"Anomaly XB-6783746" (5.10)

"Anomaly XB-6783746" is a good episode, especially because of the amazing cliffhanger. I had, however, been hoping that we would finally find out why Michael had been underground prior to "Inner Child" (1.15), but we still do not. It is really interesting how Michael does not have technology in his head because that begs the question of why he is bald. After all, after Peter put the technology in his head, he started to lose his hair, which suggests that the tech is what causes hairlessness. I had been wondering why they didn't find any tech when they examined him back in "Inner Child" and now know why. It's also kind of cool how the Observers pick up sound from the glass around where Nina had been to find out what she had said because this is a callback to science that we see in the season 1 episode "The Road Not Taken" (1.19). We definitely, by the way, see traces of Walternate and the old Walter bleeding through Walter throughout this episode as he, more than once, refers to Michael as the subject, which does not make Peter very happy.

For a few years now, I have been hoping that Nina would finally be held accountable for all that she did - cloning Christopher Penrose and Tyler Carson, more than likely killing Mark Young and George Morales, and so forth. She is not exactly held accountable, but I love how the writers didn't just forget about all of that and addressed it within this episode. Nina admits that Massive Dynamic had black labs, and when Olivia says that he hadn't known that, Nina says that she is glad that she can still manage to surprise her. Olivia does not look happy about this at all. It is kind of annoying that Astrid is left all alone in the lab yet again. One would think that they would have learned their lesson after she was attacked near the end of "Through the Looking Glass and What Walter Found There" (5.06), but I am starting to sound like a broken record because I always complain when Astrid is left alone in the lab; it just doesn't make sense to me.


I figured early on in the episode that Nina might be in trouble, and sure enough, she definitely is, and Windmark is onto her. When she and the team go to the Massive Dynamic black lab, we see that an Observer's corpse is there and has been experimented on so that they would better understand Observers. I'm not 100% sure, but I think that that is the same Observer that Peter killed to remove the tech from back near the end of "An Origin Story" (5.05). Michael communicates with Nina after the team leaves and holds one of his hands to her face. I'm not completely sure what he told her, but considering what she eventually does, he probably told her that she would have to sacrifice herself, which she does. To avoid being read, Nina grabs a gun from a Loyalist and shoots herself in the head right in front of Windmark, after Michael had hidden himself in the container in which the Observer corpse is, in a compartment underneath the Observer.


This definitely came as a shock to me, and the team, especially Walter, doesn't take it very well, either. Walter really loses it. The team sees that Nina understood that she would have to kill herself in order for their victory against the Observers, and it is quite apparent that they appreciate her sacrifice. I think that this further supported my theory that Walter would die by the end of the series because not only does she, herself, sacrifice herself, but she says to Peter earlier in the episode that Walter understands that sometimes, one must make a sacrifice for something important. I have been saying all season long that Walter would probably die; in fact, I think that I have been saying that even longer than that, and this episode definitely helps give support to that idea. Blair Brown said shortly after this episode aired that she was very happy with how Nina's story ended. She certainly went out with a bang; that's for sure, and having her in this episode was very beneficial.


There is great dialogue between Nina and Windmark. After Windmark sees the Observer corpse, he says, "You... animals," and this really reminds me of how he called the sealant from "The Bullet That Saved the World" (5.04) "barbaric" as if he, himself, is not barbaric at all. It's not a major answer, but we do learn from this episode why it is that the Observers cock their head the way that they do. The angle allows in more stimuli, like a lizard. She says, though, that even after all of the evolution that lizards have gone through, they still are unable to form bonds, unable to love someone else, unable to understand something greater than themselves, much like the Observers. I love this, and we also learn a little bit about Michael. We learn that he was, more or less, a mistake that was designated as Anomaly XB-6783746, and that he was scheduled for termination but, for some reason, went missing. That's as much as we learn about Michael from this episode, but it's something, at least.


Throughout the episode, I kept hoping that Hastings would be okay and that he wouldn't die. We don't know him all that well, but he was definitely really scared, and I felt really sorry for him. Luckily, he ends up being fine, though, because just as a Loyalist comes into the interrogation room in which he is being held and says, "We're going to make an example of you," the team comes in, and Olivia says, "My thoughts, exactly." I love Olivia. It reminds me of when, earlier in the season, she says to an Observer, "Yeah, it's that type of gun." The cliffhanger of this episode is amazing and is why I think that the episode is so good; this is definitely one of the best cliffhangers of the entire series so far. Michael shows Walter that Donald is September, and this is quite the shocker. People had been speculating about this, but I wasn't on board with it because I couldn't understand why September would have hair, but sure enough, it is true, and I was totally taken aback. I give this episode 9 chromosomal mistakes, the ending being enough to support the high rating.

"Black Blotter" (5.09)

"Black Blotter" is this season's, which means, of course, the final, special "out of the box" episode of Fringe, and I am very pleased with it. I find it to be much better than last year's "Letters of Transit" because that ultimately serves as the season 5 premiere, not as a special "out of the box" genre-bending episode. The episode begins with Astrid in her pajamas as she hears the radio transmitting; it was kind of funny to see Astrid in her pajamas. I wonder from this scene, too, why Peter and Olivia don't share a bed. Is it because, perhaps, Peter isn't feeling all that well? Is it because the cots are so small? It is a bit perplexing but not a big deal, and I let it go. I really like how Olivia asks Peter if he needs anything, and he says, "No, I've got everything I need right here." That is such a sweet line and shows how powerful love can be. Even after losing their daughter, even in the world in which they live, they can find peace in just being together. I find it kind of ironic that Peter is now telling Walter what he thinks isn't a good idea. Walter tells Peter that Nina agreed to help Walter remove the pieces of his brain that Etta and Simon put back in, and Peter says that that is not a good idea. This is ironic because in the last episode, Walter was the one trying to tell Peter that Peter's actions were not a good idea. It is also kind of ironic that Walter now wants those pieces removed, even though it is for a very good reason, because if we go all the way back to the season 2 finale "Over There" (2.21) (2.22), Walter is extremely frustrated with Bell and angrily says that he is a broken man because of Bell having removed pieces of his brain in the past. I always find the parallels and the ironies interesting on Fringe.

I really love the scene during which Peter tells Olivia that he is lucky to have her. He says that he did the very thing that he promised that he wouldn't - left her again, and he says that he doesn't deserve her. It's really cool to think back on who Peter was in the pilot episode of the series, the lying opportunist and manipulative conman that he was, and who he is now. He has certainly developed and changed a great deal. The following is pretty cool because Sam Weiss is mentioned again; the man in the van was initially thought to be Donald, but then, Olivia finds out that he was, in fact, Sam Weiss. Sam Weiss is now dead, and I wonder why he was protecting the signal. Who tasked him to do that? Was he working with Donald? It doesn't make a whole lot of sense because Sam shouldn't have had any involvement in this timeline. When Peter was erased, that would have prevented him from ever bringing Sam back into the past with him and giving him the First People manuscript, but maybe, for whatever reason, he still helped Nina after she lost her arm. Wyman technically lied because he said that we would not be dealing with Weiss anymore, but I use the word technically because in a sense, we haven't dealt with him again since all we saw was a corpse, not Sam when he was alive, and obviously, Kevin Corrigan was not involved. It definitely came as a surprise, though, for him to have even been mentioned, as I figured that we were totally done with him.

What makes this episode the special episode? Walter, of course, goes on another drug trip. I do admit that I am tired of drugs being the source of the special episode. "Brown Betty" is an adventure that Walter tells Ella because he's tripping on a drug that he calls Brown Betty. "Lysergic Acid Diethylamide" is a drug trip through Olivia's mind, and this episode is a drug trip that shows us Walter's skeletons in the closet. Walter is desperate to remember September's plan and, therefore, figures that a drug trip might help him, so he takes something that he calls Black Blotter, and he sees a number of things from his past that haunt him. He sees Carla Warren, the lab assistant who died in the lab fire that he caused. She is very antagonistic and reminds him of how terrible of a man that he once was. At one point, we see her burned corpse, which is very macabre. He also sees Nina when she was a younger woman, who seems to be a bit more supportive; it's interesting how she, in a sense, represents the angel while Carla represents the devil, and that could be because Nina seemingly forgave Walter for having lost her arm, but Walter never received forgiveness from Carla because she died. I do find it odd that he didn't see Elizabeth, since he seemed to be seeing people that he had victimized, but maybe, the actress Orla Brady was not available. Besides, in a sense, he does see her because memories from "Peter" (2.15) play on the walls of the lab as a montage, which is a really great scene. "Peter" is still probably my favorite episode of the series, although it's tough to say for sure because I really love "A New Day in the Old Town" (2.01), as well. It is an emotional episode, for sure, as this is probably the most intimate experience that we have had getting inside of Walter's head.

