‘FRINGE’ 5×06 Photo Recap: “Through the Looking Glass (And What Walter Found There)”

If my heart wasn’t still in tiny pieces sitting in a jar on my mantle, waiting to be reassembled by the healing power of a magical series finale, it would have been almost relieved by this episode, which was made up of about 60% plot set-up, 30% trippy pocket universe weirdness, and only 10% crippling sadness. I think maybe the writers realized that they have already sufficiently crushed our spirits, so there’s no point in pouring salt in the gaping wound of our souls…except for the occasional heart-rending scene between Walter and Peter, just to make sure our tear ducts get their weekly workout. Oh, and also the part where Peter and Olivia held each other while they watched a recording of their dead daughter… Okay, so maybe it was closer to 30% crippling sadness. CURSE MY EMOTIONAL ATTACHMENT TO FICTIONAL CHARACTERS AND MY RESULTING INABILITY TO FUNCTION AS A NORMAL HUMAN BEING.

The episode started off with Peter sitting alone in the dark, watching a short hologram of Etta on repeat, which, by the way, can we talk about how Star Wars that was? Etta’s hologram looked a lot like Princess Leia’s message to Obi-Wan Kenobi from A New Hope.

Peter and Olivia were finally confronting their pain together like Walter told them to! If only they’d done this before Peter decided to go all cyborg on us. Oh well… It’s good to have a project, and saving Peter from becoming a bald, emotionless Observer is sure to keep Olivia and Walter busy for the next seven episodes.

Walter was pretty busy himself this week. After channeling his sadness into precision-lasering through amber to reach another arbitrary plot point instructional video, Walter went off by himself to see where it would lead him, which was basically nowhere exciting, unless you’re M.C. Escher or on LSD.

Video-Walter led 2036-Walter to an abandoned apartment building that looked like the kind of place that drug dealers would think was too sketchy. There he met this charming lady:

Once Walter made it past the one-eyed troll and the stairwell of death, he came to a dusty, symmetrical room where he randomly started doing aerobics or something.

I’m not gonna lie, I was really disappointed when I realized that “Through the Looking Glass” was not a reference to the Altverse but just a silly pocket universe. What does that even mean? It just made me think of Polly Pocket. She was awesome. She had a mansion inside a seashell! (I swear, I’m not intentionally trying to include a 90s toy commercial in every recap this season; it’s just happening, and I don’t know why.) From a logical standpoint, I know there just isn’t enough time in a thirteen-episode final season to throw the Altverse back into the mix, but I was secretly hoping that we could just pop over there really quickly, see Lincoln and Altlivia and their beautiful rainbow unicorn babies, and then resume our mission back over here in the Land of Infinite Sadness. Speaking of which…

Lucky for them, Walter left the tape in the lab so they could follow his footsteps (literally). I wonder if they stopped at that place with the raspberry pastries to see if it was still there. Those things looked delicious.

In the pocket universe, Walter was trying to navigate the creepy funhouse-style layout of this eerie little world, which it became increasingly clear was nowhere near as awesome as the Altverse. Also, there were fewer blimps.

Walter’s new buddy Collateral Damage Cecil showed him around, including his secret source of refrigerator condensation water. Yum! These two went anti-gravity gallivanting around pocket world, JGL Inception style.

Inside, they found the hokey pokey room, where they succeeded in crossing into the pocket universe, albeit without Walter’s flair.

Did anyone else notice that the rooms on either side of the portal were like reflections of a mirror, or a “looking glass,” if you will? I see what you did there!

Walter and Cecil were still wandering around somewhere. They became fast friends and bonded over their shared love of cream puffs. Oh wait, no they didn’t at all. They didn’t even exchange Twitter handles. Walter was careful not to get too attached to Cecil because he knew that Cecil was definitely not going to live to see the end of this episode. Sorry, man. You’re what we call a disposable plot device. When you’re done here, maybe try The Vampire Diaries. They’re always looking for someone to use for an episode and then kill off.

Between the empty green-tinged hallways and the endless scavenger hunt, I’m really starting to think that this whole season is just an epic game of Gizmos & Gadgets. Does anyone else remember that computer game? You know, the one where you’re a faceless guy in a backwards baseball cap and you wander around a labyrinthine factory looking for pieces to create some kind of machine? Watch this video demonstration of the game and tell me it doesn’t remind you of the pocket universe and the Great Fringe Video Scavenger Hunt of 2036. It even involves food! (You collect bananas, of course.)

Eventually Peter and Olivia found Walter and Cecil, whom they were surprisingly unsurprised to encounter. I would’ve been like, “WTF Walter? How did you pick up a stray in a pocket universe? There isn’t even food here!” But they were cool about it

It was the hairless empath boy from season one! TWIST! I had kind of forgotten about him until now, and obviously so had Walter. By the way, was anyone else super concerned that they left a ten-year-old kid alone in a pocket universe for 20 years—okay, five days from his perspective, but still, that’s a long time to leave a child unattended. Or do you think he had a babysitter? Maybe Donald was watching over him? Also, WHO THE HELL IS DONALD? I really want to know.

