Fringe "The Boy Must Live" Review: Work of Smarts

Fringe S05E11: "The Boy Must Live"

In an effort to be a more accommodating host to your Fringe Fridays, allow me to first apologize for not reviewing the last episode, "Anomaly XB-6783746." Holidays put me in a holy daze, and I was either in an airplane or a automobile or a dog-pulled sled for about three weeks and didn't even get to watch that episode until earlier this week. So, sorry about that. But here's a mini haiku review of that episode:

Mike is Donald's son,
Donald is September obvs,
What was the point of the first 45 minutes of the episode?

That's a special 5-7-17 professional-grade haiku used only in the Grand Haiku Championships in Japan, but whether or not you're familiar with the format, hopefully it gets the message across. Though Season 5 has hit some of Fringe's trademark emotional apexes, it has also spent a lot of time running in place, standing on a broken escalator, leaning face-first into a wall, and whatever other clichés you can come up with for lacking forward progress.

There's a well-defined goal here (stop the Observers), but when you think about it, not much else. That's not a terrible thing, and I'm repeating myself, but the show we're watching still isn't the Fringe of old. With one more Fringe Friday to go, when I look back on the rest of the season, it just doesn't seem like there was enough story to fill 13 episodes, so the pacing feels off. In previous seasons, any voids were filled by standalone cases-of-the-week, but now that time is mostly spent evading Loyalist checkpoints or talking about Etta posters. One thing that has made Fringe such a sci-fi triumph over the years is its ability to weave compelling personal stories into the season-long tales of multi-universal destruction and doomsday machines. But Season 5 has been light on substance with regard to our characters' personal journeys (aside from the whole Etta dying thing, of course).

Peter flirted with becoming an Observer for a few episodes, but that was wrapped up quickly and didn't have a significant influence on the main story. Walter has been battling his inner demons for a while and even requested brain surgery to remove the evil parts of his melon, but in tonight's episode he changed his mind after being touched by Michael. And Olivia has spent much of Season 5 just sorta standing there, sorta sad about Etta and sorta having problems with Peter. With all our heroes plopped into a time where freedom isn't free, there's little for them to do except focus on the immediate task at hand (death to the baldies!), which changed Fringe from a philosophical, brain-tickling, theme-heavy drama into a plot-heavy science-fiction yarn. (It's still worth watching, it's just not as compelling as it was before.)

"The Boy Must Live" was a great example of the plot working in favor of this shift for the final season, because unlike the winter finale, things happened before the last commercial break and a lot of background was revealed, particularly as it pertains to our hairless child-freak Michael. September/Donald (seeing actor Michael Cerveris with hair and a regular skin tone makes me appreciate his performance and the makeup job a lot more) laid it all out for Walter, Peter, and Olivia. A Norwegian scientist tinkered with humans in 2167 to increase intelligence at the cost of specific emotions; jealousy first, then other un-desirable feelings like greed and the happiness you feel when you see an old woman slip and fall. Soon the pursuit of even greater intellect meant that good feels—like empathy, compassion, and love—had to be jettisoned to make way for more IQ points. The visual depiction of a fetus rapidly developing into a totally buffed adult Observer was great eye candy to go along with the origin story, but when you think it out, is it really satisfying? That's going to depend on how much of a stickler you are. I don't know what was going on in 2167, but I have a hard time believing any scientific community would approve of and research ways to sacrifice human emotion for smarts. Were all scientists at that time clones of Sheldon Cooper or something? Even the nerdiest of science geeks has a soft spot for the joy of cracking a theorem, or leveling a League of Legends character, or finding new internet porn. How stupid do you have to be to want to be that smart? From a scientific standpoint, the origin of the Observers makes sense, but from a societal point of view, it sounds a little far-fetched.

But let's move on to Michael! Michael is a freak among freaks, a mutation of carefully planned mutations who somehow possesses the desired intelligence the scientists sought and also retained the capacity for emotion. He's proof that evolution doesn't mean turning into a robot, which brings us to Walter's grand plan to defeat the Bald Invaders from the Future. After Walter's convenient amnesia (ugh) kept the plan secret from us for most of the season, Donald once again laid it out: Walter's plan is to take Michael, living proof that emotion doesn't have to be shoved in the corner in favor of opening up brain real estate for intellect, to those future scientists, causing their research to shift and preventing the creation of the Observers. This would theoretically mean no invasion, no death of Etta, and no terrible Observer techno music. It isn't the most graceful plan, and it certainly isn't as foolproof as Walter and Donald seem to think it is. What if the scientists have other ideas? What if the scientists view emotions as a weakness (which would make more sense for the creation of Observers)? What if it's the increased intellect that's responsible for the death and destruction and not just the lack of emotion? Why not bring evidence that the super-smart experiments being made in the lab will destroy the world in 2609 or time-travel back to 2015 and enslave humanity? That kind of approach worked for teenage John Connor in Terminator 2 when he confronted Mr. Scientist about future Skynet. And let's not start on any time-paradox issues going on. Hey, I'm just asking questions here!