The Observer Child, or, as we now know him as - Michael, is seen in this episode as the events of "Through the Looking Glass and What Walter Found There" (5.06) finally come to fruition. Michael's adoptive father says that Donald left a password with him so that when the right people came for Michael, he would know that they were the right people. Walter then has a really trippy Monty Python-inspired animated vision during which he rides a cow whom I am assuming was supposed to be Gene. We also see a frog, a dog, a seahorse, and babies, amongst other things, and many of these harbor connections to the series, as the frog, the seahorse, and the babies are all either glyphs or parts of a glyph (the apple glyph as babies at the core). I am not sure about the dog, although it could be the dog that Peter had as a child. I am not sure, not that it's all that important, whether Walter actually experienced this (meaning that he felt himself riding on a cow, etc.) or if it was nothing more than a vision in his head. Either way, it leads him to the realization that Black Umbrella, a term that he found in a book underneath a floor in the lab, is the password. Michael's adoptive father says, "I never doubted that Michael was important, that he was meant for something great." I love this line because it obviously hints at Michael being a pivotal part of the plan to defeat the Observers. This scene leaves me wondering something. In "Inner Child" (1.15), the Child is given to a family for adoption, and is this the family to whom he was given? Obviously, he is genetically different from humans, so what happened when the family took him to the doctor's office for physicals and whatnot? As a child, he would have been required to go to school, so what would that have meant for him? These are all questions that I have in my head but that probably aren't too important, though.

The scene during which the team tries to evade the Loyalists at the bay (or lake; I'm not sure what it is, exactly), Walter is pretty funny. A Loyalist tries to shoot at them, and Walter, confused, asks, "Why is he shooting at us?" I love this, as if he's not in a world ruled by emotionless drones that are bent on world domination. I love how he sees Emerald City across the water, yet another Wizard of Oz reference on Fringe, and there seems, for whatever reason, to be a lot of green in this episode. I also love how Astrid holds on to Walter; that is so sweet. She and Walter have such a special bond, an unconventional bond that can't really be explained because it's not really father and daughter, but it's definitely more than just friends, too. It can't be defined, and that's something that I've always loved about Fringe; it has always been about love, an unconventional, dysfunctional family that goes through turmoil but holds onto love at the end of the day. There are plenty of funny scenes during this episode, even though, by the end, you realize just how serious of an episode that it really is. For example, I love it when Walter flicks the green fairy away; that is hilarious. I wonder why he envisions fairies; there is a green and a red one, and all that comes to mind as far as that is concerned is the green and red repetition that we have seen since season 1. Also, Green Fairy is a nickname of absinthe, and Walter definitely saw the green fairy a lot more than he did the red one, so maybe, he drank absinthe along with dropping the acid? I doubt it because it seems like he would have said so, but it's just a thought. In closing, though, this is a pretty good episode, although I do wish that it had done something a little crazier like a claymation episode or a sitcom, something like that, but I guess that they couldn't do something too crazy with it being so close to the end of the series. I give "Black Blotter" 8.5 Walter Python trips.

"The Human Kind" (5.08)

"The Human Kind" is a fairly decent episode, and I give it 8 invulnerabilities to space and time. After the events of "Five-Twenty-Ten" (5.07), one of my first questions is to whom Olivia would turn to for emotional help and for help saving the world. Anil had never occurred to me, for some reason, and it's not like we see him persistently as a major character throughout a majority of the episode, but it's clear that as soon as she left Etta's apartment at the end of the last episode, she sought out Anil. While Olivia waits for Anil, she sees people taking down the Etta RESIST posters, and this sort of answers a question that a lot of fans have seemed to have for a while now - why are the Observers allowing these posters to stay up? Well, apparently, they're not. Was anyone else grossed out by how big the technological device that Peter put in his head is? Anil shows one to Olivia at the beginning of the episode, and then, we see the one that Peter put in his head after he takes it out. I do realize that we obviously already saw what it looked like at the end of "An Origin Story" (5.05) when Peter put his in his head, but I don't remember it being that large, and it's disgusting. "The Human Kind" finally shows us the Jill Scott character; I am admittedly not familiar with Jill Scott (or, at least, I wasn't), but I have known about the character Simone for quite some time, as something - I think that it was Entertainment Weekly - revealed it, saying that Jill Scott would play a mysterious Oracle-like woman named Simone. I was expecting it much earlier than this because they said that it would be early in the season, and this definitely wasn't early; this was more than halfway through. I wonder if we'll ever find out how she got her gift; unfortunately, I doubt it, and I think that we have seen the last of her. I wonder, though, if that she is the child of a Cortexiphan subject.

We see from the futures that Peter has mapped out on the glass that Windmark, at a certain time (I believe that it was 4:32 a.m.), was to respond to a disturbance, so I am guessing that the Observers act as police, too. What happened to former policemen, if this is the case? Were they given the choice of either becoming Loyalists or being executed, perhaps? That is so interesting to me because I hadn't really realized that the Observers were policing, certainly not in regards to domestic disturbances and whatnot. I wonder who else, like me, half-expected Windmark to kill the guy who spilled tea on him? I expected him to snap his neck or something, but instead, the man cleans the mess up a bit until Windmark says, "That's enough" and carries on. I suppose that Windmark, like most Observers, have no need for anger. He, however, seems so carnal at times. For example, when he encounters Peter, telling him that he had led him there, he says, "Everything has taken place as I intended," and he reminds me so much of Palpatine from Star Wars. He seems to have taken pleasure in the fact that he has caused Peter pain; he seems sadistic. His line, "Your emotions make you weak" really reminds me of Jones, because Jones, during "The Consultant" (4.18), says to Colonel Broyles, "Love makes us vulnerable, but it also makes us human, I suppose." Peter, too, affirms that "she [Etta] will be avenged," again having had me wondering about his emotions being inhibited; however, Olivia, at the end of the episode says, "Soon, you're not going to be able to feel anything, not for me, not for Etta," suggesting that a total emotional compression has not occurred yet, explaining why he might have taken on Observer mannerisms but still feel a drive for revenge.

Something that I really like about this episode is that we get the opportunity to get more concrete answers about the Observers' psychology, if you will. Walter and Astrid and everyone now know about the technology that Peter put inside his head, and we learn that the technology makes the cerebral cortex become so thick that it overrides the area of the brain that controls emotions; this is a very cool scene. I love how Walter tests the device on Porcuman's brain; the writers must have really liked Porcuman because they keep revisiting him. Am I hearing things, though, or does Walter refer to Astrid as "miss" when he asks her to retrieve Porcuman's brain? That is kind of odd, if so, even for him, because he usually, at least refers to her by a name, usually one that starts with A, but he does call her Asner later in the episode, which I find funny because who is even named Asner? I have never heard that name before. Peter shows up at the lab after his violent altercation with Windmark, after almost being killed, and he is wounded. Walter asks him if it hurts, and Peter says, "There is no pain." Does this mean that the technology inhibits physical pain, as well? It would make sense because when September was shot, he didn't seem to be in any physical pain. Speaking of being shot, though, when did Olivia catch bullets? She mentions having caught bullets in mid-air to Simone, and I don't remember that ever having happened. In fact, in the 2026 "The Day We Died" (3.22) future, her Cortexiphan abilities were at their peak, and she certainly didn't catch a bullet, then. Perhaps, she is referring to something that happened offscreen, something that we haven't seen; it is perplexing.

I love the conversation between Olivia and Simone because it is the same theme that is so prevalent on The X-Files, Star Trek: Voyager, LOST, etc. Are you a person of science or a person of faith? I don't necessarily thank that Simone refers to God when she refers to faith; I think that she is simply referring to having faith that sometimes, odd things happen just because they do and that there doesn't need to be an explanation that makes sense. I think that the purpose of the conversation within the episode is not only simply to provide viewers with some philosophy to ponder but also to finally set the record straight that Fringe is not The X-Files because whereas Simone is The X-Files, Olivia is Fringe; Fringe has always been a show that has based its phenomena on science, but The X-Files so often offered up witches, vampires, ghosts, and so forth, and they existed just because they did, not because there was any scientific explanation for them. We, once again, see that Olivia is good with kids, and even though, in a sense, she just uses Darby because she knows that she is young and will, therefore, willingly offer up answers, I do think that her generosity is genuine, as it's consistent with how we have always seen her treat children. We also see, as usual, that after Olivia leaves Simone's residence and gets captured by thieves, that she is an incredibly smart and resourceful woman when we see how she escapes; she rigs a weapon and uses the bullet that saved the world (which, although now misshaped, she is later able to retrieve) to shoot a captor and escape that way. She always uses what's available to her, just like she did near the beginning of "Bound" (1.11). We also see, as has been shown before, that Olivia's empathy for others is a potential weakness because her need to see if the "people" (who were really dolls set for a trap) are okay is what lands her into trouble; this same mechanism is also used against Sydney Bristow on Alias.

I love the ending of the episode because once again, love prevails. Once again, love wins the battle, and Olivia is able to save Peter, is able to pull him back. I love how, before Peter finally gives in and removes the technology from his head, Olivia says, "Peter, look at me; I love you." Then, there are flashes of their love, what they have shared together throughout all of these years, and it's such a moving, beautiful scene, and I am not going to lie and say that I didn't cry because I did. Then, after he does remove the technology from his head, he leans into her, she holds him, and she repeats, "I love you." Some would and probably do call the scene really sappy, but I think that it's extremely beautiful. The technology also seemed rather to remove because even though it did seem rather painful, it didn't take very long. I can't deny, though, that I am a bit disappointed by the ending of this episode because even though it's so beautiful and I'm really happy that love has prevailed and that Olivia managed to pull Peter back, I was really excited to see Peter go full-on Observer. Since the last episode ended with Peter acting completely Observer and his hair beginning to fall out, I was excited because the story was just so intense and I was so excited to see Peter as a full-on Observer, as I said. I had expected him to look like Josh Jackson was dressed at the ComicCon event prior to season 4 airing, but now, we're not going to see that, and it makes me wonder if this is going to be another "Bellivia" storyline - fun, entertaining, but ultimately irrelevant by the end of the season, but who knows, maybe this was necessary; we'll find out soon enough. "The Human Kind" is a decent episode; I think that the mixed feelings about the ending is my only problem with it.

"Five-Twenty-Ten" (5.07)

"Five-Twenty-Ten" is a very good episode of Fringe. At the conclusion of the episode the first time that I watched it, I was so impressed that that was pretty much the point at which I had decided that this was, so far, my second favorite season of the series (my top favorite being season 2, which isn't going to change, I don't think; phenomenal season). I was very excited when I discovered this episode title because the series brought that combination of numbers - 5-20-10 - into the fold almost three years ago when Walter, during "Jacksonville" (2.14), reveals that that is the combination that he and Belly used for just about everything, and 5-20-10 also ended up being the date of the season 2 finale. I do admit that I had expected there to be a significance of the numbers revealed in this episode, and that does not happen; instead, they are simply a very small part of the story, as Walter struggles to remember the code as he tries to open Belly's safe. Was it just me, by the way, who expected Olivia to remember? Olivia was with Walter when he revealed the number, and we all know how amazing her memory is, especially in regards to numbers. She did not remember, however, and I have to admit that I am a bit disappointed by that. It was, indeed, a long time ago, but it still would have been a perfect opportunity for her ability to come into play, and it can't be suggested that her ability was due to Cortexiphan because she displayed it earlier in the season, which, of course, makes you wonder why Redverse Olivia does not share the ability. I, however, digress. I also find it odd that Walter seemed to easily remember the code in "Letters of Transit" (4.19) to open the vault at Massive Dynamic that contain the pieces of his brain that had been removed, the same code, but had trouble remembering it now, since, then, he was practically gone.

The very beginning of the episode is somewhat similar to something that we see in "The Plateau" (3.03) because in that episode, Milo does something similar; he, on a city street, sees possible course of events that would happen as a result of certain actions taken and maps probabilities out. A lot of us even wondered after that episode aired if Milo had some sort of connection to the Observers since he seemed to have such a similar ability. Something that I find odd about this scene, though, is that there are scattered conversations upon which Peter is picking up, and while they seem to be totally indistinct, I had captions on when I watched the episode on television, and the captions were revealing what the people were saying. It didn't seem to be anything significant, just everyday conversation, but I wonder why the captions were revealing statements that were being made when, to our ears, it's indistinct. It's probably not important at all; I just wanted to point it out. During this scene, though, something else comes to mind that I have pretty much been wondering since "Letters of Transit" (4.19). What do civilians think the Observers are? Are they aware of the truth, that they're from a future Earth? Are they aware of the technology in their heads? Do they think, since they call them Invaders (don't get me wrong; they are), that they're aliens? This season has done a lot to show us how the Invasion has affected our Fringe Division team (Etta's death, Peter's conversion to Observerdom, etc.), but it has done little to show us how it has affected civilization, and that's why, as the civilians carry on conversations and the driver gets annoyed with Peter during this scene, that comes to mind.

One reason that I really like this episode is that it offers up a great deal of answers. We finally learn why Belly was with the team when it was ambered, and it was because the team needed him in order to access the storage space because they needed the two Beacons that were there. Belly, apparently, betrayed them once again, and that's why Walter was unconcerned for him when they left him behind in the amber. I am also now convinced that when Walter, in "Letters of Transit" (4.19), reminds Astrid of what Belly did to Olivia, he is referring to season 4 events and her ultimate activation in "Brave New World" (4.21/4.22), since there doesn't seem to be any evidence of him having inflicted any more direct harm onto her beyond that point. I wonder if we will see Belly again by the end of the season; I definitely think that we will. I also wonder if any of what Walter "remembers" about Belly having betrayed him which ends up being a movie called Marathon Man that he is actually remembering is actually accurate. We also got a more concrete answer about what the function of the Beacons is, and, as Walter says on the tape that they play, they help the Observers locate points in space and time. That must be how they're not only able to travel through time but also can hop universes. There are, unfortunately, many questions on my list of unanswered questions to which I don't think we will ever get answers, but at least some big questions are being answered this season, such as the Child - a very major one.

I love how Walter refers to Astrid as Agnes. I can't recall if he has ever called her that before, but he just doesn't stop with the A names (and sometimes others such as Claire), and as I have said before, I definitely think that he does it on purpose. I am really happy that Astrid is finally out and about with the team and isn't back at the lab where she is alone. Maybe, that's because of the vehicles of Loyalists that show up just outside of the lab early in the episode and they finally decided to be smart and not put Astrid in danger, especially since she was attacked near the end of the last episode. I am also really happy to see some "girl" moments between her and Olivia; they are great together, and they really do not share enough scenes together. The most memorable one that comes to mind is when, during "Marionette" (3.09), Olivia is suffering a great deal and asks Astrid how Peter and Redverse Olivia were together. Astrid tells her that Peter seemed really happy but tries to comfort her by reminding her that Peter thought that Redverse Olivia was his Olivia - her. They really do need more screen time together, as I have always said that I would have liked to have seen the two of them as closer friends, and in this episode, once again, they discuss Peter, with Astrid counseling Olivia, Olivia saying that she is fearful that she is losing Peter. It's funny, too, because Anna Torv and Jasika Nicole are actually really great friends. I also love the look on Astrid's face when she tries to touch Dr. Hastings' devices and he scolds her; that is so hilarious.

Walter makes his usual drug reference when he points to a location nearby the storage facility and says that he used to drop acid there while he watched ships dock. His humorous lines usually are drug-related (or food-related), but they're still always funny, especially when, as he does in this case, he says them so nonchalantly. I am so happy that we get to see Nina again and really wish that Blair Brown (as well as Lance Reddick) were still series regulars. It seems as if FOX, knowing that this is definitely the last season, didn't put as much funding into this season, since neither Blair Brown nor Lance Reddick are series regulars anymore and have been featured on the show so little; it is a shame. Wyman and the gang were most likely forced to cut people that they could afford to for the sake of the story due to such limited funding. It's awesome that, under the persistent circumstances, Fringe has managed to survive on FOX for five seasons, but I have still always gotten the impression that FOX's heart hasn't always been in this series. I say that because I (used to) watch other FOX shows, such as 24, House, and New Girl, and while advertisement for shows such as Bones and House receive(d) a great deal of advertising attention during commercial breaks, Fringe was and is very seldom advertised during commercial breaks. FOX just didn't seem to have its whole heart into it, but I do profusely commend them for keeping it on for five seasons, at least, and I am grateful for that; it has certainly been a longer ride than many, including cast and crew, probably expected it to be. Blair Brown even said recently that she didn't even initially expect FOX to pick the pilot episode up.

Nina is back, and, as I said, it is so good to see her, especially since there are so many good scenes with her. She sees Olivia, and they share a really special moment together, even though it would have been even better if they both shared the same memories. The dialogue between Nina and Walter is absolutely phenomenal; it's such good writing. Walter asks her if she sees the old Walter in him, the cruel, callous one, and she says that she does not, but then, later, Walter tells Nina that Belly never loved her, that he didn't love anyone, and Nina says, "You asked me if I saw him in you; I just did," and she proceeds to tell him that the Walter that she knew would never say something so cruel. It's just such a good scene, although I interpret what Walter says during that scene a bit differently than Nina does, although I understand how it would be difficult not to take something like that personally when someone whom you love is the topic of the conversation. Walter does, indeed, say that Belly never loved Nina, but he also proceeds to say that he never loved anyone; his anger is directed toward Belly because of what he had tried to do to Olivia, how he had betrayed the team, not Nina, and that is totally reasonable to me. Later, though, Walter finds a photo of Nina in Belly's safe, and since it was locked up, Walter deduces that the photo was obviously important to Belly and he obviously did love Nina, so he meets up with Nina, shows her the photo, and apologizes, which is also a great scene. He, also, of course, asks her to remove the pieces of his brain that Etta and Simon put back in because he doesn't want to push loved ones away.

It's funny how Walter's personality is changing and it scares him, but Peter's personality is changing and he embraces it; I think that the writers want us to see that parallel, especially since, as Walter tells Nina before he asks her to remove those pieces of his brain, Walter is relying on Peter to help prevent him from becoming the man that he was. We really start to see Observer mannerisms as he talks to Anil, and Anil, who doesn't even know Peter as well as most other characters do (which is probably why Peter seems to not feel a need to inhibit his Observer mannerisms when he is around Anil), even begins to see changes and become concerned. Near the end of the episode, we see that Peter seems to have fully embraced Observer mannerisms and begins cocking his head like one and speaking like one, and now, it is around Olivia as he reveals to her that he has planted the technology in his head. Josh Jackson does a great really great job here. It's just odd, though, because he tells Olivia that Etta will be avenged, but that is indicative of an emotion. He also smiles at the Etta RESIST poster near the beginning of the episode, another example of emotion, not only happiness at the thought of her but the drive for revenge. This final sequence is just awesome and had my heart pounding, and it's so great because of the David Bowie song "The Man Who Sold the World" overlaying the scene, and when his hair begins to fall out, I was so crazy with excitement. I love this episode because of this awesome final scene, the answers that we get, and the callback to the pilot episode as Anil takes some Observers out using the same skin-melting technology that we saw on Flight 627. I am also going to count having seen peppered raw meat as another possible answer because I think that the purpose of showing that to us in this episode is to say that it's the technology that inhibits taste. I give "Five-Twenty-Ten" 9 pilfered David Robert Jones records, due to Belly discovering David Bowie records that Belly had apparently stolen from him, a very funny scene.

"Through the Looking Glass and What Walter Found There" (5.06)

 
I like "Through the Looking Glass and What Walter Found There" but honestly expected a little bit more out of it. The promo at the end of "An Origin Story" honestly made me expect a bit more, but I ultimately give the episode 8.5 acceptable losses. This episode is a bit lacking for me, and I, therefore, feel that a rating of 8.5 is a bit high, but there are reasons that I couldn't bring myself to drop it any lower than that. For example, season 1 leaves us with a major question that is unanswered, and that is the identity of the Child from "Inner Child" (1.15), and finally, we receive confirmation that he, indeed, is an Observer. This is something of which most of us were already sure, but it was still very rewarding to finally receive that confirmation, to know for sure. The actor playing the Child is not the same actor as the one who played him during "Inner Child" (1.15), but that does not bother me because that is completely understandable; they probably needed him to be the same age, and obviously, the first actor would be older by now. Did we learn everything about the Child? No; we still don't know why he was underground or how he had been there for so long without aging. We also see in this episode that the writers are not just going to dismiss Donald, that he is going to be important and that we are going to see more of him, and that is always good. Someone called into the Fringe Podcast and suggested that he is the same Donald that we see in "August" (2.08), no longer dead because he didn't die in this timeline, and that is a good theory. I am really happy that the writers aren't just throwing us curveballs, that they are going to reward us for standing by. I just really hope that we are going to learn of the significance of Rogue/Mosley because he certainly remains a major mystery.

I really love how at the very beginning of the episode, Walter sits down for a new tape, and on the tape, Walter says, "Hello, it's me, but you know that already." It sort of reminds me of when Walter, during a season 1 episode, says hello to Peter and says that it's him, his father. This tape is really quite funny, such as when there is a man behind Walter on the bus, a man who is staring at him, and Walter turns around and says, "May I help you?" Another funny part of the tape is when Walter completely stops what he's doing, sees a pastry shop, and says, "Is that raspberry filling?" There is an incredibly beautiful scene between Peter and Olivia near the beginning of the episode when Olivia says that it's fine that Peter goes to Etta's apartment but that she wants to go, too, wants to be included. "I want to understand what you're going through," she says, "and I want you to understand what I'm going through." This is a very beautiful scene, but at the same time, it drives me crazy that Peter is lying to her and continues to do so throughout the episode. We have seen a lot of secrets on Fringe. Firstly, Walter kept Peter's identity from him for so long, or place of origin, as would probably be more accurate, and when Olivia found it, she kept it from Peter as per Walter's request. Then, Peter killed Shapeshifters, and the reverse happened; Walter knew, but Peter told him not to tell Olivia. Now, of course, Peter has implanted Observer technology into himself, and he is keeping it from everyone. The reason that I bring all of this up is because I think that these secrets help illustrate moral differences between Peter and Olivia and possibly even who loves the other more. During the one time that Olivia had to keep a secret from Peter, doing so tore her apart; she hated it, but when we've seen Peter having to keep a secret from her, it doesn't seem to bother him too much.

When we see some sort of surveillance device scanning Walter, I was totally reminded of Person of Interest, and I can't remember whether or not the same thought occurred to anyone else. I was in the Fringe Podcast chatroom the night that this episode aired, but as always, I only check it during commercial breaks and then after the episode is over so that I can submit my Bunsen Burner rating, so if anyone said that that scene reminded him or her of Person of Interest, I didn't see it, and I can't remember if Darrell of the Fringe Podcast said so during the podcast episode (I don't mention Clint because I don't think that he has seen Person of Interest). The woman in the apartment reminded me of a Borg with her strange electronic eye device, and I know that I am not the only one who thought so because Darrell said the same, and I doubt that that was a coincidence because the Borg are directly referenced during the premiere episode when an Observer says that "resistance is futile," and Etta says that she is pretty sure that she has heard that before. Another entertainment link that my mind linked (which I did see others say, too, in the chatroom) is to Inception when Walter and Cecil walk upside down through the hallway in the pocket universe, and speaking of the pocket universe, I love the scene right before the opening theme when Walter does his crazy, unnecessary dance before entering the pocket universe and just disappears through some sort of wormhole when he does enter it; that is definitely such a cool, crazy way to open the episode, and I love that scene.

Cecil is one factor of the episode that brings it down for me. He is a throwaway character who serves no purpose other than to show us that time works differently in this pocket universe, since he has been there for twenty years or so even though it has only been five days for him. I immediately knew that he would be redshirted because (a) he immediately smells like an episodic character, and the team wouldn't leave him in the pocket universe, and (b) he wouldn't have had anywhere to which to return, and I couldn't see him following the team around. Walter says that he couldn't have survived five days without food or water, and initially, I wasn't sure if this were true because I have heard stories of people going weeks without food and surviving, but this actually is true, as Walter says food and water. I did a bit of research, and while it's true that humans can live for a few weeks without food, we can only live three to five days without water. It is a shame that Cecil, who only wanted to escape the pocket universe so that he can return to his family, learns that (a) about twenty years have actually passed, and (b) that means that his family is probably dead, but as I said, I saw it coming. Initially, I thought that Walter being so cruel, such as when he refers to Cecil as an acceptable loss, was only because he was extremely determined, and while he is determined, we learn that that is also because his old personality, the one that existed prior to pieces of his brain having been removed, is resurfacing, and he's becoming more like Walternate (I think that that is the "him" to which he refers at the end of the episode), and it's so sad that Peter, in an effort to console him after Walter heartbreakingly says, "I'm losing the man that you helped me become" (did anyone else find it odd that Walter called him Pete?), says that he won't let Walter lose himself and then calls him dad, something which has always been a prelude to tragedy in the past, so I am definitely scared.

As aforementioned, we finally learn that the Child from "Inner Child" (1.15) is, indeed, an Observer, and we learned this due to the fact that there was an oxygen deprivation tank in the room where Walter left the Child. We still don't know why he was underground when he was discovered in "Inner Child" but no matter because I strongly believe that we will; this episode ends making it clear, I think, that we haven't seen the last of him, that he will come back into play, especially since he is apparently such a crucial part of the plan to defeat the Observers. The underground discovery leads me to two possible conclusions (although what is actually true probably won't be either of these). The first is that that is where the Child went as a result of having been stowed in the pocket universe, but there are problems with this. (a) It still doesn't explain how he could have been there for decades without aging, and (b) Walter gives us the impression that that case did not happen in this timeline, so why would the Child have gone back to a different timeline than this one? The other possibility that comes to mind is that the Child is actually a young version of September, and the underground area that we see in "Inner Child" is where he was put as a result of having been locked out of the universe by the other Observers during season 4. This still doesn't explain why it was another timeline to which he was sent, but his agelessness could be due to technology that the Observers have; maybe, when an Observer is locked out of the universe, they cannot age, and maybe, the arrival of the Beacon during "The Arrival" (1.04) was September being sent to that underground area, but then again, that can't be because he had been there for decades (obviously, I am using this episode review as a thinking pad; forgive me). I don't know; those are just some thoughts.

I find it very odd how Peter is shocked by Walter not remembering the Child from "Inner Child" because there is an obvious explanation - Walter never experienced that case. That immediately suggested to me that at some point during the 2012-2015 span, the timeline was restored to its previous state, but then, Olivia says, "Maybe, Walter doesn't remember the same way we do." That is a vague statement, and purposefully so, most likely, but I can only assume that she is referring to the timeline reset. I also find it odd that Walter would have utilized the Child without Peter and Olivia having known, and we know that that's true because both seem surprised that Walter had, in fact, been utilizing him, and Peter references "Inner Child" to try to help jog Walter's memory, not a 2015 event. Why would Walter, who apparently hadn't even experienced that case, be consulting the Child without Olivia and Peter having known, the only two who apparently had met the Child in this timeline? Another poignant question: since the Child is, indeed, an Observer, does that mean that his memories did not change when the timeline was reset, that he still remembered Peter? It's all very mind-boggling, but I just hope that we find out why he was underground, in that timeline, and why he hadn't aged for decades. I would assume that Observers normally do age since (a) they are of human origin, and (b) they are of different ages; Observers such as December and Windmark, for example, are older. I think that we will get such answers, though; the writers giving us the Child this episode was, I think, intended to say that they haven't forgotten about him, and we realize that he is still a lingering mystery, but don't worry because that mystery will be solved this season, and I can't wait to stick around.

Another reason that this episode loses a couple of points is that once again, Astrid is left alone, and that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. This time, it's even more dangerous than before because it's not like she's hiding underground in a basement that isn't used anymore; she's basically out in the open, and if trouble were to arrive, she would have no way of notifying the team to tell them to get out of the pocket universe. I don't understand why she didn't go into the pocket universe with them; a stakeout just makes no sense, especially since she was left alone. If they had wanted to feel extra safe by having someone watch a window, then either Peter or Olivia should have stayed with her rather than left her alone, and repeatedly this season, we have seen Astrid foolishly left alone in an unsafe place. Astrid is, once again, being marginalized and is not getting the opportunity to do any work in the field, and it's extremely frustrating. Speaking of Observers arriving at the apartment building, though, here's an interesting question that I haven't seen or heard anyone else ask (besides my brother) - why do the Observers need vehicles? We know that they can pop in and out of space and time, so why would they need a vehicle to get from one to place to another? Windmark, after all, whooshed himself out of the building where Etta was killed. That is just very odd. Sure enough, though, Astrid is, indeed, attacked, and while I can only hope that that will teach the team a thing or two about leaving Astrid alone, I doubt that it will. I shrieked, by the way, when that happened, and I also shrieked when an Observer attacked Olivia; the writers, via killing Etta, have basically already said to us that killing characters to whom we are attached is fair game.

Something else that doesn't make any sense is the fact that time in the pocket universe and time in the Blueverse was apparently parallel while the team was in the pocket universe during this episode, even though that was not the case for Cecil. Walter, in fact, had known this ahead of time back in 2015 because he leaves the Child in the pocket universe and tells him that he will be back very soon. Mathematically (yes, I did actually do the math), if the team perceived the amount of time that they were in the pocket universe as being about an hour (which I would say is probably accurate) and if Cecil was in the pocket universe for about twenty years, then Astrid should have been watching through that window for about sixty-one days, and that is obviously assuming that the amount of time that passed in the pocket universe and the amount of time that passed in the Blueverse while Cecil was in the pocket universe is constant, but even so, it still looked to me like Astrid waited the same amount of time as the team was in the pocket universe. As usual, we see a very observant Olivia during this episode. She notices that the small radio, now present in the room where Walter left the Child, was not present in the room in the video, and I wonder how this radio will come into play. Maybe, either the Child or Donald will contact them via the radio? We also see Peter now with superpowers, which is pretty cool, especially when he snaps the Observer's neck after the Observer tells Peter that he doesn't know what he has done and that he has "made a grave mistake," another reason that the episode gets points, and it's also cool how, at the very end of the episode, we see how Observers see, as Peter now sees this way. I also love the fact that the doors in the pocket universe have the glyphs on them (even though I was hoping for a deeper insight into their significance), and I love the Alice in Wonderland references. This is definitely a decent and very trippy episode, but between Cecil being an obvious redshirt, the Child not being fully resolved (even though I know that he will be), and the pocket universe seeming to be an episodic setting (although, who knows - maybe, we will return to it), it's just not one of my favorites.

