Saturday, December 8, 2012

Fringe: Season 5 Episode 8 - The Human Kind

Welcome back Fringe fanatics!  Well, depending on what you look for in your Fringe, last night's episode was either a sign of relief or a big disappointment.  For me, it was just another hour heading towards a climactic conclusion.  I've probably said it before, but this season definitely has a different feel to it due to them abandoning their formula with the "case of the week" and slow build of mythology over the season.  We have gone full-on mythology to tell one continuous tale for 13 episodes.  (They refer to it as a 13 hour movie)  I'm sure there will be a reason for taking us down the path that they did.   We must remember that Fringe, at its very core, is a love story.  And the science fiction part is just the backdrop to tell that story.  I don't think I'll have many theories or analysis this week, but we'll see when we take a deeper dive.  Let's get into it!

Walter and Astrid have unlocked yet another video to the "Take Down the Observers" plan.  The latest news is that they need a large electromagnet.  (Don't we always on these shows!?)  Walter says that they have one secured in Fitchburg, Massachusetts.  Olivia returns after a talk with Anil and retrieving some Observer tech of her own.  She shares with Walter and Astrid what Peter has done to himself.  They're all obviously horrified.  Walter gets to work right away on analyzing the tech to see if there's any chance of rescuing Peter.  Olivia cannot stand by idly and she decides to go on her own to retrieve the magnet.  

Meanwhile, Peter works on his plan to take down Windmark.  Etta's apartment gets compromised as Windmark and another one of his Lieutenants catch wind of what he's doing.  They realize that he's gained the ability to run futures.   Peter works on changing Windmark's trajectory but Windmark was able to change things himself and finds a way to corner Peter.  They get in an Observer fight.  Windmark injures Peter, Peter kills the Lieutenant and disappears.  He returns to Walter to get sewed up displaying no feeling whatsoever.  Though, his resolution is still to avenge Etta.  

Walter and Astrid determine that the tech is reshaping Peter's brain to utilize more of it but suppress emotion.  It is only a matter of time before it will take hold forever and finding the old Peter will be an impossible mission.  Peter forgets his promise to Walter and his own brain issues and abandons the team for his vengeance.

Olivia arrives at Fitchburg to find that a lady Simone (musician Jill Scott) has been waiting for a long time for her to arrive.  Originally, her mother interacted with some older man with greyish hair who requested this electromagnet to be held until someone came asking for it.  Simone had faith while many others lost faith that someone would arrive.  We find out there's a bounty on Olivia and Olivia begins to lack trust in Simone and crew.  But Simone has some crazy ability to read people and she believes it was a gift from God or some higher power.  She knows that Olivia lost her daughter and knew that she had "the bullet that saved the world" in her pocket.  Olivia gives a big rambling to how there is no ultimate answer to life's mysteries.  She said it's all numbers and that the Observers are just better at math.  Hmm, maybe the answer to the question of Life, the Universe and Everything actually IS 42

Anyway, Olivia gets her magnet and is on her way to drop it off in one of Anil's hiding places when she falls for the old "Car Accident with Fake injured people on the road" gag.  2 dudes are looking for a big reward.  They scan Olivia and realize that she's worth a lot of money.  Then, they have this magnet they can scrap and sell for parts.  (Wait, I thought walnuts were worth more than money these days?)  Windmark received word of the randsom and was willing to pay it to get Olivia.  Anyway, Olivia totally goes MacGyver and makes a makeshift gun out of an air hose.  She puts in her bullet that almost killed her at the end of season 4 and took out one of the dudes.   She gets her gun and takes out the other dude and retrieves her crushed bullet. 

She finds out from Walter and Astrid what Peter's fate is and where he is going.  He has an ultimate plan to take out Windmark at an intersection and then Etta will be avenged.  Olivia calls up scotty and beams from Massachusetts to New York in seconds (sorry, couldn't resist!) and goes to the intersection where Peter is hatching his plan.  She says how she has lost Peter before and will not let it happen again.  Windmark had shown Peter Etta's last images before she died.  She was thinking of her parents on the day she was taken.  On the day they came.  This fueled Peter's desire to take down Windmark even more.  Olivia brings up that Etta is still with them.  Olivia used the bullet that Etta had been carrying with her for years to take out her captors.  She also warns Peter that he is going to be lost and that he will lose all emotion.  Peter thinks that emotion is humankind's weakness, but Olivia debates that it is their strength.  It is the one thing that the Observers don't have and don't understand.   (Well, August surely seemed to understand it in season 2.  And September seems to understand it a bit.  But, as we've seen it totally eludes Windmark.)   Olivia told Peter that she loved him.  Peter started having flashes back to his intimate moments with Olivia, Etta and Walter.  We could see him beginning to break, and then he got out a knife and cut the tech out of the back of his neck.  Olivia took the tech from his hand and replaced it with the infamous bullet.  Etta is now still with Peter too.   He collapsed into Olivia's arms.  And Peter is rescued from his Observer fate! (So long Peter = September theories!!)

