Monday, April 25, 2011

Fringe: "6:02 AM EST"

This week’s episode begins the three-part arc that will take us to the season finale, which will no doubt be mindblowing. The creators have said that many of the questions raised this season will be answered within the next three eps, and considering this episode focused on the mysterious machine and the even more mysterious Sam Weiss, I’m hoping we at least get more information on both of them.

What really struck me this episode is how much we’ve now invested in both worlds. It’s no longer easy to say, “I hope Walter and Peter can save their universe, who cares what happens to the other one” because those other characters mean a lot to us now. I was jotting down some notes as I often do, and when I wrote “Fauxlivia” at one point it suddenly seemed like the wrong thing to do. She’s no less real than our Olivia. So I think from now on I’ll just refer to them as Alt-versions of their “our world” counterparts.

It would be so much easier to see Altlivia as some sort of interloper, pretending she’s Olivia to gain information for the other side. It would be so much easier to see Walternate as an evil genius, broken from what happened to him years ago and hellbent on destroying an entire world. It would be so much easier to see Lincoln as a threat, mostly because until a couple of weeks ago, when he showed up in our universe as a specialty agent, we didn’t know him on our side at all.

But now we’ve seen Altlivia give birth, and we worried when it looked like she’d die. We’ve seen the way Lincoln cares for her. And it’s been clear in the past few episodes that Walternate is not acting unthinkingly. He loves Peter, and he’s crushed that Peter decided to return to the world that should be foreign to him. He refuses to do experiments on children, a boundary Walter certainly didn’t have when he gave cortexiphan to kids and created an army of damaged people. This week’s episode featured a very poignant scene of Walternate explaining to Brandon that they can be heroes (just for one day…) and save their own world, but they will live with the nightmares of billions of screams of innocents dying for the rest of their lives. He knows what he’s doing, and he’s not launching headlong into it without thinking. But he doesn’t know what else to do. It wasn’t he who opened the vortex in the first place; that was Walter.

There’s a distinct turn of events when Walter lets Peter go – saying to him, “I was never good at letting YOU go,” emphasizing the YOU as if he’d been able to let other things/people go, and also reminding Peter that he thinks of HIM as his son just as much as the original Peter was – but it’s a colossal failure when Peter can’t even touch the machine without being tossed aside like a ragdoll. What will they do now?

I adored that scene in the chapel. What I love about JJ Abrams shows is that, as with Lost, they embrace Christianity without making fun of it, but also without preaching, either. They allow for atheism and agnosticism to co-exist with faith, and don’t make judgments on either side. Walter already made his feelings about God known in “White Tulip,” and it was in that episode he received a sign… but we know it was from a time traveller, not God, which allows for the possibility of something else. In this wonderful scene in “6:20 AM EST” he speaks to God and begs him to save his son. If there is a higher power, is He a deity in both worlds?

Did You Notice?
• The glyphs spelled AGENT.
• I loved the mention of the Faraday cage. Not only does it remind us of our beloved Daniel on Lost, but it shows that Faraday’s invention (which allows people to witness an electromagnetic event from inside a cage that shields them from the waves) was so fundamental, it exists in both worlds.
• Oppenheimer also exists in both worlds… he was the father of the atom bomb, and was the head of the Manhattan Project. Like Walternate, he knew that what he was creating was as deadly as it was revolutionary, and he often waxed poetic on the horrors of the brave new world they were building. Walternate quotes the very famous line Oppenheimer spoke after watching the first testing of the atomic bomb: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”
• When the pre-credit sequence featured both worlds prominently, I half-expected the opening credits to be purple or something (combo of blue and red?) but instead it was just blue. When I watched it again, however, and then compared it to the original credit sequences on YouTube, I noticed tinges of red in the background. If you still have it on your PVR, go check it out: you’ll see waves of red, like northern lights, almost, in the background behind the red. I’m positive that was a subtle way of showing the alternate world beginning to bleed into ours.
• Loved Altlivia over-bundling the baby. Glad to see new moms are overprotective in any reality. (Oh, and by the way, all newborns really ARE that easy to put to bed. No, really.)
• Brandon mentions that he was listening to a Yankees game from Ebbett’s Field, which is where the Brooklyn Dodgers played. It was destroyed (in our world) in 1960.


