It gives me great pleasure to say welcome back to Fringe it has been a very long hiatus. A long hiatus that Fringe fans barely made it through. Even though this was the episode that was supposed to air last year, it was preempted by the World Series. As much as all of Fringe-dom hated it, I think it was a blessing in disguise.
After viewing this episode several times already it would have been harder to wait through a long hiatus had this episode truly aired at its intended time. So I never thought I would say this, but thank you baseball.
Next week’s promo looks amazing. I am so happy to see one of my favorite villains returning to Fringe in a bigger, bolder and in a more sinister way. We will all certainly be keeping up with this Jones when the new sneak peak now added by FOX Broadcasting. As a result, and in the meantime, we include all three “Enemy of My Enemy” promos and an episodes promo feature below.
Back To Where You’ve Never Been:
Okay let’s get started… The opening sequence is beautiful but heartbreaking. It is a glimpse into what the future holds for Peter if and when he gets back to his timeline.
It is so wonderful to see him with his family, with Walter and Olivia the two people he loves the most. I have found it interesting that Peter says that it was fine being there with them. I thought is was was very fine too.
As we learned in the past when someone on Fringe says they are fine that is not a good thing. If anything is exactly the opposite of what is about to occur.
The fact that Peter is NOT home, that is NOT his father or his life. It is what he desperately needs, to get home to this normality is what Peter is creating and longs to get back to. Peter instead has been dreaming the entire scene in his mind.
Joshua Jackson was perfect in this scene his sense of awe and elation mixed with confusion was written all over his face. His surprise and joy at seeing Walter in the kitchen talking to him, the way he looked at Olivia when she kissed him the whole scene in general you felt happy for Peter and Josh did a fantastic job of making you think that this was real if only for a moment.
The references to The Wizard of Oz are present in this episode as they have been in episodes past. I love that about Fringe, I love that the writers can reference such an iconic movie about not only finding a way home but finding one’s self at the same time.
Peter says multiple times throughout this episode that all he wants to do is go home, much like Dorothy. The difference being is that although all Dorothy had to do was click her heels three times, Peter does not have that luxury, he has a little bit more of a challenge than Dorothy did yet his drive is still the same.
This episode is filled with people saying one thing and then having it actually happen or someone show up at the end. When Walter says that the pinwheel defies the laws of physics, the next thing we see is Peter the very thing that defied physics. Walter’s reluctance to help him is palpable; his hesitation is real and understandable. Then of course there is Walter’s apron!
Walter still keeps Peter at arm’s length and has every reason to. He does not want a get close; he does not want to lose a son again that would be the worst pain ever. John Noble is so perfect in these roles he just brings Walter’s sorrow and pain and broken soul to life. John Noble never ceases to amaze me, he is absolutely perfect in every scene.
No matter what time line that they are in the decision and regret Walter made about Peter (Joshua Jackson) will always haunt him. He will never forget nor will he ever forgive himself. Looking at Peter does not help the fact either it brings back all the memories. Seeing Peter brings back his own let down, he let down Elizabeth (Orla Brady) let down of himself, then he let down of his son too.
Having Peter around does not make it easier since he is a walking, talking in the flesh reminder of it. As much as he wants to help him, he cannot. It would tear him apart; it is almost the fear of losing yet another Peter. He could not survive that it would surely kill him.
Olivia’s (Anna Torv) disdain for Walternate, is clear and with perfect merit. Even though she has such a hatred for him, she understands Peter’s need to see him and to get his help. When Peter is sitting in Olivia’s apartment and Lincoln comes to see her and brings Chicken Soup, there seemed to be a spark of jealousy between the two men.
It was written all over Lincoln’s face and his body language is clear and precise, he is NOT happy to see Peter. There seems to be a connection between Lincoln Lee (Seth Gabel) and Olivia, one that Peter and his Olivia had during the first season. I know that most everyone I know is so opposed to the fact of Olivia and Lincoln as a couple. They are die hard Peter & Olivia fans, myself included, but also realize that the timeline is different.
