Peter’s (Joshua Jackson) back and in full force this week as the team investigates time space anomalies popping up all around town.
This week’s episode, although does little to advance the more immediate questions regarding where the heck Peter has been all this time and why none of his buddies even know who he is, is still an entertaining installment of the season.
After last week’s episode was a bit of a let down in terms of the return of Peter, I pretty much expected we’d get a slow burn for most of the season before anything really juicy happens. If you’re able to put the anticipation aside and enjoy this episode as a standalone, it really is a pretty solid one.
Rips in time are taking place all over the city where it appears that time is jumping forward and backwards without any explanation. The Fringe division suspects Peter is the cause of all these time loops/rips, so they bring him along to investigate.
It was nice to see Peter, Olivia (Anna Torv) and to an extent Walter (John Noble) working back in the lab again – reminded me of the great chemistry these three had as a research team talking things on in earlier seasons. (We just need more Astrid (Jasika Nicole) in there to round it out). This kinda got derailed once Peter and Olivia started making eyes at one another. I still maintain they function better in a more familial relationship rather than a romantic one, but I digress. Noble has some comedic gems throughout the episode as he attempts to ignore Peter throughout the investigation process.
This episode continues to showcase some stellar guest star power that Fringe has been consistent with throughout the series’ run. Stephen Root is truly excellent as misguided husband Raymond who just wants more time with his wife Kate (played by the equally exquisite Romy Rosemont) who is now lost to him due to Alzheimer’s. Just three short years prior, Kate was a brilliant physicist who was working on a way to manipulate time. Using her notes, Raymond constructed some sort of time machine that created a time “bubble” to take them back to 2007 when Kate was still lucid.
After Peter’s arrival three days ago, the machine actually started working, but the bubble only remained in tact for a finite amount of time. Once popped, it resulted in heavy time displacements across Boston. Raymond, of course, wasn’t aware of the consequences of his actions. He had his eye on the prize– being forever with his 2007 wife rather than the 2011 version that barely remembers who he is.
It’s pretty clear how the story is going to play out, but the emotional resonance between the two guest stars is the hook that keeps the audience interested. Throw in some elementary time travel explanations and you’ve got yourself a pretty good little episode overall.
Our protagonists are merely our tour guides during this week’s installment and for me that was just fine. I knew there was no way they’d be able to tie up all the implications of last season’s finale in a couple of episodes. It’s just something that needs to play out bit by bit throughout the season. The episode did hint, however, that we might actually be in a THIRD parallel universe, which deviates from the two that we’ve been working with so far. I will say, that I was kinda hoping they wouldn’t go down this road. One thing that Fringe has been good at is keeping really complicated concepts of time travel at bay because it’s only dealing with two possible worlds. The rules can be more easily established. Adding a third, and possibly and infinite number of worlds increases the confusion factor exponentially.
But, much like Peter’s laidback attitude toward coming into a world that’s forgotten him, I think we need to do the same. He seems to have faith that he’ll find his way back and so should we.
Some other things to think about:
- The possibility of a third reality means that we potentially can have some payoff to all the juicy plot points that were left hanging from last season if Peter gets back to it. Somewhere out there, Peter and Fauxlivia’s baby still exists. I’m itching to know where that storyline goes.
- Some one give John Nobel an Emmy, PLEASE.
- Oh product placement is just rampant everywhere isn’t it? Honestly, you see a wall of water just waiting to come at you, do you really have time to take a picture of it on your Sprint smartphone? Really? Let’s make a run for it and take a video capture WHILE doing that, shall we?
- Next week marks the Fringe fall finale (Again? Didn’t we just have a three-week hiatus?) Even with what I just said, I’m still expecting some major developments in that episode to hold us over.