Fringe & The Time Travelers Wife.

Another episode of Fringe and another homage to a book/movie.  Well, not necessarily a homage but the relationship between the book/movie The Tme Travellers Wife and the Fringe episode "And Those We Left Behind" is pretty unmistakeable.  I must confess I never read the book but I remember it being a pretty hot property.  It was so popular that it becoming a movie was mere eventuality. 

The similarities between the movie and this past episode of Fringe are quite salient.  The most obvious of course being time travel but perhaps the most interesting is the issue of genetic defects.

In The Time Travelers Wife the protagonist, Henry, is afflicted with a genetic disorder that causes him to jump through time in a unpredictable fashion.  His wife, Clare, has to deal with the vagaries of this affliction and off times has to stand by helplessly as her husband fashes in a out of existence.

Fringe provides an interesting twist on this premise.  The husband, Raymond, is a time traveler yes.  But it his wife that has the genetic disorder and it is the scourge of Alzheimer's disease.  In the movie Henry can't help but travel through time but Raymond does so deliberately in order to spare his wife. Both couples have to bear the agony of separation and both use the strength of their love to keep them together.

It's interesting that the book was seen as an "elegy to love and loss" as noted by critic Charlie Lee-Potter.  I say so because in the Fringe episode there was such a finality to the relationship between Raymond and Kate.  Ironically they are still together yet separated by the loss of Kate's faculties.  For Henry and Clare the opportunity to be together was fleeting and always precious.  Sadly, for Raymond despite being together he felt they were separated forever due to his wife's tragic disorder.  Hopefully that elegiac message left by Kate in her notes will give Raymond the perspective he needs.  In the movie Clare had to move on with her life now Raymond must learn to do the same.

The concept of free will comes into play in both of these stories and God know how Fringe wrestles with the issues of will versus determinism.  The character of Henry had the luxury of traveling through time and observing its consequences.  Raymond was equally gifted as he kept "resetting the clock" to chart his course.  Yet both arrived at the same destinations despite their best efforts to change the outcome.

Naturally, all of the above can be applied to the plight of Peter and Olivia and I suppose that is the point of this entire exercise.  Despite the best efforts of Peter he may be doomed to spend the rest of his existence separated from Olivia.  So close yet so far.  Perhaps Peter should welcome this added dimension to his relationship with Olivia and in time he will accept it.


  1. I've never read the time traveler's wife, nor have I read the book, but this was a compelling comparison none the less. What I can say, is it truly saddened me when Olivia said to Peter (at the end of the episode) "I hope you find her" or "I hope you get back to her" in reference to his Olivia. It made me feel that way because she IS her. Once the writers explained this was not a new universe, we were able to understand this Olivia, Walter, Astrid, Broyles etc... are our blue-verse characters. I have a feeling, somehow, Peter will be remembered and all is not lost. Hime "getting back" to HIS Olivia will merely be a correction to their tampered timeline.

  2. So close and yet so far. Truer words have never been spoken.

    And Fringe, as it so often does, has added a totally new twist to an adage. The relationship between Olivia and Peter in Season 4 is another example of the show's genius.

  3. "The Time Traveler's Wife" is on my to-read list actually, and yes I've heard the premise of it too. Excellent comparison, IDD! I found that in this episode, watching Raymond and his wife do the "time dance" with each other really accented how far apart Olivia and Peter really are from each other, since, at the moment, they seem to have no connection at all.

    I say "seem", because Peter dreamt of Olivia talking to him. I don't think that was for nothing. Just like when Olivia was in the red-verse and she would see Peter and he would speak to her, I think Olivia (from the now-gone or disappeared time-line) is doing with Peter.

    What do you think?

  4. @Sarah Maria - I couldn't agree more with your comment. I'm a bit amused/confused at how many people think Peter is in the wrong place or this isn't his Olivia. You're right all they need is a correction. Although, I wouldn't put past the writers by having the Observers fix Peter by having him forget everyone and get on with his life. That would be a twist.

    I didn't read "TTTW" either but the movie was OK. I'm a sucker for time travel no matter what the setting.

  5. @Old Darth - I wonder if Peter, since he is so smart, will come up with a solution on his own for his predicament. No Walter or Walternate or Observer help. I think it is only a matter of time before he sees the "Machine" again and goes for a little ride.

  6. @Ingrid Hardy - Glad you enjoyed the post. Good point with the comparison to what Olivia was going through in the Red-verse. More bleed through. I'm a bit puzzled on how Olivia could deny Peter by calling him a stranger as Sarah noted above. Is she being dense? She's dreaming of him! C'mon Olivia think!


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