Fringe 2.5: "Dream Logic"




This season of “Fringe” continues to swing from mythology-heavy episodes to more self-contained installments, and this is one of the latter. There are some elements that speak to the larger questions, but overall, this seems to be a case that only serves to explore character thematically.


The case itself had some interesting aspects, particularly in terms of how human perception might be altered or controlled. This has been one of the recurring themes of “Fringe”, so it’s not a surprising direction for a case to take. It raises the question of the influence of one’s subconscious: is it simply a conglomeration of all the internal influences operating below our active awareness, or is it something that can easily be manipulating and controlled by the external?


Walter gives a convincing reason why this particular experiment would yield an addict. Yet one could look at some of the experiments that Walter has conducted and wonder if there is a less powerful yet potent addiction at play. Walter seems to have a certain penchant for pushing the human mind beyond its normalized perception, and he craves it even when he is not the one pushing the boundaries personally.


As always, Walter’s perceptions must be questioned. Why does he have such an issue with Seattle? Was it just the psychological reaction to the visual cues of the restraints? That would have been understandable, but there were other situations that would or should have pushed the same buttons. So what was so specific about this circumstance?


For Peter, the case might have revealed a growing subconscious awareness that his memories of his childhood may not quite add up. This episode begins to explain why Alt-Peter doesn’t remember being abducted by Walter Prime in the first place: Walter must have wiped away certain memories and used other techniques, like the one Peter described, to prevent those memories from being recognized within dreams and nightmares.


Speaking of the abduction, which appears to have been the case based on Peter’s dream, we may have been given a date. The matter has certainly been on Walter’s mind of late, but close to the end of the episode, a date is scrawled on a blackboard: June 28th, 1984. What is the significance of that date? Peter Prime’s gravestone gave a year of death of 1985, so there could be a connection. Could Alt-Peter have been abducted before Peter Prime died? Walter’s dialogue in earlier episodes doesn’t seem to support that theory, but with Walter, everything must be taken with a grain of salt. It would also be interesting to compare that to the time period during which Olivia was part of the cortexiphan experiments.


Olivia’s progress with her recovery is taking a subconscious path, which is what her new guru started in the first place. Getting her back on her feet utilized a subconscious trigger, and relying on the brain’s tendency to find patterns within the seemingly random was a nice way to deliver a reaffirming message and give her closure on Charlie’s fate. (I do find it odd, though, that she has yet to consider her response to Charlie’s death in relation to Agent Scott’s death, just months earlier.)


It occurred to me, by the end of the episode, that we haven’t seen Agent Jessup in a little while. I liked the idea of expanding the supporting cast into new areas, and Charlie’s exit leaves a hole to be filled. Agent Jessup seemed primed and ready to take on that role, so the writers should probably see to that sooner rather than later, if this episode was indeed meant to give Olivia an emotional coda to her relationship to Charlie.


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Oct 19, 2009 9:49AM EDT

Er - Peter Prime? Walter Prime? Could someone tell me what this means as I might have missed something fairly important...

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TehFonz
Oct 19, 2009 7:57PM EDT

The term Prime is used to denote the characters of the primary universe, that is, the universe the episodes are mainly based in.
On another note, does anyone remember when Walter went back to St. Claire's in "The Equation"? While he was sedated after causing a bit of a scene with his old friend, he had a hallucination/vision of another Walter with a cane. Could this have been a hint of an evil Walter from the alternate universe?

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