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Fringe Season 4: 5 Questions About “Making Angels”

Worlds – and Astrids – collided in last night’s episode of Fox’s Fringe, as the threat of something that had yet to be invented – but existed, nonetheless – took center stage and brought even more than five questions we had to ask about “Making Angels.”

Was This Episode An Intentional Play on Last Week’s?
Between the idea of an antagonist who can see the future and a larger question about whether or not said future is unavoidable – The third victim may not have had the car accident the way he was told, but he did have a car accident that left him a paraplegic – “Making Angels” felt very much like a counterpoint to last week’s “Forced Perspective,” or at least a differing take on the same ideas. In both episodes, however, the future seemed permanently unchangeable – at least in the bigger picture – which again seems to be contradicted by earlier episodes in the show itself, which suggests that both of these episodes are heading somewhere… but where?

What Is Happening At Raden Lake?
It’s apparently not coincidence that Peter’s appearance in this timeline/alternate Earth/whichever it is was at the same place as his death, considering that was also the same place that this week’s oracle discovered the secret to future vision (Even if said secret was tech left behind by an Observer). But what are we to take from that, exactly? Was the tech lost when Peter died, decades earlier, and only discovered recently? Or has “September” (Are all Observers named after months?) been revisiting that spot periodically ever since, and lost it on one of those visits? Or – and this is what I suspect – was it lost when Peter returned… and was September responsible for that return in some way? Which leads me to…

What Is Happening With The Observers?
Apparently, September had kept Peter’s return a secret from the other Observers – Quite how he managed to do so is a mystery, considering they can see all of time simultaneously, but that’s where plot mechanics and show mythology may have to conflict occasionally – but why? He’s also the Observer who warned Olivia that she needed to die, which makes him the Uatu of this particular series (For the uninitiated, that means a cosmic, all-seeing character who is sworn not to interfere but manages to end up doing so on a regular basis), and he seemingly ends up/will end up shot for his troubles. What does he know about Peter and Olivia’s importance, and why is he keeping it from the other Observers? And are they the ones who’ll try and kill him for rebelling?

What Happened To The Alternate Fringe Agents?
Seeing Fauxlivia’s joy at teasing Walter (and Olivia, to a lesser extent) this episode got me wondering… Is she a bit of a sociopath, in her own way? She’s definitely less kind than Olivia, or at least less willing to show that kindness without reason. Between this realization and watching the two Astrids interact – And that was a genuinely heartbreaking storyline, seeing the alternate Astrid not be able to come to terms with her father withholding love, and blaming herself for it; watching “our” Astrid lie to make her forgive herself was beautiful, and all the moreso when we saw her father and realized how untrue her story had been – I started wondering if the alternate Earth is one where all of the characters are “broken,” somehow; all along, I’ve been thinking of that Earth as an alternate-but-all-from-one-point-in-time variant, but now I’m wondering if it’s the “anti-Earth” variant, the one where something has “gone wrong” in everyone’s lives, and they’re all slightly worse-off as a result. Have we seen any more fortunate alternate character yet, really…?

What Happens To All The Evidence After The Case Is Over?
Okay, I admit this is a strange one, but go with me here: If the various math at the lake house is correct, it’s the math that leads to being able to see the past, present and future simultaneously (That’s assuming that the Observer Tech was somehow retro-engineered; otherwise, is that math just unfinished? That was never explained, and I wish it had been), which… Wouldn’t someone (Namely, the authorities) want to use that technology again? I wonder if there’s going to be a revelation at some point that all of the Crazy Mad Science that’s been at the heart of countless episodes of Fringe hasn’t just been getting stored away and forgotten about, but either further researched by the government or – more likely…? – given to Massive Dynamic and at the core of their own inventions. After all, how else can they come up with all of their creations…?

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Comments

  • Lion_okitkat

    Fauxlivia isnt a sociopath. She was played by Walternate and the distrust is still present even though she knows she was played. Both sides are in the mindset that they are in a fight to protect their respective universes.

  • sandwich eater

    Fauxlivia is the normal one; Olivia is the one who is emotionally damaged.

