Fringe 2.19: "The Man From the Other Side"

Ever since “Jacksonville”, the story has been much more focused. While from a season-long perspective this only highlights the listless string of stand-alone episodes in the fall, it’s undeniable that the writers have been delivering powerful material of late. (Which also serves to underscore why those earlier episodes were so disappointing; the writers were capable of so much more.)

Peter’s true origin has been at the center of the season arc, as well as Walter’s suffering over the truth, and both factor heavily into this episode. In many ways, it was predictable, but in a way that was well-earned. Of course Peter was going to find out the truth in the worst way possible, ripping open the wounds that were beginning to heal. And of course, this will lead Peter on his own journey for a while, until he comes to realize that his true family is Fringe Division.

It should be obvious to most fans that “Mister Secretary”, the one behind the technological advancements in Alt-Fringe and Newton’s mission to open a door between realities and destroy Fringe Prime, is none other than Walternate. I’ve been saying that since the latter half of the first season.

That doesn’t make it any less satisfying a notion. It makes perfect sense that Walternate, as the author of the scheme to obliterate Fringe Prime, would want to rescue his son first. And this will inevitably lead to the oft-predicted meeting between true father and son. At that point, if the characters are kept true to themselves, Peter will reject his true father, because of the choices that Walternate has made. Even if Peter thinks that Walter deserves to suffer, I doubt he would feel the same about Olivia.

Of course, it’s not likely to be as simple as that. Some complication and sacrifice will inevitably be required for Newton’s plan to be foiled and the story to continue with Fringe Division intact. It seems likely that William Bell is going to be involved in some fashion, and it makes sense that he would be the one to go at this stage of the game. He’s important enough to be a loss, but incidental enough to be expendable.

The real point of interest will be how this turn of events affects Walter. His mental strength has been derived from Peter over the course of the series, and now that critical piece of the puzzle will be missing. At least initially, I would expect a fairly significant psychological breakdown, but this could be a surprising means of demonstrating how Walter has progressed. Walter can never completely recover (he would lose much of his charm if he did), but he could end up better for this harrowing experience.


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