Fringe "The Human Kind" Review: Love vs. the Robots

Fringe S05E08: "The Human Kind"

In the world of Fringe, you can have all the universe-zapping doomsday devices you want when it comes to war, but me, I'll take L-O-V-E any day. Contemporary philosopher Huey Lewis was right: The power of love might just save your life, and in this week's episode of Fringe, it saved Peter's by bringing him back from a very bad place.

The hopeless romantics of the Fringe writers' room have solved a lot of problems through love, and depending on the temperature of your heart, love saving the day for the millionth time in "The Human Kind" either worked and made you cry sappy tears or failed and made your eyes did somersaults in their sockets. But guess what!? Both are totally acceptable responses! Why? Because while Fringe does use love as a crutch, it does it awfully well.

There was some plot in "The Human Kind," but it didn't matter much in the grand scheme of things. Walter's latest tape required a big junkyard-sized magnet that Olivia went to fetch, and Peter continued his attack on Windmark by shaping his future through the Butterfly Effect. Pretty ordinary stuff that really just gave Olivia and Peter things to do while the real heart of the story took place on an emotional level.

This was finally an Olivia episode, in case you'd forgotten that she's still part of this season. She went out into the sticks of Fitchburgh to bring back the magnet and ran into the Junkyard People, a group who knew a thing or two about Olivia's destiny. They were led by Simone (played by guest-star Jill Scott), a mystical woman who foresaw Olivia's arrival and stirred the pot on romanticizing fate versus accepting special abilities as anomalies. She spouted enough new-age mumbo-jumbo to power a hippie commune for a year, but Olivia countered by saying we're all just a bunch of numbers and the Observers are really good at math. That we assign meaning to things without meaning because it's comforting. That if Simone knew any better, she'd take her faith and shove it up her ass. Olivia poopooed all over Simone's hoodoo, establishing herself as a cold woman of science.

As Olivia made her way back to Boston with the magnet, some guys living lawlessly in the country duped her and took her prisoner. Recognizing that she was worth a pretty penny to the Observers, they tied her up in a room full of old equipment. Silly kidnappers, don't you know Olivia majored in Creating Weapons Out of Old Junk in FBI College? Using "the bullet that saved the world," Olivia fashioned a pneumatic gun and put the bullet through the head of one of the kidnappers. Yes, that same bullet has killed two people more than two decades apart. It was a sweet move by Olivia and a reminder that she can still be badass when she needs to be.

But it was using that bullet that softened her attitude with regard to the importance of believing in things that can't be proved with theorems and calculators. At least, I think that was it (if not, then she's just a hypocrite). After learning that Peter was getting closer and closer to becoming 100-percent robotic Observer, Olivia hurried to New York to find him and they shared a moving conversation about Peter retaining his humanity. This was Fringe at its mushy best, and seeing Olivia go from telling Simone not to believe in faith and feeling to having her life indirectly saved by Etta's bullet to telling Peter that emotion is our strength and that they have to hold on to the feeling of Etta ("I'm not asking you to abandon her, I'm asking you to hold on to her," Olivia said) was a solid single-episode character arc. Peter pulled the Observer tech out of his head, giving up the gifts and the promise of revenge that went with it. Earnest performances by Anna Torv and Joshua Jackson, as well as our familiarity with these characters, made the scene not just work well but worth some of the unnecessary stuff that preceded it. And I don’t know about you guys, but I think Fringe's hyper flashback parades, where images of the past strobe by rapidly, are just the best.

However, Fringe is/was a science-fiction show up to its neck in science, and its repeated use of love, an undefeatable abstract concept, could be seen as cheap. Everything else on the show is required to have some sort of scientific explanation, after all. But Fringe is also a character show, and the emotional portion of the series is what's made it more than just Science Cops. Who knows, maybe by the end, the show will try the impossible and attempt to explain love from a scientific perspective. Until then, know that Fringe will come at you from both a technical and an emotional angle.

"The Human Kind" was highlighted by a few excellent scenes while the rest of the episode simply went through the (e)motions. Season 5 is still shaping up to be one of the series' weaker seasons because of the repetition of the tape scavenger hunt storyline and its use of more straightforward storytelling; I preferred the questions that stoked philosophy discussion in Seasons 3 and 4. But these character moments, like the one between Peter and Olivia at the end of "The Human Kind," are the beating heart of this surprisingly sensitive show.



NOTES

– Peter's future-telling ability is cool, but I still have a hard time understanding his plan. Is the idea just to get Windmark to a specific place to kill him? Does it really take constant herding and manipulation to get him there? Can't he just change Windmark's course and kill him sooner?

– I loved the scene with Windmark pressing the elevator button and giving up after about three seconds. Stupid elevators. But it also raised the question of why the Observers don't just teleport everywhere. The elevator didn't work, but he took the stairs? If I could teleport, I'd never wear shoes and my legs would fall off and die.

– Observer fights are AWESOME.

Joshua Jackson was particularly great in that final scene. So much subtlety to the performance that really sold it.

– I'm shocked that Fringe stooped to the trope of the "Magical Negro" with Simone's character.

– The bit about the junkyard people possibly turning Olivia in for a bounty was completely unnecessary and thrown in just to fill time.

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"We say atoms are bound by Weak Attractors. Why not admit the Truth:
The Universe is held together by Love.
Michio Von Kerr, Wayist Physicist, CY 9942"
-Andromeda. Ep 108: The Banks of The Lethe

