Fringe: The Invisible Man

First let's get one thing out of the way: Fringe got totally hosed by the weather gods back on Wednesday, October 26. That's the day rain postponed Game 6 of the World Series, pushing the series back and pre-empting Fringe on Friday, October 28 after the heroics of David Freese forced a Game 7. As a result the show's typical fall finale will now bat lead-off for the series once January 2012 rolls around. It also means we're left with "Wallflower" as our substitute fall finale, and that's probably like having Chris Carpenter pinch hit for Albert Pujols. For you non-baseball fans out there, that means "replacing something very good with something not as good." I say probably because we haven't seen the real fall finale, "Back to Where You've Never Been," which will now air on January 13. (I think I got that right.)

So, you (and Fringe, somewhat) are forgiven if you were a bit underwhelmed with last night's episode, "Wallflower." It never delivered that "oh shniz!" moment to tide us over for the next two months while we eat turkey and open our Kwanzaa presents, because it didn't know it had to. Believe me, Fringe's producers and writers are very aware of when future episodes air and plan accordingly. As my boys Rob and Fab so eloquently put it, "Blame it on the rain."

The case-of-the-week in "Wallflower" involved a real-world case of Halo's Active Camouflage, with a man could almost completely blend into the background. In keeping with Fringe's preference for the not obvious, this man didn't want to stay invisible and hang out in the ladies' locker room; instead he wanted to know what it's like to be seen and have a normal life. Unfortunately, the only way he could do that was to suck the pigment out of perfectly visible people, killing them. As you might expect, this didn't sit well with the Fringe team.

After knocking on doors, following leads, and uncovering lots of information that people were keeping secret, the case actually took care of itself. Every time the suspect, named Eugene (U-Gene, as in Unknown Genetic Disorder), killed someone and stole their tan, he inched closer to death. After a showdown with feds and a good conversation with Olivia about recognition being the confirmation of existence, he escaped and the Fringe Division shrugged its shoulders. Hey, he was invisible. You try finding an invisible man. Eventually he did die, but before he expired, he squeezed in one authentic exchange with the hot French-Canadian tenant in his building (he shacked up in the basement) and we got the idea that he died happy. So the lesson for any lonely outsiders out there is, go out and talk to someone, because life is slipping by.

It didn't quite have the emotional impact of last week's phenomenal case (I still get misty thinking about it), but the show is making a point of resolving cases this season without a stereotypical happy ending. Invisible Man got his honest conversation but died, Raymond was able to rejoin his wife but ended up losing her forever, Cameron's life didn't get much better, and Mold Boy was eventually separated from Walter and left to fend for himself (I think). There are a lot of bittersweet endings going on, and that has to be intentional, right? Are these cases a way of showing us that this is a universe of longing? Most of them feature people with good intentions but end with resolutions that aren't ideal. Maybe I'm overthinking it, but I'm always on the lookout for patterns with Fringe. I'm not crazy, you're crazy!

The case touched on a few things going on in the lives of our Fringe Division friends. Olivia felt some kinship with Eugene, as they were both experimented on as kids, and she's been feeling a bit like an outsider herself. Like Eugene, Peter obviously feels like he's invisible in this timeline. But neither notion really intertwined with the case in the same way Fringe's better mythalone episode do.

What served as our OMGosh moment as we head into eight Fringe-free weeks (EIGHT!?!?!) was seeing Nina and her team of specialists knocking out Olivia and injecting her with either super drugs or Roarin' Raspberry Cranberry Kool-Aid. I'm theory-less on this, but I'm not at all surprised Nina isn't the saint she appeared to be.

"Wallflower" was a victim of accidental scheduling, but didn't do itself any favors with its marginal case and lack of big mythology reveals. It was a perfectly fine episode of Fringe, but not the type of goodbye I wanted until the show returns in 2012.

Notes:

– What was missing from this episode was more Peter. This is supposed to be Peter's season, right? And after last week's Peter-heavy episode, the show lost a lot of momentum by relegating Peter to shopping for underwear and hanging posters in his temporary home. Guess we have to wait until 2012.

