Holy jumping Red Vines, you guys! The end is here – part 1, anyway, and was it ridiculously awesome or what???!!! Part one of the three-hour Fringe finale, The Boy Must Live, aired on Friday and delighted fans with answers received, plans set in motion, and lots and lots of September/Donald! I was super excited and happy to see our main Observer squeeze, Michael Cerveris, back in action as this layered and intriguing character. I hope Cerveris hops on the convention circuit one day, because I need to give him a hug. He has always given an inspired performance, but this week’s was masterful. So much happened, I barely know where to start – but Walter, naked in the deprivation tank, seems like the place.
While in the tank (after an exasperated Olivia finds out he’s removed his boxers in order to “be free”), Walter visits Donald/September’s apartment in his mind’s eye. He looks out the window – they are looking at the New York City skyline, and are under a bridge. The Williamsburg bridge, to be precise. The team rapidly warps from the lab to the city (how do they do that? No I-95 corridor of wretched traffic in the future, I suppose?), and outside the apartment, Peter and Walter have a lovely father-son moment, and I get something in my eye! Walter says that when Michael the child Observer touched him, he not only provided lost memories of the recent past, but all of Walter’s memories of the previous Peter-filled timeline (Peter springing him from St. Claire’s, the Machine, September saving them from drowning in Reiden Lake), PLUS he healed Walter’s brain of its insidious Walternate tendencies of pride and cruelty. Yay! We have our old Walter back! This should have happened six episodes ago. Harrumph. Although Walter still does not remember the Plan, of course. Why should he. But there are adorable hugs and face squishes all around, and Peter calls him Dad, and I love Peter and Walter, and will sorely miss them when the last glyph hits the screen on Friday.
Our intrepid Fringe team, plus Michael, knock on Donald’s door (#211, for the record) and THERE HE IS. WITH HAIR AND STUBBLE. It’s so weird, but we are thrilled to see September once again and settle in for a chat. We find out that September was apprehended for his continual disruption of the timeline and meddling with the Fringe team, and the Observer overlords took out his neck tech as a punishment, then experimented on him (and called it “biological reversion” ew). But before all this happened, September went to a lab many hundreds of years in the future and found Michael, an anomaly, and stopped his maturation into a full Observer. Michael is different from the other Observers – he has both the enormous capacity for intelligence AND emotions. He’s empathic to the utmost degree, and is the best of both Observers and humans. September tells us that Observers in fact came from human experimentation, in a lab in France on February 20, 2167, when scientists discovered how to rewire the brain to eliminate certain emotions – jealousy, greed, anger. Their original intent was to cut only the negative emotions, but it soon led to all emotions being eliminated in favor of greater brain power. Because love was not present, reproduction was relegated to labs (hence no women and children). Michael was developed from certain genes – September’s. Michael is September’s biological son. He hid Michael in the past, with Walter, to keep him safe.
You ready for the Plan? Here it is! The Plan is to send Michael forward in time to the lab in France in 2167, to show the scientists that you need emotions and that Observers would never need to be created. All of the pieces of the plan – the magnet, the rocks, the cylinders – are parts of a machine they need to construct to send Michael to the future.
Of course, Observers will then never be created and it’s all a giant time paradox…but somehow that will work itself out. Hopefully!
While we are getting all of this sparkling, glorious information at long last, Windmark has a meeting in the far future in Observerland with The Commander (confession: I was hoping for a cool-ass Abrams-verse actor here…no such luck). Windmark confesses he is consumed by his need to kill the Fringe team. The Commander refuses Windmark’s request to ‘suspend protocol’ to go after them, saying they are insignificant. Then he asks Windmark: is there something wrong with you? HELL YES, my friend. It’s called Observerous Assholerous. Windmark repeats his desire to kill them, and the Commander repeats his refusal. HA.
Back with the Fringe team and Donald (who chose his name from Singin’ In The Rain, Donald O’Connor, and it was the first movie he and Walter watched together), they all leave from Donald’s apartment just before the Observers arrive and start setting up a perimeter. The team pops into a storage unit that Donald has kept safe lo these many years for another piece of technology to create the device to send Michael to the future. Donald and Walter share a private moment, where Walter recounts a part of the Plan he hasn’t yet shared with the others. We find out that Walter will have to sacrifice himself to save the world and see the Plan through to the end. Donald tearfully confirms this is true, and reminds Walter of the strength the White Tulip gave him in the other timeline. Sad face! But I suspected something was coming down the pike for Walter and it wouldn’t be all sunshine and rainbows.
Windmark and fellow cronies are wandering around Donald’s apartment, looking at his music, his piano, his knickknacks, and feels Michael’s still-warm cup of hot cocoa. Donald, in the van with the Fringe team, says sadly “they are in my home.” I found that very sad and mournful – he has certainly endured a lot. He is watching from a video camera mounted above a door. He then detonates a bomb that blows his apartment – Windmark and his henchman sadly managed to blip out and avoid the explosion.
After they abandon their van, Donald mysteriously leaves them and the team splits up (Olivia and Michael; Peter and Walter) and manage to make it on to the monorail. However, teams of loyalists are bearing down on them, and at the last minute Michael deliberately steps off the train as the doors shut behind him, and allows himself to be captured and taken to Windmark as we all scream “NO NO NO NO!” from our couches.
But that’s all we get this week, folks! Stay tuned for the two-hour finale on Friday! Ahhhh!
Episode Rating: 10 out of 10 Red Vines! So much information! So much September/Donald! This was a fantastic episode that should have gone down ages ago, rather than hopping about with rocks and acid trips. I see that the Fringe writers knew exactly where they were going, but they had a hard time bridging the gap between “Letters of Transit” and the three-hour finale.
Glyph Code: GRACE. As in, Michael is their saving grace. A bit hokey, but I like it.
Burning Questions: How will Walter sacrifice himself? Is Bell still in amber? Is he popping out for one last hurrah? Is Broyles going to help them save the day? Most excitingly, how will our friends from Over There step in and kick some ass? We could see from the preview that Olivia goes Over There (AT LONG BLOODY LAST) to ask for help! I can’t wait to see Lincoln Lee, Fauxlivia, Charlie, and friends again!
I reserve my thoughts on this epic start to the finale because it is not necessarily fair to judge it by itself when it is part one of three parts, and a lot of setup at that. However, join me later this week as I count down the last days of Fringe!