Saturday, November 10, 2012

Fringe, Season Five, Episode Five: An Origin Story

Editors Note:  Last week we missed our recap and review of Fringe so this post will catch us up. Tomorrow episode six will appear at its regularly scheduled time. Thank you for your patience. 

The Fringe crew are still very much grieving for Henrietta and though she was Olivia and Peter's daughter, I hope this does not go on for long because I never connected with Henrietta and certainly won't miss her now. Peter is going through her things, when he finds a compartment in her wall, which Henrietta used to stash weapons and explosives. Olivia wakes and tells Peter that she keeps waking up believing that she only dreamed about Etta's death. Olivia asks why they got Etta back, just to lose her again and then she and Peter embrace. Now alone in the bathroom, Olivia again looks at picture of Etta with her adopted family and packs up a few mementos. 

In Manhattan, on a clear day, suddenly the wind picks up and lightening starts to strike the ground. The humans quickly move out of the way, as observers and loyalists pull up and take a package out of a hummer.  A device is taken out of the package and placed in the middle of the road.  When the device is activated, the observer steps away and some sort of hole forms.  Three shipping crates come through the hole and then the hole disappears, leaving a huge Black circle on the ground.  An observer checks the crate and pronounces the integrity stable and orders everyone to prepare for transport. 

Back at Etta's apartment, Peter and Olivia have packed up what they want to take from her apartment. Walter asks to keep Etta's perfume because his sense of smell helps him to remember.  Peter gets a call from Astrid, who says that she has run into a fire hazard, so there's no tape yet.  She turns the camera to show a propane tank for Walter's hibachi and a gallon of ethanol.  Walter takes the phone and asks "Abner, why did you leave the propane tank there in the first place."  I am sick and tired of this treatment of Astrid.  Abner is a man's name for crying out loud. For the entirety of this show, Astrid has been little more than a servant. Astrid says that someone wanted to cook bratwurst. Walter is upset and says that this rate they won't get another tape until Wednesday.  A phone inside the box of Etta's things goes off and it's Anil. Anil tells Olivia that it's important that they meet. 

The Fringe team walk into the street at the site of the transport and Anil gets out of a black van.  Anil tells them that he is sorry for their loss and how important Etta was for the movement. Walter asks about the black circles and Anil says he believes it's the results of the baldies opening up a shipping lane from the future. Walter calls it a worm hole.  Olivia asks what the observers are shipping in and Anil answers components for the air degradation system that they are building in central park.  Apparently, similar burn marks were reported in France and Egypt, where the other air degradation systems have been built.  Anil says that if they finish the machine, air quality will be reduced on all continents.  Peter says that they already know that this will reduce the human lifespan to 45 years because Etta told them.  Anil says that this is the beginning of many more shipments and asks if they know anything about their language.  Anil hands Olivia a book and says it came as a package deal.  Anil calls Leland who in turns shows the Fringe time that the resistance has captured an observer.  To date, they have not been able to get any information from him. Anil says that the observer they found yesterday had a cube. Peter wants access to the cube because he wants to destroy the entire corridor, rather than one shipment. Walter says that they don't know what they are dealing with, but Peter says that he has made up his mind. Peter scans the area and Anil says, "before you go on a journey of revenge, dig two graves." Peter replies that he is not worried about being destroyed and that it's the observers who should be worried.

Peter starts to assemble the cube but when he puts to pieces together he gets an electric shock. Astrid is examining the book she was given and says that if it really is a shipping manifest that she is expecting dates and times, but cannot differentiate which of the symbols are letters or numbers. Astrid says that the decryption program has been running for over an hour. When Olivia does not answer, Astrid says that she can do this by herself and understands if Olivia is feeling overwhelmed. Olivia declines, in the belief that it is best if she just focuses. Astrid gets an epiphany and realises that she has been thinking about it all wrong and that they have to run multiple decryption programs simultaneously.

Walter and Peter are talking about the device and Walter admits that though it is dangerous, it is possible to blow up the shipping corridor.  Walter says that if they collapse the worm hole on their side, it will turn it into a Black hole in the future.  They are going to need to use the cube and so Peter plans on forcing the observer to help. Olivia asks Peter if he is sure about what he is doing and Peter says that they don't have anything and that if they do this then they will have a real victory, something tangible. When Peter realises that Olivia is worried about him, Peter says that their daughter dedicated her life to freeing them and now they can dedicate their lives to making sure that this means something. Peter says, "when we win, when we beat them, I want everyone to know that Etta is responsible for the world being saved." 

