‘FRINGE’ 5×08 Photo Recap: “The Human Kind”
Guess what, you guys…I finally remembered what joy feels like! The Fringe writers must have been feeling the holiday spirit, because this episode was the equivalent of 10,000 sacks of presents. After weeks of doom and heartbreak, we really needed this one. My Fringe-induced depression was starting to affect my daily life. My friends would be like, “Hey, do you want to go see Silver Linings Playbook this weekend?” and I’d be all, “WHAT’S THE POINT? PETER IS A SOULLESS MONSTER AND THE WORLD IS HORRIBLE.” (Side note: If you haven’t seen it yet, Silver Linings Playbook is amazing. FYI.) It’s worth mentioning that none of my friends (except Mary, obviously) watch Fringe, so they do not understand my ennui. Fortunately for everyone, this holiday season just got a whole lot better because the folks at Fringe decided not to drag out the whole Peter-is-an-Observer storyline until the end of the season (which I was totally expecting/dreading), but instead chose to resolve it with enough time left to spend the final five episodes with our beloved Fringe team back together, all in full possession of their own brains. Except for Walter of course, who is perpetually sharing his brain with various drugs, and sometimes leaving pieces of it in storage with Massive Dynamic. But enough about brains, let’s get going with this recap, because I have to go rewrite fifteen classic Christmas carols with new Fringe-related lyrics. I’m already working on a “Jingle Bells” remix about William Bell: “William Bell…William Bell…William Bell betrayed us. Joke’s on him, ‘cause he’ll soon find he’s got one hand M.I.A.—hey!” (Okay, I know it’s not great, but it’s a work in progress, alright?)
This was a tough episode to watch for the first 50 minutes. Poor Olivia looked like someone had run over her heart with a tank, then threw a grenade at it, then fed it to a rabid possum, and then—well, you get the point. Peter was extra Observery—you could tell by his crazy eyes and his newfound kleptomania. I didn’t realize that losing your ability to feel emotions meant that Observers also lose their sense of common courtesy. I mean come on, Peter. You can’t just go around stealing cups of tea in order to further your elaborate game of Mouse Trap with Observer Palpatine. Who do you think you are? Aladdin? He steals loaves of bread because he needs to eat in order to survive. You steal a cup of tea because you want to watch some poor schmuck spill it on Windmark’s shoes. Plus, at least Aladdin sang a catchy and somewhat repentant song about his thievery. (I think I should probably tell you right now that the theme of this week’s recap is classic Disney movies. I don’t really know how that happened. It just did.)
Even more concerning than Peter’s complete lack of respect for other people’s beverages was the fact that ANIL IS SOMEHOW STILL ALIVE. I mean seriously, he’s like Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom—supposedly helpful, but really just annoying and also mildly racist. (Why does the Scotsman always have to be the rough-and-tumble rebel?) I’m sorry, I know Anil isn’t really that bad, but the fact that he’s still alive while Etta and Simon (and Charlie, and AltLincoln, and every character I ever loved) are dead still just makes me resent him. I would trade 100 Anils for one more scene with AltLincoln… But unfortunately, as the great John Green reminded us in his spectacular award-winning novel The Fault in Our Stars, “The world is not a wish-granting factory.” (Sorry for the backdoor John Green fangirling, but that is one of my all-time favorite books and sometimes I can’t help myself.) Cars don’t run on hopes and dreams, and faith won’t power a giant electromagnet to help save the world. Actually, stand by for confirmation on that last part, because Simone the seer seemed pretty optimistic about Olivia’s chances of saving the world. Anyway, what was I saying before this insane detour? Oh, right, Anil is still here…
I guess Anil’s only real use is that he’s a fairly decent errand boy. Last time he helped Peter execute his little briefcase switcheroo with the Observers, and this week he delivered Olivia a piece of Observer tech identical to the one in Peter’s head, which, as far as I can tell, wasn’t really that helpful except that it gave Walter something to do for the whole episode that didn’t involve traipsing around a pocket universe.
Peter was still Beautiful Mind-ing it up with his elaborate timelines scribbled on the cinematographically convenient but realistically impractical see-through dry erase boards. They even looked like they were color-coded! Maybe Peter should use his new Observer powers to come help me organize my room.
Oh, and there was also a new video this week with a strange new mission for them to embark on, which thankfully yielded some more or less promising results (depending on your definition of “promising” and “results”).
Walter and Astrid only had a few seconds to really soak in their lack of enthusiasm for Video Walter’s latest mission before Olivia returned with the Observer tech Anil had procured.
Luckily Walter had preserved Barry the mutant porcupine’s brain so he didn’t have to use a human test subject. You know what they say—if you can’t find a spare human brain, a mutant porcupine one is the next best thing!
Walter got a phone call from Peter, who was sadly not calling to say, “I love you dad, please help me.”
And that’s when the real horror started…
Ummm rude. Peter left the stolen tea perched on a trashcan so that some poor rando could spill it on Windmark, causing him to miss the light to cross the street. All in the name of vengeance!
So apparently Peter’s plan for revenge was to ruin Windmark’s favorite pair of shoes. Well, then, mission accomplished, Peter. Job well done. Please pat yourself on the back and pick up your humanity on your way out.
Meanwhile, Olivia went to Fitchburg (is that even a real place?) to see a man about a magnet. There she met Carlos, who looked like he’d just walked out of a Kid Rock music video.
At this point Carlos ran off to get Simone and tell her that at long last the magnet lady had showed up to take that rusty old magnet off their hands. You know, no matter where you try to put it, there’s just no convenient place to store your giant electromagnet. Am I right?
