This Astrid heavy episode also revealed a bit about the Observers, or at least hinted at it, while delivering a somewhat interesting case of the week.
The case of the week involves a man who works for the TSA, who was once a MIT professor, who is running around with an Observer device putting people whose lives are doomed, out of their misery. Meanwhile, Fastrid, grieving her father's death, leaves her universe to come meet Astrid.
The case reveals a couple of things about the Observer story line. First, that the Observer who saved Peter and Walter is named September (this was revealed before by FOX but I don't think has ever been stated in an episode, so this should be the first time a majority of FRINGE viewers hear it). Second, the head Observer now knows that Peter still exists (this should finally settle what I've been saying for weeks, that Peter is definitely in HIS universe).
The Astrid/Fastrid story line may not have been very important to the show as a whole (I guess we will find out if it is addressed again in future episodes) but it allowed the actor to get the kind of focus we haven't seen before. And she does a pretty good job giving us two distinct characters who are at times similar, and who have both lost a mother but experienced a very different relationship with their father. I am sure there are FRINGE fans who won't appreciate this seemingly one-off character display, but it existed to demonstrate how these two people, who have lived with similar loss while still having their fathers in their lives, became such different people.
When Fastrid reveals that she had a difficult relationship with her father due to her own issues with expressing her emotions, Astrid tells her alternate that she has a complicated relationship with her father too. But at the end, we realize this is a lie as the two seem to have a very warm relationship. Astrid, being hyper empathetic as she is, said what Fastrid needed to hear. Telling her that she had a great relationship with her own father would have only wounded Fastrid more.
Walter gets a lot of interactions in this episode, mostly with Fauxlivia, Fastrid, and a bit with Peter. For some reason, Walter forgot about the previous episode and is back to being bitchy toward Peter. However, he is very intrigued by Fastrid and seems to enjoy spending time with her as the others shoot around town on missions. Though, he distrusts Fauxlivia because she pretended to be Olivia (I have questions about this plot line but I'm avoiding it now), but she is very bubbly and happy to see him and seems to want to make him like her.
There's a whole little bit about Fauxlivia and Walter making amends through candy. Walter and Fastrid making a connection through their mutual strangeness. And Walter getting closer to warming up to Peter when Fastrid suggests it would be logically beneficial for his mental health to just accept Peter as his son. And Peter and Olivia working well together as partners while Lincoln is away.
As a mostly case-of-the-week type episode, it is surprisingly engaging, entertaining, and character building. It has taken the writers some time to build up to these episodes but I feel the last few have finally gotten us to a place where I truly care about these characters again, and this episode was one of the better at doing that.
Now, let us see if they totally toss that in the garbage in the coming weeks and backtrack on all this forward momentum with the characters.
If I skipped anything of importance it is because I am writing this without the episode to reference, because I am super lazy.
Anyway, if I had to rate this one, I'd give it:
94 out of 100
It had some grander arc elements but nothing too exciting. However, as a case-of-the-week episode, it was surprisingly heavy on character interactions/development and effective at that. Let's see if they build on this in the coming weeks. If there is a gripe in all of this it is that we haven't heard a thing from Olivia's perspective about her kidnapping. I realize we saw it in season 3 but there should be some differences based on the fact that Peter wasn't in her world.