– There's something more to Olivia's comment to Nina regarding Eugene. Nina said Eugene only survived because of their experimentation on him, and Olivia said he may have been better off dead, obviously referring to the murders taking place. But Nina flashed her a look that told me something interesting, and now that we know Nina has been juicing Olivia (this probably wasn't the first time, right?), perhaps Olivia would have died without her "treatments"?

– Maybe I missed something, but what were the glasses Peter gave Lincoln? Were they ones he had in the other timeline? And I don't know about you, but I'm perfectly okay with Lincoln and Olivia getting it on in this timeline.

– I love how Peter always refers to his Olivia in the present tense. It's not they "were together," it's they "are together." What a determined little p-whipped sweetheart.

– I'm sure this episode spoke to a lot of people who feel like they don't have friends or that their existence is pretty meaningless. It's not. Get out there and take control of your life. If it doesn't work the first time, try it again and again until it does. Not everyone out there sucks. There are others in your boat, and you may need to paddle a while until you find each other, but once you do, you can join forces and build a kick-ass battleship. I don't know when this became a teen hotline, but if it helps one person, I'll be happy.


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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Yess I agree, what I remembered from last seasons finale was that the observers said "see, they don't remember him, anymore it's like he never has existed'' - and then there was this other episode in the new season where the observer who pulled Peter and Walter out of the lake - a "mistake" he needed to correct - should have built a machine to completely erase Peter - but then he hesitated and did not build the device - remember? So this IS his Olivia and these are the people he left behind - but something has been done to them. And what I cannot rap my mind around is that why Peter still has all of his memory intact and the other's havent...is it because he was in the doomsday machine and the others weren't when the observers did something to OUR timeline/universe(s)...Why do we have to wait so long until January....it is just not cool.
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Wait. Just... wait a second.. I'm confused. We keep referring to this as a different timeline, suggesting that this isn't Peter's Oliva... but she IS, isn't she?



She was having dreams about Peter! That's the imprint they spoke of.. that even though they don't remember him, he left an imprint on them. That wouldn't have happened, if these were completely different people.



If this is the case, then I am NOT OK with Olivia and Lincoln. I've said it once, and I'll say it again: Lincoln should turn his gaze to Astrid! She's an awesome hot chick, why hasn't she gotten any romance? HMmmmmm???
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Um I'm sorry but why exactly did they need to end the season with a less than stellar episode? So what if they got bumped, who are the tv Gods at Fox who said that date must be the absolute last date a new episode is aired in 2011? Adjust adjust adjust! Let's see what important things they have on this Friday instead... mmm uh huh uh huh... Pac 12 Football Championship? Wtf is that?? What about the week after... Oh, a repeat of Fringe. Other shows are airing new eps up to Dec. 18. Whatever.
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I think the glasses were just to make Lincoln look more attractive to Olivia.



It's starting to look as if we could get into a series of episodes with Peter jumping from timeline to timeline, possibly with Olivia's help.

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Ya know I didn't think the end was too bad it still had an OMG moment in that Olivia gets injected with what looked like cortexiphan and then they pan to the door and shock horror its ruddy Nina in full evil mastermind mode, it could have been worse given all the disruption the baseball caused. I think its enough along with the trailer for the next episode to tide people over and make them come back to find out what the hell is going on, although granted I think the original mid season finale would have done that more so. I liked the episode aswell, ya felt bad for the "baddie" in typical fringe style, and I always prefer Nina when she's being shady, seemed like she knew more about the Ugene experiments than she let on! I know other people miss the orginal blue universe but I kinda like a shake-up who wants to watch the same thing every season, although I miss seeing more of the redverse....
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I liked the episode, but Lincoln is (or was?)already with Faux Olivia in the other universe, in this one olivia belongs with peter
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It wasn't a bad episode. The last elevator scene also stabbed my heart, it was really bittersweet. And of course, I'm also wondering about Nina shooting up Olivia at the end. I actually thought it was going to be that villain who returns next year that was going to attack Olivia, but no, just not-so-innocent Nina.



Now we have to wait forever again.
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Gawd, I hope this show doesn't get "Lost". Time-travel and alternate universes can be a lot fun but easy to screw up. Abram's Star Trek was brilliant. Lost's, not so much, but then that wasn't Abrams. Super 8 was pretty awful, so let's just see if they come out smokin' or just on fire...

