Fringe Review: The Beginning of The End

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I couldn't have laid bets on the meaning of "An Origin Story."

I still don't know for sure, but it can only be assumed that origin refers to the beginning of the Observers, as Peter went to great lengths to stop them and when he couldn't beat them, he decided to join them. Say what?

A Catastrophic Event

Who would have thought, two years ago, that I would have missed a case of the week episodes of Fringe? I wanted to know more about the mythology and lore and what made the worlds tick. I had no idea we were headed to 2036 and this incredibly dark place.

I now understand the purpose of "The Recordist." It was to show us that in spite of the horrors to be had in 2036, there were still people left to save, wonders to behold and reasons to fight. If we hadn't been shown the outer fringes of society still functioning without the daily influence of the Observers, I'd say just let them win.

When Olivia said she was afraid for Peter, he thought she meant his physical self. It was then that it became obvious he had lost sight of the big picture. Wonderful Walter, astute as always, understood exactly what Olivia was talking about and asked Olivia to face the pain of losing Etta head on with Peter by watching a birthday video of Etta he had hidden away in his desk. 

Walter understood first hand how devastating it was to lose a child, as he had done it more than once. Like Peter, in this world of Fringe we can always hope that Etta will be back, but in the meantime the grief experienced by Peter and Olivia is still all encompassing. Walter had kept a box of toys that he used to fondly remember Peter, and he offered to Olivia the birthday video. The little girl was the daughter she knew best, as they had only recently come to know their adult child before she was brutally taken away again.

It took a while for Olivia to warm up to the idea of watching the video and to recognize how close she might be to losing Peter. Was she too late?

Peter's anguish got the better of him as he attempted to read the Observer using his keen analytical skills through mental manipulation and pupil dilation. As soon as the Observer's eyes veered to the left, I knew he had won. Peter did not. His attempt to stop the shipping lane from the future was foiled.

Why did it never occur to me the Observers were more than genetically enhanced and an actual technological product? Were we aware of this? I had my dunce cap on because until Peter said it and the light bulb went off that the same tech could be in HIS head, I was oblivious.

One thing I don't believe is that it's as easy as carving the piece out and slicing into your own neck to pin it into your spinal cord to get the Observer effects. Fringe requires a lot of suspension of disbelief, but this was pushing me to the edge just a bit. Well, more than a bit. 

Whatever it did to him, it will apparently happen gradually, as his conversation with Olivia was about as normal as any other conversations they had recently. As Olivia struggled to hold onto her humanity, Peter seemed poised to throw his right out the door in his determination to give Etta credit in saving the world. He didn't even stop for one second to think about what he might become and how that goal might disappear due to his linear desire.

I really don't know what I expected from the final season of Fringe. This wasn't it. On January 18th, it will all come to a crescendo whether I like it or not, and I'm gritting my teeth in the hope that I do, because I really want to end out what has been one of my very favorite programs of the last 20 years with a favorable experience. 

An Origin Story Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (758 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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Fringe Season 5 Episode 5 Quotes

Our daughter dedicated her life to freeing us, and now we're going to dedicate ours to making sure that that means something.


Abner, why did you leave the propane tank there if the first place?