"An Origin Story"
Original Airdate: Friday November 2, 2012
I can honestly say that I did not expect what happened in this episode. I love that, when something happens that I didn't see coming. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
The episode opens with Peter looking at Etta's Fringe Division ID. Then he picks up a little book that also has the Fringe Division symbol on its pages. Etta's picture stares up at him and he runs his thumb across her cheek. Then he turns to where Olivia is sleeping on the bed and holds the picture up, doing what I can only assume is comparing the two. And from our perspective as the viewer the woman in the picture does look almost identical to the one on the bed. Peter places the book into a cardboard box beside him before picking up a hairbrush and passing his thumb across the bristles, just as he did with the picture of his daughter.
He slides open a drawer in the dresser in front of him, squatting down to give the empty space where it came from a closer inspection. One of the panels on the inside of the drawer sways outwards and has a small button in its corner. He presses it and there is a click. A painting on the wall beside him swings away slightly from the wall. He pulls it towards him to reveal a hidden cache of guns and C-4 explosives behind it. "That's my girl," he says with sadness in his voice.
He starts packing the weapons into a duffel bag (reminding me of that black bag he was carrying around in 'Reciprocity', but I guess that could be said for any black duffel bag) and Olivia awakens and sits up behind him. She says every time she wakes up she realizes that what she has been dreaming is not just a nightmare but reality. "Why would we get her back just to lose her again?" Peter doesn't have an answer for her in words so he offers her comfort by touch. He holds her as she rests her forehead on his chest and he kisses her on the top of the head.
I know the circumstances here are terrible, but it's nice to see them touching each other again. I hope that as tragic as Etta's death was that it serves to bring them together and not push them further apart.
In the bathroom, Olivia removes a framed photo of Etta and a brown-haired woman from a shelf. She puts it in a box. I don't know who the woman is.
In Manhattan, New York, the air starts to visibly crackle with blue streaks of energy. The people in the area decide to take cover because even the atmosphere feels off. Several Hummers roll up, with Loyalists and Observers disembarking. Two Loyalists carry a large re-enforced plastic box out into the middle of the street while an Observer makes notations in a journal. The crate is opened and the Observer removes a metal box which he places a few feet from the original container. Over the sound of the wind swirling around there are some beeps and hums heard coming from the device.
The Observer walks away and stands off to the side, joining another one that is waiting. A large black opening appears above the street in front of them. A few seconds pass and then three large white containers float out of it and slam down onto the street with a clang. The hole closes, leaving both sides of the street and the adjacent building scorched as black as it was. (A musical score that reminds me of 'The Imperial March' plays as the boxes come out.)
The original Observer walks over to the first white box and slices into it, creating a flap. (Is Darth Vader going to come out?) He folds it down so he can access what is inside. With a remote-looking device he scans a piece of equipment inside the box. "Integrity is stable. Prepare for transport," he tells Observer Number 2.
Astrid calls Peter for a video chat. She explains that there is an ambered propane tank and a gallon of Ethanol in close proximity where she needs to retrieve the next tape from and unless they want the whole lab plus Astrid to go 'Boom!' she's going to have to be really careful in the extraction process.
Walter takes the phone from Peter and says, "Abner, why did you leave the propane tank there in the first place?" Abner replies, "Someone wanted to cook Bratwurst." Walter then asks, "Well, why is the Ethanol there and not in the cupboard." The long-suffering (but surprisingly not schizophrenic yet, given all of Walter's names for her) Astrid informs him, "Someone wanted to use the Ethanol to clean the Hibachi before they cooked the Bratwurst." Anybody have any guesses on just who this someone was? Hmm?
I feel like this season Walter has been even more inventive with Astrid's names.
They hear a phone ringing somewhere near them so Walter disconnects with Astrid. Olivia finds Etta's phone in the box of things she had packed and answers it. It's Anil. He wants to meet with them.
Olivia, Peter and Walter meet with Anil on the street where the black hole had opened up. There are posters up on some of the buildings that say, "THE FUTURE IN ORDER" with a picture of an Observer. When Anil arrives he offers his condolences on the loss of Etta, saying "She was special. Not just to me, but to the movement. I hope someday you'll understand how much." Olivia acknowledges his words with a nod.
