FRINGE Recap: 'Wallflower' - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

FRINGE Recap: ‘Wallflower’

November 19, 2011 by  

“I’ve been investigating Fringe events for three years. I never thought I’d become one.”

Oh, Peter. You are a Fringe event, but unfortunately for you, you aren’t what the team is investigating this week.

Part of the fun of FRINGE for me is their opening credits. I don’t know how closely you pay attention to the words in the various versions (and yes, they are different in each color), but the word that always prompts a chill to run down my spine in this new universe is the inclusion of “existence.” While Peter is the obvious tie-in, tonight’s hour brought a whole new layer of heartbreak to the mix.

Meet Eugene. (Or perhaps it’s “U Gene.” But that feels kind of heartless to call him.) Hospital records showed that he died as a newborn due to complications from his genetic abnormality, but a nurse who was there swears she heard him cry after he was declared dead. She tells Olivia and Lincoln — who are investigating the man in connection to a bunch of murders that have been happening around town — that a group called Cyprox Inc. was set to take care of the autopsy. Olivia privately informs Lincoln that Cyprox is a subsidiary of Kelvin Genetics, AKA Massive Dynamic.

The duo pay a visit to Nina, who admits the boy lived and they did testing on him. However, she insists neither she nor William Bell knew about what was going on because the testing was done by a satellite group. Given the amount of details Nina has, Lincoln is curious about how she knows so much about Eugene. She tells him there was a fire in the lab 10 years earlier and she and William learned about his existence then — they thought he was dead.

But Eugene isn’t quite dead. Instead, he’s invisible, killing others to get brief moments of pigmentation in his skin so he can be seen by others.

However, he won’t be alive for long, Walter warns. He realizes that with Eugene trying to “repigmentize” himself, it’s killing him slowly. Walter demonstrates on his rats, John and Yoko, and shows that the team will be able to find Eugene via ultra violet light.

Olivia and the team track him down at one of his crime scenes, but unfortunately for her she falls and is hanging on for her life when she finally encounters Eugene.

“You understand right now, how important it is to be seen,” he tells her. “Your life depends on it, me seeing you right now.”

He helps her up, but takes her gun in the process. Olivia tries to warn him that what he’s doing is killing himself, but he refuses to be a lab rat anymore.

“All my life, I’ve been watching them live theirs. Watching them fall in love. To be looked upon by the right person. To connect and to see in their eyes kindness. Happiness. Recognition. That’s when you exist.”

He runs away when Lincoln and the rest of the FBI come up and they’re unable to catch him. Despite Olivia’s warnings that making himself seen even one more time could kill him, Eugene makes himself visible one last time. He finally gets up the nerve to talk to Julie, a woman he clearly has feelings for and visited in the elevator every day. The brief conversation clearly meant everything to him and he dies in the elevator.

The conversation Olivia had with Eugene — and the fact that she doesn’t really open up to anyone — leads to her to visit Nina. Olivia wonders if the testing that was done on her as a child perhaps stunted her emotions. Nina is quick to reassure her that isn’t the case.

For all of Nina’s faults, she does make a great mother to Olivia. “Before you and your sister came to live with me, my life was work,” she tells Olivia. “I didn’t think that I could find the time or the room for you girls in my life. Now I can’t imagine what my life would have been like if I hadn’t taken that risk.”

We know. We know what her life would have been like, and while our Nina was awesome, this new connection is lovely and unexpected.

But alas, warm and fuzzy feelings rarely last on this show. As Olivia gets ready for a “date” with Lincoln (more on that in a minute), her apartment gets gassed and two men enter her home. One injects Olivia with something and another fiddles with a security camera inside her apartment. Apparently she won’t remember the last two hours and she’ll have “one hell of a headache.” (Okay, yes, this reveal is more interesting than my theory those migraines were caused by memories from the other time line coming through.) However, the men weren’t alone — Nina was there to supervise.

…yeah. As if that wait between now and January wasn’t long enough.

While Peter was barely in the episode — and had no input in the case — he did have his own mission: reassemble the machine to get back home.

“The machine was powerful enough to snap me out of my time line,” he explains. “It stands to reason it’s powerful enough to snap me back in.”

Um, Peter, last time you used the machine you traveled into the future, saw how bleak your world was, had to live through the death of your wife, then went back to “normal” time and disappeared from existence. Maybe you should put down the shiny toy and use that as a last case scenario?

But he’s determined to get home and because of that, he seems bizarrely detached from his surroundings, going as far as almost encouraging Lincoln to pursue Olivia. At first Lincoln seemed embarrassed when he realized his fascination with Olivia was apparent to Peter, but Peter quickly assured Lincoln, “The Olivia you’re talking about? That’s not my Olivia.” Heck, Peter went as far as to give Lincoln new glasses (with the $200 allowance he gets?!) to help him out.

In this time line, it seems like the show might be delving into a Olivia and Lincoln relationship and that feels…weird. I get this version of Olivia is not “our” Olivia, but she doesn’t feel as foreign as Fauxlivia did. She’s just Olivia as Olivia would have been had Peter never survived as a child.

