Fringe: Through the Looking Glass and What Walter Found There

Posted by: Andrew Burns  //  November 15, 2012 @ 1:25am

Filed under: TV Recaps/Reviews 

Like many viewers that saw last week's Fringe episode I was curious what was to come of Peter after he put Observer tech in his body. What kind of abilities or side effects would he have? Would he go bald, get drunk on water, and only have a taste for habanero peppers? Well it turns out Peter slowly is becoming Neo from the Matrix.

"Through the Looking Glass and What Walter Found There" starts off with Walter uncovering another tape out of amber in his lab, which leads him to an apartment building on the West side of Boston. Not willing to wait for the rest of the group Walter retraces his steps from the video tape and goes to the apartment building alone to find the next piece of the plan. The building had been bombed almost 20 years before but Walter (and his still unknown partner, Donald) didn't actually hide the next piece of the plan inside but rather in a 'pocket universe' only accessible from one spot in the building. Peter, Olivia, and Astrid soon realize where Walter had gone to and make their way into the pocket universe to join Walter for some very intriguing discoveries.

Out of all the season five episodes so far this is the only one that I really had a problem with. It wasn't so much the story being told but the lack of originality in telling it that I had a problem with. The majority of this episode played out like as if the Matrix movies were made for TV; I'll explain a little bit more. First you have Walter being in this pocket universe he created years ago to hide part of his plan which pretty much felt like him being the Keymaster character from Matrix Reloaded. Him being the only one able to navigate those corridors and for the most part knowing which doors lead where. Secondly is Peter and his new found abilities being very Keanu Reeves Neo-like after putting the Observer tech in himself. Peter can fight the Observers like Neo could fight Agents. He can also see the world in an almost computer code like way, again like Neo. The similarity of Peter also having tech in the base of neck and those people plugged into the Matrix is hard to ignore. I'm not saying Fringe plagiarized the Wachowski brothers here because most of the stuff here is still has their own unique signature to it but if they could have showcased Peter's new abilities better so this comparison couldn't have been made.

As for the good bits of the episode I really enjoyed the discoveries the Fringe group made inside the pocket universe. The whole part about the guy who was trapped in the pocket for 20 years, but it only felt like 5 days, was a bit weak but it helped explain how that universe worked differently. There was a cool part where a series of the doors in a hallway all had the different Fringe symbols that the series showed just as they were going to commercial ever since the Pilot. Symbols like the six fingered hand, the seahorse, or the babies inside the apple. Then there was the hidden piece of the plan not being a piece at all but it being a who, the little Observer boy from season one. I'm pretty sure Fringe had never came back to that story-line from season one so this ties in nicely with all the nostalgic fringe events the show has gone back to so far this final season.

There are a few lingering questions by the end of the episode but nothing really considered a teaser per say. Obvious Olivia has suspicions' about this new Peter. She is the smartest character on the show so it wasn't a shock she already is piecing stuff together. "Through the Looking Glass and What Walter Found There" is the second episode this year to mention this mysterious Donald character and from the looks of things he may have the Observer kid with him. Since the group only found a fixed frequency radio in the place of the kid I'm guessing it will act as a one-way walkie-talkie that Donald, or whoever, will periodically broadcast in hopes to contact Walter. The pocket universe was cool and all but I'm curious if the show will bring back the alternate universe now that they showed it was easy to create fixed universe-to-universe doorways.

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Tags: Fringe, Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble, Lance Reddick, Jasika Nicole, Blair Brown, The Matrix

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Andrew Burns loves film and comics, and can be found writing about when those worlds converge. You can follow him on Twitter at @myAndrewBurns.

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