April 30th, 2010
08:28 AM ET

Inside Walter's mind on a musical 'Fringe'

Last night's episode of "Fringe" might prove a bit controversial among devotees of the show. Fans looking for an episode that would move the plot further along or answer some questions have to wait for next week.

However, fans looking for a fun diversion, paying homage to much of what makes this show great, probably really enjoyed this week's film noir musical extravaganza emanating from the mind of Walter Bishop. Count me in that group.

Now that Peter knows the truth about where he came from, he took off and disappeared. Walter, in his sorrow over this fact (and his drug-induced haze), tells Olivia's niece a tale of how her aunt is a hard-boiled detective in a world that looks a lot like the 1940s, but isn't, what with the existence of computers and cell phones. Not only that but in this world, Walter has invented rainbows, and conducts a chorus of singing corpses (love the polka-dotted cow in his lab). Really bizarre stuff, even for this show.

So many callbacks throughout this story, like a photo of Agent John Scott, a weird televised cartoon appearance by William Bell, Massive Dynamic, and the strange device belonging to the Observers, which bursts through a wall as Peter and Olivia are caught by a group of them.

Speaking of Peter and Olivia, they really seemed to relish their roles in a Bogey and Bacall kind of way, delivering some great lines. And how about those singing voices on piano-playing tough guy Lance Reddick, and Jasika Nicole, belting some notes from "A Chorus Line?" The musical selections were very fitting for each scene, whether it be "The Candyman" or even Tears for Fears' "Head Over Heels."

At it's heart, "Fringe" is a story about a father and son, and that was made even more clear this week. Walter gave himself an unhappy ending in his story, though Ella wouldn't have it.

He truly feels that he deserves to be abandoned by his son for what he did (though he certainly also feels that Peter and Olivia belong together). As dark as this series can be, let's hope that Peter can find a way to forgive his father - after all, they play off each other so well.

It wouldn't be "Fringe" without a final scene that left us begging for more, and this time we saw an Observer telling one of his colleagues that Walter was warned about something regarding Peter. Looks like we might be in for another big revelation as the season nears its end.

What did you think of Walter's story? Share your thoughts on video or in the comments below.

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soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Elliot

    I loved it. I loved that Bad Robot were unafraid to stretch themselves, and to use the film noir genre-–which suited the characters well, as you say. It reminded me of the best of Chandler---and Ray Bradbury. Anyone who's read Dandelion Wine, or seen 'Big' (which flows from scenes in that book) surely will appreciate the morality tale shown in 'Brown Betty', and the polished, hallucinatory fashion it was made in.

    Plus, if you were paying attention, lots of clues and shouts to future and past story details. Olivia sings Peter back to life in a mirror of him bringing her back to life in Momentum Deferred– a scene Walter hadn't witnessed, so I am taking it to Mean Something–besides its echoes of the Irish version of Orpheus and Eurydice–which is now two nods at least to Greek mythology from Bad Robot. So cool that they expect us to be able to get them!

    May 2, 2010 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jo

    Brown Betty was just worth it to see Anna Torv dressed like that. And sing. I can't believe I'm even more in love with her.

    April 30, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. eugene

    Does this show pay royalities to X-Files? I like the show, but it's amazing how many story lines are lifted right out of X-Files. Even pieces of this strange, but oddly engaging, episode. It was kind of fund just to view each scene to look for what was "in period" and what was totally whack.

    April 30, 2010 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  4. Brenda

    I understand the writers wanting to do something different, but I really did not care for the April 29th episode at all. In fact, we turned the channel and watched another show.

    April 30, 2010 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  5. mayday

    I just love this show 😉 – and there is always space for improvement and I am a fan of Peter and Walter

    April 30, 2010 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  6. Brandon

    That episode was awful. I tried to keep an open mind, even though I knew this was nonsense forced on the show to promote the unbearable Glee, but the jokes didn't work, the singing was awkward, and it just didn't fit in with the Fringe world (even with Walter's drug use). Fringe had just aired its three best episodes yet, so this was a huge let-down. I just hope they get back to the good stuff for the remaining three episodes.

    April 30, 2010 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |

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