A trip to the other side...
Writers: David Fury, Graham Roland
Director: Jeannot Szwarc
THE ONE WHERE Peter travels to the other universe to ask Walternate for help getting back to his own world, while Lincoln tries to find out where those new-fangled shapeshifters are coming from.
UNIVERSE Over here and over there – both orange versions.
VERDICT After a slightly disappointing mid-season finale, Fringe is back to its best. While newcomers will be flummoxed from the off (nothing new there), this is the sort of mythology-heavy episode that populates the show’s “best ever” lists. The fact that it’s also a bit of a game-changer means it would have sat much more comfortably before the mid-season break – where it would have been were it not for an American football match unexpectedly scrambling the schedules.
Luckily, 2011’s loss is 2012’s gain, as we’re finally given what we’ve been waiting for all season – a trip to the other other universe. Hinting that Fringe ’s love of mind-bending complexity isn’t going to vanish any time soon, we’re expected to recall events and people from way back – even though they never existed in a timeline where even Walternate is (or at least appears to be) a nice guy.
Alongside the deft storytelling, there’s some wonderful character stuff. Walter’s recollections of his wife’s death (and subsequent reasons for not helping Peter) are genuinely heartbreaking, Seth Gabel makes the alternative Lincolns into two very distinct characters, and Peter’s “reunion” with another version of his mother is beautifully played. And that’s before you’ve even mentioned Brandon being unmasked as a shapeshifter and David Robert Jones returning for the first time since season one. Fringe is well and truly back on form.
KEEPING UP WITH THE JONES Jared Harris has been carefully crafting his inner baddie since his last Fringe appearance – he’s just played Moriarty to Robert Downey Jr’s Sherlock Holmes in recent movie sequel A Game Of Shadows .
OBSERVING THE OBSERVER One of his rare in-plain-sight outings this time – and it’s also one of his most intriguing. Why has he been shot? Does that mean his end is nigh? And why did he feel it was so important to tell Olivia that, in all possible futures, she must die? Hopefully the Observers’ story is one that will be properly explored this year.
SPECULATION After alt-Broyles’ phone call warning David Robert Jones that Fauxlivia and alt-Lincoln are on their way for a visit, it’s looking rather like he might be a shapeshifter. But is that too obvious? Maybe he’s just a duplicitous undercover agent…
DID YOU SPOT? When the kid traumatised by a shapeshifter first goes into the loo, there’s a poster advertising: “Families of the Ambered: Night Walk And Vigil”. It’s subtle world-building touches like this that help make Fringe the work of genius it is.
Walter: “I may be the only man that can help you. But I’m also the only man who cannot help you.”