Friday, April 27, 2012

Fringe: "Worlds Apart"

It was great having you on board, Seth, but now
it's time for ME to go back to being the
only hot guy on this show.

Look at me, I'm back and blogging on Fringe and it's the same night of the episode! (Yes, I cleaned out my garage and found my TARDIS! Whew...)

Over the past few days I've been madly catching up on all the Fringe that I'd fallen behind on, after the Great PVR Shutdown of 2012. Peter realized that the Olivia who was in love with him was, in fact, his Olivia (in a WONDERFUL episode with another tour de force performance from Anna Torv, where she realizes loving Peter hurt so much she begged for Walter to take the pain away); Alt-Nina has been put in prison; we saw a rehash of the porcupine-man on a plane from season 1; Alt-Broyles has been put in prison... and then there was last week's episode, where I rejoiced to discover that Desmond will still be alive and well and he'll just be called Simon in 2036 (and he'll look strangely the same, just with more facial hair), that William Bell will somehow return before 2015, and that Peter, Walter, Astrid, and Bell will be encased in amber. And... Olivia will probably be dead, due to Bell. The Observers will take over the world and not act like Observers anymore (they're supposed to see across time but these Observers didn't even know what was happening three minutes from now), Olivia and Peter will have a daughter named Henrietta who will grow up to be a resistance agent. And did I mention Olivia won't be encased in the amber like the rest of them? That realization just made my heart sink into a very painful place. And makes me wonder where they're going to go for the next several episodes.

But here we are in the third last episode of the season.

Glyph code: ALIVE

We open with Walternate... no, wait, psych! It's Walter wearing a tie!! He makes a presentation to Walternate, Olivia, Alt-Olivia, Peter, Lincoln, and Broyles, explaining that he thinks he's finally on to David Robert Jones: he's trying to collapse the two universes to create another Big Bang, causing mutual destruction. He, of course, will find a way to remain safe throughout the process, creating a Noah's Ark of him and his weird creatures (which we saw in the porcupine episode), and they will be the first beings of the new universe, in which David Robert Jones will essentially be God. (I found it interesting, by the way, that the scientists all used biblical references to describe the brave new world DRJ would create.)

But while they're chatting, four people are converging on various parts of the earth, creating earthquakes. They must find out who these people are and why/how they're creating earthquakes, and Olivia's the one who eventually discovers these are Cortexiphan kids; her cohorts in the Cortexiphan experiments that Bell and Walter had done on them when they were children to heighten their consciousness and give them senses that people shouldn't normally have. She figures this out when Nick Lane steps forward in the Alt-universe.

Dude, I'm just doing tree pose!! Sheesh, can't
a guy do yoga in a public park and not get
rushed by a bunch of guys with guns?!
Now, you may recall Nick from season 1: he's the Cortexiphan kid who had developed a psychic link with Olivia, and he could make her see what he was thinking and doing when he was creating criminal acts. He had found a way to channel his urges at the end of season 2, and he was one of the ones that, with Olivia, went over to the other side. The last time we saw him, he was with his girlfriend, Sally Clark (who is the one on the video Olivia is watching in this episode) who was the pyrokinetic. They were trying to escape together, and the alt-fringe team was trying to stop them. Sally turned and threw the fireball that engulfed Lincoln, and caused him to have to lie in that burn chamber for so long afterwards.

So that's Nick and Sally, and why when Olivia heard the one name, she immediately figured out who the other one was. (Small nitpick: when we see the subjects getting into position as their little watches are counting down, why did they all get in position at the last possible second? Wouldn't you have shown up, oh, I don't know, half an hour in advance just to be on the safe side? I mean, you just don't want traffic getting in the way of trying to collapse universes!) Walter realizes that DRJ is using Cortexiphan subjects because they have a psychic link to their alt-universe counterparts, and where a couple of episodes he realizes we vibrate at different frequencies (in our universe we vibrate at the key of C; in the alt they're in the key of G), he's discovering that DRJ is attempting to make them vibrate in the key of E. That makes sense; C is the tonic of the C chord, and G is the fifth. E is the third (I guess if DRJ were even creepier, he'd have them vibrate in the key of E♭ to create a minor-key collapse. That just seems more appropriate to me...).

