Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
It was all scary monsters and super freaks in last night’s episode of Fringe, whether they were psychic virally-growing brains or scientists trying to perform unsafe medical procedures on themselves. Really, can you blame us for having five questions about “Alone in The World”?
Why Isn’t Lincoln Freaked?
It’s a small question, perhaps, but I’m wondering why Agent Lee isn’t freaked out by everything that he’s discovered since joining Fringe Division. Is he really just so well adjusted that he can take everything in his stride, or is it more proof that he is serving a particular purpose in the new timeline? I find myself leaning towards the latter idea more, especially given the irrational nature of the “new” Walter – Trying to give himself a lobotomy? – and the increasingly harsh Olivia (Am I the only one who thought that she’s seeming more brutal without the calming influence of Peter in this new timeline? Not exactly Fauxlivia brutal, but certainly not the Olivia we’d gotten used to); perhaps Lincoln is there to be a calming influence to the division, as well as a more humanizing one. Or perhaps there’s much more to Lincoln than meets the eye.
Under What Conditions Was Walter Released?
It’s interesting to see that Walter now has to undergo monthly psychiatric evaluations in this new timeline, having left the mental institute. Something about that, and Broyles’ follow-up questions afterwards, made me reconsider the idea that Walter is staying within the lab so much because of a new hermit tendency. Instead, the testimony of the guards made me wonder, is Walter under house arrest in the lab? Was he only released as an Fringe Division resource, and is otherwise considered a security risk and kept under constant surveillance and in a secure location? Is Walter essentially a prisoner in this new timeline?
Are The Observers Time Travelers?
Talking about timelines – So, given Walter’s explanation to Aaron about how he lost his son (twice), is it safe to assume that the Observers don’t possess reality-altering powers as much as the ability to travel in time and let their own actions dictate things? Peter died a second time because the Observer didn’t save his life, as happened in the previous timeline. Is that their secret? Are they a group that exists, for some reason, to safeguard particular points in history and make sure that events follow some pre-ordained plan, and are willing to fudge the details through interference in order to ensure it?
Where Did Gus Come From?
Genuinely a question I can’t believe wasn’t asked during the entire episode: What was Gus? Where did it come from? Maybe it’s simply a throwaway monster of the week, but I kept thinking that it really seemed like some kind of weaponized organism, and that might suggest some form of attack from the same beings behind the shapechangers in the first episode of the season. Is “our” Earth under attack again, and by a completely different enemy than we’ve been used to for the past few seasons?
Who Else Has Peter Appeared To?
I loved the reveal at the end that Peter has been appearing to Olivia, as well as Walter (And not just because it means that we can move forward with this particular plot a little faster; I’m curious to see how they go about trying to rescue him, and whether any rescue will mean the original timeline will reassert itself or not). But it does make me wonder: Has Peter appeared to anyone else? Astrid, perhaps? Maybe not; I’m sure she would have mentioned it, by now. But what about Nina Sharpe? Maybe her appearance in the teaser for next week’s episode suggests that Massive Dynamic has been kept out of the season to date for more reason than just simple forgetfulness…