“Fringe” Takes Walter Through The Looking Glass

When the latest episode of “Fringe” started, I was certain we were in for another slow, plodding episode. Then Walter walked through a temporal distortion he’d obviously known about for many years and into a pocket universe. I was immediately struck with the feeling he may have built it.

Walter was cutting through the amber in his old Harvard lab when he found another videotape with clues about destroying the Observers. It takes him to an apartment from his past and into the temporal rift, smack-dab in the middle of the now-abandoned apartment, and into the living room of the same apartment years later.

Growing up reading the fantastic time-travel stories of Philip K. Dick, I love these kinds of temporal stories. I love the notion that each second of time stands on its own and isn’t linear as we believe. It’s dealt with extremely well in this episode.

The rest of the gang is hot on Walter’s trail, complete with a portable camera containing the videotape Walter was watching. They’re roughly thirty-minutes behind and armed with little more to go on than the address of the apartment and an incomplete set of instructions about entering the time portal. Fortunately, they discover the way and it’s off the find the wizard, er, Walter.

One of the really great writing touches comes when Peter and Olivia walk through the time distortion. The videotape starts to contain more information about their quest inside this pocket universe. It’s an excellent mechanism that leads to some shocking discoveries, including Walter’s relationship with a young Observer.

They find the apartment where Walter stashed the youngster, but he’s no longer there, but he should be. It’s only been a couple of days in the pocket universe even though 20 years have elapsed for Walter. They’re quite perplexed about his absence and believe it’s the end of the line on their quest to obliterate the Observers.

They do, however, discover a key piece of evidence that may lead them to him, but it doesn’t seem to work inside the pocket universe. This means exiting back to their timeline, which, unknown to them, has its own set of surprises.

Walter’s presence at the apartment complex was captured by the Observers, and Captain Windmark and his team are hot on his trail, adding some intrigue to a story that so far has been a little subdued and without much action.

An Observer team convenes on the apartment building, and I was certain they were going to draw a blank; silly me. They immediately saw, literally with their eyes, the temporal distortion and walked right through it.

At this point in the episode, it turned into a cracking-good action episode with Observers at every turn. What none of them know, however, is Peter’s recent addition of Observer technology into his brainstem. It turns him into a serious physical force, something for which the Observers were unprepared.

Another bit of good writing has to do with Peter’s brain implant. It comes with a learning curve, but Peter is a quick study and in a matter of minutes he’s besting a fierce Observer. I won’t spoil it all for you, but Peter has discovered how to move very, very quickly. You won’t believe your eyes because Peter doesn’t, either! I like where this is going.

A great deal of the episode was spent talking and discovering clues inside the pocket universe, which made the episode elapse very quickly. Before I knew what was happening I was 50-minutes in hoping something awesome would happen in the next handful of minutes.

It happened as the episode faded to black and the end credits rolled. Grrrrr! I hate when that happens.

All in all, this episode was an informational episode, setting up what looks like an incredible set of events for the next episode. A little slow, it was still gratifying and served to sufficiently advance the story.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Stephanie Caldwell a writer from SLC, UT for CableTV.com>CableTV.com.