Fringe – Northwest Passage (S02E21) – Episode review

This won’t be a long-form review of Fringe’s Northwest Passage episode – I’m filing it more for completeness and continuity with my other Fringe reviews.

Still, after last week’s sing-a-longa-Walter episode, the lingering question was “Where’s Peter?” And this week we find out. Washington State, which for many reviewers has led them to draw comparisons with Twin Peaks, a series that was never on my radar.

Peter’s on a soul-searching road trip. Having discovered that he was snatched from another universe by Walter, he’s feeling betrayed and like his entire life has been a lie. I get it. Which brings us to a diner and an encounter between Peter and a pretty waitress. He flirts with her, and she promises to bring a mix CD to his motel and in a cute little detail we see that she punctuates her handwriting with little hearts.

Except the date never happens. The girl is abducted and given a painful temporal lobe removal sans anesthetic. Peter discovers this when he drives past the diner the next day (perhaps wondering why the girl stood him up?) He gets wrapped up in the whole thing when he pulls over and ends up helping the local sheriff with her inquiries.

What follows is a good procedural episode, giving Joshua Jackson a chance to shine as Peter, and Martha Plimpton as a very X Files sheriff. Peter uses his many and varied skills to track down the person committing the murders (yes, there are more bodies). The only thing that seems to be wrong is his basic assumption that Newton is behind the killings when it turns out to be a local hick. Unless the stalkerish yokel was given the technology by Newton?

Moving aside, we get a brief glimpse of Walter’s deepening funk. He has a classic meltdown in the supermarket: “This supermarket is trying to kill us! You know what you’re putting inside our bodies? Death! Delicious, strawberry-flavoured death!” He’s scared of being sent back to hospital. 

Having established Walter’s torment at losing Peter, we move to the big reveal of the episode. Now, to be honest, I’d anticipated this a couple of weeks ago when Newton was bringing an alt-Earthman across (in the same scenes in which Peter realised he was stolen). Sure enough, the Walternate – Walter Bishop’s parallel universe version walks out of the motel bathroom. Clearly a more purposeful, confident man than our Walter, the big question now is what’s Walternate’s agenda? Does he want his son back, or revenge on Walter for stealing him in the first place?

Whatever happens, this coming week’s episode is sure to be explosive! We know that Walter and Olivia are headed for Washington State to track down Peter, so could Walter be about to meet himself face-to-face?

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