It is pretty clear that shutting down Truss’ research, in the end, served little purpose. Even had Truss died or Nadine not been able to find him, someone else could have picked it up where he had left off. And let’s be honest: had Truss not found anything, someone else would have. After all, we were all created with intellect and curiosity that make us explore and try to understand the world around us. So while Bell’s decision might have delayed the perfecting of shapeshifting technology, the only way it could have been outright avoided would have been a profound transformation of society on the Other Side to see its purpose being more than simply destroying this universe, in whatever timeline. Again, the concept of perception becomes a central feature of a seemingly unrelated topic.
In contrast to all this discomfort, the different expression of Walter Bishop’s guilt comes as a rather refreshing new take on the way he feels about what he did back in 1985. As discussed in previous reviews of this season’s episodes, it is interesting to see how Peter 2.0’s death in this timeline has lead to a guilt based on self-hate rather than on anger, like the guilt of the Walter from the other timeline. This Walter is convinced that he deserves to suffer as punishment for what he did, rather than realize, as Nina points out, that he has not only already suffered a lot, but that he has changed from the man he used to be.
The scene between Walter and Nina was particularly revealing because he admitted out loud – no small feat for a man with a healthy level of arrogance – that his perception of her was greatly tainted by the events of 1985. The Walter from the previous timeline had yet to express any such reflection the last time we saw him. Blaming others for things that, were we to admit were our fault, would cause a breakdown is part of a natural but destructive defense mechanism. As Walter tells Nina, admitting to what we have done would make us unable to live with ourselves. And so we tend to blame others, especially if they had previously warned us of the possible consequences of our actions.
The one comfort-giving constant in this mostly disconcerting timeline is Peter, although he has come a long way from Season 1. While we do see a bit of the out-of-place Peter from the beginning of Season 1, the one with attitude who bargains relentlessly to get what he wants, he bother does not have the anger and has much most focus, both a reflection of a new level of maturity the last three years have allowed him to develop.