What I found interesting were the apparent changes happening in the Observers. Windmark found himself consumed with the destruction of "the fugitives," and correct me if I'm wrong, but there's emotion behind that. The Lizardman Observer also showed some pep, tapping his foot to some smooth jazz like young Steve Martin in The Jerk. Is this a sign that evolution toward humanity is inevitable? Are these moments of weakness for the Observers, or are they indications that their "species" is salvageable? I'm hoping this becomes the wrinkle that elevates the final two hours of Fringe to something more than just zapping Michael into the future to erase the Observers. If the show really wants to drive home the idea that emotions are what separate us from them, it would set up some sort of situation in which humans see their potential and spare the Observers. It all goes back to that ant-under-boot analogy. The Observers stomp down the boot down and crush the ants, but humans, feeling empathy and some sort of connection to the world, let them live.

The whole sequence when Michael returned to Donald—all the way up through the moment that Windmark walked into Donald's apartment—was the best that Fringe has offered in Season 5. But the sad truth is that it hardly involved Peter, Olivia, or Walter. Not that that's terribly surprising—Season 5 has become all about the Observers, and our Fringe heroes are just audience surrogates to carry on that story. It's a shame, because while the Observer stuff is fascinating, it doesn't feel like a fair send-off for Olive and the Bishops.

There are only 120 minutes left of Fringe (about 88 minutes of you want to be technical about it), and we now know Walter's plan to take care of the Observers. And we have to assume that a large chunk of that 88 minutes will be spent getting Michael back from the evil clutches of Windmark. There still doesn't seem to much else going on, but at least "The Boy Must Live" pushed the plot forward faster than previous episodes did.



NOTES

– Ahhhhh! The Observer Commander is a scary-looking dude!

– In addition to being extremely handsome, incredibly smart, and fashion savvy when it comes to dope jackets, Peter and I also share a crippling fear of pooping in public toilets.

– It's interesting how The Tank can be used to jog certain parts of Walter's memory but not others, eh?

– If Donald chose his name after his shared love of Singin' in the Rain with Walter (Donald O'Connor), could that also be the source of Gene the Cow's name (Gene Kelly)?

– What is it about 2036 that makes the Observers' plan 99.999999999 percent infallible?



Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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Lets see what will happen if Walter´s and September´s plan is successful and the observers won't exist:
1) Working together at Massive Dynamics William Bell, a scientist and long time friend of fellow scientist Walter Bishop creates a machine that works as both, a time machine, that Walter uses to go to the past and find the cure, comes back and save his son's Peter´s life; and as a window from which they can see a paralell universe. Through the window they see that Walternate, who wasn´t distracted by September, also find the cure for his son´s Peter desease. So now both Peters are alive and well. William Bell successfully crosses over and comes back.
2) William Bell tells Walter that now they are gods and can do whatever they want. They can even alter or create history whenever they see fit. Walter disagrees. Since William still believes he is a god, he decides that he wants to rule both universes, and, in order to acomplish that,first he creates wih the help of his long time lover Nina Sharp, fringe events to distract borh Walter and Walternate about the fact that he is planning to destroy both universes to create one of his own. than he travels back to the past where he creates a machine with the instructions to both Peters with the help of both Olivia´s must enter in the machine, thinking that in fact they are saving both universes when in fact they are destroying both which makes Bell´s plan a succssess, thus creating the new universe he always wanted. The end.

That´s why Walters and Septembers plan can´t be allowed to go any further, what, I believe will happen.

The answer to the question of why Michael didn´t say a word until now is that he is in fact Henry, Peter and Bolivia´s son, the first human/observer hybrid. Don´t forget that Bolivia was injected with something in the beginning of her pregnancy that made the baby grow very fast and forcing her to deliver almost imediatly. Observer technology?

Now, if Michael is really Henry that means September lied to everybody when he said Michael is his son which makes me belive he is working with William Bell who created not only the September but also the plan they are about to execute.

I still hope that one of my previous theories will stick



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Great Episode. September told that Walter He would have to sacrifice himself for the plan to work, so probably the writers are going to make us cry by killing Walter, (although I hope that if the plan works and the timeline is reset, they will show Walter alive again). Can't wait for next week!.
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So... I have a doubt about last episode, when Donald told the team about the plan "Michael going to the future to avoid the scientist from creating the observers", Olivia left the room worried and then asked Peter if he believed they would get Etta back...

Then whole time-pradox came to my mind...
#1 - Back in he 80s September distracted Walter from creating the cure to Peter's disease
#2 - Because of that Peter died and then Walter stole Peter from he other Universe
#3 - The guilt of stealing the boy and the suicide from his wife made Walter crazy
...

Now if the observers never existed September wouldn't have distracted Walter in the first place, right? So Walter would have saved Peter and their life would have been "normal" which means Peter never met Olivia and Fringe division probably never existed and because os that neither Etta.

I'm I missing something?
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I guess timeline reset where the observers invaded so everythig is just as it was at #1, #2 and #3.
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yeah, I was thinking the same thing. If the Observers were destroyed in the future, than everything would have been different, meaning that nothing that has happened in the series would happen. And even if Walter really sacrifices himself, he would then be alive after the timeline's been reset....
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I belive they said Walter would have to live in 2036 due to a paradox
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nope not missing anything.
maybe thats why september said to walter he had to give up his son. meaning he wont die but he will be back with walternate.
but yeah still wouldnt bring ella back. maybe walter meets the other olivia ...bolivia....and makes an alternate ella....ellanate? bella? :)
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sorry mistype. peter meets olivia... not walter...that would be really weird.
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I think in its core Fringe is a show being uniquely true to its name, taking the viewer on a mental trip to the fringes of scientific, philosophical and, if you like, even spiritual thinking. Let's bring to mind what happened so far: a science-war about control, personal gain and the future of mankind; trans-dimensional travel and its possible consequences including the destruction of 2 universes/timelines/realities; the man-made creation not only of a world but of an entire universe; and then, as a kind of last frontier the limitless enhancement of our mental capabilities and the impact it will most likely have on us both as individuals and as a global society.
And in all seasons, if that was not enough, there is this interesting emphasis on human consciousness being able to go beyond space and time, to connect through love and to defy all laws of physics. I know, cheesy right? But Fringe did more than often very, very good on so many levels. At the end of this season it feels organic and stringent, there was no way around the Observer-storyline for its growing presence in all seasons before. It was great having Walter remember the whole voyage and I felt this unique "wow, now we've come around and there was no other way" -feeling and I kinda love it. I'm really out of words and I hope that FF finds the right ones to describe this many-shaded phenomena of Fringe. Maybe I just have a needle in my neck and lost it completely ...
Of course it was a drag sometimes and maybe it is not the best show ever made, it could've been better, greater, smarter ... but just hardly so and not without John Noble.
Time will be very gentle to Fringe.( I know there is still the theoretical chance they totally fuck it up - about 0,000001% or something)
Anyway I am extremely excited for the weekend! Yay and sniff!
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Wow! This show gets more and more interesting every episode by episode, season by season.
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Totally agree about this episode moving the plot forward more than the rest of the season combined. And Michael Cerveris with hair and normal skin tone looks pretty good too. It's like he's been that way all along, that's how normal he looks! Anyways, now that the plan to defeat the observers has been revealed it's a remarkably well-thought-out plan even if it's a tad complicated. But if it works, holy crap will it be a different world! So many things will be different or never have happened without the Observers. The only downside is that half the plan depends on those Norwegian scientists changing their minds about creating the Observers; and it's a big "if."
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I really enjoyed the info dump this episode provided, with that said I think the biggest problem I had with what happened was September told Walter when he saved him and Petsr,from Reiden lake in the original timeline that ”the boy must live” making us believe he was referring to Peter, then the observers erased him from.existance. Why all this if that statement was made for Michael?

And if they send michael to the 2100s to show that scientist that thry can acheieve both superior intelligence and emotion, and never carry on with experiements that lead to the observers, and the timeline is reset, that would mean michael was never created and was never taken to the 2100s. And if thr timeline is reset to where peter is cured by Walternate, thrn it will be as though nothing we ever saw ever happened
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It was a bit slow, but it's nice to get answers about the Observers origins and what the original plan was. I'm so looking forward to seeing the other universe again though.
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Oh, Walter. The tank? Any excuse to trip on drugs and get naked.
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Yeah same things here! If the plan succed that means that Peter (and maybe Walter) will die in the lack!
But maybe like others said without Observers Walternate would have cured Peter(nate)??? Then Walter, and Peter(nate) may live??? Arghhhh to much questions!
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Fully agree with your review, season 5 is just a little bit far fetched. And if they erase the observers wouldn't peter and walter have to die or more precisely be already dead? Because they would have died if not for september who saved them when they drowned in the lake at the very beginning and september could not have saved them because he (like every observer) would never have existed in the first place. Therefore everything that happened on the show could never have happened...
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Time-paradox aside, I'm more confused about the hierarchy of observers. Are they not all the same? Why is one a supreme being (the commander) over the rest? Also, just the fact that Michael has yet to speak irks me seeing that he is more advanced than the observers and the plan is to show the Norwegian scientist this? I'm certain that if they show the scientist a super intelligent being who doesn't speak it won't be a great convincing display of intellectual advancement. Anyways, I just want to see (adult) Etta again...
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if Walter and September succeed in getting Michael to the future, wouldn't both Peters from both alpha and beta universe get cured from Walternates success b4 September distracted him? I bet the finale will show something like that before jumping to present day when grown-up Peter and Olivia meet and feel a weird connection, showing that they were always destined to be together or something.
I'll be honest though, when it turned out Peter had a connection to the machine in season 3 (i think) i thought he would turn into something similar to Olivia and the show would have them use their abilities against the observers / villains more.
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I must confess, my first thought when hearing of the plan was...this is stupid. Then, if they are somehow successful in convincing world domineering type academics, which seems unlikely, then the Observers never exist, then Peter would still die as a child and the reboot world will, in fact be a reality. Yes, maybe our Walter wouldn't be distracted, but then, wouldn't our Peter be much different than the Peter we know and love (who seriously may as well be an extra from Newsies). I don't know, if you do think along those lines, you get really lost in the paradoxes, like if the Observers never existed, how could September have been around to be part of the observation team to be moved by the love between a father and a son so to mess with material and create Michael. You might drive yourself crazy. My second thought was when Michael got off the train...Michael I think you have a better plan.

