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.
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!