The Fourth Season That Was
In my S4 analysis I posted in my Looking Back at S4 thread, I announced my intent to outline what my ideal S4 would have been like, one that addresses the faults I highlighted in that S4 analysis. I did enjoy most of the ideas presented in S4, so I’ll be keeping many and modifying some, thereby making my reimagining of S4 more a permutation of what was already shown onscreen than an all-out rewrite (lolpun).
Though you need not follow the particular template I employ below, one and all are free to present their own visions of the way S4 could/should have unfolded, being as detailed as you wish, from bullet points to an outright thesis (I've written a damn book series XD).
Be forewarned; this one’s huge (~9.5k words). It's almost as long as the Search for HomeTM arc!
So after you have retrieved your snacks and beverages of choice, and set aside a decent chunk of time, we will begin.
-PETER’S RETURN [4.01-4.04]:
-I think four episodes was an adequate number to establish the new timeline and chronicle Peter’s return. However, I would have made one large adjustment; by the end of episode 4.04, we should have had a much clearer understanding of how the rewritten characters experienced the events correlating to the S3 finale. How did they end up at Liberty Island? How did Walternate activate the Machine? What did the endgame comprise of without Henry Dunham, Sam Weiss, the First People, and the 2026 Loop?
-You can keep everything else, from the introduction of the Neoshifters, to the Observer drama, to bringing Lincoln into the fold, to establishing the characters and their new personalities; but add in a clearer picture of the general pre-Bridge sequence through passing mention in dialogue over 4.01-4.04, along with these two extra elements:
-4.03 would still be a Walter-heavy installment, but we’ll get hints on why he was sent to Saint-Claire’s to begin with (i.e. how the fire that killed Carla Warren actually started). I don’t know if the writers know what this incident was, or if this incident has large mythological repercussions, but whatever the case is, we’d get an answer in this episode, even if only indirectly as a passing mention. This dispensing of information doesn’t have to be in 4.03, mind you, but before season’s end, we should resolve the Carla Warren Lab Fire mystery. And whatever the answer is in S4 will indirectly hint or perhaps outright answer the Lab Fire’s catalyst in the prior timeline.
-I’m also going to change the role of the Observers in 4.04 in a subtle, yet significant way; more on that in later sections.
-BACK TO WHERE YOU’VE NEVER BEEN [4.05-4.06]:
-As it was in canon, these two episodes would focus on Peter coming to terms with this new reality where no one remembers him and things are far different. While we can still have further exploration of Neoshifters, as we have in 4.05, I think the narrative thrust for 4.05-4.06 should have been reversed.
-In the show, we had Peter clue in pretty quickly that he was in the right place, but by the end of 4.06, he started to believe that his home was elsewhere, and this was the start of the nine episode Peter flip-flop that would span episodes 4.07-4.15. Instead, Peter should come back greatly confused, but over these two episodes, he will come to understand that he is home, or at least strongly suspect as much, and that history was altered because he died as a child his time around due to lack of Observer intervention.
I’m not sure if this should be an organic realization that is weaved over these two episodes, or if something happens or some morsel information is imparted that causes Peter to realize the truth of his situation. He can even suspect the correct answer, but be shown trying to find ways to deny it to himself. Whatever the case is, he’ll decide to come to terms with reality, for better or worse.
-This will accomplish three things. First, it will eliminate the flopping arc of 4.07-4.15; then it will remove the need for 4.07’s events, which served two relatively unimportant purposes (setting up Lincoln/Olivia and having a case that reflected Peter feeling “invisible”); and finally, we would have Peter question why he was erased to begin with, and why September didn’t save him this time. For as it was, I thought Peter was less concerned about the nature of his erasure than he should have been.
-We’d also have Peter ask further questions about the history of this timeline, to paint a clearer picture as to how things diverged from the previous timeline. Additionally, we’d get insight as to what Peter went through in his limbo state, and how episodes 4.01-4.04 unfolded from his perspective. Furthermore, we’d see Peter start to consider using the Machine to get back, and even begin constructing the biomechanical interface (or be shown to be thinking about it), as the interface was originally created in the Search for HomeTM arc, and it was needed for the events of 4.20, though by the end of 4.06, he would abandon these ideas.
-And lastly, we’d move the Shifty Nina scene with dosing Olivia from the end of 4.07 to the end of 4.06, as (Alt)-Nina’s complicity with Jones was revealed at the end of 4.09 (and in this version of S4, at the end of 4.08).
-NOT EVERYTHING IS AT IT SEEMS [4.07-4.08]:
-These two episodes would comprise the 4.08-4.09 arc, merely nudged a placement early. Originally, Peter’s motivation to cross over to the other side was because he thought Walternate, matching Walter’s intellect, would be able to help him configure the Machine and help him get home.
-However, since we are ridding the Search for HomeTM arc, the motivation for crossing over will necessarily have to be different. To accomplish this, we’d have an inciting incident concerning the Neoshifters that would compel the Blue Fringe team to circumvent the Bridge and try to confront Walternate (since they still suspect he is behind them), and Peter, now coming to terms that this is his home, decides that he’ll lend a hand.
-In any case, the same general progression would be explored. In 4.07, we’d have Peter and Lincoln sojourn to the Red World in order to track down Walternate. They are caught after Lincoln’s subterfuge as Lincolnalt is noted by Fringe HQ, Lincoln diverts the Red Fringe team so that Peter can cruise on solo, Peter tracks down his mother to try and get her to secure an audience with Walternate, etc.
-Originally, Peter, upon meeting with Walternate, said that he wasn’t concerned with the trials and tribulations of the Amberites; he just wanted to go home. Here, however, since Peter is more invested in the rewritten timeline by virtue of theorizing this is his home, he would be more direct in trying to ascertain Walternate’s motives, upon which we’d get the Brandonalt Neoshifter scene and the reveal that someone else is pulling the strings.
-In the Red World, we’d continue with the investigation of the undercover agent who almost killed Peter and Lincoln, leading to the tracking of the warehouse where Jones has set up camp, and the Jones/B-royles connection revealed.
-We’d also get the September/Olivia meeting at the Orpheum by the end of 4.07 as well.
-Coincidentally, (re)introducing Jones in episode 4.07 would be a great callback to how Jones was originally introduced in episode 1.07 – or, how he’s thrust into the limelight in the seventh episode of both S1 and S4.
-And 4.08 would of course concern itself with the events of 4.09, with the team trying to take on Jones and B-royles aiding his elusion, and by the end, both sides would unite under a single banner to take on a common enemy.
-Character-wise, Peter will be trying to (re)forge his bonds with the people he once knew, but it’s shaky at best, and so we’d see this conflict play out over 4.05-4.08. I’d imagine that getting involved and being proactive in the mission to confront Walternate (and afterward, to fight Jones) would be Peter’s way of showing that he cares and trying to insert himself in the lives of the Fringe team; and while they would be grateful for Peter’s assistance (and Peter will have earned their trust), he’s still a total stranger to them, and so there is still conflict on Peter’s end.
-Ending this general arc on episode 4.08 would be great as well, as last season’s 3.01-3.08 run was a solid, compact block of episodes, and in a 22 episode season, we are left in an excellent place for the end of ACT I (where Peter has returned, the antagonist has been revealed, and both sides have formed an alliance).