    My biggest worry is that the show will end without explaining who or what the Observers are.  I think that this detail alone will determine how Fringe is remembered.  If it doesn’t get answered and JJ Abrams takes to the internet and says he wanted it open to interpretation I’ll be pissed. Whether Fringe will be considered a disappointment like Lost or whether it will have a satisfying conclusion depends on the Observers.  The Observers are the biggest mystery of the show and have been around since the very beginning, we deserve their origin story.

    I have to say I’m disappointed that this season pretty much turned out to be a reboot.  The Peter’s baby storyline went nowhere.  We never found out what Walternate intended for his grandson and we probably never will.

    As for Reiden Lake, I thought it was obvious. It’s a soft spot since Walter tore a hole in the universe there.  That’s why the Pattern from season 1 centered around Reiden Lake.  Peter emerging from the lake has a kind of symmetry since that is where he died.  The Observer probably lost his glow stick when he was trying to save Peter.

  • Anonymous

    Faux was pretty smarmy last night; psycho is a good term for it.  And good catch about all the overtheres being worse off.  Walter was way more repulsive than usual as well.

    The math evidence question, like Peter’s disinterest in the equations (bizarre for a math genius such as he, with the most pressing need for that exact information) are questions I had last night too.  Just dropped threads, by ADD writers?  The whole episode was disjointed.  I think the producers don’t know what to do with the corner they’ve got themselves into.  Or don’t care.

  • Zac

    Yeah I think you might be missing it completely on Fauxlivia, I’m pretty sure the intent was to show she’s definately not a villain anymore, and that she’s less damaged than our Olivia.  I think they also managed to show us that our Olivia is a better investigator, or at least a little smarter.  Plus if she was a sociopath why did she go out of her way to keep Astrid company and bring her back herself?

  • http://twitter.com/danaFringe danaFringe

    Jasika Nicole was amazing, I knew she was talented, but, wow, first her
    Broyles impersonation and now this, she is an amazing actress. We are so
    lucky to have so many talented actors on Fringe. I do hope we get a 5th
    season!

  • Mike

    Graeme,

    Love the “5 Questions each week,” but it made me think that there should be a “5 answers” column (or something like it) as we move closer to the end of the season, to keep track of exactly what plot threads/mysteries were resolved, and which were left open for the next season.

    And I don’t really see Fauxlivia as a sociopath, just someone who takes life a little more lightheartedly than most.  I have a couple of friends like that, who would say “What? aren’t you over that yet?”  However, she did seem a bit more grounded last season than in this episode….

  • Lucretius Coleman

    Last season definitely played the alt timeline as the “Evil Earth” as apposed to this season’s view that they’re “anti-Earth”.  As a result, both sides seem more complex and more ambiguous as far as motives.  They’re all “good guys” but in different ways, it seems, neither being any more or less damaged than the other.  It’s almost as if Peter’s prior existence tipped the balance of morality, which would be a pretty good reason for the Observers to want him gone.

    http://superfictious.wordpress.com

  • Kurumais

    i thought all the mathematical equations at the lake house where exactly the kind of thing peter needed to find his timeline or lack there off   i was surprised peter didnt grab it all up 