The one thing I loved about this scene is that Peter had a Freudian slip if you will when he told Olivia that she can cross back and forth by yourself and Olivia (Anna Torv) is confused by this. It just proves that his Olivia is always foremost in his mind. It was as if he forgot where he was an imposed his Olivia’s abilities onto this Olivia. I think he is in the right timeline, there are clues that he is, there are clues that he isn’t. I find it fascinating that that slip happened, he said it without thinking, it was such a natural thing to say.
The scene in the theatre when Olivia fixes Lincoln’s hair and wishes him luck is very sweet. Again it is the spark of connection that they have, the affection they have for each other. It is a great scene between Anna Torv and Seth Gabel, they have fun with each other and it is evident in everything they do, whichever side they are on.
Once Peter and Lincoln exit the theatre and Peter says “Hey scarecrow the flying monkeys are coming,” blatant Oz reference right there. It is also understandable to see Lincoln stop and be stunned to see the Twin Towers in New York.
It brings me back to what Walter and Bell said in previous episodes about the choices that we make and the consequences they have. It is startling for me to see the Towers as well, especially since I had a friend that lost her life in one of them…but I digress. One choice can change your destiny, once choice can change everything, as Peter found out the hard way by entering the machine.
I like the fact that we get to see Walternate actually be a scientist. I love how he scolds Brandon about the fact that even though he is the Secretary of Defense, he is and always will be a scientist. Brandonate (Ryan McDonald) is also interesting.
Whenever we have seen him he has always been a little nerdy, a little goofy or aloof, in this timeline he is none of those things which make sense later on. We really haven’t seen Walternate be close to what our Walter does, dissect shape shifters, etc.
Lincoln was having way too much fun when he posed as Alt-Lincoln and had Peter as his prisoner. You could tell that even though he was convincing he had that small glimmer that he might get his cover blown and they would both be dead. That was great to see Lincoln embrace that part of…well…himself and run with it.
Seth does a great job at playing both sides and doing them in complete opposite fashion. The look on Peter’s face is priceless. I feel that he almost wanted to say to him, ‘you are having way too much fun with this’. The one thing that was puzzling was that Lincoln said that he lost his Show Me card in the East River…my question is why did not Corporal Wheeler ask why he and Peter weren’t wet? But I guess he is not paid to think.
It is unfortunate that Lincoln wants to do the recon that he discussed with Olivia even though that was not Peter’s intention for coming. I can understand his frustration about that. He has one chance to get this right and he will not blow it. He needs to get home, he is there for one purpose and one purpose only.
To do anything other than that is a waste of Peter’s time and not what he signed up for. That is Peter’s agenda, nothing else matters to him but getting home. When Lincoln says “We are fighting for OUR people, whatever these shape shifters are up to we have to stop them. Sorry, but I thought you wanted that, too” and then Peter answers him with “It’s not my fight,” which is a statement he repeats several time throughout the episode.
It is nice to see Peter being able to kick ass again. I miss that part of him, he has almost mellowed since he became ‘domestic’ a little. The scene where Lincoln and Peter escape the car and fight the Fringe agent is great. The teamwork between the two and Peter saying that they are going to do it his way is perfect. Josh has this uncanny ability to be a bad ass and make no apologies about it.
I often equate him to Steve McQueen, this guy who on the outside is handsome and charming and smart, but can kill you with his bare hands if he so chooses. It harkens back to the first and second seasons where Peter kicked ass in certain episodes. It is part of his past, I am sure that Peter has had to fight his way out of situations many times, his life literally depended on it.
Lincoln insulting Lincoln is hilarious, he is almost mocking himself saying “Really, am I that stupid?” nicely done Seth, nicely done. Not quite as good as when Anna Torv is both Olivia and her alternate. Those are some of the best scenes, but then again it is Anna! I love that Alt-Livia was surprised that Peter thought he could trust her and that in the end she would do the right thing. Peter may not know this Olivia, but he does know his Olivia and they are fundamentally the same and that the end of the day each of them would do the right thing. She is not the Alt-Livia that we have seen previously, she is slightly different therefore her choices (again that word) are different and her path is different.