Point: the very force between atoms, between people, is love.
Like the convo btw Olivia and Simone about faith vs science, fate vs randomness: love may be abstract, and people may seem like random variables (from the smaller scale), but, the end result produced (from the greater scale viewpoint) by the seemingly random sequences comprised of these variables is very much determined and fateful. the concept of fate is effective when viewing the pattern as a whole starting from first the 'Godly' perspective to the smaller scale real-time individual viewpoint; making the seemingly random pattern very purposeful. (ie. 1. the wave-particle duality of light. 2. the non-random moving image of a tv screen vs the random firing of the individually coloured photons that make up that moving image). randomness is only an illusion and like one of Fringe's episode titles, 'Everything in It's right place.' Regarding Olivia's words about people placing meaning to things that are meaningless: randomness or not, the very existence of the end product of The Pattern (pun intended) gives value and meaning to the variables and consequently to the patten in which the variables create. Not at all unlike LOST, and the philosophy from which these shows are derived, people are variables in the pattern, and Love, in all its diversity, is the driving force of our lives - like gravity. For love and gravity, and people and atoms, are one in the same.
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This is not the weakest season in the fringe series it is the worst one
The all Olvia being suddenly Macagyver was stupied
and the obvious question is
why didn't Peter Windmark when he had the chance after he killed the other observer ?
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I am surprised you have the questions you have....firstly, it's pretty Obvious why Peter didn't kill Windmark "sooner" and what he was trying to do (he was clearly not going to kill him at the Square, but this super complicated future planning stuff required him to do that at a specific time to get him back on his "death path." But more to the point, Peter clearly failed earlier on in the episode because, as we have soon, future planning is not only a very complicated type of chess game, but Windmark can do it as well. Wouldn't you think if Windmark could catch wind of being guided onto a certain path of fate that one would have to be very careful about how they do it so he doesn't detect it? That takes a lot of subtlety and patience. One does not even have to know the exact real life science behind how this works to presume that...it is very much like a chess game, one you hope the other dude doesn't know you're playing with him being used as a piece.

It's also likely pretty obvious why the observers don't teleport everywhere. It probably takes work, power, energy, what have you. It's like asking why we don't fly everywhere, even some place an hours drive away. I was actually surprised Peter was able to teleport as he was. Yes they don't really explain it, but I have to assume it would be rather excessive for an Observer to teleport everywhere constantly. Also, even though they don't generally really like the humans or wish to coddle them, they are still sort of trying to co-exist with them and teleporting around like that would be rather unnerving for the general populace, don't you think?
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Observer fight!
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I wonder if Peter's brain would go back to its human state entirely, or would it remain more convoluted than normal.
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WELCOME BACK PETER! <3 <3 <3
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Am I the only one who is sorely disappointed that Peter took out the tech? His character was finally becoming fun to watch.
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I was hoping that the Peterver arc would last a bit longer.
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Yeah no kidding. It made this season much more fun to watch and they decided to end it after only a couple episodes... lame.
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When I was growing up, "Science Cops and the Magical Negro" was my favorite fairytale.
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sci·ence/sahy-uh ns/ noun. 1. A branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws: the mathematical sciences.
2. Systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.
3. Any of the branches of natural or physical science.
4. Systematized knowledge in general.
5. Knowledge, as of facts or principles; knowledge gained by systematic study.

(Don't worry, this isn't a robbery.)

5 EPISODES LEFT ...

That's all there is my fellow Fringe Fanatics® (I had to trademark the username for legal reasons ... I may have started a Fringe cult). 3.5 hours. 210 minutes. I could list how many seconds or debate the amount of time allotted for commercials, but then it might get weird.

This fifth and final season hasn't been what many have expected. We're 8 episodes in and there is a growing consensus that up to this point it's one of the weaker seasons. The disparate nature of the scavenger hunt for the lost tapes is a factor. The sudden archetypal villainy of the Observers is another. I've heard people say that this isn't the Fringe they once knew. That it's spinning its wheels, and the writers don't seem to know where they want to go. I've even heard a few say they preferred Fringe when it was a procedural with serialized elements. But by far the biggest talking point for critics has been something along the lines of "This better be good. This setup better be worth it. These last few episodes better blow me away, or ..." Or what? The whole show has been a waste of time? Season 5 of Fringe will go down in the annals of history with season 6 of LOST?

Fans are afraid. They're afraid one of the best shows of our generation will not get the ending it so very much deserves. I get that. But what we must realize is how fortunate we are to get an ending at all. Fringe was meant to be told in 6 full seasons. Season 5 was supposed to be the season that laid the groundwork for the invasion. And season 6 was going to be what we are seeing now, but perhaps slightly more complex. That is why I believe many fans are feeling disillusioned at the moment. This dystopian future was thrust upon us with only one episode of preparation. Somehow we innately knew that this just didn't feel right. It didn't fit. While I understand the many complaints Fringe has received of late, I vehemently disagree with them.

For some, it seems, Fringe is a causality of its own success. The philosophical musings and juxtaposition of multiple universes is when this show was at its best. Who am I? What am I? Why am I? These are eternal questions humanity has been struggling with for thousands of years, but Fringe somehow managed to put a fresh spin on them and blow all our minds in the process. How could season 5 ever top that?

Then there is the science fiction purists who want everything to have a scientific explanation. Love is nothing more than a chemical reaction in the brain, so how dare the writers use its power to transcend reason. What people must remember, and as Tim pointed out, is that Fringe has always been a character driven show. I don't know how many times I've had to write this, but I'll write it again, Peter, Olivia and Walter are the reasons we love this show. They're why we feel so connected to the story. I have been a nerd and a fan of sci-fi ever since I built a Star Wars lego set when I was 4. I love sci-fi. It's my favourite genre of TV show and movie. I first started watching Fringe because the idea of a show about fringe science sounded like the greatest thing ever created. But I quickly discovered Fringe was far more than numbers. Just as love has the ability to transcend reason, Fringe has transcended the sci-fi genre.

Storytelling through powerful thematics has been why Fringe is a cult classic, not just among sci-fi geeks, but for everyone. Love, family, despair and hope. These themes are universally known. And Fringe has indelibly linked them to its sci-fi identity in the most imaginative and masterful of ways. If any doubt this is the show Fringe has always been, go back to season 2 and re-watch "White Tulip". (One of the shows best episodes.)

Personally, I have loved and cherished every moment of this final season. To the heights of Walter in the car gazing at the yellow daffodil, to the lows of Windmark wrenching Etta from our hearts so painfully and abruptly. I don't know how others can't see that this season has been a culmination of everything that has come before. The character conflicts the main trio have had to endure have been everything I wanted from Fringe in its denouement.

