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Fringe Season 4: 5 Questions About “Nothing As It Seems”

In case last week’s episode of Fringe didn’t quite blow your mind enough, this week the Fox drama decided to go for the nostalgia vote by… retelling a story we’ve seen before, but making a point of showing that things can turn out differently this time around. Five questions about “Nothing As It Seems”? We’ve got ‘em right here.

Is Lincoln Superpowered Now?
Okay, I know that Walter “cured” Lincoln with his apparently-disgusted green juice (It has to be said, I’m pretty sure I’ve had smoothies that were very, very similar at times, and mint never hides the aftertaste), but I can’t quite drop the idea that it would be very, very awesome if Lincoln was left somewhat changed by this experience, and not just on an intellectual or emotional level. Would a were-monster Lincoln be a stretch too far on a show that so far features a telekinetic who can cross dimensions and a man who apparently can’t be erased from time? Possibly – but I’ll take that risk, if given the chance.

Who Are The Children of The New Age?
Of all Olivia’s questions about the mysterious forces behind the transformations – I love that they’re working from some obscure Mayan prophecy in 2012, of all years – there was one that wasn’t raised: What if they’re not working with David Robert Jones? All we really know about them is that they’re obsessed with becoming the avatars of a new humanity (or, perhaps, New Gods) via genetic engineering, and that they’ve been successful with more than just the creation of a human/porcupine/with wings hybrid, judging from that end sequence… but, as Olivia did ask, why…?

(One of the things I loved about the episode’s “Deja Vu Gone Wrong” theme was the idea that all of this was going on in the old timeline, and it’s just that we never actually got far enough to find that out. It’s not a question, but I really appreciated the way that the episode played with memories of past episodes and our expectations.)

What’s With The Evolutionary Developments (No Pun Intended)?
Not just the Children of The New Age, but the Observers, too – We’ve been told that they are future humans, albeit an evolutionary jump or two away (Are the Children trying to turn themselves into Observers? Or are the Observers the end result of all their genetic tinkering? The latter, at least, feels particularly possible, and might explain why they’ve been so interested in previous Fringe Division cases). Is it just me, or does Fringe seem more interested in evolution these days than it used to be? Perhaps this will be the show’s new obsession, now that we seem to be moving out of the time travel era…

What Will Happen to Olivia’s Memory?
This is a small thing, admittedly, but it niggled me all through the episode: If Olivia’s alt-timeline memory is being replaced by her original-timeline memory (And, I wonder, will we actually get a scientific explanation for why that’s happening, or is it really just The Power of Love?), then what happens when we get to Peter’s disappearance at the end of Season 3? That Olivia can’t remember conversations with Lincoln interested me, because that happened “after” Peter’s disappearance and re-appearance, which means that she should, theoretically, remember it – unless Olivia will lose anything that happens between Peter’s disappearance and her own reappearance when her memories started to shift. Or is this just me over thinking things again?

What’s Going On With Walter?
Another possible over thinking, perhaps, but didn’t Walter seem overly… happy and trying to bond with Peter this week? It’s only a few weeks ago that he was accusing Peter of tampering with Olivia’s memory on purpose, and now he’s seeming weirdly pleased that Olivia is losing her alt-timeline memories, and giving Peter old birthday presents. Is this just an example of Walter randomness, writer randomness, or a sign that Walter, too, is slowly beginning to remember the way things used to be, even if he doesn’t consciously realize it…?


  • Mdswanson

    I think when Peter hugged Walter it did something.  It was after that happened that Walter seemed more happy and the stuff with the presents.

    It seems Olivia is loosing all of her current time line memories.

    I like that Astrid still goes out into the field even though walter does too.  She’s such a great and underused character.

    This new thing with the animals hybrids is interesting. I hope this is addressed again and not just left hanging. 

    We need another season!

  • Tomalak Geret’kal

    Walter brought out the presents before Peter hugged him. In fact, that was the reason for the hug.