They followed Video-Walter to the room where the boy had been kept, but all they found was his air degradation machine.

Walter guessed that Windmark had found the boy and taken him, which just goes to show you that no matter how good your hiding place is, an Observer will always win at hide-and-seek. At least they found a radio that might possibly be a clue. Field trip officially salvaged!

Meanwhile, Astrid was standing watch, probably wishing she was back at the lab working tirelessly to un-amber more tapes for once.

Poor Astrid! Not only did she not get to go on a fun romp through Pocket World, but she got bitch-slapped by an Observer! She deserves hazard pay for everything they put her through. On the plus side, I guess she should be glad she’s not Cecil.

After incapacitating Astrid, Thing 1 and Thing 2 hopped through the looking glass themselves, which they could apparently see fairly easily with their fancy Observer eyeballs, which is totally cheating by the way.

Poor Cecil… We knew he had it coming, but it was still sad to see him bite the dust… Oh, who am I kidding? Call me jaded, but after four and a half seasons of losing beloved characters, minor character deaths don’t even affect me anymore. Except that’s not really true, because I was a wreck when Edwin died in “The Recordist,” and he was only around for one episode. So obviously it was just Cecil. Sorry buddy.

Way to think on your feet, Olivia. I seriously never stop being amazed by her. And she looks so good in that jacket. Now if only someone would get Peter a pea coat…

Speaking of Peter, just when we thought we were done with all the fight scenes for this episode, THIS HAPPENED!

Oh snap! (And I don’t just mean the sound of the Observer’s neck when Peter broke it.) Peter is going to the dark side! I had almost forgotten about the whole Peter-slowly-turning-into-an-Observer thing until the end of the episode. This scene made me nervous, what with Peter killing things and whatnot, but then Peter had a heart-to-heart with Walter that gave me hope and proved that he’s still very much Peter.

But while that was going down, Olivia and Astrid were playing with the new radio from the pocket universe…

Interesting. I wonder how quickly Peter’s powers will develop. How long can he hide them? Why do Observers see in blue? But back to the beautiful Peter/Walter scene… There hasn’t been much focus on Peter and Walter’s relationship so far this season, but this scene made up for it. When Walter told Peter he was afraid he was losing the man Peter had helped him become, I think I actually felt a stirring of warmth in my pile of heart shards. Then there was another Star Wars reference when Peter actually told Walter, “You are our only hope.” Side note: I totally predicted this in my Fringe as Star Wars crossover post! I even called Walter as Obi-Wan Kenobi. But with Etta in the mix as Leia, I guess that makes Peter Darth Vader? OMG YOU GUYS IT’S ALL COMING TOGETHER. Excuse me while I fall down the rabbit hole of Fringe/Star Wars fangasming. I’ll be back in twenty minutes with five different theories involving the return of Henry as the Luke Skywalker figure, the mini Observer empath child as young Anakin (but hopefully less annoying), and a proposal for why the entire cast of Fringe should be in the new Star Wars movie.

Sorry about that, guys. Sometimes I get carried away when two or more of my favorite things intersect. Like my new obsession with Oreo pancakes. Anyway, what did you guys think of “Through the Looking Glass (And What Walter Found There)”? Were you as disappointed as I was that it wasn’t about the Altverse? Did you feel anything at all when Cecil died? Where do you think Broyles is? Do you think Fringe should market their own line of Polly Pockets? (Answer: yes.)

As always, thank you to FringeFiles.com for providing the screen caps of this episode, and thanks to TV.com’s brilliant Price Peterson, whose hilarious Vampire Diaries photo recaps were the inspiration for my own. And thank you for reading!

-L

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Posted on November 12, 2012, in Fringe Photo Recaps, Television and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. Louise … i love love love your review of #Fringe ep 506. Its funny …everytime i see Olivia walk into a room to talk to Peter i desperately want her to say to ..”hey boo”. I loved this ep so much. The Peter & Walter moment at the end was a perfect Bishop Boys moment ….. and Polivia at the start of the ep was just beautiful. And to be truthful …. im loving the return of Dark Kickass Peter. Im totally loving season 5 so far. The whole cast have brought their A game to each ep …. and they are killing it!

  2. Great recap as always Louise, keep ‘em comin’!
    This was awesome: :) Oh nothing, I just cut myself shaving. Sounds legit.
    Love the song when Walter enters the pocket universe :) and the Yoink! sound you wrote when Peter shoved Walter through the portal. :)
    Yes, WHO IS DONALD?
    Astrid definitely needs more screen time…
    Has anyone noticed a huge poster of Etta with the words Resist on the building behind Windmark while he was smirking ominously after having seen Peter kill his fellow Observer… Why would the poster be there, do you have any ideas about that? I am having a hard time believing that Observers would allow it…
    Father-son moment was wonderful in the end… John Noble really should get an Emmy already!
    I love the parallel you made with Star Wars… I don’t think we’ll see Altverse in 5th season…
    I do hope we’ll see a different approach to Olivia. I love the way how the show focused on Peter in this season but she looks too passive and just standing around doing nothing… Maybe her cortexiphan powers will kick in or she will become a heroine once Peter crosses over to the dark side, saving the world and Peter with her love…

    • CrazytownBananapants

      Why does Olivia need to be the leader all the time, though? She’s not an FBI agent anymore. Usually, when it’s a case or something, she’s more or less aware of what she’s in for, but now they’re all thrust into this strange future and they’re all figuring things out at the same pace. It feels pretty natural. And they’ve been doing some great stuff with Olivia emotionally, so I’m okay with Peter taking the center-stage action-wise. Olivia has had her kickass moments so far, though. And being capable of providing emotional support is actually kind of a pretty big step for Olivia as a character.

