The last episode before a hiatus is usually known to leave us viewers hanging, wondering if, after the holidays, we are going to find our protagonist with or without his or her reputation/job/life/something else really important or, in the case of Fringe, is still stuck in another timeline, away from the ones he loves.
It really is starting to feel as if Season 4 is, in a way, a study in Peter (Joshua Jackson) more than anything else: how he has changed since Season 1 and how he is going to overcome the adversity this new twist of fate has dealt him with. I love this Peter-centric study, just as much as I love the way we are delving into the alternate timeline. Putting the same Peter we have come to know during the last couple of seasons in an entirely new yet familiar environment is making us understand him in a very unique way. Interestingly enough, Peter is becoming the one constant in this show around which all other alternate universes and timelines are revolving.
No wonder, then, that he feels like he has become a Fringe event himself. But while that is no way to live, most would have a hard time dealing with this situation in any healthy kind of way. Perhaps this is why many fans seem to have a hard time understanding how Peter is managing to remain so, well, mature, seeing the extreme emotional pressure he is under. To be detached and rational to the point of understanding that the Olivia (Anna Torve) Lee (Seth Gabel) is falling in love with is not his is commendable, to say the least.
I am known for making statements that earn me the ire of Fringe fans. I am proud to present to you my latest such statement: I hope that Peter and Lee become friends, all the more that Lee is the only person who is treating Peter like he is normal. I must also admit that I fully understand Peter’s point of view regarding Lee, as well as his opinion regarding Lee dating Olivia. While a lot of Fringe fans hate that this timeline’s Olivia and Lincoln are on their way to become an item, fact is, they do make a cute couple and their personalities mesh very well. Peter belongs with the other Olivia, the one whose life he touched since they were children. And so, once again, I put my life in the hands of irate fans but supporting this timeline’s Lee-Olivia romance, and hope the fact that I want Peter to find a way back home to his (and our) Olivia will earn me a reprieve.
However, I do have a second ire-provoking statement for this review (which might annihilate my chances of being forgiven for my above-mentioned statement): there is a special place in my heart for this timeline’s Lee. He cemented his place in this episode when he shared with Olivia his state of mind, that is, the destruction of the basic rules that previously gave his life structure. Having worked for many years with young people between the ages of 11 to 15, it struck a very familiar chord. These preteens and teens oftentimes shared with me that, as their understanding of what is happening in their own home increases, the basic rules that governed their lives would either be seen in a completely different light or be shattered outright. I also felt a deep empathy to what Lee has been feeling because I, too, both as a preteen and as an adult, regularly felt like the rug was (and, at times, still is) been pulled out from under my feet when certain truths I used to believe in were completely overturned.
This links (quite nicely, actually) to another theme at the heart of Fringe, that of interconnectedness. The emphasis this time is placed on the fact that we all need each other and should not do things on our own – especially the really tough tasks that some of us are given. Of course, I am referring here to Olivia (all of them) and her relationship to Fringe Division (all of them). While Olivia is, in all universes and timelines, pretty amazing on her own, and that, as she puts it in this episode, she can do it – fact is that she does not have to do it alone, as Lee says before helping her open the bottle of migraine pills.