Fringe: There's More Than One Of Everything   Rewatch 
September 3, 2014 10:21 PM - Season 1, Episode 20 - Subscribe

Something else - You've struck oil - The assault in the pastry shop - Father figures - What can he do? - Nice hat - Looking - Belly and LSD - Special - That's why you always leave a note - Peter Bishop

"I started something a long time ago, and now I need to finish it"
posted by the man of twists and turns (17 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Lots of thoughts.

Walter tells Peter what happened, but not wha—er, wh—no I'll stick for here with 'what' he brought back. I like how Walter's slowly-returning memory becomes the basis for his more active and determined participation in the coming seasons. This episode sets that up nicely with the note.

I absolutely LOVE that the very first thing Olivia does when William Bell reveals himself* is to go look at the alternate universe. Fuck him, he's just a dude, that's an WHOLE OTHER WORLD out there.

The newspaper on Bell's desk has the headline OBAMAS SET TO MOVE INTO NEW WHITE HOUSE. "NEW." Bell's office is in the World Trade Center (top floor corner, naturally). Presumably United 93 made it to target and American 11 & United 175 were brought down instead. One could further extrapolate that the success of the 9/11 attacks in the other universe caused a much greater governmental panic with The White House being destroyed, as opposed to the "merely" economic hit of the twin towers. With the government in disarray and the towers standing Massive Dynamic would have every opportunity to more overtly take power. Plus the jingoism would be turned up to 11 with the White House taken out, hence the even more extreme militarization of their disarrayed government.

Something else that comes out early next season that's interesting to watch for in SSN1 is Broyles/Sharp. They have a couple of heated face-to-face tests of will recently, including a late-night session at Broyles' home last episode. Lotta, uh, intensity there.

Still no big clues as to why the Observers are... Observing. Awfully big question though, when you think about it. Interesting explanation of why they're more involved than just observing now though—it's because they got involved before. There's more than one of everything.

The parent-child themes clarified in The Road Not Taken are fulfilled in the finale: Peter both finds Walter and saves the day by pushing a button and killing DRJ. It's a bit ironic that Peter is the one plugging the portal up though, n'c'est pas? And not just because of the pull-quote in the post.

* I feel capable of writing something that makes the Nimoy connection to Spock and the Vulcans via the Observers but I'm pretty sleepy right now and can't quite fathom how to work it. It's there though, I can feel it.
posted by carsonb at 12:57 PM on September 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

I've been wondering. Was there any uproar when this first aired about the World Trade Center being shown? When this aired (2009) the WTC had been destroyed just 8 years before. Wasn't popular media still avoiding showing images of it back then, out of fear of offending or upsetting those whose family members had been killed?
posted by zarq at 10:27 AM on September 5, 2014

Oh yeah, this is the episode that exploded the series and set it into a different place than the X-Files-y anthology it was occupying.
posted by The Whelk at 6:10 PM on September 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

I can see what you're saying, The Whelk, but the way you put it makes it seem like this ep changed something about the show. There was SO MUCH groundwork being laid all season for where the finale takes us, and the big surprise was that it pulled so many threads together so satisfyingly.

That it did such a thing with great aplomb sets it apart from most other TV. Personally, when the sympathetic perspective switches somewhere down the line to the alternate universe, is what I'd point to and say, "That exploded the series." They did it again with the time travel bit.
posted by carsonb at 7:26 PM on September 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

Oh the fact that it was done this well, and so consistent is what sold me on watching Seasn two cause SUDDENTLY EVERYTHING MADE SENSE and it didn't feel like lazy ret-conning, it felt like Expert misdirection,
posted by The Whelk at 7:29 PM on September 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

I agree that it became something more when you begin to sympathize with the other universe btw...

I know the lens flare in the elevator is the obvious signal here, but I had to rewatch several times to satisfy myself that was when Olivia crossed over. What about the near miss in the car? The weird phone call to Nina Sharp? The fact that the restaurant looks similar to Windows on the World?
posted by BAKERSFIELD! at 1:38 PM on September 14, 2014

Yes. I like the fact that they've cut some frames from the moment of would-be impact in the car, resulting in the same kind of jump cut you see in the elevator. Whether it's the point of crossing over or reinsertion is slightly ambiguous. I still think she jumps universe in the elevator, for what it's worth.
posted by Sonny Jim at 1:45 PM on September 14, 2014

It's made clear halfway through SSN2 when exactly Olivia was pulled over to the other side. And it's hinted at in the season 2 premiere. I think the elevator stuff here is Abrams and writers using some red herrings to leave a little wiggle room, having not decided exactly how the story will progress.