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On hearing the news that there is to be no (new) Fringe till January.... I went back to the dvds of the first season for a quick fix... Although this game changer gambit of this allegedly 3rd universe can feel disappointing mainly in the lack of rapport between Peter and the 'new' Olivia and Walter, it is such a cool device... However I suspect this may just be THE universe but changed because of Peter's disappearance... which is bound to disappoint Peter hugely... but isn't the whole point he and olivia belong together regardless? that is where I feel this is headed although not without a lot of pain in the process... I must say I do not much care for the enhanced Lincoln character... he is no Peter and no Charlie either ... I do miss him as the action man...
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Evil Nina!? I think like that concept. Though I think there's something else going on here.
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It's Fringe. "Nothing is as it seems"
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I enjoyed it a lot.
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Interesting Episode!
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I did not know this was gonna be the mid-season finale. Even so this episode just broke my heart.
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Think I need to clarify.. I broke my heart 'cause it was emotional and good :)
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In this timeline, was Lincoln part of the childhood experiments? Isn't that who he was in the original timeline? Am I wrong?
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Thank You! I have been convinced, without properly researching!!!!!
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Lincoln did not appear in the original timeline. We only had him in the "red" world as a leader of the Fringe division. I think the character you are confusing him with is Nick Lane ( http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0244080/ ) who kind of looks like him:P I made the same mistake in season 3 and I investigated;))
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OMG same here! They looked too much alike lol ;-)
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We've seen him in our universe in the original timeline once. But just that one time in episode 17 of season 3. He assisted on a case.
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Why can't they just go on next week instead of finishing this week? I will never understand American television scheduling. It makes me lose interest in the show.
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Why does it make you lose interest? If you're really interested, shouldn't you be willing to wait during the break to see what happens?
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I thought the ending when the invisible man dies happy after finally having a real conversation with the lady he has been seeing in the elevator that he was in love with was awesome and poignant. Am not really surprised at Nina 's duplicity afterall this is Massive Dynamics.

I cant wait for January.

And am glad peter seems over this Olivia.
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of course it wasn't the first time Nina drugged her. This is why they made such a big deal about her Headaches at the beginning of the episode. And why the guy said after injecting her that all she will have when she wakes up is a huge headache (I doubt he would have said that if it really wasn't their first time but then how else was the audience supposed to know!)
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You are awesome Tim. Wise parting words brilliantly said with a hint of comedy.



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Can't believe Fringe will be gone for 8 weeks!!!!

The episode was fine but it didn't have that OMG finale a mid season finale requires! I understand that this was not supposed to be the mid season finale so for those of us Fringe fans who live in a country where baseball doesn't even exists can i just say : WHY????



The theme of the episode... To been seen by others, to be recognized is interesting. Loved the scene between Eugene and Julie. It was really touching and emotional.

I like this relationship between Oliva and Lincoln. I hope they get together in this time line. Don't have any theories aboute Nina evil plans...but i can't tell she is up to no good.

And i also hope Peter goes back to his time line and re-unite whit his Olivia before the end of the season. I guess i have to wait for 2012 to see that.



Hope you enjoy your World Series cuz if you don't.......... eheh just kidding :)

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Theories on Nina's shenanigans: The Clortexephan-trials obviously didn't end up with "no results" and a quiet shutdown - either they continued dosing Olivia (either to see what happened or because she became dependant on the drug), or they started dosing her with "antidotes" to keep her from worldhopping, or they treat her with some sort of "suppressant" to keep both her memories and abilities under wraps. I'm very curious to see where they're going with this storyline - does Nina really love Olivia, or has she been observing, manipulating and controlling her all along?
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That episode was ok. The last minutes with Eugene in the elevator really broke my heart. That's nice of you Tim to cheer up lonely people out there.

And I'm totally with you about the pattern of this season : good intentioned people getting serious problems trying to solve some others. Every case since Peter's return was a metaphor about him. If the whole pattern applies to him as well then I think that the next ep will be a major one (I didn't watch the preview).



Actually, the title of the next ep is pretty straightforward : "Back to Where You've Never Been". So Peter will try to get back home. But there is no such thing as home because he's already there. This universe is his own but he doesn't know it yet. What will be the consequences of that discovery or of his actions to get to it ? I think the answer to this question should have been the fall cliffhanger that we all were waiting for. Such a shame.



