FRINGE Recap: 'Back to Where You've Never Been' - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

FRINGE Recap: ‘Back to Where You’ve Never Been’

January 13, 2012 by  

“Not everything is as it seems.”

Well, if there was any line that summed up “Back to Where You’ve Never Been,” it certainly was that. We got double-crossing, dreams and much, much more.

Given how many questions I had after watching the episode, instead of doing a traditional recap, we’re going to do things a little bit differently tonight. I’m going to highlight a few memorable moments/quotes from the episode and then I’m going to delve a little deeper into them. It may get nerdy, I may throw out crazy theories, and maybe you’ll share some of your own thoughts in the comments, because surely I can’t be the only one thinking these things…

Are Peter’s dreams just him simply missing home? Or is there something more that’s being hinted at?

There is something so aching bittersweet about Peter’s dream at the beginning of the episode. Not only is a glimpse of “our” characters who have largely been MIA, but it’s also the happiest we’ve seen Peter in a long while. But is his dream just a way to lead him to Walter for help to get home? A way to be comforted in his sleep of the life he left behind? Given the fact that this is the second time we’ve seen his dreams of Olivia (and the new Olivia having dreams of him before he reappeared), I feel like there is some sort of link we’re (or maybe just I am) missing here.

“My actions caused the death of my wife, unspeakable damage to two universes, I lost my career and my sanity. All because I tried to help another Peter. I may be the only man who can help you, but I’m also the only man who cannot help you.”

Is this new Walter…”better”? Please don’t get me wrong Peter fans, because while I love having him around, too, it almost seems like Peter’s continued existence may have made our Walter more vulnerable in many ways. We’re used to Walter being the “broken” man, having given up everything to keep his son safe, but the difference between these two versions is that despite the new Walter being confined to the lab, he seems to be relatively at peace with his Peter’s fate. He knows there are some lines he shouldn’t cross to save a version of his beloved son. Our Walter will choose to save “his” son, consequences be damned, every single time. Sure, he may go along with Peter sacrificing himself, but if he had his way, Peter would be his number one priority.

Olivia now knows she has powers — what will it mean for her now that she knows what she can do?

It may have been relatively glossed over in the episode, but Peter casually dropping the bombshell that Olivia could easily travel between universes came as a shock to the new Olivia. Even if Peter leaves in a couple of episodes, I wonder if this new Olivia will find herself wanting to test her limits. Or, perhaps will Olivia find a handy dandy (accidental?) use for them if Peter and Lincoln are in serious danger in the next episode?

Elizabeth recognized Peter.

See? This is a good mother! It’s utterly fascinating to me that the only person in either universe who has recognized him is his mother, but what a lovely reunion that was. (Does this mean she’s doomed to die?)

Can we really trust Walternate?

I have two dueling thoughts on this. 1) The terrible, terrible man (I took out the profanity in case there are some children lurking around here) we know from our world killed Olivia. Clearly he must be evil. Plus, he did admit to monitoring intelligence feeds from the other side. 2) But…I want to believe he’s good. Maybe it’s because John Noble (Walter/Walternate) is so fantastic at playing the ambiguity, but it would be nice to think that this Walternate is what our Walternate would have become had he not known Peter had been stolen from him. It would make sense that Walter — who is a sweet man, even if his intelligence can cause massive destruction — would have alt-versions who were mostly good at heart. The one who had seen the deepest betrayal would be the one most likely to turn to that dark place.

“Peter said at the end of the day, you’re a good person.”

I’m going to need to you elaborate on that statement, Lincoln Lee. Does that mean Peter thinks all of the Olivias are good people? Or are we just talking about the Fauxlivias? Because if it’s the Fauxlivias…just wait until he finds out the one he knew kept his kid a secret from him. (Sure, they never had face-to-face time after Fauxlivia traveled back home, but do you really think there would have been no way for her to get a message across if she really wanted to?)

What the heck is alt-Broyles up to?!

