The first thing that came to mind when watching Subject 13 is that the people that cast Fringe really know what they're doing. I can't honestly think of a time that I've seen two child actors do quite so good a job at delivering pretty heavy emotional scenes this convincingly. Add on to that the most of the episode centered around John Noble and you've basically got everything you need for fantastic television. The entire episode deals with the emotional aftermath of Peter's disappearance from the Alt-verse 6 months previously and everything down the intro titles brings that 80's theme to it. Peter's distrust of his surroundings with the lingering feeling that he isn't where he is supposed to be was particularly compelling to watch, again, in part due to the kid playing him actually being able to act. Seeing more the testing on the Cortexiphan kids and Walternate's downward spiral was great as well and really makes you feel for both Walter and Walternate. If this season is Fringe's last outing then an episode like this might actually have been a bit of a waste of 40 minutes that could have been used to propel the current plot further, however if a fourth season is granted then this is a perfect piece of television. Layering in backstory with 80's memorabilia and great acting really isn't the easiest thing to pull off, but the Fringe writers did it well. Let us all just pray that more and more people watch Fringe and get the ratings up!
"The beguiling Olivia Dunham beguiles." This is said by Walter when young Peter first sees young Olivia and can't get his eyes off of her. And why would he? Or more to my point: how could he? Given that the young girl was every bit as beguiling as the adult character. With the proper material, she managed - just like her adult self, to make other characters revolve around her emotionally...
This episode seemed to be about young Peter dueling with his 'mother' to get her to admit he wasn't her child. It seemed to be about Walternate actively engaged into self-destruction. It even seemed to be about Walter's fight with morals.
It ultimately ended up being about young Olivia allowing Peter to find a reason to believe this could be his world, about her giving to Walternate the information he needed to sober up and start his quest, and finally, about her inspiring Walter to make the right decision.
The above distinction matters to me as it means she made things happen by influencing others' lives. It means that just like her adult self, she drove the plot...
I liked the tulip field scene. Both kids sounded much wiser than their age would allow but it worked. Plus the cinematography was wonderful, just like at Reiden lake.
I particularly liked the scene in which young Olivia ended up in front of Walternate. It was brilliantly constructed, with an icing on the cake: the puzzled but adorable look on Olivia's face when she turned to speak to Walter standing at the door.
I liked that though she had a stronger character, both kid actors were very good.
I liked that Peter even as a child was already extremely smart in a con-artist sort of way: "Because it was the only drawing that looked happy."
And finally, I liked the attention to details about the eighties: the episode intro, the lab equipment, the furniture, and my favorites: the Betamax reference by Walter and the Macintosh computer in Peter's room.
The episode was wonderfully put together and only improved our understanding of the overall story and more importantly of the characters. I had no issue whatsoever with the few points that raised some red flags as they can easily be dealt with later.
How I wish I knew how to convince viewers that matter (Nielsen families) to watch Fringe live...
'Peter' was a landmark in Fringe history delving LOST style into the past and revealing the backstory of how Walter crossed over in an attempt to save his peter, and consequently starting a war between parallel universes. Subject 13 takes place six months after the events in that episode and delivers another dose of powerful story telling combined with some amazing performances.
You know you're in for a treat when the show opens with the retro credits (my personal favourite) and the story starts with young Peter who has been having trouble adjusting to life on the other side. Both young versions of Peter and Olivia have to deal with some tough subject matter in this episode and in the cold opener we see Peter trying to drown himself in Reiden lake in order to get back to the other side. The action soon moves to Walter's lab in Jacksonville Florida where he has been conducting the cortexiphan trials. It was a shocking moment when it was revealed that Walter had been experimenting on Olivia as a child way back in Season one and now we get to see how her ability developed as well as her first meeting with Peter.
Olivia first crosses over as a result of the emotional stimulation of being beaten by her father but and though she doesn't admit this to Walter he figures it out. Walter then tries to recreate this in the test facilities, with a segment we see through the lens of his betamax video camera. This was well filmed and adds to the authentic feel of the episode, especially as it's in a 4:3 ratio. The experiment results in Olivia starting a fire when her ability is stimulated as we've seen from Walter's tapes of the experiments in previous episodes. The whole episode sees Walter trying to return Peter with the hopes that Olivia will be the key, but when given a choice between returning his son and sparing Olivia more violence at home he decides to stick up for Olivia. At the end Olivia briefly crosses over for long enough to provide Walternate with the giveaway clue to the missing Peter's location sparking off the war between the parallel universes. What's interesting about this episode is the choices Walter makes and how it was in his efforts to return Peter that he lit the fuse that he had made when his original plan failed.