And that's that folks!  We're all back to plan A, which was actually plan B at the start of this season!  Surely, they're getting close to having everything they need to assemble their "Observer Takedown" plan.  We have 5 hours left, so we'll see!   Let's get into some of the fun stuff and analysis. 


Glyph Code - PLEAD - Well, Olivia and Walter both certainly begged for Peter to reconsider his plan.  That's all I got on this one!  Thanks to Fringepedia for the screenshot! 

Observers Spotted - Yup, they were everywhere. 

  • Maybe the fact that he chose a porcupine brain to test the observer tech on?  He wasn't very humorous this episode.  But again, I think this is by design.  He's slowly losing himself to his old "full brained" self. 

  • Well for old time's sake, during Peter's flashes of memories rushing back to him, we did get to relieve "Naked Tuesdays" again.  

Food of the Week - Licorice makes a comeback!  Not sure if it was the grape stuff or they found more red. 

Things to Note/Theories: 
  • Peter and Walter both reflected on unlocking the potential of the human brain.  It seems to me that maybe this arc with Peter taking on the Observer tech was kind of to compare to Walter's own life path with having God-like powers and being humbled when he took the pieces of his brain out.  The fact that Peter was able to remove the tech before he did TOO much damage to others and himself may go towards the whole "Be a Better Man Than Your Father" recurring theme of the show.   
  • Of course, the other thing that was proven here is that LOVE won again.  Olivia's love for Peter WAS enough for Peter to back down from taking on an all consuming power.  Walter was saying in the last episode how love wasn't enough for William Bell.  
  • Olivia asked Simone of the man that came to his mother was Walter Bishop.  I mentioned above that it was an older man with grayish hair.  Yes, that could be simply that she didn't remember Walter's name.  Or, perhaps William Bell or this Donald (or maybe it's both of them) had something to do with the magnet.  I want to think this was another clue at this Donald character.  
  • So, we have 2 beacons, crazy rocks recovered from the tree people, an electromagnet, a thought unifier and a partridge in a pear tree.  Anyone figure out what they're doing?  The fact that a beacon can locate something through space and time has to be an indicator of time travel, right?   Some form of it.   Maybe they'll go to the future and wipe out the Observers before they ever come back.  Maybe they'll go to the past and prevent it from ever happening.   Maybe they'll grab  a character FROM the past (i.e. Etta) and bring her to the future.  Most likely none of that will happen, but I'm just throwing stuff out there!  
Okay, I'll cut this off here.  There's not much else to reflect on.  There are 2 more episodes in December which I'll admit will be difficult to find time to recap.  Next week I'll have a better chance than the weekend of 12/21-12/23 where I'll be traveling to family for the holidays.  But no fear, I'll be here in full force for the final 2 weeks (and 3 episodes) in January.  Next week is episode 9 which in this shortened season is the equivalent of a traditional "episode 19."  If you remember, we've gone on some trippy rides in those episodes.  Brown Betty in season 2, LSD in season 3, and Letters of Transit in season 4.   Based on the previews, it looks like we're in for one more wild ride with plenty of Walterisms to make up for the past couple of weeks!  That's all I'll say.  Hope you enjoyed my ramblins and I'll hopefully see you next week! 


Anonymous said...

Count me in the "glad Peter isn't the first observer or September" crowd. I thought that would be too obvious and also a disappointing ending for viewers.

I have no theories of how things will work out. But I will point out that Broyles has the document that they retrieved from the subway station that no one could understand. Our Fringe team now have two Observer tech implants. We have seen that they can be inserted and removed with, as far as we can tell at this point, no long term effects. Perhaps Peter will retain some of those physcal brain enhancements or they will re-insert one of the brain enhancers to be able to understand the document Broyles is holding.

One of my original theories for the season was that human emotions, revenge, love, caring, empathy, may be how they beat the Observers because they can't factor that into math. Olivia's speech seems to point that way.

Either way, I am looking forward to those last 5 hours now moreso.

