This review contains spoilers.
In the three seasons we’ve experienced of Fringe, we’ve seen some strange and inexplicable things, including a musical. But there’s an oddness to the story 6B that can’t be easily explained by science.
After watching it twice now, I’ve come to the certain, but not proven assertion that it was a very curious and quite subtle homage to Ghostbusters. From the outset, it shouted ‘Nobody steps on a church in my town’ from the very corner penthouse of spook central.
A couple arrive at a midtown apartment, passing a woman who is moving out due to disturbances she can’t handle. They go to a party, not entirely unlike the party that Louis Tully has, except in this one, instead of a Terror Dog appearing, some of the guests fall from a balcony to their deaths. OK, not quite as entertaining, but slightly less obvious.
As the boys in grey are otherwise occupied (in development hell of a third movie, possibly), they call Fringe division, who conclude that the nasty side effects that the other dimension are experiencing are now poking through into our dimension. How this is eventually tied to the emotional state of the old woman who lives in apartment 6B, played wistfully by the excellent Phyllis Somerville, is at the center of the mystery.
The purpose of the story to twofold. Firstly, to create an ambiance for Peter and Olivia to finally come to terms with what happened with Altivia, and for Walter to get a deeper understanding of the dark choices that Walternate has been forced to make in the deployment of Amber protocol to plug fissures in the very fabric of space and time.
This is also the framework for some oddly familiar scenes, where Walter wanders around the apartment building using one of his curious gizmos to access the situation, in a very Dr. Egon Spengler fashion. I also found it beyond coincidence that the apartments are called the Rosencrantz, which itself was a reference to a messenger that Hamlet orders killed in Shakespeare’s play. And we’ve already got our star-crossed lovers, destined for tragedy, perhaps.
The resolution of these events is cleverly orchestrated to provide both closure for widow Alice Merchant, the rift in time/space and for Olivia’s romantic ambitions with Peter. This would be very neat, if it wasn’t that we already know that the revelation of Peter Junior is very likely to put a giant hole in that relationship, despite all the efforts on both sides to refloat it for half of the season.
What’s more interesting to me was the changing mindset of Walter in regard to his nemesis, Walternate. If they combined their intellects, instead of opposing each other, could they fix the damage that was done? Is that the answer?
There was also a very interesting undercurrent with the whole scenario of human emotion being the catalyst for the ‘soft spot’ forming, and that, if Peter returns to the other side, will Olivia’s love for him have catastrophic effects in both universes?
Most people have relationships that go wrong, but quite rarely does it cause the end of a complete dimension, does it?
Fringe remains a show that’s both accessible and a little deep on occasion, for those that wish to consider the greater message behind the stories.
Next week the show takes a step back in time to explore the secrets of Olivia’s past, in Subject 13.
Read our review of episode 13, Immortality, here.
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