Olivia and Peter on the roof will go down as one of my favourite Fringe moments. So much history went into that scene. Peter was on the precipice of losing his humanity and Olivia brought him back. She was the only one who ever could have brought him back. There love has transcended universes and timelines. In retrospect, that Observer tech didn't stand a chance. Their relationship has always been the emotional, beating and bleeding heart of Fringe. And when Olivia broke through those walls Peter had built after Etta's death, and the flood of memories washed over him, memories that we as fans have shared through five seasons, I was once again reminded why Fringe is more than the sum of its sci-fi parts. I feel, therefore I am (sorry, Descartes).

Fringe has five episodes left and I have never been more excited or enthralled to see how it will end. I have no idea what to expect, but the universe is full of mysteries, and we can't know everything.
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Beautifully said.
Just one thing that both you and Tim missed. The "flood of memories washing over Peter" wasn't just that. Olivia knew that the Observer tech made Peter able to see inside her mind, so she showed him (just like Etta showed Windmark) just how much he meant to her and all of the things they went through. Olivia basically let him read her mind and see things from her perspective.
Great write up otherwise. I know I'm late to comment but I only just started using TV.com :-)
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I'm in the philosophical musings camp, though I do also want the science to be within the realm of possibility, and Fringe has always brought both to bear in such a fascinating and enthralling way that I would find it impossible to approach it solely from either a purely emotional/temporal or scientific/secular perspective. I am not very good with change and even less so with goodbyes, so I've watched each episode this season with such a choking mix of elation and desolation that I haven't been able to form any opinions. Most of the time I feel kinda lost in this new time with the new enemy, and I find the tape discovery, rather than an annoyance, to be sort of comforting, that there is a plan, vetted by September, and with every tape unearthed, though the mystery of it all grows, the bond between the 4 team members keeps the plan and all hope from unraveling. I know I will need to rewatch this season 2-3 more times to move beyond the attachment and bit of grief to absorb it all the way I did before we knew the end was nigh, but I think we should refrain from making judgments on the quality of the season as each episode ticks by in the manner we would for a series that did not have an expiration date rapidly approaching because the larger story of Olivia, Peter and Walter, more than the plan or its parts, that we are following.
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You know, it's funny... I had a dream last night about you replying to this article (odd, I know), where you basically said you were actually starting to be worried about the season as a whole, and how sad you were about losing faith in your favorite show. Now I see this, and realize all is right with the world. :P I won't lie. I do actually have some issues with the main storyline this season, particularly with the tapes and the Observers, like you said. However, the writers have been doing a great job with the character side of the show, especially since Etta's death, and for me, that has definitely made up for the season's weaknesses. I actually did think of the comparison to Lost's 6th season, because I felt that both seasons were somewhat weaker than the others overall, but nowhere near the level that some people make it out to be (at least in my opinion). Both seasons have fantastic character moments sprinkled throughout. For everybody's sake, I hope that Fringe's series finale is a lot more well-received than Lost's finale (although no finale will ever be able to satisfy 100% of its fans). But if not, I hope it's at least as emotionally satisfying to me as Lost's finale was.
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Love Love Love!! yea i was gonna write my own comment on this episode but then i read yours and was speechless... ive got nothing to add cause you said it all for me :) Glad to know someone else felt the same way! BUT! i will have to disagree with your statement about Lost season 6.. where you are FringeFanatic, i was LostLover! lol I do agree that it did upset me about not really answering questions i had, but like you are remarking about this show... Lost was the biggest character driven show ever! I know many hated the whole ending of everyone waiting in limbo thing, but i found it to be beautiful.. especilly the tie-in of the shot of Jack dying that ran similar to his awkening! ANYWAYS sorry rant over! Its rare i get to talk about my Lost! lol
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I agree 100%
I loved, loved, loved the ending of Lost and every time I ask anyone who didn't I always get the same answer:"I didn't really get it. So they were dead the whole time?" Ugh! It makes me want to bounce my head off of a wall!
If you don't understand something (ie. the ending of Lost) just ask someone to explain it to you or go back and re-watch until you do get it. Don't hate something just because it asks you to think.
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I agree with everything except the remark about going down in the annals of history with season 6 of Lost - let's hope not. I loved Lost but season 6 was gawdawful, and that finale - absolute crap. Makes me not want to watch it ever again. Sorry FF but I gotta go with my heart on this and this season of Fringe is great. My only regret is that they didn't get a full season, but I'm glad we got this much and it rocks...
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If you look closely at the way I phrased the Lost remark (not to mention the basic message of my entire comment), it should be obvious I was stating that I think the final season of Fringe is the exact opposite of Lost's wayward sixth season.
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Actually, I didn't, but it's good to know. I have faith in your judgement...
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the Observer fight was the best part of the episode. If I was Peter I would have carried on with my plan to kill Windmark and then take the Observer out of my head, but that would have made that part of the story too easy. It seems that everything this season is about making our characters suffer. They just can't catch a break on anything. I am still waiting for the other universe to make a play. Of course Walternate and everyone would be 20 years older so that could be an interesting angle to expand on.
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Great episode, and yeah, Joshua Jackson more or less stole the show, both with the Observer fights and at the end with the intense pre-decision moment and after he made it. Yeah, agree that the bit about the junkyard people turning her in for the bounty was a bit hitting the audience over the head, but for those who wouldn't have caught it otherwise, it was an obvious device to show Olivia's "loss of faith" in order to contrast with when she would get it back later.
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Finally caught up. I was thinking a similar thing about Olivia, something like "Wasn't this once her show...?" And Olivia's captors were '70's Batman Villian' bad. The stuff that Austin Powers mocked. I like that it wasn't dragged out longer than an episode, but that was unusually stupid.

Anyway, this episode was fine overall. I've never liked Peter or Olivia, but I've never really disliked them, either. Peter, a little, depending on how selfish he gets, and Olivia, at worst, is just boring. And it's hard to get invested in this season, when I can't take their current timeline seriously, but I'm glad that Peter actually made his own decision to take the tech out of his head. I'd like more of that, instead of someone dying to accelerate things.

Hopefully, Peter will still remember enough of his plan to take on Widmark. Either way, I'm gonna miss those Observer fights. Could've used a couple more of those.

