Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
Peter may be back, but that doesn’t mean that Fringe is back to normal. As this week’s episode showed, Peter’s “return” to a timeline that he doesn’t belong in was one more mystery to be solved for Walter, Olivia and Lincoln … and the rest of us. Here are five questions about “Novation.”
Was Peter Supposed To Have Died?
When Peter first talked to Walter, he said something really odd; that he was meant to have died after crossing between parallel Earths that first time. Maybe it’s just me, but that was the first time that possibility had even occurred to me – that the Observers had, essentially, screwed up the timeline and were just fixing things after the full scope of the accident had played out. But if that’s true, then how and why did Peter survive again – and is that question the one that’s going to end up being at the heart of the show’s mythology? Why can’t Peter stay dead?
(As an aside, I loved that Walter pretty much believed Peter straight off, even if he felt that he didn’t deserve such a miracle as his son returning from the dead for a third chance at life. There was something there – Some sense of closeness, perhaps – that I really appreciated, and wished from Olivia, as well.)
Why Did Nina Pull Strings To Get Olivia And Her Sister?
It’s the question Lincoln was going to ask before Nina interrupted, but why made Nina Sharp step in to take care of Olivia and her sister after the death of her mother? Guilt over what William Bell and Walter Bishop had done to her, or something else? Remember, this Olivia doesn’t seem to know that she has the ability to crossover between the Earths if we’re to believe what she told the other Cortexephan subject a few weeks ago, so is it possible that Nina Sharp knows more about Olivia than Olivia does? And while I’m at it…
What Happened To William Bell?
So, Bell is believed dead, judging by the “I wish William Bell was alive…” line. Of course, that was true in the original timeline, but he’d simply crossed over to the other Earth. With everything else that’s different in this timeline, is that still the case, or is he actually dead? Or hiding somewhere on this Earth? We may never find out, of course, unless Leonard Nimoy comes out of retirement for one more guest-shot on the show. But this whole train of thought leads me to wonder…
Who Created The Shapeshifters?
Are these “our” Earth’s shapeshifters? It’s assumed that these shapeshifters are from the other Earth as before, but we already know that these are a different breed, and if we’re to believe what the shifter said last night, one that’s based on technology developed by Massive Dynamic on our Earth (She says it twice, one time even after she’s revealed that she’s not necessarily who she’d originally claimed to be, which makes me think she’s telling the truth). Also, notice the lack of mirror involved in the typewriter communication this time around, which may be a clue. Given that we know that Massive Dynamic seems to have no problem selling off its technology to the highest bidder, no questions asked, in this timeline, it’s not impossible that the other Earth has absolutely nothing to do with these new shapeshifters at all…
What Was Going On With The Duplicate Orders Being Delivered?
This seemed to be answered by the teaser for next week’s episode, but even that only added another important question to be answered, and sooner rather than later: Has Peter’s return broken the natural order of things, and is about to cause a breakdown of reality even faster than the crossing over of the two Earths was managing? And if so, does that suggest that the Observers could possibly be some kind of entity that protects the natural order of things – First, by allowing the Peter anomaly to fuse the two Earths together and arrest both decaying even further, and then by removing the anomaly before it became even more dangerous that the problem it had solved?