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Fringe Season 4: 5 Questions About ‘Back to Where You’ve Never Been’

Fringe is back! Not just back after more than a month without new episodes, but back to the alternate earth, as Peter continues to try and find out just what happened to him and where he belongs in the grand scheme of things. And we’re back to having five questions about “Back to Where You’ve Never Been,” as well.

Can Walternate Be Trusted?
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m unconvinced by the revelation that Walternate might be a good guy after all – in large part because John Noble did a wonderful job making him seem as slimy and secretive as he’s ever been, even when he was “telling all” to Peter – but even if we’re supposed to believe that he’s trying to defend his world against the shapeshifters, can we assume that he’s not trying other things that we should feel more than a little uneasy about? And, if he is telling the truth about the shapeshifters, who ordered the assassinations of Lincoln and Peter when they were in custody? AlternaBroyles?

What Do The Shapeshifters Want?
I suspect we’ll find out the answer to this one next week, but the suggestion that the shapeshifters have been quietly replacing people in positions of authority – Is the Broyles from the other Earth a shapeshifter as well, or is he simply a traitor to Fringe Division? – implies that there’s a lot more going on with their agenda than meets the eye. Assuming that the shapeshifters in “our” Earth are on a similar mission to infiltrate and assimilate, then what is their plan, and what kind of thing requires having insiders in positions of power in two universes? (My guess: David Robert Jones isn’t the man in charge of whatever this plan turns out to be… That’ll be Nina Sharpe, whether of “our” Earth or the alternate Earth.)

Does David Robert Jones Remember The Original Timeline?
The trailer for next week’s episode seemed to answer my original question of “Is that really David Robert Jones, or some shapeshifter who’s taken his place?” But, assuming that the trailer’s tagline is correct, if David Robert Jones is “back from the dead,” what is the possibility that he remembers the original timeline, before Peter was wiped from it? After all, not only did he die in that timeline, but he did so in crossing between Earths, which suggests that he just might be freed from any cosmic rewriting of history… What if David Robert Jones turns out to be just as out of time and out of place as Peter Bishop, but with far less interest in returning to where he came from?

Why Does Olivia Have To Die?
And, just as importantly, what does death mean? Okay, that last part sounds much more existential than I mean, but considering the Doctor’s “death” in Doctor Who, does Olivia “have” to die die, or just be believed dead? And if so, by whom, and why? Have the Observers been wrong all along, and Olivia is the anomaly that should have been removed from the timeline in order to restore things to the way they should be…? Or will her death provoke some kind of reaction by one of the other players (Walter, Peter, Fauxlivia) that has some kind of cosmic significance? This one, I suspect, is both tied into the cortexephan revelation from the previous episode, and a question that we won’t be seeing the answer to anytime soon.

Who Shot The Observer?
Again, a question that’s so obviously a “big” question that I doubt we’ll see answered in the near future, but right now I’m more interested in just how the Observer was shot… As we’ve seen before, he appears to have all manner of superpowers (And seemingly still has some, at least, judging from his quick exit in the theater), so did the person who shot him have some way to negate those powers (either technologically or just by having those same powers themselves…? Was the Observer’s assassin another Observer?), or did the Observer allow himself to get shot for some unknown reason? And will his death have some impact that might change the necessity of either Peter’s non-existence, the altered timeline/alternate world or Olivia’s death…?

After what seemed like a couple of false starts, I ended up loving this episode, if only for the numerous twists and turns it threw at the audience. Fringe, you’ve been missed. Now, if only some more people will start watching you so that you don’t end up cancelled very very soon.


  • Coryjameson


    The first half of Season 4 was awful. And that’s what will end up canceling the show. That, and the terrible second half of Season 3.

    Clearly, the bad parts were caused by the senior executives at FOX demanding the show waste episodes and thus money on standalone episodes that NO ONE LIKE, THAT ATTRACTS NO NEW VIEWERS. 

  • Braunrodman
  • Jacob

    Can Walternate Be Trusted?
    Yes. Proof: His reaction to the shapeshifters. And that moment where he said “You are exactly the man I thought you would be.” John Noble made my heart melt with that. This Walternate can’t be evil.

    What Do The Shapeshifters Want?
    First: All the money in the vault.

    Does David Robert Jones Remember The Original Timeline?
    He’s back from the dead as in “We saw him die, and here he is alive.” The in-story explanation is obvious, the time reset voided his death at Peter’s hands. And there’s the very obvious possibility that either this is the “Over There” RDJ, or he successfully crossed back at the end of season one without Peter there. But you’re theories are appropriately complicated an out there.

    Why Does Olivia Have To Die?
    Dramatic tension.

    Who Shot The Observer?
    He shot himself. Why? Because that’s one hell of a first impression.

  • Odin’s Beard

    I thought it was rather good. And the stand alone episodes have their place.
    The first half of Season 4 was excellent, like a new show, and the second half of season 3 was great. 