-THE QUEST FOR ANSWERS [4.09-4.14]:
-After the excellent 4.08-4.09 segment of S4, the show would begin to falter and meander for the middle segment of the season, just as S3 was uneven between 3.11-3.18. I would therefore propose a few narrative alterations to improve pacing and tighten the trajectory of the story.
-I don’t know what 4.09 would be; probably some cool case with neat science (Remote Viewing? Making multiple copies of oneself? Mentally turning people inside out?). And then we’d have the aftermath of the 4.07-4.08 Jones arc, with characters trying to make sense of things that happened and their own states of being, mental and/or emotional, while continuing to dispense information about the rewritten timeline to fill in the gaps of the rewritten 1985-2011 period.
-I think we should keep episode 4.10. Not only did I find the case enjoyable, but I think it was reasonable to address the fallout of September’s warning to Olivia. Even so, the whole “I don’t want to die” message could be toned down so it isn’t as overt.
-We’d still have the Altstrid/Astrid affair, as well as the rest of the Observers learning of September’s rogue behaviour. Because it took 11 episodes in canon for December to figure out, the continuation of September’s decision in 4.01 was dragged out. As many may recall, in episode 4.04, we had a clear shot of an unidentified Observer at Reiden Lake watching Peter return. I think it would have been better to clearly identify this Observer as March.
-Therefore, during the events correlating to 4.11 (as the events of Making Angels don’t necessarily have to be fixed to the 4.11 placement), we could have March appear, intrigued by the disturbance caused by Neil Chung possessing September’s Time Rod, then see Peter, and be clearly astonished to see him return. By the end of the episode, it would then become clear that March was sent to figure out what Chung was doing, then, upon seeing Peter, looked throughout the timeline to confirm where/when Peter returned (hence his appearance in 4.04), then relay to December the news in 4.11 (or whatever placement the Astrid-centric would be in this reimagined S4).
In essence, March’s time-skipping adventure would look like this:
-Somewhere Far Away
-Making Angels (investigating disturbance caused by Chung)
-4.04 (confirming his sighting of The Boy)
-Making Angels (informing December of his findings)
This would make the ongoing September Defection thread a bit more of a constant presence throughout the first half of the season, at least in retrospect (since we’d now know what March was doing at Reiden in 4.04).
-In terms of character development, we’d have Peter building bonds – or at least, trying to – with Walter and Olivia. Ironically, he’d most relate to Lincoln, since they’re both outsiders; he could even hit it off with Astrid, something he never really did in the prior timeline (thus adding another unconventional dynamic in S4).
-In S4, I think it would have been better to tone down the “hole in my life” attitude of Olivia (since that was thinly-veiled nod to how she isn’t “complete” without Peter, which strikes me as inane). Walter would also progressively become less unhinged, having Peter to ground him. Though at no point would things return quite to the way they were; Olivia isn’t interested, or has great reservations, in pursuing the Relationship That Was, and Walter merely sees Peter as a good man who shares the name of his dead son, while also a living reminder of his past sins (things we more or less saw at varying point early on in the season). Basically, it should be hard, though progress would be shown.
-The events of 4.12 and 4.14 would also unfold (aka the Westfield trial and the ZFT test). I still think “remembering” the past timeline should remain, but not in the same way, and not just Olivia-exclusive.
-Also, during the 4.14 Jones testing, we'd have passing mentions of ZFT and the Manifesto; they were doing Test 1 of 10 anyway, so they might as well mention it.
-I think what should have happened is that eventually, everyone starts to remember their past selves, in order of the strength of Peter’s connection to them; however, this remembrance would not subsume their “rewritten” personalities as it did for Olivia. So Olivia would be the first to start to remember, but then we’d have Walter and Astrid, then the Red Fringe team. This remembrance would fully culminate by 4.18 for both sides.
-The explanation would prove to be that Peter, as a temporal anomaly, is having his temporal signature unwittingly seeping into those he has an emotionally entangled or reciprocal bond with, and slowly, the others would be soaking this up like sponges. Olivia was the first, because being pumped with so much Cortexiphan, she became attuned far faster. However, the rest of the characters are shown to eventually follow.
-To use the Palimpsest analogy to show how this affects the characters, Peter is getting everyone to see the words that their new lives have overwritten, the words that told the story of their prior timeline lives. So it’s more that the prior timeline memories are like dreams they once had, rather than a complete, vivid recollection (and in no way does this remembrance consume their rewritten personalities; they keep their full knowledge of their Amber Lives).
-In any case, this development serves several purposes. First, by making the remembrance non-Olivia-centric, it makes it come off as less of a bid to put P/O on a pedestal at the expense of other characters. Secondly, it heightens the relevance of the past seasons in regards to this one; because as it stands, pretty much none of the interpersonal issues left at the end of S3 have been fully resolved.
-However – and this is important – we can’t have everyone remember 100% until Olivia/Altlivia and Walter/Walternate resolve their baggage in this timeline, or at least address these issues and explore them.
So between 4.09-4.18, we’d have several doppelganger-centric episodes:
-Astrid/Altstrid, who bond over mourning for the latter’s father.
-Lincoln/Lincolnalt, where we learn the point of divergence in their lives, with the former deciding to take charge of his destiny (as he did in canon).
-Olivia/Altlivia, where we learn the specifics of the S4 Olivia-Switcheroo event, and see them confront and resolve this issue. I’m thinking that this episode will be the 4.15 one, replacing the Anson Carr case. So while Peter is pulled into the Quest for the Beacon, Olivia and Altlivia pair up on a case like they did in 4.02, albeit this time, we have a bit more exploration of their past histories, Altlivia learning about Olivia’s Cortexiphan and the trials, leading to juxtapositions in their childhoods, etc.
-We’d also have, through dialogue, a clearer picture of the Olivia switcheroo, and how both women come to a clearer understanding of one another, and the case they pursue is resolved thanks to their joint efforts.
-The last of these alternate-alternate episodes would be Walter/Walternate, where we learn how Walternate learned of Peter’s death, the way this affected his crusade against the Blue World, and perhaps even how he got his hands on the Machine. I think this case could be the same as The Consultant, albeit with Walter/Walternate instead of Walter/Altlivia. As much as I enjoyed the interactions of the latter pair, some major Walter/Walternate is definitely needed before 4.20 (and we can get further tidbits on Walternate peppered throughout the season).
-As for Peter, his journey – at least, so far as 4.09-4.14 is concerned – will be a mixture of him forming new bonds and trying to figure out what the Observers are up to, which would come to a head in 4.14. In the Peter/September meeting, we’d have September actually admit that he erased Peter (with perhaps an explanation as to how he changed one of his past actions).
-We could still mention Henry, and how Peter needs to unite with Olivia (since he knows a child born of them [i.e. Etta] will be a key part in impeding the impending Observer Invasion). However, we could also have very subtle foreshadowing to the Invasion proper. And of course, we’d keep September explaining his original mistake and how he tried to course-correct. In fact, instead of the Lurve Conquers All explanation at the end of 4.15 with September, we could have him allude to the Invasion (though not spell it out, of course), and that difficult times are ahead.
However, we’d remove the whole “You’re my Olivia/no you’re not/yes you are” that characterized 4.13-4.15; this wouldn’t be necessary since Peter knows that this is “his” Olivia, for better or worse.
-THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN [4.15-4.18]:
In addition to the aforementioned plot threads (i.e. the doppelganger-interplays and people starting very slowly to remember), this would near the end of ACT II.
-As noted before, 4.15 would ditch the Anson Carr case in favour of an Olivia/Altlivia team-up. Because I’m generous, we could still have P/O tones; Olivia will not only be juggling memories of a prior timeline, but her experiences in the Relationship That Was. Perhaps through seeing Altlivia/Frank (who is awesome and should have returned in S4, or at least have it explained why they split in the show), Olivia will decide to give Peter a chance by the end of 4.15.
You are welcome, shippers and P/O enthusiasts.
-And we’d keep Peter’s quest for the Beacon and September, albeit we won’t have the terrible “Lurve” exposition when September shows up, as we’d have already resolved the questions of Peter’s home and how Peter got back by this point in the season. I think instead, Peter should ask why September tried to erase him, at which point the Observer explains that he was sent to finish what he started, but decided against it, and that things will be better with Peter around; or in essence, that he is too attached to Walter/Peter/Olivia to just let them go.
-Lastly, because 4.15 involves inter-world cooperation in the form of Altlivia, we’d have perhaps 1-2 Walternate scenes (and even Altlivia/Walternate interaction); which would be most fitting, since this episode would address the Olivia switcheroo, and Walternate was the one who ordered the switch to begin with.
-4.16 could still be a 1.13-Redux, although the plane flight in 4.16 wouldn't be 100% identical to the one of 1.13. Lincoln will still feel a little like an outcast, but just as we would omit Lincoln’s Leers of Longings of 4.15, the whole “feeling left out” thing wouldn’t be as “in your face”, "so to speak".
-4.17 would be the same, a Lincoln/Lincolnalt episode, albeit that the latter doesn’t die just to give Lincoln an Olivia. Also, we’d get a bit more on Ninalt; we could have a throwaway dialogue on Red World records on her (i.e. she was a nobody, she was an X working for X, has a history of X, etc.).
-Also, since Lincolnalt doesn’t needlessly die, Lincoln returns to the Blue World, taking the wisdom he gained from both Lincolnalt and Neoshifter Canaan to heart as he vows to take control of his own destiny living in the Blue World like a boss. As for Canaan, perhaps in 4.18 we can have a throwaway mention that Canaan was fixed and is now living a new life somewhere out in the Blue World, although they didn't learn anything new about Bell/Jones from him.
-4.18 would be The Consultant, albeit this time featuring substantial Walter/Walternate interaction. We’d get a clearer view of not only what both Walters have done and gone through during the rewritten Red/Blue conflict, but a lot on how the death of two Peters affected Walternate. And of course, by this point people are starting to remember the prior timeline, so there’d be flashes of prior history insight.
-These scenes would replace the Walter/Altlivia stuff (and Altlivia wouldn’t be mopey since Lincolnalt doesn’t die). Not to say that Altlivia and Lincolnalt can’t assist, however.
-The B-Royles/Jones thread, with the reveal that Jones is curing Christopher as incentive for the Colonel, will remain. And near the end of the episode, as Altlivia interrogates Ninalt by trying to lure her with B-Royles’ “confession”, and Ninalt still gives the End Times warning, but also hints that Jones himself answers to someone else.
-In the final scene of the episode, we see Jones meet up with Bell somewhere, and the duo shares a short word, after which they gaze into the distance, dreaming of the brave new world they would build.
-At some point during the 4.15-4.18 run, we’d have Peter reveal that Walter had segments of his brains removed, which in this timeline Walter never figured out because the whole Newton arc for S2 never occurred (since that was a Peter-specific mission, with Newton trying to find out how to bring the Secretary over so that he could confront his adult son).
By doing this, we’d be laying the foundation for the finale, where it’s revealed that Walter had Bell take out his brain segments to prevent him from acting upon his desires for apotheosis.
-To summarize, the major changes would be that by the end of 4.18, three major things will have happened:
--Pretty much all the inter-alternate issues in the new timeline have been at minimum addressed and explained and at maximum resolved;
--The characters will have remembered their prior selves due to Peter acting as an unwitting “gateway” into their past selves;
--Jones will be revealed to be working with Bell, who would then be revealed as the true puppet master.
-As for the third point, I think introducing Bell earlier would have made things far less rushed in the final stretch. We would have more time with Bell’s character, as well as explore the Jones/Bell relationship through indirect exposition, instead of having to cram everything in 4.21-4.22.
-Of course, this is assuming Leonard Nimoy would have been willing/available to hop on the S4 train earlier on; yet he admitted that he came out of his “retirement” because he loved Fringe and thought highly of it, which is why he readily accepted to return. But since this is just a pipe dream reimagining, this point isn’t all that relevant.
-IN ALL POSSIBLE FUTURES [4.19]:
I was greatly pleased with episode 4.19, so we’ll keep it in full, save for one thing.
We'll change Henrietta's name. Not only is the choice of the name illogical for a variety of reasons, but by giving Etta a non-Henry-related name, her identity as P/O's child won't be as telegraphed (especially since many theorized her name was Henrietta prior to 4.19).
-THE END OF ALL THINGS [4.20-4.22]:
In the longest section, I detail alterations to the finale arc. The arc would be mostly the same, but with several changes.
-We’d still have the events of 4.20, albeit this time, we’d have all the characters continuing to process their prior lives. Since everyone will have mostly resolved their new timeline issues, we’d have inter-alternate interaction about their past lives. Things like the Peter/Altlivia/Olivia fallout, Henry Dunham, Lincoln having once not even been a part of any of this, etc. Yet because the characters have come to a greater understanding of each other by this point, they are more willing to set aside their differences and forgive each other for their prior mistakes.
-Optionally, Walter/Walternate’s issues could still not be 100% resolved by 4.20, but experiencing their “past lives” and the mistakes they both made would be the push they need to reconcile once and for all. I also think we can skip the “it came to me in a dream” and just go with “after some thought, this is what I’ve come up with”, in regards to Walter’s presentation of the Jones/Bell plan.
-By the way, since Altlivia has relayed to people that Ninalt suggests Jones is working with someone, Walter already starts to deduce that Bell is behind it all. Hence additional Bell overtones in 4.20 that were once lacking.
-The Cortexikid Harmonic Retuning plan Jones enacted would still happen, but there would now be a Bell overtone to the whole affair. Seeing as ZFT and the Manifesto have resurfaced back in 4.14, it would be appropriate to have Bell as the looming spectre, since he was the author of ZFT; and we saw that Jones was using ZFT ideology to recruit Cortexikids anyway, so we might as well continue the ZFT thread.
-The characters would eventually realize that the only way to hinder Jones/Bell’s plans would be to sever the Bridge, which Peter realizes they can do by using the biomechanical interface he stopped working on back in 4.05-4.06. Now that the interpersonal issues of both timelines we’ve followed thus far have been mostly resolved, and that everyone came out better for it, the severance of the Bridge and the farewells between everyone would have been far more poignant, and be more “earned”.
-And since we didn’t kill off Linconalt for superfluous reasons, he’d be there as well. Obviously, Lincoln has no part in the events of 4.19 because he ventured to the Red World, so keeping Lincoln in the Blue World is not quite congruous with 4.19; and yet, killing Lincolnalt just to replace him with Lincoln was rather frivolous a move, so for the purposes of this reimagining, Lincoln is going to stay in the Blue World and be present in the finale, but will be killed off sometime during the 2012-2016 period that S5 will no doubt chronicle (by sacrificing himself heroically, of course ).
