Fringe Season 5: 5 Questions About “Through the Looking Glass and What Walter Found There”

Of all the people best-equipped to deal with altered realities and venturing into them, you’d think that Walter Bishop would be at the top of most lists. But, as Friday’s Fringe demonstrated, things aren’t always as they seem… Here’re five questions about the wonderfully-titled “Through the Looking Glass and What Walter Found There”.

Who is Donald?
For the second time this season, we find out that someone called Donald – who Walter doesn’t remember, and the show seems suspiciously determined to hide from our view – helped Walter organize the plan against the Observers before the Fringe team was ambered. It’s clear that Walter’s identity is going to end up being something that’s important to the overall arc this season, which makes me wonder if we’ve already met Donald, in some other guise. My guess, based on little other than a suspicion that I’ll partially explain in a second? Donald is Captain Windmark. That’s why Windmark is so obsessed with capturing Walter, and yet can’t quite manage to do it…

Who is the “we” that helped Walter design the Pocket Universe? (And how did they do it?)
“We designed this for you,” VideoWalter said. But since when did Walter have the knowledge to construct alternate universes, never mind designing them so that they resembled Escher paintings? Was Donald part of the team…? Or was September, the Observer that crossed sides and teamed with the Fringe team at the end of last season, responsible? If that last option is the case – and it seems to be the most likely option at this point – then what else did he help Walter do before his disappearance?

Who is the child?
The questions of who the child Walter abandoned in the Pocket Universe was and why he needed to be hidden there were central to the episode, and left entirely unanswered purposefully. He was an apparently integral part of the plan to defeat the Observers, but why…? (Weirdly enough, the fact that he came from some Fringe case that Walter doesn’t remember struck me as odd, as well. Did the Fringe team have cases after the Observers invaded? Doesn’t that strike anyone else as weird?) Is he an empath, as Olivia assumed? Is he an Observer? Some kind of human/Observer hybrid? Either way, expect to see him again before too long, I suspect.

What is Happening to Peter?
The “you have no idea what you’ve done to yourself” taunt that the Observer gave Peter before Peter managed to teleport and kill him was one of those classic action movie moments of ridiculously unsubtle foreshadowing, but it’s clear that Peter is gaining access to all manner of powers, even if they don’t apparently come naturally to him yet (Note that he didn’t apparently see the portal to the Pocket Universe first time around, nor did he immediately have access to increased speed and strength in the fight; maybe the powers have to be “activated” in some way?). The Observer Vision moment at the end of the episode seemed to be a surprise as well, however, and raised the possibility: What if Peter becomes an Observer? As in, not just having the same power, but actually becoming an Observer, with the same attitude and affiliations? And what if this is something that happened to Donald earlier, (a) transforming him into Windmark, and (b) explaining what the resistance hasn’t just implanted themselves with Observer tech at some distant point in the past if it’s as simple as it looked last week…?

What is Happening to Walter?
The idea that Walter’s brain regrowth – from “Letters of Transit” last season – is continuing to affect him post-brain-scrambling was a nice one, as was the implication that it’s creating a “different” Walter. They didn’t go as far as to suggest schizophrenia, but it was certainly implied by the way that Walter talked about his actions as “not something [he] would do.” Walter, again, becomes the mirror of Peter’s situation, and the more moral of the two, worried about what he’ll do in the name of “winning” and sharing his fears about the transformation while Peter does whatever he deems necessary without pause, and keeps everything to himself. Who could’ve expected that Fringe, always a show about fathers and children, would end with a season in which Walter and Peter’s journey becomes the same, but entirely different?

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Comments

  • Sean

    The child was from a season one episode where he was discovered to have been living in an abandoned building. Walter didn’t remember the case because he doesn’t appear to have the original timeline memories. Kinda forced in there to make the kid an observer but it was still a nice callback.

  • Tenormadness365

    I remember the child from an earlier episode (Season 1 I think), and was pleased to see his appearance, as it seemed like they were starting to bring things full circle and set up a resolution to the series, not just this season.  Olivia and Peter remembered him, but Walter did not.

