Well this has been a long-time coming. Back in September, when I was figuring out what I wanted to blog about for the rest of the year, I came up with the idea for the “Fringe Files”. Fringe was entering its final season, so I wanted to write about every episode as it aired, like I did with Lost’s finale season. Only I stopped blogging and I stopped watching TV. Now that we’re in 2013, however, I’m getting back into the swing of things, and I’m finally watching the fifth and final season of Fringe, so I thought that I may as well record my thoughts as I viewed, no matter how random and scattershot. By this point, the finale has already aired, and if you’re reading these, you’ve probably already seen it. So have I. I didn’t, however, want to simply upload 12 blog entries over the course of 3 days, so I’m spreading them out and continuing to post two a day. as the series finale airs later this week. So here we go. Spoilers, obviously, to follow.
Fringe 5×05 – “An Origin Story”
“Your pain is her legacy to you both. It’s proof that she was here.”
Peter and Olivia are not in a good place when this episode begins. They’ve both lost a child. Olivia asks “Why would we get her back just to lose her again?” And that’s the question, isn’t it? It’s not always the same question, but whenever someone dies, we ask “Why?” It’s part of the grieving process. We always want to know why, and I, as a viewer, also wanted to know why. Peter and Olivia may not have their answer yet, but I’ve got mine.
Etta’s death has set into motion a chain of events that will ultimately affect the outcome of this season. Olivia and Peter’s arcs for this season have been set before them.
Olivia is heartbroken. She’s lost her daughter and now she’s worried about losing Peter as well. She sees the look in his eyes. She knows how close he is to going over the edge and she’s afraid that once he does, he’ll never come back. Walter sees this and brings Olivia a tape he found of one of Etta’s birthdays. At first she’s too afraid to watch it, knowing that once she does, it means accepting what has happened, but she does watch it. She watches it after seeing that Etta has become the face of the resistance. She sees that her daughter’s death was not in vain and that she died for something that means something. Olivia comes to terms with what has happened and decides that she’s not going to lose Peter as well, but it may already be too late.
While Olivia is in a state of shock and sadness, Peter is simply angry. His anger comes from the thought that Etta may have died for nothing. Walter’s plan is getting them nowhere. In Peter’s mind, the only way for Etta to be remembered is if they win this war. In his desperate search for vengeance, he develops a dangerous, fool hardy plan (like father, like son). The Observers are using a wormhole to transport technology back from the future, technology which will be used to finish building the air polluting machines that the Observers require to thrive in our atmosphere. Walter hypothesizes that if anti-matter is used to destroy the wormhole, the act of closing the door, as it were, would lead to the other end of the wormhole becoming a black hole which would suck the Observers, and their operation, into it. It wouldn’t win the war, but it would set them back quite a ways. The key to this plan is discovering how to work the device the Observers use to open the wormhole. If they can open the wormhole first, then they can thwart the Observers plan. Luckily for Peter, the resistance has captured an Observer. Using his skills of interrogation (which do not include torture), Peter is able to correctly assemble the device. Or so he thinks. The plan fails and we discover that the Observer was merely toying with Peter. Now he resorts to torture. The Observer doesn’t care about his death, however. They don’t have emotions. They don’t feel. Humans are like ants to them, not worth the time it takes to even consider their existence. The Observer’s see Etta’s death as irrelevant. She was there, now she is not. That is all. This is unacceptable to Peter. Remember, he believes that they need to win this war for Etta’s death to have meant something. Olivia knows that this is not the case, that the Etta’s death already means something, but Peter doesn’t know this. He doesn’t see this. He is so blinded by rage and desperation, that in his mind, there is only one option. “I would be ten times what you are if I had that tech in my head!” And we see a realization begin to form in Peter’s eyes. Of course, at the end of the episode, Peter removes the device from the Observer’s head and implants it in his own. And so it begins.
I read a theory that suggested that the “origin story” referred to in the title of this episode was that of the Observers, or at least of September. Their origin? A man driven by hubris and revenge takes foreign technology and inserts it into his head, becoming the first Observer. Could Peter really be the first Observer? He’s been much more connected with them than anyone else throughout the entire run of the show, and wasn’t it always the Observers who said “the boy must live”? Did September save Peter from drowning because he IS Peter (I can’t remember if it was September who saved him or not)? I’m reminded of that Fringe Comic-Con video for Season 4 in which Peter was dressed as an Observer. Could this really have been the end game all along? Maybe it’s a little far-fetched, but if that’s what is happening here, then kudos to the writers for laying the groundwork for this. Right or wrong, I can’t wait to see the ramifications of this action.