"Subject 13" Review
“Subject 13” brought us back to 1985 (complete with the wonderful retro introduction), where a few weeks have passed since the theft of Peter. We’re given more insight into the fallout from last season’s wonderful flashback episode, “Peter.”
This time around, many new layers are added to the mix, as we see both universe side-by-side. We see both Walters in uneasy waters. I was most interested in Regular Walter’s constant desire to find a way to send Peter back… of course, he uses a young Olivia to accomplish this.
Seeing Olivia as a child was a nice moment in “Subject 13,” and it was a nice addition to bring back the drama of her abusive father. I’d forgotten all about that story-arc from Season 1, where we learned that her father sends her a postcard every birthday to let her know that he’s still out there.
Come to think of it, there’s been a lot of nods to earlier episodes on Fringe this season. Last week reminded us of an early Season 1 episode with amber, and “Subject 13” continues that trend by also using imagery from “White Tulip” and “Jacksonville.”
I also want to throw out there how much I like Peter’s mother. Her lie to Peter at the end - that he really is from this side - was heartbreaking to watch. Knowing that this starts a downward trend to her inevitable suicide doesn’t make things any easier. It’s rough subject material, but it’s done really well.
We also see that Walter was pretty harsh even at this time. We already knew that he experimented on children, but his tests on Olivia are borderline child abuse… especially that scene where he tries to frighten her.
The end twist - that young Olivia unknowingly admits her troubles to Walternate - was a great reveal that ties up a lot of loose threads. Even with this effective ending, “Subject 13” was still a pretty slow moving episode, overall. While satisfying, it didn’t quite live up to the fantastic, “Peter.” Still, I have a feeling we will appreciate this one more in retrospect for giving us more insight into the Fringe mythology.