Fringe, S4 Ep1 – Neither Here Nor There

Amber title screen

Then we’re at Walter’s lab. Astrid has tried to get something from the papers TM was burning, but without success. That reminds Walter of the book The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, because spies burn things to cover their tracks. Makes sense, because if they are shape-shifters, or something like them, they’ve acted as spies for the Other Side before. Walter interrupts himself to greet Agent Lee, who’s just entered. He asks if Lee happened to bring any candy with him.

Lee hasn’t. Ah, you’ll learn, Linc. Olivia remarks on his long drive. Lincoln says he wanted to thank her for releasing Robert’s body, since he knows she must have pulled serious strings for that to have worked. He wonders why she would go to that effort for him. (It probably isn’t residual memories of when she was brainwashed to think she was Faux and she knew Alt!Lincoln had a crush on her. Just guessing.) She says it’s because she wanted to be able to offer him at least a little closure.

Walter pulls out a mechanical thingy from the body of one of the not-quite-shape-shifters. It looks a lot like a piece of the shape-shifters we’ve seen before, and Walter comments as such. He also notes that these ones are different, more human, and don’t seem to work very well. His conclusion is that Walternate has sent them, thus proving he can’t be trusted. Astrid says that’s more than they can be sure of, but as Walter justly points out, it’s clear that this technology isn’t from here.

“Not from here?” Lee repeats, raising his eyebrows. “You mean, like, China?” Olivia says that’s not quite right.

Security scan

I wonder if the scan is blue for people entering the room from the Other Side.

The next shot is Olivia and Lee entering what I assume is, this time, the installation on Liberty Island. There’s a computer screen monitoring the Machine on the wall behind the security station they’re approaching. Olivia asks the sergeant there for an ID for Agent Lee. Lee has his hand scanned and answers some questions, then he gets his badge and they go on. There are lots of military personnel and another monitor with the Machine on it. Lee looks a little overwhelmed.

And that’s before they enter a hermetically sealed room, have a red light wash over them a la Alias and get some sort of scan. Lincoln tries to ask what’s going on. Olivia doesn’t really answer that question right then, but she tells him she knows what it’s like to have a hole in her life. She’s had one for as long as she can remember. After the incident with the plane, she says, she joined Fringe division, because she somehow knew this is where she would find… she trails off, and Lee prompts her. “My answers,” she finally says.

The opposite door opens, and they go into an area where there are people in HazMat suits. Linc wants to know what’s on the other side, as they go, and she just says sometimes answers lead to more questions. So, what you’re saying is The Truth Is Out There, then? What’s on the other side is, of course, the Machine room, now the Bridge room. Lincoln is even more overwhelmed when he looks out the windows on the opposite side of the room to see clouds, while it’s sunny on their side.

Then the sealed door on the other side opens and Fauxlivia saunters out. Lincoln and Faux eye each other. Faux kind of scoffs, like, “Wow, their Lincoln is really dorky looking,” and Lincoln, of course, is like, “…Wait a minute. What the-?!”

New shape-shifters

I seriously forget all the time that Faux and Olivia aren't actually played by two people.

Faux asks Olivia what she’s got to show her. Poor baffled Lincoln stands there gaping as Olivia hands her a box with the power supply thingy from the new, human shape-shifter and tells Fauxlivia what it is. OurLivia adds that the shape-shifters they saw before answered to Walternate. “And you were wondering why I don’t trust you.”

Faux scoffs again, gives Lincoln another amused glance, and says she’ll look into it. Then she leaves. Lincoln has just about stopped breathing from the sheer mind-blowing bizarreness at this point. And then there’s the zeppelin flying overhead on the Other Side. Welcome to Fringe, and welcome to full-time Fringe, Lincoln! It’s too late to take the blue pill now.

Outside the Kresge building, September is opening a case that contains a… you know, show, I wouldn’t mind if I could use the word “device” juuust a little less often, mmmkay? Anyway, Walter is inside in the lab, wearing his PJs and making something with beakers and test tubes. He walks out of the lab, past a guard he names incorrectly, says good-night, and closes the door of his office behind him. Only in this reality, it’s a bedroom, complete with sofa bed, TV, and fishtank. Awww.

The TV is on as he gets into bed, playing an informercial or possibly the cooking channel. September powers up the thingy outside, and puts his hand over the switch. But he pauses, looks back up at the building, and swallows. Then he powers the device back off and closes the case, before walking away. Yay for no re-erasing!

The Man in the Mirror

Aww. Who could be scared of that face?

Walter is about to drop off, so he turns off the TV. Then he looks horrified, and we pan over to see Peter, as if he’s reflecting on the screen! Walter screams and recoils, drawing the attention of the guard outside. The guard finds him huddled on the edge of the bed, and Walter says, trembling, “I saw him again. He was in the TV! The Man from the Mirror!”

Aaand that’s it for the premiere! Oh, man. I can’t think of another show that can reinvent itself like this every single season, and yet so far stay true to the heart and soul of it. I mean, the case of the week wasn’t the most thrilling, by far, but there is so much to look forward to here.

I’m not going to try to speculate about the physics or science or even the science fiction of how the time travel/time loops plot from last year’s finale works, or how the things that are the same without Peter could be the same. People online have pointed out that Olivia actually wears some color in this episode, which is interesting considering the Cortexiphan ‘uniform’ of dull colors we’ve learned about. All I can say is that better not mean that Olivia somehow isn’t a Cortexiphan kid for some reason, because that would suck. But I’m just not going to do much speculation. It makes my head hurt, and besides, I’m waiting with bated breath to see how the writers are going to explain all that. It will be better than anything I could dream up, I’m sure. That said, if you’d like to comment about your theories, feel free. If you just want to comment with your John Noble love, or to say how firmly Anna Torv kicks Sarah Michelle Gellar’s butt at playing double characters (and I say this as an ardent Buffy fan who’s enjoying Ringer, mind), or to squee about how adorkable Our Lincoln is, you can feel free to comment with that, too.

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