I also thought Macgyver when Olivia was constructing that makeshift weapon. The A-team also came to mind (who else could transform a manure spreader into a tank, LOL).

I was also wondering how Olivia even found Peter waiting on the bridge. Or did I miss Walter telling her where he'd be? All I remember was him telling her that Peter was after Windmark. There were some other things that I could pick apart in this episode but I won't. It was a good episode and I enjoyed it. I am once again happy with the direction the season is taking.

Bill B

Curt Sminkey said...

How did I guess there would be a Macguyver reference here? I was waiting for the theme music to kick in the background. Good stuff.

Mike V. said...

@Bill - You can count me in the same crowd. I thought the idea had some merit and would have been interesting, but wouldn't exactly match the tone of Fringe through the years. I still liked the idea that September exists due to a timeline where Peter became an observer, but this timeline is different because of him and Olivia's relationship. But, I'm sure if there's any connection to September, it'll probably be the bald boy empath from season 1. I forgot to mention him and the radio in my list of things they collected. lol And yes, I keep forgetting about the document Broyles has too! Maybe Peter will have some long term effects from his assimilation to the tech. Good point.

I agree that LOVE/EMOTION seem to pave the way to the Observer's undoing. Very similar to the final season of LOST, which will piss off a lot of people if they make it a prominent presence in these final episodes. I don't mind it. All good Sci-Fi has heart! (and all good bloggers are broken records! lol)

Good call on the A-Team. If Olivia lit up a cigar and said "I love it when a plan comes together" it wouldn't have surprised me! lol

As for Olivia finding Peter on the bridge...Peter mentioned to Walter a specific intersection where Windmark's journey would come to an end. So, I'm guessing Walter told Olivia. Olivia said something on the phone like "where is he" and I think the camera cut away or something like that. Don't remember the details, but I do remember thinking that she could have figured it out. I just always thought it was funny how they traveled over the whole world for cases and they would seemingly get there in minutes. The travel between NYC and Boston is the best. But, it's something the show chose not to be too worried about. (travel logistics) And it certainly makes up for it everywhere else!

@Curt - I can't resist a good Macguyver reference! lol I've been making them all season on Revolution too. There's an explosives expert who can make a bomb out of a few blades of grass. (Exaggeration) It's pretty hysterical. lol

Anonymous said...

I also think the last episode of Season 4 was a tip-off to the intent of the writers - a happy ending. When that episode was shot Season 5 was still up in the air so it may have been the end of the series.

I guess you could also argue that since it was up in the air that the writers couldn't have killed off a major character. Now that they know the finality of the series they don't have to worry about next season which gives them total freedom.

Still, I am betting that whatever the final outcome, the ending will be a happy one.

LOL,,, at the thought of Olivia lighting up a cigar and uttering that famous A-team phrase. Too funy.

Bill B

Anonymous said...

1. I thought Simone summed up well what the show was about when Olivia was disagreeing. That whole exchange seemed weird in that Olivia was arguing for the math approach.
2. The 2 observer inserts can be for Olivia and Peter to go to Observerland--I still think we'll have some action over there. This ep established that the inserts can be installed and removed--wasn't sure of that before.
3. It is a love story surrounded by tech similar formula as LOST. This ep obviously brings it to the front.
4. Interesting that Etta is not dead--I'm not sure she just lives in their hearts given time travel and the repeated statements of "possible futures"


MJ said...

Good use of 'MacGuyver' - lol That was crazy though. Good catch about how we've been told how unvaluable money is any more. Was very happy that Peter came back to Olivia. He's gone dark before but always comes back but this being the end I was nervous. Agree that their lack of emotions and lack of udnerstanding them will lead to their downfall.

Mike V. said...

Bill, agreed. Even season 3 was technically designed as a "series" finale too. It wasn't an ideal end, but it ended with HOPE (even if Peter disappered lol). And Fringe is all about hope. I always thought Fringe would have an optimistic ending. But, I do think there still may be tragedy before the end. Walter seems the most likely candidate. But, you never can tell if Olivia will get shot in the head or not. lol She has a tendency to do that! :)

Richard -

1.) Good point on Simone's opinions. Faith, Hope and Love = Fringe lol

2.) Yeah, I still don't know about them traveling to the future. But with the technology they are gathering, it is quite possible that they could be going for that. I think the "Observer Tech" could be removed from Peter because he did it "in time" before it took over. When Peter took it out of the Observer before, it killed him.
3.) agreed

4.) Etta is very dead in this current timeline. Olivia was speaking metaphorically. But, that doesn't mean we've seen the last of Etta as you mention the various reasons why. lol

@MJ - Agree on all! :)

Anonymous said...

