Walter, You old Smoothie!

One of the more under appreciated aspects of the TV show Fringe is its take on humanity.  We're always so  busy dissecting the intricate plots and unearthing the clever Easter eggs that we often lose sight of the more genuine aspects of the show.  Its not that we don't know Fringe puts a premium on humanity it just gets lost in the shuffle sometimes.

I'd like to bring attention to one of the sweeter vignettes we've seen in a long time.  The scene is where Walter and Olivia search the apartment of "Subject 9".  Walter is in one of his usual preoccupied states when he takes notice of another voice in the room.

He turns and immediately extends his hand like quite the gentleman and introduces himself.  The landlady, played by Glynis Davies of SGU Stargate Universe and X-Files fame, looks a bit bemused at first.

It's not long before that bemusement softens and the landlady notices that spark of the generosity of feelings we all know Walter has deep inside.

The incredible John Noble brings such compassionate grace with just a look.  As Walter, he knows he has found a kindred spirit.  Walter feels the sins of his past and is weighed down by them.  The landlady for her part deals with the transients of her clientele and has little time to bond with the people shuttered in their rooms.

All that changes with just a look.  The reserve is dropped and the cynicism of the everyday grind vanishes.  We're left with two people where time has stopped for a moment and the flame of hope is kindled in two lonely hearts.

What's terrific is the people at Fringe know they have a real gem on their hands with this scene and write in the reaction of Olivia as she sees Walter in a different light.  Remember this is the man that spent three years cloistered in his lab distrustful of people and society in general.  Olivia also stands in for us, the viewing audience, in that moment of discovery.

So I ask you to remember this little scene when you hear people criticize this season of Fringe for starting slowly, spinning its wheels waiting for Peter or just being a little "meh".  We may not get a season five but what we have here and now are those little things that makes Fringe so special.  A TV show with a soul.


  1. This write up on Fringe, more than any other, struck a chord with me. I love theorizing and geeking out over the sci-fi elements of this show just as much as the next Fringie, but I've always been fascinated by the human condition. The subtle, emotional moments of the show are what connect us, as people, to the show. If characters don't have depth, if they don't emote in a way that allows us to connect to them... to believe in them... then there is no truth to the show.

    Bringing up the scene between Walter and the land-lady is brilliant. It seems to be such a menial piece of the episode, but you're absolutely right, it is perfectly juxtaposed to the "monster who tested on kids" we're constantly reminded of. It's important. People evolve. People grow. People become better. Walter is living, breathing proof of this.

    Great blog post!

  2. Great catch Dave! I loved that apartment scene too. Noble and Torv killed it in this episode.

  3. Nice post Dave! These quiet, character moments that are seemingly insignificant really do enrich the show. It is such a counterpoint to the outburst Walter has in the hotel room. This scene shows that despite his psychological demons, there is hope for Walter. -duckyislost :)


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