"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.