Last week ‘Fringe’ fans witnessed the origin of a new hero, when losing his daughter propelled Peter to make the ultimate gamble in order to give the resistance a greater weapon in their war against the Observers. Would this week provide us with a glimpse of those newly imbued powers?
Things begin with Walter working alone in the lab, cutting through more sections of amber. He finds another tape – a bit different one this time as it’s one that takes him on the journey to the next piece of the plan.
For his part, Peter is at Etta’s, watching a video of his lost daughter. He’s been incommunicado with everyone but Olivia finds him at the apartment. They hold one another and watch one of the few remnants they have of their daughter. When it’s finished, Olivia pleads with Peter to include her in what he’s feeling. Heeding Walter’s words from last week, it’s something they need to experience and accept in order to move on. Though he promises to include her, the steely glint in Peter’s eyes betrays a determination to destroy the Observers and put on hold any sentimentality that may get in the way of the mission.
Following the instructions from the tape, Walter arrives at an apartment complex. Unaware that he’s been identified by the street surveillance, he arrives at the 4th floor and, per the tape, he initiates the steps provided and disappears through the invisible wormhole. Not long after he’s gone the team comes together and searches for him in the lab. Once they watch the tape, they realize he’s gone off on his own walkabout, an action that’s quite out of character for the eccentric scientist.
As the team retraces Walter’s footsteps (taking the camera with them), Walter himself is in the pocket universe trying to get his bearings. He runs into Cecil, the poor sap that was blown into this new mini-universe during an Observer attack on the apartment building. During their conversation, the bumbling, timid Walter is slowly replaced by a direct, harsher version eerily similar to his Walternate ego.
Cecil leads Walter through the complex, the trippiness of the pocket universe on display as, during one point, the two are walking on the ceiling. It’s during their jaunt to the water supply, where Walter recognizes something behind the wall, that the more dominating aspects of his personality come forth. Also, it’s here that he recognizes the time discrepancies between this world and ours. While only 5 days have passed for Cecil, it’s been more than 20 years in the real world.
Peter and Olivia walk through to the pocket universe and discover that more footage shows up once they cross over. It’s not long before they run into Walter; no trace of the usual man remains. He’s determined to find the next piece of his plan. When they show him the extra footage, we’re introduced to the empathic child from season one’s ‘Inner Child.’ Though Walter doesn’t remember him, Peter and Olivia do. They search the complex for the child – openly wondering what connection, if any, he has to the Observers – but find him gone from the room. Walter explodes with anger and frustration. Peter goes to speak with his father. Logically, the only person that could have moved the child was Donald—mentioned as the man taken away by the Observers in ‘The Recorder‘ and most likely the man behind the camera. Olivia interrupts the conversation, showing them the radio on the night stand; something that wasn’t there in the footage.Unbeknownst to the team, the Observers have made their way to the apartment building and entered the pocket universe (knocking out Astrid where she had been keeping watch). They kill Cecil but Peter’s able to direct the team to the exit. Olivia is the last one through, pulling the Observer who had her in its grasp through, killing it in the process. Peter orders Olivia, Walter and Astrid away, vowing to hold off the Observer pursuit but gets blindsided by a blast from the Observer weapon.
It’s here where the episode shines. We only had to wait a week to see just what effects the Observer tech would have on Peter as he goes one on one with an Observer. It takes a minute for him to get his bearing but when he does, the Observer doesn’t stand a chance. When the Observer realizes what Peter has done, it gives him an ominous warning before Peter snaps its neck. After picking up his weapon, Peter teleports out, unaware that Widmark has seen the whole exchange.
Olivia is worried Peter won’t make it in time but he boards the monorail just before it takes off. Playing with the radio she notices it’s stuck on one frequency and can quite possibly be used as a homing beacon. Walter laments to Peter about just how the events of the day has made him realize that the hard, uncaring Walternate parts of his psyche are starting to surface. He’s afraid he’ll lose himself but Peter swears he will keep Walter in check, calling him Dad at one moment during the conversation. But it may not be Walter that Peter needs to worry most about. As he gives Olivia an affectionate smile, Peter’s normal vision disappears and becomes matted in blue. His fear is palpable and one cannot help but wonder at the sacrifice Peter has unknowingly made to even the odds against the enemy.
‘Through the Looking Glass…’ is a wonderful follow up to last week’s ‘An Origin Story.’ A season that started off on the iffy path, throwing all its eggs into this dystopian future story arc is starting to pay off. As the stakes get higher, the domineering aspects of Walter’s once lost personality are resurfacing. How much will he need to watch things as it’s always been clear this part of him is willing to sacrifice others for his own desires? And while he is focused on the greater good, there still may be unnecessary casualties. And then there’s Peter: he’s become a much greater version of himself, at least on par with the Observers, maybe even greater given the core he has in place. But at what cost? After the dust settles, just what will Peter have given up and, if they are victorious? Will it have been worth it?