4. I agree in this timeline she's dead. But the way they kept mentioning possible futures and they now have the tech to time travel again it just made me think they are hinting at another possible future. Particularly since they said she was alive in their hearts, repeatedly to the point that I began wondering if there was something else they were trying to convey.
5. Under the category of possibly over thinking this--I wonder if in Walter's past where he recorded the videos--Peter had inserted the tech and they had acquired a second.
IDK, just speculation


Mike V. said...

4.) Maybe, but I don't think so. I think they were just going for the melodramatic touchy-feely moment on Fringe. lol An earned moment, don't get me wrong but I don't think they were going for secret meanings. They usually aren't on Fringe. It's usually all out there on the surface without having to look too deep into things. lol

5.) Not sure I understand where you're going with this one. Walter recorded those videos in 2015 of our current timeline. So Peter definitely inserted the tech in the same timeline. The 2nd piece of tech came from Anil whose team got it from another dead observer.

But, I totally agree and have also been saying all season that time travel is likely to play a part in wrapping up the show. I just hope it doesn't feel cheap if they do it and I'm sure it won't.

If there's any indication that time travel may be involved, the finale's episode title has been revealed during the 100th Episode wrap-up party. MILD SPOILER (ep title) below:

An Enemy of Fate

Anonymous said...

sidebar> whats up with Walter's right eye..most of the time you can spot a flicker/flash when he's on screen..i wonder if that's how he receives his lines..

Mike V. said...

Interesting, I've never noticed that. lol Of course, now I'll probably always notice! :)

MJ said...

LOL 'she has a tendency to do that'.

Aaaah! An Enemy of Fate. Very interesting. Are we the Emeny of Fate with fate being the Observers coming or are they the enemy of our fate ?!? Lots of thoughts there.

I hope to see September again, hoping he's part of the plan to help them somehow.

Mike V. said...

Yeah, surely September will at least be in the finale. But, now that the Peter theories are debunked, I'm back to thinking that Empath kid might be September.

Hmm, after listening to The Fringe Podcast a few times I heard them keep bringing up trying to figure out who "The Dove" is. I couldn't remember ever hearing anything about The Dove. It was in the loyalist interrogation earlier this season. Theories are that Broyles is The Dove. Maybe that already is the answer. lol

So, big movie weekend this wknd. Seeing the Hobbit friday night with the 9 minute trek preview. I'll try to watch Fringe and recap by the morning but there's a chance I'll be delayed. And I still think 12/21 recap aint happening! lol

MJ said...

Cause of the end of the world ? LOL j/k! I can't believe that we even have any new shows of any kind by 12/21. I'll never get caught up on some crap if they don't start having repeats. ;-P It used to be that by mid december it was all repeats or holidy programming

I rarely get to read it ont he weekend any way adn I'm sure the rest will wait until you can get to it.

Mike V. said...

Lol good one! But no I'll be traveling for the holidays. (Family visits and all). But I think the only reason fringe is airing is because it holds no value to fox to save the episodes. The final season was a gift and they're burning it off as fast as possible. At least they were nice enough to take 2 weeks off after 12/21! Lol

Anonymous said...

Wait?! Wait?! I can't wait! LOL

Seriously, it's hard to carve out time to do anything that's routine during the holidays. Everything is upside down. If the world is going to end on 12/21, hope it's after 10PM so at least I'll get to see another episode. LOL (although I usually DVR it and watch it sometime after 11PM.)

If Broyles isn't "The Dove" then it is either September (older or younger) or Bell. Could Bell be playing a good guy this year? That would be a twist no one would expect. I'd still put my money on Broyles though. One thing for sure, if he isn't The Dove he knows who is because he had his hand on his gun when he thought the loyalist being interrogated might divulge the identity. ABTW, I don't think that was a loyalist, I think it was a rebel posing as a loyalist (if I remember correctly). Wasn't the jig up when he said it rained on the day he was "sworn in" and it was actually a sunny day?

Bill B

Anonymous said...

Of course Walter could be The Dove and just forgot.LOL

He's forgotten everything else this season.

MJ said...

Crap - I totally do not remember a 'dove'. LOL

Gonna say happy Fringe friday now since I'll be off tomorrow.

Have a good weekend everyone.

Mike V. said...

Happy Fringe Friday everyone!

EW had a sneak peak at the finale today (stills taken by showrunner JH Wyman). Figured I'd share,,20302134_20656322,00.html