-Thus does Peter sever the Bridge, using the biomechanical interface that he and Walter manage to finish before time is up, and the two sides part ways, at least for the time being.
-I realize that perhaps it may be asking a bit much to cram both the Jones/Cortexiphan plot and inter-character issue resolving in one episode, but perhaps by condensing the Nick Lane material, we’d have more time for exploration. And it doesn’t have to be hardcore angsty confrontations, so much as “huh, so that once happened”.
-So that would be 4.20. As for the two-part finale, it would still comprise the same general events, albeit stripped of the structural pitfalls that we witnessed.
-Concerning Olivia’s role as the Living Uncertainty Engine in Bell’s plans, it seems both the nanites and the solar energy affair were attempts to lure out Olivia and force her to use her powers. Since the whole sunbeam thing led to both Jones’ whimper of a death and the underwhelming teleKinectic application of Cortexiphan, I think it might be better to remove it entirely.
-So we’d keep the nanites (complete with the X signature). However, instead of Jessica Holt being the evil acolyte playing the victim, we’d have a man who, over the course of 4.21-4.22, is revealed to be the seminal Mr. X.
-For as it is, the answer for the Mr. X mystery is kind of lackluster. Why use a specific man and have Olivia sense that this man is going to kill her when it turns out that this man isn’t going to be at all relevant? The writers have confirmed that Mr. X was supposed to represent Bell, meaning Bell was the one who would kill Olivia in S4, but it was Walter who physically killed her, so the given explanation isn’t congruent with what we’ve been shown in 3.19.
-It should be noted that in 4.21-4.22, Mr. X would have a proper name, but for the purposes of this reimagining, I will refer to him as Mr. X.
-So we have a man connected to Bell who will be responsible for killing her (hence the X on the man’s shirt in 3.19, to signify his ties to Bell). The reason we could have for Olivia being able to foresee this way back in 3.19 is because it’s a memory of Bell’s that was left over when his consciousness shared her own. The X symbol and the man in question are tied to Bell. The reason that she thought he would kill him was because she was vaguely aware of a post-Bridge future wherein he kills her (a future that was invalidated by the Loop), wherein Bell’s plans would once have been enacted.
-Because remember, if S4 Jones has the exact same plans and motives as S1 Jones (which September confirmed in 4.14), then would Bell not always have had the same plans for apotheosis in the beginning?
-Of course, in the prior timeline, his plans were altered due to both Jones being killed off by Peter, and Bell being forced to work for Walternate so as to monitor the progression of the inter-world conflict. And it seems that in S4, Bell stole the idea of a Walter for whom both Peters died, so perhaps in the prior timeline, talks of Godhood were less fuelled by Walter’s disillusionment and more so by his scientific curiosity and ambition/hubris.
-While the 3.19 justification for Mr. X’s appearance in the S4 finale may or may not be satisfactory in this reimagining – and I would certainly welcome stronger alternatives – he will nonetheless play a large role in its events
-In 4.21, we’d have Walter meet Nina to discuss what Bell might be doing, where we’d get insight on Nina’s knowledge of the Jones/Bell relationship that ties back to the early MD days (thus re-contextualizing the nature of the falling out in the prior timeline). We’d also have the Chess scene with Jones and Bell, where Bell insinuates that Jones is to be sacrificed, but instead of being oblivious (“I’m the Bishop OMGLOLOLOL”), Bell would ask whether Jones knows what must be done, upon which Jones be shown to readily accept his fate (since he knows no humans are intended to survive into the New World anyway).
-In the show, Olivia underwent three small “tests” in 4.21-4.22, which were 1) absorbing the heat from a nanite-infected Jessica Holt, 2) the sunbeam teleKinect rooftop scene, and 3) the September bullet-flinging scene. We would keep the first test, albeit with Mr. X in Jessica’s stead. This test – the nanite-centric one – would be Test I.
-For Test II, instead of a sunbeam, we’d have the threat of a modified nanite bomb that is set to explode and rain nanites over Boston, or some other disastrous event that would affect a huge number of people. I’m not really sure what this would entail, but we would eliminate the lame puppeteering application of Olivia’s powers, and Jones wouldn’t even be involved (i.e. they’d learn about the threat via some other means). Although, I do think this second test should evaluate Olivia’s pyrokinetic prowess somehow, since the finale seemed to use all of her other powers anyway (molecular manipulation, telekinesis, crossover, etc.) and pyrokinesis would round out the roster of her pre-established ability set.
-Meanwhile, for the Walter/Astrid-centric portion of 4.21, we’d still have Walter search for Bell, although since Bell’s existence was established earlier (first as a theory of Walter’s, then actually seeing the Jones/Bell, then with Altlivia sharing that Jones is a pawn), it won’t be so much Walter trying to prove that Bell’s alive, so much as actually trying to find him. He would still investigate the nanites and tie them to Bell, and would also visit Nina, where we get further exposition on Bell, and the two would muse on why he would do all this.
-Walter also contemplates on why Bell would have extracted parts of his brain (with the alias of Doctor Simon Paris), which he learned from Peter sometime midseason. He informs the group that he will visit Saint-Claire’s, thinking there might be information on Bell to be gleaned there. He goes with Astrid, they get the register, etc. Whether we visit Bruce Sumner or “Benlo” (i.e. Samantha Noble) is irrelevant.
-Back at the Lab, Walter and Astrid are hanging back; while they’ve confirmed the existence of a Simon Paris in the register, they’ve gleaned nothing else of Bell’s whereabouts from the visit. However, Walter has an idea; through means unrelated to pig brains and lemon cakes and Cortexiphan, he takes the sheet from the Register and lifts fingerprints from it, as well as a smudge of residue that Walter deduces is a brand of Chilean almonds, which he vaguely recalls Bell have munched on during his last visit (this idea to lift fingerprints is formed as Walter munches on almonds, reminding him of the time Bell visited him). Taking a gamble, they decide to check out the one place in town that imports them, figuring Bell was never one to kick his habits, and that he might still frequent the place.
-During these lab scenes, Walter an Astrid would also counsel Peter and Olivia by phone about how to resolve Test II (just as they did before for the sunbeam thing).
And now, a few minor notes:
-It’s important to point out that we’d be dealing with characters that have memories of the prior timeline, so there’d be a lot of references and callbacks via dialogue to cases and events from previous seasons (e.g. “this is kind of like when we solved case [X], or the time you and I underwent [Y]”). I think Test II could even be a throwback to 1.14, with a bomb set to go off unless Olivia uses her powers, but that’s not a definitive thing.
-Lincoln, having not ventured to the Red World, has taken the notion of being the man you want to be to heart, and understanding his place and role, will be shown to assist the team, lead FBI units, and probably have a separate moment with at least Peter and Olivia over the course of 4.21-4.22.
-And lastly, I’m not fond of P/O, but many fans are, so I suppose we could keep all the little P/O moments strung throughout (I’m being more generous than I should, so be thankful that an omniscient being is taking the time to take P/O fans into account ).
