And Those We Left Behind
The Peter Paradox: Constant or Wild Card?
Hearkening back to Season Two's, 'White Tulip', 'And Those We Left Behind(ATWLB)', is outwardly a high concept SF time travel episode. Both episodes Trojan Horse'd time travel elements to explore very human conditions which is when Fringe is at its best.
And both episodes are stories about lost loves.
With 'Novation' inserting Peter gingerly back into the altered time line, this week's episode expands on the implications and possible pitfalls of his return. Opening with a perfect day dream sequence we see Peter, wedding band visible, with Olivia and the swing setting Walter in a park. It is naturally all too perfect and ends on an ominous note with Olivia telling Peter there is a problem.
|'He is a Fringe Event.'|
And that problem is Peter.
With that, Peter's mind set is laid out for the audience before the Case Of The Week(COTW) kicks in. Often the best instalments of serialized television are those that directly involve one of the regular cast members – (for example, if anyone watches Castle with Nathan Filion you know what I mean). ATWLB is one of those exceptions as it does not directly involve any cast regulars – though indirectly Peter starts time jumping in very cool sequences midway through the episode. But the story line of the COTW so beautifully mirrors Peter's current dilemma that it transcends the need for any direct connections.
Powered by the poignant acting duo of real life partners Romy Rosemount and Stephen Root, whom play Kate and Raymond respectively, we discover the root of all the time slips is a husband's desperate time cheating gambit trying to save his wife from a terrible fate. A fate which in some ways is worse than death especially for someone whose mind is their greatest tool; a theoretical physicist. But as we have seen time and time again in this series, trying to cheat the natural order of things invariably has consequences. It happened to Walter. It happened to Raymond in this episode. And it is happening to Peter in this season. The extent of the ramifications of Peter's actions have yet to be still fully determined.
- Touching opening – 'A Perfect Day In The Day' Peter dream sequence that adroitly lays out Peter's mind set
- 'You, Peter. You are the problem.'
- Walter on the swing
- Olivia's choice of jacket color for Peter – visual cue he does not fit in
- Walter's petulant ignoring behaviour around Peter
- Time Bubbles – with no clear rules ie girl turns into baby yet mother is unaffected
- Breach Detector from the RedVerse with, in Walter's opinion, a poorly written instruction manual
- Peter is a Fringe Event
- Olivia keeping her distance from Peter
- Intriguing - Peter unaware that he was showing up to Walter in the lab prior to his appearance.
- Peter time jump sequences. 'This could get annoying.'
- Walter listening to Styx, 'Too Much Time On My Hands'
- The Fibonacci Golden Spiral
- Cool Time Bubble special effects at Kate and Raymond's house including FBI agent who turned to confetti
- Peter The Constant! - Faraday Cage (A Lost reference for those not in the know.)
- Olivia and Peter simultaneously volunteering to put on the Faraday Cage
- Olivia's grimace at the Faraday harness neck probe – nifty tie in to her Season 1 encounters with itWalter's Spiderman Penny Pack
- Raymond to Kate, 'We Don't Have Time!' , 'I lost you Kate. Lost you.'(More Lost echoes?)
- The Walter Bishop Faraday Harness
- Walter remark of grudging admiration that Peter is very smart
- Kate's equation blackouts = Peter's erasure
- Kate's answer to Raymond's anguished, 'How do I repay you?' - 'Just love me & live your life.'
- Peter believes his appearance allowed Raymond's Time Bubble Machine to start working
- Peter gets the house
- 'Do I get an allowance?'
- Is Peter's belief that he is not in the right place correct?
The thrust of this episode lays out that Peter does not seemingly belong in this new time line. From Peter's dream, to Walter's ignoring behaviour, to Olivia's work/personal barrier she has set up between her and Peter, to Broyle's terming of Peter as a Fringe event, to the parallel of Peter's presence versus the displacement effects of Raymond's Time Bubble, and to Peter's conclusion at the end of the episode that his presence is why Raymond's Time Bubble Machine started to work; makes such a conclusion quite logical
But is Peter right in that belief?
His presence is not an issue of 'Where' but 'When'. As Peter noted there seems to be much variation in the scope of what effects time distortions create. Peter also experienced said randomness first hand when he began time jumping midway through the episode. His quest to go back 'home' could have the opposite effect. The Time displacements could become worse instead of better.
The answer almost assuredly lies not just in scientific theorems but in the human heart too. The right answer may be as simple as home is where the heart is.
|Kate Erases Herself. Just Like Peter Did.|
Science Fiction is at its best when it explores the unknown. Season 4 is definitely an exploration of that. During the journey the uncertainty experienced may not provide the comfort food type of television viewing that dominates the television landscape today. But the payoff at the destination can be huge. Fringe does what it name implies. It takes risks on the edges of story telling.
Given what we have seen so far from Fringe to date, not just this season but since the pilot, my expectations still remain that payoff will be huge. It should be noted that the initial introduction of the RedVerse characters was met with resistance. The more we saw of them, the more they become fleshed out, and the more compelling they became, until they emerged as welcome new characters in the Fringe character universe. Now that is becoming more and more apparent that these new 'old' characters are not going away soon, even if they may turn out to have a finite shelf date, they too are becoming intriguing characters worthy of further exploration.
'And Those We Left Behind', mixes the extraordinary with everyday human elements. The mix of the two can create wonderfully, engaging stories.
This is an episode worthy of many rewatches. This is Fringe, pushing boundaries, at the top of its game.