‘Fringe’ 4.01 Recap: “One of These Things Is Not Like the Other”

After only narrowly getting renewed at all, ‘Fringe’ returned for its fourth season last week. I find this show both fascinating and frustrating. I love some of the outlandish sci-fi concepts that the writers play with, especially last season’s storyline about the war between alternate universes. On the other hand, those same storylines are often sloppily written, more concerned with screwing with the audience’s minds than with making logical or consistent sense. A lot of cool stuff happened at the end of last season, most of which made no sense at all. This new season is going to have a tough job of straightening all that out. The premiere episode doesn’t especially try, but rather spends the hour establishing the new world where the characters find themselves.

I can’t even begin to explain what happened in last season’s finale, mostly because I don’t understand it myself. I suspect that neither do the writers, really. In any case, what we know for certain is that Peter built a bridge between the two universes and forged a truce, and then promptly vanished. According to the Observers, he has been erased from both timelines as if he never existed at all. Why? Well, don’t ask questions like that. There’s no satisfactory answer. It just happened, so go with it.

Peter is gone, but traces of him remain, in the form of subliminal flashes. Walter sees one and is really freaked out by it. He has no idea who this mystery man he sees in the mirror is. The Observers are very concerned about this, and start building a device that will wipe the rest of Peter clean. But when it comes down to it, the Observer who’s supposed to do the deed can’t bring himself to.

In the meantime, the world(s) move on, and Fringe cases still need solving. We already know agent Lincoln Lee from the Fringe Division in the alternate universe, but his counterpart in our universe only made one appearance last season. He’s just a regular FBI agent, with little knowledge of Fringe. In fact, ripple effects from Peter’s disappearance mean that even his brief interaction with Olivia last season never happened now, and they’ve never met.

Lincoln is working what he thinks is a normal case, chasing a bad guy, when his partner is attacked and killed by a man who somehow caused the victim’s skin to turn translucent. When Olivia and Fringe Division take over the case and claim the body, pushing him aside, Lincoln is persistent and worms his way into the Fringe lab. Olivia eventually decides to introduce him to what they do, which includes getting him clearance to visit the universe bridge and meet Fauxlivia. His mind is blown. (Imagine if he’d met his own alternate!) I suppose this makes him part of the team now.

There are many more victims with translucent skin. The killer was apparently draining the metals from their bodies. They eventually find the guy, only to discover that there’s more than one. An autopsy of one turns up some circuitry inside the body. Olivia believes these to be some new, never-before-seen form of mostly-human shapeshifter. Fauxlivia claims to have no knowledge of this. Is she telling the truth?

‘Neither Here Nor There’ is an understated episode, designed to ease us back into the series before ramping up the weirdness undoubtedly to come. It’s not the most exciting season premiere the show could have, and it makes no attempt at all to resolve last season’s cliffhanger. But it does the job, and is pretty good, all things considered.


  1. Vortex

    My concern with Season 4 of Fringe is the writers will keep adding more mysterious and not explain the previous unresolved mysterious. Problem is the writers will further dig themselves a hole so deep that they can’t get out.

    Adding Lincoln character seems to fill Peter’s shoes since the writers want Olivia to have a male partner. So, if Peter does reappear later, Lincoln becomes the 3rd wheel. I think the writers are already stuck trying to dig themselves out of the hold they created from Season 2-3. If Season 4 is not going anywhere, they can easily bring Peter back, reset and say forget the “new” timeline and pretend they don’t need to explain all the mysteries.

    Since both universes Fringe teams are supposed to be working together and each side can easily “teleport” between the universes, why not have Fluxivia be working with Olivia in the weekly investigations? Not only that expands the relationship between both versions of the character, it will also be more interesting watch both Olivias learning to trust or further mistrust each other. Again I think Fringe producers don’t have having to deal with filming two Olivias all the time and chose to easier route by adding Lincoln because he can be killed off at anytime without effecting others.

  2. Hi I just wanted to give my opinion of what happened with Peter. In earlier seasons we know that the “original” Universe Peter died of a disease when he was young. Walter took the “alternate” Universe Peter and brought him back to the “original”. At some point after that Walter and Peter were driving and had an accident where they went into a lake. For some unknown reason the bald “Observer” saved Peter at that time. In the new timeline they simply corrected that and Peter died in the lake. I base this on the “Observer” saying “They can never know the boy lived to be a man.” Therefore Peter was no erased from all existence, simply existence after he went into the lake. This makes sense because with out young Peter Walter had no reason to crossover to the other Universe, thereby creating the chain of events that would possibly destroy both Universes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *