Fringe "Five-Twenty-Ten" Review: Hats Off

By Tim Surette

Nov 20, 2012

Fringe S05E07: "Five-Twenty-Ten"

It amazes me that in a final season with just 13 episodes to tell its story Fringe can afford to put out an episode like "Five-Twenty-Ten," an hour that really only gave us one thing of import and recycled several things we already knew. Luckily, that one thing was REALLY cool and "Five-Twenty-Ten" was a visual stunner making it a more enjoyable chapter than it should have been.

That cool thing I'm talking about is of course Peter's continuing transformation into THE PETERVER and his one-man assault on the Observer higher-ups. With only a few days (or even less) of experience working with his Observer upgrade, Peter has already gotten the hang of seeing the future, predicting outcomes, and staying away from Olivia for extended periods of time. He's working behind the backs of his Fringe Division partners by spending nap time planning the most efficient terrorist attacks possible and leaving any shred of humanity behind.

Though this transformation comes with some nifty parlor tricks like seeing the future, punch-catching, and an on-the-nose impersonation of a sparrow's head twitching, watching Peter turn into an Observer is not as fun as it sounds. The guy we've spent the last five seasons really connecting to is becoming a hairless revenge robot, but the worst part is that he's lying to his friends, man! We've seen the core trio split up before, but there's something particularly nasty about what Peter's going through right now that makes this one of the scariest of the series. We may never see Joshua Jackson's boy-next-door smile again.

But the one who will miss him the most is Olivia, and this is where that recycling things we already knew stuff comes in. While there was no doubt that some of these scenes, like Olivia and Astrid's girl talk in the car, were well written and came from the hearts of these characters, it was a lot of expressing things we already knew. The same can be said for many of Walter's scenes in which he restated his fear of becoming the man he once was. This at least had the additional detail of Walter counting on Peter's love to save him, but again, we learned this lesson in "Through the Looking Glass and What Walter Found There."

Hold on, stop shaking your fists and cursing my name. I didn't hate these scenes, in fact they were mostly good (but I do always chuckle whenever Walter says something about removing pieces of his brain), but I'm not sure they added anything to the conversation. I don't know if it's a lack of material or the show wanting to make sure we know what they're talking about, but I doubt it's the latter as the show never aims to insult our intelligence.

Where "Five-Twenty-Ten" did excel was in its presentation. This episode was flat-out gorgeous, particularly the blue world Peter saw when he was looking into the future and the rapid button pushing whenever Walter's tapes were played. And let's not forget about the suitcase bomb, the dissolving faces of the Observers, and the lone dusty Fedora that floated gently to the ground when Peter's plan was executed. But the greatest moment was saved for last when Walter threw on some Bowie and we saw Walter contemplate his future while Peter predicted Windmark's. This was great stuff.

But once again, an episode in Fringe's final season was mostly spent watching one of Walter's tapes and extracting the item described in it. This week the crew grabbed some of those magical Observer drilling cylinders, which immediately went into the cupboard full of other junk that's already been obtained. We still don't know what Walter's plan is, we still don't know what the retrieved objects will be used for, and it looks like the show is in no hurry to tell us. Like I said last week, this better be good, Fringe!


– Last week I wondered whether Peter's hair would start falling out, and in this episode he pulled out a huge clump of his pretty locks! I also wondered whether an old Fringe relic would be unleashed on some Observers, and this week a briefcase full of flesh-eating goo (from Fringe's first season) exploded during an Observer board meeting. Since I obviously have the Fringe writers' attention, a gratuitous scene of Anna Torv dancing around in lingerie would also be nice. Thanks!

– It was nice to see Nina again, but her inclusion in this episode didn't seem to be necessary or Nina specific. We've seen a lot less of the supporting cast this season as things are focused on Walter, Peter, and Olivia, but I don't think I can argue that it's helping things. I definitely haven't gotten enough Broyles this season.

– If there is one thing that gives me confidence in the overall master plan, it's the fact that Fringe appears to know where it's going. William Bell's hand, which was grabbed in last season's "Letters of Transit," did come back as a major component of the episode.

– Why was Peter's ear bleeding? It wasn't ever brought up again. Obviously it has to do with his upgrade, but was it just there to show us that bad physical side effects are part of the change, or is it something more?

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  • lilacandyellow Dec 14, 2012

    So, I was re-watching "Jacksonville", and the combination of the lock Walter opens to get in the childcare center is 5-20-10. He says "I always use the same combination, but I can't remember the significance"... Any idea?

  • Linc-o Dec 08, 2012

    Hey Tim, I see you're getting a little bit too upset in your reviews lately... it's as if you got sick of those who were your favorite characters, shows and genres a few months ago. You don't sound like yourself anymore... :(

  • bothcats Dec 06, 2012

    Also, the final sequence where Walter put on Bowie's The Man Who Sold the World was epic. While Walter rocking out to almost anything is awesome, the implication behind picking this song and what is happening to both himself and Peter was a perfect.