As for Simone, I always think it's silly to have a psychic who sees *this* but completely misses *that* five minutes later. "People are gonna rob you and try to sell you a few minutes down the road, but it'll work out. Have faith...and be MacGuyver."
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As long as the giant electro-magnet isn't a replacement for Henry Ian Cusick to protect them while they pull out a giant stone cork and banish the Observers to purgatory, I'm good...
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The last scene at the end of the episode has instantly become one of my favourites. Both actors were brilliant in it - that speech by Olivia was good enough to turn the terminator itself :-D And let's not forget Walter - his pleas to Peter during the episode were really touching as well.
I disagree with Tim about this season - I think it's been great so far and am thoroughly enjoying it. I'm only a bit upset that Etta died so soon. However, I do wholeheartedly agree with "If I could teleport, I'd never wear shoes and my legs would fall off and die." :D Seriously? Stairs? It was like .. the 3rd floor! :P
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I totally agree with this review. Fringe is really good science fiction serie probably due to the good topic but also to all the feeling it could give you.

Concernning Peter and he's observer abilities, he may lost it. But if Windmark is on the "right" path does he still need it?
That's tricky concept of time travel. As you say why do the observer walk? And Why do they don't go further in the futur to get the integrality of Peter's plan?

Finally in previous episode's review you ask Fringe writer a sceen with Anna Torv dancing around in lingerie. I just want to remind it in case they miss it. This is not so complicated to do, there is probably a parallel univers where Olivia and Etta live happy and dance in lingerie. ;-)
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Haven't read the comments yet, so sry if im retreading old ground.

I never saw Olivia as being a hypocrite. When she was talking to Simone she was refering to all the crazy things she has seen and expierienced and how they all in one way or another were determined by sceince and math. At the end when she was talking to Peter, she was refering to emotion and love...2 things that can't be quantified or explained, 2 things that "we" have over the Observers. Think back to last season when September was explaining it all to Peter, he refered to love as something he did not understand because no logical thinking could explain it (heck love brought back Peter). So no, I don't think Olivia is a hypocrite at all, her convo with Simone and her convo with Peter were refering to 2 very different things.

According to TPTB this season is split up into 3 acts. Episodes 1-4, then 5-8 and now 9-13. I really think the final act will dive head first into the mythology and I think we are in for one heck of a ride.

ps. Making Peter an Observer, while short lived, accomplished two things. 1) It allowed Olivia to pull him back from the brink....shippers rejoice. 2) It gave us insight into the Observers. It allowed us to see why and how the Observers are the way they are...without having to explain it or hit us over the head with it.
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I wonder what the post-Fringe world will be like........not pretty, I'm afraid!:(
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I am looking forward for the next episode .

Peter made the best desicion and now will enjoy brilliant episodes.
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Oh, and what was the deal with that oracle lady?? Was she part of the cortexiphan trials as a kid, or do people just have unexplained superpowers now?
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This is Fringe. A show mostly about anomalies, strange events & physics and unexplainable things in general.
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I know, but usually the show makes sense of the persons powers. This was just so, take it or leave it...
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I think that the whole 'love saves the day' is perfect. The idea that there are still some things out there that you can't measure, quantify and capture in a bottle is part of the point. Our minds, our science can only take us so far and there are some things out there that are beyond our control and full understanding.
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And that's really what this show is all about. I didn't figure it out till recently, but that's why the show taking taking a dark path just didn't feel right. If Olivia had lost Peter to becoming an Observer, it would have gone against all of Fringe's themes and motifs.
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This was a totally useless episode for me. Honestly, this has been a very dull season. What I really liked about Fringe was the fight between the universes and the weirdness of the cases of the week, but that was put aside completely, and sometimes I wonder what happened to that storyline (the alternate universe). I was mildly interested in the Observers and I kind of admire the writers for trying to explain them, but for me, it isn't working. And this "love will save the day" approach, well, doesn't work for me either. It worked when Peter had been erased from the timeline in season 4, but I wonder how many times they will play that card. This season has been a let-down for me, and to be honest, I can't wait for Fringe to be over so I can move on.
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This season is floundering for me because the premise is floundering. Still no explanation as to what's going on with the Observer's and WHY they suddenly stopped observing, turned evil, and invaded their own past (that makes no sense). It's almost like a completely different show, but just using the same characters. I liked the theme this time, and the directing, writing, and acting made it an enjoyable episode, but I put Peterver's actions in the same bin as the video-hunt now.....it's all just filler that that doesn't add anything to the show for the sake of having some kind of dramatic moment at the end. Not only does this story not make sense to me, it's not moving anywhere in its final episodes while its not making sense. Fringe deserved better than this. The last few episodes need to be AMAZING to send Fringe off the right way.
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Ignoring the troll, I would say this was not so much an Olivia episode. We only spent more time seeing her doing stuff. We were still more focused emotionally (with exception to the odd warehouse scene) with Peter's Observer-or-not battle.

The problem for me with this episode is that I don't feel we moved forwards. Going back 3 episodes seems to put us at the same place. Peter is not an observer, Olivia is doing stuff but no different to anyone else, the resistance seemed to have vanished from the main story, Broyles almost came back but is gone again.

I had hoped earlier that Broyles was here to stay, the tape hunt would end, Olivia would start getting a lot more FBI badass, Peter would get more sciency to as an excuse to finish the tape hunt or something would happen to make Walter remember the plan, and if at all possible that the alt-universe would somehow play a part.

If we went from the episode just before Peter implanted the observer tech, to the coming one, would we notice anything missing (other than a few more bits and pieces from the tapes)? I'm not sure we would.

@kevlong67, surprisingly, I agree in a small way. I am watching cause it is Fringe and all that came before, rather than finishing each episode of this series waiting impatiently for the next. I so much hope it ends better than it is now, just because of the greatness that came before.
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It's true. What was really gained by the Peterver arc?? I know some arguments can be made that Peter almost succumbed to doing things the wrong way, and Olivia talked him off the ledge so to speak...but still, we're right back where we started...

