‘FRINGE’ 5×05 Photo Recap: “An Origin Story”
Hey, do you guys remember that time Joel Wyman said that season 5 was going to be “the love letter fans deserve”? Well, I’m glad I’m not married to Joel Wyman, because his idea of a love letter is very similar to my idea of emotional torment. Hey, speaking of torture, PETER WTF STOP LETTING YOUR HUMANITY SEEP OUT OF YOU LIKE YOU’RE SWEATING IT OFF ON A TREADMILL. This is even worse than that time Peter started killing Shapeshifters for sport. This season is really making me miss the earlier days of Fringe. Remember when our biggest problems were daddy issues and vagendas? Those were the days… Now we’ve got the big bad Baldies poisoning the world, Peter is turning into an Observer, Olivia is drowning alone in her grief, Astrid is Abner, and for the love of God will someone un-amber the Hibachi grill so we can make some freaking salmon kabobs?! Alright, well, I guess I’ve put this off long enough, but let’s get to actual recap part of this recap…
Peter was watching Olivia sleep, which would have been a completely adorable and heartwarming moment if it weren’t for the fact that NOTHING WILL EVER BE GOOD AGAIN. Sorry. That might be a bit of an overstatement. Or maybe not. You be the judge. Anyway, Peter was snooping around his dead daughter’s room, which was a little weird just because what if he found, like, her and Simon’s sex tape or something? (HA! In my dreams…) That would have been slightly less painful than the actual tape they found this week: a recording of Etta’s birthday, complete with a blissfully happy Peter and Olivia. But back to Peter’s snooping… He found a secret button in one of Etta’s drawers, which opened Etta’s secret stash of weapons and C-4. I guess Etta really does take after her mom and dad…
Don’t leave, Peter! Stay here and start the healing process with a hug from Olivia! …But then we wouldn’t have an episode. (Though, for the record, Fringe writers, I would totally watch an entire episode of Peter and Olivia hugging. Just so you know.) Instead he and Olivia embarked on their separate journeys of grief, both of which involved a lot of mirrors.
Things got interesting when the air started crackling with electricity. I assumed it was atmospheric discharge as a result of the sexual chemistry between Peter and Lincoln crackling between universes, but apparently it had something to do with the Observers importing some supplies from the future. Speaking of another time, can you believe Willie Nelson is still alive in 2036?
The Observers unpacked this metal cube thing that I’m pretty sure was a Decepticon.
Olivia, Peter, and Walter were cleaning out their stuff from Etta’s place, and it was basically just a non-stop sob fest. Walter wanted to keep her perfume because the smell reminded him of her and oh great now I’m crying again. THANKS A LOT FOR THIS WONDERFUL “LOVE LETTER,” JOEL. (Just kidding, I really appreciate this season and I have faith that by the end of it, our hearts will be more or less put back together. Right, Joel…?)
Astrid was back at the lab hating her life un-ambering everything for a second time. She called to deliver some more bad news (as if this day could possibly get any worse): she wasn’t able to melt the amber around two of the tapes because they were dangerously close to some highly flammable substances. This reminded me of one of those Hoarders episodes where the people’s homes are booby-trapped with, like, perilous piles of clothing and strategically placed animal corpses. I guess Walter didn’t think to tidy up the lab in preparation for Observageddon.
Great, so now, not only are we all stuck in the merciless quicksand of grief, but we have no mission-of-the-week to distract us? No next step in the Grand Master Plan to make us feel like we’re doing something to help avenge Etta’s death? You know what they say about idle minds… Don’t you? Because I don’t remember. Something about “the devil’s workshop”? I don’t know. Whatever, it’s bad. Let’s just say that much is clear. Peter could have used a new tape to give him something to focus on other than the systematic shut-down of all his emotions (except for rage).
Peter decided he wanted to completely destroy the Observers’ wormhole so they wouldn’t be able to transport tech from the future anymore. Because that would definitely make him feel better about his daughter dying. I can’t fault Peter for feeling this way. How could anyone think rationally after suffering a tragedy like that? Clearly his decision-making skills were not at their best. So it was pretty poor timing that Etta’s Resistance buddy Anil showed up and told them that they had captured an Observer.
Peter was determined to go through with his dangerous plan to ruin the Observers’ wormhole, so he spent some quality time getting to know the metal cube thing in the hopes of understanding how it works. I guess there wasn’t an “ON” button or anything.
DAMMIT PETER WHAT HAVE I TOLD YOU ABOUT PLAYING WITH MYSTERIOUS MACHINES OF UNKNOWN ORIGIN? In case you’ve forgotten, you don’t have a great history with them. The last thing we need is for you to erase yourself from existence AGAIN.
Meanwhile, Olivia was trying not to lapse into a sadness coma while she helped Astrid try to crack the Observers’ secret code so they’d know when the next hot sauce shipment was scheduled to arrive. I’m sure Astrid was just grateful to get a break from the arduous process of lasering tapes out of amber.
Luckily, Astrid had managed to extricate Walter’s collection of army men and Hotwheels cars from amber, which could mean only one thing… Diorama time!
One of the reasons this episode was so painful to watch was because it was like watching a car accident in slow motion. The whole time you could see Peter slipping further away, but nothing could stop him from ultimately succumbing to his inner darkness. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned from watching Fringe, it’s that no matter how loudly you yell at the television, the characters are not going to listen to you.
So Peter blatantly ignored my plea to return to Olivia so they could be heartbroken together, and instead he went all Liam Neeson on the random Observer they had in custody.