    Also – “They didn’t go as far as to suggest schizophrenia”- Schizophrenia does not cause personality change, it causes a break from reality.  Dissasociative Identity Disorder (formerly Multiple Personality Disorder) causes personality change.

  • http://twitter.com/JuanSam26 Juan

    Sometimes I don’t think Graham really watches the show.

  • http://profiles.google.com/bifcofr BIFCO BIFCO

    For me Donald is a- the man of the bowling who help Olivia to use her power or b- the man that will be the killer of Olivia

  • Lukecage

    Agreed.

  • September

    Why do you never ask the question, “Why are they always leaving Astrid behind and in harms way and why is she never caught or killed?” I know thats actually two questions but they bug me every week. She needs to stay the hell way from them and their meddling plans.

  • spider jerusalem

    More than likely, Donald is the assassin Donald Long from the season 2 episode ‘August’, having betrayed the Observers and feeding Walter information on them, their tech and their plans.

  • http://twitter.com/ZiggyFakeMcCoy Ziggy Blumenthal

    And he’ll never respond to that fact in comments or edit his post to account for it. Good old post-and-run Graeme, leaving  factually incorrect, and therefore worthless, paragraphs in his posts that serve no purpose other than to make him look like an uninformed tool as he gets corrected over and over and over in comments. 

    The last question also implies he doesn’t actually watch the show. His talking about being someone else had nothing to do with schizophrenia or multiple personalities. In the episode where they got the piece of his brain he cut out, Walter explicitly said he had William Bell cut the piece of his brain out because he was becoming a person he didn’t want to be, who cared more about the next scientific breakthrough than its effect/consequence on people or the world at large. He very clearly says in this episode that now that the piece of brain is reinserted he is once again becoming that person, who cared only about the plan and not his friends and family.

    Congrats, Graeme. That’s 2 questions answered.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joey.roseman Joey Roseman

    Did anyone else notice that this was the first time in 5 years that Peter called Walter “Dad.” I’ve been waiting for this the entire run.

  • Anna

    Donald I think or hope is Sam Weiss, I loved the Olivia and Sam scenes S2.

    the child has a connection to Olivia, like September had ( this was before they sidelined Olivia midseason 3, although they suggested it again at the end of S4)
    I hope the child comes back and will give Olivia her active storyline , she has not had one since midseason 3.

    I hate the Peter Observer part and Walter scared brains part, it is just Wyman writing for his faves Jackosn and Noble.
    Noble should have had the guts to play the nasty Walter that abused children would have given Olivia a great story arc, but she is stuck with Peter , so Anna Torv is foing all the worjk for that,
    as both Jackson and Noble are only interested in their own and Walter and Peter story.

    Best scene of the episode Olivia fighting with the Observer, that was great acting from Anna Torv, you could feel all her emotions while fighting , compare that to the wooden Peter action scenes.

    And why is Peter running around with 2 guns, and is he the sharpshooter, and the bombmaster and the technician and , and , and ,
    nothing left for Olivia anymore,

  • http://twitter.com/BeckyNBeck Becky Nunnally

    I was thinking the same thing about Donald. When I heard his voice on the tape I said aloud “Sam Weiss!” because in my mind it sounded just like him. Of course, my mind could be plating tricks on me. The rest of your post I am not on the same page with though…

  • Anna

    Error. I meant to say that the Olivia and Peter part is all coming from Olivias side, with Peter lying and deceiving her and treating her like a little woman,
    And Anna Torv is doing all the work, as
    the interest of both Jackson and Noble is in the Walter and Peter part, it shows and it is not very nice.

    And I hate this season so far as they forget to write for Olivia, and they already forgot to do so S1 and part of  S2 and since midseason 3 she has to evolve around Peter.

    Over There is the bst part of Fringe, original and with the great AltLivia.

