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Fringe 3.21 - The Last Sam Weiss - Review

Fringe 3x21 – In Which Walter Flies A Kite and Peter Gets A Flash

The penultimate episode of this season was not a crazy fanfare of explosions, gunfire and gore, but it was intense, heartfelt and climatic. So let's jump straight into it:


Tapioca Pudding and Kites – The episode began with Walter sitting vigil at Peter’s bedside. Astrid literally had to coax him away with tapioca pudding which I thought ridiculously sweet and telling of their relationship. I enjoyed the return to an earlier Walter/Astrid dynamic in this episode, in which Astrid acted not as Walter’s slave, but more as his sidekick. I loved the scene in which he channelled Ben Franklin and got struck by lightning – twice. “Oh, Ostrich! You are a genius.” And the subsequent kiss was one of my favourite moments of the episode. It’s these little things that endear the characters and are important amongst the crazy-apocalyptic moments in such an epic-scale episode.

Olivia Dunham and the Last Sam Weiss – Olivia spent a considerable amount of this episode with the enigmatic Sam Weiss. I quite like their dynamic, I always have. According to Sam, he is the last in a long line of Sam Weiss’ all of whom have dedicated their lives to the uncovering and protection of the First People’s secrets. I’m not sure if I believe that Sam is completely truthful or that he isn't holding back information, but for some reason I do trust him, so far at least. So after Olivia threatens to use her gun on him(this is the second time Olivia has threatened to shoot Sam, both of which times, he has ended up helping her instead) they take a little drive to the museum of doom which holds the key to the box which houses the crowbar - you following? Inside the museum, Olivia saved Sam’s life while he bowled with priceless artefacts and they managed to get the key. Now the whole opening of the box could have been an entire episode in itself but Fringe (thank god) likes to keep things moving, so we had this incredibly huge revelation in the middle of a museum parking lot. The revelation that the crowbar was not in fact some piece of ancient tech, but an Alias-esque drawing of Olivia.

No Place Like Home – So while everyone was off finding/being crowbars and flying kites, Peter woke up. Except he wasn’t quite Peter. This was an interesting side plot as we tried to figure out what exactly was going through Peter’s mind. After dishing out $800 on a cab ride to New York and buying his lucky silver-half dollar, it became apparent that Peter was clearly remembering those early childhood memories which had long been buried away. The words on his note left at the hospital were identical to those left on his bed as a child, the phase simple yet poignant: I am going home. By the time Peter reached Liberty Island, I was convinced that he was going to be amnesia-guy for the rest of the finale, so I was pleasantly surprised when he started remembering, but I find it significant that the trauma caused by the machine brought back his childhood and caused him to regress back to what one may argue was his ‘true’ self.

Believing Doesn’t Make it True – Once Walter had used his amazing powers of page-bending to figure out that Olivia needed to turn off The Machine with HER MIND (can we just take a moment to discuss how cool it is that we have a lead female character with such mad skizilz?!) in an interesting parallel, Olivia found herself faced with the same typewriter Altlivia used to communicate with the other side. When Fringe does mythology, it does it well. The fact that Olivia’s telekinesis was a call-back to season one’s ‘Ability’ was fantastic as we got the sense that everything is indeed connected. It’s always a good feeling to know that the writers have a controlled plan or that at least they are able to cleverly tie things together in a way that makes viewers go “Ah!”

As I've said previously, what I loved about this episode were little the moments between the characters. We got a rare and moving scene between Olivia and Walter, one which reminded me of the complexity of their relationship.

The beauty of this scene was twofold. We had Olivia desperate, vulnerable, questioning herself, asking Walter for Cortexiphan. And Walter, comforting her, almost paternal, denying her the drugs. “I know what it’s like to feel unequal to the task required of you, to feel incapable. I’ll never be that man I was, but I’ve come to embrace those parts of my mind that are…peculiar, broken. I understand now, that that’s what makes my mind special. I wish you could see yourself the way I see you. You have no idea how extraordinary you are. If you can embrace that, there’s no end to what you can do.”

