Fringe Round Table: "A Short Story About Love"

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"A Short Story About Love" gave us everything we needed to know about where Peter was located. Staff writers Nick McHatton, Sean McKenna and Carissa Pavlica are joined here by Fringephile Nick Shere to discuss the finer points of the episode.

Join them by giving your own take in the comments!


Now that Peter knows he's home, what do you expect his next move to be?

Nick M: Making it feel like home, and getting to know everyone all over again. He's treated a lot of them like acquaintances, it's time to make them friends and family again.

Sean: Make out with Olivia. Oh, and trying to settle into the fact that he's home by reconnecting with everyone. He will be certain to try and rebuild the relationships he once had before he was erased.

Nick S: Try to normalize his relationships with Olivia and Walter... which will probably put him at odds with Walter and possibly also with Lincoln.

Carissa: First, spend time with Olivia and just chill. Then try to catch up on everything that is different since he has a reason to care now. Then freak out that he had a baby he never met and never will. Then try to figure out how his reemergence might have messed up the “plan” the observers had to save the world by erasing him in the first place. Leisure first, business second. Of course, we’ll not see the leisure.

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How do you think Walter will react to the news of it being Peter's old world?

Nick M: I'm not sure. I think he'll be happy to know he can have his son again, but it's hard to know if he'll get there in the next episode since he's trying to figure out how to get him "home" and he's trying to keep his distance because of it.

Sean: I'm not sure if Walter will have perhaps assumed it all along or will reject it completely. You never really know with him.

Nick S: I think he'll be skeptical - partly because he has a whole lifetime of experience that is his own, and different from Peter's timeline, and partly because Walter has learned to be suspicious when nature or science seems ready to give you what you want.

Carissa: I’m still expecting him to own up to having some feelings of his own that he was afraid to share because he thought he’d get sent back to the nuthouse. But if not, I think he’ll be so delighted he’ll be making Peter’s favorite foods for weeks!

Are you satisfied with Peter having gone to the right home in the first place, despite the many protestations?

Nick M: I bought it. It's not what I would have guessed or expected, but that's Fringe. There's always a plan, and at this point it's easier to keep rowing than jumping ship.

Sean: I kind of expected Peter to have been home all along, so when the Observer told him that was the case, it was like everything worked out. I guess it will be interesting to see if Peter can return everything to how it was before he was erased or if going back to that point in time will be impossible.

Nick S: Mostly. I do wonder, though - since we know Olivia's new/old memories aren't coming from Peter, and they aren't bleed-through from another universe, where are they coming from? Do her Cortexiphan abilities extend to time-travel related areas as well as dimension hopping?

Carissa: I am. It was the only logical answer for me. Sometimes I get way too caught up in logistics to the detriment of my own enjoyment, but this time it worked. Somehow I needed love to be the reason he came back. And this is coming from a huge Fauxlivia fan. 

Since that part of the mystery is over, will the two worlds come together to fight against the shapeshifters and David Robert Jones?

Nick M: It certainly looks that way, Peter bridged them together at the end of last season, and we're finally getting to that now.

Sean: Will that be the goal of the season, for Peter to bring balance to both worlds? I still suspect that even after dealing with David Robert Jones, someone else will rise up and cause an even bigger set of problems for the Fringe team.

Nick S: Likely, although that might change as we learn more about Jones's endgame. If his goals turn out to be beneficial to certain parties, this may introduce new conflict.

Carissa: Again, since Peter’s back I think the harmony the Observers were hoping for might be delayed, but I want more two universe time. My favorite episodes are when they are together, fighting for the greater good. I want a Walter/Walternate scene so badly!

How soon do you think it will be before we see Olivia and Peter tie the knot or have a new baby to continue their "species?"

Nick M: Well, since Peter and Olivia are pretty close to where they were before all of this erasing happened, I would assume pretty quickly. Especially since September gave Peter a "goal" so to speak. 

Sean: Not for a while. And if it does happen soonish, I'm not sure if I'd like that. Sure, I want them to have their happy ending, but not for the sake of a cliché story line to finish everything out for them.

Nick S: I suspect we won't actually see this play out - either it will be deferred beyond the series (as a happily ever after), or else we'll jump ahead to them with a family.

Carissa: I don’t know. Who asked this question? I wonder if they even use birth control. Maybe Cortexiphan will make her have a speedy baby like Fauxlivia had Henry. So they can do it and still be active Fringe team members. 

It was a big reveal. Share whatever else is on your mind here:

Nick M: I wish the show had done this reveal a little sooner. There are so many threads dangling I feel like some of them aren't going to get pulled or they're going to get ignored as we head toward the end of the season. I love Peter and the family elements of the show, and I'm hoping Olivia regaining her memories isn't isolated to her. I would like to have more of our characters begin to remember things outside their timeline.

Sean: The mad science of the week was about falsifying not just love, but a person's ability to recognize the one they love. By taking the person's (physical) essence, he was able to elicit from their partner a visceral recognition despite their already horrified reaction. This seems like a rather dark background for Peter's discovery that he has "his" Olivia where he is. I wonder if this is foreshadowing anything.

Nick S: It was a huge reveal and I'm really looking forward to how the season will end, especially because we still don't know if the show will be renewed. I'm glad that Peter learning wasn't saved for the finale and rather will give us the chance to see him work everything out.

Carissa: A lot of readers are still worried that Olivia will die as the Observer said. I’m still of the thought that he meant the version we were watching disappear before our eyes. She was dying to make way for the original Olivia. I hope I’m right. I’ve been scoring fairly high this season, thank you very much. Since Walter was having dreams of Peter at the beginning of the season, he just has to remember more of Peter. Although he’s doing alright on his own. How cute was it when he said “You didn’t tell me.” I wanted to jump into the screen and hug him!

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Fringe Season 4 Episode 15 Quotes

Nina: As for your feelings about Peter, all wounds heal over time.
Olivia: I just wish it would move a little quicker.
Nina: Well, that's a coincidence, because we just filed a patent on that last week.

I'm in love with Peter. I know it sounds absurd, and to you I hardly know him but, it's like I've known him my entire life. And everyone, including him, keeps telling me it's impossible.