"An Origin Story" (5.05)

"An Origin Story" is an absolutely phenomenal episode, an episode that is sure to go down as a monumental episode in Fringe history, and while it may seem odd that I say that since I give the episode 9 Peter Bauers instead of the full 10 (a rating which I ascribed to the previous "The Bullet That Saved the World" episode), the only reason the episode has been knocked down by a point is because of how dark it is; this may, in fact, be the darkest episode of Fringe to date, and while that isn't necessarily a bad thing, this episode borderline terrified me and really disturbed me. I, in fact, had a nightmare because of it the night that it aired, and if memory serves me well, Fringe has never caused such a personal episode before, and that's saying something because this is coming from a guy who is a big horror film fan (the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, the Hellraiser franchise, the Saw franchise, and so forth are all favorites of mine), yet this still messed me up, and that could be because even though Fringe can be very twisted, I don't think that I have ever been accustomed to it being this twisted, and I think that it's also because we're seeing one of our "good guys" become very corrupt and murderous because of grief-ridden rage. Peter Bishop is definitely out for revenge, and he will now stop at nothing to defeat the Observers. I have my theories about how all of this might play out, but I could be totally wrong and probably will be because with very few exceptions (such as Redverse Olivia being pregnant back during season 3), I usually am wrong when it comes to Fringe theories. I had thought, for example, that David Robert Jones was Olivia's biological father, and that didn't end up being true.

Right near the beginning of the episode, Olivia comments upon how unfair it is that they just got Etta back only to lose her again, and I totally agree with that, as that was my reaction to the previous episode. Etta's death was and is heartbreaking for that reason, and back during "The Recordist" (5.03) episode, Peter tells Olivia, after she tells him that she had always felt like she wasn't worthy of Etta, that he doesn't know why but their family has been given a second chance, a chance that he is going to take, and that only makes her death even harder to swallow. I love how Peter finds the concealed C-4 in Etta's apartment and says, "That's my girl." This reminds me of David Robert Jones saying the same (only in much creepier fashion) of Olivia after she turns the lights off in the "Ability" (1.14) episode, therefore, in my opinion, giving more weight to my David Robert Jones being Olivia's biological father theory, even though we now know that that isn't the case. This episode is a close examination of humanity and how we deal with trauma differently. Olivia basically shuts down and tries not to respond to it but fails, as she can't help but cry. She is, in a sense, in denial, because she refuses to watch the video recording of Etta's birthday, and I think that her finally deciding to watch it is a sign of an emotional awakening, a rise from numbness. Peter, on the other hand, is filled with rage, and his heart understandably becomes vengeful; this is a man who lost someone whom he held very dear to his heart, right up until the bitter end when she was taken away from him, and even then, he refused to stop looking for her right up until the moment that he had to amber himself. He is shattered, and he deals with pain via anger.


The Observer whom is captured by the Resistance, the one interrogated by Peter, says to Peter, "You blame us for her death," and that is an understatement. Peter has every right to blame the Observers; even though it was not that specific Observer who killed Etta (that would obviously be Windmark), but this isn't really a witch hunt because it would seem that all of the Observers who are here are here for the same reason - to conquer and destroy, which is honestly not the outcome that I had been expecting of this episode. When I saw from the promo that an Observer would be captured, I wondered if, maybe, we were going to see an "I, Borg" (episode of Star Trek: the Next Generation) kind of scenario in which we would meet a "good" Observer (other than September and the calendared team, that is) who would display individuality and an understanding of the human race, but that is not the route down which we ended up going, as this Observer is just as nasty as the rest, and Peter, by the end of the episode, kills him. Walter, though, seems to be the most sensible of the Bishop family. One can easily tell that he, too, is grieving, but he seems to be the only one in a healthy state of mind, which is ironic; it is very ironic that now, Peter is the one out to cross some lines while Walter is the one trying to talk some sense into him because the reverse of that always used to be true. Astrid (or should I say Abner?) seems sad, too, but I don't think that she has taken it as heavily as the rest of them because she didn't get to know her as well; she spent most of the time that Etta was with them in the lab, and we didn't see many scenes between her and Etta, unfortunately, but I love scenes between Astrid and Olivia because there aren't that many (another memorable one that comes to mind is from "Marionette" (3.09)), but when we do get one, it's really great.


Walter tries to convince Olivia to watch a video recording of a birthday of Etta, and she says, "Walter, I am holding on by a thread." I really like what we see from Olivia during this episode because some people seemed to think that Olivia's reaction to Etta's death at the end of the previous episode was empty and lacked any depth, and while it is true that she didn't really cry, I think that she was in shock, and we certainly do see her cry now. We see that she is in emotional turmoil and is trying to hold herself together until she finally loses it and falls apart at the end of the episode, an incredibly heartbreaking scene especially because of the emotional impact of the video recording (seeing Olivia and Peter happy together like that has been something for which we have been waiting a long time). Walter delivers a beautiful speech to Olivia, trying to console her. He says that he understands the grief of losing a child and says that building walls around her heart, or breaking a universe, or seeking revenge, will not absolve the pain. I love, though, how we do see her a bit vengeful (although not to Peter's extent) when she shoots the Observer who almost bashes Peter's head in with his foot. She says, "Yeah, it is that type of gun," a great line, and it's comical when the Observer tries to catch the bullet but fails. We see during that scene just how physically strong the Observers are, which is pretty darn strong. We learn from this episode that the Observers apparently think of themselves as god-like, at least in comparison to us, and this is evident from the captured Observer's comment regarding their viewing us as an ant colony to be crushed. He also says to Peter (twice) that "you don't even know what you don't know," and initially, this really confused me, but after some thought, it would seem that he is saying that we aren't even aware of the knowledge that we could have but simply don't.


Peter is very close to a Jack Bauer throughout this episode (hence my Bunsen Burner rating), and the only other time that I can think of that we have seen Peter anything like this is during the "Reciprocity" (3.11) when he goes on a Shapeshifter killing spree. I would say that this is far worse, though, which makes a great deal of sense considering how much more personal that this is to him, but both episodes share similar final scenes.

"Reciprocity" (3.11) - final scene


"An Origin Story" - final scene
Peter, as he cuts the chip out of the captured Observer, asks the captured Observer, who is writhing in pain, if he feels that and then says, "That is the pain a father feels when he loses a child," an incredibly intense scene. It seems, speaking of which, that the Resistance is not going to allow Etta to have died in vain, as they have posted posters of her that have the word RESIST on them.
As much as I love this scene, it seems farfetched that neither Peter nor Olivia notice these as they drive down this alley, nor does Peter notice them as he rans down the alley before Olivia notices them, but I digress. Peter ultimately removes the chip from the Observer, and I wonder if the Observer dies because the Observers can't survive without these chips, and if it's the latter, does that mean that Peter now has to spend the rest of his life with this chip implanted? I doubt that we're going to see him sporting a fedora and a suit (although it's apparent that the writers did have this planned out for a while since Josh Jackson was dressed as an Observer in a season 4 ComicCon video), but I do think that we will see him with newfound Observer abilities. After all, since Olivia presumably doesn't have Cortexiphan left in her system, perhaps, Peter will now be the superhero. I also wonder if the title has to do with something other than Peter saying the Observers origins are human but also has to do with the possibility that Peter having inserted the chip into his neck is what ultimately creates the Observers. I was happy to have seen Walter demonstrate a scientific explanation (I wonder why it didn't work, though - why wasn't the wormhole successfully collapsed?) with toys; that made it feel a bit like old Fringe. This is, again, an excellent episode; season 5 now has me hooked.

"The Bullet That Saved the World" (5.04)

The action-packed "The Bullet That Saved the World" is such a huge step-up from last week's episode, three points up, in fact, since I gave "The Recordist" 7 Carson Beckett tree people and give this episode 10 spongy doughnut holes. We were promised a massive episode, a turning point, and that is what we got, and I remember Josh Jackson teasing that this would be a massive turning point for Peter's character, as well, and I definitely think that we're going to see that, not just in regards to him but also to Olivia. The opening of the episode is fantastic, although I was admittedly expecting the blast that Peter narrowly misses to have a bigger effect, which it did not; it hardly affected him at all, for that matter. Peter gets a chain for Etta's necklace, which is awesome, and the scene when he gives it to her is very touching. Peter says that they (as in the Observers) seem to always be two steps ahead of them and that he, therefore, doesn't know how they're going to beat them, and from this, we then learn that Etta's ability to block the Observers' mind probing isn't because of Cortexiphan but because she taught herself to block, something that she says she will teach them and something that we eventually learn she taught Broyles to do, as well. We finally learn why Etta keeps Olivia's bullet around her neck; she found it in their old home, figured that it must have been important, and decided to hold onto it as a way of remembering them. Olivia says that Peter used to refer to the bullet as "the bullet that saved the world" but says nothing more than that, doesn't explain where the bullet came from or why she had it, which is annoying, especially because of how the episode ends.

