Fringe / Television

Fringe “Five-Twenty-Ten” Review

While some other things definitely happened in this week’s Fringe, the main takeaway from “Five-Twenty-Ten” has to be Peter’s transformation. Last week we started seeing signs of Peter’s Observer powers, but by the end of the latest installment he is basically full-on Observer save for the appearance… and even that is beginning to change. The episode opens with Peter using his newfound skills to predict what is going to happen with some baldies. It is hard to not think back to the early Season 3 episode “The Plateau” where the show used a similar audio/visual device to show Milo’s predictive abilities (it is mixed with that blue Observer vision this time around). Though if you are anything like me, Milo’s abilities in that episode made you initially think of the Observers, so it isn’t too surprising to see something similar pop up with Peter here. He is using his ability to predict the future to take out some of Windmark’s Lieutenants. We get to see one such takedown with a nice callback to the pilot complete with Observer jaws falling off of their faces. I think Emily Thorne would have appreciated this bit of Revenging.

All this is cool, but I think the thing that struck me most was just watching the way Peter acts towards others change throughout the episode. I have to say that Joshua Jackson has nailed the mannerisms of Observers here. I say that as if all the other Observers aren’t being played by actors as well, but maybe it’s that Peter doesn’t have that classic Observer look with the suit, hat and lack of hair. So he really has to sell it with just the little Observer ticks. Like the slight head nods, the voice cadence or even just some of the words he uses. Watching Peter turn into an Observer is actually a bit disturbing because one he is so good at it and two you just don’t want him to turn into this at all. The final scenes where this is revealed to Olivia are especially creepy complete with him saying what Olivia’s going to say before she does and even losing some hair. And just that sort of blank look in his eyes or the fact that he doesn’t care if Olivia knows by the end. He isn’t even bothering to hide it like earlier in the episode. It’s kind of messed up.

I am glad Olivia finds out about Peter putting the tech in himself. Hopefully with Olivia finding out now, her, Walter and the gang can find a way to fix Peter. I don’t like the idea suggested by some that he might be the origin of the Observers or September and I really don’t think they will go that route. While I have come around on this storyline since it first started, my feelings on it still depend largely on how it finishes. This thing still has plenty of time to go wrong, so I’ll just have to wait and see how it all turns out. But it has been good so far.

While Peter was sneaking around, Olivia, Walter and Astrid were on another tape quest. This week they are after one of the Observer beacons which involved the help of both Nina Sharp, who makes her first appearance this season, and William Bell, whose hand, which was taken back in last year’s “Letters of Transit”, finally comes into play. Nina gives them some Observer technology that makes some debris in their way turn into gas which helps them get to what they need. But it seems her real role here is in helping Walter. Peter isn’t the only one going through changes. Walter having put those pieces of his brain back in, is turning into the man he never wanted to become. It is beginning to show and is seen most obviously in something rude he says to Nina, but there have been signs of this since the future arc began. Walter is clinging to the idea that having Peter around will be enough to make sure he does not become that person. But after discovering a picture of Nina in Bell’s lab, he realizes that she could not prevent Bell from turning into what he did and maybe Peter will not be able to help him. And this is all without the knowledge that the Peter he knew is also fading away at the moment. I’m not sure where this all is going, but it makes for some very interesting television and I’m excited to find out what happens next.

A few more things:

  • I thought we’d be following up on the whole Donald/Observer kid thing this week. I guess that waits an episode. Donald feels like he has to be someone we know with the way they have hid his face. Coolest theory I have seen so far is Sam Weiss. Not sure that is likely, but I don’t have many plausible candidates and Sam would just be awesome.
  • In one of like one thousand call backs this episode, the combination to Bell’s safe was 5-20-10 which as I mentioned last week was also the combo to the lock in Jacksonville. By the way they are totally doing call backs without… you know… erasing history beforehand. Take some notes Season 4.
  • In one of like one thousand reunions this season, I was a big fan of the Olivia-Nina one. Remember in this crazy new timeline, Nina helped raise Olivia though Olivia doesn’t really remember that.
  • Walter is upset that not only did Bell betray him, but he stole his David Bowie album!

This was another entertaining hour of Fringe in what has been a bounce back season after the relatively disappointing Season 4 (apparently I just can’t resist taking shots at Season 4 today). I’m not sure all the tape quests have been as good as they could be, but what they have been doing with the characters and mythology surrounding those has made up for any minor shortcomings there. I am also hoping the plan to stop the Observers has a really good conclusion to it which will make for a better payoff in regards to the tapes. They have me worried about these characters too (exactly what they are going for) and I am hoping everything turns out well for my beloved Fringe team. It will be a few weeks until the next episode, but there is plenty to think about in the mean time. And think I shall.

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