Things to look out for in tonight's ultra-dark episode of Fringe

Tonight's episode of Fringe is the best in ages. After a handful of somewhat weak storylines, tonight's Fringe kicks your ass with a super-dark, messed-up tale of the aftermath of Peter Bishop's kidnapping. Here are some things to watch for.

Minor spoilers ahead...

I'll be honest — I was kind of nervous about tonight's episode of Fringe, in which we go back to the mid-1980s and discover that Peter Bishop and Olivia Dunham already met as kids. It looked like a potential shark-jumpy moment of retconning, trying to recast Peter and Olivia's relationship as some sort of lifelong bond. Especially after some of the show's recent moves towards soap-opera territory, like the "love triangle will decide the fate of two universes" thing, I was nervous.

But rather than playing up the soap-opera angle, tonight's episode goes really, really dark and murky. It starts with a scene that I'm slightly surprised made it onto network television. And then turns out to be a very unflinching look at one of Walter Bishop's darkest chapters — the early days of his experimentation on little kids.

So here are a few things you should keep your eyes open for tonight:

  • Young Peter Bishop's a beautifully fairy-tale way of talking about the universe he came from.
  • An important moment in baseball history went a bit differently "over there."
  • An unexpected shout-out to one of your favorite season two episodes. (Hint: It's the one with Robocop in it.)
  • Signs that the aerospace industry "over there" was already way ahead of ours in the 1980s. And the view out Walternate's office window is pretty spectacular.
  • Not to mention, it turns out Ronald Reagan's space dreams came a lot truer in the other universe.
  • A Battlestar Galactica/Ghostbusters shout-out.
  • More Walter Bishop insanity — even though this is purely a flashback episode, we still get to see some glimpses of the silly, brilliant, fanciful Walter we've all grown to love. With origami!
  • And some absolutely heart-breaking insights into just how both Peter and Olivia came to be so messed up.