I found it interesting that the emotion that is overtaking Windmark is the first one that the scientists got rid of, or at least a relative of it.
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If the Observers didn't exist, I think Peter would be alive. Didn't September appear to Walter when he was trying to find a cure and distract him which caused him to not realize he had the cure? This caused Peter to die? I may be wrong.
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He interrupted Walternate. Then Walter saw this through his Alternate-Universe-Window and that's when he decided to go get Peter and save him himself. Walter's Peter died anyway. Walternate's Peter would have lived.

Would Peter be still in the Red Universe then? Perhaps. But Olivia's and Peter's bond is so strong, he probably would have crossed over for some reason anyway.
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I disagree that from the sociological point that humans would not sacrifice human emotion for smarts. The way that Fringe presented makes sense, if you consider that it took many baby steps to eliminate all human emotion. It took one emotion that is seen as less desirable and then used it to enhance logical thinking. There were probably a lot of people against it at the time, but then if your neighbor got it and the negative effects were not apparent, then why not try it yourself? Getting rid of one emotion would enhance a logical part of the brain that would compel one to get rid of another emotion to further ones intellect, because once you drink the kool-aid, there is no coming back.

Ironically, the one emotion that would drive others to get this procedure would be jealousy and avarice... the first two emotions to go. Think about when your friend gets a new smartphone months after you get yours and it has better features. Wouldn't you want an upgrade?
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I agree. I liked how the episode explained it. It certainly didn't happen over 2 months, it took many many years, probably decades or maybe even hundred of years for the scientific progress and societal regression.

It may seem far fetched now, but just think how society has changed in the last few decades alone. Even slavery was not so long a time ago. And we have many many things that seemed bad, wrong and immoral and even were illegal not so many years ago, but now are perfectly normal in many places. Plus, when society makes a mistake and gets used to it, it doesn't go away.

Look at alcohol and tobacco. If those were invented (well found really) as recreational products like 10 years ago, they would be banned without hesitation. But since they have such a long history, tradition and even religion associated with them, they are as acceptable as anything else mostly.
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I liked the episode but can someone tell me this. If the observers will be erased then this would mean a couple of things I think. First of all, wouldn't Peter be dead, I mean he would have drowned in that lake. And if he died, would they succeed at defeating the observers, because that would mean some observers didn't die and all that stuff
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Peter wouldn't die, but he wouldn't have been saved by Walter either. September distracted Walternate when the cure for his son's disease was being made. In hindsight, this may have been his plan all along to set the events in motion for defeating the Observers and saving his son.
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Yes, but the Peter we know is the alternate Peter. Our Walter's Peter was already dead. If September never distracted Walternate from finding a cure for his son, then our Walter would probably never breach the universes. No Peter here, so no Etta.
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There is always a chance that Peter would have crossed somehow anyway. Peter and Olivia's love is the cornerstone of this whole series.

Plus, since the technology was already there, William Bell and his crazy multiple universes spanning theories might have brought Olive and Peter together anyway.
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Sometimes I feel like writers are so savvy and smart that I just have to play catch up to all that cleverness. That said, I'm still confused. I can't even remember how we settled the implosion process of the two universes. Like so many have pointed out whatever Fringe is now feels like a separate story that just the smallest bits of seasons 1 through 4 have concrete ties to. So, is it still good? I'd say yes but it requires almost cleaning the slate until the point in season 4's "Letter of Transit" episode. That feels like the set-up for the sea change that pushed us into only dealing with The Observers. I've enjoyed the past 5 years shows, especially the creative "dilemma of the week" ones. But, I'm ready to wrap it up - so it is with great anticipation I look forward to the final two hours (84.9 min). Overall, good sci-fi. Plus this show has given many of us the great introduction to the talents of John Noble (Walter)...Where he has been for so long I don't know, but here's hoping we see this talented actor in another platform for which to work his magic.
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ok so if they manage to "erase" the observers then that means there will be no peter. September was the one that saved peter and walter when fell through the ice when coming back from the alternate universe. So if no peter then no etta as well......
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That's what I was saying!
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To be honest, ever since they went into the future I felt really out of touch with Fringe. This entire season seemed like a completely different show, and if the show runners decide to pull a Dallas and have the final season be a dream or another alternate universe, I wouldn't mind.
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Maybe it was me in a food coma, just plain tired or whatever, but I just feel like I don't understand Fringe anymore. Fringe has always made me, a normal intelligent human being, feel like I get the science and understand everything about parallelle universes etc...kudos to Fringe, it can't be an easy task for the writers. But at this point I'm lost, just as when I tried to watch Stargate, whichever spin off was avaliable...but at least all aliens reached by the Stargate speak American.
I hope I'm all rested and perky for next weeks episode or maybe it's just easier to have myself a merry merry marathon of this season later on.
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Absolutely awesome episode !

