Saturday, October 27, 2012

Fringe: Season 5 Episode 4 - The Bullet That Saved the World

Okay, now THIS is what I'm talking about!  Hello fellow Fringe fans and welcome back to the show we have loved for the past few years.  Even as I was commenting on the'seemingly sub-par 3rd episode of the season, I knew they were pacing out a 13 hour movie and that the whole thing can't be non-stop intensity or even interestingness.  I know that the seeds planted in that episode will eventually pay off.  But just looking at that week alone, it certainly was a bit boring.  They more than made up for it with the 4th episode which closes Volume 1 of our 3 volume final season.  I had a feeling someone was going to bite the "bullet" in this episode, but I really didn't think until close to when it happened that they'd actually go THERE.   What a great setup for the rest of the season.  Lots to discuss in our "Observ'er'ations"on where they go from here, but for now we have to just say WOW!  Let's get into the recap!

The Observers are closing in on this band of rebels that have been wreaking havoc on their operation.  They checked in on Peter in a pawn shop where he was picking up a necklace for Etta's bullet (i.e. the bullet that Walter shot into Olivia's head at the end of last season).  Peter did his best to confuse the observer's mind reading abilities which just made him more curious.  He got into an all out battle with observers and loyalists and ended up getting blown out of a storm drain by some crazy bomb.

Meanwhile, Walter and Astrid were "lasering" up some more amber at the lab to find Betamax tape #2 (but the 3rd one they've found of course).  It was tough to decipher where to find the next clues that they need to take down the observers.  But, Walter was tipped off from 2015 Walter on where to go.  He used to hide things in Newark Penn Station when he was 10 thinking it was the safest place anything could be hidden.  Of course, the place is loaded with Observers and Loyalists so they were going to need a diversion, or even something bigger. 

Best reveal of the series, Walter has been hoarding evidence from EVERY Fringe Event the group has dealt with.  Awesome!  Lots of memories down here.  Of course, this is where things get hairy again if you want to talk about Rebootlandia of last year.  I guess they still dealt with these Fringe events, just not exactly like we remember.  Or, enough time has passed that they recall the original timeline now for some reason.  I know it's a tough pill for a lot to swallow (including me), but I'm just going to let it simmer for now.  It doesn't seem to be something they're planning to focus on for the remainder of the series. 

By the way, Broyles is back in action!  We saw in last season's "Letters of Transit" episode that he realized the Fringe team was back. There was even a brief hint of a smirk on his face.  But, here we see him following orders from Widmark.  He watched an interrogation of a loyalist (that was actually a resistance member undercover).  The man failed his quiz by not knowing the weather on the day of his induction.  The observer ended up piecing it all together to understand that Walter, Peter and Olivia were back at the Harvard Lab.  Etta received a tip that they were coming which led the Fringe team to re-amber the lab to cover up their tracks.  

Walter had figured out which of the past Fringe events he wanted to recreate to gain access to Newark Penn Station.  They go all the way back to season 1's "Ability" episode where Dr. Jones was gassing up some people and sealing their faces over with Skin.  It's also the episode where Olivia originally used her abilities to dismantle that bomb (remember the crazy lights?  They brought them back last season too)    Anyway, Walter gassed up a couple guards and he and Peter were able to go in and check out the station.  Meanwhile Olivia and Etta moved the awesome station wagon around back.

Walter marked his spot with a common graffiti expression and drawing "Kilroy was Here".  It dates back to WWII and I can't tell you that I've ever heard of it!  They get the tube of plans out of a grate in the wall, and battle their way out of the station.   Our Fringe team started gassing everyone with the face sealer toxin.  It was pretty crazy!

The Fringe team met in some secluded area to review the plans which were full of complex equations that Walter could not understand.  He may not have even understood them when his brain wasn't fried. But he must've received the instructions from someone who did.  September?  Bell?  This mysterious Donald?  We'll find out some other time.  But for now, it's a big reunion moment!   Broyles just couldn't keep away.  Broyles, Astrid, Walter, Peter and Olivia were reunited once again!  Broyles explained how he met Etta on a case several years back and thought the resemblance was uncanny.  Etta told him later that he was Olivia and Peter's daughter and he requested her transfer to his division immediately.   She pulled him into the resistance and the rest is history.    

