Fringe, S4 Ep1 – Neither Here Nor There

Amber title screen

Fringe is finally back! So we start off this much-anticipated episode with an in-show recap. It’s sort of funny that they try to squeeze three seasons into 50 seconds, but it works reasonably well as a reminder. Not sure how well it would work as a “so that’s what you missed” thing for newbies (if anyone reading this is in that position, feel free to comment and let me know).

But the plot itself begins with an interaction between Olivia and Fauxlivia (please note, I’m going to keep calling the other Olivia Fauxlivia, because I think it’s a great nickname. It doesn’t even have to do with any dislike of her, although I certainly still don’t trust her). They’re… not friendly. It’s awesome. Olivia talks about how she doesn’t think this accord between their sides is going to work, because Faux (and by extension, the whole Other Side) lacks honor and principles. Fauxlivia suggests that it’s just that Olivia can’t trust, but Olivia throws back that it kind of makes sense that she doesn’t trust them, since Fauxlivia kidnapped her and stole her life. Hmm, I’m intrigued to know how that went, without Peter. (And I should probably make a macro of that right now, because I’m guessing it will come up more than once.) Anyway, the two of them trade boxes of casefiles, snarking at each other about how a lot of the cases were their alternates’ faults. Nice.

First Peter glimpse

It's Peter!!

Ack! So quickly that I missed it the first time around, there was a flash of Peter there, when Olivia turned to leave the room! He looked like he was dressed in the same clothes we last saw him in. Ooooh.

September, the Observer we’re most familiar with, meets up with December (I think that one’s December) at a diner. December says they have a problem. Though it’s impossible, September says, and “he” has been erased, traces of “him” continue to bleed through. Peter/Josh Jackson fans everywhere cheer — me included. December says it’s still their responsibility to keep events going the way they were ‘intended’, adding, “before your intervention.” September looks down. December hands him a thin rod-shaped device, and September takes it, swallowing and looking far more emotional than we usually see. December insists that no one can know “the boy lived to be a man.” Hmm. (I’m intrigued to know… yadda yadda.) September says he’ll take care of it.

New credits! Heck yes! Oooh, the words include “quantum entanglement”, “existence”, “philosopher’s stone”, “psychometry”, “viral therapy”, “ethereal plane”, “gravitons”, “time paradox”, “psychogenesis”, “bilocation”, “psychic surgery”, and “transgenics”, all on a rather amber-looking background instead of our usual blue. Cool. A lot of those have to be hints, and a lot of them seem to be hints about Peter!

Our Lincoln Lee

Lincoln Lee. (Adorkable.)

We open in Hartford, Connecticut, where Our Universe’s Lincoln (who we met last season in “Os”) is knocking on a door.

It’s his partner’s house, and his partner is Joe Flanigan, Shepard from Stargate: Atlantis. Nice! Also, there is a conversation about toast, that I kind of hope is a reference to the toast obsession some members of this show’s fandom have ever since that became one of the only things we ever saw Olivia eat onscreen.

The two of them (his partner’s name is Robert) chase a bad guy across rooftops and fire-escape ladders, through a shady-looking part of Vancouv- Hartford. They separate. Linc catches the dude and cuffs him to a pipe, then goes looking for Robert. What he finds is a creepy, translucent-looking dude bending over his fallen partner, doing something to him. At first I thought it was using the shape-shifting device on him, but on rewatch there definitely isn’t any device, although there’s a spark of something like electricity.

Turning translucent

Bye, Joe Flanigan. 🙁

Anyway, the creepy dude runs away, then kind of flies out of a window and into the next building. Obviously, normal humans can’t do that, so Linc goes back to his partner instead. Poor Robert, however, is not only dead, but turns kind of translucent himself as a horrified Lincoln watches.

At the crime scene, Olivia, with her hair down like season one, I will point out, gets out of an FBI SUV. Astrid gets out, too. She’s got an earpiece in. Walter is nowhere to be seen. Olivia climbs into the ambulance to take a look at the body. Once she’s seen it, she tells Astrid to go ahead, at which point Astrid touches her earpiece and speaks to “Dr. Bishop” about what she’s seeing.

Olivia goes to talk to Lincoln. As she introduces herself, we pan over across the crime scene tape to where September is standing with another Observer. I don’t think we know this new one, who comments, “He used to know her.” Um… yes. That’s not quite so profound or cryptic as what they usually say. Maybe this one’s in training. Anyway, September agrees, and says that was before things changed.

Olivia can’t tell Lincoln what division she works for. Huh. Why would Peter’s absence require that Fringe be secret? Anyway, Lincoln describes what happened to his partner, even using the word “translucent” to talk about the creepy dude. I guess there isn’t a good synonym, come to think of it. Olivia asks about any device or anything that the dude might have had, but Lincoln didn’t see anything like that. He offers that the Hartford office’s field medical examiner is on his way.

Olivia makes a face, thanks him, and then says that their division will be taking custody of the body. Lee is understandably upset and confused, demanding to know why she can just come in here and take over. Olivia tries to placate him, but he insists, “That’s my partner!” and says maybe she can’t understand that. Olivia looks sad. He then asks to speak to someone else about this, and Olivia says, “There is no one else. There’s just me.” Awwww. Wait, I mean, Lee could probably at least talk to Broyles, right? Whatever. It’s more poignant that way, I guess. She says she’s sorry for Linc’s loss. He watches as she gets back into her car to drive away.

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