A very young Dr. Walter Bishop addresses a handful of important looking military officers. Walter shows them a cell phone. They are impressed with the size of it. Walter tells them it is digital; not analog. It’s about 30 years ahead of what they can currently make. Is it Russian? No, it’s American; just not our America. Walter tells them he copied it from an alternate dimension. Walter and William Bell have developed a window that stretches the membrane between worlds so they can peek into an alternate dimension. Walter and his assistant, Dr. Carla Warren, take the men to the roof of the building. They set up the window in front of the Empire State Building. When they activate the window, the building looks the same. However, in the window, a zeppelin hovers at the observation deck. ‘As you know,’says Walter, ‘originally the observation deck was supposed to be a docking station for zeppelins.’They are looking at a window into another world where it happened.
Then, in lovely, cutting edge 1985 graphics, we get a new set of credits, where sciences we now take for as listed as outrageous possibilities.
The doorbell rings and Olivia answers. Walter stands in the hall holding a package. He says he had to come. Olivia reluctantly invites him in. Walter asks if she has told Broyles about Peter. She hasn’t, but that doesn’t mean she won’t. Walter asks for a chance to explain. Walter always knew there would be a price for his deception but at the time he didn’t know what it would be. Walter shows her the window and begins his sad tale.
They learned that they had doubles on the other side and that Alternate Peter had the same genetic illness as our Peter. Although Walter couldn’t find a cure, it was possible that Alternate Walter might because the other side was more advanced. So Walter hoped…
Harvard University 1985
Walter and Dr. Warren watch Alternate Walter try to synthesize another cure compound but the experiment is unsuccessful again. Walter receives a call from his wife Elizabeth, who tells him it’s time for him to come home.
Walter gets home. Elizabeth tells him that Peter is failing. Walter swears that he won’t give up; that he needs her not to doubt him. Walter goes upstairs to visit Peter, who is trying to run a silver dollar up his fingers. Walter is very friendly and loving and encouraging, showing Peter how to do the trick. (And that is very confusing considering the relationship that Peter — and even Walter — maintains they had during Peter’s youth. Something very bad must have happened to our happy young Walter.) Peter tells Walter that he wants Walter to have his silver dollar when he dies. Walter is distraught at the idea but Peter tells him that he is not afraid. Walter promises that nothing bad is going to happen to Peter. They hug and Peter falls back onto his bed, dead.
Walter, Elizabeth, Nina Sharp, Dr. Carla Warren and a priest stand at Peter’s graveside.
When they get into the cars after the service, Nina tells Walter that William Bell really wanted to be there but he couldn’t leave the trials and fundraising in Berlin. Walter blows off Bell’s proxy apology.
Walter and Elizabeth review Peter’s life. Elizabeth regrets that Peter never went to a proper school or had proper friends. His illness prohibited that. Walter insists that they did the best they could and that Peter knew he was loved. Later, Walter wakes up Elizabeth and takes her into Peter’s room. He’s set up the dimensional window in front of Peter’s empty bed. When he turns it on, Elizabeth sees Alternate Peter sleeping. He’s obviously sick but alive. He turns it off, saying he only wanted to show her that Peter will grow up somewhere, just not with them. She begs him to turn it back on but he doesn’t. He tells her they must move on.
He’s not moving on very well. Young drunk Walter stumbles around his lab, watching Alternate Walter fail at synthesizing yet another experimental cure. As Alternate Walter tries another compound, he is distracted by an Observer in the lab. Walter watches the compound work. By God you did it! But the compound destabilizes and the evidence of success fades away by the time Alternate Walter returns to verify his findings. Alternate Walter thinks he failed. No, you can save him!’Drunk Walter breaks the window.
‘Back to the Future’staring Eric Stoltz is playing at the movies. A lone Observer approaches a pair of Observers who are exiting the theatre, discussing human reactions to the movie. Lone Observer says, ‘I made a mistake.’They know. Lone Observer says that he wanted to witness an important moment in history but his presence distracted Alternate Walter. The older Observer tells him that he must take action to restore the balance and that he will have an opportunity to fix it.
Dr. Warren arrives at the lab. Walter tells her that his alternate doesn’t know he succeeded and that it is up to him to save Alternate Peter. He is going to cross over to the other side. ‘You’re trying to create a wormhole into an alternate universe?”Yes, I just said that.'(Well at least snarky Walter hasn’t changed.) Dr. Warren reminds him of the consequences of shattering the fabric between universes; the energy output could destroy the world. She starts quoting all kinds of scientists who have crossed lines that couldn’t be uncrossed, starting with Oppenheimer. ‘Some things are not ours to tamper with. Some things are God’s,’she says. ‘There’s only room for one God in this lab and it’s not yours.’Walter tells her that Reiden Lake will absorb the energy of the dimensional tear.
Dr. Warren goes to see Nina, who tries to reach Bell in Europe. Meanwhile, Walter drives out to Reiden Lake with a bottle of Peter’s cure. He pulls a loaded sledge out into the middle of the frozen lake. Dr. Warren arrives with Nina, who tells him that she couldn’t reach Bell. Walter isn’t surprised; Bell was always about the chase for power and money, not the chase for science. He turns on the doorway. Nina tackles him, trying to stop him from crossing over. He stumbles through the doorway and it flickers out. Nina’s arm was caught in the flickering and begins to glimmer.
Walter appears on the others side intact. Unfortunately, something has happened to the liquid cure in his pocket, rendering it useless.
At the alternate house, Alternate Elizabeth goes upstairs to visit Alternate Peter, who is trying to run a silver dollar up his fingers. Elizabeth is very friendly and loving and encouraging, showing Peter how to do the trick. Peter tells Elizabeth that he wants her to have his silver dollar when he dies. Elizabeth is distraught at the idea but Peter tells her that he is not afraid. She promises that nothing bad is going to happen to Peter.
Our Walter enters Peter’s bedroom and announces that he thinks he found a cure. He must take Peter to the lab right away. Elizabeth dresses Peter and prepares to go with them. Walter tells her to stay at home; once the cure has been administered, she will have to be strong to help Peter recuperate. Elizabeth gives Peter back his lucky silver dollar. She stays; they go.
Walter drags Peter across the frozen lake. Peter hesitates, ‘You’re not my father, are you?”Of course, I am. Who else would I be?’Walter lies. Walter pulls a remote alternate door opener out of his pocket and opens the door. He takes Peter back through.
They arrive on our side and promptly fall through the ice. Peter and Walter sink. The Observer first rescues Peter, and then Walter. Walter wakes up in the passenger seat of his car, the Observer driving, Peter wrapped in blankets in the back seat. Walter recognizes the Observer as the man who distracted Alternate Walter in the lab. Walter asks why he saved them. The Observer tells Walter that ‘the boy is important. He has to live.’
In the lab, Walter has Peter hooked up to an IV cure. Dr. Warren arrives and tells him that Bell has some theories about Nina’s arm. She asks if he intends to return Peter to his rightful universe. Walter says that he will. Then Elizabeth arrives. Walter insists that he has to take Peter back, but she just looks at her son and at her husband.
Olivia can’t take her eyes off Walter as he finishes his story. ‘I realized at that moment that despite what I promised, what I fully intended to do, I could never take Peter back. The way she looked at me… I couldn’t lose him again. It was the first crack between worlds. And it’s my fault. You can’t imagine what it’s like to lose a child.’
What else could he do? And what is she going to do? Tune in next week.