Just as we saw Nick psychically linked to Olivia back in S2, here as she's tapped into alt-Nick's alternate brain and watching our universe's Nick, at the last second he suddenly turns his eyes and seems to be looking straight at her, as if he knows she's watching him and is watching her too, a very eerie moment that even makes Olivia gasp and open her eyes.

And now, as they realize these earthquakes will continue no matter what they do (they catch Nick, but it doesn't stop the quake), the only thing they can do is remove the bridge to the universes. Just a couple of episodes ago we discovered that the bridge was beginning to heal the alt-universe, and many previously ambered sites were being de-ambered, but they must sacrifice their healing process to save themselves as a whole.

We lived without the alt-universe characters for a long time, and then when we met them, we didn't like them. We much preferred our characters to any others. Now, as they said they were going to close the bridge, I imagined what it must feel like for the characters to know they'll never see these people again. And then it hit me: I will never see these people again. It's unlikely they'll continue to follow them, and now we'll just see our universe. (I'm hoping I'm wrong on this one!) It absolutely felt like a long goodbye, and maybe that was just for the sake of the characters and not us. But I felt like we were saying goodbye to Seth Gabel as Lincoln (waaaaaaaaaaahh!!) and Alt-Livia and Walternate.

Regardless of whether or not we were, the characters certainly were. Our Lincoln decided to stay on the other side, and it's a bit of a dubious decision: he is in love with our Olivia, who was taken by Peter, so he's going to take a shot at Alt-Livia, who has not shown any romantic inclination towards him. Here's hoping she does, for the poor guy's sake. Olivia sees another possibility of who she could have been in Alt-Livia, and while she always seems so uncomfortable around her, you can tell she's sad to see her go. "Keep looking up, after it rains. Keep looking up," she tells her.

I, for one, will probably miss Altstrid most of all.

Lincoln and Olivia, cross your hands. Astrid and
Walternate... um... just stand there. 
But the best part of this was that extraordinary scene between Walter and Walternate: what a wonderful moment. These two men, fraught with tension and high emotions, because one man took the other man's son and made him a hard, cold, person, sit together on the floor of a corridor, and Walternate finally makes his peace. He has had the chance to see Peter and how he's turned out, but this is also because this isn't the Walternate we first saw; this is the one who did not spend the last several years hating Walter because Walter had his son -- remember, in this universe, up til recently Walter did not have a son, so Walternate didn't harbour quite the same anger. Yes, Walter still took Peter, but Peter "died" at the lake. I loved seeing them together, with Walternate looking very together and stern in his suit and whiter hair; Walter looking awkward in a tie with his darker hair, fretting like he usually does. Walter is afraid that once the machine is deactivated he'll lose Peter; after all, if Peter disappeared when it was switched on, it stands to reason it could happen again once they play with the machine's controls. But rather than letting him drown in his own fear, Walternate instead comforts him, and helps put him at ease so he can do what needs to be done. Walternate knows that Walter is simply doing what needs to be done to save Walternate's world.

And then the machine deactivates, and the alt-world is gone. Walter looks around slowly, fearful of what might be missing, but Peter is standing right there.

"I think that I shall miss them, more than I imagined," Walter says. Which is almost word for word what I had just written in my own notes.


The Question Mark said...

@ NIKKI: I never thought of it before until you mentioned it in this post, but yes, I guess we WILL (hopefully) get to see the current story catch up to what we saw in the Desmond episode. I wonder if we will also get anything resembling that other flashforward from Season 3, the one with Olivia's neice Ella and Brad Dourif playing the terrorist Moreau.

The idea of catching up to that future and possibly seeing how all of this is going to play out in the long-run is exciting. If the Fringe team ambered themselves, then it stands to reason that DRJ probably did the same. And how could William Bell figure back into things?!

One things for sure, I can't wait for the finale!

SenexMacDonald said...

@Nikki - As soon as I saw Desmond, that's what I yelled at the screen. I think that Justin jumped when I did that. lol Should I mention that I also yelled "Billy" and not "Leonard" when that silhouette came up?

