Fringe homies! Did you know that there are only five episodes left??? That gives me a sad in my strawberry-flavored heart. Last week’s episode, “The Human Kind,” marked the second half of this final season and really ramped up the action! Personally, I thought this episode could have happened earlier, as this has been a slow first half, but I suppose we must take it where we can get it. Finally, we had a Peter-and-Olivia-centric hour, and for the first time I felt like they have really been reunited since the Great Amber Separation of 2036.
Olivia, who hasn’t done a whole heck of a lot this season, seemed to get back some of her old fighting spirit. The hour opens with Anil meeting her in an alleyway to give her the same Observer technology Peter stupidly inserted into his neck so she could bring it to Walter for analysis. We cut to Peter, still “running futures” on the boards in Etta’s apartment and Windmark and his cronies busting in on the scene. Peter, however, bounced out of there, leaving Windmark to read the timeline he constructed. Windmark reads “You are here” at exactly the time he is supposed to be in Etta’s apartment. No doubt about it – Peter has him pegged! Peter then calls Olivia, who is at the lab by now, to tell them Etta’s apartment is compromised. Walter gets on the phone to plead with Peter to come to the lab so he can assess the damage the neck tech has caused. Peter refuses. In the background, we see Walter’s face on a scrolling Wanted sign.
Another tape that Astrid has freed from the amber is instructing them to go to Fitchburg, Mass to acquire a large magnet. Olivia, in need of a task to take her mind off Peter’s descent into Observerdom, volunteers to go alone. There is a ragtag group of people living on the edge of a scrapyard – very rough-looking folks and Olivia understandably is apprehensive. She asks after the magnet, and is introduced to Simone, a soft-spoken African woman with a supernatural air about her. Simone says they have been waiting for her, and the magnet is all packed up and ready to go. Simone’s mother apparently knew Walter, and Simone herself has a sixth sense and an ability to read people. This leads me to wonder if Simone is a Cortexiphan baby and her mom a test subject, like Olivia and Etta. Simone is saddened by Olivia’s suspicion (Olivia draws her gun on Simone at one point) and says Olivia has lost her faith. Olivia can’t really deny that she has.
Peter is further modifying Windmark’s movements. Using the cause-and-effect manipulations we’ve seen in previous seasons, he moves a cup of coffee and prevents Windmark from crossing the street with the light. This leads to a confrontation in a warehouse, where Windmark and Peter start beating the crap out of each other. It was a badass, awesome scene and Peter totally owned Windmark. I mean, did you see Peter run up the wall and FLIP OVER? AWESOME. Windmark does grab him and tries to make Peter suffer by showing him Etta’s last thoughts of that day in the park. This just leads to more punching, obviously. Then Peter stabs and kills another Observer who joined in to help Windmark, but only after he, Peter, is stabbed in the shoulder (hero wound!). Peter’s murder of the other Observer in front of him unnerves Windmark, and Peter blips out of the warehouse and Windmark is unable to follow. I do enjoy when Peter gets to kick bad guy butt! But at what cost? He finally goes back to the lab to get sewn up, where Walter tells him the brain findings – the neck tech is causing more growth in the knowledge centers of the brain, making them larger and creating new brain wrinkles. These sections of the brain are expanding and choking out the emotional center, hence the Observers’ robotic nonemotional state. It could be permanent if they don’t remove it soon.
Walter touchingly asks Peter to stay, and reminds him that he promised to keep Walter from getting too much like evil Walternate. Peter refuses both Walter and the request to remove the tech, and while we get a rare shirtless scene from Joshua Jackson (YUM) I cannot help wanting to smack him for being so difficult. He says he’s avenging Etta, but it’s costing him his humanity.
