Fringe Season 3 Episode 15 Subject 13

Fringe visits the past, the 1985 of Season 2’s Peter to be precise and in so doing comes a little unstuck.

Digging in the past means there might be spoilers.

So we explore in the blue parallel Walter’s efforts to find a subject that can travel to the other side, while at home Peter is refusing to settle in and knows that he is in the wrong universe. We also get to see the suffering of the Walternate family dealing with the loss of Peter.

Now I haven’t seen Season 1 but my real problem with this episode is that it presupposes a prior relationship between Peter and Olivia – a fleeting childhood friendship which I’ve seen no evidence of. This seems a pretty considerable element of retro-conning and was a jump to far for me.

 John Noble does a great turn as does Orla Bradly as Elizabeth Bishop a woman struggling to raise a son who is not her own and dealing with consequences of that is terrific. The child actors are good too. However I don’t think it’s enough to save this story.

There is an old horror maxim that one should hold off showing the monster, The Monster her being the difficulties and dramas of Peter’s adjustment to the Blue-side. Personally I think that was better left to the viewers imagination and that Fringe could continue with its normal efficiency in driving forward the plot. This very strangely for Fringe, to me at least, felt like a filler episode. That is not to say the episode doesn’t have its strengths,

An effective and chilling bit of this episode is the experiments Walter subjects Olivia too. Here we see an element of ruthlessness in Walter that we know form the previous episode that Walternate won’t stoop too. It’s very effective. There is also a failure of stewardship by Walter which is more chilling and while he pulls through that ruthless kernel behind our loveable dotty professor is very visible. This at least is very promising for Walter’s arc going forward –especially if he manages to regrow the brain segments he asked William Bell to remove perhaps?

So a weak episode of Fringe for me, naturally I’d rather than a weak episode of Fringe than a whole season of Stargate SG-1 and I’ll still be watching but a rare fumble of the ball here.

2.5 /5 stars

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