-So to summarize all this nonsense, 4.21 would look like this:
--Mr. X and folks get infected with nanites at the plaza
--P/O pillow talk, then get called to the scene
--Fringe team investigates, and Mr. X volunteers for testing
--Mr. X ferried to lab, calls “girlfriend” and asks her to pick up daughter, to invoke Olivia’s sense of empathy
--Mr. X starts to overheat, Olivia transfers and diffuses heat through her via Cortexiphan (Test I)
--Mr. X is given cure, and is escorted away by Olivia (in a scene shorter than the Jessica/Olivia one)
--Broyles reveals that Jones is behind nanites, and shows security footage, and they wonder what Jones and Bell are up to
--Walter investigates nanites, finds Bell’s signature, decides he must be stopped
--Jones meets with Bell aboard a docked Talos, discuss chess, and Jones is willing to sacrifice himself, and prepares to do what must be done
--Instead of St. Claire’s, Walter announces his plan to track down Bell, and we’ll have that “I won’t lose you again” scene with P/O.
--Walter goes to St. Claire’s, finds register, keeps a copy, remembers almonds, and verifies the smudge on the paper, giving him a lead to the Warehouse
--Jones enacts Test II, or the “sunbeam substitute” plan
--Peter/Olivia race to the scene, with Lincoln shown to be coordinating evacuation with Broyles
--P/O thwart Jones’ plot via Walter’s counsel and pyrokinetics
--Meanwhile, Walter/Astrid track Bell to the warehouse, where they meet the armed men and try to escape
--Astrid is wounded, and Bell shows his face
-You’ll notice that I’ve omitted any notion of regenerative Cortexiphan. See below on the reasoning behind this, as well as how I would have the whole Olivia Must Die arc come full circle.
-In 4.22, Mr. X would call Olivia, saying he feels like he’s being followed (which we are shown with September lurking nearby). However, when Peter and Olivia get there, Mr. X is nowhere to be seen; but they find two things.
First, they find evidence of weird, advanced modules lying around (which were used to knock out September and carry him to the warehouse, thus eliminating the screwy logistics of cutting him out the floor). And second, there is a written note by Jones, telling them to come alone to the warehouse (the address of which is given). They suspect the worse, but before they can formulate a plan of attack, they get called in by Broyles to see Astrid; when Olivia mentions the address Jones gave them, Astrid informs them with surprise that it’s the same place she and Walter went to, and they realize that they are getting close on Bell’s trail.
-So it is that the two head up to the warehouse alone, though an FBI strike team (led by Lincoln) is on standby nearby. Inside, however, they find September being held by some advanced tech (which isn’t stasis runes, but some other platform holding him in stasis). September explains that he was knocked out, and when awareness returned, he was placed on the stasis platform, incapable of movement.
-Jones and Mr. X show their faces, the latter revealing his complicity; a few other men are present as well. After taking away P/O’s weapons, Jones carries out what Holt once did, saying that Bell knew that if they got involved with Olivia, that September would come, shooting the Observer with normal bullets, then with a hyper-gun, etc. Olivia deflects the bullets into Jones, but of course, with his altered molecular structure, it doesn’t faze him in the slightest. At this point, through a safe-word or some other means, Olivia will subtly alert the FBI outside of their predicament, and they burst in, confronting Mr. X and crew while Olivia chases after Jones (with Peter close behind, begrudgingly leaving a wounded September at the stasis platform).
-Then comes a Jones/Olivia standoff. Knowing that he must provoke Olivia into killing him so that her powers will develop further, he threatens to shoot Peter with the hyper-gun, who has come to try and assist Olivia. But before he can, Olivia lifts Jones up in the air with her telekinetic ability and thrusts him into a fuse box or some other electrical source, thus electrocuting him, short-circuiting the box, and causing him to disintegrate (just as he did with the power cable to the antenna in the sunbeam sequence).
-It will also be shown that Mr. X and his crew escapes. In the aftermath, we’ll have the September/Olivia/Peter sequence, albeit this time September will instruct Peter on how to disable the stasis device, seeing as it is tech he is familiar with. Cue the 4.08 death reveal, and September leaving to investigate the future.
-This entire sequence does several things. First, it circumvents the stretched plausibility that Jessica could trap September in her home, cut out the chunk of floor that he was on, bring him to the warehouse, and do it all as Peter and Olivia are already en route to her apartment. It also gives Jones a better send-off, and with prior exposition to the Jones/Bell relationship in the chess scene, via Nina, and other instances, his story won’t be as incomplete as it was. We also have Olivia use natural extensions of her telekinetic power (the most prominent example being shown previously in 3.22), and since the finale aims to get Olivia to use a wide variety of powers, showing some clean, family-friendly telekinesis would be both awesome and in-tune with what we already know she can accomplish.
-And we also eliminate the need for Stasis Runes, which seemed rather weird and dare I say gimmicky “technology”. Since we don’t know where the writers intend to go with Stasis Runes (if they even care to follow through with them), and how Bell knows of both Observers and their tech, I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. For this reimaging, however, we’ll stick to good old-fashioned tech (literally; the statis platform and the knockout modules at Mr. X’s apartment would totally be analogue in aesthetic, as per Fringe tradition).
-As much as I thought the Holt interrogation scene to be cool, with Mr. X still being alive, we’d have to circumvent it. Which is fine, as it means we would have more time for the warehouse scenes and the Walter/Bell scene insertions.
-But they learned about Bell’s location via Holt, so without a dead body, they’d have to investigate via other means. The solution would then be simple. In the earlier hospital scene, Astrid would describe how there were a bunch of shipping crates with weird sounds at the warehouse, but Peter notes that they are all gone when he and Olivia go to the warehouse. They realize that Bell must have taken a freighter gone out to sea, and strongly suspect Walter tagged along. They confirm that not only has a Talos left (the name of Bell’s freighter), but that a few other cargo freighters left at the same time; apparently, Bell has taken 3-4 additional ships (more on why below).
-However, the ships left over six hours ago and fell off radar (just as the singular Talos did). To pinpoint the location, they use the same EM field Olivia is generating to pinpoint the epicenter of the “eye of the storm” that Bell intends to literally ride out the coming implosion through. They ascertain the location of the small fleet, and they set out after Bell.
-Meanwhile, we’ll have the Bell/Walter scenes interspersed throughout this section. It quickly becomes clear that Bell doesn’t remember the prior timeline, and Walter chastises Bell, saying he is a sore cry from the Bell of prior times. He also reveals that he knows Bell took out parts of his brain. Bell then reveals that this entire bid for apotheosis was originally Walter’s idea. They had always talked about the possibility of playing God even before 1985 (meaning the idea has its roots prior to the scope of the rewrite), but when both Peters died, Walter grew despondent; yet when he discovered he had the intellect to pull off his plans, he had Bell extract his memories of it.
-Bell doesn’t have cancer this time around; he simply decided to finish what Walter wanted to start, still using the same rhetoric of playing God, but his motives were less rooted in being faced with mortality and trying to go out in a blaze of glory before dying than it is to satiate his limitless scientific ambition. As I explained during this reimagining, if Jones has the same goals in this timeline as the previous one, then so should Bell; the difference this time around was that Bell was never sidetracked with being stuck in the Red World and choosing a noble sacrifice. In any case, Walter continues to disapprove, Bell says that it’s already begun and can’t be stopped, that he will soon see, etc.
