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28 January 2011 @ 09:20 pm
So I have tried on two separate occasions to watch "The Exorcist," and I never make it past about halfway through.  This is because I am totally freaked out by the idea of demonic possession.  The fact that I could not finish the movie made it really hard to write a paper on it in college, but I persevered.  As my thesis, I talked about how demonic possession can work as a metaphor for finding out that someone you love, someone you thought you knew as well as you know yourself, is someone else entirely.  That in the end, every other human being on this planet is essentially unknowable to us, and that at some point in our lives we must all face that fact; preconceptions must always, inevitably, be shattered.  The sweet, cherubic daughter actually has a foul mouth; the beloved father cheated on mom; the best friend has been gossiping about you; the co-worker ate your lunch.  The next time you watch "The Exorcist," pay attention to the scene where the police officer comes to speak to Ellen Burstyn (Chris).  Chris is an actress, and the director of her latest film was found brutally murdered outside the home.  The cop asks fairly straight-forward questions, just trying to find out if Chris heard or saw anything suspicious.  He has no idea what actually happened - but throughout the course of the scene, Chris figures it out.  You can see the dawning horror as she realizes that the murderer - the person who broke the director's neck in such a way that his head twisted completely around - was her own daughter.  You can watch as Chris comes to know that her daughter is no longer her daughter, but is someone (something) else entirely.

As Walter is on the phone with Nina, as she tells him that Peter didn't have any tests scheduled, that he didn't come into Massive Dynamic that day, you can see the exact same thing happen to Walter's face.  Just as Chris didn't really need to go upstairs and see her daughter (and I can't even talk about the scene that follows, because that is where I can no longer watch, and even thinking about it is probably going to be enough to make me have a hard time sleeping tonight), Walter didn't really need to see Peter kill that shapeshifter.  He already knew.  The Peter he thought he knew, the boy he was trying so desperately to protect, for whom he was willing to inject and snort just about anything to try and make himself smarter so that he would be able to save him - that Peter no longer exists.  Maybe he never did, except in Walter's mind; maybe the Device has changed him, to suit its own purposes; maybe, in the end, we can never really protect those we love no matter what we try to do.

Playing against this story is the slow rapprochement of Peter and Olivia.  She realizes that Fauxlivia didn't just victimize her, but Peter, as well.  She extends an olive branch.  Peter's face when she apologizes to him, when she acknowledges that he was hurt as well...it's hard to reconcile that smile, the way he swallowed hard, with the man who was already cold-bloodedly killing Shapeshifters, was even then covering his tracks to hunt down another.  Olivia will have her own moment of realization soon; bad enough, since she had one last year when she learned that Peter wasn't this world's Peter.  She's already been through this before, and now she'll have to go through it again.

I feel like we're on the edge of a precipice.
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Shannon: fringe peterkungfuwaynewho on January 29th, 2011 03:40 am (UTC)
Ooo. Yes. I was also chilled when Peter said, "It doesn't matter, because they're not human," after having seen the Shapeshifter who fell in love with his pretend family and didn't want to leave them - they may not be human, and undoubtedly most aren't nice folks, and are plotting this universe's destruction. Still, they are capable of feelings and real "human" emotion, and to see Peter behave that way...yeah. Inner demons, indeed.
tarkheena lizzeeen: f [the scientist's beautiful daughter]liminalliz on January 29th, 2011 04:58 pm (UTC)
THIS IS SO EXCITING. Oh my gosh, this show and its ability to raise the stakes.
Shannon: fringe live longkungfuwaynewho on January 30th, 2011 02:50 am (UTC)
IKR - I watched the episode again today, and just...I have NO IDEA WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN. And I love that when it comes to TV. It happens so rarely, and even more rarely even pays off, and I have complete faith in the Fringe team that it's going to pay off like gangbusters.