I sincerely hope the Fringe writers have an ending that will really blow us away.... and then we'll collectively understand why all the secrecy with Walter's plan. I mean, we are really nearing the endgame here, and this videotape thing is no clearer than it was in say, episode 3. They have accumulated more stuff, sure...but the the f for???
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I want Peter to be more sciency, no what you want is for Peter to stay in that damn lab stuff and being BORING so you can brag away about how Olivia is such a better character than him.
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I meant you want Peter to stay in that damn lab all day and being utterly boring.
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Great uncredited guest role for Dave Grohl as Carlos. Nice to him take the time away from the Foo Fighters to do some acting. Sneaky too, giving the acting credit to Claude Duhamel.
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More , much more Olivia please ! She kicked some ass this episode , but it was insignificant kidnapers asses , so still irrelevant and poor . Only 5 episodes remaining , I am startting to get a little worried about Fringe's endgame , lets hope they saved the best for last ....
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And less Peter! Thats what you want, bitch!!!'
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Ok then. Wow. This has gotten out of hand.

Simmer down now sparky. Play nice. Everyone is entitled to an opinion on our shows and to express it, respectfully. If you have a response, rebuttal or controversial argument pertinent to the topic, fire away. But if you want to shoot back with personal attacks on a fellow commenter, for whatever reason, well, kindly take a deep breath and attempt to keep the Golden Rule in the forefront of your mind. No one likes someone jumping down their throat over a simple opinion or offhand plot prediction; the community will be completely unengaging if people begin hammering away at each other herein rather than the shows, characters, episodes and plot arcs we meet here to discuss. If you absolutely cannot contain the vitriol then take that crap to PM and keep it off the community conversation.

You are obviously a passionate defender of the series, so rejoin the conversation and let us know your thoughts on FRINGE but please, kindly keep your opinions on the Fringe Fans participating here, private.

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What's your problem ? First stop insulting anyone who thinks different from you, . Second you don't know me or anybody else who comments so don't tell me what I want or don't want . Third , this show is not Olivia or Peter centric it's about the both of them and Walter . Peter and Walter are fine this season but Olivia is practically not doing anything , so all I am saying is we need to see more about her , but that doesn't mean I want less Peter .
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This whining about Olivia is very fascinating since Peter bishop (you guys remember him right?) was in the background for 5 YEARS doing nothing.
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Hungry homer, go to hell.
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Oh. my. god, I'm sorry I'm late I just watched the episode and I enjoy all of the different opinions out there, I for one am loving this season and all, I don't need to explain.. I just have to say what is your problem LovelyFace12? Seriously, every single one of your comments has a rude tone to it and an offensive thing to say.. what are you like 5 years old and if someone doesn't think the same way you just don't like it and call names? Great way to make a point really you'll win all the arguments this way. For sure.
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What show have you been watching? Peter in the "background" for five years doing "nothing"? Are you serious? Sure, he's not always been the absolute focus, but to say he's done nothing is ridiculously unfair.

And please, lose the attitude. When people talk about Fringe, we tend to manage to keep the childish jabbing for those on the Lost and Revolution boards, thank you very much.
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So, in other words, you fully acknowledge the fact that Peter, out of the three main character, is hardly the most important of the three in terms of the main story, if he was "in the background for 5 YEARS." So how can anybody, no matter how much they love Peter's character and/or Joshua Jackson possibly complain when people have an issue with one of the two main-main characters, who have had such an integral part in the show's storyline for the past four seasons, suddenly has a very sidelined role in a season (and, in the FINAL season of all seasons, which will be the last time we get to see these characters)? Also... I can't really speak for Tim here, but I have actually wanted Peter to have a more prominent role in the series from the beginning, so I've relished those moments in the series where he did have a bigger role (i.e. season 3, and the episodes following Etta's death). But the longer the series went on, the more obvious it was that he was, in fact, the least important of the main characters (albeit, the character whose kidnapping sparked the whole alternate universe storyline), so as time went on, even though my desire for him to have a more prominent role in the series did not diminish, my resolve to complain about it did, because I accepted the role the writers wanted him to have. That being said, as I've already mentioned, this is the final season of the show, so I really hope the writers manage to give all 3 of the main characters a chance to shine in these last episodes. I have loved what they've done with Peter's character since Etta's death, I just hope that they don't push him to the background again now that he has taken out the Observer tech.
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I do remember Peter being in the center of the storyline, being Walternate's son, crossing over dimensions and all that, being the reason for the crack between dimensions, plus later plugged to a huge machine (twice), disappearing in time, etc. Not sure about "doing nothing" being accurate.
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"this was finally an Olivia episode...she is still part of the show"

Oh but I am sure you were just fine when Peter was in the background while Walter and Olivia had episodes centered around them. Hypocrite.
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Dreadful episode. The hackneyed device of the video tapes goes on and on. And substituting an intelligent plot for emotions is really disappointing.
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I liked this episode quite a bit. My only objection to it is that a magnet is probably one of the easiest things to build. You need a hunk of metal and some wire. Walter built a cutting laser out of of a VCR, but they needed to leave town to find a magnet? I don't know, usually the writers are more attentive to these sort of things. Maybe spend so much time ironing out the dialogue at the end (which was great), they didn't have time to double check on the rest of the episode. Otherwise really good episode.
Like the comment about powering a hippy commune for a year. Funny stuff.
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It's not just a magnet, it's a Wagnet! Walter made it, as we all know nothing Walter invents is what it appears to be. He also brought it the junkyard himself 20 something years earlier to be part of The Pattern, woopps I mean the The Plan, so normal Wagnet could destroy the city, Plan Wagnet The World!

Ha! you know what I realized, the Fringe team should be calling their plan The Pattern instead. Here's what I mean, when they dug up the old cases, awesome by the way, they have started using the tech and according to the observers they are the enemy as the team is recreating the original pattern.!

Ok I went a little crazy there, but please someone at least say they get what I mean!
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Frankly, I am a little surprised Tim had such a positive opinion of the episode. I thought he would have been disappointed that they still haven't moved the plot further.

