Fringe Round Table: "Alone In The World"

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Welcome to another edition of the Fringe Round Table, featuring the show's main critic, Carissa Pavlica and her partners in Fringe-finding events, staff writers Sean McKenna and Nick McHatton.

This week, we ponder the possibilities of how Peter is presenting himself and how the team might get him back. Let's dig in to "Alone In The World."


Why are Walter and Olivia experiencing Peter's presence differently?
Nick: I like to believe they each see Peter differently because it lines up with their respective personalities. For Olivia, the absence of Peter left an emotional hole she can't fill, and the only time she gets temporary solace from that is in her dreams. Her mind is finding the connections to begin filling that hole. With Walter, he is troubled from losing his son twice, and his sanity is so bare boned that anything he thinks could send him back into a cell, lost in his own thoughts is terrifying. What makes it worse is the person who's contacting him is one of the chains the keeps him grounded and allows him to begin gaining it back.

Sean: Well, they each have a different type of connection to Peter, but honestly, I think if they experienced it the same it would be kind of boring. With Olivia’s dreaming of Peter, I’m preparing for a return to the water tank! Time to start entering the dream.

Carissa: I think because Walter is unstable, he is capable of seeing things while awake that others would only see in their dreams. Olivia's mind wouldn't process and put up with an hallucination in the mirror because she has such amazing control over her brain. Her dreams, however, are wide open for Peter to enter at will.

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Now that the two universes have, in effect, merged on some level, does our Olivia still have her abilities or were they altered in the timeline?
Nick: I think so, because one of the main reasons of the drug trials was to find a way to the other side, right? If Olivia isn't able to cross over without harm she couldn't have alerted Walternate of it and then there would be no reason for the merging.

Sean: I completely forgot she had abilities! Now, I’m not so sure. She hasn’t used them yet, so maybe she doesn’t have them. Or maybe she hasn’t discovered (rediscovered?) them yet.

Carissa: I think she still has abilities, and that she has more control over them. It's possible that when Walter lost Peter the second time, he put more effort into experimentation with his class. If we're to assume that the cases over the years were similar, then she would have needed the abilities many times.

Do you find yourself wondering what is going on with the characters off screen, even though they are not real people?
Nick: All the time. Sadly, I can't figure out how Olivia sees the shiny people from the other side.

Sean: I guess if I had to pick someone to wonder about, it would be Walter. He’s so complex and layered. John Noble embodies the character perfectly. Each scene makes me think of Walter as more than just someone portrayed by an actor.

Carissa: Now more than ever. I'm on the lookout from episode to episode for any hints of what happened in this new timeline. Like the answer to the next question, for instance.

Since Alt-Broyles didn't help Fauxlivia escape, how do you think she got back to our universe?
Nick: Maybe he did, but he somehow survived this time?

Sean: Using her flux capacitor and driving her DeLorean 88 miles per hour of course!

Carissa: I don't think the case with the kidnapper on the other side compromised Broyles' son, and Olivia escaped using Henry's help. Olivia and alt-Broyles didn't become as close as they did in Peter's timeline, so he didn't get caught helping her escape. I would love for Henry to play a bigger role as this season progresses.

Now that Walter knows he's not insane, how do you think he will go about finding out who they are seeing?
Nick: I want to think he'll use the tank and/or machine to find a way to communicate with Peter and figure out who he is.

Sean: Lots and lots of tests. And milkshakes. Hopefully no more attempts at lobotomy.

Carissa: I think he's going to be obsessive and determined. Now that he has proof he's not insane, I am hoping the apparition saying "It's Peter" will lead him to question the possibility that Peter didn't die and got trapped between universes. Yes, it's a long shot, but something is going to drive him to get our man back!

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


Putting Olivia back to the tank is the only way to figure out what's happening to Peter!! hurry!! don't give up on him!!


Hi, Those are some good questions, thanks!
... I have to say about Olivia's returning, that I don't remember they mentioned where they kept her or if she even crossed over there. Walter said she was kidnapped for 2 weeks, and replaced by Altivia, and Olivia also confirmed that on the premier, but I don't think things went remotely as they were on the original time line. I hope she kept her abilities though. Anyway, this site is great, I'm glad I found it.


I love all the round tables,,n am frm Africa, Nairobi, Kenya,,am a tv fanatic av got a bookmark for it on my phone,thx for keeping me updated wth everything.


I'm glad you enjoyed it Megan. I think we all have a lot of fun chatting about it and letting our nerd flags fly. So much of the history has been changed, like I've said before I'm really interested how Peter and his timeline will be brought back into the fold, and I think Fringe will use Peter as the character who shares the audience's questions and curiosities.


Megan, you have OFFICIALLY made my day. I'm sorry I was a little on the slow side getting the post up. Love hearing what you have to say. You feel stupid? HA! - Sometimes that's why these are so difficult to do. It's difficult to think of questions, and then the answers that go with them. I love the ideas you raise. I've been wondering if Walter and Astrid are still as close as they were before. I sure hope so. They're friendship has always been one of my favorite aspects of the Fringe dynamic. That he went to her house when he found out he was the heir to Massive Dynamic spoke volumes. I'll try to be more on the ball next week!! Thanks for reading. :-)


I just want to say firstly that I love reading these round table discussions, this is a tad nerdy to admit but I've been waiting all week to read this.
The reveal that Olivia has been dreaming about Peter was such a good one (even though I had seen the drawing earlier in the episode I had completely forgotten about it by episodes end) Don't you think that dreaming about Peter is a far more romantic way for Olivia to recognise his presence than her thinking shes going mental by seeing him in every reflective surface? All I have to say is that they must have been some pretty intense dreams.
I think Olivia does still have her abilities. She was still experimented on as a child so it stands to reason she would still be able to do all the things she could before. Some of them might not be as controlled as they were before though. Like the telekinesis, would she have needed to turn the machine off on the other side this time around? I have all sorts of questions about the machine. Who, in this new timeline, activated it? If not who, then how?
I think of Walter as a real life person. Wouldn't it be cool if they did little promos for the show with Walter having random, non-science encounters with the other cast members, kind of like what they did with True Blood in between seasons one and two. Like Walter and Astrid going to Busby's for the worlds best apple fritters. Or Walter sitting Olivia down for one of his awkward/embarassing chats he normally has with Peter.
The entire circumstances of Olivia's 'kidnapping' fascinate me. I'm hoping when Peter comes back alot of these questions will be answered. He will be saying it happened one way and everyone else will be like 'no way, are you on drugs? It happened this way..."
I think whatever this weeks case is will give Walter some idea of how to proceed with finding Peter.I feel pretty stupid at the moment... I didn't even think about them using the tank to find Peter. That would be fantastic, and also a great call back to the pilot episode.
Anyway thats my two cents about all of your questions. Keep up the great work guys. I look forward to next weeks round table.

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Fringe Season 4 Episode 3 Quotes

Walter, I'm scared. I want to come home. Do you hear me? Walter.


Remarkably pungent stench.