And yet, at the same time, as I was watching this episode, I kept having this nagging sensation that this is not my show.

Of course it is FRINGE in the literal sense. We have the same writers, we have the same actors, but while the pieces are all there, they’re being rearranged in a fashion that is unfamiliar. (Kind of like our favorite band split up, but decided to put together an album of their combined solo music.) Walter may have his quippy one-liners and work with the team, but he’s not leaving the lab. In this episode, Lincoln had virtually taken the spot Peter would have occupied had this case come last season. (Though I do continue to enjoy the bizarre friendship between Peter and Lincoln.) Peter may be back, but is he really? He had no scenes with Walter and a brief passing moment with Olivia. After he heavily featured in last week’s “And Those We’ve Left Behind,” this week, he had virtually nothing to do with what went down — aside to give Lincoln his permission (of sorts) for him to go after this version of Olivia.

I’ve heard and seen a lot of complaints that this season is moving too slowly for some viewers and for the first time I think I understand what they mean. It’s not that “Wallflower” wasn’t a great episode, but the pacing as of now has been fairly consistent. Last season, by the time we had our “fall finale” (less of an ordeal, given it aired in December and it was the ninth episode of the season as opposed to tonight’s seventh hour),  Olivia had returned home, and she had started to make sense of the damage Fauxlivia had wrecked on her life. The “controversial” arc was wrapped and while Olivia was in a pretty awful place with Peter, fans had the hope that the team we once knew would find their footing soon enough.

With this season? I don’t see how FRINGE can “wrap up” this storyline in two more hours. I don’t think there’s any fair way they could. Even if Peter were to magically use the machine to pop back into his time line (or go back to the night Walter brought him over from the other universe and made sure he didn’t drown), there is too much unresolved here to be totally satisfied with things returning to normal. And if things are as simple as Peter needing to go back to another world where Walter and Olivia remember and love him, what kind of agony are they going through as he’s missing? Or has no time passed for them at all? Will this end with Peter back in that machine, yet again the only one aware of yet another possibility of what could happen?

To be a FRINGE fan requires a great deal of trust. We had to trust when the alt-world was revealed and the show as we knew it fundamentally shifted. We had to trust when the doubles of the characters we loved were revealed. We had to trust when the show decided at the beginning of last year to spend half of the episodes in the alt-universe, away from the characters we “knew,” minus poor Olivia who was brainwashed into believing she was someone else. We had to trust when Peter literally disappeared in front of our eyes at the end of last season. And we have to trust now that these writers have a way to make the seemingly impossible work.

We’ll just have to wait until 2012 to see what they have in store for us.

But on a slightly less serious note, there were a few lines in “Wallflower” that made me laugh…

  • Peter: “Every 32-year-old man needs a ‘friend’ to chaperone him as he’s underwear shopping.”
  • Walter: “Tell Agent Broyles science has no price tag.”
  • Walter: “It’s possible, of course. Leprechauns are possible.”

What did you think of “Wallflower”? Can you believe we don’t have any new FRINGE until 2012? And for the love of all that is holy and unholy, what the heck is Nina Sharp up to?!

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Filed under Fringe Recap


14 Responses to “FRINGE Recap: ‘Wallflower’”

  1. mr. doom on November 19th, 2011 1:15 pm

    I couldn’t agree more.

  2. input on November 19th, 2011 1:35 pm

    Nina was never the mother figure for Olivia, from Olivia’s reactions I could sense that she is sceptical towards her, also when she informed Lincoln Lee about Nina being the nanny, she did that reluctantly

    So I did expect Nina to be behind Olivia’;s haedache, and I think Olivia knows what they are, and those pills did not come from Massive Dynamics, so Nina does not know she takes them, bit the reverse of season 3, when in the Amber episode Olivia took pills in connection with her memory.
    So Nina does not want Olivia to remember her past.

    I thought Lincoln would be the Charlie, but he is now to central for me, at the cost of Olivia, Astrid and Broyles.

    I am surprised that everyone is so happy about peter sayng that this is not , do you really think that this Peter is what wanted??
    He is arrogant, belittles Lincoln, and most of all his fashion style does not match either Olivia. the other Olivia, would probably call him a massive pain in the ass. BTW Peter did you ever see your Olivia’s glasses? They were almost the same as those of Lincoln.

    Season 3 gave us Over There , new characters and storylines that were interesting and on top off that Anna Torv central. She took the viewer on the journey and through her you got to know the new world.

    I loved the idea of a new timeline for new relationships, Walter and Olivia or Olivia and Astrid , or Olivia and Nina, that was just briefly and since the return of Peter, gone it seems.

    With this Peter erasing they should have opted for letting the new versions grow on the audience and have an Observer inform Peter that this Olivia and Walter are different, because of his fiddling with time.

    In this episode once again Anna Torv showed the most subtle range of emotions, being a mirror for Lincoln, and Eugene.
    She clearly showed her disgust of the testing and did not really buy Nina;s story, so Nina decided to use some needles.

