'Fringe' Recap: Walter Drops Acid and More of His Sanity
'Fringe' Recap: Walter Drops Acid and More of His Sanity

The Wizard of Oz, Lost, Powder, Steely Dan, the Green Fairy and a femme fatale make tonight's episode a mind-bend that helps Walter figure out an important puzzle from an old friend.
Fringe is available on Amazon Prime.


Late at night in the lab of former Harvard University, Astrid is woken by a strange beeping sound. She gets up, looking for the source of the sound. "Walter?" No answer. She carries her gun, surveying the lab.

The radio with the jammed signal from the Pocket Universe is beeping. Astrid turns around and finds Walter. "Your Hair. It's beautiful," he says. "Did you fix this radio? It's picking up a signal," she responds. "It's beautiful," he says again.

Peter is restless at a ridiculously late (early?) time of night. Olivia wakes up and asks if he is okay. He can't sleep, and complains about his headaches. Olivia makes him smile. "I got everything I need right here," he says. Ain't true love adorable?

The Black Blotter

Astrid comes in and interrupts the lovefest. "The radio is working!"

It's not Morse code but Donald left the radio for Walter on that frequency so that they could become Steely Dan... I mean, so Walter would get a message. Now Olivia needs to find out what it's saying. Astrid tells them he took acid, as a green fairy apparition flies around him like Tinkerbell. Then she turns into a blonde lady staring at him. It's Carla Warren.

Peter tries to speak to Walter. "Carla Warren is here. My old dead nemesis is here to haunt me. The one who was burned in the fire," Walter explains to his son. Peter asks if he recognizes the tune that the message is beeping. He says he can hear that the message is in A minor. "I didn't know we were going to get a message. I wouldn't have taken acid if I had known that." He has taken black blotter in the storeroom.

Peter begs for a reason for the acid-dropping and Walter says it's because Nina and he made an arrangement. She promised that when he finished the plan to beat the Observers, she would remove the pieces of Walter's brain that were put back."I'm afraid we are running out of time."

Where am I Going?

Walter relays that the other night he found himself dressed and ready to go at 3am but he doesn't know where he was going. "He knows where I was going," Walter says. Peter says the Walter he was remembers. An idea that is agreed upon by the nemesis apparition.

He wants to rid himself "of this devil" and wants to find something he can use to "figure out the tones." He asks to work in peace as he continues tripping.

Peter goes to find out if Anil knows if the resistance has any information to help figure out the beeping.

The Red Fairy

"Hurdy Gurdy Man" plays and the Green Fairy brings him a candle and match. Rainbows are birthed from the candle and Walter moves into the other room where he finds a frozen duo on the ground, a young girl and someone else. They are dressed in fleece as if they're on a cold weather trek. The green fairy poofs into a red fairy.

Walter is watching a video but it turns out to be the people watching him. Anil has come by to help figure out what the device is trying to convey. It lights up, beeping further. Returning to that frequency, the scene cuts to a forest.

Olivia and Peter are in the woods near Willington, Connecticut. They stop the car and move on foot towards signal out in the woods. "Signal is strong," Peter says and they move down a wooded path.

Incredibly Lucky to Have You

Peter decides to get romantic at that exact moment -- he apologizes for having left her again and they stop, staring into each other's eyes. "I don't deserve you," he says. "I am so incredibly lucky to have you." They kiss but their interlude is interrupted by Olivia spotting a strange-looking machine behind them in a clearing (I think J.J. Abrams is re-using equipment from Lost -- it looks like a Dharma-logo'd pod vehicle).

It's beeping and there are skeletons lying around in the leaves. It was an Observer, Peter notices, pulling an old tech from one of the skulls. Olivia notices that there are more bodies -- some are Observers and some are Loyalists, 15 years dead at least.

"I think we just found Donald," Peter says, looking into the cab of the truck. They spot an early prototype Observer gun. "If Donald's been dead all these years, where does the signal come from?" Peter points off into the distance, something he is really good at doing since he spends much of this episode pointing out things in the distance.

Peter treks through the wet leaves, looking for the beeping's transmission box. He finds it up a tree. It's just a relay, though, he realizes. Olivia finds a driver's license on the body of the driver of the abandoned vehicle. It's Sam Weiss, who was trying to protect the signal relay and help the transmission to keep going. He was a bowling alley owner that Olivia and Peter knew in another dimension.

They do not think he is Donald. They keep working on the transmission sources.

Hot and Cold but No Katy Perry

Walter, however, is playing a game of hot and cold with his nemesis. She won't tell him what he is looking for but mentions that they are "secrets." She has made it clear that something he needs is in that lab. She reminds him he once said, "There is no god in this lab but me."

She tells him the old Walter would share all his secrets with the Observers, who would value and revere him. Walter seems to like that. She tells him to put on his coat and hat to go to New York and he says he won't do it. He is fighting the impulses the nemesis raises in him.

