Fringe Review: The Paradox of Peter Bishop

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I take the titles of Fringe episodes seriously.

It seems that everything done on the show is a clue or hint at what to expect down the line. I didn't know the meaning of "Novation", so I looked it up. The substitution of a new obligation for an old one.

Walter feels his mistakes of the past have come back to haunt him and to test whether he will repeat them. Will he accept this man as his son, as he took Walternate's son in the past?

Lincoln in ActionThose aren't your average shape shifters!
It turns out earlier theories that the technology for the new shape shifters came from Walternate were incorrect. It was a brilliant man in our universe (Malcolm Truss, played by Arye Gross) who created the formula that had people changing right before our eyes. He even did it for a good cause, to try to help burn victims and others who had lost skin repair their own.

The project was highly classified (aren't they all?) and cancelled due to the whim of William Bell and his concern that they were playing God. Some time after that Walternate must have gotten his grimy paws on it, because they've definitely been trying to perfect it ever since.

All sorts of people got caught up in the mystery this week, including Malcolm's ex wife and new husband. I was totally confused how they fit into the equation until the shifter changed into her in front of Malcolm. I wonder if he'll be a recurring character, since he has the most knowledge about this new group of shifters that are going to invade our universe.

If Peter is right, that that they can change to people on a molecular level, a total DNA exchange, they will be quite the force to recon with. But why was it so important to create that when there are already doubles of everyone on the other side? Couldn't they just send an army of regular humans and infiltrate like Fauxlivia did with Olivia?

Where are our alternate friends, anyway?
The alternate universe barely made an impact on this episode, other than through a new typewriter to communicate with the shifter. I really miss Fauxlivia, Charlie and Alt-Lincoln. I was hoping the cooperation between the worlds would be more heavily utilized than we've seen so far.

What's the deal with this "Peter Bishop?"
Walter absolutely cannot wrap his head around the enigma that is Peter Bishop. He's using what appears to be the Michael Jackson method of sleep therapy so he can get that man out of his head, if even for a minute. I love how curmudgeonly Walter is in this new timeline. The things that come out of his mouth are just as funny, but a tad more harsh, than the man we've come to love.

Nina notices that despite his insistence Peter cannot be his son, he was busying himself cooking Peter's favorite dessert. Finally, a wonderful scene between Walter and Nina. His anguish at seeing the eyes of his dead young son in the eyes of an adult terrifies him and yet pulls him, as well. With the many wrongs he has caused, he thinks the return of Peter is the ultimate punishment for his wrong doing.

Nina sees it a different way. As a second chance. Or, in Walter's case, a third. He lost two sons already. Should he really so readily dismiss that this man isn't his son and turn from him when he is desperately seeking his help? Nina doesn't think so, and by the end, you feel that Walter will eventually find his way to Peter.

Other interesting tidbits:

  • Thank you, Lincoln, for being nosy about the relationship between Olivia and Nina! Getting these answers to prevailing third timeline questions makes me giddy. It makes sense why this Olivia is lighter than our Olivia. She spent time in a loving home.
  • Olivia took the chance and asked Lincoln to go for a bite to eat. It seems this man isn't as smitten with her charms as Alt-Lincoln is with Fauxlivia's. He's also still living in a hotel. Isn't it time to find a permanent residence? At least we viewers need not worry any longer that we will be subjected to a love triangle with Olivia, Lincoln and Peter.
  • Olivia is questioning her "history" with Peter by wondering why he would appear to her in her dreams. It makes sense for Walter to see the man Peter might have become, but she has no idea why he was visiting her.
  • Did you notice the shape shifter climbing and running on the walls like freaking Spiderman? What was that? It makes you wonder what they've been doing to them on the other side,  because I find it hard to believe that Truss would have coded that little skill into his experimentation.
  • I don't know if you're aware, but in reality, stem cell research has come up with a spray on skin that repairs bad burns in mere days. The fringe sciences are finally taking hold.
  • Did you recognize the Fringe offices? They were exactly like the ones in the alternate universe. We still need to learn how the fringe division became so honored in this new timeline.