Oh hey, remember Olivia? Her truck with the magnet is rumbling down the highway but stops at a “car crash scene” that turns out to be a plant. She’s knocked out and captured by two asshats looking for ransom money. They call the Observer hotline and realize they have a bona fide fugitive on their hands that Windmark is willing to pay them for. As they are deciding where to meet the Observers for the hand-off and plotting what they’ll do with their fortune, Olivia is not being a cooperative prisoner. She busts out of her constraints (some measly rope) and starts MacGyvering the shit out of the old garage where she’s being held. She rigs a makeshift blow-gun out of an air hose and some other stuff, where she’s inserted Etta’s bullet. Then she lights a fire. When Jerk #1 comes in to see what is up with the smoke, she uses the air pressure to fire the bullet straight into his head. That bullet is getting a workout! I suppose it’s saved the world more than once, now. Olivia digs it out of the door and smiles a little at it. She shoots her second captor and goes on her not-so-merry way back to the campus formerly known as Harvard.
The final scene of the episode is a doozy. Peter is crouched on a bridge overpass, over looking a square, waiting for Windmark to see if he’s on the timeline Peter needs him on in order to kill him. Somehow, Olivia finds him. She pleads with him to end his relationship with the neck tech before it’s too late, and the brain morphing becomes permanent and he feels no love for anyone, ever again. He tells her that Windmark showed him Etta’s last thoughts, and parrots what Windmark said to him – that emotions are their greatest weakness. Olivia denies this, and says instead they are our greatest strength because they are the one thing the Observers don’t have. She says that Etta lives on in them, and that Etta saved her life with the bullet today, and no one can take her memory away from them. If Peter stops feeling for Etta, it’s like she dies all over again. And then Olivia said something very true – that her and Peter’s love is invulnerable to space and time. Damn straight! That was my favorite line of the episode! Yes, it’s mushy. No, I don’t care. That is always the message, isn’t it? Love conquers all. I think Fringe has given us as viewers a very unique way of telling that story. Peter thinks so too, because all his memories of Etta and all his adorable times with Olivia flash before his mind, and he digs out the neck tech with his pocket knife (EW). While that was a little easy (I thought that thing was in there to stay), I suppose since it hadn’t fully latched itself to him that removal without dying was possible. Besides, this is Fringe, and anything is possible. Even though Windmark walks across the square, Peter still allows his love for his wife and daughter to win out over his hatred and desire for revenge. It is here that Peter ends the cycle and does what Walter was never capable of doing – letting go of power for the sake of his family. Peter hands Olivia the neck tech, and she gives him Etta’s bullet in return. He then lays his head on her shoulder. These two broken people have found their way back to each other at last. And now it’s time to save the world for real.
My thoughts: loved it! A lot of action and emotion was packed into this episode, and I enjoyed all of it. I cannot wait to watch Windmark explode in a blaze of explosion or whatever they have planned for him. And while I would be happy with any Fringe team member taking him out, I want Walter to do it. That would be most satisfying.
Burning questions: Same as last time: where the eff is Donald/baby Observer? Apparently we will find out in the next episode, ‘Black Blotter’. I also want to know what happened to September. I miss him. Also, what is up with the prevalence of Simon/e? Simon was Etta’s partner (the delicious Henry Ian Cusick) who sacrificed himself to free Peter, and now we have a Simone giving Olivia her will to live back. In the Bible, Simon Peter, or Saint Peter, led the Apostles and is called the rock upon which Jesus built the Church. Interesting symbolism and allusions here – what do you think? Is that a stretch, or are these two the rocks upon which the Resistance stand? Without them, Peter wouldn’t have escaped and Olivia wouldn’t have obtained the apparently-crucial magnet.
Glyph code: PLEAD. Yep!
Episode Rating: 9 out of 10 Red Vines. Finally, a truly great ep this season!
Five episodes, people. That is IT. And since the finale is a two-hour extravaganza on January 18 (you are all invited for a Fringe Finale party at my house), we really only have three real eps before it’s time to eat our Red Vines and our Fudgesicles while wearing our Fringe Division t-shirts and crying interdimensional tears. I am sad in every timeline that this great scifi show is coming to an end, since it is really one of the last on the air at the moment. NOW WHAT am I going to watch?. But that’s another post, my friends. Don’t forget to watch tonight! It’s one of the last Fringe Fridays ever. Enjoy it!