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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fringe Season 4 Episode 4 - Subject 9 Recap

As Olivia is sleeping a blue swirling energy begins to gather in her bedroom. Objects from her night table are pulled in the direction of the blue light and fall on the floor. Olivia's clock alarm goes off and she wakes to see this blue manifestation in front of her. She grabs her gun but the intrusion has already disappeared. Then peculiarly her bedside clock flips from 5:59 to 6:00 again and beeps like it hadn't done that already. She glances cautiously around and sees the pile of metal gadgets on her floor that were previously on her night table.
At the lab Walter is conducting an experiment with 28 cameras and some peanuts. He is hoping that he will be able to catch the apparition that has been lurking around the lab. I’m not exactly sure what the peanuts role in the process was. When Olivia comes in he let's her know that he's glad she stopped by for a visit. Olivia responds, "Well, technically I'm not really visiting, because I work here."
Walter thinks their ghostly intruder is out of phase with their reality and can only be seen at certain angles, which is why he needed such a large amount of cameras for his experiment. His experiment was inspired by a fight scene in the Matrix.
Olivia tells him about the occurrence in her bedroom that morning, and rolls up her shirt sleeve to show Walter and Astrid a red scaly patch on her arm where the force had touched her.
Olivia is concerned that perhaps she causing this thing, whatever it is, to manifest. She brings up the Cortexiphan trials where she was able to start fires with her mind.
Walter has no answers for her, but decides to get a scraping of Olivia's boo-boo to see if he can get any information from that. While Olivia and Astrid are on the other side of the lab Walter notices an envelope protruding from Olivia's jacket pocket. It's a letter that Olivia has to fill out to determine whether Walter is going back to St. Claire's or not. Walter's doctor feels that he should return so he can be observed, but it is ultimately up to Olivia to make the choice.

At Walter's request Olivia and Astrid go to Olivia's apartment to obtain an atmospheric sample. As Walter watches them on screen back at the lab, he sees and hears Olivia get trapped in her bathroom with Astrid trying to help her. When he questions Astrid as to what is going on there, she has no idea what he is talking about.
No sooner has she said that when Olivia screams her name, and the events that Walter just witnessed on the TV begin to play out again.
Olivia is alone in the bathroom and the blue energy starts to materialize again. Olivia ducks down and everything that was metal inside her medicine cabinet comes flying out. They fly across the room and then clatter to the floor when the blue energy disappears.
They go back to the lab and Walter tells them about a boy who was involved in the Cortexiphan trials and his ability was to astral project himself. Whenever he was able to do it though, it would cause a distortion in the magnetic field and he would attract metal objects.
Walter says Olivia was the strongest of all the children in his and William Bell's trials and perhaps one of the other Cortexiphan children is trying to reach out to her. Walter can't remember the boy's name but he does remember that he was 'Subject 9'.
Olivia and Astrid meet with Nina Sharpe at Massive Dynamic, while Walter joins them in his usual manner, via phone and the camera on Astrid. Now, I find it quite note worthy to say that before she met with them, Nina was conducting a meeting about Massive Dynamic's nanotechnology program. Out of all the Fringe scary stuff that's floated by on our screen over the years, I think this little speech sent as many chills down my back as watching shape shifters bite the big one and worms crawling out of peoples mouths:
"Nanotechnology. The bloom is not off the rose. Because of the far-ranging claims that have been made about potential applications of nanotechnology, a number of serious concerns have been raised about how this will affect our society if realized and what actions, if any, are deemed appropriate, might be needed to mitigate these risks. This is not Massive Dynamic's concern. We create technology, how it is used is not our concern. We just own the patents." See? That's pretty freaky. I'm pretty sure that may've been how MD felt in the old timeline, but this is the first time someone has actually said that.
Apparently, in the new timeline, Walter does not like Nina. It was fun listening to him call her a viper and rant at her while he shimmied back and forth with pent up angst. Then the lovely Astrid translated it into something more appropriate. This exchange sums up the Nina/Walter relationship:
Astrid: Walter, did you hear that?
Walter: Yes, her voice goes right into my inner ear and rattles around like razor blades. Of course I heard it. Tell her to go.
Astrid: He said that he's not sure, but thank you for the suggestion.
Walter: I did not say that.
Nina: Walter has said many things over the years, but thank you was never one of them.
Then, I nearly fell out of my chair when Nina alludes to knowing Olivia (and knowing her well!) around the time that Olivia would've been going to prom. Excuse me? What the hell? I can't wait to find out more about what that was all about.
Olivia and Astrid look through the old Cortexiphan trials and Olivia explains her a little of what Walter and Belly did to the children. Walter is still tapped in at the lab through Astrid's ear-cam but he disconnects himself when this conversation starts. He leans back in his chair looking genuinely perturbed at his past actions. Olivia tells Astrid that she ran away from the trials and they only went on for a few years after she was gone.