I loved the episode. "But Fringe is also a character show, and the emotional portion of the series is what's made it more than just Science Cops." - exactly the reason I love Fringe. I think that the show does both of these elements really well so when fans who tuned in for the sci-fi part see an emotional episode, they are dissatisfied. And vice versa with the fans who've come to love the philosophical and emotional episodes more. I for one, am a fan of the combination of the two, which I think makes the show that much better. A good comedy will always have a bit of drama, a good drama will always have a few laughs. It doesn't take away from the main aspect, it only adds to it.

- Loved the flashing memories bit. Haven't seen it done better than this, really struck a cord with me.
- How cool was the Peterver vs Windmark fight! I bet it took a long time to shoot and expensive too, but THAT was exactly the type of teleportation fight I want to see. I've always been angry at Heroes because they never utilized their powers in a cool and imaginative way. I know it's expensive, but it's frustrating when you know what they can do, but they don't do it.
- Glad to see Olivia back in the front.
- Agree with Tim on Joshua Jackson. I've been defending him (Joshua, not Tim) to my friends who just can't shake the Dawson's Creek aftertaste :) Joshua has shown some range here. Keep it up!

5 episodes to go! Getting more bittersweet by the minute
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tim does hate this season doesnt he??? i for one think its amazing!!!! i cant wait for the finale to see how it ends but im also dreading it at the same time cause that means no mre fringe...ever :(
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Fringe movie??
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#fiveseasonsandamovie !
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Please, please, pretty please, with a cherry on top? Hell, why not make it a trilogy while they're at it?!!! Can I pre-order the theater tickets? And movie memorabilia? I'll dress as Faux-livia for the premiere!
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Faux-livia, would love to see that!
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I wouldn't say he hates this season. He has expressed some dissatisfaction and made arguments for his opinion. As I understand he liked more the philosophical aspect of Fringe than the love or sci-fi aspects. It's understandable :)
I feel the same way regarding the finale :)
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I'm glad to see many people seem to like this season but it has become a hate watch for me. I loved the first 4 seasons but most of the fun is gone this year. I'm only sticking around to see how it ends. I hope the writers can salvage a fitting ending to this great series.
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Yeah, you can say that again. It's been such a chore for me.
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Another great episode. The main question this left me with is: how much will Peter remember from being an observer/will they find another timeline that he wrote so that they can try and salvage something from his work? I think it would be unlikely that they couldn't use something of what he did. Also, how long will it take for him to be back to normal? They pulled out the thing that was enlarging the cerebral cortex, but how long will it take for it to shrink back down? It's possible he might have enough observer juice in him for a few more tricks.

I didn't really have a problem with love saving the day on this one, mostly because there wasn't a point where science/logic was bypassed at all. The reason that Peter was on a mission to kill Widmark in the first place was to avenge Etta. So even at his advanced Observer transformative stage, he feels emotions to some degree. What would have bugged me would be something where Walter scans Peter's brain and says that the parts of his brain that produce and deal with emotion have been destroyed, and yet Oliver is somehow able to make Peter feel the emotion of love, because her love for him is so strong. As this bypasses both science and logic, it would have annoyed me. But as it stands, the writers didn't do that, and all Oliver did was convince Peter that his love for her/their love for each other, was too important to let disappear. Besides, it's what Etta would have wanted, and an observer they trust created a plan they were in the process of enacting, so de-observering himself could be seen an a logical decision.

The one thing that did bug me about that scene was when Olivia said that we need emotion because it's the only thing we have that they don't. I think this is a terrible reason for keeping anything. If we went and invaded a people that all had epilepsy, and we had in our possession a cure for epilepsy; it would be strange if one of them said that epilepsy was the one thing they had that we didn't, so no one should treat themselves and stop having seizures. There are some many other reasons that Olivia could have given as to why emotions are a good thing to have, many of them being scientific (certain emotions, including love, assist in our survival and continuation as a species, for instance). However, Olivia used what is probably the worst argument possible to make emotions sound necessary. Still, for the most part it was a great scene, and I'm really glad that Joshua Jackson can, well, act once more. It's hard to show emotions when you're not supposed to have any.
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For me, it was great to see Olivia back in pure action this week. I'm a little tired of the whole troop discussing every move when they go out on bounty trips together. The episode did well (imo) because of the Olivia's action plus Peter's action in pursuit of the observer. Emotions part didn´t touch me. Getting that thing out of Peter's head was like making a vampire become human again or something. Like teasing us with a defenite plot and then taking it back (and with it, the posible fun that brought us). So basically Peter did all that to give us a cool episode and a bomb that killed 3 observers, and now is over. I hope some of you commenting are right and the changes in his brain still give some kind of advantage on the observers.
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I'm all for taking the tech out of your head for love in a TV show but... If they Observers like race came for real, and one of you reading this had the option to take tech necessary to hopefully rid the world of them or to keep your emotions to love someone... please take the tech and file for a divorce.
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Also, I'm a little surprised they're abandoning the Peter is an Observer plot already, which has me wondering if that chip changed his DNA somehow.

I'm also agreeing with the theory if it's been stated that

September is that little Observer boy from Season 1 Walter hid in the Pocket Universe? It would explain why he was interested in them because they saved him as a child and maybe why The Observers want him too?
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Perhaps there never was a Peter is an Observer plot. I think that was simply a byproduct and the writers didn't even think about it until the theory became popular in the fringosphere.
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Well he was an observer for what 3 episodes? That's what I meant.
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You're right. I misread your post, sorry :)
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While watching this episode I swear it went by in 20 minutes. While I agree that this episode wasn't the best of the season and that this season does seem repetitive, there is SO much of Season 5 that I'm loving, that it's okay if sometimes that episode doesn't seem like it's pushing us forward to the end but really we can look back and be like we got the
1.Thought Unifier
2.Red Rocks
3.Pocket-Universe, and Little Observer Boy (from Season 1)
4.The beacons

There have been episodes spent on getting these items and still providing excellent emotional scenes like the end of this episode and the end of The Bullet That Saved The World plus giving us episode arcs where we see The Bishop Family and Fringe Team reconnect and lose someone once more and see Peter turn into an Observer everything has happened so quickly compared to our normal 22 episode seasons I think that we are just overwhelmed by awesome information.

