Time loops make for a humorous way to spend February 2nd but maybe not if it happened to you on any other day. This week's Fringe puts it's own unique spin on time anomalies with everything from time loops, bubbles, chambers, and displacements. Not quite the Groundhog Day effect but Peter starts to get equally as frustrated as Phil Connors did back during his time in Punxsutawney.
"And Those We've Left Behind" is only the second episode to have Peter back in the picture and Walter is still not liking it or him one bit. When a series of time displacement events begin to shift certain contained areas (aka bubbles) backwards in time by four years (if only for a short period of time) the Fringe division looks at Peter being the possible source. After the signs aren't pointing at Peter he helps the team track down these man-made time anomalies to a suburb in Boston. There a husband has found a way to bend the laws of time and psychics so he can be with his ailing wife in a time before her Alzheimer's had taken over. Peter gets out of FBI lockup and stretches his legs back in the field with Olivia and the rest of the gang to help stop these events from getting worse.
This Fringe episode may the most technical confusing episode to date, terminology wise, but the complex science aside it's story of what kind of extreme lengths a husband would go to for his wife helps simplify it. I'm not even coming to try and define any of those terms because mostly they go over my head. Between Walter's regular scientific jargon and Peter's radical thinking the episode's dialogue boarders on being too intellectually advanced for the average viewer to decipher. That minor fault is pretty much solved after the husband and wife story-line becomes more prominent over the course of the episode. A lot of time theory research must have gone into this episode or the writer was just very good at making everything sound legit because the level of detail that went into the different concepts of time all seemed brilliant in theory. Not since Lost have I been both confused and entertained at the same time with complex workings of time glitches.
During all the seriousness of the time displacements Fringe has some great fun moments with Peter being in his own time loop. Not exactly like Groundhog Day's day-after-day repeats Peter is instead bounced back and forth between a short period of time. Kind of like a CD skipping back and forth during a song, only Peter is the only one doing the skipping. The reason this makes some funny stuff is because he goes from talking to Olivia in the lab to talking to himself on the roadside. Or my favourite, Peter yelling to Olivia and Lincoln when they are far away one moment and the next yelling inside the car. This effect on Peter only seems to last during a portion of the investigation and not the rest of the episode oddly enough. Not sure why but my guess is it would have taken away from actually solving the fringe event.
Unlike last week's many fill in the blanks moments "All Those We've Left Behind" only has a few scenes that help explain things to both Peter and the viewers at home. The biggest probably being that Peter either can't remember trying to communicate to Walter and Olivia from wherever he was, or it wasn't actually him. This may or may not be important down the line but Peter seemed to be just as shocked as Olivia and Walter first were.
There is no doubt the concept of time is and will be this fourth season's main focus. The only thing that still has a question mark on it is Peter and his relationship with this new time-line. With this episode having Astrid showing off some tech given to their Fringe Division by the other Division in the alternate universe it begs the question will they to share things like Peter when it comes to their full disclosure alliance? I'm excited to see where the show takes Peter in this new time-line and if he visits the other side. He hasn't even mentioned the bridge he built on Liberty Island before his disappearance after all so its tough to say. If the preview for next week's episode is any indication of Peter's next move popping over to say hi to Walternate doesn't look to be in the cards.
Andrew Burns loves film and comics, and can be found writing about when those worlds converge. You can follow him on Twitter at @myAndrewBurns.