‘FRINGE’ 5×09 Photo Recap: “Black Blotter”
This episode was not what I expected. Then again, Fringe pretty much makes a habit of taking your expectations and chewing them up and spitting them back in your face like a llama.
But in a good way. “Black Blotter” was less of a fun drug-fueled romp á la “Brown Betty” and “Lysergic Acid Diethylamide,” and more of a somber rumination on Walter’s guilt and his regression to his old self…but with green fairies. It reminded of A Christmas Carol, minus the Muppets and the singing. (My only knowledge of A Christmas Carol comes from watching A Muppet Christmas Carol every year for the past twenty years. Were there Muppets in Dickens’ original story?) Walter’s blonde ghost lady was almost as creepy as the little girl ghost in A Muppet Christmas Carol, and she was totally distracting and not helpful at all. The whole episode was basically Walter tripping while everyone else was trying to get sh*t done. They were like, “Walter, let’s track this radio signal and find Donald,” and Walter was just kind of like, “…I’ve done terrible things…Oh look a fairy!” It wasn’t nearly as fun as when they were all on LSD together back in season 3. (Remember Broyles on acid? Probably one of the all-time best Fringe moments ever. By the way, where the eff is Broyles???) But it’s the final season and there are only a few episodes left (cue sobbing), so we can’t afford to waste time tripping on Walter’s homemade LSD. No time to spare! Let’s break down this hallucinogenic episode.
Astrid awoke to the some strange sounds in the lab and immediately grabbed the gun from under her cot. In case you forgot how much of a BAMF Astrid is, this scene was a good reminder. Despite being confined to the lab for most of this season, this is still the woman who karate-chopped some bad guys before getting shot at the end of last season. You do NOT want to wake her up in the middle of the night.
Walter wasn’t the only one having trouble sleeping. Peter was still suffering from some post-Observer hangover side effects. Apparently removing a piece of metal from your neck with an unsterilized knife can cause recurring headaches. Go figure. On the plus side, PETER IS SHIRTLESS!
Look at our babies being all cute and shirtless and smiling! I’m so happy they’re back together, even if they’re not up to cot-sharing status yet. (That could just be because of the size limitations of cots though. And the fact that Walter and Astrid, AKA the king and queen of cock-blocking are right in the next room.)
Are you happy now, Astrid? Peter is fully clothed. I think I speak for everyone when I say that nothing good ever comes from Peter putting clothes on. Unless it’s a pea coat.
Unfortunately the Absinthe fairy from Moulin Rouge! wasn’t the only thing Walter was hallucinating. He was also having visions of his dead lab assistant who had been killed in a fire. I immediately disliked her, which could have been either because she looked really evil, or because she reminded me of January Jones.
She definitely wasn’t one of those nice ghosts, like Reese Witherspoon in Just Like Heaven, or Slimer in Ghostbusters. She was closer to the Poltergeist end of the specter spectrum. In addition to reminding me of how much I hate Made Men, she was totally distracting Walter, who, despite Peter’s efforts to get him to help decode the radio signal, was of absolutely no help whatsoever. Except that he let slip that Nina had agreed to remove part of his brain again.
Seriously guys—can we all just agree to leave whatever is in our skulls alone, and stop putting foreign matter in there or taking stuff out? Your brain is not a cookie jar! You can’t just open it up whenever you feel like it and grab a snickerdoodle or two. …And now I am regretting using a food analogy for brains. Moving on…
Unfortunately, this plan involved getting help from Anil (ughhh). But at least he was only on screen for about ten seconds, and I’m not even sure he actually said anything. Then again, he probably did and I just ignored it because my ears have an Anil filter that automatically tunes out everything he says. Which is a shame because generally I adore Scottish accents, but enough is enough. Can’t we just have Simon back? Even if his handsome head is no longer attached to his body, he’d still be more useful than Anil. Okay, okay, I’m sorry. I’ll try to stop ranting about Anil.
