Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fringe 4.04: "Subject 9"

“I suppose I’ve learned that crazy is a lot more complicated than people think.”

“Suspect 9” marked the final, sort-of long awaited return of Peter to the narrative, but really not in any way that he (or viewers) would have expected. All is not going to be back to “normal” any time soon. We’re still very much in the amber opening credits universe. And I wonder where we go from here. Clearly Peter is going to have to adjust to breaking out of nothingness only to find that the world he knew is gone because of his absence. I’m not sure if that’s compelling, or if I’d rather just have everybody back to the original recipe blue universe to finish out what is likely the last season of the show. I invested a lot in the original versions of these characters, you know? I think once Peter starts really reacting to nobody knowing who he is I’m going to be wishing for the old timeline even more. The centerpiece of “Fringe” is the relationship between Peter and Walter. They’re dynamic has been what has seen the show through the times when some of the writers’ more creative decisions haven’t quite panned out. To give that up for too long would be a serious mistake.

The episode opens with Olivia asleep in her apartment. An energy ball of sorts appears, and it seriously made me think of the kind of lame 1960’s special effects aliens that would show up in Star Trek (the original series). Olivia wakes up as the energy ball is hovering in her bedroom, and when she sees it, she completely freaks out. Meanwhile, Walter is at the lab trying to photograph the apparition he’s being seeing in reflective surfaces. Olivia stops by the lab and tells him what happened in her apartment. When Olivia leaves him alone to tend to some other business, Walter notices an envelope in her coat pocket, and notices the St. Claire’s logo on it. He decides to open the envelope, which is of course a rather bad idea. It’s a form from his St. Claire’s therapist recommending he return there for long-term treatment. Olivia still hasn’t signed off on his opinion yet.

Olivia and Astrid start an investigation at Olivia’s apartment, and the energy ball apparition appears yet again. Walter sees the whole thing go down on his monitor about 30 seconds before it actually happens, which was quite odd. Walter says that the whole thing reminds him of one of the other Cortexaphan trial kids known as Subject 9. Subject 9 could do astral projection, and the side effect was attracting metal objects like this energy ball seems to be doing. To get more information on this, Olivia and Astrid pay a visit to none other than Nina. She’s giving a speech on nanotechnology (at Massive Dynamic headquarters, I guess) when they find her. She lets Olivia and Astrid look at the files from the Cortexaphan trial, and they do indeed find Subject 9. His name is Cameron. In an effort to show that his mental health is sufficiently stable, Walter offers to go with Olivia to New York to find Cameron.

Olivia and Walter head to a New York City apartment building, but they find out from a neighbor that the person they’re looking for isn’t going to be home until the next day because he’s a truck driver. Olivia and Walter then get set up at a hotel for the night. The hotel room gives Walter a serious attack of germophobia, but instead of getting freaked out by Walter’s freak out, Olivia takes him for a root beer float. This is quite the bonding experience for Olivia and Walter, which is really kind of adorable. The adorable-ness doesn’t last for long, though, as Walter seizes the opportunity to ask Olivia about the St. Claire’s letter. Olivia kind of hedges when asked what her recommendation will be, but she doesn’t have too much time to talk about it before the kind of lame energy ball appears again. Olivia jumps out the restaurant window in an effort to get away from it, and she almost gets hit by a car.

Olivia and Walter head for Cameron’s apartment again, and this time, he’s home. He gets freaked out by Olivia’s questioning, and he tries to run away, knocking Walter down in the process. Seeing Walter makes him even more freaked out, which is understandable considering Walter conducted experiments on him when he was a child. Cameron reveals that he hasn’t been able to astral project for years, but he still has all the negative side effects (the attracting metal and such). The energy ball makes yet another appearance, but this time, Cameron is somehow able to stop it.

After seeing what Cameron can do and remembering how he saw the second attack in Olivia’s apartment before it even happened, Walter thinks that the energy ball is a sort of time distortion. Now that he has a theory, it’s time for a new experiment. Olivia, Walter, and Cameron head to what looks like an electrical substation. Walter thinks Olivia will attract the energy ball again, and this time, Cameron is going to try to disburse that energy through the wires. It definitely starts to work, but then Olivia sees Peter’s image in the energy ball and makes Cameron stop what he’s doing. All the way in Reiden Lake, a flesh-and-blood Peter surfaces from the water. Two fisherman in a boat on the lake pick him up.

Following the incident at the power substation, Olivia gets a call from Broyles about a man who suddenly appeared at Reiden Lake and knows a disturbing amount of classified information about Fringe Division. The man (Peter, obviously) is in the hospital, and Olivia, Walter, and Broyles go there to see him. Olivia sees Peter first, and although he expresses relief to see her, Olivia has no clue who he is. While Olivia’s visiting with Peter, Walter takes another peek at the St. Claire’s letter. Olivia has recommended that Walter not be hospitalized.

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