Last night, a big piece of Fauxlivia's secret mission was revealed on Fringe — and the show's mythology got a lot deeper. Too bad the episode itself was a little underwhelming. Spoilers ahead.
This was the first episode of Fringe season three that hasn't totally blown me away — I guess the law of averages demanded one weak episode after five superb ones.
Not that the stuff about the "number stations" and the mystery of the broadcast that erased the minds of ham radio fanatics wasn't sort of fascinating and compelling — but when it turned out to be a wild goose chase orchestrated by Fauxlivia to lead the Fringe division gang to the pieces of the super-weapon, it was kind of a let-down. And the clue-spotting was all a bit silly after a while — like the numbers were months according to the First People, but they were also latitudes and longitudes? Because the First People used the same meridians and stuff as we do today?
Like I said, it all got a bit silly, and it felt like a shaggy dog story to lead us to the ending, where Astrid figures out where all the pieces of the super-weapon are buried, and our gang gets the second piece. When I realized where the episode was going, my heart sank a bit. At least this seems like it's going someplace interesting from here on out.
Speaking of which: Here's a prediction. The pieces of the super-weapon weren't buried on "our" side by Walternate's people. They were obviously buried by the First People (or someone else super-ancient.) There's one set on "our" side, and one set "over there." And maybe both sets need to be built at once, to make something happen.
The other part of the episode, of course, was Walter changing his mind about letting/helping Peter build the super-weapon, the Vacuum. Even though Peter was just pissed at Walter for his role in breaking the multiverse, Peter is now dead bent on breaking the multiverse a second time, and he's annoyed that Walter's being a stick-in-the-mud this time around. As Walter says, in a hilarious line, "If we end up breaking the universe, this time it's on your head." Peter is taking over Walter's lab with all his super-weapon crap, and it's getting in the way of whatever food-related experiments Walter is doing. So first Peter tries to talk to Walter about it, and then Fauxlivia gets Nina to have an awesome stoned conversation with Walter:
Even though all of their arguments are sort of lame, in the end, Walter does change his mind. And an interesting theme is introduced — we have to have optimism even in the face of a super-weapon. Walter has always been the upbeat, joyful one, and he shouldn't become a fatalist just because he got shown a picture. And like Peter tells Fauxlivia towards the end of the episode, "I gotta believe there's another way." Good thing the Vaccum can be an engine of creation as well as destruction.
Peter, meanwhile, is being almost spookily happy and breezy, maybe because he's finally getting laid, and Fauxlivia is a lot more fun to be around than Olivia. He even buys her U2 concert tickets — not realizing that a short time ago, Fauxlivia thought "Bono" rhymed with "Bozo." Fauxlivia, meanwhile, showed more of her usual aplomb about fucking up a bunch of people, erasing a ton of people's memories and causing half a dozen plane-crash deaths just so she can get our guys cracking on the super-weapon.
So is this the first reference to the "First People" on the actual show — as opposed to in the red opening credits of the "over there" episodes? People have noticed that "First People" occupies the same place in "their" credits as "parallel universes" does in "ours." Is there a lot more talk about the mystery of the "First People" over on the other side? Is it true that these numbers were floating in the ether before humans even invented radio? (And has anybody ever won the lottery with the First People's numbers?) It's possible this is one mystery that Walternate's people untangled a long time ago, and they just needed to give us a wee "push" to sort it out on our side.
Other random stuff: Walter has Jimi Hendrix's wah-wah pedal and listened to the Beatles backwards a whole lot back in the day. And the CIA hired him to make the perfect sandwich. And he's one of those bowel movement oversharers.
All in all, this wasn't exactly a bad episode — it had lots of cool moments, and the plot was sort of fascinating until it got swallowed up by the ongoing "superweapon" storyline. It was just slightly less mind-blowingly awesome than the rest of this season has been so far. Luckily, next week's Olivia-versus-an-entire-universe episode is almost guaranteed to be a blockbuster. The masquerade is over, and Olivia's got to run or die. And Henry Higgins (Andre Royo) is back! Can Not Wait.