Walter’s green fairy friend was apparently a total pyro because she started striking matches all up in this place. Walter lit a candle and found his first Wizard of Oz reference: a rainbow! This of course reminded me of Lincoln and Altlivia and OH MY GOD I MISS THEM SO MUCH YOU GUYS. Somewhere…over the rainbow, Lincoln and Altlivia are running a porcupine refuge together and frolicking in fields of dandelions. But back to Walter’s drug tripping…
Walter’s hallucinations got pretty crazy… He was seeing flashbacks to when he first crossed over to the other universe, and then it was like he was watching the present through the TV, like one of his videos. It was super meta.
I guess Anil was slightly less useless than I gave him credit for, because he was able to help them track the signal of the radio to somewhere in the middle of a forest where they met a crazy French woman with a rifle. Whoops, sorry—that was Lost… They just found a guy with a rifle who was not Donald. It was nice for them to be able to get out of the lab and back to nature for a while. There’s nothing better than a Fringe family field trip.
The nice thing about the picturesque forest setting was that it gave Peter and Olivia some time alone together so they could have sex talk about their feelings.
YESSSSSS! I’m so glad we’re back to a point in the show where Peter and Olivia can just randomly start making out in a forest. Because really, if you can’t make time in your busy world-saving schedule to lock lips with your honey once in a while, what’s the point? Of course their smooch session was cut short by—you guessed it—a dead body! This is pretty much quid pro quo on Fringe. Any time Peter and Olivia get too lovey-dovey, there’s always a corpse waiting for them. It’s like a kissing tax they pay for indulging the romantic aspect of the show. They have to compensate by following up with something gross or violent, as if to say, “JK DON’T FORGET THIS IS A BADASS SHOW NOTHING SAPPY GOING ON HERE.” I’m not complaining, but it’s always a rather abrupt change from an adorable love scene to a rotting corpse.
So they found a bunch of dead Observers and Loyalists, one of which had a radio that was tuned to the same signal they were tracking. But more importantly, can we talk about how Peter was totally hands-on with that dead driver? Peter was patting Bones McGee on the back like he was an old poker buddy, not just an anonymous skeleton covered in rotting flesh.
Why, Peter? Why? I mean, I know the Fringeteam have different standards of what qualifies as “gross,” but I really hope he at least used some hand sanitizer afterwards. Also, I just have to point out how Lost this scene was—not just because of the radio signal thing, but because it was so much like that time the Lost castaways found that van with a dead Dharma worker named Roger in it. Peter’s dead driver friend was similarly significant, as Olivia discovered when she found his ID: It was Sam Weiss! I knew they would bring him back this season, but I was really hoping he would be alive when they did. Here’s hoping he pulled a fast one and is still alive and kicking, waiting to make his dramatic re-entrance.
Back at the lab, Walter was having a staring contest with Carla the surly ghost, who was basically the worst. She just kept telling Walter what a terrible person he used to be and how he was becoming that man again. NO ONE ASKED YOU LADY.
Carla and Tinker Bell led Walter to stumble on his old journal with all his plans for super-efficient can openers and a chair with a microwave attached to it and stuff. Apparently this was what his lab assistant had gone there to destroy the night she died. There was some debate among the hallucinations as to what Walter should do with the book, and I’m not really sure what side the fairy came down on. I’m pretty sure she just wanted to set stuff on fire.
Long-haired Nina was filling the angel-on-the-shoulder role, trying to convince Walter to destroy the book. How many wigs does Blair Brown have? I love that she and John Noble can play themselves at any age just by putting on different wigs. This is for the best, because really, who else could play Nina or Walter?
My favorite of Walter’s hallucinations was definitely the curbside drug butler. Because if you’re going to experiment with recreational drug use, at least be classy about it.
Eventually Walter was pulled from the cab only to realize that he was with Peter, Olivia, and Astrid on a dock somewhere. Walter was noticeably having way more fun than anyone should in that situation.
Oh, hello there Emerald City. I guess we’re not being subtle with the Wizard of Oz theme anymore, eh? Speaking of which, remember this:
Keep in mind I made this last season, so everyone’s roles were a little different back then, but I wasn’t that far off. Peter’s probably closer to the Tin Man these days, and Walter might be looking for courage now that he has his brain back (for the time being). I think Astrid might be the Dorothy of the bunch. In any case, I’m just glad there were no flying monkeys. Well, not literal ones at least.
