FRINGE Recap: 'One Night in October' | Give Me My Remote

FRINGE Recap: ‘One Night in October’

September 30, 2011 by  

“One Night in October” isn’t technically a big hour for the series. It’s not a season premiere or a season finale or even an episode with an event so major that fans would naturally point to it as a prime example of the show.

And yet hours like these are exactly why FRINGE is one of the best shows on TV right now.

After “Neither Here Nor There” served as set-up for where the season is going, FRINGE was able to fully delve into this strange new (mostly) Peter-less world as our Fringe team worked with the other Fringe team to try and track down a killer…by using his alt-persona to help.

And this is why the show is great. They explore the “what if”s of life in a way no other series can. Sure, in this life you may be a nice professor, but if it hadn’t been for one chance encounter in your youth, the you that exists in another universe could be a serial killer who will stop at nothing to feel the briefest taste of happiness. This show may be science-fiction, but very few shows explore humanity the way FRINGE does.

But before they could get to solving crimes, poor Walter was still frazzled by seeing an unknown man (AKA Peter) reflected in his television. To prevent that from happening again, he decides to cover up every reflective surface in his lab with towels — and considering how many beakers, etc. are in there, the lab looks crazy different.

Lincoln, meanwhile, has come to the lab for storytime. As Walter fills Agent Lee on what he needs to know about the Fringe team, we also learn that despite Peter’s absence, things haven’t totally changed. As Olivia and Fauxlivia fought about last week, Fauxlivia did steal Olivia’s life. Fauxlivia was still searching for pieces of the machine. And most appallingly to Walter, she won him over by giving him baked goods. (Thank goodness Walter’s sweet tooth never changes.)

Lincoln is a good little student, and he seems to impress Astrid, who hints to Olivia privately that maybe Agent Dunham should be romantically interested in her new partner. Olivia promptly vetoes that, which leads Astrid to retort, “Do you ever think that maybe your type just doesn’t exist?” That Astrid is a smart cookie, even if she doesn’t realize it. Olivia is saved by a call from Broyles, who has a case for her.

Broyles briefs Olivia on the murders, telling her there have been 23 victims who have essentially had their brains frozen. Eek. Olivia questions why she hasn’t heard about that many deaths, Broyles drops the other shoe — they were committed on the other side and the Fringe Division has requested their help.

They trek to the other side and Fauxlivia tells them their serial killer had left clean crimes scenes for his first 22 murders, but the 23 one produced a stray hair, which led them to John Lewis McClennan. Fauxlivia requests our version of JLM be brought over so they can see if he can give them an insight to his alt-personality. They want to bring him to the alt-verse so he can see where the killer was living, interact with the space, etc. Fauxlivia notes that she lived in Olivia’s apartment and picked up a lot of things about her. Ouch, lady. Play nice if you want help!

Olivia is annoyed by the prospect of helping Fauxlivia, but Broyles makes it clear this isn’t up for debate. So Olivia talks with our John and gets him to agree to help — mild sedative and all.

We flash over to the alt-world and Fauxlivia prepares for her part of the investigation by donning a blonde wig to impersonate our Olivia. Alt-Lincoln makes a crack about her hair, and yep, this Lincoln still loves Fauxlivia. Unfortunately for him, because Fauxlivia never cheated on Frank with Peter, Fauxlivia is still very much taken and Lincoln is left pining.

Olivia arrives with a sleeping John and Fauxlivia takes her place inside alt-John’s home. Meanwhile, alt-John sets his sights on a mother and daughter at a gas station. [Insert your own horror movie theme here.]

Walter tries to get lost in (very loud) music, but Astrid stops it and tells him she’s concerned and she’s been checking his medicine levels. Walter says he’s been “experimenting” with his meds. Not good.

Fauxliva and John walk through alt-John’s house and he makes notes about the man who lives there. Unfortunately for Fauxlivia, there are a few too many things in alt-John’s home that raise an alarm — including a chair his family used to have and a photo of his father — and John starts to panic. Olivia overhears the panic and runs out of the car to calm him down, but now John is faced with two Olivias…and a place all ambered up to his left. “Where am I?” he asks.

Unfortunately for them, not only does John know the truth but alt-John has taken another victim. Uh oh…

Fauxlivia kicks herself for not getting rid of the picture. It seems alt-Broyles (who, BTW, IS STILL ALIVE.) didn’t want her to do this and Charlie objected to. Alt-Lincoln notes that Charlie shouldn’t talk because he is off with Mrs. Bug Lady. (Aww.)

Olivia tries to smooth things over and tells John that anything he can tell them will help. “What’s in him is in me,” John says. “You’re not the only one with secrets.” It seems our professor has been fighting his own dark passenger (sorry, DEXTER joke), and his father was violent to try and “fix” him. Olivia opens up about her own stepfather’s abuse, much to the interest of Fauxlivia, who joins the two just in time to her that revelation.

John tells them he has never acted on his feelings, but he has wanted to. It seems a woman named Marjorie taught John that if he had the dark urges, he could step out of them. He tells the Olivias that when he imagines what his life would have been like without Marjorie in it, it’s what alt-John is doing. He wants to tell alt-John there is a way out, but he’s told alt-John can’t know he exists.

