Walter was up to old tricks again in "Black Blotter" - but did he get the results he expected? Join staff writers Sean McKenna and Carissa Pavlica, as well as Fringeophile Nick Shere, to discuss the trippy episode in this week's TV Fanatic Round Table...
What did you think of Black Blotter and how it fit in to Fringe Season 5?
Nick: As is basically the theme of this season, it's a darker evolution of a previous story. (In this case, it's even darkening the title of the episode: from Brown Betty to Black Blotter.) And continues the theme of showing the struggle the characters are engaging in to remain whole in the face of increasing stakes. In Brown Betty, Walter's narrative was grim and self-judgmental (until corrected by Ella), but coherent and with an established moral perspective; in Black Blotter, a fragmented Walter builds himself a fragmented story.
Sean: It was kind of a weird episode for me. In some ways I liked that it focused on Walter, but at the same time, the oddity of watching him on acid often took me out of what was going on. It does make me wonder what Walter's fate is for the end of this show as he tries to piece together his mind at the same time he's trying to piece together what might ultimately save the world.
Carissa: I think it fit in that Walter really needs to get a handle on his changing brain, and to stop running from it. If a trip helps him reach an answer or two, that's a pretty Walter way to get there. I hope that hearing two perspectives from important women in his earlier years gave him something to grasp onto as he gets more desperate for peace.
Did you think Walter's trip helped or hurt him in his mind's eye?
Nick: I think it helped, by condensing his inner turmoil into a moral choice, rather than just a struggle for identity.
Sean: I think it helped, especially because he seemed to be more resistant to the idea of revealing everything to the Observers. Walter really does like his drugs, doesn't he?
Carissa: That will depend upon whether he chooses to listen to what he heard from the young Nina or his one time assistant. They were each pushing him in different directions. Since Nina is still around to have bearing on his life, my hope is Nina will win out and he will realize his self is far more manageable than he once believed.
Do you think Walter will be taking any more trips? Yes, no and why?
Nick: Probably not any lengthy ones. Because of the way this episode sets up Walter's personal arc as a moral conflict, I think it's going to have to play out in the world, in the choices Walter makes through the rest of the season. I wouldn't be surprised if elements from the trip occasionally recur as hallucinations, though.
Sean: No, or at least not the ones where we get an extensive look into them. The season is so close to its conclusion, that the rest of his journey will be played out in without green fairies, but perhaps plenty of licorice.
Carissa: I think he might have been frightened enough by the end of "Black Blotter" to stay away as long as we know him. But, he's Walter. He could do the exact opposite!
We know the fate of one of our old friend, Sam Weiss. Who else do you hope we learn about before series's end?
Nick: Speaking of Brown Betty, man, I really feel like we could use some closure regarding Ella.
Sean: Henry Higgins. What has that helpful cab driver been up to all this time? He helped Olivia before, maybe he can do it again?
Carissa: I know it's futile, but I still keep hoping for word from the alterverse. I'd so love to know that Fauxlivia and Lincoln had happy lives!
They didn't find Donald, but Michael. How do you think he will play into the overall plan to bring down the Observers?
Nick: Perhaps he doesn't have the implanted tech, and so by studying him they can get insight into Observer anatomy in itself? I still hope that part of the plan is to re-boot the Observers' ability to connect to others and so "save" them rather than annihilate them.
Sean: It has to have something to do with him being a child. Perhaps he will be the connection that brings the Observers and humans together? Maybe he resets everything back to the way it was, right before Olivia became a Fringe member in season one? Or maybe he will have an ultimate staring contest to determine the fate of the world?
Carissa: I like Nick's idea of rebooting their ability to connect. I have no idea how it would happen, but there has to be a way to make them more human, to understand the calamity they've caused and maybe even come up with a cure for their bodies to breathe clean air once more. A happy ending in an unhappy world.
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.