-During these conversations (in the opening New World hologram scene), it is also revealed as a passing mention that Bell has 3-4 ships filled with post-human creatures and scientific/genetic marvels to populate the coming world. The reason we would have more than one ship is because simply having two members of a single species is not nearly enough to ensure that species’ continuing survival, as there wouldn’t be enough genetic diversity to sustain a population for more than a few generations. Having multiple ships thus conveniently solves that problem.
-Because we saved time by cutting out the Holt interrogation, we would use the extra time to show Mr. X and what remains of his crew arriving on the Talos via helicopter, and Bell and Walter go out on the deck to meet them. Mr. X informs Bell that Jones has passed, and while visibly saddened, Bell clearly intended for that to happen, and is pleased that things are going according to plan.
-Having ascertained the location of Bell’s fleet, the Fringe team get choppers out to sea, but they find that the weather is erratic, pristine one moment, turbulent the next, with ships nowhere to be found. Yet Peter can see vague outlines of ships (which we would physically show). The justification for this would be that the membrane between worlds in this region is getting very porous, and the ships have already phased out of 100% Blue World reality; and Peter, being a Red World Denizen, can make out the outlines because he is technically being pulled to the Red World (though not enough that he loses physicality). Olivia can’t see them, because while she can see Red World objects within the Blue World, she can’t see Red objects in the Red World from the Blue World, thus keeping her abilities consistent (we can have a throwaway mention on this point).
-They realize that they will have to crossover while leaping (since they expected to land on a boat, and thus brought no parachutes). With Peter’s direction, the chopper flies in close enough to prevent fatal falls. Olivia is a bit nervous, obviously, but with the memories of two timelines, and having done crazy superpower shizzle in recent times, she needs no real reassurance, so we can scratch Nina’s corny “you had it all along” line.
-Speaking of Nina, by having prior timeline memories restored, we’d be abandoning the S4 plot thread where Nina “loses” her adoptive daughter, yet promises to re-bond with her after the rewritten Olivia “fades away” entirely. Though since that whole personality subsuming arc was questionable to begin with, it’s probably for the best. Nina will still offer encouragement to Olivia, however, as she is both her adoptive daughter (rewritten timeline) and the daughter she never had (prior timeline).
-Peter and Olivia make it on board, and begin to make their way through. From here, things take a markedly different turn than what we saw.
-Essentially, with Mr. X around, we’ll see the Mr. X encounter in 3.19 play onscreen to almost identical degrees. Peter and Olivia will shift around the shipping crates, but they are accosted by Mr. X; Peter and Olivia are able to take out most of the crew, but Mr. X ends up gaining the upper hand. Upon cornering them, Mr. X asks if the man is Peter Bishop; Peter confirms as much, at which point Mr. X says he’s heard a lot about him (because Bell informed Mr. X of the return of The Boy That Lived To Be A Man). He’ll also tell Peter that he doesn’t want to be shot with the hyper-gun he has (as a substitute for the flare gun).
-It quickly comes to Bell’s attention that something’s afoot on deck, and so both he and Walter head to out to see Peter and Olivia, now cornered. Here, Bell expresses surprise that they managed to find them, but says that since he didn’t intend for mankind to have a place in the New World, that it doesn’t matter that they are here as it will all end soon enough (thus eliminating the Adam and Eve thing). He explains Olivia’s role in his plan as the catalyst for the implosion and subsequent expansion of the coming universe. Bell asks a question pertaining to roles being played to Mr. X, to which he agrees.
-But he then suddenly shoots Olivia in the chest without warning, much to everyone’s shock (including Bell’s). The storm begins to falter (since Olivia isn’t quite dead yet), and the fleet phases in and out of the Blue World, with FBI choppers flying overhead. In the ensuing chaos, Walter is wrestling with Mr. X over the gun (mirroring how they wrestled in the skies in 3.19), a distraught Peter is cradling a dying Olivia in his arms, and Bell, not in the least bit pleased, is seen to retreat to his cabin (where he uses his tech to phase himself the hell out of there).
-In Peter’s arms, Olivia and Peter share a tender moment. Olivia can have some kind of poignant inside joke with him (“is it too late to order Damiano’s? LOLOLOLOL”)
-Meanwhile, Walter calls for Peter’s help, and Peter snaps out of it to shoot Mr. X down.
-If we had extra time, we’d have Mr. X trying to escape by helicopter, but Walter would follow, and grab on to the rail, lifting up into the air with the chopper, while Peter yells a “Walter!” in the background. Walter manages to haul himself up and wrestle with Mr. X, and they both end up falling out into the sea. Alternatively, Walter and Mr. X struggle for a gun, but the high seas cause them to sway to the side of the boat, and they fall overboard. This would mirror Walter and Mr. X falling out of the zeppelin in 3.19 (save with the Talos acting as the zeppelin).
-But for now, we’ll stick to Peter taking out Mr. X. He would unload his entire clip Charlie Pace style into him, seeing as he just killed Olivia for no apparent reason. Walter comes over to Peter’s side, and the storm is pretty much done as Olivia is on the edge of life. They call for immediate medical support.
-In the aftermath, we’d go to the hospital, where we’d find out that Olivia did die momentarily (heart stopped and all), but was able to be revived, as the shot hit her lung, and Walter was able to stabilize her condition on the helicopter ride to the hospital (through shocks and CPR and punching a tube in her lung to remove the blood and fluid buildup, the stuff they do in the movies).
-However, she lost a lot of blood, and was given transfusions to help stabilize her condition. In the transfusion, much of the Cortexiphan-rich blood in her body (at least, what hadn’t already bled out) was replaced with normal blood, so she is now no longer a Living Uncertainty Engine, lacking the psionic prowess she once had, and is in no danger of inadvertently causing worlds to collapse via mere existence any longer.
-I don’t know if this is medically plausible, and if this would rid Cortexiphan for good from her system, but I thought the whole “lemon cake” thing and the introduction of Regeneraphan played as a very “get out of jail”, Deus Ex development. Plus, I don’t understand how getting shot in the brain would eliminate all Cortexiphan in her systm; isn’t Cortexiphan bonded directly to the brain, thus meaning only the damaged, wounded sections would lose Cortexiphan? And in 4.21, they established that one of Cortexiphan’s lesser known side effects is if you heat it up, it showcases regenerative properties; yet no mention of this was made after the lemon cake scene. Did the bullet heat up the Cortexiphan in her brain enough to preserve and restore it?
-I dunno; I’d prefer something where she does die, but is able to be revived medically in the nick of time, and getting shot in the lung or something of the sort seems one possible way to get Olivia to die, get Cortexiphan out of her system, and be revived, if only because it comes off as less miraculous. Although, I wouldn’t discount the possibility that the saturation of Cortexiphan in her system was a factor in helping her stay alive (or preserving her) just long enough for them to revive her. So long as they do fix her up, however, it’s all good.
-Peter visits Olivia in intensive care, where he reveals that they found that Mr. X had an Observer Phone on his body, much like assassin Donald Long had in 2.08. They then deduce that Mr. X was an undercover agent working for the Observers, sent to infiltrate Bell’s operations to end his plans for apotheosis (which would interfere with the Observer plans for Invasion).
-Olivia also relates how she now understands why September said she had to die; only through death could she stop herself from imploding both worlds.