Let's see how all are going to end and what the outcome would be.

I don't agree with you Tim that Fringe is not the Old Fringe . Every series is envolved during the years and can't continue on the same scenario every season.Obsbervers is a big part of Fringe since the beginning so you can't say that the 5th season is different from the 4 previous seasons.
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Something bugged me about this episode, September saved Peter from the lake so wouldn't Peter not be alive if the Observers were removed from history? Or because we are in this other timeline is that void? Just a little confused.

Throughout this whole episode I kept thinking to myself, all Olivia has done is sit there in the background. I wish the writers would of found a way to make this season centered on our trio rather than the Observers.

The promo for the finale looks good though, a trip across universes is just what we need.
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for the observers plan to work out, they had to remove Peter. So if the observers are removed from history, Peter would never be erased.
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I share the feeling of "static escape" that, somehow, resumes this season so far, but I believe that can but parcially justified by the magnitude and reach of the enemy, the Observers, for the first time the Fringe team is trying to overthrow an enemy instead of preventing the enemy to reach is goal, that takes time and some trial and error on the methodology in use (Peter "the observer" Bishop). I also agree that the quality content of the show as been slightly stalled and that a truly good tv show cannot keep hidden the aces that make a season to be remembered. But this episode brought up events from previous seasons that made it worth. The "NO PETER" season focused on the love relationship with Olivia, leaving parcially unturned the Walter with no Peter situation. Walter's resentment of crossing dimensions attempting to save his son (wich he failed) was still residing in Walter, even though Peter physically exists, but all that changed with the touch of "the-boy-that-must-live" bringing the Season 3 Walter back. I finish this comment hoping that Michael reveals himself as more than a tool to take down the observers, I expect to see his intellectual to good use, let him exploit Windmark.
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That episode was important... And that's really the most I can say about this episode. I honestly hate the fact that the majority of this episode was literally a Q&A session between the Fringe team and September to get information about the nature of the Observers, and Walter's plan. It was interesting information, yes. But I feel that this information could have been incorporated into the season a lot better. I have had some pretty mixed feelings about this season. I think that, despite some questionable moments (most notably Olivia's reduced role in the season), the characters have been handled really well, and have had some great moments. But it's the main storyline, and the balance between the character elements and the main storyline that I have had a problem with. And my distaste for it has grown a lot stronger the closer we get to the finale. I could forgive the nature of this episode, since the writers only had 13 episodes to work with, if I didn't feel like the writers wasted a lot of time with the scavenger hunt involving Walter's tapes, and keeping us (and the characters) in the dark for so long about what any of it means. I know we have two episodes left, and depending on what happens in those two episodes, I *could* actually accept the way they've handled this season, but right now it has me scratching my head and worried that I might feel the same kind of disappointment for Fringe's final season that other people felt for Lost's final season. Here's hoping that a week from now, I'll be kicking myself for ever doubting the Fringe writers...
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Agreed with everything Tim said . The previews for the series finale seem promising though
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Ok, if you think about it, the time travelling thing is not full of holes. Yes, no observers means that Walter had the cure for Peter. With that, no travelling to the other universe, no kidnapping the other Peter, no tear between universes. Totally different Peter, Olivia, Walter, a new reality would be created. This is what the parallel universes theory is about. There would be a new parallel universe for that reality, BUT this other universe (this one with the observers, our Peter, Olivia and Walter) will still exist. Time travelling co-exist with space (same time, diffent spaces ou universes) travelling.
None of this matter because the Fringe creators will do whatever they want to do with the little time they have in hand. I just hope that the finale is worth it.
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This universe will still exist, but the Peter in this universe died as a boy.
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He died as a boy because Setember distracted Walter when he was making the medicine. This is why, in the first place, he save Walter and the other Peter in the lake. He felt guilty. So, no observers, no distraction, Peter alive.
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The Peter we know is from the other universe. Our Walter's Peter died as a boy. The reason Our Walter went to the other side is because September distracted Walternate from finding a cure.
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bicelis, I got that part, but it doesn´t fit anywhere in the theory of the alternate universes - it's like they drugged the entire universe to think their lifes where different or something (whoever "they" would be). This is a new concept that has not been properly explained in the show, in my opinion, because it simply cannot co-exist with the other one we had. So if we take this into account we have:

1. a new universe is created when another one develops a new posible future and the both stay as separated universes with different futures (theory of the alternate unvierses).

2. current universe gets "painted" new and nobody remembers what actually happened there (but it is still the same universe) - did the stuff happen here... or it was just a dream implanted in everybody's head?


more and more confusing, if you ask me :)

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ElisaDiaz, I think this is the same universe as our blue one. It has only been edited. Or "painted over" if you will by Peter being erased. Everything Peter touched has been 'corrected', 'edited'.

