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‘Fringe’ recap: God helps those who help themselves

321_lsw_008 Apparently "Fringe" doesn’t want to wait until the end of the season to start giving us huge cliffhangers. Here we are, one more episode to go in the junior year of "Fringe," and they end with a moment that very well could have been what carried us off into the summer. If this is how they’re ending the episode before the finale, I can’t wait to see how they finish Season Three.

I’m getting ahead of myself. 

Last week, Walternate turned on his version of the device in the other universe, and ours switched on as well, wreaking havoc all over New England. Peter tried to climb inside our device to stop it, only to get thrown across the room like a rag doll and ending up in the hospital. Meanwhile, Olivia’s off hunting the mysterious Sam Weiss, possibly the only person who knows what’s going on. All the major players were in position to charge head-first into the finale.

"The Last Sam Weiss" starts off with a car commercial. The opening had all the essential elements. Family out driving, complete with a Doors song. ("Riders on the Storm." How appropriate.) They even managed to squeeze in shots of the Ford logo up front and the Focus name in back. I understand that shows like "Fringe" have to do product placement, especially since most of us fast forward through the commercials on our DVRs/TiVos, but at this point, I say go for it. Make the opening sequence a Ford commercial with a "Fringe" event stuck in it. As long as I get my cloudless lightning, I’m fine.

The cloudless lightning, or ‘dry lightning’ as Broyles calls it, is another side effect of the device. These side effects are getting stronger and more frequent. As much as Walter would like to sit by Peter’s bedside and wait for him to wake up, he knows Peter would want him out there, trying to find a way to stop the destruction, so Walter grabs his kite and rushes out into the storm. Literally.

Meanwhile, Olivia and Sam Weiss try to figure out what’s wrong with the device. We quickly learn that Weiss isn’t the immortal first person many thought he might be. No, Sam Weiss is just part of a long line of Sam Weisses. Sam’s great-great-great grandfather Sam Weiss found an ancient manuscript about the device while searching for fossils, and his family has been searching for the missing manuscript pieces, guarding the secrets and naming their sons after themselves for generations. Our Sam Weiss is just the most recent Sam Weiss. He’s working in a bowling alley and waiting for the end of the world.

Only what’s happening now doesn’t sync with what Sam’s been taught about the device. There was nothing in the manuscript about the other side turning their device on first. So Sam takes Olivia to hunt down a “crowbar” the manuscript mentions that will allow them to pry the device open long enough to sneak Peter inside. The journey takes them on their own mini "Da Vinci Code" adventure, breaking into museums, busting artifacts, the whole nine yards. Finally they discover that Olivia has been the crowbar all along. It’s her brainwaves that can shut the device down long enough for Peter to take control.

Only Peter has vanished. He woke up and got dressed. Then in the chaos of an emergency room flooded with lightning victims, he walked out of the hospital. He is disoriented. He doesn’t know his name at first and clearly mistakes our universe for the other side, but he does manage to spend $800 cab fare to get back to New York City and $500 on a lucky half-dollar when he gets there. You’re never too mentally traumatized to spend tons of money. 

While getting struck by lightning a couple times, Walter realizes that the Fringe events are happening in a pattern, focused on two points: the location of our device and the location of the device on the other side. His obvious solution is to move our device to the same place as theirs. This will buy Olivia more time to figure out what to do and localize the destruction to, say, a national monument and the most densely populated city in the country. 

Olivia practices her mental powers in preparation for turning off the device. It isn’t enough to telekinesis it off, she has to telekinesis off the device in the other universe. Tough. 

Eventually they find Peter as he tries to sneak onto Liberty Island to speak to his father at the Department of Defense. It takes seeing Olivia and Walter to remind Peter which universe he lives in and completely restore his memory, but once that’s taken care of, he’s ready to give the device another shot. 

The buildup was very dramatic. Olivia powering down the device with her mind and Peter stepping into the device. We got flashes of memories, moments from the last three seasons, as he locked in his limbs, and poof.

Peter wakes up somewhere in the future. Past 2021. Where the Fringe Division is driving tanks down New York City streets and they’ve finally gotten around to building Freedom Tower at the World Trade Center site. Is this what the device was built to do? When exactly did Peter land in the future? What the heck is going on? Luckily we have one more episode left this season, but something tells me we’re going to come out with more questions than answers.   

The Last Sam Weiss –- Now, I love Kevin Corrigan. I don’t say that because I’m about to criticize him. Well, not just that. I am going to criticize him, but I really do love Kevin Corrigan. I was a fan of "Grounded for Life" and his Sean Garrity is my favorite professor at Greendale Community College. Something about Sam Weiss simply didn’t click for me Friday night. Corrigan’s naturalistic style of performance seemed slightly off key for the slight melodrama of "Fringe." Did anyone else feel that?

Astrid Action -– With Peter and Olivia, Astrid basically became the Fringe Division Friday night. She comforted Walter over Peter’s hospital bed and coaxed him out with promises of tapioca pudding and old school fruit cocktail. She inspired Walter to stop moping and try to figure out how to stop the lightning. She took care of the logistics of moving the Device to New York City. She ran Peter’s credit card. Wow. She did the work this episode.  Astrid should ask for a raise. 

