Fringe: Grey Matters   Rewatch 
October 29, 2014 10:16 PM - Season 2, Episode 10 - Subscribe

Men in black are performing a very low-rent neurosurgery in a mental institution. They abscond with something removed from a patient's brain. The team investigates. Walter reminisces, Peter is skeptical and Olivia is determined

Walter has a few poignant things to say about madness and recovery, specifically, that there is none.
Violet Sedan Chair - Seven Suns
posted by the man of twists and turns (7 comments total)
"Peter. Peter! .... Peter."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:19 PM on October 29, 2014 [2 favorites]

I did not know they'd done music for Violet Sedan Chair. Cool.

This episode breaks my heart a little. Walter seems so vulnerable and so clearly broken, with Peter cradling him in his arms as if he were the father and Walter the son. And Olivia's prescient observation that being crazy has made Walter a better person, certainly a better father borne out very soon when the missing pieces of Walter's brain are briefly restored to him. His immediate change is chilling, from timid and wanting to please to imperious and commanding.

There's a cut scene on the DVD in which Walter explains to Mr Slater that he will never get better and that he was crazy before the bits of his brain were removed, but I think that's only part of the truth. He wasn't crazy then the way he is now and Olivia's right: he is a better person.

Once again, my hat is off to John Noble.

And now I have a craving for some chicken wings... No, actually ice cream, but I still blame Walter.
posted by Athanassiel at 5:14 AM on October 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Peter goes, "oh hai guyz, THESE ARE WALTER'S BRAINBITS!" but nobody on Team Fringe makes the leap to, "Hey, I bet Dr. Paris is William Bell." SAD TROMBONE.

My favorite part about Peter figuring out the brainbits issue is that him figuring it out relies on him being able to remember stuff from growing up which historically is not a thing Peter does. Not only does he remember stuff - he is remembering stuff that has filtered through Walter's noodle and filling in details. FRINGE MAGICKS.

Poor Asterisk. Second ep in a row where Walter goes missing while under her watch. Peter is very good about telling her it's not her fault but kinda is. Don't leave a stoned insane person alone should just be a policy.

Newton says he knows Olivia's weakness now (actually not horrible foreshadowing on Newton not being able to think out people and their motivations) YET he wasn't smart enough to take Walter to the house in the first place? "OH HAI, I think we should move him to location two for better results."
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 10:22 AM on October 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

Of course Peter can identify the lock on that door from grainy surveillance video. Then Photographic Memory Olivia tops him by being able to identify Newton.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 6:49 PM on October 31, 2014

I never quite worked out how Newton crossed between universes. How was the frozen head planted on this side? Where did the shapeshifters get his body? I do like how Sebastian Roche plays him: there's an indeterminacy about his accent that jives nicely with the universe crossing nature of his character. Another good example of how casting can work to undergird a show's themes.

I like how Olivia initially doesn't believe she can possibly understand Newton; that he's so "other." And yet they're so similar: mirror images of each other, really. Soldiers from each side of the universe divide, designed by each universe's own version of Walter. And once Fauxlivia gets involved in the mix, the competition becomes even more intense. But I'm getting ahead of the story. Newton's "now I know how weak you are" is just the first salvo in this rivalry between competing selves.

"I don't do valium nearly enough. It's a good idea." This episode's classic Walter moment.

Poor Astrid. Often it does seem like she's on a hiding to nothing with the Fringe narrative, like some Abrams version of Hennimore. That she's just there to be hapless and create "lost Walter" scenarios and then do the emotional clean up work afterwards: a pure instrument of plot. I'm still uneasy with the show's characterisation of Astrid, though I do think this article's suggestion that she's just a "disposable mammy character" perhaps overstates things just a little bit.

First mention of The Blight. I remember being quite chilled by that detail first time around. A creepily effective little bit of environmental horror, compounded by the coffee detail a few episodes hence. "No coffee? NOOO!!!" No wonder everyone on the other side seems a little ... edgy.
posted by Sonny Jim at 11:45 AM on November 2, 2014

Mr Katimski seems to have had the part of Walter's brain responsible for being an arse hole implanted into him.

Hypothetical question, if you could have any part of Walter's brain, which would you have?

I would have the bit responsible for to making milkshakes. Hypothetically.

Very fancy lens flare at the beginning of this episode.

Apparently human brains are like just like pen drives. I work in the information industry and I have to say I don't know why people haven't thought of it before. Think how many bytes you could fit on that.

Thinking back to how we found Walter in the pilot. Jesus this is A Tale of Two Cities! Just like Dr Manette at the beginning where he has lost his mind. Wait. No it's not. Everyone go back to comparing Newton and the brain surgery to Frankenstein's monster. As you were.

I have been debating for a while now, just how much Walter remembers and how much he is misleading everyone. Now I wonder how incomplete Walter is. If what we see as central to Walter's personality, the OCD, the food, the music, as Peter describes, are all just mnemonics of a much more unpleasant individual trying to resurface then I don't want him to succeed. This is really a queasy feeling to both root for a character but ultimately want them to remain in a state that is basically damaged.

John Noble is good isn't he.

Broyles: There's only one Walter Bishop? Oh the irony.
posted by BAKERSFIELD! at 11:45 AM on November 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

I always expect Newton to bust out one the older "the proper amount of suction" Dyson commercials...even though I know James Dyson did the voice work on the commercials I'm thinking about.

I want the part of Walter's brain that invents and maths.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 7:21 PM on November 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

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