Broyles loaded the team up with some fresh supplies, including anti-matter bombs.  He suggested that if they enabled them to get away ASAP (100 meter blast radius).   And then an Observer showed up.  Oh crap, they put a tracking device on the millenium falcon errr station wagon!  Etta thinks quickly and gives Broyles the plans and asks him to guard them with his life.  They are the key. 

Peter and Olivia get separated from Walter and Etta in a warehouse as they're getting chased down by the disappearing and reappearing Observers.  Etta tells Walter to make a run for it while she covers him.    Etta was alone and then all of a sudden in front of Widmark.  Widmark begins choking her, but then has one question for her.  He seems genuinely curious and does not understand why Peter bought the necklace for her.  It serves no purpose.   Etta relaxes her mind and thinks back to the day she was taken.  She sees her parents and how happy they all were.  Widmark realizes that the answer he seeks is "LOVE".  Etta tried to pull a knife out and stab Widmark, but he was too quick.  He shot her and then left her there for dead.  WHAAAT!?!?! 

Peter and Olivia hear the shot and come running after her.  What follows is an incredibly emotional moment where Peter and Olivia watch their own daughter passing in front of their eyes.  They got her back, only to have her taken away.  Etta, thinking about their cause and the Fringe team's plans armed the anti-matter and asked them all to leave.  Olivia expressed how much she loves Etta.  Peter was losing it.  Etta handed back the necklace to Olivia.  Walter was a puddle.   But, they had to go.  When Widmark realized they would go back for Etta he brought in the observers to his crime scene.  Etta managed to take a few invaders out with her bomb, but Widmark escaped with his whole disappearing act.  

Walter, painfully told his son that they have to move on.  She's gone.  I'm sure it's no coincidence that we now have to watch Peter deal with the loss of his child as Walter did so many years before.  But the big question is how can they kill off the girl that seemed to be so important that time was rebooted for her to exist?  Could there be more significance in her death than in her life?  Could she become the face of the Resistance?  The symbol that unites everyone against the invaders?  Dare I say, the Mockingjay!?  Whew, I've read one too many young adult novels about apocalyptic futures!    Anyway, RIP Etta, you assimilated yourself well into the regular cast.  We will miss you and discuss further some ideas of where the show is going below! 

Glyph Code - WOUND - Yes, Etta was fatally wounded, but so was the Fringe team and the resistance.  But out of grief comes unity.  There may be a new bullet that saved the world after this episode. Thanks Fringepedia for the screenshot! 

Observer Spotted - Duh, they were everywhere! 

  • Come on, I mean he had a secret basement hidden with all of the Fringe Event supplies?!   Loved Astrid explaining how she didn't know about it and said she never would have slept. 
  • Loved Walter firing the weapons in that enclosed space and the pure glee on his and Peter's face. 

Food of the Week
  • I guess it would have to be that mutated spongey Jelly.  What on earth was that?!  But, Walter did taste it and said it was still good! 

Points of Interest
  • Etta and Olivia had a huge bonding moment over the bullet.  Etta went back to their old home when she was 13.  The place had been looted just like the whole neighborhood but she found Olivia's old jewelry box.  There was a matchbox inside of it with that bullet.  Peter used to refer to it as the Bullet that Saved the World.  Well, because it did.  If Walter didn't shoot Olivia, Bell would have destroyed the world and created his own Genesis Planet (this reminds me, I need to watch Wrath of Kahn more often!).  Etta knew the bullet was important to her mother so she wanted to wear it and has been wearing it since she was 13.  Olivia wanted her to keep wearing it.  Of course, it's sadly now back in the hands of Olivia. 

