Fringe, Ep. 5.06, “Through the Looking Glass and What Walter Found There”: Second standalone of s5 far more successful

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Fringe Review, Season 5, Episode 6: “Through the Looking Glass and What Walter Found There”
Written by David Fury
Directed by Jon Cassar
Airs Fridays at 9pm (ET) on FOX

This week, on Fringe: Walter creates his own Wonderland, Cecil gets Red Shirt duty, and Peter gets his Observer on

After last week’s more character-driven episode, this week we get another quasi-standalone, albeit one far more successful than “The Recordist”, with the Fringe team exploring a pocket universe designed by a tripping Walter. As ever, the cinematography is great and does a lot to establish the otherworldliness of the pocket universe. Details like slightly shifting windows and doorways give the viewer (and, one supposes, the characters) a sense of disease and incorporating the Fringe title card symbols on the door is a neat touch.

Another pleasant surprise is the return of the Observer child from season one’s “Inner Child”. This child, though one supposes he could’ve been retconned as simply the feral child he was introduced as, rather than the young Observer the episode indicated he was, represented one of the largest question marks (or, less generously, “Pay no attention to that…” conflicting plot points) left when the Observers were revealed as time travelers from the future. It’s great to see him brought back and tied into the larger arc. Though the elusive Donald, who does an annoyingly great job making sure his face isn’t on camera, isn’t a particularly interesting addition, the child’s return more than makes up for it.

Unfortunately, though Zak Santiago is fine as Cecil, the character represents a hugely wasted opportunity. From the moment he appears on screen, the only question with him is if he’s secretly an antagonist or a red shirt. The episode goes with the more disappointing of the two. We don’t even get to see Cecil react to what he’s experiencing or what the others say. He has basically no reaction, for example, to the news that he’s lost around 20 years. Perhaps this is intentional and we’re seeing the character as Walter sees him, nothing more than a warm body taking up space, but it feels like that’s giving the episode too much credit.

Walter’s conversation at the end with Peter, however, almost makes up for this. John Noble once again hits it out of the park, layering Walter’s confusion and fear with a sense of lurking inevitability that gets the message across strikingly. We don’t want our Walter to disappear either and only in this scene do we realize he hasn’t been there for most of the episode.

The reason for this is Peter. After the end of last week’s episode, the audience spends most of its energy this week watching him, scrutinizing his movements and actions for signs of the implant’s effects. The closing shot from his PoV is downright chilling. Hopefully this will prove reversible, but then again, Peter taking it out of the Observer from last week did kill him. We’ll see. For now, the little we get of ObserverPeter is pretty cool, but the hint of a smile on Windmark’s face upon realizing what Peter’s done undercuts any enjoyment viewers may get from watching Peter kick ass. As we approach the midway point of the final season, there’s still a lot of story to come- fingers crossed it’s just as strong as the season has been so far.

What did you think of this episode? Did you enjoy the pocket universe? What are you predictions for Peter and why Windmark was smiling? Post your thoughts below!

Kate Kulzick

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