Sunday, November 11, 2012

Fringe, Season Five, Episode 6: Through the Looking Glass and What Walter Found There

Walter is in the lab and it seems that he has freed a tape from the amber by himself.  It's tape number seven. Peter is watching a holographic message from Etta on repeat and still looking extremely lost.  When he hears a sound, he grabs a gun but it turns out that it's only Olivia.  They're both in Etta's apartment.  When Peter says that he feels closer to Etta there, Olivia tells him to play the message again.  Olivia tells Peter that when he is feeling grief over Etta's passing, she wants him to tell her because she wants to understand what he is going through.  When Olivia feels the lump on Peter's neck, he lies and says that when they collapsed the core that one of the observers nicked him.

Walter is continuing to watch the tape and taking notes.  He goes on his own to the location on the tape but what he does not realise is that surveillance has detected his identity.  Walter enters the dilapidated building and makes his way up the stairs. Once he enters the apartment he walks through some sort of pocket universe.

Astrid has noticed that Walter is missing and when Olivia and Peter enter, she tells them that Walter didn't sleep in his bad last night and the tape they were working on is missing. Peter is shocked because he knows that Walter knows better than to go out on his own.  They watch the tape to see if they can figure out where he has gone. On the tape, Walter says that the normal laws which apply to the universe will not exist in the pocket universe. When the tape suddenly  comes to an end, the Fringe team are concerned.  Olivia says that it doesn't make sense that Walter went by himself.

Alone in the pocket universe, Walter tries different doors and seems confused. A young man named Cecil accosts Walter and asks how he can out of there.  Walter tells him he knows how to leave but won't tell him unless he stops threatening him. It seems that Cecil was in one of the apartments, when the invaders and resistance clashed and he was blown into the void.  Cecil believes that he is only been in there five days.  Walter doubts this because he says that there is no food or water but Cecil says that there is water and refuses to tell Walter where.  Walter warns Cecil that unless he shows him where the water is that he won't help him get out.

Astrid, Olivia and Peter show up at the building in their search for Walter.  I am actually quite irritated by this because it seems that the only time Astrid is out of the lab, is when Walter is in danger, or needs her, yet she is clearly the more physically competent one. Once again, Astrid is in a servant role. In the void, Walter and Cecil are actually walking on the ceiling and suddenly the scene rights itself and Cecil takes him to a place where water is dripping slowly. Cecil says that he manages to get half a cup of water every night. Walter believes that there must be some kind of refrigeration unit behind the wall that is causing the drip.  Cecil says that there is nothing on the other side of the wall but Walter says he wants to have a look for himself.  Cecil wants to know how it is Walter is so familiar with void and Walter says that he has been there before, he just cannot remember it.

Peter, Astrid and Olivia call out for Walter, as they climb the stairs but because of where Walter is, he cannot hear them.   Walter and Cecil continue to move around the void and Walter says that they are not leaving until he finds what they came for.  Cecil says that he thought this was purgatory because the apartment he is was in, wasn't his and he was stealing things.  Walter replies, "there's nothing worth stealing in those bombed out apartments."  Cecil answers, "they weren't bombed out when I got there." This shocks Walter because Cecil says that he has been there 5 days and the apartments were bombed out twenty years ago. When Walter asks Cecil what year it is, Cecil says, 2016 and Walter tells him it's actually 2036.  This shocks Cecil and Walter tells him that he has been in a kind of purgatory because this is a pocket universe, in which time and space move differently. Cecil says that his wife is waiting for him and Walter replies, "not anymore."

Olivia, Astrid, and Peter enter the apartment and see Walter's footprints.  Peter turns the tape on and follows Walters instructions, then he and Olivia enter the pocket universe, leaving Astrid behind.  Suddenly, the tape starts to play where it had ended, when they tried to play it at the lab. They come to the same dead end as Walter did. They didn't even bother to have a discussion with Astrid, the two of them just left her behind as though her aid would be useless.  It was assumed that Astrid would be more than happy to play look out for them.

Captain Windmark is working on some paperwork when he is informed by another observer that Walter was spotted in sector nine. Windmark grabs his hat - cue ominous music. In the void, Peter and Olivia continue to follow the instructions on the tape. They realize that Walter is actually talking to someone on the tape.  When Olive and Peter hear the sound of doors closing, they follow the sound and it leads them to Walter and Cecil.  Peter tells Walter that he is not supposed to leave the lab alone. Walter says that he couldn't think about anything else but finding out what was on the tape, because all he cares about is finding the next piece of the plan. Olivia asks if the man standing behind him is Donald and Walter replies that it's collateral damage; it's Cecil. Walter says that Cecil is irrelevant to the plan and that he was blown there 20 years ago.  Walter adds that they need to hurry and starts to walk off, but Peter calls Walter back and says that there is more on the tape.  As they watch the tape, they see a young bald boy but Walter does not recognize him. Peter says that he is a boy from a case that they worked on. Olivia adds that at first they thought he was just a boy but then he started to show empathic abilities and helped them find a murderer. Walter calls it remarkable and asks why he needed an empath. Apparently, they used this as a place to hide the empath. When they come to a door with the same markings as the door Walter is at on the tape, he finds the key and opens it up. The room is spartan and empty. 

