Halfway through the second season of Fringe and the writers have a clear and focussed vision on how to best move the series forward, both with regards to characterisation and plot. To date we’ve been introduced to Agent Olivia Dunham, the seemingly main character. It’s been suggested Dr William Bell is key to everything and we have also been told just how important Peter is. However, Walter Bishop has now been manoeuvred into position as the focal point of Fringe: He is the single most important character for both storyline and the show as an ongoing entity. John Noble’s work playing Walter is marvellous, displaying a fabulous range when asked to act as a pre, and post mental health institute Dr Bishop. More importantly, Walter is what makes the Fringe mythology. He is the mythology. He worked at the fringe of science learning 25 years ago what we have seen only now. He observed and travelled to an alternate universe (alterniverse). His brain was partially removed, separated and hidden for a number of years. It all comes back to Walter.
This episode told the whole story regarding how Walter brought the alterniverse’s Peter to our world, which frankly would have been enough – after all, fans have been aware to some extent about this since season 1. But we learnt much more. We learnt Information which will drive us towards the climax of this season, and further into season 3.
Told mainly in flashback, the episode began with some impressive and bespoke retro titles designed to bring you immediately into 1985. Through the eyes of senior military officials we’re shown that another world exists and that we can observe it – Walter fails to explain we can travel there because, well, in so doing the world and maybe our world could die. Regardless, after watching his son die, and observing a cure for the alterniverse’s Peter being synthesised (unstable, mind) by an unobservant Walternate (Walter’s nomenclature this time), Walter did open a gateway to ensure Peter will live somewhere, in some world. Cue the chain of events leading to the transfer of alternate Peter to our world, where he has lived ever since.
Aside from filling in viewers on how alternate Peter became our Peter, we were made privy to a variety of information from Easter egg style goodies like what happened to Nina Sharpe’s arm (it’s in the alterniverse) to farther reaching details. We saw Walter open the dimensional gateway leading to the irreparable (as far as we know so far) death of the alterniverse and potentially our own world. We saw Walter’s first meeting with an Observer and we again are told how important Peter is. We also learn how Walter has grown to hate Dr William Bell due to his apparent desire for money and power over pure scientific endeavour.
This episode tees things up for the remainder of this season, and further. We, and Dunham, now know the full story regarding how Peter came to be where he is. Surely Peter has to find out sometime soon also? He’s important – his part to play in the greater story will become apparent soon enough and he’ll learn his history then, too. Dr William Bell will surely make a return and if he meets with Walter how will their relationship be and what will we learn? It’s likely the two will meet to discuss the aftermath of the gateway opening, or to manage any new gateway opening now the bad guys have Walter’s knowledge via his brain parts. This episode has started Fringe down the finishing straight of season 2. This reviewer also wonders if we’ll see Walternate having been made very aware of how alternate Peter’s parents must feel having lost him, and knowing how intelligent and advanced the alterniverse is, surely it’s going to happen? It all comes back to Walter.
All the pieces of information are in the open now – it’s just a matter of how it’s all brought together and where it ends. Just one more thing: We definitely saw the alterniverse - “Back to the Future starring Eric Stoltz” was showing.