so the vid I turned in for vvc premieres (I'm going to vvc this year, shockingly!) and it's a Fringe vid (I recall there is a culture of anticipatory secrecy around Premieres, but I forget how much of it was my own habit of making vids that I wanted to surprise people with. anyway, not saying anything more about the vid than the fandom) so I've been rewatching bits of Fringe the last few weeks trying to pull it together, and I'm sort of contemplating a full rewatch for purposes of it turns out I ship Walter/September sort of a lot, and kind of want to write fic about them, but I'm afraid if I do that I'll end up finding the PERFECT SHOT for that one line in the vid I already turned in, it's done gdi.
The main thing that struck me about Walter and September is I was trying to put together a mental map of the time jump between seasons 4 and 5. Because there's like 5 years between the end of season 4 and the Observer Invasion (the time in which Olivia and Peter have a kid, maybe even get married I honestly forget), and then there's like a twenty year gap of they got ambered and didn't get pulled out until the occupation had been ongoing for a while, which allows them some brief anonymity in fighting the Observers bc the Observers have assumed they were dead.
During the 5 yr gap, Walter and September were working on a plan to stop the invasion, apparently without Peter or Olivia or Astrid's knowledge. Walter's brains are scrambled to prevent the Observers from getting the plan out of him with telepathy, but no one else on the main Fringe team has any idea what the plan was. They have to follow tapes they dig out of the amber in Walter's lab to collect all the plot coupons--one of which is actually September. Because they figured out early on Walter was working with someone named Donald on this ~secret plan~, but no one, not even brain-scrambled Walter, knew who Donald was or how to find him, until it turned out that Donald was September, but with hair.
So my question was--how did Walter, who (to his own chagrin) requires pretty much constant babysitting, commonly coordinated between Peter and Astrid, manage to not only travel to work on a plan he was keeping secret from them, but avoid ever introducing anyone to his co-conspirator?
One of the things I want to rewatch for is to figure out how many of them have actually met September face to face. Peter had a brief interaction with him in 104 that went rapidly to an "Apples, bananas, rhinoceros" place because the Observer plan for avoiding action is apparently use their telepathy and unusual relationship with time to mirror at people. He then shoots Peter with a futuristic stun gun and makes his escape. There's also, September bleeding out foretold Olivia needing to die to prevent Bell from collapsing the universes at the end of season 4. Also Olivia studied September's face pretty thoroughly when she was trying to figure out why he was stalking her crime scenes. I'm less sure of Astrid, but in general I think this means September would have had to keep out of everyone but Walter's sight to maintain secrecy. I can imagine he would want to, like, the Observers ID'd Peter and Olivia as important, he should never be anywhere near them to avoid them realizing he's meddling, right? Although how he can then get away with hanging out with Walter I don't understand. Maybe, hand wave, the Observers discounted Walter from importance when they wiped Peter out of the timeline. And figured that held even when Peter stubbornly refused to cease existing, since Walter didn't remember Peter, so whatever, not important anymore.
I'm kind of imagining Walter telling Peter he needs his own place because he, ahem, met someone, and anyway Peter will want more space in his own house when Olivia has the baby; and both Peter and Olivia being like, excuse me what? because that was totally something September mentioned in passing, not something that's like, happened yet. I also feel like if Peter's only interaction with September pre-hair was apples bananas rhinoceros, he might be able to see him, be like "I know you from somewhere" and be satisfied with September admitting they met once in passing before but Walter hadn't introduced them so he (September) was rather flummoxed and rude, so sorry.
I also have been pondering September seeking Walter out after the whole de-observerfying. Like, it's not just that now he has hair, he also has physiologically driven emotions and the inability to stalk people through time and space since his implant has been removed. So he has to get from wherever the Observers dumped him to where Walter is, probably has to do some more traditional stalking to figure out when he can approach him without other people being there to see, has to somehow come up with like, money or a job or something for clothes and a place to live, or find Walter fast enough that his lack of such doesn't impede him too much until Walter can help, although I am continually laughing at Walter trying to convince Peter and everyone that he should be able to live on his own with his boyfriend why won't you let me mortgage a house.