Alt-Broyles, the man who gave his life to save our Olivia in season 3, is a dirty mole. Unless the recently returned David Robert Jones is really doing good in his not-very-secret location, it certainly appeared that as soon as this version of Fauxlivia and Linc got a solid clue about who had called to try and get Peter and Lincoln Lee killed once they crossed over to the alt-universe, alt-Broyles gave him a heads up they were coming for him. Does this mean alt-Broyles is destined for death over in this timeline, too? (Also, +10 nerd points if you can name the movie those pods by David Robert Jones reminded me of.)

And that perfectly leads us into this final bit of a head-scratcher…

“I have looked at every possible future, and in every one, the result is the same — you have to die.”

The Observers have said many profound things over the seasons, but I honestly can’t recall anything they have said that is blatantly untrue. They subtly hinted Peter would become a father. They stalked Olivia and her niece and noted that things were about to get difficult for her. Heck, they were the ones who told us that Peter had never existed at the end of last season. So this bit of news? Entirely plausible. Especially when you add in that little dangling thread from last season, when Olivia drew a picture of a man and casually told Peter, “I think that he’s the man who’s going to kill me.”

When I talked with FRINGE executive producers Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman late last year, we got to talking about fate versus free will in the context of the series. Pinkner said, “Sometimes even though you take a different step on the path, you end up in the same place, inevitably.” Now, I can’t help but wonder if this will be true for FRINGE. Everything we’ve seen so far seems to indicate Olivia is doomed. In our timeline, this man was potentially going to kill her. In the future, Walternate did. And now, the Observer tells her she has to die. Does she?

Perhaps our Olivia is the one version who will be able to cheat that. After all, as far as we know, our Peter is the only one who managed to cheat his fate, too. Maybe, there’s something special about our side…something that allows the impossible to happen.

Or perhaps I’m just in denial about Olivia possibly dying.

Laugh out loud line of the night: “So clearly on the other universe, I’m a nut-job,” alt-Lincoln tells new timeline Lincoln.

Favorite exchange of the night:

Peter: “I was wrong about you — you’re not the man I thought you were.”

Walternate: “You are exactly the man I thought you would be.”


So, let’s hear it FRINGE fans! What did you think of “Back to Where You’ve Never Been”?

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Filed under Fringe Recap


12 Responses to “FRINGE Recap: ‘Back to Where You’ve Never Been’”

  1. Donna on January 13th, 2012 10:45 pm

    It was a great episode. Kick-started the season, IMHO. Elizabeth and Peter were great. John Noble finally got to stretch as Walternate. The Lincolns were entertaining.

    It’s clear that this season is going to be strong on action and intrigue, all grounded in the show’s past plots. Can’t wait for the next 6 episodes

  2. Thom on January 14th, 2012 2:44 am

    I love this review. Elizabeth and Peter were extraordinarily great. I loved them. I think they have left us with so many questions about who you can and cannot trust. I take it the power that Olivia is going to find out excludes the portal between the two universes? I also wonder if the Observer telling her she must die is going to have something to do with that power. I also still feel so bad for Walter. My heart aches for him.

  3. Roneo on January 14th, 2012 6:19 am

    “Perhaps our Olivia is the one version who will be able to cheat that. After all, as far as we know, our Peter is the only one who managed to cheat his fate, too. Maybe, there’s something special about our side…something that allows the impossible to happen.
    Or perhaps I’m just in denial about Olivia possibly dying.”

    That exactly were my thoughts….. just one Peter, just one Olivia lives ….. and besides, let’s not lose the faith in Dunhamnator…

  4. input on January 14th, 2012 7:16 am

    Olivia in any timeline of the blue universe will have to die, that is what September told her. Olivia in LSD talked about the X-man, this Olivia never met an Observer before, so has no idea what he means.
    The Observers have no options left to save her.
    The only way to save Olivia will be another Universe, Yellow perhaps?
    But if they went to all this trouble, what is Olivia’s role?

