‘Fringe’ 4.08 Recap: “Not Everything Is As It Seems”

Hey, remember ‘Fringe’? It’s been off the air for so long that I’d almost forgotten about it. The show finally returned to Fox’s network schedule this past Friday to lead off the second half of what is most likely its final season.

In ‘Back to Where You’ve Never Been’, Peter asks Walter for help in fixing the doomsday machine, under the assumption that it can help him get back to his original timeline. Walter continues to refuse any assistance to what he considers a doppelganger of his dead son. As such, Peter hatches a new plan to cross over to the alternate universe and ask Walternate for help instead.

Olivia is skeptical of this plan, but she and Lincoln agree to help. Lincoln will cross over with Peter and pretend to be his own counterpart. To cross secretly, they steal the original portal device that Walter first used on Reiden Lake. (In this timeline, Massive Dynamic retrieved it from the bottom of the lake and has been keeping it in storage.) Peter has them set it up in the opera house that was used as a crossing point in the Season 2 finale. He identifies this as a “soft spot” between universes. Interestingly, Olivia in this timeline has no idea that she can cross universes on her own without a portal device.

Once on the other side, Lincoln and Peter are quickly arrested by Fauxlivia and alt-Lincoln. The episode has a pretty amusing scene where our Lincoln and alt-Lincoln each think that the other is a moron. Peter and Lincoln survive an assassination attempt that they believe was set up by Walternate. Nonetheless, Peter wants to press on to get to Liberty Island. Lincoln gets him as far as the ferry dock, only to get arrested again. Peter escapes and makes his way to his mother’s house. He explains to her who he really is (“I’m not the Peter that you think I am”), and she escorts him to Liberty Island for a meeting with her husband.

All this time, Walternate has been acting very secretive and conducting experiments on shapeshifters. Peter tells Walternate that he knows he’s behind the shapeshifter invasion into our universe, but will not interfere. “It’s not my fight,” he repeatedly insists. He just wants to get back to his own timeline.

Waltnerate brings his chief scientist, the smarmy douchebag Dr. Fayette, into the office, and asks him if there’s any possibility that he (Walternate) could be responsible for the shapeshifters. Fayette answers no. Waltnerate then pulls a crazy-looking gun doohickey and shoots Dr. Fayette, who is revealed to be a shapeshifter himself.

Waltnerate explains that shapeshifters have invaded his own universe as well, and have infiltrated the highest levels of government. We then cut to a scene where alt-Broyles is revealed to be working with the evil David Robert Jones (Jared Harris), who we last saw sliced in half when a portal closed on him. I guess that means that this is either Jones’ alternate version, or at least that in this timeline he didn’t die because Peter wasn’t around to kill him.

(All the while that this is going on, there’s a weird flicker in Walternate’s right eye that looks kind of electronic. Did anyone else notice this?)

Back in our universe, as Olivia waits around in the opera house for Peter and Lincoln to return, she’s visited by an Observer. Remember, this Olivia has never seen or heard of them before. He’s been shot. He ominously tells her that she has to die, and then vanishes when she turns her back for a second.

‘Back to Where You’ve Never Been’ is a pretty good episode that does an effective job setting up the rest of the season, though I might feel that it’s a little late to be introducing a whole new conspiracy storyline with a brand new set of antagonists this close to the probable series finale.


  1. jason

    I noticed the eye flicker too, in two separate viewings of the episode. At first I had pretty much written it off as a reflection from the shapeshifter gun but the more I think about it the less I like that explanation.

    I hope this isn’t the last season. Fringe is one of the few shows I actually look forward to watching instead of feeling like I’m obligated to keep up. If for no other reason than for Fox to prove that they can let a genre show like that end on its own terms, I really hope they give it the chance.

  2. mlemaire

    The reason this Olivia doesn’t know about her abilities is because Nina Sharp has been injecting her with something on a regular basis to stop them from manifesting. This was revealed in a previous episode this season. This was a good episode and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season. Hopefully we can either get enough time for a proper ending, or a last season (even shortened) to finish it off next year.

  3. matt

    Walter, or rather John Noble, has an artificial lense (or something) in one of his eyes. It’s always been there on the show. That’s what you are seeing. I seriously doubt there is anything plot-centric involving his eye. I first noticed it in season 1.

    • Josh Zyber

      Huh. Never noticed that before. It was really blatant in this episode, though. I wonder if the director shone a light in his eye to call attention to it, sort of like Ridley Scott did in Blade Runner?

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