Fringe and Walter Trip on Some Black Blotter

Here’s a surprise: Walter takes LSD to jog his memory about how to destroy the Observers.

Walter freaks everyone out, starting with Astrid, when she finds him wandering through the lab at oh-dark-thirty. He said her hair was beautiful. She was distracted only briefly, however, on account of the fact she held in her hand a beeping radio—a radio they found in the pocket universe.

The radio is emitting the same pattern over and over, and they could really use Walter’s help deciphering it. They’ll have to wait. He says the beep is in the key of A minor.

Clearer heads prevails and Olivia and Peter decide to contact Anil to see if they can triangulate the signal. After all, it’s coming through a radio. It must be transmitted from somewhere nearby. “Nearby” is a beautiful wooded area with extremely tall trees.

They find a rundown motor home parked in the middle of the forest, and the skeletal remains of several Observers and Loyalists. Olivia estimates the site to be at least 15-years-old. Peter traces a thick coaxial cable through the forest and up a very tall tree: The perfect tower for a radio transmitter.

At the same time, Olivia extracts the wallet from the body behind the wheel of the RV. They’re expecting it to be Donald, but to her great surprise it’s Sam Weiss, her old guide from the bowling alley in a different timeline. She surmises he was protecting the radio transmission.

Meanwhile, back at the lab, Walter is hallucinating. He’s seeing his old nemesis Dr. Carla Warren, as well as Nina. She’s just his memory, of course, but his LSD gambit is working. She’s playing a game of “hotter” and “colder” with him as he moves around his lab trying to unearth some more clues.

I found this particular storyline interesting. It’s an appropriate use of LSD—Black Blotter—by a trained professional, and I’m glad the writers went down this path. It’s a great way—and an interesting way—for them to move the story along because there’s no real telling how little or much memory he could possibly unlock through the use of the powerful hallucinogen.

I also like it because it worked! Walter finds a notebook he’d hidden eons ago and it’s kind of the Holy Grail when it comes to knowing how to rid the world of the Observers. It is in fact his “life’s work,” at least according to Carla.

Walter finds himself in a cab in Manhattan, unsure how he got there, but still tripping hard on the LSD. Suddenly, Astrid opens the cab door and they’re in the country, at a riverside boathouse. They’re taking a small boat to an island. It’s where Olivia and Peter tracked the radio signal.

Where’s all the action, you ask? A boatful of armed Loyalists appears at the dock and the bullets start flying. Needless to say, the Fringe team is still on its way to Thimble Island. And the Loyalists? We should really call them ex-Loyalists at this point.

I’m super thrilled with what transpires on Thimble Island. Remember the child Observer who Walter hid away in the apartment inside the pocket universe? Well, we now know where he is! Before we learn any more, however, Walter leaves on a little mental trip that was total homage to Monty Python, and in particular the artwork created by their lone American troupe member Terry Gilliam. A truly fantastic scene; one of the best of the series.

The couple, Richard and Caroline, had tended and watched over the mute child Observer, whom they call Michael. In what can only be deemed a heartbreaking turn of events, Michael has to leave them after two decades and return to the old Harvard lab with the Fringe gang.

Back at the lab, Olivia asks Michael if he remembers her. He nods. I love this because he knew a different Olivia on a different timeline. Human Observers experience time differently than human non-Observers, which is why he can remember her in this timeline and the other one. Shades of Philip K. Dick if you ask me!

In the final scene, Walter is having a hallucination-induced conversation with Carla. The conversation ensues between a much younger Walter and a much younger Carla, with an occasional much younger Nina interjected here and there.

Carla tells Walter there are some things meant only for God’s tampering, with Walter saying there’s only one God in his lab and it isn’t her God.

He burns the notebook he found as Nina and Carla both tell him the fight against the Observers have only just begun.

This really was a great episode. The story was interesting, and the LSD-induced memory recall was pure brilliance. Finally, nine episodes into the final season, the story has made leaps and bounds forward. With just four episodes to go, we are now in the homestretch featuring a dead-heat horse race. I can’t wait to see how it’s all going to shake out!

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Stephanie is a writer for CableTV.com.


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