  • We learned in this episode that Etta didn't have any special genetic ability to block out the Observers.  She just learned tactics to keep random thoughts in her head to throw them off.  She had gotten so good at it that they couldn't read her thoughts at all.  Broyles got just as good at it and it took him a year of training from Etta.  I guess it's good that he knows how to do it so he can continue training the Fringe team.  You'd think with Olivia's cortexiphan abilities, she'd be able to shield the entire Fringe team if she can figure out how to do it.  Hey, maybe that's where they're going with it. Maybe not!
  • It is nice to see that they pulled in the season 1 Fringe case this week.  They have done that in the past to try and tie the show's seasons together.  I'm always one for reminiscing in a final season of a show.  LOST did this very well with the flash sideways, reminding us sorta who the characters used to be and also doing a farewell tour to all of the scenic locales on the island over the course of the season.  I think we're starting to see some flavor of that in Fringe's own way.   They even got in that reference to the alternate universe with Walter's window/mirror device.  

  • Obviously those recovered plans will be important to the cause.  They now have those crazy rocks and these equations.  What does it all mean?  We'll find out eventually! 
  • Not really a point of interest but Widmark playing Simon was hysterical! 

  • So, we're now living in a destroyed future where Olivia and Peter's child has died due to a situation that they helped create.  Things are dark and dreary.  Even if they save the world in this future, there doesn't seem to be much hope left in the world does there?  I still keep thinking they're going to somehow prevent the invasion from ever happening in the first place.  And I also keep thinking this is too easy (not that time travel technically is easy, but writing-wise as a solution to the series it is).  A lot of people are thinking that this may be a solution, so it probably won't be.  But, I'm sure they have a satisfying conclusion in mind.
  • I do think though that Etta's death will definitely change the tides in this war.  There may be an even larger rift placed between Olivia and Peter, or it might bring them closer together (or short term, one long term).  Of course, I did see previews for next week so I'm trying not to spill too many beans from that!  But, it looks like things will be moving forward very interestingly! 
So, that's all I really have to discuss.  Great episode, and I'm looking forward to the next grouping of episodes.  As I've mentioned, I'm going to be out of town the next couple of weekends so I won't have timely recaps for Fringe during that time.  (or Walking dead or Revolution either probably)   I'll probably need to post some quick catch-up discussion threads when I get back.  But feel free to use the "weekly discussion posts" as a place to discuss them while I'm gone.  Sorry!  This getting older and having responsibility thing takes some getting used to!  Hope you enjoyed my ramblings and see you soon! 


Anonymous said...

What an awesome episode. WOW is right. I definitely didn't see Etta's demise this early in the season. That should make people that feel Olivia's role has been subdued happy. Now we are back to the core Fringe team. I will miss Etta but if some of your theories for the time reboot as the final outcome are correct, there could still be a happy ending. Anyway, now there is another force driving the Fringe team - ANGER and REVENGE.

Well on the specifics of the recap.

Were the Observers watching Peter or was it just a coincidence? It seemed to me the Observer just happened to be there and read Peter. He just sensed something was amiss once he read him. I would think Observers constantly read humans they encounter (I would if I had the power).

As for the past Fringe event museum under Harvard, some of those cases could have happened in both time lines. Of course if that one happened then they wouldn't have solved it. Smith would have had to gotten away because none of them knew who he was when he came to light in season 4's new timeline. BTW, thanks for going back and figuring out what past episode the gas event occurred. I also like your calling it "face sealer toxin". LOL good one.

I also wouldn't assume that this meseum won't be used again, After all the writers said thing from all four previous seasons would be important.

As for Kilroy, I can't believe you've never heard it. I've heard it on a couple of movies and at least one episode of MASH.

That shootout with the Observers may have been the most epic gunfight we've seen on Fringe.

I suspected Broyles was part of the resistence back in episode 19 when he saw the licorice, smiled and did not report his suspicions to the Observers. Glad to see him back in the episode. We did learn one major reveal that many have been wondering about - Etta didn't have a special gift/ability to hide her thoughts. The skill could be taught and others have it too. The only question remaining is, who taught her?

I still can't believe they killed off Etta. It might be cliche'd but is love ultimately going to save the world. Emotions have been factored out of the Observers so it is beyond their comprehension. It wouldn't be the first sci-fi show I've watched where love plays prominantly in defeating aliens (although I can't think of one now).