When Peter hooked the Observer up to that eye machine, I totally thought he was going to do something cruel and disgusting like cut out his eyeball or something in order to coerce the Observer into telling him how to work the cube. Instead Peter just used his extensive knowledge of the human nervous system to judge the Observer’s involuntary reactions. YAY, SCIENCE!
(For those of you who don’t remember the board game Perfection, good for you because it was one of the worst games ever. Just watch this 90s commercial.)
While Peter was dealing with his inner pain in a totally healthy and not at all frightening way, Walter and Olivia were treading water in their own oceans misery.
Basically Walter told Olivia that she and Peter needed to talk about their feelings, which we all know is the worst, especially when one of them is off doing who-knows-what with an Observer and a sketchy metal cube. And when it comes to Peter and Olivia, you know they’d rather just shoot things until they feel less sad. But alas, shooting things was not going to help them in this case. They had to confront their pain head-on. Which is why Walter gave her this…
Okay, great. Now I have that Mandy Moore song from A Walk to Remember stuck in my head. Just what I need in my already unstable emotional state… Anyway, Peter brought the cube back, and they all went off to enact Peter’s wormhole-imploding plan. Step 1: leave the cube in the middle of a random street in broad daylight and sneak away while Peter gets ready to shoot an anti-matter grenade into it.
Even when she’s crumbling on the inside, Olivia is still a BAMF. With that, they had time to get the anti-matter grenade into the portal, and voila! Instant black hole. (Kids, don’t try this at home.)
WTF? How did the Observers fix their wormhole so fast? I mean, I’m no expert in quantum physics or phenomena of the time/space continuum, but based on the reactions of Peter, Olivia, and Anil, I’m figuring it was not anticipated that the Observers could still get their supplies through that soon after they blew up the wormhole. Peter was not pleased, so naturally he decided to go confront his Observer prisoner in a completely calm and rational manner.
At that point, Peter came to the conclusion that he would be way better than this schmuck if he had a fancy microchip in his head that let him teleport and speak in tongues and got rid of all that unwanted back hair. Again, Peter was definitely not exercising superb judgment at this point.
Olivia was obviously too engrossed in her own emotional distress to hear Peter’s mental Bat Signal of “HELP I’M MAKING IRREVOCABLY BAD DECISIONS!” She finally got up the courage to watch the tape Walter gave her, which was pretty much the tipping point of this episode in terms of soul-crushing sadness. It’s like our hearts are the Titanic, and at the end of the last episode, we hit the iceberg and cracked in two, and then we kind of bobbed in the icy waters for a while. Then when Olivia watched the tape of Etta’s birthday and Peter put that Observer tech in his head, that’s when the broken pieces of our hearts gave one final gurgle before sinking to the bottom of the ocean. Maybe in seventy years, a team of explorers will find them and make a movie about it. Get to work on that theme song, Celine Dion!
Back at Camp Crazy, Peter was attempting to self-administer a piece of foreign technology onto his brainstem. So yeah, that sounds completely safe and not at all like the worst plan ever of all time.
Okay, maybe I don’t hate everything. I just hate the way I feel after watching this episode. You know, like there’s no hope left in the world and everything is filled with darkness and sadness? Except it’s not because HELLO, we are watching the fifth season of Fringe, which is a complete miracle, so clearly the world is a beautiful place. But it’s like Joel Wyman took all of our happiness at Fringe’s renewal and he was like, “Challenge accepted! I will make all of you weep like children.” MISSION: ACCOMPLISHED, JOEL. Feel free to ease up any time now. (HAHAHA yeah right.) How painful is it to watch Peter slipping away from us, from Olivia, from Walter? And now he’s becoming an Observer?! What do you guys think of the theory that Peter is actually September? (After all, Peter’s birthday is September 18th.) I actually think that would be really cool, albeit incredibly heartbreaking. Fringe always loves a good cyclical story, and it would make sense if Peter went back in time as September and saved himself as a young boy from drowning in the lake. I’m mainly just hoping that Olivia is able to pull Peter back from the edge of Observerdom and remind him what happiness feels like. OR, if Olivia can’t manage to snap Peter out of his state, maybe a certain bespectacled beau could help out. Yes, I’m referring to Lincoln. Based on the title of episode six, “Through The Looking Glass And What Walter Found There,” I’m going to guess/hope/wish/dream that they fix the looking glass (which we saw in Walter’s Fringe museum last episode) so they can see into the Altverse, and Lincoln will be able to break through the wall of grief around Peter’s heart and lead him back to his humanity. Hey, I’m just putting it out there. Never underestimate the power of Pecoln. (*Note: this should not in any way be taken to mean that I am not whole-heartedly invested in the Polivia love story, which I firmly believe will be the key to Peter’s redemption… But, you know, if Lincoln happened to show up, and Peter happened to make out with him, I wouldn’t complain.)
Well, I have to admit this was one of the most difficult recaps I’ve done because this episode was so steeped in sadness. Please forgive my lack of hilarity, and I hope your heart is at least a little lighter for having been distracted for a second with this silliness. Here’s hoping next week’s episode will be slightly less heartbreaking. (HA! As if.)
As always, thank you to FringeFiles.com for providing the screen caps of this episode, and thanks to TV.com’s brilliant Price Peterson, whose hilarious Vampire Diaries photo recaps were the inspiration for my own. And thank you for reading!
See the rest of my Fringe photo recaps here
*All images are property of FOX Broadcasting