Page48 said...

Nikki, let's not forget those Dodgers were playing the Expos. They didn't specifically state the "Montreal" Expos, but assuming that was the case, I would have to consider getting an apartment Over There. Clearly, a world where the Dodgers still play the Expos is a better world.

Fred said...

I was wondering why the machine rejected peter, and thought when the Alt-world Walter had the DNA of his grandchild stripped of Olivia's genetic contribution there would be gaps. So then the machine was primed to accept a reduced version of Peter's DNA. (But that doesn't explain how the machine was primed in the beginning to accept Peter).

I wonder if Sam Weiss is one of the ancients mentioned in those books Nina has collected? I suspect Sam will explain to Olivia that it is she who must enter the machine, as the machine reccognizes the gaps in the DNA, and her DNA would fill them. Thus, in the final episode we'll see Olivia "save" the world. But we'll see, and I'm sure Abrams will have something else up his sleeve.

Blam said...

I'm glad that you're blogging Fringe, Nikster. And I'm gonna do my best to catch up on your posts (the Great Buffy Rewatch especially) as quickly as possible, but for now let me drop a question posed in my own review of this episode:

Why doesn't Olivia try to transport the Device with her to Over There and then come back? Maybe it's just too darned big. Maybe she doesn't have that kind of control over her dimension-hopping abilities. Maybe our heroes don't want to inflict the damage being done Over Here on the Other Side, although at this point it seems like kill or be killed as long as the Device is active, and in any event such moral qualms don't explain why such a solution hasn't even been discussed. Maybe it just hasn't happened yet.

I'm rather expecting that such a move would be deemed unworkable due to the Device's size and complexity, but quite surprised that the idea wasn't broached at all.

JS said...

I loved this episode as well - quieter than last episode, but just as many poignant moments. I love that physicist geniuses believe in a higher power, and was impressed that Walter was ready to give up his son, and asked God to save our universe. He has the weight of it on his shoulders.

Altlivia was also brave, and shows that she understands our world isn't trying to destroy hers - I am sad she didn't have a well thought out plan.

As for the machine, I bet it isn't working properly because it only has half the DNA, and therefore is malfunctioning and rejecting Peter's full DNA. How do we get the other half.....?

Cannot wait to get the back story on Sam Weiss, I hope he was one of the first people and has traveled to our time. OR isn’t human. Either is good.

mgkoeln said...

Great to read another Fringe review by you, Nikki! It's been such a long time.

Oh, and how do you read those glyphs anyway?

SenexMacDonald said...

Nikki, I know that you are watching Community. Did you happen to notice that the actor who appeared twice on the show as Professor Sean Garrity is the actor playing Sam Weiss? His character on Community is the acting professor. :)

I also agree that the line between the two universes is getting blurred as I get to know the people on both sides. I so love altCharlie. I was sad when the character was killed off in our world but rejoiced to see him in the other world.

The other thing I find interesting is how there is enough difference between the characters we know exist on both sides. Just small hints of things that make them a little different. I have to give the actors a salute for the work they do - in keeping things the same for the characters they portray and yet not quite.

Just like the worlds themselves are alike and yet different so are the people/characters.

Keeps me coming back for more each and every week... :)

lostinyoureyes said...

Ditto Blam. Glad that you're blogging Fringe.

@Fred--On watching the promo for the next episode, I was no longer sure the machine DID reject Peter. I think something happened to him when he touched the machine. Just, not what we expected.

@Senex--Corrigan is pretty funny on Community. Makes me anticipate a comedic quip when I see him on Fringe.

So happy the baby is named Henry.