    I guess for this season we should go back to LSD and Brown Betty , Nina and the Observers, and Firefly when it comes to the time manipulating.

  3. input on November 19th, 2011 1:51 pm

    About seson 3 versus 4 ;Like I said they did nit give these new versions a chance ti grow and I feel that they should have esablished that first before introducing Lincoln. If we would have sen a bonding between Olivia and Astrid and Olivia and Walter, we could connect, we got one episode Olivia and Walter and a couple of scenes, but 4.04 had the shadow of the letter, and Olivia and Astrid was just 4.01 and 4.02, which brings me to the

    Women on Fringe:
    Anna and Jasika were so happy that finally there would be a bon d between Olivia and Astrdi, well that was 4.01 and 4.02 a few scenes, but in Wallflower the writers had forgotten that and the fact that they see each other every day as caretakers of Walter, otherwise why that strange scene about being affected?
    And very convenient Astrid does not have friends, nor family, so no backstory, just like Olivia.
    Olivia and Nina has been cut to 30 sec about a prom and a scene loaded with meaning about Olivia being different. Nina using words like Experiment, Risk, This World etc.
    Well we can now definitely give up on ever learning something about the past of leading lady Olivia.

    Nina is now the evil abuser, if woman are abusing they are evil, if men are, they are the Mad scientist, see Walter.

    Olivia was always the abused one, more or less victim, but was allowed to kick ass and fight back, not so this season so far.
    Joel Wyman tweeted that Olivia the victim was because she was strong, more like once abused always abused, so will she now kill Nina (and Walter) once she remembers her past??

    Finally: playing this Olivia, especially this episode but also many scenes in other this season, must cost so much energy, the constant suggestion of pain and grieve the closed off emotion, all so beautifully played, nut never getting the recognition.
    No wonder Anna Torv likes playing Fauxlivia so much.

  4. asukar on November 19th, 2011 1:54 pm

    I’m afraid the show is fizzling out of my radar. The performances feel so bland with the new characters, not even the great John Noble can make feel this Walter. Peter brought up that brightness, dynamism and sense of direction back, which was sorely lacking without his presence, but he was woefully underutilized. This episode only served to further the romance between Lincoln and Olivia, which I don’t find interesting at all, when higher stakes are elsewhere.

    They promised Peter Bishop, the mystery of his disappearance and reappearance and all we’re getting is a boring soap opera with bland new versions. I feel the show has lost its way. It’s not about 3 core characters anymore and I can’t help but feel disconnected. Maybe it’s time to move on, because I’m starting to think this show is not worth sticking around anymore.

  5. eridapo on November 19th, 2011 4:53 pm


    Nice recap, I watched the episode this morning, and like you I felt as though I was watching a different show. I really want this storyline to conclude quickly so that we can get back to our universe and the characters we love. Like Peter, I feel that those people are not my people and I could care less what happens to them…. I’m I wrong in saying that?????

  6. AngelMoonGirl on November 19th, 2011 9:41 pm

    I agree, Marissa. I just can’t connect with these characters. It’s so hard watching Peter be okay with (ick!) Olivia/Lincoln. And although last week’s case was really good, this week’s wasn’t strong enough to make up for the fact that we see far too little of Walter, and of Peter. I’m not a huge fan of Lincoln either. I don’t like him in Peter’s place. *sigh* I just want the original timeline and relationships back. I want lots of Olivia/Peter/Walter/Astrid, the way they were. I mean I’m going to stick with the show no matter what… but I hope the wait isn’t too long. The episodes now… drag. I don’t think I could take a whole season of this new reality.

  7. Leanne on November 19th, 2011 11:09 pm

    Marisa, totally agree with what you are saying. Last week was a return to the fringe I love, because we had scenes that felt like seasons 1 – 3. This week was like going back to the strange feeling of this season. I HATE this season. Sorry for the caps, but I cannot stress enough, that I am feeling no connection to this show, they are showing this season.

    I can totally see why Peter has this total disconnect to these people, because he believes he is visiting this place, he believes this is not his home, his people. The one bright spot in this episode was Peter and Lincoln. Loved their scenes. Breaks my heart we got no P/O scenes, other than a hey and no P/W scenes. I watch for the wonderful scenes and chemistry that P/O/W bring and why last week was great, because the chemistry was so evident.

    While I have nothing against Lincoln, on his own, he’s fine, the fact that he is now taking away airtime for Astrid, Broyles and Peter, really makes me sad. In fact this show, now makes me sad. I hope the coming episodes will prove to be alot better, because this looks to be the last season and I would hate for them to go out in a wimper.

  8. s on November 21st, 2011 2:17 pm

    This season feels so weird. Though I like Lincoln, its messed up that he gets a central episode while Astrid doesn’t. That makes me sad. I don’t know about you guys but season 4 is quite depressing. I feel disconnected with all the characters. I LOVE Fringe but I’m just not feeling it. :/

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