Not only is this significant in terms of the Walter/Olivia relationship, but it is important because it rounds off Walter’s arc. Walter is finally coming to accept is eccentricities and understand what Nina and Bell have been telling him throughout the season – that the answers lie within his unique intellect. Like Olivia, it is only once he embraces this that he is able to use it. Olivia conversely, was still struggling to accept her extraordinariness. I thought both Anna Torv and John Noble gave a beautifully nuanced and heartfelt performance in their scene together.

Rage Against The Machine – Once it was established that Olivia’s test round on the typewriter had indeed been successful (Be a better man than your father – nice call-back!), the big moment had arrived. “Just think of it as a giant typewriter.” LULZ. At this point I was literally on the verge of hyperventilating, which is great because it proves how climactic and intense a show can be without unnecessary explosions and big budget effects.

As Olivia took Peter’s hand and they walked towards the machine with trepidation and determination I realised that they really are the definition of power couple. And, with Peter by her side, Olivia was able to tap into her inner Jean Grey and disable a doomsday machine from across a universe. If that’s not the definition of BAMF then I don’t know what is.

With The Machine off, Peter was able to safely enter it, but not before Olivia said the three words and laid one on him. It was actually incredibly beautiful and I cried like a baby. It’s clear that the writers are setting Peter and Olivia up not just to be the romantic pairing, but to be intricately tied into the very fabric of the mythos. If Peter and Walter’s relationship is the heart of the show, then Peter and Olivia are the soul. Their love is slowly becoming something transcendent and greater than just the two of them. Together they have been shown to be stronger and more capable. What is unique about their relationship is that despite their intense connection, it is not what defines them, which is why Fringe gets it right.

And as Peter walked towards The Machine and flashed to earlier moments, it really felt like a finale-finale and as a long-suffering Lost viewer, I was half expecting someone to die at this point. But no-one did, at least, not as far as we know…

The Future Is Now – So…

Whatever happened with The Machine sent Peter’s consciousness spiralling into the future. A future where a Fringe Division exists, a future where he is known as Agent Bishop, a future which does not seem bright at all. Of course, if the desired effects of The Machine had worked and Peter had succeeded in saving both universes in our time, then the assumption would be that the future would be bright and sunny and NOT be the apocalyptic battlefield that he had stumbled into. And yet it is - which leaves a host of questions. Most of which I pray we will get the answers to in Friday’s supremely awesome-looking finale.


There really were only two things that had me scratchin’ my noggin this week:

What Happened to The Triangle – Remember that time Nina visited Sam at the bowling alley and he told her that the fate of the universes depended on which Olivia Peter chose? And we were all like 'What now?!' Well, what was that about and where did Sam get this information? He claims not to have known that Olivia was the crowbar, thus he could not have known that she was needed to open The Machine for Peter. So what on earth was Sam on about and how did he know so much about Peter’s love life to start with?

What’s Wrong With This Picture – Why was no-one more freaked out by the fact that Olivia’s face was on that ancient-as-hell scroll? I understand that the world was ending and that in general they deal with pretty weird stuff on a daily basis. But Olivia being on that picture was REALLY WEIRD. Why did no-one question how both Olivia and Peter were connected to this ancient piece of technology or seriously interrogate Sam Weiss? I get that we’ll have answers soon, but I feel as if the revelation was so huge that it should have garnered a larger reaction.


In terms of penultimate episodes, this one blew me away. It felt like a finale. Don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t be more ecstatic that I get another week of Fringe, but this episode was so well paced, edited and delivered that it could have been sold as the season ender in my opinion. I was hoping for more answers with regard to Sam Weiss and his endeavours, but I have faith that they’ll unravel soon enough. After the last scene I can only imagine what the final episode of the season is going to be like. And I. CANNOT. WAIT.

Fringe, you’re doing it right.




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