  • Neoacardia

    Perhaps the “lack” of feel was emotional? Don’t know about you, but I swore I saw the Obeserver-side in Peter during the fight… (Assuming he really is becoming one of them)

  • spider jerusalem

    I teared up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/peter.ross.12139 Peter Ross

    Even if that weren’t the case, didn’t the Observers invade in 2016? That means there would be four years of Fringe cases prior to to the invasion.

  • http://www.facebook.com/peter.ross.12139 Peter Ross

    I’m surprised no one picked up on the seahorse, 6-fingered hand, etc. on the doors in the pocket universe. They are the same symbols we see when the show goes to break. 

  • Demoncat4

    first thought david was the mystery child grown up or september from a time line where the observers did not succeed in taking the planet.  for now he could be maybe  peter who became an observer coming back to help . as for walter changing  into something else maybe he  is actully walternet  that walter somehow during the time he went missing switched sides again. 

  • Yves

    How about this for a question… Why are there no female Observers?

  • LightningBug

    I’m left thinking that the biggest qestion about this episode is “Does Graeme McMillan actually watch Fringe?” The child is from an extremely memorable past episode. I don’t see how even a casual fan could have missed that.

  • Jude

    I couldn’t decide whether that little touch was cute or naff.

  • Jude

    They’re all female. Our heroes just haven’t noticed yet. It’s the suits.

  • http://twitter.com/ZiggyFakeMcCoy Ziggy Blumenthal

    Didn’t Peter call him dad just before finding out he was from the other side and Walter wasn’t actually his father, at which point he started calling him Walter again? I could be mistaken but I sorta remember that.

  • José

    Have U noticed that the lamp is turned on in the department 413?
    The whole building was attacked… The dept was abandoned and the lamp works?

    Come on!!

  • http://twitter.com/Starleafgirl Starleafgirl

    Yeah, I thought having the kid there was a fantastic callback to Season 1, Episode 15: Inner Child (I looked it up because I wanted to make sure I was actually remembering something from way back in Season 1 when I was watching this episode, lol). As I recall, they always thought he was an Observer. Whether he is or not remains to be seen, as empathy doesn’t really seem to be the Observers’ strong suit, lol. I wonder if he’s some sort of anti-Observer… comes from the past, connects through emotions as opposed to coming from the future and having trouble understanding emotions.

  • jrau18

    If Windmark was Donald, he’d know the plan… smh

  • Alent88

    Peter is the observer september!

  • Lucas Silva

    I could swear that Jackson was beggining to show the same movements and eye movements, of the observers. Pay attention, for example to the slighly head inclination and fixed eyes…

  • Lucas Silva

    The bastards entered the pocket universe without even saying “hey, wait here, be right back!”. And, if you think about it, since time flows diferently in the pocket universe, it must have passed days to Astrid, no?!

  • Lucas Silva

    And I don’t think there’ll be a futher explanation for this. It was just for fan masturbation, unfortunately… :/

    Remember the numbers in Jacob’s cave in Lost?

  • sandwich eater

    Yes, you are remembering correctly.  There relationship was going quite well as Peter grew more accepting of Walter, but Walter felt guilty about lying to Peter.  Olivia could also see he was from another universe because of her cortexiphan powers (she saw him glowing), but Walter begged her not to say anything to Peter because he thought he should be the one to tell Peter. When Walter told Peter their relationship kind of soured.

  • Edward Hernandez

    Okay my crazy theory. What if Creppy Bald Kid (inner child) is September’s offspring. We haven’t seen any female observers but they must have some sort of reproduction. Maybe asexual cloning of their DNA. Of course this would make CBK both september (clone) and his offspring. Hence INNER CHILD.

  • xplained

    Thanks for spoiling that for us!