Ha! Oh, Olivia… You’ve seen so many weird and unexplainable things that a woman with psychic abilities doesn’t even impress you. I can totally understand why Olivia went all Debbie Downer on Simone though. I mean, the woman has literally died trying to save the world, and now she’s lost everything in it that she loved most. So yeah, her faith is understandably shaken, stirred, and might as well have been spilled on Windmark’s shoes. But it looks like Simone has enough faith for the both of them.
Peter was learning the meaning of the expression, “reap what you sow.” Windmark had out-Observered him and led him to that spot where they faced off against each other in a battle of wits and fists! (Mostly fists…Observers aren’t too witty, in case you hadn’t noticed.)
Well done, Breaks-Windmark. Thanks for reminding Peter what it’s like to feel emotions. I’m not sure you really thought that one through. Sure, you threw him off his game, but you also made a crack for Olivia to pry open with her heartfelt speechifying later on. Who’s the idiot now, huh?
Olivia was still in the middle of her own crisis of faith in Fitchburg as she bid farewell to Simone and Carlos (who were top-notch as far as disposable supporting characters go) and drove off with her electromagnet.
Back at the lab, Walter and Astrid had made the unfortunate discovery that basically Peter’s brain was losing its ability to feel emotion (duh). As if on cue, Peter showed up to prove them right.
There appeared to be some people in need of assistance (or CPR) in the road, so naturally Olivia got out of the truck and went to their aid, only to find that, a) they weren’t real people, and b)…
And Simone wonders why Olivia has become so jaded. I mean, she tried to help a couple of unconscious dolls lying in the road, and this is the thanks she gets? I guess these guys don’t want the world to be saved. They called 1-800-OBSERVER and reported that they had captured Olivia Dunham. However, they failed to read the fine print in her fugitive file that says, “CAUTION: Suspect is a level 12 BAMF and should be considered highly dangerous.”
While Olivia was breaking out of whatever barn or warehouse those two guys were keeping her in, Peter was finally getting a chance to use his portable cordless drill from Black & Decker.
But Peter’s weird little handyman project was nothing compared to Olivia MacGyvering herself a makeshift gun and using the bullet from Etta’s necklace to take out one of her captors. (The one who looked like Michael Raymond James’ much less charming brother.)
HOLY SH*T YOU GUYS. Olivia just finagled a firearm out of random scraps, and then used the bullet that was IN HER BRAIN as a projectile in order to shoot her captor and escape. That is the definition of badass! Olivia pried the bullet out of the wood and stared at it in awe, and you could tell she was feeling Etta’s presence with her there…and her spirit was probably giving Olivia a high-five.
With her faith somewhat restored, Olivia knew what she had to do…make a collage about her feelings and give it to Peter. But first she had to find him, which turned out to be pretty easy. Between the rain and the balcony, this scene reminded me of the final scene in Beauty and the Beast (the classic Disney film, not the show on The CW. Has that been canceled yet, by the way?) when Beast’s curse is broken by Belle’s love, and he transforms back into a human being. Which is basically what happened between Olivia and Peter. Well played, Fringe writers!
And that’s when something beautiful happened…a Polivia/Etta montage!
OH MY GOD. DO YOU GUYS HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MUCH I LOVE MONTAGES??? They are pretty much my favorite thing ever after Nutella and that photo of Joseph Morgan with a cat. This was absolutely perfect. It reminded us (and Peter) of all the happy moments Peter and Olivia have had together, along with their brief time spent with Etta. It was enough to get Peter back in touch with his emotions, and he finally made the decision to de-Observer-fy himself. Not even the serious grossness of him pulling a piece of metal out of his neck could detract from the perfect beauty of this scene. But if you were wondering what could be more disgusting than watching Peter put that piece of tech into his head, the answer is watching him cut it out of himself.
Then Olivia carefully removed the tech from Peter’s hand and replaced it with Etta’s bullet, which had now saved the world, as well as Olivia’s life. I liked the morbid symmetry of Olivia taking the thing that was in Peter’s brain and instead giving him something that was in her brain. These crazy lovebirds and their intracranial gift exchanges… Then Olivia held Peter in her arms and whispered that she loved him, and the Fringe fandom collapsed in a fit of ugly crying
This episode was straight-up fabulous. And I’m not just saying that because I love a good montage. (But seriously, they’re the best. Everything should end with a montage. Did you know that the latest Twilight movie has two montages at the end? I mean, I’m not saying we should look to Twilight as an example of how to make great entertainment obviously, but in general, more montages = awesome. I’m just saying.) Aside from that, this was one of Olivia’s strongest episodes of the season. When she told Peter that emotion is strength, not weakness, I started tearing up (reserving the deluge of tears for the montage). I was reminded again of Harry Potter (pretty much anything reminds me of Harry Potter) and the way he found strength in his ability to love, using it against Voldemort, who pretty much only loved his pet snake. I’m secretly hoping that Video Walter has been leading them on a quest to find the Deathly Hallows, and when they find them they’ll use the Resurrection Stone to see Etta again in hologram ghost form. (Hopefully George Lucas won’t digitally add Hayden Christensen into the scene later on.)
What did you think of this episode? Was it one of your favorites of the season so far? How many times did you rewatch the last scene? Do you think we’ll see Simone again? Have your feelings recovered from this episode yet, or have they grown accustomed to the emotional whiplash that comes with loving Fringe? Which song is stuck in your head now: “Faith” by George Michael, or “You’ll Be in My Heart” by Phil Collins? Let’s discuss!
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