Maybe Walter can argue his way into living in one of the properties he already owns; the Reiden Lake house, for instance.
But the idea of September skulking around trying to figure out when to talk to Walter suddenly made me wonder--when he shows up to talk to Walter in the lab at the end of season 1, and they end up at Reiden Lake and Walter is Missing and Peter eventually finds him out there--like, did September hold hands with Walter and jump him through spacetime from the lab to the lakeside, or did he lead Walter out to the parking lot, pull a key fob out of his pocket, and make a car beep and unlock for them? Like, we know September can drive; he was driving Walter's car in 1985 when Walter woke up from the dunk in the ice. So September could have driven them to Reiden Lake. But like. Is it his car? A car he randomly "borrowed" that he knew its owner wouldn't be looking for it for a day or so? What kind of car does an Observer drive? or--what kind of car does September drive, he's not exactly standard Observer temperament in all things. Does he cram Walter in a Smart, because the future has taught him to conserve resources as much as possible? Does he revel in some kind of classic gas-guzzling boat, because nothing of the sort is available in the future? Does he have a Camry or a Civic or something, because it's a common car that won't stand out and attract any attention? What did they talk about on the three hour drive from Harvard to Reiden Lake? Did September let Walter pick the music? Did September drive off and leave him there after the dramatic handover of the coin? Did Walter say, "Wait, where are you going?" and September enigmatically assure him someone would find him soon?
But, back to the future (starring Eric Stoltz), the few years of recently humanized September and Walter managing to hide all their adventures from everyone else. And like. When they find him in season 5, he totally brushes off what happened to him as he always admired the time period, it wasn't much of a punishment to strand him there; but like. Imagine how much crap he was going through, going from having no feelings of his own, just weird echoes of feelings from Observing a society where everyone had them, to suddenly having all of the biochemical mechanisms of feelings flowing in his veins. And not having any experience with moderating anything. Like, I'm imagining him throwing something in frustration, and being shocked by the sound of it shattering, and admitting, I don't know why I did that. I think Walter would glibly offer to take a blood sample and synthesize something pharmaceutical to help September out, he certainly uses chemicals to induce moods and states of mind he wants for himself; I'm not sure what September would think about that.
And then, also, pants feelings. September comes from a society where no one has romantic relationships, let alone sexual ones; all offspring are grown to maturity in tanks; and they don't seem to have gender delineations, I'm not even sure they have any expression of sexual characteristics at all. The lack of hair might have pointedly been genetically added in to mark the lack of secondary sex characteristics. So here's September, who's been adult but neuter for an entire waking life, who now has suffered what the Observers term biological reversion to turn him into a standard 21st century human male, so he's dealing with both the feelings and the anatomy for the first time in his life. It's like puberty, but worse. And he has no models from his own society on how to or when it's appropriate to act on his feelings; he's been Observing the world he's been dumped in for a while, but he has no experience of his own, and he's so lost, and he doesn't even know if he wants to act on his feelings, like the society he comes from seems to have all kinds of like, cultural suppression and disapproval at anyone who seemed like they might be feeling things. Even though he's not there anymore, he spent a long time pretending that he was unaffected by Observing, that feelings were not at all catching and he certainly had none, sir.
And--it struck me in the episode where they find "Donald," that even though he's emotionally open, he's astounded that Walter is still alive and so glad to see him again, he's not tactile. At the moment where I totally expected him surprise everyone and embrace Walter, he didn't. He was so effusively happy but he didn't reach out, at all. And of course nothing in the society he's from would encourage touch at all. No one is a parent in the sense of raising a child, genetic donors do not hold their offspring and the offspring are not children, they are fully matured in tanks and enter the world as adults. No one has intimate relationships outside of the families they don't have. No one has any reason to touch anyone else. And it's not that I think September might not want to, more that, from that background, he doesn't know how, doesn't trust himself to do it in a way that conforms with social expectations, and honestly, might be overwhelmed. Even the smallest touches, Walter's hand on his shoulder, evoke so much emotion in him. And he's so ill-equipped to handle emotion at all.