But Peter and Olivia's love was so strong, he managed to come back, and some parts of the 'painted over canvas' were scratched off to reveal the original paint - i.e. Olivia's memories came back. And now, the last episode, some of the paint of the original Walter's memories was also scratched off by Michael, the anomaly, when he touched Walter. But everything else, is still with the new paint which was applied when Observers deleted Peter.
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it is even worse: this universe now it is not the same universe as before (in theory, because they haven't explained that part well). When Peter used the machine, he went out of time and back to this universe, which is none of the previous ones (argg)
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I think what she means is that the observers story will stay in this universe, even if a new universe is created in which observers never existed and they would all be different. I think looking at it in this way, there should be no Etta. And I think I am making a hole in my head from so much scratching...
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I loved this episode. I don't care about the minor hiccups in the story.
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This series is more like a Fringe spin-off, rather than a continuation.

Once again not a lot happened. We learned stuff, but all stuff that had already been known but had been forgotten. Shame all this didn't happen in episode 2 or 3, then we could get on with a story.

But most of all....... where have our characters gone?? Strong, sensitive, slightly disturbed FBI agent Olivia Dunham..... where is she? Peter, the scientist, tough-guy with sparks of brilliance, what happened to him? Astrid's progression in series 4 to being a bit more kick-ass, where did that go? And Broyles??????????

Is it me or is this not really Fringe at all?

This is surely one of the most golden opportunities missed given the greatness of series 1 - 4.
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I like your spin-off idea - it's like a new show with the same characters. I liked the three original characters, as you describe them. Even Walter, he was the humour relief, loved his childish behaviour as a genius.
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I thought that the Observers were starting to experience emotions because Walter's plan being set in motion was changing the future and they were reverting to their human versions
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There is one thing Olivia didn't think of when realizing that removing the observers would be the solution to all the problems. She thinks it will bring Etta back. But if you change the past, even if it in 2167 and the observers would never evolve to what they are now, would they be observing from before 2012? Wasn't this observing part of the reason Olivia and Peter getting together? If they never got together, they would never have Etta.
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I hate how people treat time in movies/series..
Lets assume that the observers never appeared in 2015 and in 2167 some Norwegian scientists experimented and created the observers. Around 2609 the observers invade 2015 and take control and enslave humanity.. Just by doing this, interfering, they should immediately seize to exist (the observers) as the Norwegian scientists would never existed to create them because their ancestors path was changed or they were never born, thus creating a time loop. If the scientists never existed, observers never invaded, humanity was not enslaved, scientist created observers, observers invaded, scientist never existed and so on and so on..
Now lets assume that the Michael is send to the future successfully. He will be send to a future from that point of time, where observers would still be around and in control and the scientists do not even exist.. this is Back to the Future logic! To successfully eradicate the observers they should interfere with the past, before they appeared and do or not do an action that will change the future.. Back to the Future handled time reasonably.. Lets hope to a nicer explanation here too (hopefully involving parallel universes)!
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well explained, all of you - personally, I don´t like the idea of infinite alternate universes, because it makes Fringe irrelevant. There is a version of the universe for every posibility, aggg.
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Here is where it gets tricky, we assume that the Observer's are the future. But as September stated in season 4, they are just one of countless possible futures, but their technology allows them to travel in and out of time. So their past is definite to them, but a possible future to us. This theoretically allows them to travel back in time to 2015, and at the same time "run futures" to determine which course of action to take to ensure that their origin is a probable future that comes to pass.

What September wants to do is ensure that their origin is no longer a probable future, thus the Observers cannot exist.

Maybe this brings about a whole bunch of other problems, but hopefully the show will address them in the finale.
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The simple answer to the age-old (see, Tim, I can make crappy puns too) time paradox of cause and effect is that a new timeline is created for each interference. The show has already handled this concept in recent seasons, not least when Peter jumped realities and universes. If the traditional view of the time paradox stands, however, Peter and Etta would be toast: September would never save Peter from the lake. Perhaps this is the sacrifice Walter mentioned (not Peter, but himself - to ensure that at least one Peter survives).
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:: it doesn't feel like a fair send-off for Olive and the Bishops.::

if i'm right and the series ends the way i'm thinking it's going to end then it will be the ultimate send off for olivia and the bishops. it just doesn't have to be a season long sendoff.
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Their version of time travel boggles my mind. At least with LOST their "whatever happened happened" theory seemed to make sense!
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LOST's theory was easy to understand to the audiences. FRINGE's theory is way above that. Even smart people won't get it... because they'll be looking in all the wrong directions. Let's just watch the finale next Friday and then we'll all talk about it.
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I'm nervous that I have no idea where this is going. At least with LOST you could kind of guess a little bit? With Fringe I've got nothing! Waaah!
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Thats right! But, anticipating it makes the show interesting.
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Fringe's theory is full of holes, that is why it is tough to understand. Writers on Fringe are no Einstein's or Bohr's. They are providing a solid entertainment. Time travel is incredibly tough to handle logically, and they obviously gave up halfway through. With the parallel universes involved, just raise the difficulties to the power of two. Thus, what we see is the typical attempt to create something which, as House would say, makes sense until you start to think about it.
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Tough to say the direction this finale will go but I'm looking forward to it! *annoyingly loud volume swell*
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I wonder why no one mentioned that no observers means no Peter. September saved Peter when he was a boy. If September (as an observer) ceases to exist little Peter will drown in the lake.
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he's not gonna drown because it was September's mistake in the first place when he distracted Walternet from discovering the cure for his son. So it wasn't gonna be olivia and peter because peter is gonna be in the alternate world or whatever u call it.
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Enjoyable episode to me again. I totally get the Observers now. The absence of emotion is quite barbaric from the outside looking in, but very practical in theory. Also, its not that far-fetched that scientists would go to that length in the name of science. Where have you been the past two decades to believe they won't?! It's simply not advertised or rarely talked about, especially when it comes to Fringe science.