I love how Walter calls Astrid "Astrif" in this episode. How would you even accidentally say that? As I have said before, I think that it started out at the beginning of season 1 as non-intentional mistakes but that he now does it on purpose to get under her skin. One of the coolest scenes of this episode is when we see that Walter has kept remnants of every Fringe case that they ever worked in a room underneath the floor of the lab. I initially found it really weird that no one else, not even Astrid, knew that, and Olivia eventually addresses that, asking Astrid if she had known. Astrid says that she never would have slept if she had. It is interesting that Walter says that he has a healthy distrust of the government because I think I remember Peter saying in "Unearthed" (1.21) that he is a conspiracy theorist, so Walter is, perhaps, where he got that. Walter gets really excited when he sees the porcupine-man and calls Olivia's attention to it, which was really funny, but it is incredibly disgusting when he finds that twenty-one year-old (at least) doughnut hole, especially since he tastes it. I love his line: "There was a time we solved Fringe cases; I think it's time we created a few of our own." Much to my delight, the case that was chosen was the "Ability" (1.14) case, and I say that because that is my favorite season 1 episode and is one of my favorite episodes of the series so far in general; that, in my opinion, will always go down in Fringe history as a monumental episode. I wonder, though, if that is further evidence that the original timeline has been restored. The team encountered the sealed orifices because of David Robert Jones, whom, in the new timeline, they had not encountered that early.

The photo that we see of Olivia and Peter is so adorable; that really warmed my heart up. I also love the beautiful scene when Olivia, Peter, and Walter are reunited with Broyles, and we learn that Etta had already been in association with him but didn't say anything in case they were read. I wonder how big a part Broyles will ultimately play in bringing the Observers down. Since Windmark (at whom I had to laugh when he plays with the color game), more or less, seems to trust him and Broyles is a member of the Resistance, it would seem as if he will play a very major role. Just when people (fans, that is) weren't trusting him, it is revealed that he has been in association with Etta, a nice twist to the story. I especially love it when Olivia, overcome by happiness at seeing Broyles, clasps her hands together and simply says "Phillip" before hugging him, an incredibly touching scene. This scene finally reveals how Etta became a Fringe agent. I wonder how Olivia will react when she is reunited with Nina, especially since she told her in "Enemy of My Enemy" (4.09) that if she ever forgot the relationship that she had had with Nina, she wanted Nina to try to establish another relationship. Did that happen? How close were they when the Fringe team was ambered? I hope that we will see that soon because we are now moving into the fifth episode, and we still haven't seen Blair Brown, something that has really frustrated me, especially since, as far as I know, she is still considered to be a series regular.

I love how when the Fringe team finds the paper inside the tube and Walter says that he doesn't understand it, he says that it's Greek to him and that that's saying something because he actually reads Greek; that is funny, and I'm kind of hoping that the Fringe Podcast nominates that for Quote of the Week. Windmark is informed of what the Fringe team did to all of those people, and he, interestingly enough, says, "Barbaric." I find this to be interesting because he outlaws that as barbaric (and I'm not going to disagree with him; it is) but apparently finds a way of justifying what Observers do to people whom they mind-probe. Take what he, himself, does to Walter in "Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11" (5.01), and I would like to know how he justifies that, how he is able to refrain from seeing that as barbaric. To discuss the episode's very sad ending, I honestly saw it coming, but not until this episode. The episode, in my opinion, is very heavy-handed when it comes to foreshadowing Etta's death, between the touching scene between Etta and Peter near the beginning of the episode and the scene between Etta and Olivia when Etta tells Olivia why she wears the bullet and asks Olivia if she wants it back, I was very worried about Etta, was sure that she was going to die, very likely by the end of the episode. We also see Peter smiling in the episode during a scene in which the team sort of seems to be happy as they're listening to music, so, again, I knew that this was going to happen. I wonder if the episode title doesn't just refer to Olivia's bullet but to Etta's death, as well. Will her death somehow lead to victory? I have been complaining that Georgina hasn't been a series regular even though Etta has pretty much had center stage, and now, I know why that is. What's weird, though, is Georgina is listed as a guest-actress for 5.06, but until "An Origin Story" (which looks really awesome) next week, stay on the fringe.

"The Recordist" (5.03)

"The Recordist" is my least favorite episode of the first three episodes of the fifth season, and there are numerous reasons for that being true. To begin, the reasons behind why the "tree people" have developed this rather horrifying skin disorder are not very clear, as they don't make a whole lot of sense. The episode seems to say that the people developed the skin disorder as a result of the stones in the caves in combination with the carbon monoxide that is present in the atmosphere as a result of the Observers, but this doesn't make much sense because if this were true, one would think that carrying the stones in their new car would be unsafe for the Fringe team, especially since intensity of the disorder depends on proximity to the stones, so either the stones actually have nothing to do with it (in which case, what ultimately happened to them and, perhaps, even more importantly, to Edwin?) or we're dealing with an annoying plot-hole. Additionally, I can't say that I am too happy with the episode because it was pretty much a "case of the week" episode, which I didn't think we were going to get anymore of this season. I, in fact, had a feeling that it was going to be a "stand-alone" episode from the promo that we got at the end of "In Absentia" the week previous. Did these feel more like classic Fringe? It did, indeed, but I don't want any cases of the week this season; this is our last season, and we have a lot of ground to cover, so I want every episode to be crucial. Am I the only one who feels that way? I really want issues that have been raised since the first season to be covered, not just issues that were raised in "Letters of Transit" (4.19).

The team does successfully get a hold of the stones (which must be very happy because that didn't look like forty pounds worth to me) which will apparently help them defeat the Observers, and a compelling father/son story is told to get to that point, but I still feel like most of this episode is a throw-away episode and disrupts the "13-episode film" pattern. Perhaps, that statement included "Letters of Transit" (4.19) but excluded this episode. Fret not; that is a joke, but it may be logically true by the end of the series. Speaking of the father/son relationship, though, Edwin, the father, is played Paul McGillion, and this is exciting for me because as a Stargate Atlantis fan, I am excited by the fact that this is the second time (the first time being Joe Flanigan's appearance in the season 4 premiere, "Neither Here nor There") that a Stargate Atlantis alumnus has made an appearance on Fringe, and Paul has been making appearances sporadically lately. He was in the Alcatraz pilot, and he was also on Once Upon a Time in the "Hat Trick" (1.17) episode. He did a pretty good job playing Edwin here, and the child actor who played River did a pretty good job, as well. River is a pretty cool kid, and I love his comic book. I wonder if that comic will actually get released; I really hope so, but I think that it's a lot more likely that the original copies will simply be auctioned off as props after the series ends. Edwin ultimately sacrifices himself after telling River that being a coward means knowing what the right thing to do is but not doing it, and his death is touching.

One question that I have about the recordings is if they could possibly be even further evidence that the timeline may have been restored at some point in between 2012 and 2036. If so, I sincerely hope that that will be somehow covered, even though I sincerely doubt that it will be even if that is the writers' intention. When I refer to the recordings, I refer to the photographs and what not that are present amongst the history that Edwin and his people had been recording within the data cubes. There are photographs in which Peter is present, and I am pretty sure that the photographs are from seasons 1-3; there is, in fact, one, in particular, that is of only Olivia and Peter that I am sure is either from the first or second season, so if Peter didn't exist throughout seasons 1-3, how do those photos exist? It could just be that they were randomly chosen by the Fringe crew in hopes that we wouldn't notice that, since they are rather general photos, and I could be over-thinking, but I am pretty sure that I am right. The premiere episode shows us a Markham who seems to really know Peter, which I took as the first piece of evidence that the original timeline may have been restored. During this episode, there are the photographs, and there is some evidence in the following episode ("The Bullet That Saved the World"), as well (I am writing this after having seen it), but I will save discussion of that until that episode review.