He runs into his room. "You're burning up," says Nemesis, sitting on a table. "And I know how that feels." He finds his life's work and the Green Fairy tells him not to do anything bad with it. Young Nina is there standing over him and burned Nemesis is behind him.

Walter tells a cab driver about one of his inventions in the notebook. He wanted to make an engine powered by potatoes. Nemesis sits next to him in the back of the cab, chiding him as he fights her accusations with garbled words.

What is Black Umbrella?

A butler comes in and offers Walter more black blotter on a silver tray. "Don't mind if I do," he says.

Walter fights with nemesis about being his old self. Peter says he's confused because he left the lab alone again and could have put in jeopardy everybody he loves. Why is he acting like this? He refutes the idea that he is his old self but he swears he is his same old self. "I've put everybody in jeopardy," he claims, as the cab opens and Astrid is there to help him out.

They are in a seaside village somewhere, They have to rent a boat but Walter doesn't know why. He is laughing and swaying as they walk down a dock to a small boat. "Easy on the choke," the boat-owner warns.

Anil has given them the coordinates to find the source of the transmission, but when Walter looks at where Peter is pointing, to where they are going, he sees an Oz-like green glowing structure on top of a hill across the water.

Suddenly soldiers get off a boat and and they threaten to scan him. A shooting fight ensues and eventually the get on the boat, after felling all the soldiers. They take off into the water, towards what Peter referred to as Thimble Island.

Off to See the Wizard

Peter, Olivia, Astrid and Walter make their way across the water to the island. The beeping continues and Olivia walks them towards a path. Walter sees his nemesis standing at the foot of the path but when they get there, she is gone.

The signal originates in a smashing little cottage where a man with an accent comes racing onto the porch with a shotgun. "There is no Donald here," he says, answering their questions. There is a boy with no hair behind him, a Child Observer. A woman comes out to join them -- the boy's mom?

"We're here because of a man named Donald. Do you know him? He left a radio for us and it started transmitting a signal that led us here," Olivia tells them. "Put the gun down," the woman tells her husband. She says that they knew that one day someone would come for the Observer. They say that Donald told the family that the people who showed up would have a password for them. But none of them know it.

Or do they?

The scene escalates into an animated Monty Python sequence, where Walter is picked up by a giant cartoon hand and embarks on a journey on a tiny cow where he runs into a toad, a Toto dog and his friend the Green Fairy. Water fights a knight and chops open a tree, which reveals a bevy of babies and a black umbrella, which he pulls from their midst.

When the hallucinatory cartoon ends, with a giant Python foot coming down to stomp on the ground like the ubiquitous Python foot that began or ended the show's many episodes, he faces the family on the house's porch.

"Black Umbrella," Walter says. That was the password. He states it several times until the man puts his gun down. "Better come inside," they tell him. Smiling, followed by the Green Fairy who claps for him with joy, Walter follows everyone else into the house.

The Message

They ask for Donald info. The invaders came and the family states that they were part of the Resistance. After awhile, they were known to be trusted and met Donald. Eight months after the Invasion, he said the Invaders were looking for him and left the boy in their care. He was part of an important plan to work with a captured scientist from Boston. Donald never came back, so as not to hurt the family.

He gave them the transmitter and hoped that they would come to find the boy. He hadn't aged a day since he was left there. His name is Michael. They were supposed to run that signal every five days. "I always knew he was meant for something great."

Michael's family seems reluctant to let him go. Olivia seems to truly understand their pain. The young Observer touches his "mother's" face gently with his hand and the boy moves towards the ragtag bunch of Boston explorers. Michael seems sad to go.

Back at the Ranch

Olivia and Peter give Michael hot cocoa to warm him up. The boy, who cannot speak, seems unsure about them. Olivia talks to him about Etta and how she loved hot cocoa and how her mom's was her favorite in all the world.

"Do you know me? Do you remember me?" Olivia asks the boy. Michael nods. Olivia smiles. "But he met us in a different timeline," Peter says." Observers experience time differently. Maybe he does too," Olivia counters.

Carla's voice meanwhile is haunting Walter. "He watches a video of them together, referring to her as Elizabeth. "I won't give up, Elizabeth. I can do this." he says to the woman in the video. "Nothing is going to happen to you, I promise," he continues. She asks him about the wormhole and moments of his journey flash before his eyes. "Walter, there has to be a line we can't cross," she says.

Elizabeth starts quoting Oppenheimer to him which makes him mad. He sees the Observer save him from drowning.

Back in the present, Walter tosses the book into a large beaker and lights it on fire. "The journal doesn't matter. Even if you burn it, it's too late," she says.

Nina is suddenly behind him, telling him to keep going. On the other side, Blondie says stop it all.

Which Walter will respond? What will he do?

Message of this episode: acid is awesome but the past is part of you and green or red fairies aren't going to help you escape it!

Jana Siciliano
Contributing Writer

(Image courtesy of FOX)


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