-It is also revealed that the doctors found out that Olivia is pregnant; cue a quiet scene with just the two of them in the hospital room, with Peter at her bedside (because the whole “Happy family” ending played off as kind of corny). We’d also show the Broyles Promotion tag, where Van Horn promotes him to General and increases funding for Fringe Division, and we’d also show the gang at the Bishop house (Peter, Olivia, Walter, Astrid, Lincoln) in a moment of earned celebration.
-And in the end scene, we’d have September appear to Walter in the Lab, urging Walter to get to the others and warn them about “their” impending arrival.
-I’ve explained why I changed the role of Cortexiphan, but not Mr. X. The primary reason is of course to tie 3.19 up. Having Mr. X be an agent for the Observers is the only way I can think of where he shoots Olivia of his own volition, thus fulfilling the prophecy that he will kill her; I toyed with the idea that Mr. X shoots her accidentally, but I think a direct, willing murder would fit the more ominous foreshadowing of 3.19.
-It also adds an Observer overtone to the whole affair; Bell, while aware of the existence of the Observers (as evidence by the stasis tech), wasn’t actively trying to prevent the Invasion (which he wouldn’t know about), but the Observers couldn’t allow for the creation of the New World, so they got involved. This would also be a really neat callback to 2.08, where they show that Observers aren’t beyond using human agents in their operations.
-Having the circumstances of 3.19’s Mr. X encounter roughly reoccur in 4.22 would also further tie up the Mr. X mystery, as well as being really surreal and cool for the long-time fans.
-So here’s a summary of 4.22:
--Bell/Walter talk aboard the Talos
--Mr. X calls, voices concerns about being followed. They go to his apartment, and find the note left by Jones
--The Fringe team goes to hospital to visit Astrid, and they realize the warehouse she and Walter went to is the same place Jones has summoned them
--At the warehouse, Jones and Mr. X have captured September, and torture him to goad Olivia into using her powers. The FBI surge in, distracting Mr. X and their crew while Olivia and Peter set off after Jones
--Jones threatens Peter, inciting Olivia to use telekinesis to kill Jones after he barges into a circuit board, and he disintegrates
--In the aftermath, they free September, talk about the future and past, and September departs
--Meanwhile, Bell explains his plans to Walter, and Mr. X arrives on board
--The Fringe team tracks the location of Bell’s New World Fleet, and Peter/Olivia manage to cross over and land on the Talos
--Mr. X accosts them, and Walter and Bell gather with the whole gang down on deck.
--Mr. X shoots Olivia, Peter cradles her, Walter wrestles Mr. X, Bell escapes
--Peter kills Mr. X, get Olivia medical attention; storm ceases, and they phase back into 100% Blue World
--Olivia dies, is revived on way to hospital, goes in intensive care unit
--Mr. X/Observer connection revealed, sharing the pregnancy news
--Fringe Division promotion tag
--September’s warning tag
Funnily enough, both the bullet-point recaps for 4.21 and 4.22 contain 17 items each, so I might have inadvertently nailed even pacing across both episodes.
Allow me to recap this entire Werecupine of a post in this section.
First, a summary of the ten major changes I have made:
-More exposition on timeline status, Peter’s erasure, Machine status, key events, etc.
-Further Bell, Jones, and Bell/Jones exploration
-Convergence of prior timeline experiences into rewritten timeline one for all characters
-Removal of the Search for HomeTM arc
-Toning down P/O
-Far more inter-alternate interaction
-Using the rewritten timeline to inform the previous timeline’s gaps more directly
-Incorporation of Mr. X as an individual in the season endgame
-Tying Mr. X to the Observers, thus creating a stronger connection between the S4 finale and the events of 4.19
-Elimination of various contrivances, and lack of anvilicious/sappy dialogue and scenes
And here is a brief outline of the entire season:
4.01 – Intro to new timeline, Neoshifters, Observer drama
4.02 – First inter-world case
4.03 – Walter-heavy case
4.04 – Peter’s return
4.05 – Neoshifters and Peter acclimating
4.06 – Peter coming to terms with new history
4.07 – Neoshifters, excursion to the Red World
4.08 – Pursuing Jones, formation of Anti-Jones inter-world alliance
4.09 – Indeterminate case (with cool science), Jones Arc aftermath
4.10 – Dealing with September’s warning, heavy Observer overtones
4.11 – Astrid/Altstrid, Observer drama
4.12 – Westfield Trial
4.13 – Olivia starting to remember + a stronger case (either an improved Hive Minds or something else)
4.14 – Jones/Cortexiphan, Peter/September
4.15 – Olivia/Altlivia case team-up, Peter/Beacon
4.16 – 1.13 Redux
4.17 – Lincoln/Lincolnalt, Ninalt, Neoshifters
4.18 – Walter/Walternate, B-royles/Jones, Jones/Bell reveal, prior timeline remembrance
4.19 – 2036 flash-forward
4.20 – Cortexiphan plot, Bridge severance (but with prior timeline memories)
4.21 – Finale, Part 1
4.22 – Finale, Part 2
Well, that’s my idealized vision of S4 in a Chilean almond nutshell. I can’t promise that this would be satisfying for everyone, nor that it would even play well onscreen, but it is what it is.
Perhaps it is reassuring that somewhere in the multiverse, this was the S4 that was, and was well received; though I’d imagine that in the neighbouring reality, it was also very polarizing.
Anyway, this turned out to be a fun little exercise. Once again, I invite anyone who wishes to outline things they might have changed in S4 given the chance. Perhaps we could create threads for S1-S3 reimaginings as well; with the hiatus just begun, we’ll have to find some way to occupy ourselves, right?
Feel free to agree/disagree with any or all points I make in this post, and I hope it was worth the read.
Last edited by Omniscient_Jay; 05-18-2012 at 05:08 PM.
green, green, green, red!
reimagined Test II could be something that would end with Boston in quarantine... just a thought. Still reading....
Observing The Pattern
The earlier half of season 4 did seem to have too much filler episodes (mostly 4.02-4.07) with some bits of mythology put in, so this would be an improvement. I half expected season 4 to culminate in 4.19 being a glimpse into the future of the old timeline, where-by September in 4.14/4.15 would approach Peter in attempt to stop Jones and Bell, with the end result of this being seen in the finale, with September helping Peter change the timeline back.
Peter would then re-enter the old timeline and be greeted with the Observer invasion, leading into season 5 with seasons 1-3 being more important once again - however Peter with his experience of the timeline in season 4 would be more adept to what is happening/what caused this etc. All in all though, the season 4 that we did get in my eyes was still extremely enjoyable, and if it wasn't for the threat of cancellation hanging over the show, it would have been even better.
Over the hiatus, more like.
Originally Posted by CazzX
Many have expressed the idea that Peter should have "returned" to his old timeline. But if he did, would it not have made the rewritten timeline just a large detour?
Originally Posted by ToxicCrusader
Keeping the rewritten timeline would have been bolder, if only to show that consequences matter. But while they did keep it, they went the other way entirely and made the development of past seasons more or less irrelevant to S4. Hence why I decided to conglomerate the experiences of past seasons into the reality of the fourth, so that neither S1-S3 nor S4 go to waste, or are cast to the side.