  • http://twitter.com/louloudeschanel Lulu Deschanel

    Are September and ‘Donald’ one and the same…and are they both the ‘empath’ boy Walter hid away? We haven’t seen September in season 5 yet and as Donald was taken away by the Observers (as seen in The Recordist) it makes sense that the Observers have ‘shut out’ September/Donald again (as they did in season 4). Perhaps the device left in the boy’s room (through the looking glass) is a device/beacon for September to find his way back? Out of curiosity, who is Olivia’s biological father – is it William Bell? And where are the Observer women and children? Are they advanced shapeshifters, therefore not requiring gestation via a female? Or, is Peter the unintentional creator of the Observers through the development of technology (the comment made by the interrogated observer “you don’t even know what you don’t know)…it seems as though the ‘tech’ located in the base of the observers skull is the reason why/how the observers gain their abilities, yet would they become ‘human’ again if this tech is safely removed? The observers have always considered Peter ‘special’ (they assisted Walter in removing him from the alternate universe), yet they were willing to have him erased from history when it suited them or presumably, when Peter had fulfilled his requirements – assuming that whatever it was he was needed for, happened earlier? Ironically, had Walter been able to deal with his grief and allowed Peter to die, the Universe’s would not have been threatened and the Observers may never have existed. Oh, out of curiosity again…September told Peter that he was supposed to have a child with Olivia (not Fauxlivia in his ‘birth-universe’)…it seems as though September was supposed to interrupt Walternate (i.e. that his was no accident that September had to correct) otherwise Peter would not have been taken by Walter, resulting in Olivia and Peter having Etta. 

  • http://twitter.com/louloudeschanel Lulu Deschanel

    Are September and ‘Donald’ one and the same…and are they both the ‘empath’ boy Walter hid away? We haven’t seen September in season 5 yet and as Donald was taken away by the Observers (as seen in The Recordist) it makes sense that the Observers have ‘shut out’ September/Donald again (as they did in season 4). Perhaps the device left in the boy’s room (through the looking glass) is a device/beacon for September to find his way back? Out of curiosity, who is Olivia’s biological father – is it William Bell? And where are the Observer women and children? Are they advanced shapeshifters, therefore not requiring gestation via a female? Or, is Peter the unintentional creator of the Observers through the development of technology (the comment made by the interrogated observer “you don’t even know what you don’t know)…it seems as though the ‘tech’ located in the base of the observers skull is the reason why/how the observers gain their abilities, yet would they become ‘human’ again if this tech is safely removed? The observers have always considered Peter ‘special’ (they assisted Walter in removing him from the alternate universe), yet they were willing to have him erased from history when it suited them or presumably, when Peter had fulfilled his requirements – assuming that whatever it was he was needed for, happened earlier? Ironically, had Walter been able to deal with his grief and allowed Peter to die, the Universe’s would not have been threatened and the Observers may never have existed. Oh, out of curiosity again…September told Peter that he was supposed to have a child with Olivia (not Fauxlivia in his ‘birth-universe’)…it seems as though September was supposed to interrupt Walternate (i.e. that his was no accident that September had to correct) otherwise Peter would not have been taken by Walter, resulting in Olivia and Peter having Etta. 

  • http://twitter.com/louloudeschanel Lulu Deschanel

    The apple symbol typically denotes knowledge and the twin foetuses could represent the boy/September (and my theory that they Donald is one and the same)? The seahorse/fibronacci design represents Walter’s father’s ‘signature’…the ‘dots’ that appear in various points around the glyphs represents letters of the alphabet (each episode spells something) – they spell ‘split’ in this episode (Through the looking glass).

  • Skyler

    Maybe Donald IS September. Walter may have found a way of removing the tech from his head. That might have allowed September to regrow his hair yet keep all his knowledge. Walter doesnt trust very easy. Not after bell. Donald could also be the man from inside olivias head. The one she says “he’s the man thats going to kill me”. And has yet to return.

  • CharlieChild32989

    the child is from the episode “inner child” in season 1.
    Reading this, i am quite certain and concerned that this person does not watch fringe seriously

  • Khameleon808

    Donald cannot be windmark cause in the Recordist, he mentions how he was in his 30s with Dark hair, etc. 

  • Guestasoar

    donald is september

  • Skinywiteboy

    Exactly what I’m wondering but now they say September is Donald?