While season 5 has been different, to me its been a good different because it comes from a different point of understanding. The Fringe team is no longer exploring, they're surviving. The Observer takeover that most fans have been harping about has finally happened, and there's no time for new discoveries or theories. This season, for that point alone, had to be different. I for one applaud the momentum change because its daring and intriguing. It's not the best season of Fringe, but still a very good one. Given the number of ways the finale could go right or wrong for our heroes, this should be a great TWO HOUR series finale!!
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Fantastic episode!!
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Why did the Observers not just travel back 15-20 minutes, to when they were all still in the apartment?
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If they would'e done that then they would've caught them and never had to go back 15-20 mins to when they were in the apartment. which is kinda the only problem im having with sending michael to the 2100s, if they do it, and the scientists discover that they dont have to sacrifice emotions for intelligence, then the Observers will never come to pass and neither will Michael and September will never exist or send Michael into the past

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Also, if they did that there would be two of them in the same time, which means that there could be an infinite number of the same observer present at the same time... bit like Austin Powers...
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Oh the wonders of time travel. Honestly, people who actually think time travel will be possible some day are very naive. haha
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Is it me or is there a really big flaw in the fact that September could just implant a new device in his brain the same way Peter did?
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You know what doesn´t make any sense? they did smarter people changing their whole brains, but when they take out that snaky thing, they become just normal again. That's just unbelievable. It was unbelievable in the case of Peter and it is even worse for September. Can't buy it. Plus, if it was you making the plan to end with observers, wouldn´t you try to neutralize those things in their brains? Or make them explode :D
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Yeah.... according to Walter, Peter's brain physically changed. After a brain tumor surgery your brain also needs more than 10 seconds to recover and reshape. I also don't understand why the device has anything to do with the intelligence-altering anyway. I figure that if they are SO good at genetic engineering they don't need any human augmentation devices (which should be for their HUD etc only) in order to modify the brain AFTER conception. It doesn't make a whole lotta sense considering we saw a fetus grow into an observer in 10 seconds. He stood there emotionless and bald but couldn't possibly have had the device implanted.
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Well I think that when the Observers took the tech out they did it in such a way that September would be ok. Clearly they know the most about the tech, so I can buy that they would remove it safely and without damage to September's brain.

My bigger question is why wouldn't they just kill September, but then again they wanted to experiment on him to figure out why he went "rougue", so keeping him alive was probably their only option.
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I dont think he wants to. He is happier this way. 'not much of a punishment'

