Fringe season 2 episode 19 review

Billy wonders who the man from the other side really is in the latest episode of Fringe...

2.19 The Man From The Other Side

We’ve been building up to this episode for an entire season of stories, ever since Walter went to Peter’s grave, and in doing so revealed that the man he called his son had a less definitive origin.

It’s also a sequel of sorts to the two opening stories of this season, where we got introduced to the shapeshifters and their deployment from the alternate dimension.

The opening scene has a couple arguing in their car becoming convenient resources for the arrival of three shapeshifters in our dimension. As that statement suggests, there is a logistical problem with the numbers here, but one of the shapeshifters doesn’t survive the transfer and is left as an embryonic blob. This is crucial to the story because it’s this malformed shapeshifter that the Fringe team find, and attempt to unsuccessfully regenerate.

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They restart the blob, but the shapeshifter is damaged and dies, but not before it makes a tender hand gesture with Walter. This was the most important moment for me, because the shapeshifter obviously knew Walter very well, or maybe recognised his face.

As the mystery unravels the team realises that Newton is attempting to bring something through from the other side and has chosen a broken railway bridge as the transfer point. This all moves very swiftly along, although this gives relatively few opportunities for amusing character moments. Possibly the most short shifted by the narrative is Olivia, who, other than firing her gun plenty, doesn’t actually contribute much here. But as the title suggests, this is Peter’s show, although very soon I was wondering if he was the ‘man from the other side’ that it was referencing.

As Newton’s transfer is initiated, Fringe get to the location and attempt to stop it using a typically odd collection of equipment brought along by Walter for the purpose. In the end, it’s Peter and a poor unfortunate FBI redshirt that end up on the bridge, in the firing line of the energies that the vortex is unleashing. The FBI vaporises spectacularly, but Peter is unharmed…which is the tipping point for his understanding of why Walter is being strange with him, and why he can’t remember his childhood.

He eventually stops the link, but not before a man appears on the bridge…a man who looks oddly like Walter from behind. Is this the alternate Walter, come to get revenge on those who took his son? Maybe.

Peter is knocked out by the end of the transfer collapsing, and wakes in hospital with many questions to be answered, mostly by Walter.

So, what did I think of the final resolution? I’ll be honest, I didn’t care for it. My issue with Peter working it out for himself was that he didn’t just work out part of it, but he’d worked out the whole story. I know he’s bright, but he’d worked out that he was from the other side and that Walter brought him back, and that this caused his mother to commit suicide. It wasn’t really helped by Walter’s frustrating contribution to this scene, which was mostly to look forlorn and not attempt to answer any of Peter’s questions.

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It was like one of those annoying situations where you’ve kept a secret from someone for a long time, and then when you finally get the nerve to tell them, you discover they’ve known all along. Okay, not quite the same, but it felt that way.

I’m not sure how this might have been better, but I wasn’t keen on him finding out this way precisely. I’m sure Peter will be back in the Fringe fold soon, even if the epilogue scene suggested he was ‘gone’.

The good bits of this story were the pacing, which kept the story moving like an express train. When it stopped towards the end to survey the wreckage left in its wake, then I was possibly less impressed.

What it contributed was to introduce another component, which I suspect is the alternate Walter into the equation.

After such deep thinking, next week’s story is something entirely new for Fringe, and probably never to be repeated. It’s a musical, and no, I’m not joking…

Read our review of episode 18 here.

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