Quick Take: Fringe returns from its hiatus and kicks the narrative into a higher gear.
It has been a long time since we have delved into the dilemma of Peter Bishop and the land where he doesn’t belong, November 18 to be exact, and it has not been a fun hiatus without Fringe. Thrown right back into the thick of things with ‘Back To Where You’ve Never Been,’ we start off with a dream sequence rife with symbolism that left me really craving Aunt Jemima syrup.
I don’t know what was more compelling during Peter’s dream sequence, the whole pancakes vs. waffles debate acting as parallel to Peter staying where he’s at or still striving to go “home”, or the fact that you never hear enough “Crystal Blue Persuasion” during the day. I can’t ever get enough of Tommy James or the Shondells.
Peter’s brilliant idea to recreate the very machine that threw him into this metaphysical wreck of an existence in the first place is a little questionable at best, but really, what does he has to lose? There are always possibilities of ripple effects damaging the surrounding area whenever the bending of time/space occurs (remember the damage Stephen Root inflicted on the world around him during “And Those We Left Behind”). Does Peter really care about what might happen to a world that he has no real tether to? Of course, that is probably what leads him to going to Walternate when Walter refuses to help him.
Watching Peter interact with his “other” mother and manipulate her into helping him gain access to Walternate was both touching and disgusting. It was a bit shocking watching him go to such lengths to get to what he wants.
Watching Peter get to that point was actually half the fun as we got to see Olivia and Lincoln go all rogue squadron and infiltrate the land Over There. Of course, leave it to straight-laced and solid as a rock (note the sarcasm) Lincoln to buckle like a belt when it really counts. Peter, of course, comes to the rescue as an Over There agent tries to off the two. Lincoln seriously is going to need to man up if he wants to hang with Olivia in the future.
One of the caveats to Walternate helping Peter was that Peter would help him clear his name in regards to the shapeshifters as he insists his innocence in the matter. Of course, Peter agrees, but doesn’t trust him fully, and why would he? Every Walternate is untrustworthy, except this time. It turns out this reality has a blast from the Fringe past, David Robert Jones. We last saw Jones getting halved on account of Walter’s portal and Peter. In this world, Jones not only survived, but has masterminded the entire shapeshifter conspiracy and even has that world’s Col. Broyles in his command (possibly a shapeshifter as well?).
‘Back To Where You’ve Never Been’ also brought back the Observers, specifically September. As Olivia protects the portal, September startles her by stumbling towards her with a gunshot wound to the heart. This would have been a jarring sight on its own, but in a classic Fringe turn, dialogue is delivered that will no doubt stick with Olivia, but also with all the viewers.
“I have come to tell you that I have looked at all possible futures, and in every one, the result is the same: You have to die.”
So, apparently, his little Home Depot/MacGyver rigged device not only worked, but also got him killed. While everything up until that moment was excellent as far as story development and establishing future plot threads leading to what will probably be an awesome season finale, Olivia and the Observer was the episode’s major defining moment. In fact, I’d go as far as to say it may end up being one of the defining moments of the future of this show.
– James Zappie