The actress who portrays young Olivia plays her part convincingly and there are some touching scenes between her and Peter at the end (though I find it hard to believe Peter doesn't remember meeting her in the future). Once again a good wig and a soft focus make the past believable also helped by John Noble's consistently awesome acting. The trauma resolves itself for both children with a threat from Walter against any further violence from her step father and Peter being convinced by his mother that he is not from the other side. Though it lacks the impact of the first episode where we seen into the past it's just as enjoyable and proves that the Fringe universe is an exciting one whether in the past, present or on the other side.
Subject 13 was a really great episode of Fringe. I enjoyed watching this episode because it gave viewers more of a background context for characters in both universes. It was interesting to see more of Walter's original universe crossing, the consequences Peter suffered mentally due to the lies he was being told, and Olivia's issues with her step father. I thought it was cool to see Olivia crossing between the universes. This episode was definitely different and important to the series as a whole. There was a watcher sighting which raises some exciting questions. I look forward to watching the next episode of Fringe!!!!!
I have never wrote a review on anything in my life not even my beloved all time fav show LOST, but this episode just displayed a level of brilliance I have never engaged from a show in my life to date they continue to create avenues in which us the fans can really enjoy and they leave nothing to question. We now have a chance to get more perspective on our beloved characters allowing us to emotionally connect with your own point of view of this magnificent tale the writers will continue to fall back on these avenues they have created both lengthening and broadening the show so fringe fans sit back and enjoy this wonderful show!! how sweet it is to be replicating the feelings so sorely missed by the finishing of LOST thank you writers!!!!!!
This episode was a sequel to "Peter", but let me say, that, even with some really good scenes ( the shocking opening, the first time Olivia crosses over, and the tulip field ) , it's not exactly on the same level. "Peter" had some revelations ( about Nina's arm and the Observers' involvement, for instance ), this one ... not so much, except that Walter originally started the cortexiphan tests to bring Peter back home, and that Olivia unwillingly sparked the interdimensional war, which is interesting, but not exactly mind-blowing. What matters here is that we got origins stories for both Peter and Olivia. We see how she became the tough, doom-and-gloom woman we know. We see how he, too, was hardened by his ordeals, and in the tulip field scene, the boy looked so much like Joshua Jackson in the way he moves and talks it was weird. There are some nice nods to other episodes : "White tulip", obviously, Peter references the alternate comic book covers seen in "Over there" and Walter trains the children with the very same words he'll use in that same episode ... So, all in all, if the thrills weren't exactly there, the emotion was, particularly in the scenes with Peter and his mom, and, yes, even Walternate was touching in this one. But I was expecting some twists that never came.
This is great to see 2 different moms of Peter. I think they both have unique characteristics, for me I see the same in the two Walters noting really different just small details. It was very nice to see what happen right after Walter took Peter from the other side, and how Peter and Olivia met when they were little. A fascinating episode about two families torn all for the future that is here now.
This episode explains why they "made the switch" when they were headed back to the opera house in "over there part 2"... Walternate had known since '85 where his son was, and he knew that Olivia had "Universe-hopping" skills. If William Bell was in this episode it would have been the best episode ever, but oh well.
The previous season with the episode gave us this number to know Jacksonville, where Walter (John Noble) made all those experiences with your group of children. After a pause, he returned with "Peter" a fantastic story about the origins of the conflict. Well, a season after a year and returned not only to local but also to the precise spot where the last story left off.
And a large fall back. It's amazing how a prequel episode, where presumably much of our information is already known and where the fate of the characters already outlined, can transmit both again. "Subject 13" begins shortly after Peter (Chandler Canterbury) have been kidnapped and is with him that we are introduced to the snow, to the despair of a child who wants to go home. I always had the idea that the passage of the protagonist, from one side to the other, had been peaceful and that he had not assimilated well the event. But no, and rightly so, because the logic level really makes sense to a kid his age to understand the world around you and feel that something is wrong.