One of my favorite parts in the whole episode is when Peter goes to see Elizabeth Bishop played by the wonderfully exquisite Orla Brady. It is such a gorgeous, bittersweet scene when she recognizes Peter, her eyes…so much love. It is sad because even though this is technically not her son, she still will protect him with everything she has. This may look and sounds like his mother but it isn’t, it just solidifies even more his drive to get back home, to get back to his timeline and the people who ARE his. When Peter says he has people he cares about very deeply his need to go back and find his father and be with Olivia is very strong and powerful.
The scene that is absolute perfection is when Elizabeth says to him that knowing that he grew up and fell in love is what got her through her grief and sorrow. The reaction that Josh gives her upon hearing the statement ‘fell in love’ is a clear. He is deeply in love and is in immense pain because he cannot be with her right now and his desperation has reached a critical level.
I am sure that Peter has had his fair share of handcuffs in the last few episodes to last a lifetime. If her never sees another pair I am sure he will be happy. I also love the fact that Elizabeth and Walter are clearly still together in this timeline, proving once again how choice changes everything.
When Elizabeth leaves Walter’s office, Peter has sadness in his eyes, so does Walternate. He knows that he may not see his ‘mother’ again for a very long time if ever. It makes the ache to get home that much deeper.
I find it interesting that Peter almost immediately launches into this sarcastic tirade with Walter not realizing that this is the same Walternate that he knows. This Walternate is very similar to “The Wizard in Oz” where it’s all smoke and mirrors and it is not the same man behind the curtain. It again reminds me of Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. Sorry had to use that.
When Luke confronts his father and tells him that he still knows there is good within him, it is similar to this. How Peter is turned around by what Walternate says to him, by his actions with Brandon, etc. Again, the phrase “Things are not what they seem” is used again…muchlike it was in the Brown Betty episode when Walter was telling the story to Ella.
I love when Walternate says to him “You have a very ill opinion of me”, Yeah it is called experience firsthand. “Where I am from I know you all too well,“ is Peter’s retort to that statement, as much as that may be the case this will get proven wrong. Again, Peter stresses in this scene that his main goal is to get home, he does not care about the issues that this universe and the other one have, all he wants is to go back home-to Olivia, to Walter, to the life he had before.
It is interesting how he goes head to head with this Walternate not having the knowledge that he has now. That the man behind the curtain is not the maniacal monster he knows. “No one knows more about the burden of difficult decisions than I” Walternate stresses to Peter. Never has a truer statement has been uttered. I know that Walter is not only talking about himself, but every incarnation of himself.
One of the many things I love about John Noble is in this scene, he never takes his eyes off of Peter, even when Brandonate comes in the room, and he is still looking at Peter. John Noble is such a brilliant actor that he never lets you fall, when you are in a scene with him you are in it until the end, he gives as good as he gets! Whatever it takes, John is there, in the emotional trenches, and he will dig out with you and never leave you alone. For someone like me, who is a director that is pure gold. You long for that and the Fringe cast has it in spades.
The fact that Walternate is trusting Peter seems like a foreign concept, because of what we know of Walternate. But when he says that he has no alliance with either side and that his ONLY goal is to get home, you can see that Peter would not betray him like Walternate (the other) has done in the past. A very interesting twist of events, again like Oz, where this wizard is ominous and all powerful and all knowing and yet he is still an ordinary man.
If memory serves, Oz is just this scared individual wanted to be trusted and loved, the great and powerful Wizard of Oz. What he did though was end up helping Dorothy find her way home, gave the Scarecrow his brain, Tin Man his heart and the Lion his courage. Especially when he asks Peter that I am not the enemy, that whoever is behind this is a threat to us all.
The one thing I love about all the incarnations of Olivia is that she goes with her gut. Even if everyone is disagreeing with her she knows she can trust her gut and it has almost never been wrong.
Alt-Broyles (Lance Reddick) HAS to be a shape shifter, there is no other explanation about it. I love it! Such an amazing twist, so amazing to see Jared Harris back as Jones.
