Fringe: Five-Twenty-Ten

Glad to see the writers capitalizing on Peter’s recent insertion of Observer technology into his brain. He’s now starting to see things, like electromagnetic grids, that only Observers can see. That said; the latest episode of “Fringe” was another introspective story without a lot of action, meaningful or otherwise.

The episode begins with Peter getting a handle on his new “Observer” skills by trying them out on some real Observers. He can see far and wide into the near future, which gives in the ability to manipulate events to the Fringe Division’s advantage.

I like how the playing field is becoming more level; his would be a lousy storyline if the Observers always held the upper hand with no potential for the other side to gain any sort of advantage. It’s the kind of stuff through which science-fiction dreams are made: A small band of underdogs finding any kind of advantage and exploiting a superior enemy who can’t even conceive of being bested.

Meanwhile, Olivia is still quite reserved and somber over the death of Etta, the second time she’s lost her. As much as I’d like her to be fully back in the game, as it were, the story has unfolded as such that she’s been able to fully mourn her loss because Peter has remained focused on defeating the Observers. Props to the writers for paying attention to this small detail; it’s true to real life and frequently how couples and families make it through such devastating losses.

Olivia is, however, still quite perceptive and is becoming increasingly more agitated at Peter’s behavior—or at least her perception of it. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on you care to look at it, Peter lets her know he inserted the Observers’ technology into his brain and how it’s effecting him; some of which she’s observed, and you’ll observe when you watch the episode.

Anil (Shaun Smyth) makes an appearance in this episode. Personally, I don’t think he’s used enough in this world that includes Observers and a Resistance. After all, he’s the leader of the Resistance and whenever he’s appeared in an episode he’s played a pivotal role.

Anyway, Peter uses Anil to do some tracking and reporting on the movement of a few Observers, which ultimately winds up paying big dividends; in particular, a briefcase switcheroo. I love the intrigue, in almost any story, of like-briefcases being swapped without detection. It’s done very cleverly in this episode, and the results are big. The Fringe Division gets some observer technology and the observers get some devastation for which they were totally unprepared.

The latest in the Walter videotape storyline has the gang on their way to Kelvin Genetics, a lab Walter and William Bell created, to find a couple of beacons the Observers use to locate specific points along the timeline. This is also where we discover the meaning of the title of this episode, five-twenty-ten. Here’s a hint: left-right-left.

The team is able to get into the lab with the aid of an old friend, Nina Sharp (Blair Brown), the Chief Operating Officer of Massive Dynamics. She meets with Olivia, Astrid, and Walter has some condolences for Olivia. She was very fond of Etta and was quite shaken at the news of her death.

Nina offers the team some first-generation Observer technology that will aid them in getting inside the lab. The team finds the next piece of the destroy-the-Observers puzzle and hightail it out of the lab before the Observers show up.

In a great ending sequence, Walter is back at home base, taking inventory of all the puzzle-pieces they’ve acquired, while listening to David Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold the World.” At the same time Peter continues his flowcharts of Observer movements and timelines, explaining to Olivia that Captain Windmark is his next target.

Not a great episode but certainly far from terrible. As I mentioned above, it’s great to see Peter’s brain implant being used very effectively. The slow pace, for a couple of episodes now, is getting a little boring. After all, there are only six episodes left in the entire series.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Stephanie Caldwell writes for CableTV.com. If it weren’t for outside, she’d never go outside. Viva la television!

 


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