As for why Etta was important enough to reboot time, as I said above - love, anger, revenge. All powerful human emotional to maybe tip the scale. If the Observers can't understand it they can't defend against it. Once these emotions are unleashed they drive humans to the extremes of their capabilities.

Was that the first confirmation that the bullet Etta wore was Olivia's from last season's finale? I thought it was and I know a lot of people have speculated on that bullet.

I really think we are going to see some more things used in the past season brought back. I wouldn't be surprised if Olivia starts using her prior demonstrated ability to crossover. It would allow her to elude the Observers (assuming they can't cross over as easily). We know they were in the other timeline as well but we don't know if they have the ability to cross over at will. Perhaps they need to build a machine to do it so that they can keep up with olivia. This would explain the origin of the machine, would it? Although somewhere in the current timeline that machine still should be around... Maybe they hid that too, before the Observers took over everythin). Oh well, now my mind is going in circles with all the possibilities which is why I love this show so much. I was worried after last week's episode but my faith is restored.
Once again great recap Mike.

Bill B

Curt Sminkey said...

Holy crap, butzo. This shit just got real.

. . . pardon my french.

I think one final rebooted time line is almost a definite now. I think the journey for the final episodes is how they get there while fighting the Observers every step of the way until one final epic show down. But your right, it's almost too easy and I"m sure there's going to be a twist in there that we never saw coming.

What a great show!! Don't know how you do all these recaps. I think our kids are roughly the same age and he's non stop.

Daria said...

I was very sad about Etta’s death but the idea that she might serve as a martyr and give the resistance a new reason to fight definitely makes sense. This is just one of the many reasons why I’ve got my Hopper timer set to record the show each week. I definitely didn’t see that coming at all. I figured with Olivia and Peter just now being reunited with Etta would enable her to stick around for a while. My DISH co-worker pointed out that this is the final season of Fringe and the regular rules are out as creators and writers are trying to blow it out of the water. That’s a valid point but man, what a way to go just a few episodes in.

Mike V. said...

Hello all!

@Bill - Thanks for the props! Nice comments yourself! Yes, the big plus of getting Etta off the table is we're back to the core Fringe team for the next set of episodes which is how it should be. Sad that their daughter had to die to make that happen. But yes, Anger/Revenge definitely seem like it will be a driving force.

Observers watching Peter - I dunno, I think it's more that the observers are just everywhere now and most humans probably let them freely read their minds. This observer was caught off guard by the fact that Peter was throwing random thoughts out there and that he didn't want his mind read. This caused him to raise the alarms. I have a feeling it could have been anyone at that point that would have been seized by resisting a mind reading. So, anyway, I think we're on the same page here. lol

Yeah...the fringe events definitely could have happened in both timelines. So, I'm sure it works. I know I keep overthinking the reboot. But it's tough not to think about it! lol And glad you enjoyed the face sealer toxin. lol

Oh yes, I'm sure the we haven't seen the last of the "museum" lol

Kilroy - I's starting to sound a little more familiar. lol Mash predated me a bit, even though I have seen a few reruns in my time. lol

Gunfight - it's possible it was one of the grandest. It certainly was entertaining!

Yeah, I assumed Broyles was part of the resistance too. But, being so high up on the chain, he has to play it cool.

Definitely learned that Etta didn't have a gift. As for who taught her...good question. But maybe it doesn't matter? Kind of like who came before the "MOTHER" on LOST. LOL Every question answered will bring a new question! But, it could be someone important like this Donovan character we learned about in last episode. We'll see!

LOVE will save the world. Yeah, these sci-fi shows seem to all boil down to being about LOVE. Fringe has never been shy about flaunting that's what this show has always been about. Sure, it's masked in crazy cases and science fiction, but the love between these 3 characters (and even the extended family of Astrid, Broyles, maybe Nina) definitely the center of the show. Throw Etta into the mix, it all works.

Very good points revenge and Etta's importance. The observers don't understand love so they don't know how to defend against something so powerful. It all makes sense to me and sounds like something Fringe would definitely do.

