Fringe Double Recap: ‘The Bullet That Saved the World’ and ‘An Origin Story’

Fringe fans! Your long nightmare is over, I am back from an amazing sojourn to Europe (yes, I am very fabulous and continental, thank you for saying so) to continue to recap our favorite quirky scifi drama. Hurricane Sandy delayed my return, and we at the Fridge hope all of you are safe, dry and with power once again. Sandy, however, seems to have had no lasting impact on the Manhattan of future Fringe world – no, they are just dealing with toxic air and bald jerks trying to take away hope and individuality!

(Note: you may have noticed I skipped recapping “The Recordist” – that is because it SUCKED, my friends. Having a show about forest people with tree bark skin disorder and some sort of murderous rocks that Walter insists we need for the plan to go forward? LAME-O. An unnecessary hour when we have such precious little time left with our Fringe team. I give it a 1 out of 10 Red Vines, my lowest ever rating. For shame, Fringe writers! The Glyph code for this ep was ‘Anger’. Yes! I felt anger at this stupid episode! Ahem. Back to your regularly scheduled recap.)

The Bullet That Saved the World

This episode was action-packed and rocking from the very beginning all the way through to the gut-wrenching final scene. Good Lord, it was an insane ride! I come home from Europe and THIS IS WHAT YOU DO TO ME??? So much for hope! But I am getting ahead of myself.  First, we see Peter siphoning some gas to trade for a new necklace for Etta.  If you ask me, he took a pretty huge risk for that chain, as he was then read by an Observer and had to flee.  After getting ahead of a grenade blast, he wakes up outside the sewer and makes his way back to the Harvard lab, where the Fringe team is still laboring undetected.  Astrid and Walter are bickering over the proper laser procedure for tape removal, and Peter, garnering concerned looks from Olivia for his bloodied state, presents Etta with her new necklace.

The pawn shop is now being investigated, as our homeslice Broyles (am I the only one who thinks his ‘old’ makeup looks really poorly done and caked on?) meets up with Overlord Asshole Windmark to assess why he thinks Peter would buy a necklace.  Broyles kind of sighs and looks at him like he’s a total moron. I miss Broyles’ disdainful looks! We love you, Lance Reddick.

The second tape, now freed from amber, reveals that Walter hid some essential plans in Penn Station, NYC. Being guarded by Baldys and loyalists alike, this place is going to be hard to bust into.  But here comes the BEST PART you guys!! Walter has been hoarding Fringe event paraphernalia in a secret room under the lab, and it’s time to create some Fringe events of their own!!! We take a brief wander down memory lane, seeing the window to Over There, those crystallized body parts from season 2, the giant nasty worm (also season 2), exploding dolls that gave off the blue stuff (season 3), and a really, really foul donut hole that Walter ACTUALLY TASTED and it was growing MOLD TENTACLES. That might be the grossest thing Walter has ever done. Then he said “Oh look, Olivia! My Porcupine man!” Dawwww. Memories.

Meanwhile, some jerk Observers are torturing a Resistance-friendly loyalist, and get the name ‘Anil’ out of his brain. We then bounce back to the lab to see Astrid making wee bombs out of the blue skin-growing dust from season 2 while Walter and Peter play with a pressurized gun, the two of them having a bit too much fun.  Still, it’s lovely to see a bit of lightheartedness. Another reason why this episode has it all! It also has deep conversations, where Olivia and Etta have a bit of a heart-to-heart about the bullet Etta wears.  Olivia is shocked to see it, and Etta tells her that she got it from their looted house after the world went to hell, and she’s been wearing it since she was 13. Olivia tells her that she and Peter used to call it ‘the bullet that saved the world,’ and while they don’t explicitly say so, it’s gotta be the bullet Walter shot into and pulled out of Olivia’s head in the season 4 finale. 

