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'Fringe' recap: What’s the problem?

Fringe-ep406_3
It's remarkable how much "Fringe" has grown in the last four years. It started off as your run-of-the-mill procedural, though not exactly run-of-the-mill. Fringe Division investigated transit buses encased in amber, planes crashed by crazy werewolf-like creatures and little hairless boys living under construction sites. (Whatever happened to that kid?) As "Fringe" aged, the writers have really mastered tying the crazy science of the week to characters we know and love.

Take "And Those We Left Behind" as an example. The episode's investigation centers on a man willing to break the time-space continuum to be with the woman he loves. All the while, the show hints at the fact that Peter Bishop might have to do the exact same thing.

We start with the perfect day. Peter and Olivia lie in the grass. He caresses her face while in the background Walter plays on the swing set. It is so perfect it has to be a dream, and Peter wakes up to the reality that he's stuck in a timeline where he didn't exist and he's getting blamed for the past and the present being pulled together.

It makes sense that Olivia expects these abnormalities have to do with Peter. It was just a couple of weeks ago that he was showing up as a floating magnetic cloud and making everyone jump back a few minutes. Only these occurrences aren't his fault. They come from a much more nefarious place: suburban Massachusetts.

The source of all the problems is a time chamber, constructed by Raymond, an electrical engineer, off the theories of his wife, Kate, a theoretical physicist. Seems that Kate was inflicted by early-onset Alzheimer's, but Raymond used her notes to build the machine so he could create a bubble of time back in 2007. That way he can spend time with his wife, help her finish her formulas and have a better chance of finding a job (back in sweet, sweet 2007). Raymond and Kate are played by real-life husband and wife Stephen Root and Romy Rosemont, which always brings a greater sense of love and connection between two characters. Doesn't hurt that Stephen Root is, in my opinion, one of the best character actors out there.

Good thing there's plenty of affection with Raymond and Kate, because there's no love for Peter Bishop. Walter refers to Peter only as "the subject" while examining him and examines him only because Broyles said so. I thought Walter avoided him in order to prevent repeating past mistakes, but he seems to have an active dislike of Peter. Of course that slowly changed as they both get caught up in the mystery of the time abnormalities. By the time Walter builds the Faraday Cage for Peter to go charging into the time chamber, you can already see the bond beginning to reappear.

I think I had the same realization as Peter this week. We don't belong here. This Olivia and Walter aren't our Olivia and Walter. As cool as these versions of the characters are, I want my old Olivia and Walter back. I know Peter. He will do whatever it takes to get us back there, and it will be a fun trip.

So cool I wanted more — There were so many things I loved about "And the ones left behind." The speeding locomotive appearing out of nowhere. The floating sphere of water in the middle of the commuter tunnel. The FBI agent exploding after stepping through the time bubble. Though my favorite part had to be Peter bouncing around in time. One minute he's in the lab, then at the crime scene, then on the drive home, and back again. I could have watched a whole episode of Peter investigating while out of sync with time. Hopefully we're not done with that abnormality quite yet.  

Astrid action — Astrid made a major comeback after brief screen time last week. She even got to play around with the crazy misting device that detects whether Fringe events are caused by leaks to the other universe. I'm guessing the little machine was built by our friends on the other side based mostly on Walter's reaction to the "poorly written" manual. She also got to jam part of the Faraday Cage into the back of Peter's neck. Not bad for a day's work.

Spot the Observer — I did my due diligence. I searched every scene, but I couldn't find the Observer. If anyone spots him, let me know in the comments. Speaking of hiding things, "Fringe" is getting better with the product placement. Snuck in that Sprint phone pretty smoothly.

RELATED:

Completely "Fringe" coverage on Show Tracker

"Fringe" recap: "This is not my beautiful house."

Josh Jackson on Peter Bishop's return to "Fringe"

— Andrew Hanson

Photo: Raymond (Stephen Root) comforts his wife, Kate (Romy Rosemont). Fox Television

 
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