It was probably the first confirmation on the bullet. I know I called it right away last season but it's nice to see them discuss it on screen and how she got it.

I sure would love bringing the alternate universe into play this season. You would think a big question that needs to be answered would be if the observers took over in that universe too, right? They certainly were spotted over there watching Fringe events over the seasons. lol Yeah, I definitely thing Olivia's skills will be needed before all is said and done.

I still maintain my previous opinions of the machine's origin. It was created ONCE in that future timeline that no longer exists and sent back through time to exist in all variations of timelines that happened afterwards. lol But, I wouldn't be surprised if we see the machine at least one more time.

My faith is restored as well! Okay, still have to get to the other comments! But nice thoughts Bill!

Mike V. said...

@Sminkey - it certainly did get real! lol Yeah, I keep going back and forth on if the timeline will get rebooted. It certainly would make sense to provide a happy ending, but there might be some twists along the way like you said.

Recapping is definitely not easy these days. I've been writing them in the morning before work (when wife and kid are off to work/daycare). But, it's cutting into my treadmill time which is no good! lol

I think after Fringe is done, I'm going to have to start slowing down in my old age. Do more discussion posts, less recapping. But we'll see!

@Daria - Can never tell if these messages are SPAM since you're advertising Hopper and DISH (which, shame shame on your AMC hiatus. Don't think I'd ever trust that company after that!) but since you seem to have watched the FRINGE episode I'll respond! lol

Agreed it was a bold move a few episodes into the final season. But your co-worker is right. All rules go out the window in a final season. Life/Death stakes intensify even more. I'm not sure sure we've seen the last of the deaths. And maybe even one of our core members may not survive the end of the show. Broyles and Astrid would be the easier ones to take, although still sad. But, what if they took Walter, Olivia or Peter from us? I guess Walter would have the highest odds in that group. I could see him doing something self-sacrificing to save Olivia/Peter and to make up for a lot of the damage he's done to the world in his past life. (Cortexiphan trials, world hopping to save/steal peter, etc...)

Anyway, should be a fun, thrilling and bittersweet ride!

Anonymous said...

One other question I would like answered; Why did the Observers choose 2015 to take over/ invade?

I think back to the Star Trek movie "First Contact". The Borg went back far to the past when the human race would have the odds heavily stacked against them. Why wouldn't the observers have chosen 1856 or 1910 when we would have had no chance of defeating them? The only answer I can come up with is that they wanted a certain level of infrastructure and technology in place that they could readily employ without having to build it all themselves. Still, I would really like that question addressed.

Bill B

Mike V. said...

Bill, when I first read your question the immediate thing I thought of was exactly what you said. There's a level of infrastructure/technology that would be acceptable to the observers. Nice analogy with First Contact too!

Obviously, they needed all of these other events to happen for some reason first too. (aka all of the Fringe Events) Or else why would they be observing them? Of course, they needed Peter to not exist but September went ahead and screwed that up for them! lol

MJ said...

I did NOT see that coming ! They killed Etta !?! Now I really feel that they are going to erase this future by going back and stopping the invasion from happening or defeating them in 2015 so that the get to have their young Etta again. But - you are right - since we all think it it will probably not go that way. ;-D

Funny how the actor who plays Peter talked about this ep being one that changes everything for his character - and he did not say for Peter and Olivia.

I thought I'd seen the mouth with skin thing before (besides Matrix) but wasn't really sure where. Agreed on Simon.

Agree that Observers do not get Love and will not be able to see how it will lead an uprising.

Bill - nice on bringing up Mash in reference to Kilroy.

Mike V. said...


Yeah, I guess it depends how predictable Fringe really wants to be. But even Doc Jensen was discussing it. We're all thinking about it! lol (the time travel stuff)

I'm sure Joshua Jackson didn't want to tip off what he was talking about by mentioning Olivia either. But, I'm sure there's a chance that Peter and Olivia take 2 different approaches to grief. In fact, that would be my best guess for the immediate future episodes. lol

Still bracing for the impact of Hurricane Sandy here. Fingers crossed the power and cable will stay intact through tonight and tomorrow! lol

Anonymous said...

