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fringe recapping: the boy must live

Previously on Fringe:fringe recapping

huffposttv:“Fringe” Showrunner On The End Of The SeriesJoel Wyman looked back on his time with “Fringe” and how he made this season truly about the characters.As we reach the end, what are you hoping that fans will take away from the show — its legacy, if you will?  For me, it’s that people would leave thinking, “Well done.” Like, “You tried — those guys really tried,” because we did, we tried and that’s all you can ask for. I think that I would like for people to take away from it that they made the show what it is and that they can feel proprietary over it; they owned a little bit of the building. I think this was the first time that social media has had such a big play in keeping a show around, and our fans are unified. So, I want people to kind of take away and say that “this was a show that was aspiring to be something that you don’t get all the time; it was trying to say something that you don’t necessarily see all the time; I will always remember it.” It really is and has been a show about heart. So many people with heart have given their heart to the program. I have to believe in some way that because of that, that it connected with people. It was authentic. Like I said, we tried.

There are only two episodes left of my beloved show, and they both air tonight. I don’t know how I feel about that. Well, actually, I know exactly how I feel. I’m devastated, and wish that this day would never end. I do not at all want this series to be ending, and I think I will be a sad and mopey for the rest of the weekend—if not the rest of the month.

This season has had its ups and downs, but, overall, it’s been pretty decent. The Boy Must Live was a good episode. Sure, there were problems, and many people didn’t like it. At this point, I don’t really care about the plot holes and inaccuracies—to a certain extent. The plot moved along quite nicely, and it did a nice job setting up the finale, so I’m pretty happy.

Walter goes into the magical mind tank, which Olivia went into in Episode One. He discovers where September/Donald lived 20 years ago—and Donald just happens to still be living there.

Donald reveals that he is Michael’s father; that he was the one who put Michael into the underground cave in the original timeline to protect him. Michael is considered an anomaly because he can feel emotions—he is a hybrid of sorts. Donald appears to be human, because the Observers removed his device and tested on him, removing all “Observer” traits.

Then they’re off to find Observer tech September’s hidden away. September goes off to find more gear, and Team Etta—sans Astrid, of course—along with Michael are off. However, Observers have found Septembers house, and their car is compromised. They get on the train, and right as the train is about to depart, Michael steps off and is intentionally captured by the Observers.

While this was an excellent set up for the finale, there were also a lot of problems. It was quite clear that Michael’s intention was to step off the train. In my opinion, Team Etta has more important things to do than try and rescue a boy who wanted to be taken hostage.

As much as I love September, there were huge problems with just about everything he said this episode. Of course, some of it was just facts or history-to-come that didn’t make any sense. Actually, there were a lot of things—many unrelated to poor September—that I did not like or thought did not make sense. How did he know Michael was his son? Why did he leave him underground—was that really the best alternative he could come up with? I’m exceptionally horrible at math, but I think if there’s a 99.9999% chance something will happen, it’s highly unlikely this will be proven wrong twice. To the same person. I’m also still not happy with the idea that the only thing that separates humans and Observers are these needle-like devices, which we never learned about until Peter stuck one in his brain. Walter’s memory—or lack thereof—seems a little bit too convenient. And how is it that Windmark is suddenly feeling emotion? What is that supposed to prove? In addition, what is the Observers’ relation with the Alternate World? And if Bolivia recognizes Olivia, does that mean we have returned to the original timeline?! I hope so!

In addition, I think no one was happy with the very unexpected twist that “the boy must live” referred to Michael, not Peter. First of all, no. Second of all, that makes no sense! Why would September have said that right after pulling Peter from the frozen lake?

Of course, there were also things I loved about this episode:

Donald’s name—deriving from Donald O’Conner, one of the main stars of Singing in the Rain, the first film September and Walter had ever watched together.

The references to the “original 12” Observers, who include September, August, and December—the Observers from previous seasons.

I also loved the recurrence of the White Tulip, which is uncontested by all as one of the best stand-along episodes of the series.

And we cannot forget the best quote of the night. Delivered by Walter, of course. He talks privately to September and reveals that Michael has showed him he will have to sacrifice himself for the plan.

“I would be lying if I said I wasn’t frightened. Do you think that the boy showed me all these other experiences, because he wanted me to know that I have loved, that I have had incredible moments and connections? Because… because it will make it easier for me to come to terms with what I have to do? You think that’s why he did it?”

