‘Fringe’ Review: “An Origin Story”
The battle against the Observers rages on, as ‘Fringe’ season 5 debuts its fifth episode of the final season, where the team struggles to cope with last week’s heartbreaking death, while Peter interrogates a captive Observer to assemble a deadly plan that would cripple their operation.
Last time’s ‘Fringe’ episode “The Bullet That Saved the World” saw the team utilizing past Fringe case artifacts to stage a daring heist from a train station, and re-uniting with an old friend for a mission that came with a heavy price, so how does “An Origin Story” keep the final season in motion? How will season 5 of ‘Fringe’ close out the epic saga?
Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Fringe’ season 5 episode 5, “An Origin Story!”
While Olivia sleeps, Peter looks through Etta’s bedroom, finding a hidden cache of weapons behind a poster. The commotion wakes Olivia, as the pair continue grieving the loss of their child. Elsewhere in Manhattan, mysterious sparks appear on a random street, as a number of Observers pull up and activate a cube device that opens a portal in the middle of the intersection, Three crates emerge from the vortex before it closes, as the Observers present note that their shipment is accurate.
Back at the apartment the team prepares to leave, Walter snagging a sample of Etta’s perfume to keep her memory, as Astrid calls to announce that getting the next tape will prove rather difficult. Afterward, Anille calls Olivia through Etta’s phone, and invites them to meet at the spot of the Observer’s shipment.
With the Observers gone, the Fringe team examines the remains of the street, brutally singed after the massive amount of energy the portal created. Anille informs the group that the Observers are close to completing their air degradation network, and provides a captive Observer’s recovered scheduling book that they hope to use to destroy the next shipment. Peter observes that the massive energy used in the portal could be used to strike back at the Observers by destroying the corridor, though the team seems taken aback by his new-found malevolence.
Back at the Harvard lab, Peter inspects the various components of the recovered cube device, with little success, while Astrid tries unsuccessfully to decode the Observer notebook. While trying to console a distraught Olivia, Astrid has an epiphany of how to decode their language, and hurries back to work. Meanwhile, Walter agrees to help Peter use the device as a weapon, explaining that if they use antimatter to close an open portal, it will bottleneck at its future origins, and form a black hole on the other side. Take that, baldies!
As Peter leaves to interrogate Anille’s captive Observer, Olivia questions his methods, to which he explains that he wants nothing more than for Etta’s death to have meaning. Back in New York, Peter inspects the captive Observer, learning a bit about their technology-infused physiology, before Anille wakes the man. Peter cautions the Observer that he’ll exploit whatever sense of fear he has in order to get information on activating the mysterious cube, though in return the overlord scoffs at his boldness.
Peter affixes a camera to the Observer’s eye, rationing that he can document the being’s involuntary pupil responses to systematically figure out the proper way to activate the device. The Observer again denounces Peter’s ideas as insignificant, whatever success he has. Elsewhere, Walter provides Olivia with a found tape of one of Etta’s birthdays, hoping she and Peter can watch it together to remember the love they had for one another and their daughter.
Following Astrid’s translation that the next Observer shipment would take place that afternoon, Peter continues assembling the device based on the Observer’s pupil reactions, and finally completes the sequence.
At the site of the Observers’ next shipment, Anille manages to activate the portal before the neighboring Observers can, alerting them that something is wrong. Peter readies to fire an anti-matter baton into the vortex, when an Observer suddenly appears behind him! He, Peter and Olivia wrestle for a bit before Olivia manages to shoot him, and Peter fires off the anti-matter. The plan seems successful, as the portal collapses, sucking back in the Observer shipments, but in the process of escaping the group notices that another portal has opened nearby with no interruption.
Over the phone, Walter struggles to understand why the plain failed, as Peter races back to the captive Observer looking for answers. After nearly being strangled, the being points out that Peter managed to assemble the device of his own ingenuity rather than the Observer’s eye-movements, which were in reality a response to a fly on the wall. The man points out that Peter’s human emotions filtered his actions, and that Etta’s death ultimately won’t matter, to which Peter points out that he’d be better than all of the Observers if he had their implanted technology. Hey, idea!
While Olivia watches Walter’s tape of Etta’s birthday and breaks down in tears, Peter soullessly cuts into the observer’s spinal column, taunting the being that it’s feeling what a father feels when he loses his child. Peter liberates a small device from the Observer’s neck, killing him. Peter painfully inserts the device into his own brain-stem, grimacing at its activation, as Olivia calls to re-affirm her love for Peter. Peter returns the sentiment and swears to return home soon, as the device continues burrowing into Peter’s body.
What fun! After last week’s depressing and tragic hour, ‘Fringe’ returns in fine form with an even mix of sci-fi intensity and heartfelt drama. ‘Fringe’s final season works much better when the team undertakes an active mission to advance their cause rather than assemble various macguffins that as Peter rightly points out, we have no idea the significance of. But between the moving interactions of Walter and Olivia, Peter and Olivia, and the promise to come from Peter’s use of the Observer implant, “An Origin Story” comes as the best episode of the season to date.
Did you get your fill of freaky ‘Fringe’ drama? What did you think about the season’s fifth effort? Do you still miss Etta? Join us next week for another all-new ‘Fringe’ episode recap of “Through the Looking Glass and What Walter Found There” on FOX!