Friday, April 23, 2010

Fringe “The Man From The Other Side” Recap & Review: The Secret Is Out

Photo from Fox

The secret is finally revealed, but not in a way that Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble) would have wanted. But before Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) finds out that he isn’t who he thought he was, the Fringe (Fox) team has to deal with those annoying shape shifters.

This was one of those episodes where viewers had a good idea of how it would end – that somehow Peter was going to find out that he was from the alternate universe – and likely it wasn’t Walter or Olivia who would break the news to him. It seemed, however, that once the moment was here where Peter would confront Walter, it all happened within the blink of an eye without much discussion. Somehow lost in Peter’s confrontation with Walter is what Peter thought of Olivia’s role in keeping the secret. He has to now know that since she can spot the glimmer of things from the alternate universe, that she HAD to know he was also from that world. Peter must feel incredibly betrayed. But now Olivia must feel that not only has Peter turned his back on Walter, he has now turned his back on her as well.

Who is the mysterious “Mr. Secretary” that came over from the other side? I always thought it would be Walter’s alternate (AKA “Walternate”) that would come to get his son back…but we will just have to wait to find out the identity of the mystery man.

In case you missed the episode, here’s what happened:

The shape shifters arrive – there are supposed to be three of them but one, for some reason, is unable to form properly – and the remaining two quickly take over the body of a man and a woman, killing them in the process, Walter is just getting ready to tell Peter that Peter is from the alternate universe when Agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) interrupts with news of a suspicious death. When they arrive on the scene and see evidence that the shape shifters have taken over the body of a woman, they quickly find a second body in the nearby warehouse. They also find what seems to be a blob-like “embryo,” that Walter cuts into on the spot, finding telltale shape shifter traits of mercury and electronics.

Elsewhere, the newly arrived shape shifters connect with Newton (Sebastian Roché) and set their plan in motion, Newton planning to take care of what the shape shifter who didn’t make it was supposed to do.

Back at Walter’s lab, he is continuing to examine what they realize is a shape shifter “embryo” and Astrid (Jasika Nicole) works on a broadcast signal that Broyles (Lance Reddick) indicated had disrupted televisions in the area at the same time as the deaths of the couple at the warehouse. Olivia takes the signal to Massive Dynamic where they find it is a likely s signal from the alternate universe. While the signal isn’t quite in sync with their own universe, there are periods where the signal will line up, and the next time is the next day at 3:31 PM.

Meanwhile, the two shape shifters take over the bodies of two other people, and Newton fakes his death in order to get into a morgue. At each location, they have some sort of device set up, something we later find will help open the door to the alternate universe.

Back at the lab, Peter talks to Olivia and tells her he knows what’s been bothering Walter. Peter thinks Walter wants to talk to him out his mother’s death, which Walter told Peter was from a car accident, and Peter knows it was really suicide. Peter received the news while Walter was in the institution, and it was the only time they had spoke in 17 years, Olivia reminds Peter that Walter loves him.

Meanwhile, Walter has a plan to bring the embryo to life so they can get information from it, and, in a Frankenstein-like move, he nonchalantly tells Olivia he needs a corpse (not dead more than two days) in order to do it. When Walter gets things set up, the current that they put through the embryo blows a fuse, but it also begins to bring the embryo to life. As the body partially forms and contorts, and Walter thinks he may have damaged it when he first cut into it at the warehouse. But it forms enough in order for it to plead for help, and then to tell them about contacting Newton through Daniel Verona. When Olivia asks what's going to happen tomorrow, it grabs Walter's hand, says it's sorry, and dies.

The FBI picks up Daniel Verona, who is a medical examiner at Boston General, and tests him and determines he is no shape shifter. They don’t know that Newton is faking his death to get into that morgue.

Back at home, while Walter seems rattled about causing the death of the shape shifter, Peter tries to calm him and in the process, calls him Dad. But Walter also thinks he knows what Newton is up to. Later, Walter demonstrates to Olivia how he and William Bell sent his car to the other side using geometry and harmonic vibrations, using three harmonic rods in a triangle. When they activated the rods the car vibrated and went to the other side. He believes that if the rods are set up in the same place on both sides, whatever is in the middle of the triangle will move over to the other side when the universes are in sync.

They work to find the center of Newton’s triangle. They map the locations based on the professions of the people who are the latest bodies whose identities were taken by shape shifters. They realize that one of the possible locations of the center of the trianle is the middle of the Charles River, on a condemned railway bridge, with the surrounding water absorbing the excess energy. Walter races to work on a mechanism to cancel the harmonics from Newton’s device.

Meanwhile, Newton sets up shop near that bridge, and two of the shape shifters take over the bodies of two police officers who arrive on the scene. When the Fringe team arrives, they meet up with these two officers, but when one of them uses a cell phone and not a police radio to communicate. Olivia quickly pulls her gun and shoots one of them, realizing they are shape shifters. As Peter and Olivia dodge bullets and with Olivia returning fire, Walter talks the car and drives onto the bridge with his cancelling device. Peter makes it there too and helps Walter to set up, but the shock waves are already beginning. Peter knows he can get it to work and gets Olivia to take Walter off the bridge. As the concussions from the vibrations continue to get greater, Peter sees another man on the “alternate” bridge walking towards him. Both Peter and an FBI agent on the bridge hear an ear piercing sound, and the agent is soon vaporized. As the man from the other side continues to walk toward him, Peter seems to get the device to work, and the alternate bridge disappears and Peter is thrown against the car.

Peter later wakes up in a hospital bed with Olivia telling him he has been unconscious
for a day and a half. He looks at her somewhat coldly at first, but then softens a bit. He wants to talk with Walter alone. Peter tells Walter about the man he saw walking toward him, and the fact that the other agent was vaporized yet he was not. He noticed that the vibrations didn't kill the man coming over from the other side nor himself. He asks Walter the loaded question, "I'm not from here, am I?...You didn't just open up a hole to the other side, you went through and you brought me back." Peter knows this is why he can’t remember his childhood and why his mom killed herself – from the guilt. Peter is upset when Walter refers to him as son – as he is not Walter’s son. He tells Walter he wants to be alone, and Walter leaves, crushed.

Elsewhere, Newton is speaking with a man whose face we can’t see, calling him "Mr. Secretary" and tells him that despite all the preparations, crossing over is an ordeal. He injects the Secretary with some sort of drug.

Back at home, Walter finishes up baking a pie and Olivia arrives to tell him that Peter left the hospital and is gone. It seems Walter has lost Peter again.

Fringe: The Beginning of the End

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