I hope we can all survive the long hiatus from our beloved show. This past episode was good, very telling about the world of Fringe and the mark it leaves on us every day.
I really liked this episode. It gave us a deeper insight into the world that we all long to be a part of, the world where we all want to be seen. It harkens back to the ‘Brown Betty‘ episode (again) for me.
It will be a long hiatus, but the promo for Fringe S4x08 ‘Back to Where You Have Never Been’ looks amazing! Especially since we get to walk in both worlds and some old “friends” are back…Cannot wait until January 13, 2012!
Now for my review…the opening scene with Olivia (Anna Torv) seems different. What I mean by, Olivia seems different is that she is slightly askew, darker almost. Maybe the migraines she is experiencing, maybe the off kilter way her world has been lately.
Or maybe it could just be the fact that she feels out of place, not seen. The scene had an odd feel to it, brilliantly done by Anna Torv (once again, she never ceases to amaze). She seemed to be out of place at just the right place. The way she carried herself, the way she walked, the way she was with Lincoln in the diner. It was all beautifully done, made the viewer feel off somehow, made them feel like a Wallflower.
I find it ironic that this episode was named ‘Wallflower’, it fit perfectly into what U-GENE was trying to do, what he was trying to say. How he was trying to be seen, kind of how Olivia has felt her whole life.
I loved how you see glyphs throughout the show, the flower and the butterfly in the diner and the butterfly again in Olivia’s apartment n the lampshade. The red in the diner is interesting, too. It practically surrounded both Lincoln (Seth Gabel) and Olivia. Made me think of their Alt personalities, how they are always on the cusp of something, but never quite get there. I also noticed the song that was playing in the background “Fade into You” by Mazzy Star. Another perfect example of how everything is placed in the scene for a reason. The lyrics to the song are very symbolic of Olivia’s situation, with Lincoln and Peter (Joshua Jackson).
I loved how Olivia hesitated for a split second when she had informed Lincoln that Fringe events and the weirdness has become part of her life. The way that Anna, once again, revealed that panic and realization through her eyes, was wonderful. She was subtle about it, especially since she looked away when she came to realize it. Almost becoming ashamed at that fact and did not want Lincoln to know.
The store scene with Peter and his ‘bodyguard’ was funny, but telltale. It was sad to see that Peter is reduced to this, but also wonderful to see Josh display his wit and sarcasm as only he can.
He has such a great understanding of Peter and his place that it is not hard for Josh to always be brilliant. It was sad to think that the bodyguard thought Peter would hurt a child. It made me think of how Peter was with Ella (Lily Pilblad) or the Bishop Tribe he longed to have with Olivia. If anything, Peter embraces the fact that he is great with children, after all look at Walter’s behavior most of the time.
Walter was not as present in this episode as I would have liked to see him, but when he was, John Noble was brilliant. His slip of Leprechauns being real was hilarious. He never ceases to amaze me and sprinkle a little bit of that mad scientist around. His use of Repigmantize was great…he has his own language, so to speak on the show. I have often called them Walter-isms, just like Vagenda…brilliant!
The question that Olivia asks Astrid (Jasika Nicole) about the job is curious. Olivia is trying to gauge if she is crazy or not. If she is normal because she does not feel anything, it has almost become normal for her to have no emotion regarding the events. This comes up again towards the end of the episode…but we will get to that later.
The scene with the tank reminded me of two things. One was The Rocky Horror Picture Show and the tank in the Harvard lab. The tank and what it symbolizes to the story is palpable. What the water symbolizes, the renewal, the rebirth, the conduit to other things, the journey that is taken upon entering and exiting the tank.
It was a creepy scene, but one that I feel is necessary to the story. It shows how U-GENE went in one thing and came out another. How Olivia goes into the tank one way and always exits another. How it changes you, not only physically, but in every way possible.
U-GENE is different from the shape shiters, but yet the same. U-GENE needs to be human to be seen, whereas the shape shifters fight to stay human, to blend in. Regardless of the reason, they both keep trophies, both keep parts of their lives. In the case of the shape shifter it is the person’s actually physical body and with U-GENE it is the significant parts of their lives. Their symbols of who they are or the objects that mean something to them, that make them feel whole or human in their world.
The scene for me that was the turning point in the story was when U-GENE entered the elevator with Julie and he feels like a Wallflower, because he isn’t noticed. He fades away, blends into his environment, and becomes invisible. Like a fly on the wall, there but not seen. It was a heartbreaking scene, but one that we have all felt at one time or another. Desperately wanted to be seen by someone or society.
When U-GENE’s condition is first revealed it reminded me of porphyria the sensitivity to light, living in the darkness, the shadows…not being seen. It reminded me of the ‘Inner Child‘ episode and the little boy they found underground who seemed to have a similar condition.