It’s a line that you can easily imagine Walter saying; however, it’s also a line that seems to be talking to the Fringe fans. This quote is my favorite of this entire season, and it helps me believe that the ending, while maybe not “happily ever after,” will end in a way that satisfies fans.

Here’s an amazing article that talks more in-depth about the series as a whole.  My favorite quote of the article?

“Because I look at Fringe and all I see is a cult classic in the making. Even if the finale manages to disappoint us later this week, I still think Fringe will be one of those shows that will pick up steam only after it finishes its run, ala Arrested Development or Firefly. Fans like us know the show is great, and will be sharing it with non-fans as much as we can. And then when they finish it, they will share it with non-fans, and then those people will share it with non-fans and so on and so on. Right now, Fringe may not be considered one of the best sci-fi shows ever made by the general populace. But give it some time. Because one day…it will be.”

And here is the promo for tonight’s two-part finale. It’s interesting to note that they have their own titles, instead of naming it simply Part One and Part Two, as previously done. It’s also interesting to note that THE PARALLEL WORLD IS BACK!!! We’ve got our Broyles, Bolivia and Lincoln! So excited.

Emily enjoys all mediums of speculative fiction, fantasy, and sci-fi–especially reading, writing, and watching them. A Fringe fanatic, she is convinced that one day she will meet her parallel self, aptly nicknamed Femily (Fake Emily), and save both worlds from their inevitable destruction.

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fringe recapping

In following with last season’s formula, we went from a very boring, meandering first few episodes (Ignoring Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11 and Letters of Transit), and are slowly picking up speed. Things have finally begun to get interesting again. Astrid is still stuck in the lab doing menial “tape-recon” work, but everyone else is slowly developing. I have absolute faith in the last three episodes–mainly because of Joel Wyman, extraordinaire and genuis–but also because of all of the hype the last episode, which is number 100!, has gotten. There have been no spoilers or teasers leaked, but everyone is saying it is a beautiful ending; the best episode yet. Abrams, Wyman, Noble, Jackson; have all said it’s one not to miss. And I will not be missing this. For anything.

I’d like to say that this is a recap of three episodes because I was sparing readers from hundreds of words, complaining about the miniscule problems of each. But the truth of the matter was my indifference for these episodes led to an indifference in talking about, or thoroughly examining, these episodes. Here’s a three-episode recap/review/rant, along with the hopes that the next three will be amazing–and worthy of their own posts.

The Human Kind:
Peter, who has become more and more Observer-like in his actions and mannerisms every day, can now predict the future and possesses all the same qualities as the Observers. Walter warns that if Peter does not remove the device from his head soon, the effects will be irreversible. They find another tape to recover an electromagnet; Olivia goes to track it down and meets Simone, a woman who has been waiting for over 25 years for someone to show up. The electromagnet is huge and can be only moved on a large truck. On the way back to the lab, Olivia is accosted by petty thieves who manage to capture Olivia–after she shows off her fighting chops, something we haven’t seen this entire season. Olivia manages to escape, setting a trap using trash and Etta’s bullet to kill one of them. Peter is in the works of killing Windmark when Olivia shows up. She convinces him that this is not how Etta would have wanted her death avenged, and Peter removes the device from his head!

This episode, while interesting, was very contrived. The entire “Peter as an Observer” idea was one that I think should have never been used, or used all the way through, as him turning into an Observer. As sad as that would have been, his removing the device makes it seem like it was just a device to move the plot along. Overall, a very strong episode. Highlights included Olivia’s badassery returning, her touching speech to Peter, and the symbolism of that bullet, which has saved multiple lives and is the most obvious symbol and theme of the entire show. Not that I mind.