See, Peter? You don’t need Observer powers to be a BAMF! All it takes is some spunk and a really good scowl. And with that, they were off to Emerald City in a tiny boat.
When they got to the island, they finally found the place where the radio signal originated. However, they were not exactly welcomed with open arms.
Then we got a really trippy look into Walter’s subconscious, featuring a cameo from Gene (is it racist if I assume all cows on Fringe are Gene?), Toto, and the seahorse and frog from Fringe’s glyphs. I feel like there was a lot of hidden meaning in this sequence that went totally over my head.
Way to go, LSD! Thanks for the helpful hint. (Note: I’m not suggesting that you should take LSD every time you can’t remember your Twitter password or anything. But in this case, it was pretty convenient.) Also, this happened:
A baby Observer! This is great news! The Fringe team could really use a quirky little kid to add to the mix. Michael already has a lot going for him because he doesn’t talk, and he never ages. Not-Donald told them that he and his lady had adopted Michael when Donald left him there to await his destiny. Hold on…a young boy raised by his non-biological parents, destined to help save the world? That sounds a lot like someone else I know…JESUS! And also Peter.
Not-Donald and his wife shared a tearful goodbye with Michael, but they knew he had to leave in order to play his part in saving the world. No matter how many times we go through it on this show, it never gets easier to watch fathers say goodbye to their sons knowing they may never see them again.
Who is this kid?! I’m not really seeing how he fits into the plan to save the world. How did he become an Observer? Or was he born one? How does that work? Is he aging backwards like Benjamin Button? You can tell I have a lot of questions, very few of which are probably important or relevant. For instance, if he doesn’t age, how old is Michael? He’s probably, like, 400 years old and really tired of being treated like a child. Sucks to be an immortal pre-pubescent, kid. At least he can help fill the void of losing Etta. Having a kid around is already starting to bring out Olivia’s maternal side, and I always thought she’d be great with a son.
Olivia mentioned something about Michael possibly remembering them from the other timeline, since Observers experience time differently. But no one cares about that because LOOK AT THIS AWESOMENESS:
Polivia is officially back in business! Once again, a tiny piece of metal plays a vital part in the love story of Peter and Olivia. We could open a museum exhibit showing the progression of their relationship through bullets, Observer tech, wedding rings, and whatever other metal trinkets have been a part of their saga. The Polivia Museum: coming soon to a Tumblr near you.
Walter was having a less than great time coming down from his LSD trip… Blondie was getting increasingly meaner, Tinker Bell was predictably catty, and Walter was having flashbacks to his dark period.
After hearing the arguments from both sides of his subconscious, Walter decided the best course of action would be to burn his notebook, theoretically removing the temptation and preventing him from backsliding to the mad scientist he used to be.
Well that was ominous… Am I the only one a little worried that Walter could be the villain this season and Windmark is just a decoy like David Robert Jones was last season? DON’T GO TO THE DARK SIDE, WALTER. The sad thing is he clearly doesn’t want to become the man he once was, but it’s starting to seem a little inevitable. Hopefully Michael can shed some light on this predicament. He probably knows how the whole thing plays out, but he’s keeping mum about it all. Those Observers are nothing if not tight-lipped. If he doesn’t talk, how is he going to tell the Fringe team what the next step of the plan is? Or what the plan means? Or how they get those little sponge animals into the capsules so that when you soak them in water they expand into a sponge zoo? Maybe Michael will use charades to tell them the secrets of the universe. OMG Fringe charades! That’s a great idea for a party game. Can you imagine trying to act out “vagenda” in charades? Anyway, what kind of answers do you think Michael will provide (if any)? Will Walter go through with his planned lobotomy sooner than anticipated? Will Michael give them a way to go back in time and save Etta? Which Wizard of Oz character is Nina? When will Anil finally realize that no one likes him and go live by himself in the woods? Leave a comment below!
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!
See the rest of my Fringe photo recaps here
*All images are property of FOX Broadcasting
Posted on December 16, 2012, in Fringe Photo Recaps, Television and tagged Fringe, Olivia Dunham, Peter Bishop, photo recaps, television, tv recaps, Walter Bishop. Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.