Fringe Season 4: 5 Questions About 'Back to Where You've Never Been'

Fringe is back! Not just back after more than a month without new episodes, but back to the alternate earth, as Peter continues to try and find out just what happened to him and where he belongs in the grand scheme of things. And we're back to having five questions about "Back to Where You've Never Been," as well.

Can Walternate Be Trusted?

I'll be the first to admit that I'm unconvinced by the revelation that Walternate might be a good guy after all - in large part because John Noble did a wonderful job making him seem as slimy and secretive as he's ever been, even when he was "telling all" to Peter - but even if we're supposed to believe that he's trying to defend his world against the shapeshifters, can we assume that he's not trying other things that we should feel more than a little uneasy about? And, if he is telling the truth about the shapeshifters, who ordered the assassinations of Lincoln and Peter when they were in custody? AlternaBroyles?

What Do The Shapeshifters Want?

I suspect we'll find out the answer to this one next week, but the suggestion that the shapeshifters have been quietly replacing people in positions of authority - Is the Broyles from the other Earth a shapeshifter as well, or is he simply a traitor to Fringe Division? - implies that there's a lot more going on with their agenda than meets the eye. Assuming that the shapeshifters in "our" Earth are on a similar mission to infiltrate and assimilate, then what is their plan, and what kind of thing requires having insiders in positions of power in two universes? (My guess: David Robert Jones isn't the man in charge of whatever this plan turns out to be… That'll be Nina Sharpe, whether of "our" Earth or the alternate Earth.)

Does David Robert Jones Remember The Original Timeline?

The trailer for next week's episode seemed to answer my original question of "Is that really David Robert Jones, or some shapeshifter who's taken his place?" But, assuming that the trailer's tagline is correct, if David Robert Jones is "back from the dead," what is the possibility that he remembers the original timeline, before Peter was wiped from it? After all, not only did he die in that timeline, but he did so in crossing between Earths, which suggests that he just might be freed from any cosmic rewriting of history… What if David Robert Jones turns out to be just as out of time and out of place as Peter Bishop, but with far less interest in returning to where he came from?

Why Does Olivia Have To Die?

And, just as importantly, what does death mean? Okay, that last part sounds much more existential than I mean, but considering the Doctor's "death" in Doctor Who, does Olivia "have" to die die, or just be believed dead? And if so, by whom, and why? Have the Observers been wrong all along, and Olivia is the anomaly that should have been removed from the timeline in order to restore things to the way they should be…? Or will her death provoke some kind of reaction by one of the other players (Walter, Peter, Fauxlivia) that has some kind of cosmic significance? This one, I suspect, is both tied into the cortexephan revelation from the previous episode, and a question that we won't be seeing the answer to anytime soon.

Who Shot The Observer?

Again, a question that's so obviously a "big" question that I doubt we'll see answered in the near future, but right now I'm more interested in just how the Observer was shot… As we've seen before, he appears to have all manner of superpowers (And seemingly still has some, at least, judging from his quick exit in the theater), so did the person who shot him have some way to negate those powers (either technologically or just by having those same powers themselves…? Was the Observer's assassin another Observer?), or did the Observer allow himself to get shot for some unknown reason? And will his death have some impact that might change the necessity of either Peter's non-existence, the altered timeline/alternate world or Olivia's death…?

After what seemed like a couple of false starts, I ended up loving this episode, if only for the numerous twists and turns it threw at the audience. Fringe, you've been missed. Now, if only some more people will start watching you so that you don't end up cancelled very very soon.

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