Tonight on Fringe (Fox, 9/8c), in the ninth of the farewell run’s 13 episodes, Walter embarks on a trip of the acid kind in his latest effort to recall the plan to defeat the Observers. But what harsh realities await him in the LSD-infused surreality? Will his addled state prevent him from helping the Fringe team with a new mystery? And will he find safe passage back from this far-out journey?
Though Walter had the best of intentions when he indulged himself in some “Black Blotter,” the timing could have been better. The transistor radio discovered in the “pocket universe” (in Episode 6) has started to broadcast some sort of signal, but Walter is not in the best state to divine its meaning. Instead, he has been left transfixed — and easily distracted — by hallucinations and such, as seen in this clip:
“It’s amazing if you think about it from Walter’s point of view,” says Jasika Nicole, who plays Astrid. “But for the others, this is not the time, this is not the timeline, this is not the year, this is not the place to be doing drugs!”
Noting that “anything bad that could happen with somebody taking drugs, does,” Nicole says the hour differs in tone from Season 3’s “Lysergic Acid Diethylamide” (in which LSD was used to extricate William Bell’s consciousness from Olivia’s noodle).
“In that one, Broyles was on [acid] and we had the tweety birds [flying around], but this one is just so sad because Walter is lost in his own world,” she says. “Everyone is like, ‘You’ve got to get yourself together,’ but we can’t shake him out of it or get him coffee or anything — if they even have coffee in the future. It’s a lot of work to keep him on task.”
Joshua Jackson echoes that Walter’s trip is indeed a very bad one, as Peter’s pop endures hallucinations as sobering as they are surreal. “The emotional heart of the episode is Walter grappling with his demons, in the very Fringe-y way that you do such things,” he says. The result of this detour, Jackson shares, “drives forward the last four episodes of the show.”
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Walter’s portrayer John Noble himself touts “Black Blotter” as a “curiously wonderful episode that allowed our writers and cinematographers to do magical things.” As directed by Fringe first-timer Tommy Gormley (whose credits include serving as a 1AD on J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek), “It is very interesting visually,” Noble raves, “while from an acting point of view, it was just fun.”
But is the LSD trip presented as too much fun? Did Noble need to tape a PSA to accompany the episode? “No!” the actor answers with a laugh. “Why would anyone want to turn out like Walter, for god’s sake?”
P.S. OK, this is eerie: This story went live just as John Noble wrapped his last ever scene.