Right before the apex of this episode—when the universes seem to be on the verge of collapsing—Broyles asks the question, “you think all this is because of feelings?” In a word, Phil? Yes.
If you think back (waaaaaaay back) to the first season of Fringe, Olivia gives a sceptical Broyles a fantastic speech about how her feelings are one of her greatest assets for the job that she has to do.
“I understand that you think I acted too emotionally. And putting aside the fact that men always say that about women they work with, I’ll get straight to the point. I am emotional. I do bring it into my work. It’s what motivates me. It helps me to get into the headspace of our victims… See what they’ve seen. Even if I don’t want to, even if it horrifies me. And I think it makes me a better agent. If you have a problem with that, sorry.”
Since this show’s beginning, the biggest motivating factor driving every plot point has been these characters and their emotions and feelings. The very reason the worlds are falling apart is because one man broke through to try and save the life of his son. If that’s not feelings-driven than I don’t know what is. And so this episode, with it’s very Fringe-like take on Valentines Day, seems to me to fit right in with everything that has come before it in the show. On some level it doesn’t even really matter why the universes are falling apart. What matters is how the characters we’ve come to know and love are affected and react to this breakage.
One of the things I’ve loved most about Peter and Olivia’s relationship has been the way they endlessly support each other, seen most often through these quiet moments we are given of them together. Do I think they’re perfect for each other? Probably not. In fact in many ways, I do think that Peter showed more of a connection and chemistry with Altlivia (which also just speaks volumes to the quality of Josh’s and especially Anna’s acting skills, wowee). But the thing that keeps me most invested in Peter and Olivia’s relationship is how—despite everything—they always speak their feelings, and prove to each other that there is someone out there who has their back in the midst of all this craziness. Obviously there are still a lot of issues to get through even if we could expect a happily-ever-after. There’s the fact that Peter has been ~weaponized~ into a secret Shapeshifter killer and has so far failed to mention it to Olivia (might just be a problem for a gal with trust issues the size of Agent Dunham’s). And of course there’s that small matter that the next generation of Bishops with interdimensional daddy issues is on its way. But despite all that, I’m still happy—maybe even thrilled—that the Fringe writers have allowed Peter and Olivia to move forward and embrace their feelings for each other. For however long it lasts.
– The building where Alice Merchant lived was called “The Rosencrantz” and Walter discovered the universal tear by flipping a coin and getting heads more times than was probable in a row. I love a good Tom Stoppard reference.
– In fact, John Noble’s performance as Walter began falling apart at the prospect of their world beginning to show the same signs of damage as the other side was pitch perfect. It was also interesting to note on rewatching that Walter was so busy panicking that he actually did very little to try and avert the crisis. His final scene with Nina Sharpe, as he confessed that he did not know how to save them was achingly beautiful, as was her quiet trust-filled suggestion that “I think you’d better learn.”
– There was not very much Astrid this week, but I appreciated that she can still always be the voice of calm, and knows Walter well enough that she can just let him snap orders, raise an eyebrow, and then simply get everything done.
– Philip Broyles has all ready met Obama. And beat him at golf. Of course he has.