Fringe Round Table: "Nothing As It Seems"

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This week our erstwhile panel of Fringe writers and experts digs into "Nothing As It Seems."

Below, staff writers Sean McKenna, Nick McHatton, Carissa Pavlica and Fringephile Nick Shere give their $5 examination of last week's episode and look forward to what comes next. Enjoy, and add your own answers in the comments!


What was your favorite scene/quote?

Nick S: The incredibly awkward conversation between Lincoln and Peter in the car. It's not the best moment in the episode, but it demonstrates something I really admire about how Fringe handles storylines about alternate selves: It respects self-determination. On some shows (say, Doctor Who), a character like Lincoln might feel both obligated and entitled to step in and try to save "his" Olivia from herself.

Sean: The final one. Not only did I like that a story we had already seen before had been revisited, but it extended itself into some ominous boat where the giant porcupine creatures were locked up. And so the plot thickens...

Nick M: The hug between Peter and Walter.

Carissa: Have to agree with McHatton on this one... the hug between Peter and Walter said so much and yet so little. It was perfect.

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What did you make of Walter's opening of Peter's birthday gifts?

Nick S: It was incredibly cute. Also: HUMP magazine? Fantastic.

Sean: It was a good scene. There's something really good about seeing Walter happy rather than nervous or paranoid when it can come to the cases.

Nick M: Very in character for Walter. I liked that there was at least one present in there that Peter did get to enjoy.

Carissa: I’m hoping it’s his acceptance of Peter as his son. Lincoln knows Olivia is his Olivia, so everyone else is getting the idea that Peter is “home,” right?

What did you think of Peter and Lincoln's discussion about Olivia?

Nick S: Er, I guess I jumped the gun with the first question.

Sean: On the one hand I feel bad for Lincoln because there is that sentiment for Olivia. However, the two guys were able to actually have that discussion without fisticuffs and it is hard to break up a happy couple no matter how crazy the alternate reality or time line changes. Great convo between the two.

Nick M: Incredibly awkward, but I'm glad they got it over and done with. Once again though, Lincoln now feels like the odd man out. Where does his character go now? For most of the series we've built towards Peter and Olivia and their bond, how they work together to save the universes, and their future together.

Carissa: It was awkward but well done. I was happy that Peter took the leap after giving poor Lincoln advice on how to win her heart. I mean, OUCH. It just sucks all around.

The old case that was rewritten; did you like how that played out? Thoughts?

Nick S: I love how Fringe does foreshadowing and call-backs. It helps to stitch the show together and to give expanded meaning to early episodes that may feel like one-off narrative dead ends.

Sean:  I liked it because it essentially added layers to the original story while making it its own. It was cool going back to something from the show's beginning and giving us a chance to take it further in a different direction.

Nick M: This case wasn't that great the first time around, but I did like the ending and everyone worked together.

Carissa: I thought it was fun. I can distinctly remember the chick in the kitchen the first time, and thinking she was talking to her cat. Her cat turned out to be a big freak of nature. I love that stuff!

Open forum. GO!


Sean: Just a thought I had and I'm not sure if the show would ever do it but what if Fringe pulls another switch and it turns out Olivia really isn't Peter's Olivia? I know the Observers are kind of the Mr. Know It Alls of the universe, but they've been wrong before with Peter, right? I guess I love how this show makes you think and formulate all those wacky theories.

Nick M: Will the "old" personalities continue to play out with the rest of the team like Olivia? Or is she the exception?

Carissa: I would like the next 7 episodes to play straight this Friday night, so if Fox would be so kind as to accommodate, I’d appreciate it. This waiting a week in between is a raw deal!

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


@Steve L: "If as the Observer says, this is Peter's timeline, how do you explain the present of alt-Broyles?" He didn't say this was his timeline. He said that Peter was "home". Peter is in the "correct" universe, but it remains a universe altered by Peter's erasure and altered again by his reappearance.


I agree with Carissa in terms of the sporatic scheduling at FOX. If someone was looking for a formula on how to tick off and alienate your audience, the boneheads at Fox are showing everyone the way to do it. They are running a perfect 100% in the "We don't have a clue department". Look at the screw ups with Bones and the Finder. The Finder is a great show but you wouldn't know it at you never know when it will show or not. Oh and while I am ranting. Was there really a Bones season? I must have missed it. It went off the air November 4th not to be seen for 5 months.


If as the Observer says, this is Peter's timeline, how do you explain the present of alt-Broyles?
He was killed by Walternate for helping the real Olivia escape back to her universe.


Peter and Lincoln about Olivia only confirms that Olivia has been reduced to the Girl since midseason 3. Walter and his presents, how many more scenes are they going to give him for Poor Walter? How did he get them, as he was locked up as dangerous in St Claires? Best scene was the brief Olivia versus Nina: Nina distant and hurt, Olivia guiltridden, that was the most painful scene. Interesting sidenote:
John Noble only had to play a more broken Walter for a few episodes, and even then he got the quirky moments, he disliked that Walter,(Noble intentions 4.16) imagine what Anna Torv has to go through with her Olivia being in either a sad, broken, insecure etc for so long, and never a loose moment.
Even more respect for Anna Torv now, if possible.


1. Peter/Walter hug.
2. Adorable
3. A strong point of the series.
4. Good. Similar. The ending brought together a bunch of past cases.
5. Fringe marathon!

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Fringe Season 4 Episode 16 Quotes

Why should I expect that because you and I are back together that everything is going to be fine and that the world is going to live up to my every expectation?


Forty percent of all the information you provided is not correct. Which as far as the tenth floor is concerned means you are not the agent they licensed.