Black Blotter:
This season’s famed “Episode 19” did a lovely job of being, well, Episode 19ish while also moving along the plot. Walter’s depressed state leads him to take Black Blotter, acid he had stored in his lab. The LSD causes Walter to hallucinate; he begins to see his old assistant Carla, who tells him the he is–and will always be–the old Walter. A notebook with all of Walter’s (during his 100% brain capacity days) notes and project appears. Carla tells him to read it and save the world; Nina appears and tells him not to read it, that he doesn’t need it. The radio that the Observer-child had, from the episode “Through the Looking Glass and What Walter Found There” begins to pick up a frequency. Olivia and Peter are searching for the signal and they find bodies protecting the tower relaying the signal. One of the bodies is Sam Weiss. Team Etta triangulates the signal and they’re off–including Astrid, which is the first time she’s left the lab since she got there. They go to the source and find the Observer-boy, now called Michael, living with an elderly couple. Team Etta takes Michael; because he “doesn’t view time the way we do,” he recognizes Olivia from the original timeline.

Walter imagines himself in a Monty Python-esque land, where he rides Gene and sees a black umbrella used as a key. This suited the style of the episode, allowed Walter to partake in one of his favorite pastimes, and allowed him to solve the riddle needed in proving that they meant no harm to Michael. The parallels between Carla and Nina–and Walter’s cognitive brain functioning–are also ones that have begun to be hinted at, and I’m sure will begin to show up even more as the season progresses.

Anomaly XB-6783746:
Michael proves to be an Observer different than the others; the previously used device does not work. Unlike the original timeline, where he connected with Olivia through their feelings, he has no means of communication with them. Team Etta seeks Nina’s help; she tells them where to find the necessary goods. Nina waits with Michael in an underground Loyalist lab. They discover that Nina has been compromised; the Observers are on their way to her. Nina hides Michael in the lab, but not before he touches her face and she learns something. The Observers come; Nina commits suicide so they cannot read her thoughts. When Team Etta returns they discover Nina’s body–and that Michael was left behind. Once they find him, he touches Walter’s face. Walter sees flashes of his past, and learns who Donald is: September!

So far this has been my favorite episode this season. You see the slow progression of Walter’s brain regenerating–he continues to call Michael “the subject,” and is curt and pessimistic. But when he sees Nina’s lifeless body, he quickly transitions to the old Walter, mourning his good friend’s death. We also learn about Michael: that he is an anomaly who should have been killed–seemingly reminiscent of the Doctor Who episode with the broken daleks–and that he is not a child. He also sheds a tear when he sees Nina’s body; showing that, like August, Observers can learn to feel emotions. This is unlike September, who was a human and turned Observer.

Nina’s speech was also wonderful, and are the words that can accurately and beautifully sums up this season so far.

“Do you know why you tilt your head in that way? It’s an involuntary reflex in your physiology. It changes the angle at which sound waves hit the eardrum, allowing in more stimuli. Like a lizard. I’ve studied them too. Intriguing characters. Their brains have evolved over 320 million years, yet for all their evolution, they form no bonds. Love does not exist for them. They are incapable of dreaming, of contemplating beauty, of knowing something greater than themselves… not unlike your kind. The experiments we conducted right here in this lab, yielded a surprising result, because for all your years of evolution, you inadvertently redeveloped and honed primitive instincts that we moved beyond long ago. So in reality, you’re the animal.”

I think one of the things that has helped this season the most is when they began straying from the “videotape of the week” format. Or their formulaic: 10 mins recovering tape, 10 minutes watching/discussing the tape, then 20 minutes recovering one small piece of this huge puzzle. Tonight looks like they’re picking things up; hopefully interesting things will continue to evolve. Watch the teaser for “The Boy Must Live” here.

Emily enjoys all mediums of speculative fiction, fantasy, and sci-fi–especially reading, writing, and watching them. A Fringe fanatic, she is convinced that one day she will meet her parallel self, aptly nicknamed Femily (Fake Emily), and save both worlds from their inevitable destruction.

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fringe recapping: transilience thought unifier model-11

Previously on Fringe: Brave New World, Part Two

However, last season’s episode 19, Letters of Transit,  is much more relevant to this season

My beloved show is back– and I am so, so, so, so excited! I can’t believe that this is the last season, but it makes me feel a little bit better to know that we’re getting a proper ending. I don’t really know what else to say. I do know that my Fringe posts are really fangirl-esque, so I will keep my squealing to a minimum, especially in the recap part of this post. We shall see how this goes.







What Happened

Letters of Transit is crucial to this season. It served as the introduction and background, and a thrilling and exciting episode to watch. The last season premiere of Fringe started out with Walter with his fully-functioning brain, trying to locate Olivia. Twenty years ago, Walter sent Olivia out to look for a device that would help them stop the Observers. However, on her way back to Walter she disappeared. They get to the amber where Walter last heard from her and see that the amber gypsies have been there!