Good luck with the hurricane Mike. I'm in Baltimore and we are pretty much in the same boat. I feel it's not IF but WHEN the power goes off.

MJ, I think it will change Peter's character. I think he's going to become a hardass assassin (Rambo anyone?). We saw how ruthless he could be when he was knocking off shape-shifters to collect the discs in their backs. Now it's personal.
I grew up with MASH and have probably seen every episode 10+ times through the years.

Bill B

Mike V. said...

Thanks Bill! So far so good with the hurricane. Haven't lost power, but just some minor inconveniences with the TV schedule. lol Hopefully Baltimore wasn't too bad either!

Sounds like your MASH obsession is/was similar to my FRIENDS obsession. 2 totally different shows, I know. lol But, I'm sure if I grew up with MASH, I would have seen those eps as much as I've seen FRIENDS. Good stuff.

Nice Peter/Rambo analogy. Based on the previews, I would concur that we're heading down that path. And nice bringing the whole shapeshifter thing into it too. So true.

MJ said...

Good point on how ruthless Peter can be.

I was the same with Mash - and it was harder to rewatch back then as they did not just sell seasons then - you had to actually watch them when they repeated on tv. LOL

Anonymous said...

Looks like Mike was a generation behind us. (We're jealous Mike!)

Yep, some days you could watch 3 or 4 episodes and that was back before cable.

It's funny how a television show can reflect a generational line in the sand.

You should check out some MASH episodes Mike. It was a classic, well written show. The earlier years were more comedic, the later years more dramatic. Hey, at least it was in color, and it's not like I am asking you to watch I Love Lucy (that one was way before me BTW) LOL.

Mike V. said...

Bill, it's not like I've never seen an episode or anything! I know it's a great show but it definitely predated me. Reruns would always be airing growing up so I'd see it from time to time. But remembering something like Kilroy wouldn't be likely! :) That theme song was a classic. And I know the series finale ratings will never be matched. Lol

For the record, I've seen a lot of Lucy eps too. All that stuff was airing during the day when I was a kid. Lol

I'm sure you're not THAT much older than me! Lol

Mike V. said...

Okay correction. M*A*S*H didn't exactly predate me. I existed for the final 5 seasons! Lol. But it was definitely before I would've cared! Lol

Anonymous said...

Alright Mike. I will lay my cards on the table. I'm 51. Based on your last 5 seasons comment that would make you somewhere in your early/mid 30's. I was in high school while you were watching Sesame Street (if that was around then LOL). Like I said, MASH could be considered a generational line in the sand.
Something tells me if the internet had been around in the early 80's you'd have had a Sesame Street recap going. LOL!!!!
Bill B

Mike V. said...

You got me bill. Lol you're 17 years older! Funny though. I just turned 34 and was just thinking how it was 17 years since I got my license. Feels like yesterday!

I sure might have blogged on Sesame Street back in the day! Lol

But yes there probably is a generational line. But I know I would enjoy mash if I ever had the time to watch!

Just a reminder for tonight. I'm out of town so I have a post set to go up to discuss all shows m this includes fringe. If I have a chance I'll post something when I get back next week. Happy fringe Friday!!!

Mike V. said...

You got me bill. Lol you're 17 years older! Funny though. I just turned 34 and was just thinking how it was 17 years since I got my license. Feels like yesterday!

I sure might have blogged on Sesame Street back in the day! Lol

But yes there probably is a generational line. But I know I would enjoy mash if I ever had the time to watch!

Just a reminder for tonight. I'm out of town so I have a post set to go up to discuss all shows m this includes fringe. If I have a chance I'll post something when I get back next week. Happy fringe Friday!!!

MJ said...

Funny on the 'tv show can draw the line' someone here at my office wore a faux fur vest and i said how it reminded me of Laugh In and they just looked at me. LOL. I'm not far behind you Bill.

I don't know about him blogging about Sesame but probably He Man and the orignal Transformers would have gotten the recap treatment. LOL

Anonymous said...

Laugh In... look that up in your Funken Wagnels (or something like that).

Bill B