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.
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.
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.