Recap: 'Fringe' - 'The Man From the Other Side'
Tonight’s episode of “Fringe” featured the moment most fans feared. With shapeshifting Thomas Jerome Newton back on the scene, and the creation of another portal between worlds imminent, it was time for Peter Bishop to learn his true nature. And, as you might have guessed, he didn’t take the news particularly well. The Bishop Boys are no more. At least for now. But then again, as the show constantly reminds us, there’s more than one of everything. And a man on a bridge possibly connecting them all.
[Full recap of Thursday's (April 22) "Fringe" after the break...]
That’s right: rather than try to bring an entire building over from the other side, Newton simply wanted to bring a man. Or, rather, a Secretary. A Secretary of what, you ask? Good questions. I’m going with “Secretary of Whupping Interdimensional Butt” for now, or SWIB. He sent for three more of his kind to come over, assuming specific identities, and triangulate a harmonic signal using the exact coordinates in the other dimension. In theory, rather than expending tons of energy trying to cross over to the other side, whatever was inside those respective triangles would simply swap.
Shapeshifters come through time and space in much the same way Terminators do, except instead of being naked, they are essentially embryos, albeit ones filled with inordinate amounts of mercury to facilitate the travel. Two of three shapeshifting miracles of life pop over, but the third one didn’t eat his Wheaties, and died in utero, albeit outside. (“Fringe” is delicious gross about such things.) Using a great deal of electricity (and a recently deceased man), Walter managed to speak to the third shapeshifter, who not only gave the team valuable intel, but also grabbed Walter’s hand and issued a simple, “I’m sorry,” before dying.
All this gets us back to the man on the bridge, the aforementioned “Secretary.” In apologizing to Walter, the shapeshifter revealed that he’s familiar with the Walternate on the other side. I’m not sure if that confirms that the Walternate=Secretary, but it’s certainly a compelling idea. The only other possible candidate? William Bell himself, isolated and potentially exiled in the alternate universe for reasons we still don’t understand, and perhaps trying to get back. We only have his brief encounter with Olivia to go on, and Bell isn’t exactly the more reliable of sources.
Peter saw this man on the bridge while trying to fix Walter’s device to disrupt the harmonics bringing over the middle part of an abandoned bridge. He saw something else, too: a police officer disintegrate right next to him. In the aftermath of his successful disruption of the energy field, he finally realized why Walter and Olivia have been acting so strangely lately. Another fact also came to light tonight: the two men only spoke once while Walter was in St. Claire’s, and the call centered around the suicide of Peter’s mother. Looks like she couldn’t handle the guilt over the decision she helped foster in “Peter,” either. One parent killed herself; another went mad. Peter? He got lost in the world, only to emerge for a brief time starting last year.
And now? He’s lost and gone again, with potentially two Walters now looking for him. As a crucial part of the impending war (according to the Observers), whomever recruits Peter to his side will have a distinct advantage in that battle. In that sense, if it was the Walternate that crossed over, he didn’t need Peter to see him. Peter had already seen plenty that day to shake him loose from his preconceptions. After all, before destroying the world of the man that stole his son, the Walternate is undoubtedly interested in destroying the man himself.
Some more points about tonight’s episode…
*** As a lover of all things J.J. Abrams, I knew that Peter would find out about his true nature the moment he called Walter “Dad.” I mean, talk about the kiss of the death, right?
*** I didn’t even know of ONE way to roast a reindeer, nevermind multiple options. I am clearly behind on my culinary skills.
*** With the use of Rush at the beginning of the episode, I got the strong urge to play “Missile Command.” Thanks a lot, “Chuck.”
*** The awakening of the shapeshifting embryo? Pure and utter “Frankenstein.” Loved it, especially the genuine scare when the shapeshifter’s hand grabbed Walter’s.
*** Joshua Jackson’s understated nature during his final scene with John Noble really paid off. Had he blown into straight histrionics, the scene wouldn’t have worked nearly as well. But but playing it with controlled, eloquent, understated fury, he conveyed betrayal more than anger, which cut Walter even deeper than rage ever could.
What did you make of Peter’s revelation? Did it pay off the season-long tension, or fall flat? And who do you think is the Secretary? Sound off below!