‘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


Posted on November 5, 2012, in Fringe Photo Recaps, Television and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. Lousie, It’s a miracle! Your “that’s what she said” screencap made me laugh! That’s saying quite a lot after my heart was yanked out and smashed into a million little pieces on Friday night. Thank you for lightening the mood.

  2. That was an excellent recap. I am looking forward to seeing 5×04 one as well. I completely understand why you struggled with this one. The whole episode is very angsty and overtly emotional… It’s difficult to represent such scenes humorously.
    Some of the best parts you did and that really made me laugh were:
    This is even harder to assemble than that desk I bought from Ikea! 🙂
    Hello Clarice.that was incredible reference right there
    Hot sauce delivery-ha, ha, along with jalapenas, just what every young growing Observer needs to get him through the day, very believable representation of what was in that big white cubes.
    Wingardium Leviosa 🙂 🙂
    Hello my precious-cool Lord of the Rings reference
    I hate everything 😦 Exactly matched my feelings about the episode…
    To answer your question about September… I am not certain about that theory… It’s true that Peter’s birthday is on 18th of September, but… I don’t like the idea of the show running in circles and I don’t like the time loops idea..
    Joshua Jackson just put a profile picture of Observer’s hat on his Twitter profile vancityjax… ???
    Some of my thoughts on Peter being the First Observer…
    1) Remember how Observers didn’t want Peter to exist after season 3, they wished to erase him (all except September)… Now if they don’t experience time like others, they must’ve known he is their creator… Why would they wish to erase their creator from existence?
    2) Also if he would be the First Observer, then how did he get the tech to put it in his neck? It all goes in circles like that.
    3) However “You don’t know what you don’t know” might mean: You don’t know you’re September…
    4) Wyman promised a satisfying love story for the fans… Which obviously can’t happen if Peter is September…
    I think they’re just teasing the fandom and making us think Peter is an Observer…
    This whole Peter story really reminds me of Neo and Matrix… Or, if you wish, it also reminds me of Anakin’s succumbing to the dark side and becoming a Sith… Apparently he is going to save the world destroying himself in the process. After seeing the promo for the next episode on You Tube, I was relieved that Peter hasn’t gone bald! 🙂 There is one scene in which he presses his forehead to Olivia’s so that must mean he still has some feelings… I hope vengeance won’t get the best of him… Maybe after they defeat the Observers he can remove that tech from his neck, who knows… I am still hoping for the happy end.
    Having said all this, I am very sad this is the last season of the show. It was great and I loved every moment of it. From 18th January… 😦 No more Fringe Fridays. I can’t believe the show is being canceled. I would like to see a movie or a detailed comic book about Fringe…

  3. “it would make sense if Peter went back in time as September and saved himself as a young boy from drowning in the lake” – No it wont, it’s a paradox!
    That’s why he can’t be September, I just hope the writers know what a paradox is and they wont make that mistake. Plus, September is the child from Inner Child

    • Yeah everyone seems to think he’s September but I think that would just be plain stupid, no offense. I think the writers want us to think Peter is the first Observer or whatever but in reality he isn’t.

  4. It was a really great recap and it did make me laugh even though my heart can barely feel anything, as it is broken into a million peaces… it would be a miracle if Joel could finally heal it, but miracles are usual in Fringe!
    I don’t think Peter is September. September is September and Peter is Peter. Two different characters. The little Observer from Inner child is yet another character. I know Fringe takes everything we think we know and twist it in unimaginable ways, but they are different characters. Connected yes, but different.
    Also, I don’t think Peter is an Observer. He just has that tech that kind of gives him some oh their abilities. What I can think about it that the tech was actually invented by Walter and William Bell… maybe initially so that they could create super humans, but everything went crazy and led up to people beating each other with their super powers, destroying the world and deciding to go back and take ours. Or something like this xD

  5. It takes a lot to make me squirm from watching something disgusting on tv. But Peter putting that tech into his head definitely did it. Partly also because I was yelling “NOOOOO!!!” at the same time. When my younger sister saw it (converted Fringie), she screamed–for the same reasons.

    Thanks for the laughs (again), Louise. You brighten these heartbreaking episodes.

  6. Actually – this one was very full of hilarity! Thanks as always!

  7. I loved this review! I will definitely check the next reviews and venture into previous ones if this one lacked hilarity i can only imagine the other reviews
    THANK YOU, and fringe is awesome

  8. Cortexiphan Girl

    “If my husband kills that observer & then shuts down emotionally,, it is all ur fault” + her face ahahahahahahahahaah. Boy, I love how you use Olivia’s caps too much!

  9. and for the love of God will someone un-amber the Hibachi grill so we can make some freaking salmon kabobs?! Love it! Love it!

    Ok here’s my theory. So my assumption was that this chip Peter put in his head would merely mean a strengthening in the resistance. A tool to beat the observers. But then you have the title “‘An Origin Story” then I think ‘crap’ maybe Peter is the origin of the observers. However my boyfriend pointed out. ‘An Origin Story’ might just point to the origin of a new wave of resistance fighters via stealing the chips from the observers. So the effects of the chip in Peter’s neck is no more than the effect the machine had on him in Reciprocity. That’s my optimistic theory and I’m sticking with it, dammit!!! I feel like I went in circles there but I feel loopy. Gonna go watch some season 1 & 2 eps to sooth my addled post-election brain.

    thanks for another great recap Louise! Take heart. I believe all will turn out well. Joel won’t let us down.

  10. “Tell me all the things!” Oh, I like that, it pretty much covers everything in my life… Anyway, I agree that Peter couldn’t be some pre-Observer of any kind. But considering the creepiness of the soundtrack as that thing squirmed under his flesh, I’m going to consider the possibility that there may be an undesirable side effect or two… Oh well. I remember that Perfection game! Wow!

    Loved this recap. Bravo.

  11. Thanks Louise for make us laugh even with these episodes full of sadness.

    In my theory, Peter isn’t September (what would be a paradox), but maybe he is September’s father. Like, Peter with that tech in his body + Olivia with a little bit of Cortexiphan in her body, some sex and BAAMM, Olivia is pregnant again, and the Inner Child born (and this is An Origin Story XD). Then the bad observers take the boy and lead him to the past (to the first season, hehe). This is what I think with what happened so far (:

  12. Am I the only one who thought the scene of Peter putting that tech in his brain stem was sexy as hell?! I mean, he is reflected shirtless in multiple mirrors 🙂

    While I understand your sorrow and frustration with Peter, Louise… I don’t think it would be realistic if he and Olivia just sat and talked and cried out their pain. At then end of the day, Fringe is about humanity, and it is very human to become encumbered with pain and to search for answers in ways you would never consider when not in pain. I really appreciated the seriousness with which Joel approached this episode. I know many of us can relate to soul crushing pain that turns us into a different version of ourselves. Thanks for the care taken here, Joel.

  13. Agree with Cori. On Peter’s rogue hotness and the fact that if Olivia and Peter hashed things out immediately, there would be no emotional payoff. I do feel a little like a soulless robot because my reaction to their pain wasn’t “Aw, I haz a sad.” It was more “ANGRY SUPERPETER! Bad. ass….Um, I mean, sorry, Liv.”

  14. A year later this still makes me laugh and also makes me extremely sad…*sigh* I miss Fringe

  15. “I’m not the one who wanted to make bratwurst on the hibachi grill”. LOL, like that would be an actual line from the show!

    Oh, it was. I see what you did there.

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