I am back, Fringe fans, after a brief hiatus involving my birthday, Thanksgiving travel, lots of pathetic sniffling and cough medicine Walter would approve of for it’s hallucinagenic properties. I know you are all thrilled! So, after last time’s disappointing outing in the pocket universe, this week’s episode, “Five Twenty Ten,” was a nice return to Fringe badassery of days of yore. Too bad it all has to come at the expense of the Peter that I know and love so much.
Yes, Peter is pretty much becoming an Observer, y’all. We saw it happening the last couple eps but it’s still disturbing to watch him tilt his head, looking beyond what’s in front of him into the infinite timelines of possibility. His newfound abilities are helpful in the fight to save the world, however, since he manages to deliver quite a blow to the Bald Regime! He manages to swap briefcases with one of the Observers, a close lieutenant to Windmark named Mueller. The new briefcase contains a biological weapon that is timed to detonate just as Mueller and two more of Windmark’s top lieutenants meet up in an office building in Manhattan. The bomb releases the same flesh-melting toxin we saw in the Fringe pilot, and they quickly die horrible deaths. Peter gets word from fellow Resistance fighter Anil that all has gone to plan, and he looks up at a picture of Etta on the side of a building, smiling a creepy but satisfied smile at his revenge. Yes, it was cool! But also scary. Peter is no longer the Peter we rooted for all these seasons. Instead, this is a wounded, scarred, and hardened Peter who is becoming like the robotic Observer overlords that are destroying Earth. The irony is, this may be the only way to beat them at their own game. They are kind of like the Borg – they just keep coming, relentless, and sometimes the only way to take them down is to become assimilated and take them out from within.
Back at the lab, Walter and Astrid have liberated another tape from the amber, instructing them to hightail it over to a storage facility where two of the silver Observer cylinders we’ve seen several times before are hidden. The storage facility used to be Bell’s, which is why Walter cut off his hand and took it with them when Etta got them out of the amber. The team makes their way to the facility, only to find it partially demolished, with loads of caved-in concrete blocking their path. It’s time to go see Nina Sharp about some unobtrusive explosives!
Nina is thrilled to see Olivia out and about (as you will recall, she was still unaccounted for when Etta went to visit Nina with Simon and Walter in “Letters of Transit”). After all, this was someone she raised as a daughter, even though Olivia remembers little of that timeline. After their reunion, she says Massive Dynamic can help with the blocked storage facility problemo, since the Observers have tech that can move large amounts of land and rock to construct their air-pollution machines. While a scientist is getting them the necessary parts, Walter asks her if he seems different, arrogant, similar to Walternate, since the brain pieces are back in his head. Nina says no, and Walter says he feels confident that Peter’s love will keep him loveable fudgesicle-and-Red-Vines Walter, and not evil Secretary Bishop. Nina remarks that her love for Bell was not enough to keep him from falling prey to the lure of power and playing God, to which Walter snaps that Bell never actually loved her, only himself. Poor Nina’s eyes fill with tears as she tells Walter that she does, in fact, see the cruel Walternate rearing his ugly head. Tsk, tsk Walter! Way to be a jerk! Honestly, I might be more worried about this turn of personality if it weren’t for the extreme transformation Peter is undergoing.
With the Observer technology, the gang manages to get to the storage unit, where Walter is shocked to find that Bell has nicked his David Bowie vinyl. “Belly, you monster!” I love how this is the point at which Walter calls Bell a monster. They then find a safe, although Walter has trouble remembering the password Bell used for everything – too much LSD leads to forgetfulness on Bell’s part, since his passwords are always Five, Twenty, Ten. Hey look episode title! Also, for the record, we have seen this password before in Florida as the password for the Cortexiphan school. I just rewatched that ep, so I am in the know! Peter uses his newfound Observer-itude to help Walter calm down and remember the password – did he just reach into Walter’s mind and show him this info? Perhaps! No way to know just how deep Peter is in with his mind powers.
Inside the safe is a weird little device that looks like a remote control or garage door opener, and…a picture of Nina Sharp. Dawwwww. Nerd love. Bell did love Nina after all, and Walter takes the photo with him. The moment Peter touches the device, two cylinders burrow out of the floor – jackpot! Since it only reacted to Peter and none of the others, this leads us to believe that only Observers can summon these bad boys, although Peter has successfully summoned September with one in the past. Speaking of Observers, they can’t stay distracted forever, and are hot on the gang’s trail. Peter tells them “It’s logical to split up” in his new Observer-speak, prompting Olivia to look at him all funny. That’s right, honey! Something ain’t right! Olivia, Walter (clutching his Bowie vinyl) and Astrid head back for the lab, and Peter goes to Etta’s apartment.
We see Walter stopping by Massive Dynamic to give Nina the photo of herself from Bell’s safe. This is quite a touching scene. Nina really got the short end too, in terms of relationships. So many lonely souls on this show. Even after Peter and Olivia got together, Etta’s disappearance broke them apart again. No one else really has anything approaching a normal relationship, either. It’s a lonely task, saving the universe(s)!
Olivia finds Peter later, at Etta’s apartment, drawing all over clear marker-boards (I was going to write clear white boards, but that makes no sense…) as he sees all the different timelines. Olivia is wigged out even further, and Peter tells her about the Obeserver neck tech. The way he tells her indicates he doesn’t give a crap that she knows, and therefore doesn’t really subscribe to human emotion anymore. He also tells her that since his lieutenant-melting plan worked, he’s going after Windmark next and is going to avenge Etta. Olivia can’t really believe what is happening, and leaves to presumably get some backup assistance from the rest of the group. Peter, in a VERY SAD turn of events, reaches up to run his fingers through his hair, only to find a clump of it coming out. Ahhhh! NOOOO! I love Peter’s hair! This is even sadder than Etta dying.
My Thoughts: A very solid hour! Things were accomplished, bad guys were murdered, secrets were revealed. This was a much better hour than the last pocket-universe situation, and I was grateful for it. We really got to see the depth of emotion in nearly everyone but Peter, who used to be the emotional heart of the team and the show. Walter’s fretting over his mean parts asserting themselves, Nina’s lost love for Bell (and also for Olivia a bit), Astrid caring about her friends when she asked how things were with Peter and Olivia’s worried response…everyone was really on their game this week. I can’t believe there are only 6 episodes left! It is cruel and unusual.
Still no closer to: Who is Donald? Who is the Observer kid from the pocket universe? Why did we need to waste an hour on red rocks?
Did you know? David Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold the World” was playing over Peter and Olivia’s final scene of the episode. Do you know what David Bowie’s real name is? David Robert Jones OMG. Also, has Peter sold out the world in exchange for revenge? A scary thought to contemplate. I hope we have a happy ending for these fools. I love them to bits, but it’s looking bleaker and bleaker.
Episode rating: 7 out of 10 Red Vines. I am very sad about Peter’s glorious hair.
Glyph code: TRUST. As in, Peter says you can trust him but I don’t know anymore!
Three weeks until a new episode has been some fine torture, hasn’t it? But the next ep, entitled “The Human Kind” airs next Friday! Be there, or be a hot-sauce swilling Bald Overlord!