Hello Fringe fans. Heck of an episode, huh?
Well, let me say that I am still conflicted about what Peter is doing. On one hand I can completely understand, but on the other, he is doing himself and the team a grave disservice.
There are all kinds of clichés that come to mind when thinking about this episode. “If you can’t beat them join them” or “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer” are the two that stand out the most for me. Let’s hope in the end, Peter knows what he truly is doing.
In this video Anna mentions how Olivia is worried about Peter and the changes in him. She worries that she is losing him…
The three week hiatus will be tough, especially knowing that by the time the next episode airs, Fringe will be finished filming…for good. The promo looks kick ass! So great to see our old team doing what they do best, and let’s all hope that Polivia will reign supreme. The one thing I am most excited about is the fantastic jazz diva Jill Scott will be playing an Oracle. She is a huge Fringe fan, from what I hear! Ari Margolis had mentioned on twitter that Season 5 episode 8 had some of his favorite Peter and Olivia moments. Let’s hope he is right.
Now on to the review…I was particularly impressed this episode by how Peter (Joshua Jackson) was manifesting his Observer traits so quickly. I guess working on the set with them for five years now; you pick up a few things. This episode is chock full of fabulous performances, but Josh is the stand out. The others are just as good (when are they not?), but again, Josh makes this episode his own. The slight head tilt and the way he speaks are direct signs that the Observer tech has taken hold of him hopefully not completely.
It does get a little creepy though when he starts to see through the Observers eyes and can hear the conversation between two other Observers. His eaves dropping aids him in his later plan, but it also leads me to believe that he may not be in complete control. I have a feeling that what he is “seeing” is what he wants to see not what actually happens. I may be wrong, but the plan does not play out exactly as he remembers. That blank stare of his is eerie, but again he does a great job at conveying his lack of emotion.
I have said it in a past reviews how showing no emotion goes against the grain of everything an actor is taught. To be able to not show emotion in your scene is a true test of an artist and his/her craft. Bravo to Josh for falling into that category.
It is a little weird that Walter (John Noble) doesn’t really notice the change in Peter; I guess he is too concerned with his own change that is happening to notice. It is sad, though, because as we will see later in the episode how he is turning back into the man he used to be…the not-so-good man and Peter is no better than his father…
When Olivia confronts him in the lab about leaving without her, she already suspects something is amiss. She knows Peter better than anyone and you can see it in her eyes that she is worried. Anna has great body language and great emotive eyes, which is why she has always been such a great actress. I love that Peter tells Olivia “I’m fine” which is normally her answer for when things are NOT fine. It seems the shoe is now on the other foot and Olivia knows it.
It is great to see the cast assembled around the television partaking in another one of Walter’s video tapes. It makes me smile that our team is still able to stay intact even through these dire circumstances. The lab has always been a sanctuary for all of them at one point or another. All we need is Gene unambered and the lab will be complete.
As I have mentioned in a previous post, I love that in this season the writers are bringing back old familiars from past seasons, from the past Fringe cases. The cylinders have always played an integral part in Fringe history and the Observers. I wonder what will be brought back next.
The reveal of what and why William Bell’s (Leonard Nimoy) hand was in Walter’s possession is finally clear. It doesn’t surprise me though that Bell had betrayed them for his own purposes. I had a feeling that we will see him again and that he played a part in the invasion. John Noble as usual is wonderful in this scene; his heartbreak at the betrayal by his best friend is evident. He is another actor that says volumes with his eyes. The interesting thing about this scene is Walter mentions another man with an accent who was torturing him for information! Although Astrid informed him that the story was from the movie Marathon Man, I suspect that Walter may be telling somewhat of the truth…only time will tell.
Upon arriving at the storage facility, we see the utter decimation that happened and hope that the team can come up with a way to get into the storage facility. Of course with some fancy calculations they do…it’s Fringe after all, they will always figure it out.
I must mention one thing that I have absolutely loved about this show from the beginning. The writers, and not of just this episode (the wonderful Graham Roland) but every writer in general always seem to inject a bit of humor into the episodes. That humor always finds its way via Walter Bishop. John Noble takes those little morsels and makes them his own; he leaves these indelible marks on every Fringe fan and in every episode. No matter how dire the situations, how dramatic, scientific or horrendous, Walter’s sayings (or Walterisms) lighten up the show and give it that humanity that has become synonymous with exceptional television.
Nice save, Peter…when he ‘sees’ where the door are supposed to be from his newly found ability, he covers it up by saving “From an engineering point of view” instead of the truth. Olivia notices immediately his body language and his stance; she notices the blood coming from his ear and calls him on it. Once again, Peter has an answer for everything; a little too easily explained which sends sirens and red flags in Olivia’s brain that something is indeed wrong.
