Welcome back to the latest edition of TV Fanatic's Fringe Round Table!
Below, our Fringe critic, Carissa Pavlica, along with fellow panelists Sean McKenna and Nick McHatton, discuss the season premiere of Fringe, "Neither Here Nor There." With Peter gone, there was a lot to ponder and we'd love to hear your own answers to the questions, so feel free to drop them in the comments.
What's your guess - where is Peter?
Carissa: I don't know, but neither here nor there was an apt title given the circumstances. Thing is, I don't think anyone knows. Somehow Peter's strength of character has transcended even the overarching powers of the Observers. The way he is asking for help, though, makes me frightened for him.
Sean: He's on the island and there's a smoke monster...oh, wait. I'm sure he's somewhere that could easily be explained with a lot of highly scientific speak, time paradoxes and stuff. Maybe he's simply hiding out in a retail store looking for a new pea coat. Peter Bishop, won't you please come back!
Nick: He's in the TV, obviously. Or maybe it's the mirror? All lame jokes aside I'm going with what the Observers said that even though he's erased and the timeline is rewritten his presence is just too strong and continues to bleed through. Where is he physically? In the ether? Heaven? Hell? China? Did the machine create it's own separate existence plane when he merged the two worlds and Peter's there? I don't know, but I'm confident Fringe will answer it.
What character seemed the most affected by not having known Peter and why?
Carissa: Of course it is Walter. But what I cannot understand is what went down in 1985 that lead him on the terrible path of destruction that lead to his mental breakdown and 17 years in the mental institution. Why did his wife kill herself if she never had to deal with alternate Peter and his struggles? Or did she? Is she alive? I don't believe we will delve this far into the history of a world without Peter, so I'll have to assume he was driven mad by his child's death.
Sean: I agree with Nick that it's most certainly Walter. Peter was Walter's rock and now without him, he's a mess. Sure, still a genius, but he seems on the verge of a mental breakdown. Maybe he needs to find a new Mrs. Walter?
Nick: Emotionally and physically, there is no question, it's Walter. He's secluded himself in the lab, his emotions are all over the place and it physically feels like there is a piece of him missing. John Noble is a wonderful actor.
Joe Flanigan: Fleeting character or will he be back?
Carissa: I wish and I hope he returns. Of course, you probably got that from my review. I heart Joe Flanigan. He has to be a new agent over there. Surely they've been keeping his casting huge secret. Yep, that's what I think.
Sean: I'm going to go with fleeting character and the off chance that he appears maybe once more far down the road. After all, Walter did make that dead bird fly again and in the world of Fringe, anything is possible.
Nick: Sorry Carissa, I never watched Stargate so I don't have any prior show love for him. However, I certainly enjoyed his character and would be open to meeting him or his alt self again.
Thoughts on the new shape shifters?
Carissa: Super freaky, and they seem not to die. I could have sworn the girl at the end was the one Walter was working on in the lab earlier in the show. The question I have is whether Walternate is responsible and why. A new group of spies for our side? Why?
Sean: Besides the face that I have no idea why they look translucent or who they're working for (it can't be Walternate, can it?), I think they're pretty creepy and a great new addition. But please, I don't want to see them pull another fingernail off.
Nick: My first thought is my usual Fringe response: complete confusion. My only real guess is the new shape shifters are repercussions of erasing Peter.
What are you most looking forward to as the season progresses?
Carissa: The prospect of the universes working together and seeing more of our dual characters share screen time. Of course I want Peter back, and I am really interested in knowing how they will suddenly bring back an infant into the fray, but to me, it's all about watching the characters play scenes with their alternate selves, bringing back old villains on the other side, whatever they decide to throw at me. I have faith Fringe will not disappoint!
Sean: The return of Peter Bishop! I already miss the guy, but I did love the season 1 feel for this first episode. It's like a back to basics. I'm curious as tow hat the new direction of the show will be, now that the crashing of universes was prevented. Where do you go from there? Either way, I'm prepared for the crazy thrill ride of questions, questions and, oh yes, probably more questions.
Nick: I can't wait to see how Peter is reintegrated in to the timeline because it's going to be a very fine line to walk. How will the bring that prior Peter history and storyline that we all know and love with this new post Peter Fringe?
For the near future, though, I'm looking forward to seeing more of Lincoln and watching as he's woven into the story.
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.