  • bothcats Dec 06, 2012

    PETERVER'S transformation really made the episode for me. Beautiful shots (the fedora on the ground) and his final head tick at the end gave me CHILLS.
    I actually didn't mind Walter's reiteration of him being afraid of turning into his old self, because we sort of were informed that even though William Bell loved Nina, her love couldn't save him... possibly predicting the same for his banking on Peter's love saving him. And it definitely won't now, seeing as Peter is turning into an observer. While I am enjoying these character transformations, I miss the old days of the team clicking and banding together.

  • ionee24 Dec 06, 2012

    "– If there is one thing that gives me confidence in the overall master plan, it's the fact that Fringe appears to know where it's going. William Bell's hand, which was grabbed in last season's "Letters of Transit," did come back as a major component of the episode."

    I may not understand the plot half of the times but I'm confident the episode will always bring it home, cuz it does.

  • sockfire Nov 30, 2012

    Sadly, haven't been loving the future world Fringes. Now that Peter has the tech in his head, I'm just waiting for things in the future world to go seriously sideways, so Peter can time travel back to the awesome present and tell the Team Fringe who we all know and love: they need to sort this problem out in the here and now. Lay some Back to the Future-style timeline restructuring down on those bald jerks. A return to the present will sort out most of the problems from this season (too little Broyles, too much videotape hunting), while also giving them a chance to resolve some of the loose ends from Season 4. Plus, a return to the present will give everyone a chance for more resonant, hopefully non-deprressing, character arc closures.

  • SoLiOZuZ Nov 26, 2012

    Peter is no longer the boy-next-door, he's turned into a super powered Jason Bourne and all he cares about are Observers and he likes them dead.

  • nic656 Nov 25, 2012

    As much as I'm enjoying Peter's transformation into Peterver. I, too, am terrified that "We may never see Joshua Jackson's boy-next-door smile again." This is the final season and we want these characters, who've all left their mark on us, to have a proper send off - at the direction Peter's going (and as entertaining as it is) I think we're headed for a very tragic ending.

  • DerekWheeler1 Nov 24, 2012

    I saw Nina's inclusion as very necessary. Yes we have seen Walter and Peter discuss Walter's devolving into Old Walter but since Peter only has a child's perspective on that version of Walter Nina's involvement offers the adult perspective and while Peter is sure that his love will save his father since he is an adult now Nina personally knows how unlikely that is to work. Very important points when it comes to Walter. Will old Walter actually want to stop the observers or will he see their invasion as a boon for scientific exploration?

    Peter's ear was bleeding due to the brain damage. The observer tech that Peter implanted in himself clearly is what causes various features we have come to know about the Observers. 1 aspect is the seeming suppression of emotions that we are starting to witness in Peter something that could be caused by damaging certain parts of the brain and said damage would appear as bleeding out of his ear. Note that after the ear bleeding he started displaying less and less emotions. Almost as if he couldn't even going so far as to invoke the word logical. Even when discussing vengeance for his daughter Etta he seemed rather cold about it and not in a cold fury kind of way.

    I do wonder if perhaps Peter is responsible for all of the resist signs with pictures of his daughter since they seemed to have popped up almost the same time as Etta died something impossible without time travel.

  • Plonked Nov 23, 2012

    Does anyone else think Peter is September???

  • Ankh49 Nov 24, 2012

    the touhgt crossed my mind but then I thought it more likely that the empathetic kids turns out to be November. I wasn't too pleased with the hwole chasing tape storyline, but I love how they've come full circle and are now using the Fringe events they solved to wreak havoc on the Observers.I was especially delighted when the symbols tath we've been seen between scenes since episode one popped up on the doors last week, but I'm not so sure about the Peterver storyline though. on one hand it was kind of a shock and it is a bit horrifying to see Peter transform into the very thing he is fighting against, but on the other hand it feels like we're treading old ground. It is too similar to the storyline when the Peter was 'weaponised' by the device and started taking out shapeshifters. I know i'm being greedy as although I'd like to see Fringe come full circle and incorporate elements from previous seasons I also want it to take us somewhere new. I really want it to end with a bang and not a recycled whimper.

  • KyleEggers Nov 23, 2012

    Good theory. Would be interesting to see. They look nothing alike and if the Observers had a way for changing their appearance over time, you'd think they'd look a lot better then bald old guys. I think Joshua Jackson is a little taller also. On another note, I don't think these blokes are the same dudes who are going to go on to become the Observers. They come from another alternate universe and time. How would Peter go from where he is now to infiltrating their group in the future to come back and save himself so Walter can go on to stop the Observers. Why wouldn't Peter just stop the Observers in the first place, instead of building their ultimate plan of taking over the world. If you remember, September was in the planning department and has been pictured since the beginning of recorded history. Why help them plan so much and leave little hope for a last second ditch effort to save the world?

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