And as Elizabeth gets her coat on, Walter pulls her aside to tell her that he thinks she should stay at home: "The cure, there's still testing to be done, and it could take all night to find the correct dosage," he says. She protests, so he lays on a guilt trip about how if the cure works, he could be recuperating for days and weeks so Peter needs her to "be strong" and get a good night's sleep here, that kind of nonsense that really isn't going to work until Walter busts out the "I need you not to doubt me" trump card.
She gives in, and goes to check on Peter, who's "burning up" which has nothing to do with the fact that he's standing inside with all his winter gear on. Walter wants to get going, which is a good idea, because "I need you not to doubt me" isn't going to work when Walternate arrives home and has no idea what his delusional wife is talking about when she asks him about the cure. Anyway, Elizabeth gives Peter back his coin for luck (it's this scene in which I notice the kid could easily be what a similarly aged Joshua Jackson might have looked like, so nice job by casting).
Walter gathers Peter up in his arms. "Bring him back to me," says Elizabeth, optimistically, and Walter, NOT AT ALL SUSPICIOUSLY, stops dead in his tracks but doesn't look at her and says, "I promise." She watches from the window as Walter ... I don't know, wanders off into the snowy night instead of getting into a car? Not really sure how THAT worked.
So there are Peter and Walter trudging across the frozen lake, with Peter complaining that he's cold. "Just a little farther," says Walter. "Where are we going? Why aren't we taking the car?" asks Peter. "We can't get where we're going in a car," says Walter. Or, as John Lithgow said in Alternate Back to the Future, "Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads."
"You're not my father are you?" says Peter. Check out the big brain on Peter! Walter's all, "Of course I am! Who else would I be?" He promises Peter that he's going to make him all better. I suppose THEN they can do something about the frostbite.
Walter pulls a little gizmo out his pocket, and presses it, and the little gateway opens up in the snowy air. "Hold on tight, son!" he says, and they stroll through it, back into our universe, with his equipment all around. "We did it!" says Walter. And then the ice cracks, and the two of them fall through. I don't know about you guys, but that's when I said, "Oh, shit! I forgot about the drowning!" Of course, we have a good idea how this turns out. Unless what we know as Peter is actually anotherdifferent alternate universe."
After the commercial break, Walter struggles to hold onto a sinking Peter whilst trying to break through the ice up top. Peter slips from his grasp and descends through the completely crystal-clear lake water, and Walter loses consciousness. Someone else plunges through the water and heads for Peter, while Walter floats into blackness.
When he comes to, he's in the passenger seat of a car being driven by the Observer. Walter groggily looks around, sees Peter sleeping in the backseat. He asks Michael Stipe over there if Peter's OK, but the Observer doesn't say. "Who are you?" asks Walter. As does the Observer. At the same time. "You're the man I saw, in the lab, on the other side," says Walter. As does the Observer. AT THE SAME TIME. Man, for dudes whose goal is to secretly observe major world events, you'd think they'd tamp down some of their more annoying and memorable habits.
The Observer explains that Walter's friend and the one who was injured left to seek medical attention. As for Peter, he won't live much longer. "You must fix him. Your lab is six miles from here. Can you drive?" He sounds like HAL in 2001. Walter figures he can, so the Observer pulls over. "Why did you save us?" asks Walter. "The boy is important. He has to live," says the Observer, and gets out of the car. By the time Walter gets out and comes around the hood of the car, the Observer's nowhere to be seen. Walter squeals the tires as he peels the shaggin' wagon out of there...
Over at the lab, Walter's on an IV drip of the blue magic, and Carla's already been brought up to speed. She comes in to say she just got off the phone with the hospital: "Dr. Bell called in a team of specialists. He has some thoughts on Nina's arm," she says. Walter thanks her for coming in to help with Peter - who's starting to get his colour back -- after everything that's happened. And just as you're thinking, "Well, how could she possibly be OK with this," she confirms with Walter that he's going to bring Peter back. Yes, says Walter, once he's stabilized. I think here it's killing Walter to know that he has to, but that he does indeed plan to.
Carl skedaddles, leaving Walter alone to wonder if he should start pegging the legs of his Guess jeans, and then Elizabeth strolls in. "Love, you didn't come home last night. I was worried about you," she says ... and then she spots Peter. "How?" she whispers. Walter explains that the other Peter he showed her - this boy - was dying to. "It was the only way I could save him," he says. "Well, at least it's not like in that recent bestselling novel Pet Sematary by Stephen King," says Elizabeth, as she walks over to get a closer look. She starts crying as she gathers the sleeping Peter up in her arms. "Oh, my baby," she says. "Elizabeth, don't. He's not ours. I have to take him back," says Walter. Elizabeth just looks at him, her eyes a mixture of fear, anger, sadness and warning. Yeah, you're not taking this kid back, Walter.
Back in the present day, that's exactly what Walter tells Olivia, that he realized at that moment that he could never do what he fully intended to do. "The way she looked at him, I saw in her what I feared most in myself when I saw him: that I couldn't lose him again," he says.
That was the first hole, Olivia, says Walter. "The first breach. The first crack in a pattern of cracks, spaces between the worlds. And it's my fault."
He shakes his head, fighting back tears. "You can't imagine what it's like to lose a child," he says. Oh, here I go again. You know what that last sentence means to me? Walter knows he would, given the chance, do it again.
Daniel is a writer in Newfoundland with a wife and a daughter, whom he would unhesitatingly destroy the universe for, if it came down to it. It probably won't come down to it. Follow him on Twitter or email him at danieljdaniel[at]gmail.com.