I bet that the next half (two thirds actually) of the season will be way more packed with all the fringe mythology that we all love. Eight weeks... tough.
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What made me love this episode is the final scene between u.gene (aka Eugene) and Julie. The fact that she had actually noticed him before, even though they never spoke, and their short conversation was just so incredibly cute - it's a shame he had to die.

On the other hand, there definitely wasn't enough Peter - and really if he wanted to rebuild the machine why put the posters OVER one another so he couldn't see half of the schematics anymore? Oh, whatever Fringe ;)

I'm wondering about Lincoln's glasses, too. Gotta rewatch some episodes; but maybe it was just a friendly gesture.

Also incredibly cute (can't find a better word for it) was the way Lincoln and Olivia agreed on their date at 3 a.m. in that diner. Unfortunately Olivia never made it.

Is it january yet?
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"Wallflower" wasn't exciting at all IMO but after watching that 47 second clip for next year I was blown away. One thing I'm scared about is the return of Fringe..Friday the freaking 13th!!!! its like season 4 is cursed or something,rain/baseball/series low ratings etc..Why can't I enjoy this show without having to worry so freaking much??
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I know just how you feel regarding the worry. I stress a lot less about what's happening *on* the show than I do about what'll happen to the show itself. It's always nagging at me that I'll ultimately get robbed of any amount of closure. Cynical? You bet, but only because this isn't my first year of watching network TV.

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The first thing I said when this episode ended was: THAT'S IT! It simply didn't feel like a fall break, leaving me with an insatiably burning desire to see more Fringe in 2012. So, after reading this review, I now understand why it felt like a bit of a letdown (yet another reason to hate the Cardinals). That being said, it was a solid (albeit not spectacular) episode, with a few questions answered. Many were wondering what the dynamic between Peter and Olivia would be in this timeline. Would they fall in love all over again? Would Lincoln serve as an obstacle for their reconnection? Is Peter stuck in this timeline forever? What we learned is: This Olivia is NOT Peter's Olivia. She is not the woman he fell in love with and not the woman he wants to be with. This development clears the way for Linclivia/Olincoln, without any resentment from the fans. Moving onto the most important question: Will Peter ever go home? If anybody watched the upcoming scenes for when Fringe returns in January, we got a tenuous answer to this question: Peter is going to damn well try. It was very brief, but it seems Peter goes over to the Red universe and tries to enlist the help of Walternate to accomplish this titanic time-altering task. The next episode looks EPIC!



Closing Thought: I never thought I would want to see a Blue intro so BAD!
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Something to consider: if Peter ever manages to revert the effects of the machine and re-implant himself into the timeline, it would mean that both worlds (aka blue and red) are still dying, so unless he has a great plan to fix that somehow, he really shouldn't toy around with time - again.

And I don't think he can go home, because he's already there. He changed the past, he didn't survive, yet he's there. My head hurts. The Observer should have just deleted him and everyone would be happy - you know, except for the viewers (excluding me).
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I definitely agree with you on that. I don't think Peter will ever be able to go back to that time line - what we see now is a variation of that one without him. If it was a matter of just being in the wrong one, why didn't he end up in the red one? Why did he go back to the one that is so similar to the old? Something tells me that all their relationships will have to be reconstructed.
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About the actual episode:

-I definitely liked it. It wasn't finale caliber, but obviously that's not Fringe's fault....Also, I never liked or trusted Nina Sharp, in ANY timeline or universe....

-If I see someone trying to reach for something in a store, I always help (I know, I'm special!), so it really bugged me when agent douchewad grabbed Peter's arm.

