"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.

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