Peter’s plan with the briefcase backfired the first time, which is why I mentioned earlier about how he ‘sees’ what he wants to see and not how things really happen. It is a scary thought that Peter is becoming like them, but in a way it gives him the advantage…or does it? He has to be careful with Anil (Shaun Smyth), because he suspects something is wrong with Peter as well. He knows what Etta’s death did to him and is worried that it is throwing Peter deeper and deeper into the place he should not be going. Anil was a friend to Etta just like he is a friend to both Peter and Olivia, so I bet he feels responsible to her to keep them safe.
It saddens me to hear that Peter is lying to Olivia about his motives for meeting Anil. Peter has been doing a lot of lying lately, ever since he inserted that Observer tech into his body. Then again, Peter used to lie for a living; I guess old habits die hard. Still, the situation is not good when he lies to the woman he loves about his intentions. Olivia’s eyes speak volumes to him about her look of worry, as she should be. Her gut is rarely ever wrong and I suspect that it is screaming at her right now.
It is also so great to see Nina Sharp (Blair Brown) again; it wouldn’t be Fringe without her. She does play a crucial role in this episode as does William Bell (Leonard Nimoy), though not physically but indirectly. The scenes that she has with Walter (John Noble) and Olivia (Anna Torv) are wonderful. She is one of those actresses that is always great to watch because she can say so much with just a look.
Her joy at seeing Olivia again is counterbalanced by such sadness in her eyes about Etta and what pain Olivia went through. It’s a great scene with them. She shows a side of her that is normally not shown, but it nice to see. You can see the pain that she is in because of Olivia’s pain.
The scene in the garage with Walter is wonderful. I like how she asks him about his demeanor since having the parts of his brain implanted again. I know that Nina is not only concerned, but fishing to see if that man she knew before is back. I love what John Noble does in this scene. I love that he shows his humility by blaming the man he was before and vowing to never go back there. I like how he used the phrase that he wanted to “walk with the gods” as most megalomaniacs tend to do. He has Peter to keep him from becoming that man again, if Peter doesn’t beat him to it.
Creepy creepy creepy is all I have to say about the scene between Peter and Anil where he is telling him what he should have seen. Bravo to Josh again for his robotic like movements and his almost lack of emotion. I am glad that the tech hasn’t taken him completely over yet…or has it? The perplexed look on Anil’s face is great, he has a suspicion that something is not quite right.
Peter’s skills as a con come in handy when stealing the car, but it seems the Observer tech is affecting him on a level he never anticipated…watch out Peter, it can only get worse before this all is over with.
The scene in the restaurant reminds me of two things, one is my favorite Fringe episode ever (Brown Betty) and Mad Men. The sleek look of the restaurant and the hat check or in this case briefcase check girl is very much keeping with the themes of both. The banter she has with him is also very reminiscent of the film noirs and the brilliant dialogue that would be bandied about between characters.
I don’t know why there aren’t more scenes between Astrid (Jasika Nicole) and Olivia (Anna Torv)? The two actresses are great together and it shows. In the few scenes that they have had together through the course of the series have always made me grateful that they cast an actress who has the ability to be the calm in everyone’s storm. Astrid is one of the few people who can truly be the constant for everyone else’s chaos. The compassion that Astrid always has for the plight of Peter and Olivia is wonderful, she has always been a champion of theirs. Astrid has also always given Olivia hope when Olivia has doubted her relationship with Peter that is the kind of person Astrid is. She sees the pain in Olivia’s eyes when she says that she is losing Peter. Astrid’s eyes are so warm usually, but this time, she feels the pain Olivia is in and is worried about her friend…both of them. Jasika is so great as well, because despite the fact that she is most of the time shadowed by the three main characters, she still shines in her own right. She holds her own very nicely against John, Josh and Anna!
Things start to get a little hairy for the team as the episode progresses. It comes down to the wire where they have to get into that storage facility without detection. When Nina voices her fears to Walter about having Peter be his safety net isn’t enough John Noble is brilliant.
It is interesting to me that Nina is talking about how much she tried to hold onto William and how much she loved him, but that wasn’t enough. Once William tasted what it was like to be a god, all hope was lost. It is parallel to what is happening to Peter and Olivia, her immense love for him and fear of losing him may not be enough to save him. That is the price of genius I guess, the price you pay for wanting to be a god…
John is so brilliant in this scene! His words are vitriolic, they cut Nina to the core and he is brutal, but brilliant. That is what made Walternate such a great character as well, Noble was able to inhabit both completely separately, but now they are seeming to be almost melding together. Nina confirms her hunch, he is becoming the man he used to be…and that is not good at all. It’s bittersweet how Walter still holds onto the notion that Peter’s love will save him from becoming that man again, just as Nina confirmed to him that he was. Walter’s hope (there is that word again) is heartbreaking because it may not happen, we may lose both Bishop boys in the process.
