Fringe S04E08 – “Back to Where You’ve Never Been”
Spoilers for Previous Episodes
Fringe made a pretty gutsy move at the beginning of the fourth season by erasing Peter from both universes, and that has paid off in bits and pieces, but it’s in the mid-season premiere “Back to Where You’ve Never Been” were Fringe fans really get the ‘money shot’ as it were. As the trailer promises, Peter travels over to the Other Universe in order to speak to Walternate and ask his help but that’s only the tip of the little nuances buried around this episode. Acting from John Noble is top notch, as always, cumulating in one of the best exchanges of the show’s run. And the ending is worthy of LOST and almost as frustrating. Definitely one of the best episodes this season, a great start to what hopefully won’t be the end of the series.
Peter awakes to Water cooking pancakes and Olivia greeting him with a morning kiss, all is right with the world, except that the waffle machine is broke. The waffle machine is a euphemism for the rift machine used to hold the universes together (I believe) and Peter wakes again to realize it was a dream. He goes to Walter to ask for help and the scene is stunning. From Walter’s reaction to Peter’s stoic plead, and Walter’s explanation… he tried to help Peter once and ruined two universes, lost his sanity, and his wife committed suicide. He simply can’t help Peter again because the cost is too high.
Peter then turns to Olivia who has her own reasons for wanting to get to the Other Universe covertly, to track down the shape shifters. They use Walter’s original rift machine at the theatre where the Olivia’s were switched before. Lee pretends to be himself and is pretty close to getting Peter to Liberty Island but is stopped by LieLee and Bolivia. Before this though, Lee admits that he and Olivia have their own plan to try to get information about the shape shifters, an act which could ruin Peter’s chance of getting Walternate to help him. Peter once again sees the divide between this Olivia and his Olivia growing wider and wider.
Plot point hint was dropped where Peter mentions Olivia can pop over to the other Universe any time she wants… but she doesn’t know that… maybe this will come up later?
During Lee and Peter’s transport to Fringe HQ, their driver gets a call, shoots his partner, then is going to kill Peter and Lee but of course they manage to get away. Lee leads LieLee and Bolivia away while Peter goes his own way. Wonderful first interaction between Lee and LieLee, you can see the similarities in the characters and how they really are the same person, just one more reserved than the other. Nice call back to Joe Flannigan’s character who was killed off in the season premiere, hopefully this means we might see him again too.
Peter has headed to the one person he knows who can help him, his mother. Of course she’s not really his mother, she understands that, and the underlying tone to the scene is very heartbroken. Joshua Jackson who plays Peter took an interesting turn in this episode, playing the whole thing straight faced, stoic even. He’s trying really hard to tell himself that these people don’t matter to him, they aren’t his people, but methinks he protests too much. They are affecting him more than he cares to admit.
Peter’s mother takes him to see Walternate and a wonderful exchange is made between the two men. Peter knows how ruthless and cold Walternate can be and Walternate has a possible enemy of an unknown quantity in Peter. Peter accuses Walternate of being behind the shapeshifters, but Waternate proves in one shocking move (literally) that he is not.
Walternate tells Peter that he is the only person he can trust because he has no allegiances to either side, he only wants to get home, and so asks Peter to help him by letting the other side know that he is not the bad guy. Then follows one of the best exchanges of the whole series:
Peter: You aren’t exactly the kind of man I thought you were.
Walternate: You are exactly the kind of man I thought you’d be.
Absolutely wonderful scene between father and sorta-son. Fringe fans couldn’t ask for anything better.
Of course, that isn’t all! An old enemy returns from the dead and LieLee and Bolivia head into an ambush because the other Broyles is a bad guy, probably a shapeshifter!
As for that ending… Olivia waits in the theater for Lee and Peter’s return only to have The Observer show up, shot, dying, and telling Olivia that he has seen every possible outcome and it’s inevitable, she has to die. Well… hell…