This season has been really well handled and a great gift to the fans which will probably tie up the entire series in the greatest little bow while still still performing a somewhat happy ending "reboot" in the end like Fringe always does.

Only 5 episodes left...next week's 'Black Blotter' is Season 5 's version of the classic 19th episode "crazy spin". and it's the final one. F****
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The whole "They're going to collect a bounty on you" thing was weak.

Had it just been Olivia hearing them talking about "they will be here soon" and assuming the worse, then "The Oracle" could have talked to her about pessimism or trusting the humanity she's trying to save. It might have given the conversation at the end between them more weight: between Olivia saying that things are as they are, and the Oracle saying they are what we make of them.

Instead, it was just wasted time. Like "Why would a child saying we were going to turn you in make you think we were turning you in."
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In regards to the "Observers move fast vs. teleport" debate: I always assumed they teleported due the fact that there's no tell-tale physical signs of fast movement, e.g. the whoosing of wind, physical objects being affected by said wind, or even motion blur. I'm thinking specifically of how super speed was portrayed on Smallville.

The question about why they don't teleport everywhere could be explained by it being physically taxing on the body, therefore it's only used in important situations and not menial tasks like skipping steps and elevators.

The same argument was made below as far as super speed and could be valid in both cases, but due to my first paragraph I'm sticking with teleportation.
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While I can see them not teleporting everywhere, teleportations we saw September do always show him just casually strolling out of wherever with minimal physical effort.

I'll buy that they don't do it all the time, like when the elevators work. But why not just to teleport down to the ground floor when you have that one time that the elevator doesn't work?
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I always thought that it was straining mentally to teleport for them and that's why they don't do it all the time.

I think of it this way: we always walk, but we run only when we really have to get somewhere fast. On our day to day activities we could run half the distances and it would even be healthier for us. If you go to the grocery store you could run 1 minute, then walk for 2, run 1 more and so on. It would be more efficient and in the end even better for us. But we don't do that. And for observers teleporting is straining (as is running for us) but it doesn't exercise the brain and make it bigger (or does it?), so why do it? Only when necessary.
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Because it wasn't about that. He know something changed his "timeline". What he did was trying to set it back.
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Yeh, a frozen-time scene as they moved between point A and B would cement the super-speed thing.

Instead they just pop around.

So, if they are truly masters of the time/space continuum then teleporting short distances makes sense.
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In the last episode, as I watched Peter become more and more Observer-like, while having it as a parallel to Walter's story, I started to become very excited to see that story progress through the next few weeks. So, in that way, I was actually kind of disappointed we didn't see that story play out beyond this episode. But a part of me was also worried that an increasingly emotionless Peter might make take away from his character in some ways, so I'm also kind of glad it happened as well. And I think this episode did a very good job with that story. I loved seeing the strategy games that Peter and Windmark played with each other, trying to outsmart each other. And, of course, the final scene between Peter and Olivia was a very sweet moment for the two. And, speaking of Olivia, I'm so glad she got a more substantial role in this episode. I can definitely understand how some people could have an issue with this episode's lack of story progression (despite the conclusion of Observer-Peter), and the same is true for the whole season's sense of progression. Right now, that's one of my two biggest issues with this season, as well as the Observers being more one-dimensial villains than what we're used to compared to the parallel universe (although I've been slowly allowing myself to let that slide, and just have fun watching their scenes for what they are). Hopefully when the plan comes together, it brings the Observer story to a satisfying conclusion, but in the meantime, I'm more than happy watching the character drama, especially since Etta's death.
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I always find it silly when shows use the whole these-are-people-but-without-the-emotion-part-of-their-brain-they're-cold-sociopaths (e.g. see also Cybermen). Observance sorry 'bout the pun of people who've suffered brain injuries damaging their emotional ability aren't like this at all. In fact they become aimless and unable to make decisions, as emotions are a fundamental underscoring of decision making. Still this IS a show that less than a year ago was casually referring to safe zones to survive collapsing universes and consequent big bangs.

I think it's strange that Tim thinks it's impossible to explain love from a scientific perspective. Exactly what quality (or lack thereof) does love possess to make it unexplainable.

I'm holding out hope that the end of the season manages to pull everything together in a way that convinces us they haven't been padding time so far.
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Well, in science fiction, when we usually see a person lose their emotions there's a trade-off: the effect is ALSO increasing their intelligence in some manner. Usually in a great manner. This would offset the loss.

Where as, a person with brain damage that loses access to emotions isn't really gaining anything... plus they have brain damage. So they're relying on their current training which relied heavily on emotion.
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Increased intelligence would not help (by the way emotional health is an important component of intelligence), science has shown that without emotions you can't make decisions. It's not about training it's fundamental to the way the brain works.
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What about full blown Sociopaths; those that feel no mercy/love/fear/etc? Heck, aren't some of them CEOs of Fortune 500s?

I don't mean those that are low on the scale: that just feel little empathy or are just manipulative.

And as mentioned, in Science FICTION... the plot device is usually some SUPER ADVANCED MAGGUFIN that is rewriting their brain in some improbable way. So it's not just an IQ boost but remapping how the brain works. Plus, you know, it's science fiction

So, it's kind of like complaining that a sci-fi device that gave someone super strength is bogus because the human body (bones and such) couldn't handle the stresses of the great feats they're performing. When, one can assume that the sci-fi plot device also did "something" to increase their tolerances.
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This episode was awesome. This season is awesome. To me, it's perhaps the best yet.

