This latest episode of Fringe drops more hints and clues, and plot twists that indicate that we are again in for a crazy end-of- season ride. For the sake of my poor readers, my editors and I have decided post the review in two parts. The first part is meant to be more plot oriented, and the second more concept oriented; the two are so intimately linked that there both parts will most probably feature a little of both.
The episode starts off with quite a metaphorical bang, what with Massive Dynamic having put together the infamous machine whose parts were unearthed in the sixth episode of this season, “6955 kHz”. We already knew that Peter was intimately linked to the machine’s working, but what we didn’t know is that the machine is also intimately linked to Peter’s “working”, and we see its dark effects on him clearly by the end of the episode, in a moment reminiscent of Season 2’s 13th episode, “What Lies Below” (which happens to be one of my favourite Fringe episodes).
The link between Peter and everything happening is therefore a lot deeper than we previously thought, what with the machine going totally crazy when Peter approached it. I have been so focused on figuring out the why that I haven’t seriously thought about the how: if the machine had to be ‘programmed’ to ‘work with’ Peter, then somehow The First People, who seem to have made said machine, had access to his DNA. It could have to do with time travelling, which might involve the Observers as well, as they can time travel. However, it could be that the machine is set to ‘work with’ someone who meets certain criteria, and that person’s DNA somehow gets to the machine. Again, who else but an Observer would be in a position to bring the DNA to the machine?
Needless to say, this makes what happened in the previous episode, “Firefly”, all the more ominous; Walter really might have to one day let go of Peter, and if it is to save him and both worlds, it might be that he will have to let him go to die.
The Observer can be spotted standing in the crowd of curious onlookers behind Olivia and Broyles, as the latter gives the former a run down of the situation. The glyphs spell out “Alter”. The obvious link is to the fact that everyone in the Fringe mythology has an physical alternate version of themselves. But I’m thinking that this word also has to do with the mental alternate version of oneself a person can have. For example, Walter’s current condition is an alternate, in a way, of the person he used to be, one that he has been seeking to retrieve in the last couple of episodes. And of course, there is now an alter version of sorts of Peter, i.e. the one that has been “weaponized” when he got close to the machine.