They find the information they are looking for and learn that Subject 9's name was Cameron James. When they arrive back at the lab with the files in tow, Walter is decked out in his jacket and has his suitcase packed and ready. Much to the girls' surprise he says that he is going with Olivia to talk to Cameron, that he must go because he knows better what he could be capable of. For the first time since the timeline changed he calls Astrid by the wrong name. Claire of all things. Maybe this is a sign of parts of the Walter we knew coming back?

He and Olivia walk through the streets of New York City as he tries to adjust to being out of the lab. He is startled by a car horn and when someone blows cigarette smoke in his face he says, "Fresh air, I'd forgotten how much I love it." I'm just happy that he's out and about, Walter unleashed on the world is always something that's worth watching.

At Cameron James's apartment Olivia picks the lock to get in. Wait, she what? Yep, she sure does. My observation about that is it seems like all the other characters have picked up some of the things that Peter used to do, because that's definitely a Peter move right there.
The mail they find inside the apartment is addressed to a man named Mark Little. However, Walter notices that there is no metal in the place so he still thinks that they are in the right apartment. A lady comes in who's either a neighbor or the landlord and Olivia asks if she knows when Mark Little will be returning. Walter introduces himself, as lucid and charming as I've ever seen him and the woman seems to instantly warm to him. By the little sideways glance Olivia shoots his way, she is surprised. Based on what she says, Mark should be back sometime the next morning.
Olivia and Walter go to a hotel for the night. Before Olivia leaves him for the evening, Walter comments that the room is a "veritable Petri dish." Olivia heads off to her own room, and on her way in gets jumpy when the icemaker noisily drops it's wares and startles her. None of the lights are working in her room so she makes a call to the front desk.
Before anyone answers loud banging is heard on the shared wall between her and Walter's room. She takes off down the hallway to see what is going on. She goes in to find Walter ransacking the room in a way that would rival any kind of trashing a full-fledged rock and roll band could give it. He flings lamps and mattresses all the while yelling about the germs that are everywhere.

Olivia finally manages to get his attention and he calms down. (Another Peter carry-over perhaps?) She bandages both his hands because at some point during his rampage he bloodied his palms on something. Walter tells Olivia that was the first mysophobic (also know as germophobic, I admit I had to look it up, so I thought I‘d throw that out there for anyone else) attack he's had in years. Maybe that's why he stayed in the lab all the time.
Walter talks a little bit about his late wife, Elizabeth, telling Olivia that she committed suicide after Peter died. It's a very sad and touching moment.
Olivia suggests that since she probably won't get much sleep either that she and Walter go get a root beer float. Over their drinks Walter admits to Olivia that he has seen the letter from St. Claire's regarding his return to the asylum. He says that he knows in their relationship "I merely work for you. We're not family." What a contrast compared to the way it used to be. I think this show is doing a great job of showing the differences in the non-Peter timeline.
The silverware on their table starts to rattle as well as the rest of the metallic objects in the restaurant. The blue energy field begins to gather in the middle of the room. As it comes towards Walter and Olivia, she shoots out the glass window behind them and they step out onto the sidewalk. The energy follows her all the way into the street until she dodges a car. The car that missed her runs into the blue mass, and upon impact the energy field dissipates.
When the local police show up on scene, Olivia produces paperwork that shows that she has full authority to handle the situation. The lieutenant is quick to comply.
As she and Walter go to Cameron James's apartment Walter talks about how what is happening is his fault for having experimented on children with Cortexiphan. Olivia points out that Walter has told her before that the dosages that were used were so small that the effects from the drug would've been gone after 24 hours. This leads Walter to the suggestion that maybe Cameron doesn't know that he's causing these problems, that his astral projection is being done subconsciously. However Olivia says that she senses that what is happening is being done on purpose.
She leaves Walter outside with her cell so he can call Astrid to find out how his photograph-the-ghost project is coming along.
Mark Little answers Olivia's knock and lets her come inside, but when she says she is looking for someone named Cameron James he takes off down the hallway with Olivia in hot pursuit. After descending a few flights of stairs he runs smack into Walter, who is waiting by the elevator. As soon as he sees Walter's face they recognize each other and Cameron yells in terror. The metal elevator doors start opening and closing and the chandelier above them is swinging crazily.
Olivia starts questioning Cameron about why he is coming after her, but when Walter uses her name Cameron realizes Olivia is the Olive he knew once upon a time in Cortexiphan land. Cameron is very upset that Walter is there and informs him that he can no longer astral project, yet he still has the side effects of being injected with Cortexiphan when he was 7 years old. He says if he doesn't stay calm then he sends metal flying.