“Who are the amber gypsies?” you may be asking. The amber gypsies cut people out of the amber to sell or blackmail to family members. With a little bribery– a few walnuts equal almost $3,000. Which is strange, because walnuts aren’t that great.–they find out that someone bought Olivia. It’s Edward Markham, the glasses-wearing man from our universe who owns the bookstore! Only… he’s gone a little bit crazy. Using Olivia’s ambered body as a coffee table in the apartment he never leaves. When they are leaving with Olivia’s body, the Observers come, having been warned by the walnut-owner amber gypsy. Walter is kidnapped, but everyone else gets away.

Olivia is freed from the amber and meets her daughter. We learn that because Etta’s body went missing as a three-year-old, Peter and Olivia’s marriage shattered. Olivia was much stronger than Peter, as Peter became obsessed with finding his daughter and Olivia wanted to help stop the Observers. Olivia has the device that Walter wanted. It takes jumbled up thoughts and puts them together. Before September died, he jumbled Walter’s thoughts so no other Observers could learn what his plan was.

Walter is mentally tortured by the Observers. With a little help, Etta, Peter and Olivia sneak Walter out of the testing center. After a touching reunion between Olivia and Walter, they test out the transilience thought unifier model-11, made uniquely for Walter. Unfortunately since Walter blocked the Observer from learning what his plan was, somehow also destroyed his mind.

Welcome back, our Walter, with a partly working brain and love for music. Which is how the the episode ends: Walter in a car listening to music.


  • I love how the writers have taken something familiar, like the Observers, and completely twisted it. While they were previously disregarded as non-threatening, and turned it into the villains.
  • On that matter, I miss September. And August! The good Observers. It will be interesting to see if any other Observers are good.
  •  Peter and Olivia’s marriage shattered because of their child. It seemed a bit odd that after all the things they’ve been through (parallel worlds, sleeping with the wrong Olivias), this is what ruins their relationship. But it makes sense; because of Peter’s tumultuous past with his parents, he wanted his relationship with Etta to be perfect. And when it was less than perfect, he went slightly-crazy.
  • I am so glad that Olivia is back! She has only been gone from one episode (Letters of transit), and her absence was obvious. Just as obvious– if not more– than Peter’s the first few episodes last season. On that note, it seems like the parallel world will never be revisited. So no more Lincoln, Walternate, or Bolivia. That makes me sad.
  • Besides wanting to deny it because it makes me sad, I want it to be wrong for the plot. After building up to the parallel universes for the past four seasons, it seems a little bit odd to completely dismiss them. It almost seems like this season isn’t really relevant to the other ones. But that might be because we’ve jumped 20 years into the future.
  • Back to Olivia: I was so, so excited when she was freed from the amber. But then we went back to being stoic Olivia almost immediately. Which made sense because she lost her husband and daughter, but it’s always a little sad– especially when compared to Bolivia.
  • My favorite scene was Walter and Olivia’s reunion. It’s clear to see how close they are– and how much they genuinely love each other.
  • Although both Olivia and Peter had pretty rough childhoods, it’s interesting to see that their reaction and coping mechanisms to losing their child were completely different; Olivia immersed herself into her work, and Peter drove himself crazy looking for Etta.
  • As much as I like Etta, it’s going to take a while to get used to her. It makes sense that she’s the protagonist right now, especially since she’s the Fringe agent, but it’s weird to see the “original Fringe agents” being put on the back burner.
  • Actually, now that I think about it, I don’t know how I feel about Etta. She’s this completely new character whose past is unknown. I’m not sure if I really like her. What I think would be a huge plot-twist and make her slightly-boring character a little more interesting is if there were an “Angelina Jolie/Evelyn Salt” twist where she was brainwashed as a child. 
  • It genuinely hurt me when Walter was tortured. I am proud of him that he kept all his thoughts –except for a young Etta — from the Observers, but to see him tortured and in pain was hard.
  • And poor John Noble– they had to postpone filming for 10 days because Noble had to get treatment for his sleeping disorder. I think he is better now, though!
  • This might be over-simplifying things, but if Walter’s mind has deteriorated can’t he fix it with a little Cortexiphan? I mean, it worked on healing a freaking bullet going through Olivia’s brain.
  • Whenever I watch a new Fringe episode, it’s become instinctual to read what other people have to say and to check how they did on the Neilsen Ratings. Although they did not win their hour, I am happy to announce they were not the lowest; they were only a few million behind the other shows. And it doesn’t even matter–which is very bittersweet.
  • Here’s a fun list of “bests” that Fringe fans voted on!
  • Here’s the promo for next week’s episode, entitled “In Absentia.” Bring it on, Fringe! I’m ready for awesomeness.