      • I completely agree about Peter taking the center-stage-action-wise! I loved it. Sometimes, in the past seasons, I felt that Peter wasn’t getting enough screen time so this was a welcoming refreshment. It was also excellently written and marvelously acted by Josh Jackson.
        What I meant to say is not that I wish Olivia to become a leader and have kickass moments as before but to at least have a role in what is happening… Walter and Astrid work together on uncovering parts of the plan for defeating the Observers, Peter is struggling with his dark side, and Olivia is… (or at least was until this episode) “needless”… As if she didn’t belong with them… I am not sure if I have expressed myself well (English is not my mother tongue :( ). Until Etta’s death, the only thing writers made her do was follow the team around, without talking too much, without suggesting anything… She seemed like a porcelain doll who merely tagged along. (These are all very subjective impressions, mind you). The biggest disappointment for me was her reaction to Etta’s death (maybe, again, she was told to act like that by writers)… She accepted it too quickly and too calmly… It did not look human. There was a lack of “primal grief”. I know she is very introvert and emotionally protective but still… She should’ve looked more “shaken”, I don’t know.
        In this episode, however, what I liked about the way Olivia was written was precisely her decision to step out of her cocoon and start the emotional healing along with Peter (too bad he didn’t think the same but went all Neo on us instead). Also, I liked how she noticed the radio in the room (it was the first time she helped the plot move forward in this season) and the small fight with the Observer… I hope all character will continue to be balanced out… I also want more Astrid!
        Josh has matured a lot as an actor, I enjoy watching his scenes. He finally got decent material to work with and he’s giving it all he’s got.
        And John Noble! I am speechless. EMMY!

      • Well, because Olivia is the main character. But in this show all 3 (Walter, Olivia and Peter) are just as important. IMO I think that this season focuses on all 3 just as much, only in different ways. Yes, Peter got to do a little more action, and now it’s this Observer tech in his head plot. But this is not him getting the center stage, this is just his path of becoming a better man than his father, of reaching the point of emotional stability. And this is his way of reacting to grief. Olivia is more introspective, more reflexive this season because this is how she deals with emotional stuff. And I think that she’s already reached the acceptance peaceful emotional state that Peter and Walter have yet to reach. She’s grown so much this season, I’m so proud of her. We all know all the badass stuff she can do, let’s enjoy her emotional strength just as much.

  3. Louise this was so funny, especially loved the ‘No body makes me bleed my own blood’

    agree that Olivia looks totally hot in her leather jacket and we have to see Peter in his peacoat this season or ill feel cheated.

    Next week should make for some interesting viewing considering we know that Olivia knows that something is up with Peter!

    Look forward to your next recap :)

  4. Fringe cast in the new Star Wars FTW!!! I’ve been saying that too! I love Star Wars, but the only way to get me excited about these sequels is to cast someone from Fringe. ;)

  5. Never apologize for reminiscing about the past. I enjoyed the Polly Pocket and Gizmos and Gadgets references since I actually got them. :D As usual, A+

  6. Cortexiphan Girl

    “hello…? Walternate? Redhead Olivia???” yes pleas I say! ahahahahahaha
    Also, “No body makes me bleed my own blood”

  7. You forgot to mention that Peter called Walter “Dad” for the first time!

  8. Olivia is NOT the main character, except in the head of some fans who see what they want to see. This show has 3 main leads. Three! Joel and Jeff always said it was about these 3 people on the fringe of society. They are all interconnected.

  9. Thanks for yet another hilarious and brilliant photo recap! I am really loving season 5 so far. I am a pretty big Olivia fan – but I am okay so far with everything that is going on. She seems kind of lost so far this season, even before the Etta..well….incident. ;) It feels like something weird is going on…besides the obvious. She is just kind of floating along….I can’t explain it.

  10. Hi! First time newbie sent from Reddit.

    One Word = Amazing. haha. Absolutely loved this. Will definitely check it out often.

  11. Wow, that’s a great thing–I love “Killing Me Softly (with his song)” and now I have a whole new way to sing it! :D
    So, I guess I was alone in thinking Walter’s little portal entry dance was like something out of “Twin Peaks”? Oh well.

    Beautiful as usual, thanks so much.

  12. Peter can see the Matrix you guys!!!

  13. Hilarious, as usual. Thanks for the recap!

    This is my favorite line: “I think I actually felt a stirring of warmth in my pile of heart shards.”

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