I think that another reason why I find myself so disappointed by this episode is the fact that I read the brief plot synopsis well before I saw the promo, and the brief plot synopsis mentioned a group of people across which the Fringe team cross, a group that records important events of human history, and that sounded exciting to me because it sounded like that would have a pretty close connection to the Observers. After all, that is sort of what we saw the calendared Observers doing throughout seasons 1-4, isn't it? I expected this people to somehow be connected to the calendared Observers, and not only do they not, they don't even have any information recorded regarding September. We do see Windmark in the episode, but it is very briefly and doesn't do anything to move the overarching story along. Another issue that I have with the episode is the lack of logic regarding some elements of the story; for example, Astrid stays behind in the lab (which is annoying in and of itself because once again, we are seeing Astrid being drastically underutilized), and how, especially after someone already entered the lab last week, would that be safe? She is alone there and would essentially have no way to defend herself. Did Walter, especially, learn nothing from "Snakehead" (2.09)? It also doesn't make much sense that they would be stupid enough to use cell phones. Why, especially Etta, would they not consider the fact that they would be tracked? It's also odd that they would even have service, especially out in the middle of nowhere with the tree people.

We see that despite the fact that (according to "Brave New World") Olivia's Cortexiphan abilities have, more or less, worn off, she continues to have a photographic memory when it comes to numbers. I really wondered what was up with her when she told Peter that she didn't remember Donovan's; you could tell that she was blowing him off, and I was wondering what was wrong. It looked to me like she was angry with Peter; however, we learn that it is herself with whom she is angry because she blames herself for what happened to Etta, and this is followed by an immensely beautiful scene between Olivia and Peter. I love that scene because she looks somewhat fearful or doubtful in "Brave New World" (4.22) when she tells Peter that she is pregnant, and now, we know why. Regarding Walter, he, at some point, apparently switched to Grapevines, a pretty funny scene, and I love how he related a story about Peru. When I first started watching NCIS, I immediately liked Ducky and said that he reminded me of Walter, and this is an example of why. I am glad to have learned from having listened to the Fringe Podcast that I am not the only one who is reminded of the DHARMA videos with Candle on LOST, and some parts in general just reminded me of LOST, such as the environment of the camp where the tree people live. It would also seem that Etta has even more help on the inside than we had thought, which is awesome, as that could be useful. Did anyone, by the way, notice an ambered Gene in the background of one scene? I wonder if they will ever free her. My final thought, ultimately (besides the fact that it is nice to have a happy ending), is that I instantly thought of "Ability" (1.14) when we learned that the skin disorder ultimately seals all of your orifices. To conclude, I definitely have my issues with this episode, and I give it a relatively generous rating of 7 Carson Beckett tree people.

"In Absentia" (5.02)

I have some minor problems with this episode but not serious enough to give it a low rating; I ultimately, in fact, give it 8.5 Spocks in Speedos, and 8.5 is the same rating that I gave to last week's premiere episode. That is a good rating, in my opinion, and this is a very solid episode. I will start with the problems that I had with the episode. The very beginning of the episode is almost identical to the opening that we had last week, except there is some extra dialogue and it is from Olivia's perspective instead of Peter's perspective; this, to me, somewhat diminishes the effect that last week's opening how has. Even though this is really more of a memory than it is a dream, I am also getting tired of Fringe using the old "episode starting with a dream" trick, and I am also annoyed that this didn't really offer any new development, since, as I said, it was almost identical to what we saw last week. All we learn about Etta's disappearance (and we learn this from the scene in the bathroom that follows) is that she was apparently either fostered or adopted by a family.

Once again, it is mentioned that everything that happened before the team had ambered itself only feels like a couple of months ago for them, which I find very odd because the "Amber 31422" (3.05) episode of the series confirms that when someone is ambered, he or she is stuck having to think about the last thought that went through his or her mind when he or she was ambered, but their saying that it only felt like two months ago that this or that happened strongly suggests otherwise. This is, perhaps, another plot-hole; I'm not sure, or maybe, even though you think when you're ambered, you have no sense of time. If your brain continues to work, why don't your other organs? Why don't you need food or water? Walter's eye is still messed up, and I wonder if that is painful at all; my legs kept turning to jello when I saw it and gave that some thought, and speaking of an eye, I was happy to see from the Fringe Podcast chatroom that other people besides just me thought of Marshall being guided by Jack as he had to remove an eye from a body on ALIAS when they had to do something kind of similar with the Loyalist's eye during this episode of Fringe.

The Observers have taken over the Harvard lab, and I'm not sure why. Is it because, perhaps, they are aware that that was once where the Fringe team worked, and they are trying to ensure that no one is able to use it again? I got really excited when I saw that within the amber of the lab (which Walter apparently did even though he doesn't remember) because I had thought that the video was finally going to reveal the circumstances that led to the team working with Bell despite what he had done, but no such luck is found, as the video reveals no such thing, which is very disappointing, but hopefully, another tape will. As the team goes through the tunnels (which someone in the chatroom said do actually exist), Walter says that they can get so hot, sometimes up to 120 degrees farenheit, that he and Belly would sometimes go through them in swim trunks and speedos (hence my Bunsen Burner rating), which is very funny. I am also happy to have seen the clapper again, and this may have been the last time that we'll see not only that but the whole lab itself, which is a sad thought.

We see from this episode that Etta is very determined. To get the Loyalist to tell her how to get into the science part of the building, she uses a device called the Angel device, which is a really grim and frightening method of torture which, according to Etta, puts the victim's atoms in a violent state of chaos which causes rapid aging, shortening the victim's life. This reminds me of what the Wraith on Stargate Atlantis do; they place a hand on their victims' chests, which feeds on the victim's energy, causing the victim to age rapidly until they die, an incredibly painful process. We learn that this device, or at least the same technology, is what the Observers use(d) to time travel, but it apparently has much different effects on non-Observers. During the "August" (2.08) episode, though, Brandon says that they don't exactly time-travel; it's more like they see time happening all at once, like time isn't linear for them, so that is a bit confusing. "This is war," Etta says, "and we're losing." She says this as she tries to justify her violent actions to Olivia, who is her usual compassionate self, even in regards to the enemy. I wonder, though, why Etta calls Olivia mom but calls Peter by his name.

When Peter and Etta go undercover and pretend to be Loyalists in order to get into the science building, it got me thinking why Etta didn't have to wear a Loyalist uniform. Is it because the Observers already know her, or do women Loyalists not need to wear a uniform? I also wonder why Etta wasn't caught, since Windmark identified her as being part of the Resistance. One would think that once he did that, he would have notified all Observers and Loyalists. Also, here is a random thought - since the Observers are from so far into the future and have such advanced technology, wouldn't it stand to reason that they would have space travel capabilities? If so, why not just conquer another planet instead of conquering this period in Earth's history, and why this period? I wonder, as well, what kinds of experiments the Observers run and to what purpose. We know from the season premiere this year that Windmark had been ready (much like Brandonate had been ready to do to Olivia during season 3) to remove Walter's brain and study it, but what other kinds of experiments do they run, and why do they run them? Is it to learn more about this period of human history, to punish disobedient Natives, or both?

We see Simon's head in one of the rooms which appears to be on a different body, so I guess that one experiment is some sort of reanimation. Will we not be seeing Simon anymore? I don't mean to knock Fringe because I understand that their budget is low this season, but the CGI work on Simon's head is not realistic-looking at all. We see Walter not wanting to destroy the CD player to extract the laser to use it to cut into the amber, and this is right on par with what we saw last week about music, and I love how Astrid perks right up when the laser is offered to her; she loves the idea of being able to use it. We learn that the Loyalist lied about having a son, that he is just a coward and that that is why he became a Loyalist, out of fear. I like that we get to meet a Loyalist and that, once again, this is more complicated than good vs. evil. I have to admit that the promo for next week's episode doesn't look promising, and even though I'm sure it will end up being connected, it looks sort of MOTW. I wonder if from here on out, each episode will focus on finding a tape and am interested to know how they're going to going to go about finding each tape. Until "The Recordist" (5.02) next week, stay on the fringe.