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FRINGE Recap: ’6B’ (GMMR)

I think we kind of owe Canada an apology.

For those of you who missed the second part of my interview with FRINGE showrunners Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman, when we discussed Friday’s episode, “6B,” I brought up the spoilery Canadian promo. Neither of them had seen the promo in question, but when I mentioned it showed Peter and Olivia kissing, Pinkner jokingly warned me, “Don’t trust things that come out of Canada.”

New rule: trust everything that comes out of Canada.

However, it’s possible Canada owes us an apology for giving us a promo that RHYMED. So…maybe we’re even?

Regardless of who is owed an apology, the promo didn’t lie. Actually, I’d argue they might have given a little too much away since they showed the final kissing scene and they could have just as easily taken the clip from the bar scene to get people excited, but it certainly wasn’t wrong about what went down.

But let’s go back to the beginning of the hour. Apparently Olivia was so shaken by the reveal that Peter still had feelings for Fauxlivia she avoided him for a couple weeks. Sure, the official excuse was that there were no cases, but let’s be real about this…poor Liv was avoiding Peter. So Walter took matters into his own hands, invited Olivia over for breakfast under false pretenses and it started the conversation between Olivia and Peter.

Peter: Olivia, look, I don’t approve of his methodology, but since we’re here, we might as well take advantage of the situation and just talk about what’s bothering you.
Olivia: I don’t really know what to say. I know that you still think about her. I know you had feelings for her and that you still do. And frankly, I don’t think you’ve been completely honest with me.
Peter: Well, you’re right. I haven’t told you everything. Mostly because I didn’t think you –
Olivia: That I can handle it?
Peter: I know that you struggle with trust issues, that you have a difficult time letting people in.
Olivia: Well, I’m struggling because the reasons are real; I’m not making them up.
Peter: I know. I never wanted to be one of the reasons. And I still think about her because I spent so long imagining going down that path with you. Imagining what it would be like to wake up in a bed next to you. To sit around, just the two of us, having a cup of coffee and reading the paper and then finally I had it. I’ve seen what the two of us together looks like and it’s beautiful.
Olivia: Peter, she’s the one who took it away from us, not me.
Peter: And now? Who’s the one stopping us now?

At this point, I was pretty sure what the FRINGE showrunners meant when they said tonight’s hour was a FRINGE love story was that they actually meant they were going to kill me slowly. I didn’t really expect Olivia to be as upfront with Peter about his feelings for Fauxlivia as she was. Of course, Peter doesn’t know that Simon read his mind and Olivia didn’t reveal that, so any present feelings he still has for her doppelganger are still being pushed aside for the most part. But they did start the conversation and were honest — for the most part — about what was bothering them.

Luckily for Olivia, they are called to a case where six people fell to their death from a seventh floor apartment. Peter and Walter quickly realize that the people didn’t jump to their death — they fell through the balcony floor. Walter is horrified when he realizes the laws of physics have been disrupted, which means the universe is starting to fall apart.

With the potential for the soft spot to turn into a vortex, Olivia and Peter take Walter’s seismograph to monitor the apartment building. Walter, meanwhile, has Astrid go searching for the case files and his lab notes he took while they were investigating the chemical attack that occurred on a commuter bus several years earlier.

FRINGE fans might remember that case from the episode, “The Ghost Network” — AKA the third episode of season one. Let that sink in for a second. The amber that is vital towards keeping the universe intact “over there” first made its appearance on our show in the third episode of the series. Doesn’t that make you wonder what other hints we’re missing right now that several years from now will be painfully obvious? It hurts my brain in the best way possible.

But while Walter and Astrid are nice and toasty in the lab, Olivia and Peter head to a bar to avoid the 12 degree weather while they monitor the apartment. The duo joke about Walter, before Olivia addresses the elephant in the room:

Olivia: You know when you were talking earlier about what it felt like when you thought you were with me? When you said that it was beautiful?
Peter: Yeah.
Olivia: I want to know what that feels like.
Peter: …but?

And then she kisses him. Peter’s smile throughout her confession and the kiss was just adorable. It was so innocent and hopeful. Of course, Olivia was still panicking about their relationship and Fauxlivia, so all she saw when she looked at Peter was his other-worldly glow, which causes her to bolt. When Peter chases after her, she admits that since he’s glowing to her, she’s terrified — Fauxlivia’s presence isn’t the only thing causing her fear. Olivia worries she’s incapable of being vulnerable and she won’t be able to fix it. But luckily for Olivia, the fear allows her to see that the apartment building they were supposed to be monitoring has a strange glow appearing from one of the windows.

Was I the only one who thought the widow, Alice, might be some older variation or parallel to Olivia? Obviously we knew she wasn’t the real Fauxlivia, but the way she dressed and the way she did her hair reminded me so much of our Olivia. Alice is suffering her own heartbroken, missing her dead husband, Derek, whose ghost apparently was making appearances in her apartment.

Walter comes by and declares there is no such thing as ghosts, but there is no lingering radiation either. Alice tells Olivia that Derek was accidentally killed by a short in the wiring of a blown fuse box,  and then she saw him around dinnertime a few days after he had passed. She was in the lowest of points of her despair over her husband’s death and then he suddenly appeared. Walter realizes that since Derek was the one who originally owned the apartment, it was likely his double on the other side also owned the same thing, which would account for why they could see him over there. But they still can’t figure out why his widow can see through to the other universe.