-Walter and Astrid continue to have spectacular chemistry!!
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Fringe was just gone for 3 weeks cuz of an uninteresting WS, and now another 8?!?!?!!? Serenity now, serenity now, SERENITY NOW!!
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Did you really call this year's World Series "uninteresting"? What? You do know the meaning of the word, right? Because it was pretty much anything but uninteresting.
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And the "World" Series includes how many world countries, exactly?
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Ugh, yes, true, it's a poorly named championship. I have nothing to do with that. The players have nothing to do with that. My POINT has nothing to do with that, so I'm not quite sure why you even said this, exactly.
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Haha! Serenity now, insanity later.
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I wanna know if those missile-like objects from season 1 episode 4 will ever be explained what they were and what they served for... anyway, FRINGE ROCKS!!!
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Hey, it is just me, or some finds curious Olivia's migrane? Ok, they are putting things in her head, but she had the migranes without the thing too. I'm thinking that's her conscious mind fighting with her unconscious to remember Peter.
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or maybe they had been injecting her that whole week?
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Yeah, I figured this wasn't the first time Olivia had been dosed (with what looked kind of like Cortexiphan?)--one of the masked guys mentioned her having a hell of a headache, so I assumed that was meant to explain them.
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I'm still waiting for an answer to the big mystery from the episode "Lysergic Acid Diethylamide". A man with an X on his shirt is going to kill Olivia. They could have easily left this character out of the episode, but they didn't. So it must be significant. But they never dealt with that at all, Peter never even questioned Olivia about why she was sure the man will kill him. To me, this is the biggest mystery. On the other hand, thinking about these alternate universes and time lines will only make your head spin without giving any answers. No matter how you try to figure it out, it'll only present more paradoxes. It might be entertaining, but ultimately useless. It's the same thing as with Terra Nova or Lost, time travelling doesn't work without creating massive questions.
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I have often wondered about the X-shirted man and if this mystery will ever be resolved. At the time it seemed so significant, but I'm not so sure anymore. I hate to say it, but this open thread does remind me of the many questions never answered on Lost. I hope I'm wrong, and the writers are just playing the (very) long game.
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That's exactly what I feel also... Abrams is going to dumb us in the middle of nowhere just like he did before.
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Personally I don't understand why Fox has decided to make this the last episode of the "fall season". Most of their other shows are going to be first runs, at least for the next few weeks. Why can't they do that with Fringe and give us the real last episode of this arc now as was originally intended? I see this as just another case of the networks not really giving a damn about their viewers and just worrying about their bottom line. I'm old enough to remember when TV series were 25-32 episodes long and the only time you saw reruns was at Christmas and during the summer. This thing about 6 or 8 episodes and then it disappears for a couple of months sucks. I'll be back to watch again once the "new season" begins but more and more I'm watching cable and pay series rather than network. I hate the 12 episode seasons on them, but at least you get a full story line before they disappear for a few months.
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Thanks for your recap and especially for your last note, i'm experiencing this period in my life when i feel like i'm paddling hard with no results!...

I feel the same way re. this episode, still very interesting but missing something, maybe because of this yellow timeline... It doesn't feel like "Fringe home"! I hope he won't be stuck in there for too long! Perhaps he will once Olivia figures out what's going on with Nina, that somehow she (Olivia) could help him go back? My first impression about the glasses was that Peter gave them to Lincoln so that he looks more confident and less geeky in order to help him get closer to Olivia (?!). Now we understand Peter is not in his timeline, it doesn't bother me either to witness the beginning of a relationship between Olivia and Lincoln, it is kind of a connection with the red timeline where Lincoln says that he loves her. We just have to wait until January to see what happens next!
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Wasnt that drug they gave Olivia Crotexofan (sp?)?? I seem to remember the last time I saw it (when Olivia escaped form Over There) it was red as well. Which would mean they never really stopped experimenting on Olivia ever since she was a child.
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I first thought that she would die if she don't get the treatment, like the invisible guy; but it wasn't "love" that we saw on Nina's face...



They haven't even hinted at any solution for any of the many sub-plots which they have introduced and they bring a new sub-plot on top of that... (Typical J.J.)
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I think y'all have a pretty solid theory forming here. If Nina is dosing Amber Olivia with Cortexiphan then based on what Blue Olivia was able to do in order to escape from the Red Universe, Amber Olivia may also be able to move between universes. Perhaps Peter does not need the machine to return to the Blue Universe at all (and perhaps it is not safe to use the machine again anyway), perhaps it is Olivia that will return him to the people he loves. The process she will go through in order to arrive at the correct timeline remains to be seen and it will be a long 8 weeks wait to learn anything new.
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Best episode of the year so far. Where Peter exists is really becoming an interesting story. From the previews its like he has become this nowhere man. Nice twist with what is going on between Olivia and Nina. Walter was in prime form this Ep, Onion rings and beer batter - loved it. Can't wait til January.
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Makes me wonder how many viewers will come back in January, and, IF the series will be back in January...
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Way to stay positive Swing. Full of positivity and good cheer after reading Tim's feel good review, eh?
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No positive nor negative just wondering out loud.