On the tape, Walter is telling the empath that they designed the room for him and that he has to stay there until they come and get him.  Walter says that for him, it will be a long time but for the boy, it will seem like no time at all. They find a tiny portable air degradation unit and Olivia determines that the empath was indeed an observer.  This throws Walter into a rage because the empath was a part of the plan and without a part of the plan, the plan is useless. Walter says the observers must have gotten this out of his mind and that Windmark must have found the boy. Walter leaves the room and Peter follows.  Olivia sees a device on the bedside table and picks it up.

In the apartment, Astrid is waiting for their return, when she looks out the window and discovers that the observers and the loyalists have arrived.  Windmark says, "search parameters are the same - building to building, door to door."  Peter finds Walter and tells him that if the observers had known about the pocket, they would have shut it down a long time ago. "The only person that knew that this place exists and how to navigate it is Donald," Peter says.  Walter agrees that this makes sense and asks why Donald would have moved the boy.  Peter replies that maybe Donald thought they were dead and reminds Walter that he has no idea who Donald really is, or where he met him. Peter says that they have to find Donald because that's the only way they'll know for sure.

Olivia interrupts their conversation. It seems on the tape, the radio she found on the bedside table is not there and so she surmises that whoever took the boy, left the radio behind. When Walter tries to use it, he declares the batteries dead but Olivia reminds them that things work differently here, so if they get it outside of the void, it might start to work. They decide that it's time for them to leave.

Astrid continues to watch the observers out the window, when one suddenly appears behind her and knocks her unconscious. Two observers turn and enter the void. When the observers appear in the void, they fire a blast that immediately kills Cecil.  Peter, Olivia and Walter run in the other direction and make their way back to 418. Walter and Peter leave first, but befor Olivia can cross, she is attacked by an observer.  When Olivia pulls her gun, it does not go off, so she maneuvers their weight backwards through the void and then fires again, this time killing the observer.  In the meantime, Peter and Walter have revived Astrid.  The team with guns pointed make their way out of the building. Peter tells Olivia to leave with Walter and that he will draw the observers off and meet her at the monorail.  As soon as Peter turns, he is hit by a blast from an observer.  Peter quickly gets to his feet and stars a hand to hand battle with the observer and suddenly, when the observer throws a punch, Peter turns all Neo from the Matrix.  It looks like the chip is kicking in.  The observer looks at him and says, "I know what you have done. You have made a grave mistake.  You do not know what is happening to you." Peter appears behind the observer and breaks his neck. Peter grabs the weapon the observer dropped and disappears as an observer would.  What he does not know is that Captain Windmark was standing right behind him and has seen everything that has happened.

Olivia, Walter and Astrid are on the monorail waiting for Peter and Olivia gets nervous when Peter is not there.  Just as the door is about to close, Peter appears much to Olivia's relief.  When she asks Peter how he got there, he says he doesn't remember and that he was lucky. They sit separately and Olivia turns on the radio but it does not start.  Olivia notices that the radio has been stuck on the same frequency. Astrid asks why because nothing is being transmitted.

Walter is sitting with Peter and Peter asks him if he is okay. Walter says that he cannot stop thinking about how all Cecil wanted was to get out and that he didn't help him or care about him. Peter reminds Walter that he cared about saving the world and that he is not responsible for what happened to Cecil.  Peter tells Walter that Cecil died 20 years ago and if not for the pocket, Cecil would have died then and there from the blast.  Walter says that he saw a man half starved and used him because it suited him, because he was nothing more than an acceptable loss, as long as he got what he needed. Walter asks Peter if this is who he is and if this is something he can see coming from his mind? "Am I the person who would leave in the middle of the night on his own? Those are the actions of a man of hubris and that's not me Peter; it' him," Walter says. Walter says that he is not safe and that ever since the pieces of his brain were re-implanted that it's been changing him, back into the man he was before.  Walter fears that he is losing the man that Peter helped him become.  Peter promises Walter that he not going to let that happen and that Walter is their only hope to defeat the observers.  Walter replies, "Please son, whatever happens, don't let me go." Peter promises that he won't.  As Peter looks around the train, he realises that his vision has changed and he now sees like an observer does.

I actually really like this episode but thought that the writing could have been more clear.  If you have to have a character explain what happened and why it is relevant at the end of the episode, clearly there were many thing which weren't properly transmitted in the story.  I found it interesting that they tied in a character (the little bald boy) from season one and I wonder where this story line is going.  As for Peter going all Matrix - it was expected but not disappointing.  At the end of the day, Peter has always been constructed as the chosen one of sorts.  I am very curious to see what changes await him.  I was happy to see Astrid outside of the lab for a change but not the least bit pleased that once again, she was easily cast aside as though she had nothing to offer.  In the case of Fringe, it is generally about White people saving the world.