Anil brings Peter into the space where they are holding the observer. Apparently, the observers aren't as hearty as they appear because their abilities are mostly tech. Anil wakes up the observer by slapping him across the face and then introduces him to Peter before leaving. Peter puts the box on the table and tells the observer that he is going to help him put it together. The observer says that Peter does not have a need for it, but Peter says that he does and he needs to know what powers the device and how to turn it on. The observer says that they won't get any information from him and says that Peter believes he is more capable of success than others. Peter tells the observer that it doesn't matter if his brain gets read because the observer is never leaving.  "Whatever the closest thing you feel to fear, I know that you are feeling it right now. You're not the only one with the skill for reading people," Peter says.  The observer replies, "you don't even know what you don't know."  I thought that this was a great stand off.

Peter hooks up a device so that he can see the dilation of the observers pupil.  Peter holds two pieces together and says, "that's right you're not going to tell me." He watches the reaction of the pupil and puts the pieces on the cube.  The observer notes that Peter is pleased with himself and says that Peter's skill is impressive but it is of no consequence.  He says that he thinks of Peter like an ant colony. Peter continues to assemble the cube and tells the observer that he knows he is worried.

Olivia is playing with Etta's necklace, when Walter enters with a tape in his hand. It seems that this tape wasn't in amber because it is a video of one of Etta's birthdays.  Walter says that it will be difficult to watch but believes that it is important for both her and Peter to watch it. Olivia replies that she is holding on by a thread.  Walter says that he heard her conversation with Peter and he knows that she wasn't afraid for Peter's safety but that they will lose each other again.  Walter says that they must watch it and remember what they both had, what they were and what they once had and hold onto that. Walter believes that Olivia and Peter must go through this pain together, because it is Etta's legacy - proof that she was here. Walter reminds Olivia that he has experience with this kind of pain and that you cannot escape it. Olivia says that she can't. This is one of the most touching scenes on Fringe to date I think.Their conversation is interrupted by Astridm who says that they decoded the book and the next shipment is this afternoon.

Peter is still assembling the cube and says that if he attaches it incorrectly they will die and he is relying on the observer to tell him. The observer tells Peter that he is relying on a faulty premise.  Peter believes that no matter how advanced the observers have become that he will endeavor to stay alive at all costs.  Peter tells him that there are tells his subconscious mind cannot hide.  When the observers pupil dilates, Peter puts in the last piece. Olivia calls and tells him that they have 30 minutes until the next shipment and Peter says that he is on his way.

At the delivery site, Peter shows up with the cube and Anil activates it. When the observers activate their device and the worm hole starts to open, they realise that something is wrong.  An observer appears behind Peter and Olivia and a fight starts as the cargo start to come through the worm hole. Before the observer can kill Peter Olivia kills him. Peter shoots a weapon through the worm hold and the entire shipment if forced backward.  A few minutes later another shipment comes through. Olivia calls Walter and he says that it should have worked.  Peter walks away in frustration.

Peter  barges back into the room where the observer is being held and uses plastic to suffocate him. The observer starts to struggle and Peter pulls the plastic back and asks why it didn't work.  Once again the observer says, "you don't know, what you don't know."  When the observer suggests that emotions got in his way, Peter points a gun at him.  The observer says that the only thing he saw on the camera was him looking at a fly and ascribed meaning to the dilation of his pupil because he wanted to. When the observer says that Etta's death is irrelevant, Peter bashes him in the head and says that he would be ten times what the observer is, if he had that tech in his head.

Olivia is lying on a couch and she gets up and grabs the VHS tape of Etta's party.  Olivia watches the tape and smiles. In the meantime, Peter grabs a scalpel and tells the observer that he is wrong about his emotions not being real.  Peters cuts into the back of the observers neck and pulls out the tech.  The observer is now dead and blood from his corpse drips on the ground.  A shirtless Peter stands in front of a mirror and uses the scalpel to cut a whole in the back of his neck. Peter then puts the device he took from the observer near the hole and it works its way into his brain.  Just as he recovers, Peter gets a phone call from Olivia who is crying.  Olivia tells Peter that she wants him to come home and that she doesn't want to lose him. Olivia says that Etta would want them to be together and survive this.

Peter has clearly gone over a cliff and this new change once again clearly makes him the key to solving this seasons issues. Though having a man as the great saviour is hardly new in science fiction, this is a well that Fringe has one to time and time again.