Short on action this week but long on backstory, as we're back in 1985 -- and we even get the fully awesome blip-bleep-bloopy 1985-esque theme music. The episode's great from the get-go, with Peter's mom running desperately across the ice of Reiden Lake after finding a note in her son's bedroom telling her that he's "going home." Turns out that young Peter was fully aware that he was in the wrong world -- the Dodgers aren't in Brooklyn! -- only his misunderstanding of how to get back home is that he needs to get down to the bottom of Reiden Lake, which is why he's tied a rope between himself and a cinderblock that he uses to break the ice of the lake. Fortunately, Mom is there to pull him out.
Walter is in the midst of his Jacksonville experiments, singling out Olivia's ability to cross over as the best way for Peter to get home. But her ability only manifests itself during moments of great stress, like when her stepdad beats her. We see the fire that Olivia caused -- and we also see her try to tell Walter, who already suspects, about the abuse but, heartbreakingly, she's crossed over to the alternate Earth, which is how Walternate finds out about Earth Prime.
Oh, and of course Olivia and Peter meet -- in Jacksonville and in a field of white tulips bioengineered by Walter -- because they have always been destined for each other, yadda yadda yadda. It's partly sweet, partly reminds you of the naked married eight-year-olds of that weird "Love Is…" comic strip.
Daniel is a writer in Newfoundland with a wife and a daughter. He thinks it's awesome that young Olivia was such a huge Led Zeppelin fan, unless he misunderstood her drawing. Follow him on Twitter (@DanMacEachern) or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reiden Lake, back in 1985. Feet traipse through the slush. Back at the Bishop house, Elizabeth vacuums the living room and then stops to call up to her son that it's lunchtime. She gets no response. Instead of then angrily calling Peter by his full name and ordering him to get his butt down there, like my parents would have done, she goes upstairs to Peter's room. He's not there, but she finds a note on the bed that says, "I am going home." Well, that makes no sense! Then he should be there!
Frightened, Elizabeth rushes out of the house, while we see it's Peter walking across the lake. He stops in the middle, ties a rope around his waist, and we see that he's carrying a decorative cinder block with him. He lifts it up, and then slams it down on the ice, which doesn't break.
Elizabeth is rushing through the woods, yelling Peter's name. He hesitates when he hears her, and then again when he sees her come out of the woods at the edge of the lake. She runs toward him, and he lifts the block up over his head again, looking somewhat uncertain, and then he drops it again. This time the block breaks through, and sinks to the bottom, taking Peter along with it. Elizabeth yells some more and jumps in after him. Take it easy! Boys will be boys! I'm sure I can't be the only who occasionally tried to drown myself when I was a kid. And I will commend Peter on the stick-to-it-iveness that today's generation doesn't have, what with their GameBoys and Twitter. Fortunately, Peter here clearly wasn't a Boy Scout, or maybe they don't actually have those in Earth-2, so Elizabeth easily unties the rope and brings him back up to the surface. He's less relieved than you'd think, yelling, "You're not my mother! I want to go home!" and so forth. If he keeps it up, I can't imagine Elizabeth is going to be too quick to whip up some hot chocolate while he dries out in front of the fireplace.
And then we get the beyond-awesome bleep-boopy 1985 opening credits with the Asimov font. It's really cool, but at the same time I can't help thinking that maybe they should be using a song by Huey Lewis and the News, for complete mid-'80s immersion. Or perhaps if Huey Lewis and the News is too expensive, Ray Parker Jr.
Anyway, after the credits we're at the Jacksonville Daycare Center, where Walter, wearing that wig that is some kind of unholy shag/mullet combination, is in the centre of a ring of children, leading them in some form of secret ritual where he tells them to close their eyes and ignore everything except the sound of his voice. "Clear your minds. We discussed that your imagination can take you anywhere you want to go," he says. But one of the boys taps the hand of an unsmiling little girl with long straight blonde hair. Who could that possibly be? "I don't know what Snuggles will do if we go somewhere," he says. She tells -- this turns out to be Nick -- him to put Snuggles on his feet and he'll come with them, earning a slight rebuke from Walter, because how can Olivia be concentrating if she's talking? But Walter also wordlessly picks up a teddy bear on the floor and puts it on Nick's feet.