He says that his father's name was Cameron James, that in order to be able to access the trust fund the children were given for their participation in the trials he made his son sign up under his name. He shares with Walter how much his life has been destroyed by what he did to him. Walter apologizes.
Suddenly the metal flaps of the mailbox bins start clanging back and forth. The blue energy field appears in front of the boxes. Cameron says he's not causing it. The ball of light draws closer until Cameron yells "No!" then it disappears.
Walter says that if it's not Cameron causing the energy field to appear then he doesn't know what is. Olivia encourages him to try to think about it. He says the electro-magnetism could be a side effect of distortions in time, which would explain why Olivia's alarm clock went off twice and why Walter saw Olivia get trapped in the bathroom at her apartment before it actually happened. He says that he fears that eventually the blue energy will keep returning, growing larger each time, until it destroys everything in it's path.
Walter says that if Cameron can gather a large enough field of energy he should be able to shatter the electro-magnetism of the other field. The three of them go to Groves Power Grid, where there is sure to be enough energy for Cameron to work his magic.
While they wait for Olivia's secret admirer to show up she and Cameron discuss how Olivia never had any side effects from the trials. Cameron reveals however, that when he first noticed his side effects that he thought something was after him too, hinting that perhaps this ball of energy that keeps seeking out Olivia has something to do with the Cortexiphan.
The blue energy begins to gather right in front of Olivia and Cameron begins to draw power from the power grid. The energy field begins to consolidate into a form, as it pulls itself together, though still transparent with soft features, the entity before her is undeniably Peter. She breathes, "You." under her breath. She starts trying to get Cameron to stop trying to diffuse the energy, finally firing her gun into the air to break his concentration. The unfinished formation of Peter disappears.
The scene changes to a body of water and the blue energy ripples under the surface. Then suddenly, none other than Peter Bishop surfaces, looking around. (Break for happy dance.) As some fisherman row towards Peter, the location header tells us he is in Reiden Lake. Standing on the shore, an observer watches the situation unfold.
At the power grid, Olivia tells Walter that she saw the man that's been in her dreams in the energy field. She says she felt that the man wanted her help and that's why she distracted Cameron before he could destroy the field. Walter remarks to Olivia that when he behaves on gut instinct in the fashion that she just did people say he's crazy. Then he adds, "I suppose I've learned that crazy is a lot more complicated than people think."
Olivia gets a phone call from Broyles who tells her about the man that was pulled out of Reiden Lake. The man has a slew of top-secret information that should only be known to the Fringe Division and says that he knows all of the people involved in the division.
Walter and Olivia meet Broyles at the hospital that Peter was taken to. They are told that he keeps asking for an Olivia Dunham. When the doctor takes Olivia to see Peter, Walter is left alone with her jacket and spies the letter from St. Claire's in the pocket. He opens it and is relieved to see that Olivia has checked the box that he does not need to be readmitted to the institution.
Olivia enters Peter's hospital room to find him with his back to her. He turns and greets her with, "Olivia, thank god you're here." She looks at him for a moment and answers, "Who are you?"
Well, you didn't think that he'd come back AND she'd remember him did ya? I'm just glad he's back. Now they can figure out what in the hell happened and hopefully start remembering him. But, oh the cruelty, they bring Peter back, but then we have to wait 2 weeks for a new episode. Shame on you, whoever is responsible for that!
I enjoyed this episode for more reasons than it just being Peter's return episode. I always like getting more back story information about characters and even though we've know these characters for going on 4 years, it's like we are relearning who they are again. I like the dynamic between Olivia and Walter because although he says it's not like they are family, it seems there is more to them than just a working relationship.
Last week when I saw the previews for this week, I thought that maybe the blue energy field was Peter coming back. Then, once I started watching this episode I started to think that no, the blue energy field must be today's 'monster of the week' and Peter was going to come back another way. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that theory was wrong as well.
My questions about this episode:
Did Peter come back because of what happened at the power grid? Is that what he needed to come back? Or was he coming back anyway and the power grid thing was just a little extra something thrown in?
What is the story between Olivia and Nina?
I thought I found one small continuity error. What happened to the bandages Olivia put on Walter's hands? It seemed like they disappeared after that scene. I'm probably being over analytical but I wanted to point that out.
What a great show! What did you think?

Next Fringe Recap:  Episode 4x05 - "Novation"

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