The perfect day. Peter and Olivia are in a park. Walter swings on a swing. The sun is warm, and the grass is soft. Olivia smiles. They are in love. Olivia’s mood shifts slightly. Peter wants to know what is wrong. Olivia tells him that he is the problem.

The dream ends. Peter wakes up in his room at the FBI building.

We cut to a woman and her little girl. They are in the kitchen. There is a sudden flash. Instead of her normal day, the woman is surrounded by a burnt kitchen. Everything is burnt, but there has been no fire. Where is her child? She hears a baby screaming. She clutches the baby and runs out the building. When she is outside, the baby turns into her little girl.

(L to R): Anna Torv as Olivia Dunham and Jasika Nicole as Astrid Farnsworth

Peter, Olivia, Astrid, and Broyles arrive at the building. The building looks like a fire just happened, but there was no fire. The team learns that there was a fire four years ago. An event from four years ago has appeared in the present. Broyles thinks Peter’s sudden appearance is to blame and wants Walter to examine him. Olivia tells Broyles that Walter wants nothing to do with Peter. Walter’s job is to investigate fringe events. Peter is a fringe event. Therefore, Broyles states, Walter will examine Peter.

At the lab, Walter calls Peter “The Subject” and refuses to look at him. If Walter won’t help him, then Peter will figure things out himself. Peter and Olivia talk as Peter works on his equations. Peter learns about Walter’s visions and Olivia’s dreams. Peter did not know he was appearing to them.

Olivia and Peter are called to another time displacement event. This time a train appeared and almost hit a car. Peter suffers from time jumps during the visit to the scene; he jumps from the scene to riding in the car with Olivia after they’ve left. He learns the area is rich with neutrino radiation. The source of the time anomalies must be a man-made device.

And Peter is correct.

The device is under the home of Raymond and Kate, a married couple who have been together about thirty years. When we first meet Kate, she works on equations at the dining room table. Raymond wears a timer that is counting down. When the timer reaches zero, Kate disappears from the dining room. We see her in a chair. Raymond talks to her, but she does not recognize him. When Raymond goes downstairs, we see the device he has built. Using her work, Raymond has built a time chamber. He is determined to live in the past with Kate. Why? Kate has Alzheimer’s, and Raymond thought they would have had more time together. Although she is alive, she is not the vivacious woman he married. What Raymond doesn’t realize is the affect the device is having on the time-space continuum.

Back at Walter’s lab, Lincoln, Peter, and Walter (who has finally decided to offer his ideas) figure out the general area where the device is. FBI agents knock on doors. An agent approaches Raymond’s home. He crosses the barrier and is disintegrated. Peter, with Walter’s help (he is watching from his lab), figure out that the device is on. This means another event is about to happen. Peter figures out where. It’s a tunnel, but the tunnel didn’t exist four years ago. Lincoln leaves to evacuate the tunnel.

Peter in the Walter Bishop Faraday harness.

Because of the nature of the time bubble, Peter suggests a Faraday cage is needed to shield against the bubble’s EM field. Walter creates the Walter Bishop Faraday harness. Peter convinces Broyles to let him go inside instead of Olivia because he has a science background.

Inside, Peter makes his way downstairs and is knocked out by Raymond. Kate is stunned that Raymond was able to follow her equations and build the time chamber.

Lincoln is in the process of evacuating the tunnel, which begins to disappear.

Peter comes to. He learns that Raymond, after three years of work, finally made progress three days ago. Peter tells Raymond that his device has caused time anomalies. Raymond doesn’t understand, but Kate does. The device wasn’t meant to be built, Kate admits, it was just all theory. Kate convinces Peter to get immunity for her husband in exchange for turning of the device properly. Peter leaves.

Raymond promises Kate to rebuild the device. She wants to know why. Raymond, overwhelmed with emotion, tells her that all things she was is gone. He’s never going to give up. He will make sure they can have all the time they were meant to have. Shocked, but trying to keep her husband calm, Kate tells him that he has to move to a remote location. He will, but she has to finish her equation. Kate doesn’t say a word. She sits and writes in the book with her equations.

Peter returns. Raymond turns off the machine. Kate disappears. The tunnel is back to normal.

Before he leaves to be questioned by the FBI, Raymond looks in Kate’s book. Instead of finding a completed equation, he discovers Kate had blacked out her work. At the end of the book is a note from Kate telling Raymond that loving her means to live his own life. Living in the past has unforeseen and possibly harmful consequences. You can’t go back.

At this point in the show I think the writers are sending us a message. Since the season began, many have wanted the old timeline to return. Raymond wanted to go back to four years ago, but forcing the past to happen creates dangerous ripples and tears in the time-space continuum. If Raymond cannot live in the past, then Peter can’t either. Peter has to live in the present he has returned to. This is the timeline. We must accept this.

I am satisfied with this message.

But then Peter returns to the FBI and tell Broyles that Raymond’s device didn’t work until three days ago. Peter arrived three days ago. Peter tells Broyles that he needs to be reset. The people he loves are in another timeline, and he needs to find a way home.

Peter has permission to stay in Walter’s home. Olivia tells him there will be an agent outside. Before she leaves, she asks Peter if his Olivia is special to him. Yes, he tells her. Olivia smiles, “I hope you get back to her.”

This raises a whole set of questions. Can Peter go back? Would he be going backwards in time or just sliding over into his home universe? Which universe is his home? He was born in one universe, but raised in another. Can he leave or will he have to accept living in this timeline?

This is what ‘Fringe’ does to me. Just when I think I have it figured out, the show promptly tells me I don’t. And that is why I enjoy this show so much.

If you missed the previous episode read our ‘Fringe: Novation’ recap to catch up.