Same reason Peter eventually took his out and isn't putting one back in
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I think Mads means that if September would put it back in, he could execute his overly complex plan of time travel right away and much easier. He can get rid of the device after delivering the boy any time.
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Exactly..
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There has been a lot that has happened this season- a couple of big character deaths (Etta and Nina) and while it hasn't been the fastest moving plot ever, I still feel the anticipation heading into the last 2 hours. I do admit that I kinda feel the need to watch the entire series from the beginning though:)
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Ok. Here is another theory. What if everything is happening while Peter and Olivia are still connected to the machine in the season 03 finale?
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I like your theory. It is a possibility. But I heard that set no longer exists. :( So chances are they didn't go that route.
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new theory: this was all a trick to make us really disappointed so that we low our expectation really low and then get to the big finale and anything they want to tell us sounds just great :(
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When season 4 ended, I decided towatch all previous season again, because, something wasn't right and now after 11 episodes of season 5 I finally understand why. My theory is that everything we saw until now is not real or at the very least is not what it seems. My theory is that either we are seeing a simulation program of the invasion of the observers and how it develops or the universes created by William Bell and Walter and how they are manipulating peoples lives and situations. I most certain that Willam bell will be back in the finale, otherwise why was Wiliam Bell ambered? I came to that conclusion watching the pilot when John Scott, beofre he died, he told Olivia to question everything and to ask herself why she was sent to the airport to investiagate.
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Wasn't William Bell ambered because Walter needed his hand to access the storage facility containing the beacons?
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Question: If they send Mike into the future and the observers would never exist, the following thing will happen: September would never have existed to interrupt Walternate from inverting the cure for Peter. This means that Walter would never have traveled to the alternate universe to steal Peter and cure him. This means Peter could not hook up with current Olivia and produce Etta. The other Olivia gave birth to a boy, not Etta. This means Etta would not be alive anyway because she wouldn't exist!
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to simplify, our current Peter wasn't born in this universe, so changes in it wouldn´t affect him - that's what I tool so my head would not explode trying to figure it out LOL
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or...if they send him to future, everything happens as it did. They are cause for all of what has happened. How? Michael goes to future,scientists study him and wanna achive what he is,even though Michael tell them not to. And thus they create that tech and Observers.
Yeah I know,what was said in episode,but things never go the way Walter,Peter and Olivia plan :D I think it is really hard to talk about time and all themes relating to time,because writers don't really spend much time discussing it(exapmple : we send Michael to future and everything ends perfectly...because it is future,so why would we talk about future,even though what will happen in that future,will effect past).
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yes, the time thing is far too complicated, which is good for writers, since they can do whatever they want with it and have us scratching our heads trying to figure it out. I remember I saw a film at some point where some scientist go to the dinosaurs age and kill by accident one butterfly. And just that, in that film, made all the species on earth be different (the ones that survived, the way they evolved). Imagine that in Fringe!
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To see the alternate universe people next week will be awesome. Hopefully the time shift or whatever to bring back Etta. Won't get my hopes too high but would be great.
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thank you for spoiling! (this is sarcasm). Not all people watch promos for next episodes....well I know I don't,so you spoiled it for me.
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oh no, you have been spoiled LOL - posible solution: watch the previews! ;)
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maybe you were just sarcastic,when you wrote that,but I will reply anyway. This is place,where you discuss current episode and your thoughts on it(talking about reviews of episodes). Not to put spoilers,what will happen in next episode and further episodes. It spoils episode(for me and I know I am not the only one) and are you that kind of pathetic person(saying this as general thing,not talking about you),that you get kicks from spoiling things for others. I like to watch shows and their episodes without spoilers,promos,etc. To you this might and probably sounds stupid,but to me it is not.
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Yes, it is stupid...
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previews have been around forever. :P Plus I have no clue what they'll do so that's far from some spoiler, haha.
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yes, you are talking about me, since you are addressing me - calling names again! Come on... It is a lost battle with the preview, cause most of us watch them and they come right after the episode - I could understand your complain if I post spoilers in a thread about two episodes ago, totally. But my advice to you is this: with the previews, you have lost the war. Take it like that and watch the preview every week, as if it was a part of the episode. Unless you are the kind of person that wants to complain about it every week, of course.
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I actually think this is my favorite season, because I've always loved the mythology eps more than the standalones (in most cases... "White Tulip" makes me cry every time).
My season listing, from best to worst, would go: Season Five, Season Three, Season Two, Season One, Season Four. I didn't like 4 too much (especially the two-part season finale, which, for me, was just blechhh).
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Like most of you, I was a bit disappointed by the whole 5th season and this episode in particular, but I refuse to believe that they jammed all that white tulip and "the boy's important" nonsense into the episode just for the sake of it. Also, I couldn't help but notice that Walter barely said a word since he came back after talking to Donald in the storage unit (aside from worrying about Donald), so here's my stupid theory: Walter and the boy somehow exchanged consciences, and Donald suspected it, that's why he took Walter apart and showed him the empty envelope. The real Walter would know it was empty, but this Walter opened it hoping to find the tulip inside (hence Donald's remark: "I don't know what you did with it. Only you would know that"). Then Walter, posing as the boy, sacrificed himself stepping out of the train and into the Loyalists' hands, so that the others could escape and execute the plan. That would explain Windmark's stunned look at the end of the episode, as if he had noticed something's wrong.

I know this theory is stupid as hell, but so has been season 5 so far, and I know that it doesn't explain "the boy's important" quote, but I hope the last 88 minutes of Fringe'll sort all that out and give us a satisfactory ending, unlike other shows in the past (ehem, not looking at anyone in particular, Lost).
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I remember these plot líne from TAKEN....human emotions yata yata yata....We need emotions to survive.
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yep, I understand that it should be treated in science fiction shows or movies, but personally I find it a cheap solution to every script problem...
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Doesn't everybody have that same pooping problem?!
Not once in your review and throughout the whole of the 5th series have you mentioned the possibility of help from the Alternate Universe, especially considering all their involvement throughout the previous seasons and the fact that Lincoln, one of the best characters is over there and deserved a place in the eradication of the observers.
The preview at the end of this episode revealed, as I have long suspected, the alternate universe will come into play in the concluding episode, which leaves a lot more questions. If its in the future time, why haven't they aged? where they overtaken by observers too and encased themselves in amber? Or has our Olivia managed to make contact with them in the past somehow.
I'm really looking forward to the finalae. In many ways the 5th season has been a completely different show and own which could possibly have stood on its own, possibly with a different following and lasting longer than the original Fringe.
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SPOILERS: watching the previews for next week I got the feeling that Olivia will get re-injected with cortexiphan (but I could be wrong, it was too fast). But eventually it is not only to change universes but also traveling in time... will have to see :)
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My favourite scene from this episode was actually the two observers listening to the music at Donald's place and one of them tapping at the rythm.

Rest of it, big bag of disappointment, as it can be seen from most commenters. I quite agree with Tim's review this week.
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Oh and what about Zeppelin man?
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