As for the meat of your idea (changing the timeline back, facing Observer Invasion), I have a few questions/observations:
-If the Invasion were set to occur in the S1-S3 continuity, then wouldn't Peter and September's actions of re-changing the timeline be what facilitates - or even causes - the Invasion? Unless the old and new timelines exist concurrently, it would seem that they would be enabling the Invasion by giving them a gateway for it, would it not?
-Would this not change 4.19 in several ways? Walter would have already used up his brain segments way back in 2.10, so if he was ambered up, then there would be no way to counteract the cerebral degradation (unless you decide to skip that entirely). Henry Dunham would still be around, although if the Bridge still ends up severed, he'd probably stick in the Red World. And the last significant change would be that Bell has no stake in the pre-Amber or post-Amber period of 2036, since he conclusively ceased to be in 3.19.
-There would probably have to much explanation on why September erased Peter, why he couldn't go through finishing it once and for all, and why he's trying to set things back to the way they were.
green, green, green, red!
Greetings once again .
I have a hard time navigating your longer posts while simultaneously forming coherent responses due to an inability to keep track of all the information by the time I've reached the end of such a post. . . so I'm utilizing a new strategy to digest all of this intriguing information. I'll tackle this thread one portion at a time and provide a response for each portion I read. Further complicating my attempts to digest this thread has been what I can only describe as disgust and anger with the writing in Season Four. This is my third read through of your 4.01 - 4.08 Act 1 arc, the previous two times reading through I got frustrated thinking about the train wreck that was Season Four and gave up.
However, I'm learning to control my dissatisfaction and I am prepared to address my thoughts on your Act 1 of Season Four.
So to start with, your version of events is soooooo much better than Pinkner and Wyman's, and that's not fluff. You've corrected a great deal of the glaringly irritating developments while at the same time addressing several questions that should have been addressed in 4.01 through .08 that were simply ignored. Your solution to the laughable and unintelligibly absurd flip flop arc that dominated the entire first half of Season Four is a relief to read (I may just adopt your envisioning of events as canon). I listened to a podcast regarding Season Four produced by Entertainment Weekly yesterday in which someone suggested the writers were simply treading water because they had no idea where the story was going. I completely agree with this, if they had a clear idea of what they had intended for Season Four there would have been absolutely no need to drag this arc out so long and especially no need for the constant flip-flopping that occurred through this arc (it was like three times Peter changes his mind if not more).
I'm also in agreement with your reshuffling of event through 4.06 and 4.09 in the interest of adjusting the thrust of the story whilst correcting pacing issues. Also, the notion that DRJ might resurface .07 epi much like in Season One would provide a great parallel with the previous timeline, which I really liked. So no hemming and hawing on Peter's part as well as the search for home arc having a timely conclusion and setting the stage for Peter's efforts to endear himself to those who have forgotten him. I like it.
As far as the first few episodes go, I share your frustration about the complete failure to address critical questions regarding how we came to be in this situation and why. It could have been a simple passing reiteration of the events leading to the formation of the bridge such as an explanation that shape-shifters exhumed Blue Peter's body to obtain a DNA sample to bring to Walternate to use in the activation of the machine. This would have been an interesting turn of event that could have been responsible for additional tension between Walter and Walternate as well as a reasonable explanation for the machine's activation. So many episodes, so few answers. I could have understood it if it had felt like the writers were building suspense and pushing the story towards some form of terminus in which subsequent events might all seem to make sense in retrospect but his was not the case. Again, I refer back to this notion of "treading water" to explain the apparent inability to provide a well paced and well organized story. Instead, all we got was an aimlessly meandering story arc regarding an unfortunate search for a home that wasn't lost in the first place that culminated in the shocking revelation that he had been home all along (which had been predicted by basically everyone since the first episode of the season). Clearly it couldn't have hurt for the writers to have addressed burning questions that have been lingering for the last four seasons like the fire in the lab, hints of the relevance of Mosely and Bischoff, perhaps even very subtle foreshadowing pointing towards the massive reveal that was the flash forward of 4.19 so it didn't seem so out of nowhere.
Finally, I like the way the first act ends with the formation of an alliance between the two universes against their common enemy in DRJ. With this new conflict in play, and the previous conflicts of the search for home and the cold war between the two sides resolved the stage is set for the events of the next act. This is logical and engaging pacing for the story as well as a deliberate overture to the thrust of the story in the next act. We know where we've come from and how we came to be where we are, and we have some idea of where we are going, and we as viewers are all on board to see where this crazy train is headed. Was that so hard? Well done, I'll be getting to act two within the next couple of days.
Last edited by PB; 05-20-2012 at 04:05 PM.
I am pleased that you found my reimagining to be an astute one (naturally, I agree ).
I would apologize for the length of my post proving troublesome for you to digest, but I've always had a hard time controlling the floodgates to the imagination; still, I'm glad you found a solution.
In any case, there is one passage that caught my attention, which I will address now:
That might have been an interesting development, if not a bit morbid. I have no problem with the Machine itself having no Peter-specific connection, however, so I didn't take it into account in my reimagining; the biomechanical interface Peter and Walter built in 4.10 in canon S4 has been moved to 4.06, where it was abandoned and scrapped (only to be fixed up and used in 4.20).
Originally Posted by PB
I figured that the lack of interface in S4 meant it was not an integral part of the Machine, or was something that was added or grafted onto it (which I further figured meant that the 2026ers must have made this installment in the previous timeline). Since no attempt was made to explore the Machine, I guess we can only dream.
Now that I mention the Time Loop, I would further add that perhaps we could have Peter mention his experiences in the prior timeline as they pertain to experiencing the 2026 future; perhaps the events of the BTF comics could have been referenced as well. But that's of secondary importance; having Peter relate the events of 2026, if only as a passing mention, would have been cool to see in S4.
green, green, green, red!
Originally Posted by Omniscient_Jay
*Sigh*, I completely forgot about the issue concerning Peter's lack of connection to the machine in this new timeline, my idea isn't so great in retrospect. What I liked about my idea to explain the activation of the machine was in fact its morbid nature, I go for darker themes. Plus it would have forced the writers to focus more on the conflict between Walter and Walternate instead of addressing it so passively at the beginning of the season. I never bought into the notion that Walternate would be so much more softened simply because Peter had drowned. He may have closure, but it doesn't change the fact that Walter is responsible for his son's death. I wanted to see resolution to that conflict but instead it was, as far as the writers were concerned, written out of existence for all intents and purposes, which I felt was a cheap way out of bringing satisfying resolution to one of the most important conflicts in the Fringe story.
Now that you have reminded me of the absence of a connection between Peter and the machine a more plausible explanation is needed. One thing that I neglected to address in my review of your first act was your suggestion that Peter's memories of his time in astral limbo be addressed. I was irritated to no end that this was not the case after his return and would have welcomed that. That throwaway line earlier in the season when Olivia asked him if he recalled appearing to Walter prior to his reemergence at Reiden Lake and his subsequent response that he had no recollection at all was extremely curious.
As for the post 2026 events, it would be nice if the writers would find a way to finally address those, even if only in passing, in the show, but I'm dubious about such a prospect.
This was by no means a criticism on my part so much as a reality to be dealt with if I plan to address this post in its entirety, which I intend to. My legendarily short attention span is little more than an obstacle, not a deterrent.
Originally Posted by Omniscient_Jay