Walter drives up to the guards at Penn Station, pretending to be a lovable old dude who just got turned around.  After they electrocute him (which he doesn’t mind at all, lol what a weirdo) he busts out some toxin in their faces! Olivia and Astrid then use the guns on the rest of the guards, who are all growing skin over their orifices at this point, while Walter and Peter find the plans hidden in a wall under the station. They all high-tail it out of there, reconvening under a nearby bridge (allusions to the bridge Peter created?  Bring back Over There! We need your help!). Walter can’t make any sense of his papers, but it’s ok because Etta has a surprise for everyone. Broyles pulls up like the badass he is, and he and the Fringe team have a nice little reunion.  Olivia and Broyles hug…awwww. He’s also brought them explosives and guns!  Nice going. He also tells the team that Etta has helped him learn how to hide his thoughts from the Observers – foreshadowing!  Peter wanted to learn this technique after being read in the pawn shop. Etta is a Cortexiphan baby like her mama, but she’s sharing the wealth just a bit.  Good to know.

Our Fringe team fun times are nearing an end, since some idiot popped a tracker on the team’s car.  Out of nowhere a bald dude pops out of the air, and Olivia shoots that jerk dead! But their cover is blown, and after taking custody of the plans, Broyles books it so he can keep his position with the Observers. The rest of the team run to a nearby warehouse for cover and split up (WHY ARE YOU SPLITTING UP??) to divide and conquer the Observers and loyalists.  This leaves Etta alone and vulnerable, giving Windmark the opportunity to pop in.  He grabs Etta by the throat and reads her mind, baffled by the concept that Peter got her the necklace out of love.  Windmark then gets out his gun and shoots Etta square in the chest.


Peter, Olivia, and Walter find Etta on the ground, gasping for breath.  Peter is beside himself, not wanting to lose her again, and Olivia looks as though she can’t believe this is happening. Etta gives the necklace to Olivia and tells them it’s time to let her go.  Etta enables one of the antimatter bombs, not giving her parents a choice. After one last hug, the team runs for it and the bomb detonates.  Most of the Observers and loyalists die, but Windmark bugs out in time to save his own sorry butt.  The fans and Peter vow revenge.

My Thoughts: OMG YOU GUYS. THEY KILLED ETTA. Etta! The reason for the season! I can’t believe they would kill Peter and Olivia’s child just as they got her back, and so soon into the final episodes. It was so very sad and heartbreaking, and I’m still very down about it. Many think this is yet another indication that the timeline will be reset and Peter and Olivia will get their family back…I’m not sure.  Either that or they will all die, but the world will be fixed.  No matter what, it’s a tad depressing. This was an excellent episode, however. It had all the right elements – Walter being crazy, Fringe science, the team’s love for each other, Broyles being badass, evil bad guys. Definitely the best of the season so far.

One other thing: who is The Dove? Etta says this person is passing on info to aid the Resistance. Broyles? Nina? I like the idea of it being Nina. Also, can we get William Bell out of the amber please? I’d like to know what’s going on there.

Episode Rating: 10 out of 10 Red Vines! No higher praise. All the actors brought their A game, as did the writers. Can’t wait to see them cause more Fringe events, especially as they need to avenge Etta’s death.

Glyph Code: WOUND. For real. We loved you too, Etta.

An Origin Story

Straight into the follow-up episode to Etta’s shocking death, we see the Fringe team wracked with grief.  Peter is affected the most, touching his daughter’s possessions in her apartment while Olivia sleeps, numb with loss.  Peter finds a hidden button that unlocks a picture frame from a nearby wall, revealing an arsenal Etta was keeping in case of emergencies.  “That’s my girl.” SO SAD.

We see some static electricity popping around a post-apocalyptic street, then a team of Observers arrive with some fancy future tech and a wormhole opens. Marching out of the wormhole are what appear to be cargo cubes, sending the Observers what they need to keep things running smoothly in Operation Takeover and Destroy Earth’s Atmosphere. At least that’s what I’m calling it.  I really don’t get why they are murdering a planet they supposedly need after already destroying it in the future. Makey no sense!! Hello!