  • Anonymous

    Fauxlivia teasing Walter doesn’t even rank on the list of things that annoy me about this episode. All the episodes these past few weeks reek of writers scrambling to justify how they ended season 3. I was really excited to see the two Astrids coming together because so much could happen, but nothing did really. It took 42 minutes for one Astrid to tell the other that her autism was nothing to be ashamed of. We learn that both of them feel estranged from their fathers, although towards the end it’s like the first Astrid was just lying to the other in order to make her feel better. (What a complicated guy, you can’t tell at all that he loves his daughter, what with him feeding her after she comes home from a lousy day at work and then giving her a hug and outright saying “I love you.” Gee, I need to really convince myself that Astrid’s father loves her.) For something that took an entire episode to happen, that sort of resolution is sparse and disappointing. I guess the up side was seeing how the alternate Astrid interacted with the rest of the cast in this universe, it’s pretty much the only part of the episode worth watching. The guy murdering people in order to spare them misery had all of 1 facial expression for this entire episode, his mother’s acting skills were abominable (when you hear your son reveal to you that he heard you wishing he were dead instead of his brother, STAND UP FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, don’t just SIT THERE on your comfy couch while trying to make a sad face, good GRIEF, and when federal agents shoot him—ugh, I give up) Alternate Astrid’s remark of deux ex machina served absolutely no purpose except to give readers a hint that the Observers were involved, but even though Walter got all excited like she gave him a vital clue, it turned out he actually had no idea what she was talking about and it was just so the writers have a reason to make him like Astrid. I guess that’s  Alt-Astrid’s ‘deux ex machina’ of winning Walter’s affection since that comment didn’t make sense even from a deduction-standpoint. Finally the Observers remark that September lost his gadget and that was why he didn’t save Peter at Reiden Lake; nice try, writers, I totally believe that Peter’s death was just a mistake when at the end of season 3 you had the same observers remarking that Peter no longer existed because he “served his purpose” and then ordered September to erase him for good. Stop creating continuity conflicts in your show. You’re beating a dead horse. They might have been able to justify erasing Peter and resetting the timeline early in the season; maybe there were certain things the characters could only discover without Peter, so maybe have a season where everyone’s miserable and worse off without him but they discover some vital information that are essential to saving the two universes, info that could not have been found if Peter were in the picture, but then have rest of the season be about realizing that there use to be this timeline that was a bit better, and having the entire cast work towards that timeline. They could even employ Joshua Jackson to depict scenes from the “original” timeline in order to compare and contrast the various information that wouldn’t have been found with Peter in the picture, just to point that out to the audience. Come season 5, you have plot development from season 4 and emotional development from season 3, hey, that might work, but this thing they have going on right now? They’re constantly trying to sew up plotholes. I might want an actual deux ex machina in order to clear up the mess in this season =.=

  • http://twitter.com/bstolemyremote bitchstolemyremote

    Umm…don’t really have much to contribute to question 5, but the question about the Observers is interesting. Definitely felt that although the case of the week wasn’t Fringe’s strongest, it did illuminate lots of stuff about the Observers (we can be one if we get their tech!)

    Lots of questions raised about why their Olivia would have come to our side if the Doomsday machine didn’t exist. Our take (and questions) here: http://wp.me/p1VQBq-oy

  • Squashua

    I’m sure it’s been posted, but I suspect the bullet the mathematician shot out the window created the wound September is bleeding from.

  • Squashua

    I was dying those three or four episodes when Olivia was possessed and Torv did her spot-on Nimoy impression.

  • Shadowpdf

    I think you’re right about the case evidence going to MD.  There seems to be a sinister bent to MD in this timeline.

    Loved the Astrids storyline.  But I wonder if the lie was for something other than making the “other” Astrid feel better. If Astrid’s co-workers know even a little about her life (and it’s clear that she lives with her dad), they might make an off-hand comment that the “other” Astrid overhears.  Granted, the tightly wound Astrid doesn’t cross over between dimensions often, but the others do.  It seems like an easy thing to be caught in the lie. And that’s not a good idea, especially with the amount of distrust between the universes.

    As for faux Olivia, I don’t think she’s sociopathic.  I think she’s supposed to be a much freer spirit than Olivia.  In that episode it appeared to me that she was in the “Come on, Walter! Lighten up!”-mode.  She did, after all, open that unopenable chrome box for him and gave him all the mints inside.  Can’t be all bad.

  • LightningBUg

    Speak for yourself. Lost isn’t remotely considered a disappointment universally. From my observation just as many people are satisfied with the series despite the fact that there are lingering mysteries.

    I would also like to see the original timeline again, and am disappointed with the number of dangling plot threads that will likely not be tied up. Reboots are frustrating.

  • Jumbotron

     “We never found out what Walternate intended for his grandson and we probably never will.”

    Walternate wanted the child because half of the baby’s DNA was from Peter.  Since the machine only reacted to Peter, this allowed Walternate to use a sample of the child’s blood to activate the machine at the end of Season 3 and attack ‘our’ universe.

  • Davey Bishop

    Lincoln is alive in the alt-universe.  I think that is a step up from dead.

  • Oru

    The equations were pretty much pointless, the reason why the asian guy could see the future was because of the Observer’s “glow stick”, it’s definitely not a “dropped thread”. And what’s the corner you’re talking about?

