Fungus with feelings sounds like a terrible idea to put on screen. Luckily Fringe didn't draw their inspiration for this telekinetic 'shroom concept from another past multi-universe tale: the 1993 disappointment film that was Super Mario Bros. And even if they did I'm glad they left out the Goombas.
It was hard to have a repeat performance after last week's brilliant episode but that's not to say this week's episode, "Alone in the World", wasn't an important one. The fringe event that kick starts the episode is when two school bullies who corner a fellow class member, Aaron, become infected with an advanced decomposing fungus. This rapidly growing and lethal fungus doesn't harm Aaron as it had formed a symbiotic bound with him. Walter and the fringe team have to separate the mental link between the boy and the fungus or risk killing them both if they destroy it. All the while Walter remains to see and hear visions of Peter trying to break through as he begins to think the hallucinations are a sign of him losing his mind again.
The fringe event of the week mirroring the main cast's situation was a lot more obvious this week, yet still was necessary to help flush out some of the missing details now that Peter has supposedly never been in the picture. In helping the young boy Aaron, Walter reveals some of the missing pieces about how this new Peter-less reality came to be. It seems like everything the show had already set up in terms of backstory remains the same up until the point where the observer rescues Walter and Peter from the falling into the frozen Reiden Lake. Or rather, in this reality the observer wasn't there and Peter drowned and Walter still survived. Thus, explaining the break between universes and no Peters.
The rest of the episode was filled with similar moments or scenes that helped fill in the blanks for how the show's timeline has been altered. Kind of an explainer episode if you will. Both Nina and Massive Dynamic are mentioned during the episode, but never really seen, possibly to tell the audience that not everything has changed. The other plot holes get patched in a scene where Walter meets for his monthly evaluation with Dr. Sumner from St. Clair's. Continuity wise it was great that Fringe brought back William Sadler to reprise his role of Dr. Sumner from almost three seasons ago. That scene not only explains how Walter was able to be released from the mental intuition without being under Peter's care but it also furthers Walter questioning his psychosis because of Peter bleeding through.
Joshua Jackson may not be back yet but his return is definitely on its way with both Walter and Olivia searching for Peter together. It just took Fringe's most gruesome scene to date to get Olivia to admit that she was to seeing an unknown man (aka Peter) in hallucinations. Fringe has done some freaky things over the years, especially considering it is pretty much PG14 for TV, but Walter's final scene in the episode takes the cake. Seeing Olivia walk into Walter's office and having him lobotomize himself with a hammer and chisel I can only sum that visual up in one word: gnarly. I can hold my own when it comes to seeing some pretty gross or appalling stuff in horror films but seeing that chisel sticking out of Walter's eye made me squirm a bit. Thankfully Walter didn't get to finish his extreme version of self-help.
If next week's episode follows the same trend as last season Fringe will be back in the alternate universe. Other than see Peter's return, more alternate universe is what I'm looking forward to the most. Still waiting for that Walter and Walternate scene, and I'm pretty sure Fringe fans are with me on that one.
Andrew Burns loves film and comics, and can be found writing about when those worlds converge. You can follow him on Twitter at @myAndrewBurns.