Only two more episodes to go before a two month hiatus. How can they torture us so? What did you think of "Novation" and what do you hope to see in the next two episodes of Fringe?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (106 Votes)

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

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SH*T. 2 MONTH HIATUS?!? -faints- @kenaveco I don't know what you're talking about, Fringe is still going to have 20-22 episodes this year. The two months is going to cover the months of December and January. But I agree, one month I can understand. Two? Not so much. It's like they're setting up Fringe to fail. Switching to Fridays I understood. (However I feel Wednesdays or Tuesdays would do better for the show.) Even the hiatus because of baseball, I reluctantly accepted it. (RELUCTANTLY) With so many breaks between episodes, how can FOX expect fans to be invested in the show if there are so many gaps between episodes. I vote there should only be 6 weeks for Christmas hiatus... Please?

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To Bamboo: so Olivia protecting Walter is harsh? Asking what his intentions were is harsh? She stands opposite a stranger, who has upset Walter who could go of the rails because of that and she does wnats to know what he wants, and protects Walter.
Olivia cannot do much good can she?
thhe writers should have made clear that this is a different timeline, so different characters, different reactions and Olivia does need scenes like they write for Walter to give more insight. Walter already has a huge backstory and still John Noble needs those scenes and a phobia to give us the iedea of another Walter, Anna Torv shows us another Olivia without any of that, but for some viewers more information is needed besides the few facts.
Mr. Pinkner you made the mistake once, please do not do it to her again.

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So what the networks gleened from the success cable channels are having is to screw around with the seasons...put huge breaks between a few episodes?? Come on, already!! Watching Grimm on Hulu.com, by the way!! It's pretty entertaining!! If networks want to do what cable is doing, INVEST IN BETTER SHOWS and junk the crap that is reality TV.

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Peter was so relieved and funny in this ep in spite of being rejected by Olivia and Walter and et al! he's very calm, to my surprise! what Olivia did to him was so harsh and made me freak out. i'm so happy that Lincoln wasn't interested in dating Olivia. i was so confused and worried for a last couple of weeks. sooner or later, Fringe team would know how important Peter is (proved partly through what he helped find the shapeshifter last night)
i was stunned by the shapeshifter's ability! she could climb the wall like spiders! that was awesome! i think Broyles should use well-informed Peter to break the code of shapeshifting before it's too late!!

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I thought it was a great episode. Wonderful acting by Josh Jackson and John Noble. The dynamic between Olivia and Lincoln is quite interesting; I knew the writers would make it interesting, not soapy.
To those questioning the schedule - I believe the typical season now IS 22 episodes. Novation was the fifth episode. This year there has been one rerun (of the premiere) in order to position the second 4 story arc during the November sweeps. Unfortunately, Baseball happened - Game 7 of the World Series preempted the 10/28 episode, which was shown this week. There will be two more new episodes before the winter hiatus (unless Fox decides to have mercy and show the 8th episode (which should have been the 'fall finale') in 2011. Otherwise, we'll get an extra episode in 2012.
I'm loving this season of Fringe. We get a new perspective and it's fascinating to take a step back and see the callbacks to previous episode. For example - this reminded me a bit of "FireFly" in S3 - Roscoe had a second chance with his son - and now Nina suggests that this might be a second chance for Walter... Smartest show on television!

Megan-doherty

Oh and also, I trust this version of Nina Sharpe even less than I trust the original version.