Sometimes, I like it when my feeling is wrong... ;)
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I don't think I could take Community AND Fringe not coming back in January. If that happened, Tim might have to talk me off a ledge.
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Tim might be too busy setting certain TV station on fire... just saying... better have a plan B LOL!
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My guess is all of them and Yes. I'm not sure why this particular episode would make people jump ship....?
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Up to this episode i had hopes the Observers will turn up and do something "fringey" and Peter n Olivia will be back together,and the universe will be blue again. As interesting as the yellow universe is,watching Peter "upgrade" the already super nerdy cute Lincolin, made me super sad. Peter looks unhappy but am glad he is looking for his way "home".

For me this episode had a " sympathy for the devil" vibe to it. I know killing people is bad. When Julie spoke to Eugene, the look on his face when he realised she "always" noticed him... priceless!!.

But killing people has a price and he died. So i am going to use the next 8 weeks to figure out



what's up with Nina Sharp (What a mother!!).

how to give Peter a hug?

how to squeeze lincolin's sweet cheeks?

And most importantly,what is in the syringe? Is the reddish drug the reason we don't know/here much about this yellow universe Olivia's "powers" harnessed during Walter's experimentations?
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Great episode, as usual; especially the ending. My jaw dropped watching Nina dose Olivia like that.
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I could hug you for your PSA. I didn't know where you were going with that until the last bit. Damned cool of you.



ICA with you on LOlive. That would be cute. No idea why I feel that way cos I am not into the mushy stuff. I do think the guy who plays Lincoln is seriously cute. Could possibly be a factor. I didn't get the glasses either. I thought maybe he gave them to him because they were just less geeky looking and Olivia would like him more or something. Maybe they're bugged.



Feel just a little ripped that they didn't explore the Peter Paradox more.



Also agree this was a pretty decent run of the mill ep but not an epic season closer. However, my jaw dropped when the source of Olivia's headaches was revealed and Nina Sharp is behind it. I wonder how long that has been going on?
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"What a determined little p-whipped sweetheart." - LOL.

Also- *Kyle's Mom's Voice* What what what! No Fringe until January? WTF, when did this happen? Who died and took a crap in my cereal?
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I cant believe that David is coming back to Fringe, that first season one chapter "In which we meet Mr.Jones" or something like that is one hell o an hour and "Ability" is a outstanding episode.
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Now I understand why Peter seemed so detached about Olivia. The sweet thing is completely certain he is just in the incorrect time line so he does not get anxious about the LOlivia ( or Olincoln ?!? ok shippers give me a hand here!) situation, LOL!



Anyway Peter believes it is just a matter of going back to the correct timeline... But what if he has altered the time lines (or all time lines have been altered when he was erased) and none of them are like the one in which he was before with Olivia and the relationship he had with Walter, what then?



I just luuuv the Astrid character, I think Jasika is perfect! This season she is getting really good lines LOL!



This episode reminded me of when I used to teach teenagers some years ago, and one of them told me once in a moment of soul baring "I feel like I don't exist when people don't look a me" ...



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I find your comment on the time lines being erased altogether really interesting. I thought about that myself, like, Peter wants to go home, but there's no home to go to! Why did he end up in that universe, anyway? What if he will have to recreate his relationships with Olivia and Walter? If he was just in the wrong place, neither Walter nor Olivia would have had flashes or dreams of him.
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SPOILER:

I can't wait until 2012, when FRINGE returns with my fav villain, David Robert Jones! Oh why was it postponed because of baseball :(
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It was a good episode definitely, but I REALLY want Peter to go home. I miss the original timeline, relationships, and characters. Can't say I'm a fan of Lincoln/Olivia so I just hope there aren't many episodes left of it until we finally see Peter reunited with HIS Olivia. Plus Walter always being in the lab is a bit of a hindrance, as it means less Walter time. Yeah. I guess I just don't like this new reality... Can't connect.
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Everyone does but this timeline is kind of interesting and now that David Jones is back it's only going to get better.
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