Hey, a little meta-discussion friends: the man of twists and turns disabled their account, which presumably disqualifies them from hosting a Season 2 re-watch. Anyone interested in picking up those reins?
posted by carsonb at 2:18 PM on September 14, 2014

Hey nevermind about five minutes ago the man of twists and turns un-disabled his account.
posted by carsonb at 2:24 PM on September 14, 2014

well, like I wrote the mods, I have FanFare obligations. Like Walter said, I started something, and now I need to finish it.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:48 PM on September 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

Please do carsonb! Open it up to the group I say.
posted by BAKERSFIELD! at 11:21 PM on September 14, 2014

Oops, on preview... but I still would like more variety in FPP posters to keep the momentum going and get more people involved.
posted by BAKERSFIELD! at 11:28 PM on September 14, 2014

Me too!
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:33 PM on September 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's made clear halfway through SSN2 when exactly Olivia was pulled over to the other side. And it's hinted at in the season 2 premiere. I think the elevator stuff here is Abrams and writers using some red herrings to leave a little wiggle room, having not decided exactly how the story will progress.
I think you and BAKERSFIELD! are right here. But that opens up so many problems! If Olivia slips into the other universe in the car on the way to the restaurant, how come she doesn't notice a giant difference in the New York skyline? How does she end up (presumably) going to the WTC parking garage, rather than the hotel on Broadway where she was initially supposed to meet Nina? How come her cellphone works in the other universe, especially when, as later episodes in the show make clear, mobile technology on the other side is considerably different and more advanced? That must be a hell of a plan Olivia's on! And we also know from later episodes that there is no Massive Dynamic (and arguably no Nina Sharp) on the other side either. So whose secretarial staff receives Olivia's call from the restaurant? IT'S ALL SO CONFUSING!!!

My take is that Olivia crosses over in the elevator, and is then reinserted into her own universe in the middle of the car crash (her crossing over having changed the timeline slightly), but I'm sure that doesn't entirely add up either ...

[Edited to add that there's a long (and inconclusive) discussion of these problems here, over at "Fringe Theory."]
posted by Sonny Jim at 3:42 AM on September 15, 2014

See I wondered how Olivia would not notice she entered the lobby of the WTC? But then why, when she calls Nina, is she out of the country?
posted by BAKERSFIELD! at 10:20 AM on September 15, 2014

Okay, I am obviously slow on the uptake. I watched an episode of the show years ago and never got caught by it. I started watching it again months ago (after this was started but before I began using FanFare and it petered out. Then I found this on FanFare and started watching it. THEN my wife started watching so I watched with her to let her catch up. And right here at this episode is where we caught up . . . last night.

So I have watched this twice now.
The Nina-out-of-the-country thing struck me as more of a move by Nina to misdirect and control things than a clue. The weird almost crash thing? Both times my mind said "Hmmm, what the fuck was that about?"
My basic assumption was that she switched over in the elevator but then . . . in the elevator she had one of those universe-shifty-events with all of the other people standing around her. If that was the alternate universe and Bell's office is an alternate universe, could there be more than two universes in the story? Or are the people in the elevator in her original timeline and she shifted at some other point and . . . . AND how the hell do you get into the WTC (and so damn high up in it) without knowing it especially since she got off at the floor indicated by the elevator as being in the 20s?
Yeah, the end of this episode is going to need some explanation/revelation to make sense to me.
posted by Seamus at 10:07 AM on June 12, 2015

I've been wondering. Was there any uproar when this first aired about the World Trade Center being show?n

Hello from my 2020 personal rewatch party.

They way I remember it from back in 2009 was that the timing was in a real sweet spot for something like this and overall was seen as a very clever way to show how real the other side was. 2001 was close enough in memory that the cliffhanger was very impactful in a way that I don't think it would be today (20 years later), but it's not like someone was doing this painfully in 2003, if that makes sense.

Now Wikipedia does cite a critic or two who took it as tasteless, but overall it seems like critics saw it as a very awe-inspiring visual of just how different-yet-familiar an alternate universe would be.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 11:17 AM on November 19, 2020

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