Astrid: I found these in the fridge. They’re called Egg Sticks.

Peter: My god. What is that — punishment food?


Walter:  Good god. What’s that?

Etta: It’s an Egg Stick.

Walter: What a miserable future. Aspen, help me find my shoes. There’s no time to waste.


Walter: I still can’t believe my eyes — what you’ve grown into. Of course, you must understand for me it’s only two months ago that I took you to the pier. You loved the horses.

Etta: Carousel.

Walter: You remember?

Etta: No. I wish I did. It’s just what they call them, right — carousels? They used to anyway.

Walter: To me, you will forever be a little girl.


Olivia: We didn’t save the world.

Peter: Not even by half. She’s still trying, though.  I never thought I’d see you again, Olivia. I know what you thought of me… when I wouldn’t leave Boston to come to New York with you… when I left you alone.

Olivia:  No, Peter, we lost our child. And… in the grief, we just… weren’t able or were incapable of — of being what we needed to be for each other. And that was all it was.

Peter: You were stronger than me. You could do something that I couldn’t do. You saw that the world needed us, and you went to help. And I just — I didn’t have the will to give up searching for this — this perfect little soul that we made. Out here for all these years… fighting for these people, defending them. And at the moment that she needed her father to protect her, I couldn’t do it. And I wanted more than anything for that not to be true. And in the state-of-mind that I was in… that meant at all costs… including us.


Captain Windmark: We have been looking for you… and your friends. I am very interested in you. I don’t know why you’re alive. Ah, you’re trying to think of music. You miss music.

Walter: There’s not a lot of it here.

Captain Windmark: We tolerate it. But it’s merely tones, rhythms, and harmonic vibrations. I don’t understand.

Walter: Mostly it amazes me. Music helps you shift perspective, to see things differently if you need to.

Captain Windmark: See things? Like hope?

Walter: Yeah. Very much like that.

Captain Windmark: But there is no hope… for you. Nothing grows from scorched Earth. You seem much more interesting as a human being – than as a vegetable. But, quite frankly, all things being equal, I don’t mind which one you end up. The choice is yours.


Peter: What happened to him?

Etta: Occupational hazard.

Peter: That’s my girl.


Peter: It’s always the red wire. Unless it’s the white wire. That did it. Let’s go.


Walter: I don’t remember it. I don’t remember any of it. I’ve failed myself, and I’ve failed the world. What is wrong with me? What has happened to —

Olivia: — Walter.

Walter: I can’t do it. I can’t even recognize myself.

While rescuing Walter, they turned off the Observer’s CO2 machine, allowing plants to live again. Too bad it wasn’t a white tulip.

Emily enjoys all mediums of speculative fiction, fantasy, and sci-fi–especially reading, writing, and watching them. A Fringe fanatic, she is convinced that one day she will meet her parallel self, aptly nicknamed Femily (Fake Emily), and save both worlds from their inevitable destruction.

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on the fringe

Fringe fans should have come to the realization that the supernatural is commonplace. With accelerated aging, experimental drug testing and alternate universes/characters running rampant through the first three seasons almost nothing should come as a genuine shocker. Then, in the season three finale, Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) goes all Houdini on us. He just disappeared. Neither universe seems to know what happened to him either. But in this season four teaser trailer we see Peter interacting with “Faux”-livia (Anna Torv).

Fringe has been doing a great job of being just as nonsensically accurate – I hope that made sense for you too? – as Lost was but without going so far away from reality that there is a inevitable failure  when things need to be wrapped up (see Lost series finale for clues). I have faith that J.J. Abrams and crew will keep the show interesting by not putting one of its main characters in “limbo” for the majority of the season.

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