Also, "magical negro"? Really? Are humans ever going to stop picking and choosing things to stick in a category and deem offensive?
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Regarding the "Magical Negro" thing. Tim kinda backed up his statement with the link to Wikipedia. He has a point. He's not saying that the show ACTUALLY tried to find a black woman (maybe they did), but they certainly didn't try to avoid that old trope (which kinda would be racist in a weird way). I confused myself :D
Without knowing what was the actual intent there's no point in discussing this, so my comment is pointless as well.
Hmmm, taught myself something. Good on me
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Now that Fringe has been bumped to stepchild status due no doubt to it's approaching demise, it seems people are disappointed more and more. This is, was and will always be a great show and this final season is as good as any in my opinion. It's fairly obvious that this is where they were going all along since the Observers have been around since the very beginning. We love these characters and how they interact and deal with whatever comes their way. This was another great episode - not flawless - but still great. And it turns out that we get to know what the Observers were all about. I, for one, am grateful for this final bonus season...
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Couldn't have said it better!
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Hm. I thought the scene where Olivia shot the Guy with Etta's bullet using steam was fucking awesome. I agree that it didn't gave us any progress or consequences BUT it wasn't a waste of time either. There's worse out there. In the woods.
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I believe Tim is referring to the possibility that Simone, Carl and her folks were going to turn Olivia in.
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Oh, alright the Junkyard people are Simone and her folks ...
But I'm still not sure if it was that pointless, at least it didn't felt so to me. AS a viewer I trusted them from the start but it would have been very unbelievable for Olivia to do the same. So they had to show Olivia's doubts and do a scene like this. No problem with me.
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But did that scene really reveal much about Olivia that we didn't otherwise already know? Or couldn't that conversation have been between her and a character we already have, like Astrid or Walter? It would have been much more meaningful if the person talking about faith/trust was someone we, well, had faith in or trusted. (At least I think so--but you're obviously free to disagree!)
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I agree with you that that was what was being referred to. And I agree with Tim that it felt pointless.
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- The kidnap scene was great. The whole time I was thinking, "You just kidnapped Olivia Dunham, bitches. Prepare to have a bad day." I half expected her to grab a steel rod and shove the bullet out of the guy's head, but conveniently it got stuck in the door instead.

- I was surprised at how quick the "Peterver" arc ended, but they did a great job with it, so onward. And every time I read these reviews my mind always scrambled Peterver to pervert. So I'm glad that phase it over.

- Great episode overall. I've always had a hard time taking the whole Observer thing seriously, but the characters are so great. The ending was spot on. It's what this show is all about.
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"Peterver to pervert". Now I can't un-know this...
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Petervert. :D
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I don't think Observers teleport, rather they just move very quickly so it would still require as much effort, if not more.
I wonder if Peter will keep his super-powers? Likely he will for the short time.
With just 6 episodes left they really have to make each episode count. And we should be seeing some resolution to the token-hunt.
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5 episodes left. Sorry to have ruined your day.
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Do Observers really teleport? I thought they just moved really fast. Like The Flash.
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While the fight scenes often have signs of secondary movement, most of the time they just show the Observers casually "stepping out" of nowhere, rather than braking to a halt.
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The final scene between Olivia and Peter was well played and very touching. It reminded me how great this show used to be.

Why did the writers have to destroy the last season with observers invasion? Parallel universe plot was so much better. I miss you Fauxlivia...
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Heck, I miss the bland guy. The really bland guy. The one who never really had a lot to do because he was so bland. The partner of the guy from Stargate: Atlantis.

Oh, right, Lincoln Lee. Talk about getting short shrift...
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I agree. While I don't want to pass overall arc judgment before it's complete, I did find the us-versus-them two universe storyline FAR more compelling than this one. At the very least, the who-is-right-who-is-wrong question was much more complex, where that hasn't been the case so far with this battle.
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I so miss silly Walter and the whole comradery between our main characters especially from Season 1 through Season 3. Nothing tops those fun times. Not that I want that always since it's a Sci-Fi show but that really was funny. And now we're so stone cold serious basically all the time. Think they threw in a smidge or Walter fun this season but barely.
We still never saw the full battles on how the Observers came into power and hope we see that in flashbacks. I'll wait for judgment but from what's gone on, I now wish Fringe had ended at the end of Season 4.
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Finally they stopped trying to turn Peter into something he isn't. Now it feels like we're back on track and now just leave out unnecessary stuff and fill it up with these amazingly done emotional scenes that make this show so awesome. Because it's those scenes that make watching Fringe so special. Like a fire that makes everything brighter and warms you up in a cold dark winter night. Darn it! That sounds so cheesy...
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I sound wayyyy more cheesy when I try explaining what Fringe is to my stupid stupid stupid uncultured unhappy living-in-the-dark friends.
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Thanks, I feel better now:) But that's the thing with Fringe. It's a bit like love itself. You can't really explain the true essence of it to somebody who has never experienced it. Here we go again... :P
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As far as the "Magical African American" bit...

Face it, they went full-out Matrix
Peter has kung fu / Peter has super strength / Peter sees the world in a of colorized graphics

An Oracle portrayed by an African American just sealed the dael.

Now they just need to replace the old station wagon with a anti-grav hover craft.
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This whole season has definitely been Matrix-y.
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Umm, one small part in one ep. and this "magical negro" thing is thrown out. Thanks for letting me know, never heard of that, haha. PC insanity for sure.
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Nah, it's just a combination of things. The "Peter Vision" alone was just a blue version of Nero seeing the matrix.

Meeting someone that the TV Guide calls "The Oracle" and it's very much like the Oracle that Neo meets in the Matrix.

Combine it all: and some of us are just waiting for Windmark to say "Helllo Missster Bishop" as they travel to Zion in a hover car.

Honestly, the whole PC thing confuses me to the point that I never know what to say. But I imagine the poster's polite-version of the N-word is still frowned upon.
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Yea, poor Portuguese speaking people. Black in Portuguese is negro. They must be offending people all the time..
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Obviously, the cultural and/or language differences don't count. As far as I know, this review / article was written in the US by an American-English speaking person.

In the US, well, it's a big guessing game at times which term is offensive. Except the "BIG N" which is a no brainer.

Meanwhile, I was talking to a colleague in England who used a term in a professional setting that would have raised some major eye-brows had the someone higher up been there. And that's just a British-English vs American-English cultural thing.

In the US, there are people (though not all) who would take offense to the little-N word used. Not all though, and I can't even guess at a percentage. Because, going back to "what's acceptable" bit.
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I imagine the Peter predicted that Windmark was too "hard core" to easily kill. That he'd have backup or the edge unless he put him in a position that Peter would 100% have the upper-hand.

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