"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.