“Fringe:” The Boy Must Live

Well, the pace has quickened as the series heads into the homestretch of its final season. Just three episodes to go and it’s promising to be gangbusters!

Remember the deprivation tank from season one? It’s back! Walter has chosen this method to get into the mind of Michael, the child Observer. I love the deprivation tank. It’s so scary, and lonely, and claustrophobic for viewers. It really sets the tone for the mind-meld being attempted, and it was a great way to start the latest episode, “The Boy Must Live.”

While in the tank, Walter has visions of skyscrapers. Upon closer examination, he’s got a view of Manhattan’s east side and specifically the Empire State Building. Astrid, who’s smarter than I’ll ever be, has determined the angle of the view is from beneath the Williamsburg Bridge in Brooklyn. That’s where Donald/September (Michael Cerveris) lives, if, of course, he’s still alive. Wanna bet whether he is or isn’t?

Windmark, at roughly the same time, hears the name “September” from Nina’s mouth and then heads to Manhattan in the year 2609 through the Observer time-grid transport mechanism. More on this later: It’s important.

Walter and Peter make the trip to Manhattan, and it’s clear to more than Peter that Walter has a spring in his step. He’s also got a glow about him and nearly and ear-to-ear grin. The two have a really great father-son moment when Peter asks him what’s up.

Like so many important things that happen to us in life, Walter couldn’t really explain the change that’s come over him. When Michael touched him it was more than just a string of old pictures and visions from the past. It also included memories of things Walter had never experienced, which to me is not only fairly cool, but kind of scary, too. Is what we know real or made up; if they’re made up, even some of them, who planted them there?

We discover Captain Windmark has gone to the future to meet with an Observer referred to as the Commander (James Kidnie). Windmark explains to the Commander that Anomaly XB-6783746 (Michael) is alive, but more importantly has been meant to be kept alive by someone, but doesn’t yet know why. I really like that they know he’s important but don’t know why. It puts them at a complete disadvantage to the Fringe Division, even though they’re not quite sure of his importance either!

In what I consider one of the most important scenes (developments, really) of the series, happened when Walter pointed out a building and a window to Olivia, Peter, and Michael and told them that’s the window he was looking out in his vision. That was where September lived.

Make that lives. In a very important scene, September opens his apartment door and discovers Walter standing there. He’s absolutely shocked to see him, and tells him he thought he’d never see him again. Then he spots Michael and the scene became possibly the most important moment in the show’s history.

Some genuine moments followed as the gang spoke with September about all the events that transpired while they were sealed in amber for 21 years. He unfolded a great story about how the Observers tapped into the emotion center that allows humans to become jealous, and pretty much weeded it—and virtually all other emotions—out of the species for the purpose of increasing human intelligence. Then the bombshell was dropped and the Fringe world was ripped open: September is Michael’s father.

In what could be the only possibility for Michael, it is explained that he’s smarter than any other Observer, and he has emotions. He stands alone, proof positive that Observers don’t have to sacrifice emotions for intelligence. In what is most likely foreshadowing for the final showdown between the Observers and the Fringe Division, it is disclosed that if they can insert Michael into the timeline at just the right time, the Observers will cease to exist when they realize they can have it all.

From my perspective it was hard to not make a “Christ” comparison; Michael as mankind’s savior. The glory of God is intelligence. All these things came to mind, and I doubt I was the only viewer drawing these comparisons.

Windmark and his goons are no fools, and arrive at September’s apartment just minutes after they’d left. There’s a small scene in which some jazz music is playing in September’s apartment. I totally love that it’s snappy sounds have drawn in Windmark, but also causes one of his lackeys to start tapping his toe to the beat. There’s something about the humanity of it that left me feeling good about mankind.

Walter shares a bit of his own bombshell with September when he divulges to him that Michael showed him that in order for the plan to eradicate Observers from the world to work, he’ll have to sacrifice himself. September confirms this is true, and Walter, I suppose like the rest of us, became introspective and admitted the notion scared him.

In a shocking development in the final scene, Michael essentially surrenders himself to Captain Windmark and I just wanted to scream, “NOOOOOOO!”

With just one two-hour episode left in the series, I’d call this a transitional episode even though some significant events happened. The real showdown comes next week. Stay tuned!

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Stephanie Caldwell is a writer for CableTV.com.