But John? Not so okay with that. He sneaks away from the Fringe teams, leaving both teams to head back to Fringe Division (which features AN ALIVE ALT-BROYLES. Yes, I kind of missed that dude). Alt-Astrid thinks it might be a little difficult for John to get around, given he can’t go on public transportation without a “Show Me” card, there are differences to their universes, etc. Unfortunately for them, she’s incorrect, as John finds his alt-persona fairly quickly.

Alt-John is creeped out by John’s presence. John tells his double that one night in October he was at a carnival and his father found the things he had killed. Alt-John gets annoyed, saying it’s his life he’s talking about, but the duo share their stories. Alt-John was found and his father beat him for three days straight. John says that’s not what happened to him: he ran and he woke up in a field where a woman, Marjorie, was standing over him. He says because of her, “I don’t have to do what you do to stop the pain.” John wants to help alt-John, but his double decks him instead. I suppose that’s helpful?

Olivia and Fauxlivia set out to find the Johns and Fauxlivia not-so-subtly asks if Olivia was lying about her stepfather being abusive. She wasn’t. Fauxlivia wants to know what happened to him and Olivia’s answer is almost chillingly nonchalant: “I killed him.” Uh, yeah, you may need to expand on that….

Alt-John wastes no time taking “help” from John and hooks him up to the brain freezing machine/emotion stealer, and asks him about his happiest memory. Cut to the Olivias who burst in to…an empty room. Lincoln and Fauxlivia investigate outside and realize there is another structure.

Meanwhile, Alt-John is questioning John about Marjorie, asking how she made him feel as liquid oozes out of his brain. “I never understood how someone so beautiful could love something so dark,” John says, as both men see memories of Marjorie.

Unfortunately for alt-John, he wanted what John had, but with that compassion also comes guilt. When Olivia confronts alt-John, he asks, “What have I done to all of them? Marjorie? What have I done?” And then he kills himself. Oh, tortured alt-John. (Is it bad that I feel bad for a serial killer?)

When John gets back to our side, our Broyles reveals that John’s memories from the past few weeks have been wiped — as were his memories of Marjorie. Olivia worries that Marjorie was all that kept John from crossing a line, but when she visits John in the hospital room, he tells her, “You know what they say? Even when it’s the darkest, you can step into the light.” Olivia realizes he remembers what Majorie taught him, even if he can’t remember her specifically.

“At the risk of sounding sentimental, I always thought there were people who leave an indelible mark on your soul,” Broyles notes after Olivia wonders how it’s possible. “An imprint that can never be erased.” (Yes, the show isn’t being subtle about the Peter references, but it’s a beautiful thought nonetheless.)

And we go back to poor Walter, who has mainly been MIA this episode. He’s relaxing in his bedroom when suddenly Peter’s voice comes through. “Walter? Can you hear me? I’m right here. Walter, I’m RIGHT HERE. I’m here, Walter! Walter, I’m right here! I’m here, Walter, right here! Can you hear me? I’m right here! Help me, Walter! Please, help me!”

Say whaaaaat?! Peter does NOT sound like he’s in a good place.

And now we have to wait another week for more.

If you’re like me, you probably had a ton of questions by the time the episode was over. Thankfully, FRINGE executive producers Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman were kind enough to answer some of my most pressing queries, so make sure to check back at Give Me My Remote at 10 PM PT for that!

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Filed under Fringe Recap


3 Responses to “FRINGE Recap: ‘One Night in October’”

  1. Victorious on September 30th, 2011 10:36 pm

    You are so right, I can’t believe we have to wait until next week for another episode! Great review on another excellent episode!!! I am totally invested in this show. I am going to watch this episode again, thank God for DVR!!!

  2. AngelMoonGirl on September 30th, 2011 11:03 pm

    This episode was incredible. They’re weaving this Peter-less story with such intricate care that you can’t help but feel sucked in, until an hour feels like much much shorter. That ending scene, wow, talk about mindbending! So Peter’s there… but not. He needs help, but Walter doesn’t understand. Stuck in some sort of limbo? Anyways, what a great case-of-the-week, with parallels to Olivia’s own situation and a startlingly powerful look into the choices we make in life and how that affects who we become. Anna Torv is, as always, supremely talented to the point where you can completely forget she’s interacting with *herself*, because that woman is just so. darn. good. at what she does! ;p Everything in Fringe feels *real*, despite how far-fetched the plots can be, and its cleverly written, irresistably charming take on crime procedural sci-fi is what makes it such a cult favorite.

  3. theoncominghope on October 2nd, 2011 4:59 am

    Great review!

    I’ve been wondering about Massive Dynamic. I imagine a lot of things changed when Walter lost Peter a second time, as he seems considerably more unhinged.

    This episode shows that the show can succeed even without him, and frankly I’m enjoying the return to the smaller stories that Fringe does so well. I love a good story arc, but I think it will be difficult to beat the Walternate/parallel universes arc in scope or quality.

    Anyway, Walter seems to be the only one receiving actual communication from Peter, but it seems Olivia is the one who’s really experiencing a void inside of herself, and can’t put a finger on why or what.