Thankfully, Walter is having slightly better luck with a solution to stopping the potential vortex. He admits that ever since they returned from the other side he’s been worried about what they’ll have to do if a vortex becomes a real threat and now it seems likely they might need to use amber to seal up the building to prevent the vortex from forming.

As the scientists work on the formula for amber, Nina worries about how Walter is doing. He isn’t doing well.

Walter: For a long time, I’ve been willing to think the worst of Walternate. He was an evil man, willing to use any means necessary to get what he needed. I suppose that made it easy to justify what I did. Now we’re faced with the same decision and I’m arguing that we do exactly what he did. What sort of person does that make me?
Nina: One that’s asking the right questions.
Walter: You don’t think he grappled with them, too?

Their conversation got interrupted by the news that the amber compound works. I wish there was some way to make a law that John Noble (Walter) and Blair Brown (Nina) had to share screen-time every week. They are painfully good together.

As Olivia and Peter try and figure out why Alice can see Derek, Peter realizes that it’s possible that when the fuse box “over there” broke, alt-Alice was the one to fix it, so she’s the one who died there. Olivia theorizes that it’s possible that the spouses on each side are grieving for their loss so much that they are causing the soft spot. A “emotional quantum entanglement” as Walter puts it.

They figure it out just in time as Alice and Derek’s connection is getting more intense. Walter and Broyles are there, ready to amber the building to prevent a vortex, but Walter still has serious doubts about whether they are doing the right thing. Peter and Olivia keep trying to convince Alice that it’s not really her husband, but she can’t let go. Peter, who is having his own issues with letting people go, tries to reason with her:

Peter: You’ve already had what most of us only dream of: a lifetime with the person that you love. Look around you, your entire house is full of mementos, photographs, ticket stubs, a life shared with somebody. Proof that what you and Derek had was true and real. And I know that when you have something so real you’ll do anything you can to keep from losing it, but please, you have to let him go.

As luck would have it, alt-Derek mentions their kids which snaps our childless Alice out of it. She’s able to say goodbye to the man who isn’t really her husband. She tells Olivia that if the impossible (such as an alternate universe) is possible, then who’s to say she won’t see her real husband again at some point in the future?

Back at Massive Dynamic, Walter laments that even with Walternate’s mass amount of funding and researchers, the best option they can come up with over there is amber. He tells Nina he’s afraid he won’t be able to stop the universe from crumbling, and she tells him she thinks he needs to learn. Nina has always seemed like an untapped wealth of knowledge, so I’m wondering what tricks she’s about to share with Walter in the upcoming episodes.

After Peter’s speech to Alice, I wondered if he was going to actively take a step back from pursuing Olivia, but if he was considering that, we’ll never know. Olivia shows up at the Bishop home and instead of talking about moving on, her mind is on moving forward with Peter.

Olivia: Peter, what you said to Mrs. Merchant…I want what you want.
Peter: What do you think we should do about that?

And then she kisses him. Thankfully for all parties involved, there was no supernatural glowing and they went upstairs.

It was an incredibly bittersweet scene, because viewers see that Peter and Olivia are finally happy…but the duo isn’t aware that Fauxlivia is pregnant, that Peter’s romantic choice will determine which universe survives, Olivia isn’t aware that Peter has been killing shape-shifters and Peter isn’t aware Olivia knows he still cares about Fauxlivia. For right now, it seems like Peter and Olivia are on borrowed time. Let’s enjoy this period of happiness while it lasts.

Let’s face it, there’s really no way to forget Fauxlivia exists, but we were given that extra reminder when we flashed over to the other side where she and Lincoln are investigating the same case. But since our team solved the problem, the alt-team can’t figure out what happened. Fauxlivia talks to alt-Derek, but he denies that anything happened there. Is anyone else wondering why he didn’t recognize Fauxlivia after seeing Olivia? Maybe he just wanted to get rid of her and go back to his photo albums to grieve.

A very FRINGE-y love story, indeed.

A few of my other random thoughts/highlights from the episode:

  • How cute is Walter as the ultimate Peter-Olivia ‘shipper? That’s been a relatively consistent thread the show has played, but it still makes me laugh every time. Does anyone doubt he likely literally proved breakfast was the most important meal of the day in 1973?
  • If I never have to see the end scene from “Marionette” in a “Previously On” segment again, it will be too soon. Don’t get me wrong…it was fantastically done. However, it breaks my heart every single time, so let’s hope we have a little bit happier scenes to start off the episodes, okay?
  • I didn’t notice Seth Gabel’s name in the credits until I rewatched the episode. I’m thankful I missed that so I didn’t spend the entire episode wondering when he might show up.
  • Unless I’m totally mistaken, Peter’s mystery song selection was “For Once in My Life,” which Olivia previously sang in “Brown Betty.”
  • I really hope the concept of “soul magnets” (the captured energy from a deceased person) is explored in greater depth later.
  • Of course Broyles knows the President. Not only that, but he beat him at golf.
  • Fox! Way to ruin a key element of next week’s episode — that Peter and Olivia met as children — with your promo. “Their relationship wasn’t an accident…it was destiny,” the Fox voice-over man declared. (Seriously, that guy has the greatest voice.) And that does line up with what Wyman told me when he said, “[Y]ou know that they’re destined for each other, right?” Make sure to check back with Give Me My Remote next week because I chatted with Pinkner and Wyman about the hour.

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