    Really, naysayers be damned.

  • Lee

    sorry  but your way off in saying the second half of season 3 was terrible.

  • Someone Not An Idiot

    I find it hilarious on how stupid people like you are.

  • sandwich eater

    I’m enjoying the new season despite my disappointment that it’s basically a reboot of the show.  How is the cast not winning Emmy’s?  John Noble is amazing.

    I suspect that by the time the show ends there will be many unanswered questions.  For example, what was that machine that was tunneling through the earth in that episode in Season 1?  I doubt that it will ever be explained. Also we have to see Walter or Walternate build the doomsday machine and send it back in time, otherwise the machine will have to have come (tenses get weird when dealing with time travel) from an alternate timeline.  I suppose they could just send the machine that they have now back in time, but that would create a paradox wherein the machine came from nowhere.

  • sandwich eater


  • Shannon Kish

    Didn’t Broyles from Walternate’s universe die in an earlier season?

  • Jacob

    The time shake up brought a couple people back.

  • Point

    The second part of season 3 was weak except for Bloodline, Last Sam Weiss and the Bellivia bit, but what they did to Olivia  was horrible.
    A strong independent woman from 3.10 on reduced to a needy dependent Peter girl.
    Actually from 3.10 Peter was central on fringe, hischoices, his hero and he stil is, that is waht makes Fringe weak. Prove again on this episode, I was waiting for some emotion and drive all I saw wasPpeter saying his lines, just in the beginning there was this need to get home.

    The best episodes this season were One night in October and Subject 8, and great moments in other.

    I did not care for Walternate versus Peter, the only interesting there was shooting Brandonate, Walternate is flat, with all this backstory, and still no depth, and certainly nothing creepy.
    And I am really bored with the endless walter/Peter scenes, when are they going to do something with Olivia;s backstory? I want to know who her father is, her mother and stepfather were mentioned 3 times in 75 episodes, she is the lead.

    And when does Anna Torv get the recognition , really the best actor on Fringe, the only one who truly has made every version of Olivia and Fauxlivia different, based on a few facts.
    With her central Fringe has the energy and drive, remove Olivia and Fringe is zero.

  • DF

    Watched the episode tonight & really liked it. Fringe season 4 has been so much better since Peter came back. It wasn’t bad without Peter at the beginning, imo, but something felt like it was missing. Now thats he’s back, the show has been on a roll again. One of my favorite TV shows still. I really hope FOX renews it for one more season at least. If it has to be a 13 episode season, so be it. Just bring it back for one more please & give it a proper ending (*cough* 2hr. finale too *cough* ). *crosses fingers* Such a cool show.

  • Adam Walker

    I still don’t get why the Broyles from the other Earth is still alive. Was this a fake body they sent to replace the Olivia fro the other earth? Was it ever explained at all? 
    As of right now, it seems the Broyles from the other Earth is a shapeshifter.

  • Anonymous

    Because Olivia does not have the power to cross over. Without that, she wouldn’t have ended up on the other side. Broyles would not need to help her escape. And Walternate wouldn’t need to kill him. It’s the only explanation.

  • Anonymous

    It’s in the Fringe comic released a few months ago. The machine was send back in time with Peter from 2021, as I recalled. He skipped through a few time periods and hid the different parts of the device, along with the portrait of Olivia and Peter in the doomsday machine for the first Sam Weiss.

  • Jacki Whitford

    I loved this episode, especially the plot twists. John Noble is mesmerizing to watch as both Walters. I enjoyed seeing Peter’s mother again and the Observer. And I am happy with all the plot twists. All in all, if this is the last season, I hope the writers do it justice.

  • Sam Robards, Comic Fan

    After it seemed like the show went into a holding pattern for the first half of this season, it FINALLY kicked things back into high gear.

    I LOVE that they’re bringing back Jones: he was a delightful villain in the first season, and it’s genius to bring him back. Is it “our” Jones or the one from the rebooted timeline? I think it’d be much more interesting if he was another time-displaced element like Peter, but that’s just me.

    If they do end up cancelling this show sometime soon, which I hope they don’t because it just got really good again, I hope the network’s smart enough to at least give the writers enough time (episode-wise) to wrap everything up.

  • sandwich eater

    Is that canon?  That’s a pretty important plot to relegate to a tie-in comic.  If it is canon, how come the show has made no reference to it?

  • Jacob

    The comic is canon. The show hasn’t referenced it because none of the characters know.

  • Aol

    Th show is getting bad because JJ Abrams has a terrible habit of starting a project and than loosing focus because he is off doing something else. i.e. Lost (many loose ends left open) because he went to Cloverfield (once again loose ends that were supposed to be answered in a sequal) than switched to Fringe and did Star Trek.

  • Jacob

    Abrams only EP’s these projects and directs the premieres. He always leaves someone else in charge right from the start. Don’t blame him for any quality changes, blame the same people responsible for the early episodes.