So, no way out, tries to kill the ice that brought you here, being saved by a mother in conflict. Initially wanted to stay with the "son", but now, due to their suffering or take him to his original universe. It is supposedly because of this that Walter starts those tests in Jacksonville. It was a great joy to see the facilities and operate the old and new tapes to record, remind us immediately of "Lost", the Dharma, there longing. We also know little Olivia (Karley Scott Collins) and his awful stepfather. This, and its climate of fear and violence, the little protagonist who awakens feelings that are able to jump between universes.
There are so clear on two fronts this side: a mother who is no mother and no longer knows what else they can do and the father is not the father who tries by Olivia find their way back to the other side. These two tracks collide in the legendary meeting between the two children in a field of white tulips, very well represented by these young actors. He tells her to not be afraid to trust the old scientist, adopting speech for you, deciding to forget and assume that it was all a strange dream of his. The moment he embraces his mother and this eventually decides to stay with him is fantastic. Orla Brady is excellent.
On the other hand have seen a couple together, which breaks up slowly, the pain of a son who disappeared. This was another of the mysteries of the episode: how Walternate discovered the whereabouts of his son? We see the desperation, the assumptions made in time and time again, and here we see a man come to the conclusion that more certain that there is good side and bad side. They are parents to protect what they love most in life, not that this will have to make decisions morally unacceptable.
Now comes the best scene of the episode, perhaps the best all season. Young Olivia decides to tell Walter that the stepfather and the harms against everything and everyone goes into this office. Vents all that holds it, and in the end, we realized she was on the other hand, tell you all Walternate. They rarely catch me off guard but here I fell like a duck, and it was great. I went behind the scene - no longer returned from an episode behind, there is, "Lost" - to confirm, to read better, to find out how I cheated. And that's okay, all done with great intelligence and insight. It's really amazing, like a scene as simple, with zero effect, so can arouse in the spectator.
"Subject 13" is not only the most sentimental episode of the season and played well, as one of the best episodes that "Fringe" ever offered us.
The Best: The final scene with Olivia and the two Walters.
The worst: I hoped to learn more about Olivia's stepfather.
I love this show like everyone else but this episode was tragically awful! I mean it was the only episode of the entire series so far that I didn't even want to watch - I just sorta left it playing in the background after about twenty minutes..
And I didn't buy the laughable notion that Olivia and Peter somehow knew each other before. It's just catering to shippers. Ick.
I love the show...great acting but it doesn't make sense...why did Peter and Olivia NOT know each other when they meet as adults. I hope they explain the reason. Maybe they were both hypnotized to forget each other....it just didn't make sense.
They could have bounced back and forth to the worlds with more of an accurate staging.
I'm just worried that this episode was a waste of time. Yes, it was great acting but it felt more like a filler. I guess I'm still just disappointed that they made the "bad" Olivia pregnant (last week)
Seems more like a soap opera. The "bad" Olivia would have never slipped up and gotten pregnant. I bet they will make the "good" Olivia pregnant too....HOPE not that would really be worse.
Still LOVE the show though. :)
Okay, I think we can all agree that the 1985 version of the Fringe theme song is awesome. Where I differ with most of my tv.com community is in the rest of the episode.
This was good, but I have to admit a little tedious at points. John Noble still looks like he is 70 during the flashbacks and Peter and his mom are too annoying to empathize with. They could have accomplished the main point of this in a flashback during a regular episode. I have to question the motives behind dedicating an hour to it.
It was a fun episode though. It definitely felt like a television broadcast from the 1980's, like the second incarnation of The Twilight Zone or something, but not one of this season's best.
I don't know why the writers feel it important to provide every single detail of Peter and Olivia's formative years. If they want to tell us a few things about them, and why Walter wanted to unlock the secrets of universe crossing, I would have preferred the flashback method. And what exactly was learned? I thought Olivia grew up in a relatively stable environment - I mean, didn't she have a loving mother who we met in the alternative universe? Now we're being told the intense emotion/fear created when her father hit her, in conjunction with the injections from Walter, gave her the ability to cross over. Also - she met and was immediately smitten with Peter; even when he was a little boy. Gee. I suppose other questions were answered - I just don't know what they were.
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