When Desmond/Simon sacrificed himself to free the third (after Walter and Astrid), I was sure it would be Billy. Was so glad to see Peter. Don't blame Walter for being pissed off at Billy and just taking his hand after the reveal about Olivia.

Last night's episode was perfect to follow that one. It leaves me guessing and having loads of fun trying to put the puzzle together for what lies between that last ep and last night's.

I also will miss Lincoln and started to cry when he chose to stay on the other side. I do have to disagree with you, Nikki, on one point.

Watching alt-Livia after Lincoln told her he was staying, I saw surprise and a small smile on her face. I think she was happy to have him there and I think that things will happen between them. She was good friends with her Lincoln but I felt that there was something beginning to happen between her and our Mr. Lincoln a while ago. Must be very strange though - partnered with someone who looks and sounds exactly like someone you might be developing feelings for?

No, I understand about twins ... I am just talking within the context of the show. :)

I don't understand people's reactions to Anna. I really liked the first season. I loved the interactions of the characters but it was that final episode that blew that show into the stratosphere! I could not look back after that.

This show has been consistent with a high quality of writing and the acting has been above and beyond. Anna especially. Her different interpretations of a single character in different settings and universes has been captivating to watch show after show and season after season. I look forward to what she does after this.

Where to go from here? I would love to see the puzzle of what has been revealed about the future aligned with what our characters know currently. I want to know why the Observers are so different then versus now. What did Billy do to Olivia? What happens to the cow? Can they cover that time gap in 13 episodes and resolve things satisfactory?

Nikki, you know I loved (and still love) LOST - including the last episode.

If the end of Fringe brings me hope, tears (I am welling up as I type), and satisfaction for a story well done - I will be very happy. Sad the ride is over, yes, but happy.

Lisa (UFN) said...

I was crying as much at the ending of this episode as I was when the light opened up in the Church and Christian Sheperd said, "Let's find out."

I LOVE Fringe and couldnt be happier about its renewal.

Page48 said...

I don't think we've necessarily seen the last of the Over There characters. As viewers, we don't need Cortexiphan or fancy bridges to cross over. We're just a blue flare away.

So, Linc rolls the dice and opts to take a run at Alt-Life and Alt-Liv. Did he call his Mom to say goodbye forever or anything? Did Peter take a minute to phone his own Mom? And with Mothers' Day just a couple of weeks away!

"Fringe" visiting Sydney, Australia wasn't nearly as cool as the final night of "Alias", when Sydney visited Sydney.

Sally Clark was played by the chick from "Arctic Air", Pascale Hutton.

Nikki Stafford said...

Senex: I actually don't disagree with you: I believe that Lincoln and AltLivia will end up together. But... until that moment where her face lit up, she hadn't shown him any signs. That's what I meant. He made his giant life decision (which, as Page48 points out and exactly what I was thinking... does he not have ANY family or friends on this side?!) as a crap shoot, praying that when he announced his decision she WOULD give him that face. Thank god she did, because if she'd said, "Oh, ok. That's nice," he would have probably had a panic attack. ;)

SenexMacdonald said...

@Nikki I agree with you that I wonder about Lincoln's ties to our world. We do not know much for sure.

Based on what he has said (and that is little also) and where he lives (a hotel, I think), where he eats (a diner) - I have a feeling that he is a "LOST" soul. No one, nobody, no ties.

I think alt-Livia has actually shown some reactions/feelings for him prior to this. She has an old relationship with her Lincoln but she is always responsive to our Lincoln in different ways ... as in she sees the sameness as they do themselves but notes the they are not the exact same person inside by their reactions. When she got the news that her Lincoln had died, and our Lincoln came to her - I thought her response showed something other than being grateful someone was checking on her.

Again it is all in the subtleness of Anna's performance. Blink and you might miss something.

If we do see more at sometime of the other universe and those people we have come to know, maybe we will get a further insight into Lincoln.

Fred said...

