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‘Fringe’ 5.06 Recap: “Things Work Differently Here”

Friday’s episode of ‘Fringe’ attempted to finally work in an explanation for those strange symbols that appear during the show’s commercial bumpers, as if their meaning and this storyline had been planned all along since the beginning. I don’t think I buy it. Do you?

I’ll give ‘Through the Looking Glass and What Walter Found There’ credit for having fun with freaky physics. That part is pretty neat.

With the rest of the team off doing something else, Walter follows the instructions in his latest tape and heads off alone to Worcester. (Bonus points for the cast pronouncing the name correctly.) At an old bombed-out apartment, Walter does a strange little dance and vanishes through a portal. By doing so, he steps into a “pocket universe” that he had created in the membrane between the two universes. I’m glad that the series has at least acknowledged the existence of the alternate universe again. Too bad we’ll probably never get to visit. Have the Observers invaded the alt-verse too? This is a question I’d like to know the answer to.

Anyway, this pocket universe is a place where the usual laws of physics don’t apply. Walter finds himself in a distorted mirror version of the apartment building, which is laid out like an M.C. Escher nightmare. Normal perspective is skewed, furniture is on the ceiling, and so forth. According to the tape, he and someone named Donald (who Walter doesn’t remember) have hidden a vital piece of the plan to defeat the Observers here. Unfortunately, Walter has no idea what he’s looking for. He unexpectedly runs into a man named Cecil who got blown into the pocket universe by accident and has been trapped there for twenty years (though from his perspective, he believes that it’s only been five days).

Back in the normal world, Peter, Olivia and Astrid find the tape and follow Walter’s trail to the same apartment. Peter and Olivia cross over and reveal to Walter that the video had extra recording time on it that could only be viewed inside the pocket. From this, they learn that Walter had hidden a young Observer child to wait there. By following the symbols on the building’s doors (the seahorse, the apple, the butterfly, etc.), they find a room with a transistor radio. Sadly, the boy is gone. Walter assumes that this Donald person must have come back and taken him away. Peter tells him that the radio must be a clue that they can only use in the regular world.

By this time, the Observers are onto our heroes. A couple enter the pocket, kill poor Cecil, and chase the others out. While everyone else is running away, Peter stays behind and, using the computer chip he’d implanted in his neck, suddenly goes all Neo and kicks an Observer’s ass with new super-enhanced reflexes. The Observer tells him, “You have made a grave mistake. You do not realize what is happening to you,” before Peter snaps his neck. He then catches up with the others on the monorail.

How convenient is it that the Observers have absolutely no security on a major public transportation system like the monorail they built themselves? Sigh.

Around this point, I started to wonder what the point of the Cecil character had been at all, if he was just going to get killed off. It turns out that Walter feels very bad about what happened to the man. He doesn’t like that he could have so easily written another human being off as an “acceptable loss.” Walter fears that he’s turning back into his old, heartless self – the Walter from before parts of his brain were removed. He does not like this at all.

As if to emphasize the message that our characters are transforming into new versions of themselves, Peter realizes that his vision has turned green, like he can suddenly see the Matrix code or something. Huh. That’s lame.

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