We then hear from Anil, who has captured an Observer and his little book of symbols, which they think holds a shipping manifest with dates and times of the next shipments. They also have a cube of Observer tech that opened up the wormhole. If they can figure out when the next shipment is and how to use the cube, they can cause some mayhem. Anil wants to blow up the next shipment, but Peter is thinking globally.  Walter helps demonstrate wormholes, black holes and antimatter in the lab, showing how they could turn the wormhole into a black hole, destroying everything on the other side and halting supply runs for potentially years. Peter, after spending time with the foreign technology (and zapping himself several times), decides it is time to beat those answers out of the Observer prisoner. And while torture is wrong, I cheered when I saw the tied up jerk and happily egged Peter on when he got down to some punching.  Jack Bauer (of 24) would approve!

Using a camera to judge the Observer’s pupil dilations, Peter correctly assembles the cube. Astrid, while running multiple decryption programs at once to analyze the notebook, figures out when the next shipment is due. They use the box at the right place and time to open the hol,e and toss in some antimatter bombs. It collapses and scorches the earth, apparently going up in flames and black-hole-ness.  We think the team has succeeded (YAY!) but then another wormhole opens across the street, on schedule, with boxes marching out (BOO!). Peter is enraged, not knowing what went wrong.  He heads back to the prisoner Observer, who mocks him again, saying “you don’t know what you don’t know” and says Peter based all his decisions on emotions.  Further enraged and after some more punching, Peter takes a scalpel to the back of the Observer’s neck and cuts out his core processor or whatever it is.  Peter says that if he had Observer tech in his body, he’d be capable of so much more and he’d use it to end the Observer occupation.  Well, he takes that needle-thing and makes a slice in his own neck (EWWW), and it slides in to join with his brain stem. How monumentally dumb is that?  No way this is going to end well. Plus how would they remove it?  Looks like the prisoner died after Peter took it out.  Good grief. it’s not like Peter is thinking clearly, but this is a problemo!!! I’m sure he’s going to get special ninja skills, but at what cost?

Olivia, meanwhile, spends most of the episode wondering what her daughter died for.  Walter gives her a tape of one of Etta’s birthday parties, showing her, Peter, and Etta as a happy family. This makes her realizes how much she doesn’t want her and Peter to fight again, abandoning each other in their grief. Peter appears on a different path, one fraught with peril and vengeance. I do not think Olivia would approve of the needle-in-the-neck idea. But maybe this time, Peter will be the one who saves the world.  It’s sort of his turn again, after the whole Olivia-bullet thing in last year’s finale.

My Thoughts: Peter and Olivia are two very special people (as is Walter), but I am thinking in terms of uniqueness.  Peter is only present in one universe, saved by Walter’s love, and was the only one able to work the Machine (remember that thing?) and make sense of the Observer technology.  He went into September’s mind, he bridged the universes, and now he’s becoming an Observer/Peter hybrid.  Olivia, of course, is a bit less ‘special’ this season in terms of her ninja Cortexiphan skills, but she and Peter created Etta, who also is unique and obviously possessed some of the magic of Cortexiphan. My point is that if anyone can save the world, it’s these two. I try to remember that in the wake of episodes where nothing is going right and everyone seems to have gone nuts. The poor Bishop family – so much sorrow.

Episode Rating: 8 out of 10 Red Vines.  A very solid outing.  I particularly enjoyed the team seeing Etta’s face everywhere as the symbol of the Resistance. Fight the good fight, my homies!

Glyph Code: FIGHT. See? They are fighting for their freedom.  Woot.

Next episode: “Through the Looking Glass, and What Walter Found There.”  Are we going back Over There?  Omg, I hope so. Lincoln Lee! Fauxlivia! Charlie! Walternate! Asperger’s Astrid!  We’ve missed you!

Written by: Amy Imhoff

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