  • Mdswanson

    yep you’re a correct. my mistake.

  • xaos

    I just have to say that I think Professor Farnsworth of Futurama would be THRILLED with the goal of evolving into giant flying porcupines

  • Squashua

    I expect an Island of Dr. Moreau episode.

  • numberthirty

     Actually, the animal hybrid theme isn’t entirely new. The episode “Unleashed” from season one had an animal hybrid storyline.

  • AM

    Can’t help but feel with the show on the verge of potentially being cancelled, recycling ideas from Season 1 albeit from a slightly altered perspective didn’t actually help anything.

  • 222322

    I didn’t get it. . . Why petter didn’t told olivia that she is his olivia???

  • Tomalak Geret’kal

     It was done off-screen. She knows, which is why they had their big happy re-union kiss at the end of last week’s episode.

  • 222322

    Aha. . . What about walter does he know?

  • Lion_okitkat

    I would agree, since the show’s return I haven’t really been moved one way or the other. The past two episodes have been somewhat interesting, but I didn’t really care or feel like I needed to pay attention. Mostly I would read or surf the net while half paying attention to the show.

  • LightningBug

    Olivia’s briefing with Broyles seemed to indicate that she has explained to everyone involved that she is now Olivia from an “earlier timeline.”

  • Shani

    Biggest question not asked: why would anyone sign up to become a chimera/human hybrid? Apart from being hideous, they’re not as consciously intelligent and evolved and they’re caged in that nameless Dr. Moreau/Noah’s ark.

  • LightningBug

    We know that they are overly aggressive, but that doesn’t necessarily suggest they are not intelligent. I think the idea is that if they manage their transformation properly (unlike the dude on the plane) they will be more intelligent and in control and still get to be a bat porcupine. As for the creatures on the boat, I suspect those poor people have been had.

  • Sam

    When the monster flew off from the building with the girl in his arms, I thought I was seeing Elisa Maza and Goliath from the animated serie Gargoyles. It was awesome.

  • Novastar22

    It would be interesting if Lincoln has some side-effects from the infection.  Though I wouldn’t want to change his character because I think he plays a great straight-man to the rest of the crew.

    Children of the New Age could simply be a side story, without any need for further expansion.  Maybe worth another case for next season? X-files used to have side-story episodes with open endings too, and they sometimes they never go back to it.

    Last episode, olivia couldn’t remember having breakfast with nina a week before.  I think we can confirm that alt-olivia is gone and we have OUR olivia is back, with none of the other’s memories in tact.

    We can assume that Peter told everyone that he is HOME, despite it being a different timeline, and that Walter is happy because he has come to accept Peter as the son he had lost.  Thus, the presents and bonding (which was gradually shown over the last several episodes).  His accusation of Peter a few weeks ago was more like a parent disapproving a child’s behavior.

    I think they’ve already explained what has happened to olivia, albeit vaguely.  Cortexaphan was definitely the cause.  Another fan made an excellent point in that in “The End of All Things” episode, peter finds the camera in olivia’s apt., reviews it’s memory, and watches the re-recorded images – alluding that though the timeline was “recorded over”, there’s still traces of the original timeline.

  • BD_Mob

    I think that the trigger for Olivia’s memories was Westfield, or the exposure to the field that covered it- and what if? David whatever Jones was DID that to the town JUST to trigger that?  It makes me think that Peter’s return not only makes the Observers that adversaries of this (and maybe next) season, but that Jones make be working against them.

    And I took Walter’s reactions to Peter as evidence he too is remembering the old timeline- but with Walter, he’s freaked b/c he’s not sure its not him sliding back into crazy…. and that’s great, for the viewers.  The thing that makes the show great isn’t just the crazy plots, but the real human characters who are caught up in them.

  • Laurene

     Thanks for posting this, it was curious to read, as this time  was the first time I watched the series, I hadn’t seen them before, but  totally loved them and can only agree – we need more!