Fringe Recap: Prelude to a Finale

Friday’s Fringe was apropos to the holiday weekend that followed, what with all the Biblical imagery (flocks of sheep! swarms of locusts!) and the activation of a machine that could bring armageddon.  The episode’s title, “6:02AM”, referred to the time when Walternate switched on the Device Over Here all the way from Over There.  Peter and Olivia got to share a brief tranquil moment in bed (after a wide-eyed and bushy-tailed Walter offered to make Olivia breakfast – naked), where Olivia tells Peter that morning, with its infinite possibility, is her favorite part of the day.  As it is in TV, particularly scifi TV, happiness is short-lived and the team is summoned to the field where we saw those previously mentioned flocks of sheep and swarms of locusts and then informed about the Device via product-placement cell phone.  It’s clearly going to be one hell of a day.   Many fringe events were happening across the country, a response to Walternate’s activation of the device.  The fabric between our universes is tearing for good, with devastating repercussions. 

This episode was a lot of set up, sliding the pieces into place for what promises to be a great finale.  But we got some truly exceptional moments, notably from a scene in Walter’s office where he and Peter share a drink and chat about life, death, and destiny – you know, light stuff.  Walter mentions the Observer’s words from a previous episode: “Give me the keys and save the girl” and how they resonate in his and Peter’s relationship. It’s time for Walter to let go and give up parental control he wasn’t able to when his Peter died all those years ago.  But Peter is no longer a child, but a man who now needs to take his fate in his own hands.  Walter actually discussing this with Peter is a step forward for him, and it shows how their relationship has grown as Walter has grown personally.  His later monologue in the hospital chapel underscores the fear he’s been expressing these last few episodes, but he is no longer trying to actively stop Peter – a big leap forward for our favorite mad scientist.     

Meanwhile, Olivia heads over to Massive Dynamic to confer with Nina about the Device and the enigmatic Sam Weiss.  Sam, our bowling alley friend, is clearly far more tangled up in this than we previously thought.  I enjoyed the red/blue imagery surrounding him, showing us that he is caught between and has knowledge of both worlds.  Kind of like Peter.  These two have yet to meet, something I’ve been wondering about – has Sam kept his distance on purpose?  Did Bell & Nina make sure they stayed apart?  Whatever the case may be, one world (the red bowling ball) is knocking against the other (blue bowling ball), but there is a black bowling ball in between.  Is this a stand-in for Sam?  Peter?  The newborn Henry Bishop?  I’m guessing the answer is not a clear-cut as the fans might think.  

Over There, Fauxlivia is trying to get back Over Here so she can bring Peter back Over There to Walternate to persuade him to stop using the Device. The fact that we all understand that sentence I just wrote is a testament to the unique and well-planned storytelling that is Fringe!  Anyway.  Fauxlivia, after holding the smug Alt-Brandon at gunpoint and demanding the tech that lets her break through, is chased through the Department of Defense.  She fails, is captured, and we leaver her stuck in a cell at the DoD, mirroring Olivia’s situation after she first arrived Over There.  I doubt they will keep her locked up for long!  There’s too much to do…especially because Peter readied himself and reached out toward the Device, only for it to reject him via huge electric shock that left him unconscious and hospitalized. Definitely not where I thought he’d be after shaking hands with destiny, but they said his brain was fine.  Has his consciousness moved into the device?  At this point, it’s as good a theory as any. 

Anyone think it was sweet of Fauxlivia to name her son after Henry the cab driver, who has now helped both versions of her?  I’m hoping they expand his role as a player in the apocryphal events that are unfolding.  And of course Peter’s goodbyes to Broyles, Astrid (sniff!!!), and Walter were well done and touching.  I love me some Fringe team. I’ve been hearing around the interwebs that we’re going to lose someone in the finale, and I can’t think of a single expendable character.  Except maybe Alt-Brandon, he’s such a jerk.  I feel like we could lose anyone – our Olivia seems the only one who’s safe from a critical television point of view; they will not kill their female lead.  Who will it be?

Overall, I was impressed with the depth of the storytelling here and I felt that this week’s outing was an improvement over last week’s foray into Olivia’s animated, Bell-controlled mind.  What do you think the next two weeks have in store, Fringe fans?  Next week’s episode is entitled “The Last Sam Weiss.”  Intriguing! Discuss!

Written by: Amy Imhoff

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