Fringe
Subject 13

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Let Me Stand Next to Your Fire
"Oh, the humanity," that kind of thing. Elizabeth's more worried about the sounds of sirens she's hearing. So she foxily picks up the phone and dials, but she gets a busy signal. A busy signal! Remember those? So she tells Peter to get his coat.

Over at the daycare centre, Walter is wiping the fake blood off of Nick, who says, "I don't think Olive thought the joke was very funny," but there's no way Walter would ever dumb down his material to pander to the audience. With Nick tended to, Ashley comes in, and Walter says they're on the right track -- that the part of Olivia's brain that lets her do this must be the same part that lets her cross over. It must be? Ah, assumptions. Always making for great research. "But I'm still missing something," he says. True, and he's about to find out what, because Ashley tells them they've got another problem.

Outside, Elizabeth arrives with Peter, and she runs into Ashley who tells her that there's been a small fire, but everything's under control. Elizabeth can tell Ashley's not being straight with her, so Ashley says that Olivia Dunham has gone missing, but Walter and the others are out looking for her, and she's sure everything's going to be fine. Yes! We're at a daycare where a couple of insane geniuses are conducting drug trials on children, and one of them is an abused girl who they are emotionally traumatizing to see if she can switch between universes so they can bring back your son who is from the other universe, so they got another kid to play dead so she freaked right the fuck out and caused a fire WITH HER MIND and now she's missing. I think we're probably going by a fairly loose interpretation of the word "fine."

Inside, Elizabeth makes Peter sit at a desk while she goes to talk to Walter. Peter stares at the "Olivia" sign over her cubby in a row of them, and them picks up her sketchbook and starts flipping through it, much in the same way Elizabeth is going through papers on the desk in Walter's office. Peter sees a drawing of a big angry man, the kind of drawing an adult does to appear to have been drawn by a child who is -- well, who is much younger than Olive actually is. There's also a picture of a field of white tulips. Peter looks at it for a moment. My theory: they don't have impressionists in Earth-2.

Anyway, Walter comes into his office. I guess his "looking for a missing girl" outfit is the three-piece suit he's wearing here. They haven't found her, and Elizabeth seems in no way embarrassed to be caught reading Walter's papers, but she picks out the fact that Walter thinks her stepfather's hitting her: "William, I believe the ideal environment for transition across universes may be a return to her home. The unique combination of love and terror there apparently stimulates a cortical reaction." Walter says, "A, they are notes, and B, yes." It can be really frustrating to argue/debate with a person who calmly lists off points like that. Just ask my wife. Anyway, Walter and his mulletshag start talking about Olivia returning to her home to "restimulate the pathways" and Elizabeth is all, "What, you mean to be terrorized again?" You know, I can't look too long into Elizabeth's big eyes and hair cascade without losing focus. I imagine I'd lose every argument with her. She's not buying Walter's point that it would take him years to simulate the state artificially; she thinks that there's got to be some other way. He tells her it's not just about him and her and Peter: "I crept over in the night, and I stole their child. If we don't return him, they'll figure it out, and they'll come after him. After us. I know, because that's what I would do." Elizabeth wants to know if he would sacrifice Olivia for Peter, and he says he wouldn't (shit, it's not even their Peter). "But for thousands of others ... or millions, it would have to be considered." Elizabeth is aghast. Remind me never to travel to another universe to abduct a parallel version of my daughter if the one we have dies, because this appears to be a terrible strain on a marriage.

Anyway, Ashley comes in, looking for Peter, because he said he'd never had peanut M&Ms before, and she's got an old-style package of them, by which I mean it doesn't have the stupid cartoon peanuts on it and it's got the bigger, blockier lettering. It used to be about the M&Ms! Elizabeth says Peter's out by the cubbies, but Ashley just looked there, and Peter's not there.

So Elizabeth goes out looking herself, and sure enough, Peter's not there. He's left behind his plane next to Olivia's sketchpad, which Elizabeth picks up -- there's enough of a scrap left that we can see Peter ripped out Elizabeth's picture of the field of tulips. Elizabeth calls Peter's name, and then goes to the window in the door to where Olive went all Firestarter. The walls are blackened, and the scene transitions (with a telltale alternate-universe lens flare) into a shot of Elizabeth, looking much more tired and sad, staring out the window of the Bishop house.

There's a television news broadcast on, with the newscaster giving the six-month update on the disappearance of Peter Bishop: "The sympathy of the world goes out to Dr. Walter Bishop and his devoted wife, as the entire nation remains aghast at the kidnapping of their only son." Elizabeth switches it off after the newscaster tells us all that Walternate is the architect of the famed Star Wars defence system that protects the country.

Walter is sitting in an easy chair in a T-shirt, drinking his face off. Can't say as I blame him, but he tonelessly tells Elizabeth that the newscaster was just about to point out how ironic it is that the safety czar couldn't protect his own child. I guess back in 1985, newscasters knew how to use the word "ironic" correctly and didn't use it whenever they actually meant something was "coincidental."

Anyway, Elizabeth is solidly in the "Don't drink your face off" camp, and Walter wants to know if she has a better suggestion. She totally doesn't! "Should I give up on my son, the way the police seem to have? Elizabeth just takes the bottle and walks away.

She only takes it to the kitchen, though. Not that hard to find! She's preparing supper, even though Walter's not hungry. Well, is it OK if she eats? She points out that if nothing else, he needs to put something into his stomach to absorb all the alcohol -- like the alcohol in the fresh glass that he's pouring RIGHT NOW. Drunk Walternate's kind of badass. I like it.

And then he starts grilling her on the clothes the abductor was wearing, but Elizabeth doesn't want to talk about it: "How did he sound? His voice? I have a new theory: plastic surgery. There are a handful of surgeons skilled enough to pull off a feat of this magnitude, but the voice, the voice would be tricky."

Elizabeth has had it with his theories: the plastic surgery, the shapeshifting alien. "We've considered all your theories, Walter, and none of them have brought our son back." You considered the shapeshifting aliens story? Really?

So they have a big fight about going over and over and over everything, with an anguished Walternate desperate to find something they've overlooked. Elizabeth says he flies to Florida every Monday, works all week, then comes back and they do this: "This is not a marriage anymore. It's a routine." Walternate quietly asks to go over it one more time. Elizabeth stares at him.

Walternate goes into Peter's room and sits down heavily by the bed. And then he goes into his own bedroom, where Elizabeth is brushing her hair. He apologizes and says he knows he can't keep doing this, but it's impossible he's gone. A softer Elizabeth says she spends every waking moment imagining where he is and what he's doing, and praying that by some miracle they'll get to see him again. And if that happens, they need to be there for Peter, but they're breaking: "I've lost Peter. I can't bear to lose you too. Don't go to work tomorrow. Stay home this week. Forget the lab. Forget Florida. Let's put our marriage back together." Walternate nods. Well, there's probably food an

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