Fringe Season 4 Episode 3 Review

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‘Alone In The World’

The show continues it’s exploration of what a world without Peter is like and its impact on those he left behind.  Till this episode that journey has been an interesting one with the success of the journey relying heavily on how interesting the case of the week is. In my books translucent shape shifters and serial killers trump killer fungus any day.
‘Gus’ was too flat a threat to get very excited about.
Pity too because John Noble acted the heck out of the episode. So did Anna Torv – when she could break away from the case of the week imposition.  Special marks for Jesika Nicole too.

Oddly enough on our last FBI – Fringe Benefits Inc podcast, (which you can find under the Podcast tab here at FringeTV), we remarked it was curious that Peter was only trying to contact Walter and not Olivia. The previous two episodes had a definite lack of Walter and we hoped for more of him. Both of these items were addressed in this episode.  

2 for 1 His ‘N Hers Suit Sale?

One quite successfully.  The other not so.


John Noble was amazing, as always, in every scene he had.  From the interview with Dr. Sumner, his apparent breakdown in front of Broyles, his scenes with Aaron, and the coups de grâce; his final anguished moments driven to deliver a self administered prefrontal lobotomy.  So tortured is Walter and so afraid of being sent back to St. Claire’s Mental Hospital, he undertakes this radical procedure in hopes of ridding himself of his ‘hallucinations’ rather than return to being institutionalized.
That final scene as Walter and Olivia shared their secrets was wonderfully played by both Noble and Torv.  Between that and Noble’s performance through out the episode, ‘Alone In The World,’ is a worthy viewing experience.
Where the episode fell flat was pretty well anything to do with the case of the week plus Olivia and Lincoln.  No doubt the intent was to show through their dress code and glass ware choices how alike Olivia and Lincoln are but in doing so the episode diminished Olivia throughout. During the case Lincoln was making the observations and insights that Olivia always did before.  Hopefully, this is a short term issue that goes away once Peter returns.  Lincoln should be paired up with Astrid and Olivia with Peter to allow the best mix of differing character types.
What really bothered me this episode was the conceit that Olivia seemed oblivious to Walter’s deteriorating mental state even though it has been going on for several weeks.  It could have flown better if the scene between Olivia and Lincoln in FBI headquarters never happened.  Are we really to believe Olivia calls Lincoln in to provide support for a phantom feeling while a very real issue with Walter, that everyone else is privy too, has slipped under her radar?  
While this Olivia may be more tightly wound up, the conceit that she would keep her Peter dreams to herself while remaining oblivious to Walter’s deteriorating condition runs counter to her observational abilities as an agent and her sensibilities of helping others.

Episode ‘Patterns’: Add your own in the comments.

  • two bullies meet an unexpected end in typically weird Fringe style – ‘Gus’ strikes back
  • William Sadler makes an innocuous return from Season 1’s ‘The Equation’, as Doctor Sumner, who has grave concerns about Walter being released from the St. Clair’s Mental Institution
  • Peter in the clipboard
  • Olivia can draw
  • Olivia & Lincoln seem to shop at the same His & Hers store – dueling glasses too
  • Astrid runs interference for Walter with Broyles
  • ‘Doctors scare me.’ ‘You’ll like Walter.’ uh maybe not.
  • candle snuffing & lambda sensor
  • exploding skeletons & spores
  • Olivia calls for flamethrowers
  • Aaron & Walter bond – home can be a lonely place
  • Walter’s a busy man but has time for tin hats and strawberry milkshakes
  • find out Peter we know drowned at Reiden Lake after crossing into our universe with Walter
  • after hearing Walter’s two Peters death stories, Aaron questions Walter’s sanity
  • Aaron & fungus – ‘Gus’ – are psychically linked
  • Walter desperate to save Aaron proposes a lobotomy
  • Lincoln is a little freaked out
  • ‘Peter visions’ force Walter to try doing a lobotomy on himself
  • Olivia reveals she has been seeing a man in her dreams
  • her sketch matches the man Walter is seeing – ‘I’m perfectly sane!’
Flamethrowers, of course!

Of course, the reason for Olivia’s delay in comprehension was to save that moment for the last scene but it should have been constructed in a manner that did not diminish Olivia.

Now that Walter’s and Olivia’s shared experiences are revealed, the return of Peter cannot be that far away.  Given the dynamics of these different, yet so familiar, characters the arrival of a Peter from an alternate timeline will be an interesting one for sure.

If you have a green thumb this episode may have played better for you. Sadly, neither of my opposing digits are of that color.

7 out of 10 Genes

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