Peter’s plan is diabolical, he used an old Fringe incident from the pilot episode and it certainly was a jaw dropping scene (yes, pun intended). I am glad to see that the old Fringe is back in this episode, the creepiness hasn’t been there for a while and it feels right seeing it again, as gross as it may have been. The hat in shambles on the ground is a priceless reminder that means Peter is catching up.
Once again, as in previous episodes, music plays a part and again John is brilliant! Walter’s comment about Belly stealing his record collection among other wrongs he did to him is perfection. Walter no doubt misses not only this David Bowie (who shares his real name with a villain from Fringe) album, The Man Who Sold the World, but I am sure a number of other fantastic and eclectic albums as well. Bravo to the writers, again, for infusing music as a driving force in this and many other episodes. Am I the only one not surprised that Walter loved Bowie?
The discovery of the safe is a coup for our team, yeah for them. Now all they needed was to open it, Walter to the rescue. Apparently Bell had the same combo for everything, “terrible memory…too much LSD” only one problem, Walter forgot the combination. I had forgotten that the combination was mentioned before in the Jacksonville episode, but Olivia apparently forgot it too, which is not like her. I almost expected Peter to go Observer on him and recite the combo to him, thankfully he didn’t. What was found in the safe were two things of great import, “to guard the things he loved most” as Walter mentioned. The picture of Nina proved Walter wrong about Bell’s feelings for Nina, he did indeed love her.
The something else that they find in the safe helps them find the cylinders, upon Peter touching it; they appear from underground, where it seems they like to reside. Maybe it sensed the tech in Peter’s body or he just got lucky, either way it was another piece to the intricate puzzle. Finding the clues for whatever it is that will defeat the Observers reminds me (and I am sure I am not alone in this) of the Doomsday machine. The pieces that finally came together to create the machine and what it was ultimately used for makes me think about the same thing for Walter’s plan.
When Peter hands one of the cylinders off to Olivia and says to take her car, he uses the word ‘logical’! I laughed out loud at that because it was clearly a nod to Nimoy and his iconic character (who rarely showed emotions as well) Spock. That set a huge alarm off in Olivia, so much so that she confronts him later. Kudos to the writers for paying homage to one of the greatest science fiction shows ever, Star Trek, a show that was, like Fringe, ahead of its time.
I think it is very sweet that Walter brings Nina the picture that William had of her in the safe, it is his olive branch in a way. His concerns for himself are evident, he confessed to her that she was right, love wasn’t enough for her to save William and it may not be enough to save Walter and Peter. Walter begging Nina to help him reverse the effects of his brain matter being inserted again is sad, but John again is brilliant. His fear of losing everything is visceral, as only John can make it. The desperation in his eyes is heartbreaking.
The last two scenes are my favorite, it’s Josh and Anna and what they do best. It is alarming to Olivia when she sees the boards with all of Peter’s writing on them, her hunch was right and she hates it. When Peter finally confesses to Olivia that he has the Observer tech it is the worst possible scenario imaginable. The part when Peter starts saying the same thing as Olivia is right out of the Arrival episode, another great one from the first season. Olivia is clearly shaken to her core, she is scared and fearful beyond belief, she cannot lose Peter, he is the only thing holding her together right now, her tether to the world.
Walter’s chest of treasures is their only hope of saving what is left of the universe. It is sad to know that right now he doesn’t remember, but all will be revealed. Patience is something that the team has scarce little of and hope is their only weapon right now.
The ending sequence is great. How the song “The Man That Sold the World” illuminates what is going on in the story as it is intercut with Windmark’s (Michael Kopsa) and Peter’s predictions at the same time. Walter’s letting the music wash over him as he always does in times of despair, it is his saving grace, the one thing that he can count in to give him peace. The lyrics to the song are very revealing about coming face to face with the man that sold the world, which I suspect is Bell…only time will tell. Then Peter loses a bunch of hair…not a good sign, not a good sign at all.
I just hope that the remaining episodes will be as amazing as the first seven have been. I am looking forward to the final journey of our beloved Fringe team and see how once and for all the Observers will be defeated. For now all we can do is wait, only time will tell…let’s hope it’s a happy ending. I do hope and keep my fingers crossed that there will be a movie (maybe several) in the future. I hope you enjoyed my review, I would love to hear your comments. Stay strong during the hiatus…re-watches help.
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