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Demons and Messages From the Beyond: Dream Logic on "Fringe"

"I hope you like red."

This week's episode of Fringe ("Dream Logic"), written by Josh Singer and directed by Paul A. Edwards, was a step back in the right direction after last week's off-the-rails installment that had me screaming at my television with frustration.

Not so this week, which offered a rather X-Files-esque one-off investigation while also continuing to develop some rather juicy subplots for our troika of paranormal investigators, Olivia and the Bishops. This week saw the return of Kevin Corrigan's Sam Weiss, a very welcome addition to the series, as he continued to help Olivia deal with the consequences from her travels "over there," and a shocking glimpse into Peter's backstory that had me gasping for air even as I noticed that Challenger poster over Peter's dresser. (Nice Easter egg that.)

While the case this week focused on a form of addictive dream theft by a sleep researcher with a dual personality, it was definitely the individual character beats that were the most rewarding aspects of this installment. It was the little moments, from Walter's fear about the wet smell in the air of a Seattle hospital (which reminded him of the mental hospital where he was incarcerated) to Astrid bringing the Bishops a loaf of ciabatta a token of good luck for their new home, that furthered the relationships between the characters and kept certain subplots chugging along.

I love the burgeoning relationship between Anna Torv's Olivia and Kevin Corrigan's Sam; I don't think it will ever go into romantic territory but their quirky dynamic adds another winning layer to the mix here. His homework for Oliva--to ask for business cards from people she encounters wearing red--is intended to be a cathartic one for the grieving FBI agent. Following Charlie's death, she can't let go of her guilt over his murder, even though the thing she killed wasn't Charlie but an imposter. In giving Olivia the tools to find a meaning out of chaos, she is able to tell herself the thing she needs to hear: "You're gonna be fine," which just happens to be the very same thing that Charlie said to her the day they met. Is it a message from beyond the grave? Or just Olivia's subconscious at work, giving her the ability to move on and let go of her guilt?

And we got another reference to Olivia's alcoholic and abusive step-father, whom we haven't heard anything about since early on in Season One. Longtime viewers will remember that he creepily sends Olivia a birthday card every year after nine-year-old Olivia shot him several times in an effort to protect her mother. Could it be that we might actually meet this less-than-charming individual at some point in the future? Why else bring it up after all of this time? Hmmm....

I'm happy that we haven't seen much of Meghan Markle's newbie FBI agent in recent weeks, but I did think that Agent Keschner (guest star Travis Schuldt) was a nice addition to this week's procedural element. I loved the fact that Walter drugged him and he hit the floor after uttering "raspberry." Glad that Walter didn't cut his head open but merely used him as a conduit to his dreams, thus learning what what was really going on with the dream-like murders in Seattle. If Keschner took over Amy Jessup's role as Fringe Division liaison, I'd be more than okay with that.

But it was Peter's nightmare... or, more accurately, Peter's buried memory that gave me the biggest thrills as we catch a glimpse at the moment that Walter Bishop kidnapped the alternate universe's Peter and dragged him right out of his bedroom and into our reality. Loved the Challenger poster, which pointed not only to the location of this memory but also to yet another way the alternate universe is different from our own. Every moment where something different occurred produces a host of new possibilities, spreading outwards like the ripples caused by a rock hitting the water.

The sadness with which Walter asks if Peter remembers his nightmare displays his guilt and anguish over what he did to bring his dead son back to life. It's a knowledge that's clearly a powder keg within Walter and a looming timebomb within Peter. Just when it will explode, likely with disastrous consequences for them both, remains to be seen but I can't help but wonder if the countdown is getting even closer to zero.

What did you think of this week's episode? Did you enjoy the overarching mystery of the week and having Olivia and Peter together again in the field (which I quite enjoy)? Did you find Walter's erratic behaviors coming together into a concrete explanation? Were you shocked by Peter's dream? Discuss.

Fringe returns with new episodes in November.


Anonymous said…
I also noticed that Challenger poster over Peter's dresser.
But what i remember was the date of when this going to happen. Not that it was succesful.

Can you tell me exactly what was written in the poster?

Thank you Jace.

Jace Lacob said…

The poster was for the Challenger 11 mission. Which never happened due to the Challenger 10 disaster...
Anonymous said…

OH!!! I have very little memory of the Cahllenger.

But the explosion was on 1986 and the poster 1984?
Chris L said…
The dream was the best thing about the episode, if you ask me. It raises so many questions...

Personally, what I'm wondering is that since our Walter stole the other Peter, what happened to the other Walter, whose son was just kidnapped??? Argh... I just wish things didn't progress so slowly sometimes.
Henley said…
Great episode. I was happy to see the Sam Weiss character pop up again and there was a good balance of humor (the FBI agent) and suspense (Peter's "dream"). Plus, I'm thrilled that they are putting Peter out in the field more with Olivia and are giving him more to do. Finally!
Tempest said…
Excellent episode. Noble continues to rock the part of Walter -- for instance, his palpable fear about going into the hospital room when he sees the man secured to the bed. The way he asked Peter not to make him go in there (and the way he said we wanted to go home). His childlike glee at getting ciabatta bread (and wondering what to do with it). The impishness of "no students."
Page48 said…
One assumes alter-Peter was a pretty sharp kid. I'd like to hear Walter explain the whole "Challenger 11 never happened" situation to little Peter (who could probably name all of the astronauts aboard) when he settles into his new bedroom (the one without the Challenger 11 poster on the wall).

What a tangled web Walter seems to have weaved.
Ally said…
Just a thought- all this 'invading from the other side' business clearly requires a motive, which we really haven't seen so far.

Or have we? Could the Season 2 finale involve the reveal of a very angry, very lucid alt-Walter, desperate for revenge after having his son stolen? That would either be an amazing moment, or a jump the shark moment...
Unknown said…
I've been thinking along the same lines as Ally about who may be behind the invasion. I'm assuming Walter is a genius in both universes. Here-Walter may have been damaged from traveling to the other side (to take There-Peter). There-Walter had his son stolen. Here-Walter has sometimes shown flashes of anger, and feelings of desperation regarding his son. What would be the result if There-Walter has those same traits? My guess is the There-Walter somehow figured out what happened to his son, and he is responsible for the cyborg soldiers in our unverse. Perhaps the There-Walter runs a There-Massive Dynamic? Though I do wonder how a There-William Bell might play into this... or a There-Fringe Unit. From There-perspective, someone from another universe appeared and stole a child. Maybe this is just personal revenge, but in a larger context, hat wouldn't a society do to protect its young?
OldDarth said…
Certain series with over arcing storylines can work OK with stand alone episodes. Not so, n Fringe's case. The monster of the week(MOTW) frustrate because they drag the already slow pace of reveal on this show to even slower levels.

The end scene was the only real one that mattered.

I'd rather see Fringe drop the stand alone episodes and run a shorter season.

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