The hand. The daisy. The seahorse. The apple. The symbols that have been shown since Season 1 as indicators for a commercial break finally have meanings. This week’s episode of Fringe, “Through The Looking Glass” flashes some impeccable art direction and a series of great fight scenes, as we are welcomed into yet another new universe. How many universes is that now in total? Can you keep up?
Check out the recap and review here:
Trying to keep up with this show is no easy feat. Judging by the pace of the show in recent weeks, I assume that the producers was expecting Fringe to be continued for additional seasons, so now that that’s not the case, they are noticeably packing a lot of information in each episode. I was unfortunately unable to recap on last week’s episode due to a storm, and as I started watching this episode, I was certainly surprised at how much they are introducing this late in the game. There are some big plots that they’re developing and I am sure expecting a rapid ride within the next couple of weeks.
So, previously on Fringe, the thing that you should know most importantly is that Peter’s (Joshua Jackson) strategy on coping with loss. Feeling a great sense of anger and helplessness, he decides to insert Observer tech into his body to enhance his skills and gain their powers.
Walter (John Noble) is still in the long-winded process of retrieving the tapes and in the latest one, he receives the importance of room 413 in an apartment on Cedar Street. Not only that, but in this tape, he was being filmed by Donald, the mysterious man Walter can’t seem to remember. Peter is still trying to get over his loss, and certainly we don’t expect him to anytime soon. Olivia (Anna Torv) pleads him not to exclude each other, expressing her desire not to lose him as well. Olivia discovers the bandage on the back of his neck, but Peter dismisses it as a minor accident.
Walter, who steps out of his usual character, makes his way to the apartment alone and discovers the building sections of it ruined and 413 red-tagged. Through some oddly choreographed footwork-based password, Walter finds the portal between the parallel universes, hidden from the Observer’s knowledge and enters it, simply disappearing into thin air.
Now in a “pocket universe”, as Walter would describe it, he bravely tries to seek out clues that could bolster his memory of the plan. He wanders his way through a surreal and dark apartment that defies all physics, time and gravity as it incorporates vertical hallways, ceiling floors, illusory dead ends and all. A man, named Cecil suddenly pops out of nowhere staring at him in a hallway. The next second, he is right on top of Walter, manifesting shock by his presence and expressing desperation for a way out of this realm. A victim of being accidentally transported into this world by a light explosion in the real world, Cecil believes he’s only been trapped in the pocket universe for five days, but in reality, he’s been gone for 20 years.
Peter and Olivia follow the orders on the tape and retrace Walter’s steps and quickly entering into the portal only to leave Astrid alone to try and fight for her survival and avoid being caught. Bringing the camera and the tape along with them, they discover that there is secret footage that can only be seen in this specific universe. They follow the directions around the hallways, and notice from Walter’s eye contact, that he is talking to someone apart from Donald, the videographer. Reuniting with Walter, they find out he was promising to protect a child Observer and accordingly secured him in a room with an apple slice logo. Going through the hallways, they notice each door has a different unique symbol, and these symbols turn out to be the key images (Seahorse, Hand…etc) we see before a commercial break. Turns out there could be a really deep meaning to it all at least, and perhaps we can put an end to all the speculation concerning their purpose after five years of questioning them. Suspecting that the boy would be still be in the room as there is no way out, they are surprised to find out he’s not there. To his dismay and confusion, Walter is starting to lose control and sanity, as he is increasingly aware that his plans are consistently being foiled.
Peter ensures Walter that there is still hope under the theory that his seamless access to this universe indicates that the Observers are still unaware of it. Without finding the boy, Peter emphasizes that Donald is the only person who could’ve taken the child. Olivia finds a cassette that was left behind, and questions its placement as it wasn’t seen in the tape.
Back in the physical world, Walter’s whereabouts has come to the attention of Captain Windmark, and he assembles a troupe of Observers to surround the building. Astrid (Jasika Nicole) is knocked out and the Observers effortlessly step into the alternate realm with their superior gamma vision. They fire shots in this dimension, killing Cecil. The team quickly escapes back to the original world and once there, Peter sacrifices himself to fend them off whilst the others find shelter. Equipped with new Observer tech inside his body, he manages to throw a few good punches and additionally teleport on demand. Just before dying, the Observer warns him that his strategy will go against him, and that he does not know what he’s doing to himself. Peter’s resilience causes him to dismiss his words, but deep inside, he knows that what he is doing is risky as he keeps his new powers a secret from Olivia.
Alas, the Fringe cat and mouse chase continues but it’s apparent that there are some big revelations ahead that could seriously swerve the direction of the plot. Olivia discovers that the tape recorder is jammed at one specific time frequency. Walter’s guilt about getting Cecil killed shakes his confidence and raises a strong anxiety that the Observers are changing him and changing his ethical psyche. And as for Peter? He’s beginning to see the world in blue. Literally.