Mmm, mmm, mmm! Sublime (as they’re drinking milkshakes)

Walter : Just a few more minutes. I don’t want to turn you into a popsicle. Oh, Astrid–
Astrid: I’ll get you one later, Walter.
Walter: Oh. Grape, please.

Walter: That’s exactly what I’m saying. Agent Lee, Gus is a growing, evolving mind.
Olivia: Gus?
Walter: Well, I thought that since it’s a single living entity that perhaps we should name it for the sake of clarity.

Lincoln: That’s why it was heading down the drain– to try and connect with Gus.

Olivia: Lincoln, can you hear me? It’s okay. It’s okay. You’re gonna be fine. You’re gonna be fine.
Lincoln: (breathing heavily) Hey.
Olivia: Hey.
Lincoln: You look a little freaked out. You wanna talk about it?

Walter: He’d be better off with you. Toys are meant to be played with. Yeah, I’ve seen the movie with the talking toys. Oddly disturbing.

Walter: And all this time… I thought I was losing my mind, that he was a figment of my psychosis. (sniffles) I’m perfectly sane!

Analysis and Random Thoughts

With all of the crazy things going on in the Fringe universe, would Walter so easily doubt his faculties when he sees a face repeatedly or hear a voice? This is a different Walter, but still. I would think he’d try LSD to try and reconnect with the image, or something.

I really admired the subtlety of Oliva drawing, having a quick conversation with Aaron about drawing, searching for a face in the criminal database… all to reveal that Olivia has been drawing Peter’s face from her dreams. This was a fairly obvious and pedestrian episode, but that subtlety really makes Fringe shine.

It was a pretty obvious story. Walter developing a bond with young Aaron due to his reminiscing about the death of Peter Bishop. I don’t mind it, but to create a bond where Walter says he isn’t going to leave the boy, and yet knowing that the boy will probably not appear again in the Fringe television series (maybe I’ll be disproven of this) seems a bit wrong. I mean it served the story, but not the series.

I still felt it was a little heavy handed to have Walter use Peter’s name instead of Aaron’s (“Do you hear me? You’re going to kill Peter!”) The connection was there, we all can see it, why do you need to telegraph it like that.

I loved how Lincoln totally is evolving with the team and engaging them in amusing ways. It is really funny to see it from an outsiders perspective, but rolling with the punches of weirdness from both the situation, and Olivia, and from Walter. ‘

Okay, I like Fringe and I like X-Files. Fringe has always been a show about scientific creations, people using advanced tech and science to do harm to specific people or specific worlds. Natural phenomenon like this, even if it is suited for the Fringe team, somehow feels wrong to me. I mean maybe there was a company that was dumping chemicals that caused this in the original script, and it ran long. But for this to be a natural phenomenon seemed like an X-Files case and not a Fringe case.

Emotional psychic connection to fungus. Fungus having emotions of being alone, but the fungus doesn’t self-replicate? I mean let’s go for the obvious E.T. connection, but you connect it to fungus?

I get Walter not wanting to go back to St. Claire’s, but I thought a self-induced lobotomy instead of a mental institution, seemed a bit extreme even for Walter. I can see him committing suicide or taking massive amounts of drugs, but self-lobotomy?

And after everything that the Fringe division has seen, that Walter would automatically assume that this is him going crazy, and not a second explanation. I mean he and Walter Bell worked on everything else together.

It seems like they are setting up a Peter-Lincoln-Olivia love triangle. (and if you throw in Olivia and Lincoln from the alt-universe, then it’s some I 4 dimensional rhombus). I don’t mind it, per-say, but it would be really really REALLY weird for Olivia to fall for three guys who happen to be her partners.

Verdict

The episode seemed a bit too easy and a bit too throwaway. But I can’t say that it was poorly done, or provided any real groaners. It lacked subtlety and ran through the parent reminded of their deceased child trope, but you have episodes like that.

C+ (Adequate and well acted)

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