Spot the Observer – I cheated. I’ll be honest. I got through the episode, sat down to write, and realized I hadn’t even thought to look for the Observer. Maybe if "Fringe" was less interesting, I’d be more likely to spot old baldy myself. Luckily the eagle eyes over at FringeTelevision.com caught him. He’s walking the streets of New York while Peter’s trying to find a pawnshop. I have a feeling next week the Observer will be easy to spot. 


"Fringe'' interview: My lunch with John Noble

"Fringe" recap: It's on

Complete "Fringe" coverage on Show Tracker

-- Andrew Hanson

Photo: Anna Torv as Olivia Dunham and Kevin Corrigan as Sam Weiss. Credit: Fox

Comments () | Archives (23)

omg the ending was like whatttt i need to update my twitter asap!11 aunt olivia was so great using her mind to save the cheerleader, i can't wait to see what uncle peter does next

My biggest question is how I'll get through the summer without a Fringe Fix?

I agree, some of the "Sam Weiss" scenes felt off....but the bowling scene in the museum and "Sam Weiss, Patron Member since 1982" were classics.

Kidos to the cast, writers, and crew for another incredible episode....and give John Noble that Emmy!

Now the question: which universe is Peter in?

I know, I know, I should suspend my disbelief, but how exactly did they move the Device to NYC if it had a force field strong enough to hurl Peter across the room? And they did it in what, a day? Every week I'm willing to believe in everything that happens in both worlds, no matter how outrageous, but this didn't work even within the show's internal logic.

I think Walter finally called Astrid "Astrid" this episode. Not before calling her Ostrich earlier though.

@Chloe- Had to have been ours. Red Universe's 9/11 attacks were on the White House and Pentagon. They still have the Twin Towers. I would say Peter was in our universe with the Freedom Tower but we know it won't be done in time for 2021.

Hmmm....now you got me thinking....

What does Astrid get paid on a normal weekly basis, cause I'm positive it isn't enough as it is....

@chloe Peter must be in our universe as September 11th had occurred and the new building erected. The alternate still had the twin towers.

@Chloe - Peter is in our universe but in the future. The Freedom Tower (and the dedication plaque) gives it away. In the Alt Universe, the Twin Towers didn't fall on 9/11.

My wife and enjoy Fringe, though I confess to sometimes getting lost when following the plot ... am thinking seriously writing a book called "Fringe for Dummies" ... as soon as I figure out the plot line (s) ....

How come peter's memory flashback included events he wasn't even there for? Does that mean he really does remember olivia as a kid? How did they move the machine? And the editing always makes me go agghhh. Olivia's hand is on peter's neck one second, on his chest the next then back on his neck. But otherwise a superb episode! Honest

I dont know if anybody else noticed...but at the end peter was wearing a wedding band. i had to watch the scene twice but i am sure it was there. just as he is waking up and he sits up. a loud boom goes off and he raises his left hand. and there is a reflection from a ring......hmmmmm

@alex: This is a show that's so lacking in funds/viewership (according to the sham that is the Neilsen ratings system) that it makes the opening scene into a Ford commercial, and you're complaining that the editing sometimes shows alternate cuts where a hand is there and then it isn't and then it is? You're lucky that there's even an episode to watch. And besides, this happens on TV all the time. The folks behind network TV don't seem to understand the concept of a Continuity Director. I guess that's just one salary that they feel they can't afford, what with paying hundreds of other people crazy wages to hold a boom mike and tape the cables to the floor and such.

Fringe is the best Sci-Fi on television, ever. Sometimes you have to take the bad with the good. Would it be better if it had 20 million viewers (it does, but I mean according to the ratings)? Without a doubt. However, I'll take what I can get. It's way better than no Fringe at all.

Speaking of Ford product placement, did you notice in the fringe event at the beginning that the lightning struck a Chevy Tahoe??

Wasn't J.J.Abrams connected with with another series where time displacement like this happened.

Wasn't it "Ghost" or "Hurley" or "Two Universe Tracks In The Final Season" or something like that? (Sorry, I seem to have lost the name someplace.)

Great episode, loved Walter doing a Ben Franklin impersonation with the kite, and Astrid keeping him going. The typewriter scene, when Astrid comes upon the machine typing by itself, was properly spooky.
My guess is that Peter has been vaulted into a potential future that will happen if the balance isn't restored between universes. Since they have at least one more season, Peter will return from said potential future wiser and more resolved to craft a final solution, whatever that is.

I've listened to Riders On The Storm throug all the article.It's a nice fit too.Can't Wait for next episode!




Perfectly spoken. Editing not about matching. You do what you gotta do to tell the story. Trust me, I know all the mismatches. ;)
(the editor of this episode)

Although I must add that there is no such thing as perfect continuity in anything. Continuity Director is not a separate position nor will it ever be. Ask any actor why. Script Supervisor is a position. And they have so much to take care, it is next to impossible to keep track of exactly whose hand is where across take after take, minute after minute, size after size. There are always bigger fish to fry. We at Fringe do everything we can, and believe me, we do EVERYTHING to prevent and even fix those mismatches. I don't want to ruin your favorite films, but mismatches are everywhere. And just like any decent magician, we'll do what we can in prestidigitation to hide them and tell the best story...

Oh, and grips and boom ops are pros and don't deserve disrespect. They work hard. Too much money is paid elsewhere that you can certainly complain about.

Also, glad you liked the stunt featuring Ford Focus. Did you know it gets up to 40 mpg highway?

(the editor of this episode)

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