There was actually a rip in the space time continuum.
Who knew I could ever say that particular phrase with sincerity and authority? Certainly not me. It appears, however, the Observers have been trying to repair such a rip throughout their many visits to our universe.
We learned a little about the why of their visits, but that about ends any epiphany we might have hoped for in this first Fringe Friday. (By way of explanation, a rip occurs any time a mere observer in the current time takes action, as the Observer did when he helped Walter save Peter from the frozen lake.)
Frankly, it worries me that this particular episode was the first of the new time slot. To say it was difficult to follow would be an understatement, especially if you had not watched previously. I will be interested to see the ratings, and I'm happy a new Supernatural doesn't hit the air until next week.
The star of this episode was John Noble as Walter Bishop.
He carried the weight of the emotions, regret and fear that he has felt every day of his life since he broke through to the alternate world to save this Peter. Walter was reminded that trying to remap his brain could be a dastardly mistake, because he himself had insisted William Bell remove the parts that made him a man he no longer liked.
Is he strong enough now to put himself into Walternate’s shoes to understand why the device was created and what it might mean to Peter’s (and the universes) future?If I understand correctly, not only are the Observers trying to right the many wrongs they set into motion when they helped Walter save Peter, but also to test Walter to see if he has changed enough to take the next step. That next step requires the death of Peter, and although the two Observers were at odds at first, both agreed he had, indeed, changed enough for them to trust in him to take the appropriate actions when necessary.
I don’t want to rehash everything that the Observers did during this review, because it can be found in the recap. Suffice it to say that much like The Butterfly Effect and A Sound of Thunder, the Observers are showing just how one tiny change in time can have drastic effects on the rest of the world. And the world, being as small as it actually is, was inherently intertwined with Walter’s.
One observer told Walter that he can see every possibility of every future, but cannot tell him what will happen as every choice made in any given instant alters the course of history. The Observers are so calm and unemotional; now I understand why. To have such vast insight into the trillions of possibilities and directions the future can yield would likely kill someone who possessed the very qualities the Observers do not.
After all the hoopla for this episode, Fringe Fridays, the reference to fan favorite Firefly, I expected something different. Unfortunately, I’m not entirely sure what that was.
Regular viewers were no doubt intrigued to learn more about the Observers. They have remained a mystery throughout almost three seasons. While their motivations have taken form, their purpose has not. Peter is meant to die, or at the very least Walter is meant to let Peter die, should the time come. It doesn’t seem as though it is in question; Walter will need to allow Peter to die.
Given this is the world of Fringe and strange happenings, I can rest assured that when the moment comes that Peter must die, he will be revived. The show that I first thought centered around the life of Olivia Dunham, actually focuses on Peter Bishop. Peter and Olivia are intertwined in ways they are only just beginning to understand, and neither of them will take their leave.
They may take a different form, a different persona, but the one thing we can take away from Firefly is there is much work to be done, and it’s only just begun.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.