These last few shows felt kinda wierd, as though the writers were rushing the ending. Then when they got the news, well before the viewers, there would be a fifth season, it feels like they put on the brakes. The 2036 episode is obviously a foreshadowing on what will play out in the last season, now that the alt world is vanished. I'm sure that the story's nemesis, who had been trying to collapse the two worlds, will have a hand in this. I agree with everyone here, the Observers just seem out of character. They are almost laughbaly stereotyped as these quasi-fascists who have taken over the world.

(Is there some sort of inside joke when Walter takes bell's hand, that Belly will have a "hand in" working things out?) But the Walter of the future, now that Simon injected his comeplete brains into him, is quite the egoist and malicious figure, than the bumbling, lovable old Walter we've been so used to.

It's sad to think that Fringe will soon be over, and with not much to replace it (Alcatraz is likely to disappear), Friday evening will seem somewhat empty.

Sagacious Penguin said...

I could be wrong, but I believe Lincoln hammered home how alone he is in the world when saying how much his deceased partner and his partner's family had meant to him -- hence his desire for revenge being all the more intense.

Alt-Musicologist said...

The tonal thing makes total sense to me: C is (approx) 262 Hz, G is 392, and they would therefore have a centre frequency (i.e. average frequency) of 327, a (slightly low) E.

What bugs me, though, is that a vibration of 262 Hz - which is middle C - seems ridiculously fast. It's a pitch we would actually be able to hear with our very limited human hearing, meaning that everything would give off an audible sound. I can buy that our universe vibrates in the key of C, but in my opinion it would have to be at a frequency far, far, far below the threshold of human hearing (as is the case with for instance the ancient philosophical concept of Musica universalis, which I guess may have been an inspiration for the Fringe writers in this case).

Fred said...

@Alt-Musicologist: I can buy that our universe vibrates in the key of C, but in my opinion it would have to be at a frequency far, far, far below the threshold of human hearing Nice pick up on the key of C and the concept of Musica universalis. I am sure this reference to music and the universe is a reference to Pythagoras (the harmony of the spheres). Also, in modern physics there is Brownian movement to all molecular things (very Heraclitian).

By the by, is there some sort of play on Hearclitus' notion of not being able to step into the same river twice? Peter should have drowned in the river, but was pulled out. Are the Observers, or at least one of them, stepping into the same river twice to alter time?

Blam said...

The next episode has aired by now, so, while no spoilers here, I won't comment much. I did want to say, Nikki, that "Cortexiphan Kids" are probably the freakiest children's vitamins and/or Saturday-morning cartoon ever.

As far as Lincoln opting to stay on the Other Side, while I agree that he's shown to be something of a loner dedicated to his job I also have to believe that he said his farewells to loved ones "offstage"; it's just one of those things that we as TV viewers can (and often feel compelled to) fill in for ourselves because the script or shooting schedule just didn't allow for such things, even when you could argue that they're less grace notes and more on the order of essential story beats for realism.

I haven't rewatched any of Fringe since the first season, I don't think, as much as I love it, but I seem to recall that last season revealed that Over There's Lincoln had a thing for his old friend Olivia, which Charlie egged him on about but Lincoln wouldn't act on because Olivia had a boyfriend; when Olivia gave birth to her and Peter's son, Henry, I think that Lincoln even finally declared his love. While that may not happened in the current timeline since Peter was erased from it and thus little Henry (named after the cab driver) was never born, Lincoln's feelings for Olivia would still be there — perhaps, as we've seen, on both sides of the multiversal divide. I thought that the daughter of Peter and Over Here's Olivia in the recent 2036 episode being named Henrietta was a nice nod to Henry, although, while her existence doesn't mean for sure that little Henry himself hasn't manifested again by that point in time, I must say that I find it a little frustrating for the old timeline not to have been restored yet, if not in fact than at least in everyone else's memories as with Olivia, after Peter retriggered the Device.

Blam said...

I just realized that not only was Henrietta called Etta for short, until the end of that episode, but Olivia's niece (Rachel's daughter) is named Ella and the mother of — wait for it — Henry on Once Upon a Time is Emma. Coincidence or happenstance?

Wessmich said...

Why not just find the people from the trials alter egos in the "other" universe, and have them cross over to our side? If they are both on the same side, then they can't "merge" the two universes.