I am looking forward to seeing what he has in store for us! The interesting about Jones being back, is in the first season he was almost helping Olivia realize her ability. I remember he called her ‘my girl’ which is creepy, but so damn cool. Those pods are very creepy, like Aliens creepy.
Now comes the ending. The shot of Olivia lying down on the stage looks like she is dead. It looked like that in the promo and it still looks like that…and then who do you think appears?
The way that September appears is always weird. He did the same thing to this Olivia as he did with Peter when he first met him, say the same thing at the same time. September’s message to Olivia is interesting.
However, first, and many people have brought this up as well…if he is this indestructible force, this thing who can catch bullets, why did he get shot? Why is he bleeding and who shot him?
We do not even know if they do bleed, because they are not ‘human’. It is also interesting that in a past episode I believe it was Peter (or it might have been Nina) that said that The Observers show up at specific points in history, significant points in history, PLUS how come no one has seen them up until now?
My last point of this review is something that has bugged and intrigued me ever since this episode aired and since my subsequent watching. Observers are NEVER specific with their messages, they are vague, enigmatic, and give us conundrums, so the statement he tells Olivia makes no sense. What September says to Olivia is as specific as it comes, it is black and white it cannot get any clearer than his statement.
To me it was odd that he would tell her something that specific, instead of saying to her his usual riddle of life. When he says to her that she is going to die, now I am going all existential on you, it may not mean her physical death, it may mean her former self and that she will be reborn into Peter’s Olivia. That she will go back to where’s she’s never been, hence the name of the episode. I think that September was a harbinger and bringing the news of her ‘death’ was just a split second thing and that it will give her enough fuel to feed her fire for awhile.
Okay…I have waxed philosophically. I hope that I have not confused the hell out of you. Thank so much for reading and I would love to hear any comments or questions you might have.
Thanks to Kenn for completing the staging of the additional images, and thanks to you for reading my review of “Back To Where You’ve Never Been” while visiting WormholeRiders News Agency.
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Until next time,
Comments on “Fringe: “Back to Where You’ve Never Been” and May Never Want to Go!”
An absolutely fabulous review and analysis of the episode. You have juxtaposed several corollaries that are quite applicable to the story arc. Great job!
Thanks Kenn! I appreciate the comment and should add a Thanks to you for helping me (hopefully for the last time) with posting this!
Lovely review, Lori,
Love all your valid Wizard Of Oz comparisons and commentaries.
“When he says to her that she is going to die, now I am going all existential on you, it may not mean her physical death…” I’m going to disagree with you here. I was very pleased to hear September’s word because it seems a theory I developed after “White Tulip” seems to be valid now. After watching “White Tulip,” and Dr. Peck’s desperate struggles to get back to the past to save his beloved Arlette, we see that no matter what he does, he cannot save her. This bittersweet plot seems to run parallel to Peter/Olivia, especially since 322. Peter saw his Olivia die in the future, and chose to go back in time and do anything he could to prevent it. September tells Liv he has seen all the futures, and she must die. So Fringe on a basic level, after “White Tulip,” becomes the story of a man who loves a woman and tries to go back in time to save her life. But, Peck and Bishop are not identical. Peter is an alt, and he has Walter(more specifically, several Walters) to help him. The big questions is, Will Peter, unlike Peck, succeed in saving his woman?
I for one hated the so called Seth and Anna chemistry cause we all know she is doing this because she hates working with josh and loves working with Seth gabel more. I mean her interview with paley proves it when she didn’t say a damn thing about josh but would gush about Seth.
Its because he has ALWAYS gained more attention from media & fans than she has but she has to realize that he has been a star in the states almost all of his life & this is his second TV series and they both have been major hits.
Thanks Rachy for the comment!
I loved this review!! My feelings on this episode are the same.
Thanks Jennifer! I appreciate the review…I am looking forward to the new episode!
Very well done Lori! I especially love that pic of Walter without the shirt and the apron on lol. Only John Noble could pull that off! It’s an honor to work with you! xo
Excellent work Lori!! Loved the photos & the vids!! FRINGETASTIC!! 🙂
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