Yes! The creepy shape-shifters return in the latest [[Fringe (TV Series)|Fringe]] episode, The Man From The Other Side.
Clearly working with the nefarious Newton, only two of a trio manage to successfully shift into new forms. The other one is abandoned in an old building for the Fringe team to discover when they arrive on the scene.
It doesn’t take too long for Dunham and the Bishops (that would make a great band name, wouldn’t it?) to piece the clues together. The detect an electrical interference from the time the shifters would have arrived. With the help of the over-exuberant lab technician from Massive Dynamic, they discover that the waveforms are similar to solar flare activity. They then discover that the waveforms will synch at 3:31pm the following day.
Meanwhile, Peter thinks he’s worked out Walter’s weird behaviour. He sees Walter carrying an old family photo and believes Walter is working up to telling him about his mother’s suicide.
Perhaps the biggest gross-out moment of the show was when Walter reanimated the broken shifter. It unravels into a disgusting corpse-like creature, lasting only long enough to give the team some other critical information. It was an horrific moment to watch, as we’re only used to quick flashes of the shifters in their natural state.
Meanwhile, Newton and the other shifters are hard at work setting up the transfer between worlds. This takes place on a disused railway bridge – Olivia notes that the water under the bridge would displace the shockwaves that come with a jump between worlds. So, the Fringe team go to work trying to combat the transfer with a program of Walter’s designed to interrupt the waveforms. When the shocks start to arrive, it’s clear there’s a problem with Walter’s device, so Peter and a policeman are left on the bridge to rectify this while the others watch from a safe vantage point.
When a large shock hits, the policeman is instantly vapourised. But Peter remains, and fixes the machine until a further blast blows him into the car and knocks him out. When he comes to, he’s in a hospital room with Dunham. He asks for Walter and some time to talk to him alone.
When Walter comes in, Peter questions why the policeman was vapourised and he wasn’t. He works out that the man on the bridge was from the other world and remained alive, and deduces that since he survived, he must be from the other world too. He grimly lays all this out for Walter – why he can’t remember his childhood, why his mother committed suicide after he left home. It was a moment when Joshua Jackson shone through, when he wasn’t “that guy from Dawson’s Creek who landed a part in a cool show”. He did a great job conveying the anger, hurt and furstration that you might feel after a life-altering revelation like that. Walter, of course, fluffed around, unable to think of a way to lessen the shock.
Yes, it’s the moment we’ve been waiting for all season – and though in White Tulip, it looked like Walter was going to come clean, he chickened out.
Now Peter has gone missing. Is he vulnerable now? Will he want to lash out at his father through the Fringe team? The information he has about their efforts would make him a formidable enemy, and I wonder can they ever regain the tight-knit team they had?
There’s a further complication: the identity of “the man from the other side”. Since they were coy about revealing his identity, it must be an alt-version of one of someone we know. My guess? Alt-Walter Bishop: a brilliant scientist on ethically shaky ground if our Walter is anything to go by. Might he have been driven mad by the loss of his son and seeking revenge on the person who stole his only child? Hmm…
Quotes from this episode:
- Walter to Peter: “Every living thing dies. As a scientist, that’s one of the hardest things to accept. We try to understand the mechanisms of life, but inevitably we can’t defeat death, no matter how much we want to.”
- Walter: Look, it’s a lemon zinger, I believe. It’s not as good as the stuff I grow, but it’s not bad either. Peter: Well, at least she died in a happy place.
- Walter: But I’ll need some supplies. I’ll need six car batteries, a voltage transformer and several yards of ten gauge electrical wire. Oh, and a corpse. Any corpse will do. But it shouldn’t be dead for any more than two days.