    It’s so frustrating to see that people keep whining about unanswered questions when they’ve actually received the answers a long time ago and just never noticed. Common question: “What happened to the first people!!?? I wanted to know more about them, is it just another unsolved mystery?” when the answer to that question was given in the third season finale.
    Another common question is “What happened to Peter’s son? Was that just a pointless storyline??” and the answer to that question can be found in the same episode in which the baby is born: Walternate needed the baby’s blood to activate the doomsday machine. 

    And to people saying that this season is just a pointless reboot: seriously, are you even watching the show? How can you call this a reboot when everything Peter’s been doing since his return is complaining about how much he misses his timeline and how he’s trying to go back to it? The producers and the cast confirmed that this storyline will have a resolution pretty soon and that they aren’t going to just erase everything that’s happened in the previous three seasons.
    It honestly doesn’t suprise me that the ratings have been so low recently if people have such short attention spans and a total lack of willingness to give the show a chance. 

  • Gentega

    Lost a disappointment? Just curuious what the big unanswered mysteries were that ruined the series for you. I watched every episode and can’t think of anything critical to the storyline that went unanswered. I do agree that the Observers are far too significant to leave a mystery, particularly after the episode where one went rogue to save a girl he liked and contacted Walter for help  using Observer code.

  • Movieking37

    This is my theory for where this is all going:

    Facts:

    The Observers exist outside of time.

    Peter shouldn’t have lived through 1985, and the current
    tiemline Peter didn’t, yet Peter exists.

    The Machine was made by the First People.

    Peter used the Machine and went to the future.
    Peter used the Machine and disappeared.

    Now people are exhibiting Observer powers – seeing the
    future.

     I think the Machine made the First People into the
    Observers, and now Peter and random others are becoming new Observers.

    Facts:

    The Observers exist outside of time.

    Peter shouldn’t have lived through 1985, and the current
    tiemline Peter didn’t, yet Peter exists.

    The Machine was made by the First People.

    Peter used the Machine and went to the future.

    Peter used the Machine and disappeared.

    Now people are exhibiting Observer powers – seeing the
    future.

     
    I think the Machine made the First People into the
    Observers, and now Peter and random others are becoming new Observers.

    When the Observer September
    helped Walter and Peter, he changed time.  The discovery of the Machine
    and Peter using it was to fix the Pattern, which was the paradox in space-time
    caused by Peter living.  Using the machine pulled Peter out of the
    space-time fabric and restored the past as it was intended, but now Peter
    shares the abilities of the Observers.

  • Jonathan Allen

    What Is Happening At Raden Lake? – I think the implication was that September lost the device “when he tried to save the boy”, which to me means in the past, when Walter brought Peter across from the other side. I think the major difference in this timeline is that that attempt to save peter, for whatever reason, failed. I predict we will see this occur in a flashback at some point, and there will be a surprise reason for this. Early in this season, September was assembling his “gun to remove someone from reality”, and I don’t remember which episode it was in, but at one point he seems to be ready to use it, to get rid of the remnants of Peter which are poking through, and he seems to make a conscious decision after watching Walter for a while to NOT follow through with that plan.
    What Happens To All The Evidence After The Case Is Over? – The way I understood this is that he had spent years and years trying to understand the math he was working on, and that in the end, it wasn’t “tech” as much as it was a fundamental enlightenment, he finally “got it”. I think this will turn out to be similar to how the observers came to be. I think the math itself was likely gibberish to anyone who didn’t “get it”.

  • Emefay

    Your question/suggestion about the alternate agents being unhappier or broken – certainly unkind, as you said about alt-Olivia – is spot on, in my opinion.  But my question about this episode is: How is it that Walter called alt-Olivia a vixen or Mata Hari, etc.?  And in the “previously seen on” intro,  the producers showed the clip where he amusingly says he “fell into” her “vagenda.”   Those comments only make sense in the original time line, because it was in the original time line that Faux-livia took our Olivia’s place and seduced Peter and all that stuff.  And it was still in the original time line that she was returned to her universe and Walter found out that she had been a false Olivia and started calling her names.   Remember how angry he was that she had ingratiated herself by bringing him pastries?  Well, then, the new time line Walter never had that experience with fake Olivia; Bolivia did not take Olivia’s place in the new timeline, surely.  So why does Walter still call her names?  It makes no sense!  I have seen no one else make this point.