Megan-doherty

I was fascinated by the dynamic between Peter and Olivia this week. I thought we would get to see far more interaction between them (I must admit though that I'm not disapointed because it just means some really epic stuff is still to happen between them in future episodes), usually Olivia is so 'take charge'when it comes to investigations but this week she sat herself in the backseat. I think it was completely predictable that she would be a little freaked out by Peter, and I thought it was interesting that this was the episode she asked Lincoln out. My guess is that she is just SO freaked out by the pull Peter has for her, that it made her want to distract herself. But what interested me most was Peter's reaction to Olivia. He didn't try to convince her that they were in love or had a relationship.(I can not wait for that scene, I wonder if Peter will reveal it or if Olivia will put it together herself), He's scared. In that last scene with Walter (My favourite of the episode) when Peter says "Olivia looks at me as if I'm a stranger, like she's scared of me" my heart broke a little.
It looks like next week Peter and Olivia have far more interaction with each other. Can't wait!!!

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I love most of this season, mainly because it gives Olivia a chance to have contact with walter, Astrid, Nina, during seasons 1-3 she was more and more isolated by Peter, no idea why the writers did that.
They could have given some of Lincoln scenes to Astrid, I was hoping for more Olivia/Astrid on the crimescene, like 4.01.
I am more interested in the timeline/parallel universe stuff then the shapeshifters.
The scenes that stood out for me in this episode were Olivia/Walter, Olivia against Peter, Olivia/Lincoln and especially Olivia in Nina's office
For the first time!!!! we heard what happened with Olivia after the death of her mother, 70 episodes and another timeline it took.
We have the same Walter /Peter scenes over and over again, they have had dozens of scenes about their guilt, grief, grief about their wife/mother and nothing for Olivia.
Olivia Dunham is the lead of Fringe, we know nothing about her father, 1-2 small scenes that mention her mother , 3 small scenes about the stepfather, all of them only 2 sentences, more facts.
We see Walter for the zillion time with Peters box, why no scene of Olivia doing something like that? A photograph of her mother, memorylane with her sister?
I do not feel sorry for Walter, it is getting more and more selfpity, so those scenes leave me completely cold.
So he lost a son, did he care about him then?
He abused children of the same age, did not care at all how that would affect their lives, they were Subjects for them, in real life he would be locked up in a far away corner of a prison.
Why have there only been 2 small scenes between Olivia and Walter about this abuse? There should have been many more, instead she has to take care of him and protect him.
Olivia has lost a father, a mother, abused by a stepfather, she was that desperate she shot him, abused and drugged by Walter all before the age of 14, and still each and every grieving and "feel sorry for me"" scene is for Walter. I know it is set up around Walter/Peter, does not mean you can completely neglect Olivia's backstory.
There is still a chance to do something about that, although far to late, and would do justice to Anna Torv, who is awesome in each and every scene, beautiful subtle emotional.

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I am thoroughly disgusted with this season so far...although we haven't had much of a season...We had what 4 episodes???? And now I hear that we will have a 2 month break? That means this season will be what 8 episodes long? Maybe I'm too old, but I remember when the TV season was 20-22 episodes long, with a break at Christmas because every channel had Christmas specials on. With the competition from all the cable channels, I would think that you would want to keep your viewers coming back week after week. I long for the kind of episodes from the first season that got me hooked on this show...the weird things happening, and Walter somehow knowing or figuring out how to fix it. "When Belly and I used to..." I liked the camaraderie of the 4 main characters (Olivia, Walter, Peter and Astrid)and that is totally missing in this season. If we start going off into numerous universes, I shall start watching Grimm.

Beverly-brooks

I hate all the breaks. Just when I start getting used to my Fringe fix, they take away from me. AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Fringe Season 4 Episode 5 Quotes

Olivia: Walter, he says you're the only one he will speak to.
Walter: Me?
Olivia: Walter, he says his name is Peter Bishop. He says he's your son.

Well, what choice do I have? I've been haunted for weeks with visions of a strange man. And now the man is here, in the flesh, in our midst, and no one will let me examine him or even see him. I'm kept in the dark knowing nothing. How's a man supposed to get some rest with all these uncertainties?

Walter
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