    AltBroyles is either the evil version of Broyles promised in the pilot like Nina is the evil one on this side, or just a shapeshifter like Brandonate.

    This Walter has faced his actions, knows he did wrong, the other Walter was allowed to get away with everything. But still he has no regrest at all about abusing childen, and Fringe has never adressed that part of science where abuse and damage of children for the greater good of science is condemned.
    Walter is lucky, his victims are damaged for life.

    But the scene with Walter and later with Olivia is about the only time I saw some effort on the part of Josh Jackson, the rest was saying his lines.
    Orla had to do all the work with heir scenes.
    And playing perhaps the one Peter you would ecpect a truly multiple dmiensional character, not a dull, flat uninterested one.
    He is supposed to find his way home. See Olivia season 3, we were taken on a ride becuase of Anna.
    Oh and please watch Anna do her fight scenes, thats how should do them, with energy and power.

    Olivia in this timeline has been told that the cortexiphan did not work longer then 24 hours, we know from subject 9 that that is not the case.
    So Nina is still dosing Olivia , may be she already did that when Olivia was living with Nina, and started that again, but for what?
    Evil Nina? Jones was Bell’s assistant in the old timeline, and I always thougt he would turn out to be the important father of Olivia, are we going to get another round of tests for Olivia?

    Walternate in this timeline is softer, just as boring and dull as the other versions, and for me the prove that John Noble is great as Walter , but does nothing with Walternate, despite the huge backstory.
    Walter is the best written character on tv, and gets all the great scenes and oneliners, easy scoring, but the only one who truly has the multiple act is Anna Torv, so many different versions of an Olivia and several of Altlivia, awesome, but still no recognition.

    This episode once again proved that Olivia/Fauxlivia central, Anna Torv central gives the energy, power and force to Fringe. What Anna Torv does with so little information and just the stoic FBI agent, introverted, closed off, is simply amazing.

  5. wobbledygook on January 14th, 2012 8:40 am

    Great recap as always! It hadn’t crossed my mind that David Robert Jones was up to “good.” I’m starting to think that Alt!Broyles has actually been shape-shifted. I don’t think the existence of Peter would’ve changed his personality that much, so that’s the only reason I can come up with for his character to be working with Jones.

    Also – did the pods remind you of Star Trek: First Contact (with the borg)?, because that’s what it reminded my nerdy self of.

  6. Marisa Roffman on January 14th, 2012 1:55 pm

    @woobledgook: No, it wasn’t STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT, but now I’m curious to see those pods!

    If alt-Broyles is a shapeshifter, that would be another way the universes were similar — both versions of that guy would be dead.

    @Roneo, I love the nickname “Dunhamnator”!

  7. Roneo on January 14th, 2012 2:02 pm

    LOL, not mine, FringeBloggers’ Roco’s all the merit.

  8. John on January 14th, 2012 5:10 pm

    It is possible this version of Olivia doesn’t have the power to universe travel because the tests may have been done differently.

    Was is Coma you were thinking of?

  9. kovcha on January 14th, 2012 8:04 pm

    Damn. What a cliffhanger…thats why i really like J.J.Abrams and his crazy mind…keep rockin Fringe and make us more trilled :))

  10. Liz on January 15th, 2012 5:36 am

    I’m just so confused! I watched seasons 1-3 this summer, and I sorta wish I was watching Season 4 later, so I could start up the next episode right away! (I think I watched all the S3 eps with Olivia trapped over there in one night, because I needed to see what happened.)
    The pods in the preview remind me of the ending of The Prestige.

  11. Marisa Roffman on January 15th, 2012 1:04 pm

    Not Prestige or Coma!

  12. Anna on January 15th, 2012 1:26 pm

    Amazing episode like always! I will miss this show so much whenever it ends (I still have a small hope for an other season!)
    As for the pods my guess is you’re thinking of Independence Day and aliens in tanks? That’s what I thought of…