Fringe Review: The Second Cut Is The Deepest

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"The Human Kind" brought back my Fringe. I know everyone else has been satisfied with the story of Peter going Observer and Olivia being a bit sidelined, but I wasn't. Despite what many want to think, it wasn't because I didn't want Peter to have a great story, or that I wanted single focus on Olivia. In this last season of Fringe, after four years of fighting to be together, I wanted my heroes to be just that - together. Tonight I got my wish, and great acting on the parts of both leads. 

Olivia On the Hunt

The whole 'watch the video tape for clues' thing is getting kind of old. It was cute when first proposed, in a Myst sort of way, but it's dragged on too long. The best part of the tapes so far played out this week, through the personal story of Simone and her mother, holding the magnet at Walter's request for decades. As some sort of an oracle, not only was she waiting her entire life for someone to come for the magnet that would be used to save the world from the invaders, as she called them, but she could see things about Olivia, as well.

After hearing of Simone's story, and believing her, it was a terrible turn to find that Olivia had become so faithless, because I know she felt similarly about Simone, and in her own time would never have guessed a simple glass of water offered would be laced with sedatives. In the next scene, Windmark was telling Peter his emotions make him weak. That turnaround was very important. Emotions are what make humans strong, and that will be the key to the Observers annihilation.

If Etta hadn't deeply loved her parents, they might have died with her. It was emotion that gave her the strength to let go of her life in an attempt to take Windmark with her. Because when we love, we'll lose ourselves trying to save the ones we care about more than ourselves.

I've wondered before if Walter might be able to upload a virus to the Observers to bring them down, a la "Independence Day," and now I think the best virus would be one to inject into them so much empathy, passion and rage that they would go mad with the feel of it all. That would be a fitting end to the Observers. To die utterly inundated with what they never understood.

I was a little bit confused about Olivia's capture and escape. Wasn't the bullet Etta wore around her neck one of the bullets that killed Olivia in one of the previous universes? I've never fully understood (please don't yell at me, but also feel free to give the scoop in the comments) whether it was the bullet we saw in Peter's imagined future, when Olivia was gunned down in Central Park, or if it was the one that Walter shot her with on the ship when William Bell escaped. Either way, wasn't it already fired?

Here comes a surprise, I don't know much about weapons, other than I'd use one if I had to. If the bullet was used, would it have been able to shoot Olivia's captor? If not, then Olivia was spot on when she was telling Peter that Etta saved her life. It was a very MacGyver escape maneuver, and it felt good to see Olivia get her stones back, even if it was 'only' to rescue her husband, the man she loves most in the world. 

I had written the paragraph above about emotion before Olivia had her chat with Peter about it, as it was quite obvious where it was heading. Whether or not it would work remained to be seen. The catalyst was Windmark's error - showing Peter Etta's last memory before she died. Peter was doing a crack up job of forgetting about being a human until Windmark played for him like a movie what was going through Etta's mind before she died. 

When Olivia really drove home the points about Etta being with them, living through them and inside them, and then saying I love you, it was enough to bring Peter's memories of their lives together rushing back. Yes, I said lives. Because they have had more than one life together, making their love story all the more remarkable. 

When we first saw the gizmo Peter had installed in his neck from Anil early in the episode, I had no idea how large it was. It sure seemed like it was a lot easier to pop something like that out of a neck than it would have been to try to curve it, bend it around and jam it in the right place to get it situated properly in the first place. Kudos to Peter for accomplishing that when he did, without using two mirrors. 

The highest accolades to Peter for listening to Olivia, not shutting down his visions of the past and removing the Observer tech. He didn't even ask for help! The fight is far from over, but now our team is back as a fully functional unit again. They can support one another intellectually and emotionally.

Don't forget to read the Fringe quotes section to relive some of the finer points of the episode, and share your thoughts in the comments. This was the Fringe I had been awaiting all season. Now I want the team to kick some Observer ass and save the world! You?


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (407 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


I'll miss the series but not the last season.
Last season sucks..


Olivia finally getting some writing and scenes for herself, not as support for Etta or Peter , was the best thing of this episode, long overdue, and a lousy excuse of Wyman that Olivia needed to self-actualize, the only marine and FBI trained person of the team, who was Over There and fought for herself as a child. Loved the Olivia and Simone scenes, but hoped that it would give more to Olivia.
Amazing acting of Anna Torv throughout, she really makes you feel Olivia, including the fight scenes. But what a horrible writing she gets, so 4 episodes in a row the same I need you, do not want to lose you, i love you to Peter who belittles her and lies to her, and did so in S3 and S4.
All the writing goes to Peter and Walter, always has, but this season is worse, Olivia the woman behind the men. Could we please have an pro-active storyline for Olivia herself, her own importance, that is gone since midseason 3.


Peter/Olivia scenes were great but otherwise it's just another waste of an episode.


★★★★☆TV The fight scene was awesome directing/editing. So great job Dennis Smith. The blue screen was a bit much on my eyes, but it worked. Jill Scott as Simone was great casting . Man I actually love this whole season. ✌


I'm sorry to see Peter's story ending so abruptly. It's the only thing that has kept me engaged this season. Walter's tapes just don't do it for me. Oh well!


Segun is right about the bullet and the weapon she made. I wonderhow far Peter's brain had changed and how much it is permanent so that now he is actually soe form of evolution that is what the observers were trying to do in the first place (okay and suddenly I am concerned between Olivia and Peter their second child is actually September). I liked the oracle and I liked how we could see whole other parts of the conversations with Olivia that she did not say (like I thought she would even say when watching olivia leave I know you will save us). I was worried about Olivia until the last scene it was like yes she was dealing with her grief in a healthy manner but it was like no one paid attention to the rest of her mental health and outlook.


There's still something of the old Walter there, and still some humor. Walter: Esther, we need a real brain.
Astrid (a little anxiously): Whose did you have in mind?


I wish I could get into this final season, I just can't, this timeline/story line just doesn't interest me. I find myself always wondering what is going on in the other universe.


I too, miss the original format. I liked seasons 2-3, because it was a mix of extended storyline and case of the week. What's changed also this season, besides the tone, is the characters. With Walter not crazy anymore, we don't get the funny comments like we used to. Also, I miss Broyles and Lee and Nina and Olivia and Peter are different too. Too much has changed. But fortunately tonight we got the emotions, hopefully it will end on a positive note. Zee Chen, I hope you're right, it would be nice to see them end on a different, happy time line, hopefully with Ettta alive. Losing her twice has taken its toll on Peter and Olivia.


I really love this show, but tonight I realized how much I miss the old premise they launched it with. A group of people finding "fringe" weird things and dealing with that, and then it became a time and multiple worlds thing and now this final season is so depressing. No humor at all here. That exciting snappy pace is not there. I also realize now each season was almost like a book in a set, like the Narnia chronicles. I am a faithful fan, but for the first time I am getting why this show has only 1.4 viewers. I hope some good stuff happens in the next 5 episodes. I am hoping they defeat the Obsevers and we somehow find them back in a different timeline with all the old gang and Etta. I know that is kinda a "happy ending" wish. But this season is starting to be too dreary for me.
I am a little bummed out.

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Fringe Season 5 Episode 8 Quotes

Olivia: Expecting me?
Simone: I've been waiting many years for someone to come for that magnet. Come, I'll show you.

Peter: Trust me when I tell you, I am in complete control.
Walter: I don't believe you are in control. Son, you promised me. You said you would be there for me, do you remember, to keep me from slipping? I need you. I'm begging you. Please come back in and let me run some tests.