The bromance between Peter and Lincoln…love it. It is nice to see Lincoln growing closer to Peter and gaining his trust. They both need friends right now and it seems that they have a simpatico that meshes well. The quote that Lincoln says “I’ve never met anyone like her” reminded me of the similar quote Peter says to Olivia in the ‘Jacksonville‘ episode. It makes Peter proud because he knows what he means, he said it himself to Olivia, in a different timeline.
I love when Peter says ‘my Olivia’…the love is very real and Josh does an excellent job of conveying that through his eyes. His whole demeanor changes and it is noticeable. He needs to get home, needs to be back where he belongs. It was great to hear him say déjà vu when he entered the Bishop house again. All the memories-good and bad-returning and helping Peter cope with his current situation. It also must have been awkward for Peter to be back home but not home, at least not in the real home he longs for.
When Walter told Lincoln about the octopus and how it collects things for its nest, it tries to blend in, again it reminded me of U-GENE and his quest to be seen. That he was killing himself to be normal. That statement made perfect sense.
We are all trying every day of our lives to be normal, to belong, and to be accepted, to matter. It is almost societal that we are willing to do anything at any cost to be seen. We are metaphorically killing ourselves to be normal.
When the team finally goes after U-GENE and Olivia breaks off from the group, you know it is a mixed blessing. Olivia knows this man, she knows what it feels like, whether she admits it now or not, but she does. It is a good thing that she is alone, U-GENE would not have opened up to her, revealed himself to her and made her examine her own self and her invisibility if she had been with Lincoln or any other member of the team.
Olivia seems to always be better at getting people to open up to her than any other character. Anna has that uncanny way of showing her vulnerability and strength at the same time. She wears her heart on her sleeve and her emotions on the surface. They are just waiting to be triggered, and I know that it is a matter of time before that flood gate opens.
The scene between U-GENE and Olivia is crucial. It is what the zenith, the reason Olivia was put there for. The essence of who she is as a person and an FBI agent. She was the strongest one, as Bell said many times. She was the one that survived the trials, the only one that really counted the one that at this point saved not only her life, but U-GENE’s as well. ‘You understand right now how important it is to be seen-your life depends on it-me seeing you right now’. When U-GENE said those words to Olivia, he wasn’t just talking about her present situation, he was talking about her in general. What she has been going through since Peter came back.
‘All my life I have been watching them live theirs, watching them fall in love, to be looked upon by the right person, to connect and to see in their eyes, kindness, happiness and recognition, that’s when you exist’ one of the most heartbreaking statements ever on Fringe. Olivia knows what that feels like. In this timeline, she longs for that. Peter knows what that feels like and needs to get back to that. He needs to get back to where he belongs.
When the team finally heads to the basement and sees the trinkets or trophies that U-GENE has collected, Olivia picks up a locket. A very personal item, the shape of a heart that almost always carries a deep sense of love within it. When Olivia states that it is not about curing himself but about being seen, again it is herself she is speaking of. Her whole life has always been in shadow. That hole in her life, not being complete, Olivia knows full well what that means. Of course, Anna’s inflection is perfect and unwavering. She is collected about it while being conflicted.
Now we come to the last scene with U-GENE. This is one of the most gut wrenching, heartbreaking, beautiful, sad and any other word you could use to describe what takes place. When Julie ‘sees’ him and talks to him it is profound. What she says to him is even more profound since he always thought that he was the Wallflower, that he was invisible.
He fulfilled what he set out to do. He no longer has to live, he got what he wanted to be seen by the woman he loves. He never takes his eyes off of her the whole time. He is almost afraid that is he does he will fade away again and become the one thing he has fought his whole life to become…real. All he ever wanted was to be like everyone else (kind of like Olivia).
How could he be like everyone else? He would never be like anyone else (Olivia), not after what they did to him (Olivia). When Olivia questions the Cortexiphan to Nina (Blair Brown) Olivia is so conflicted, lost, confused and ashamed. Anna Torv is brilliant in this scene, she conveys it beautifully and you feel her pain.
When Nina says to her “You can’t let what happened to you as a child define you. Life is an experiment, you have to find out where you belong, find your own place in the world’…Brown Betty anyone? That was too eerie, but then again, it is the mother of all foreshadowing. That episode has come back time and time again.
When Olivia says ‘But shouldn’t I know where that is by now?’ and Nina answers her with an interesting answer ‘Not necessarily, when the time is right, you’ll know’ is a directly related to what happens at the end of the episode. Nina makes it her duty to make sure that Olivia never finds out what her purpose is, where she belongs, and why she is so crucial. I guess we know what is causing Olivia’s migraines.
Great episode despite the lack of Peter in it. I know that some people are pissed off because this year is supposed to be the year of Peter, but so far that hasn’t happened. I know the producers have never let me down and with the preview of the episode in January, things are going to get interesting to say the least.
My fellow Fringe fans. Have a fantastic Thanksgiving, AND watch lots of Fringe reruns on DVR or On-Demand!
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Until next time,