Walter gestures to the blackened pavement, wanting to know what it is. Anil explains they think that it is a shipping lane the Observers use to bring things through from the future to the now. "A wormhole," Walter says. Anil tells them that before the lane appeared there were reports of unusual static electricity in the air. The Observers are bringing through components to help complete the air-degradation system that is being built in Central Park. There were also reports of the same type of burn marks in Egypt and France as well. Egypt and France are also locations with air-degradation systems.
Anil says that once the machine is finished it will mean that the Observers will have completed their air-quality manipulation on all continents. Peter remarks that they know this means that everyone's life span will be cut down to 45 years because, "Etta told us." At the mention of her daughter's name Olivia looks down quickly.
Anil tells them that based on previous occurrences overseas several more shipments should follow the one that has already arrived. The Resistance would like to destroy the next load when it arrives. He produces a book with Observer language scrawled on it's pages, wanting to know if Olivia could read Observerese because he thinks it's a shipping log book. If so, that would help them figure out when the next shipment is coming so the Resistance can be ready. Olivia lets him know she'll pass the book along to Astrid.
When she questions Anil as to where the book came from Anil makes a phone call, telling the person who answers, "Okay, show them our visitor." The screen on the phone displays an Observer who is strapped to a gurney that can be rotated. Anil says that yesterday while the Observer was in this same area taking measurements he was captured. "Good work," Peter says. Anil tells them that they were unable to get any information from their prisoner.
Peter points to a square of white on the pavement. He says that "whatever happened, it started here. Something incredibly powerful was sitting here." Anil pipes up to let them know that when they picked up the Observer he had tech on him in the shape of a cube. Peter thinks this could be the key to open the door between now and the future. Peter wants to look at the one they have in hopes that it will help them make a larger impact on the Observers plans by decimating their entire shipping lane rather than just one shipment.
Anil, Olivia and Walter all seem to be in agreement that without having more information about the tech they should hold off before doing anything. To Peter, Walter says, "Anil is right. We don't know exactly what we're dealing with here." With finality Peter replies, "I've made up my mind." Walter leaves him be and decides he wants to take some carbon samples.
Peter is squatting, scanning the ground, taking readings when Anil comes up to him and says, "Before you go on a journey of revenge, dig two graves." I guess Anil decided not to sugar-coat it. Peter tells him, "I'm not worried about being destroyed. It's the Observers that should be worried." Peter says they need the cube. Anil makes a phone call to the guy who's babysitting the Observer and tells him to bring it.
In the lab Peter now has the cube with it's pieces disassembled. He is gingerly fitting different sections into the cube itself. He pushes two parts together on the table in front of him. As soon as they touch he jumps and pulls his hand away like it shocked or burned him. He uses his shirt sleeve as a buffer and pulls the part he just inserted in the cube back out.
Astrid and Olivia are sitting in front of a computer using a program trying to decipher the language in the Observer's book. Astrid glances over at Olivia to see her just staring off into space. When Olivia realizes that Astrid is looking at her she looks down. Astrid offers to work on cracking the code alone, telling Olivia, "It's understandable if you are overwhelmed. I mean, you're in shock." (I love Astrid, she's just great. She's the kind of person you would want to be friends with in real life.) Olivia declines, saying it's better if she concentrates on this.
Astrid figures out that they may be going about this the wrong way because the computer program she is running is looking for a one to one correlation in the Observer language, whereas it is a good possibility that an Observer symbol could have many different meanings, not just one letter. Since this opens up who-knows-how many what ifs Astrid says she needs more computing power. Olivia calls Anil.
Walter comes over to consult with Peter on what he's found out about the cube. Turns out it's not much. The only things Peter can really tell Walter is that it's made up of a strange alloy with no magnetic properties and that even without being on, it already has a large amount of energy coming off of it.
Walter has come up with a plan, (Albeit an extremely dangerous one - I mean, really, what Walter-plan isn’t? ), to annihilate the wormhole that the Observers are using. Using army men, a toy car, a sheet and marbles he demonstrates his idea. Basically, if they are able to collapse the wormhole on this end's side then when the shipment from the future comes through it wouldn't have anywhere to go, causing the hole itself to bog down, which in turn would create a vacuum effect, consuming the energy and matter around it by sucking it down. Peter double checks, "You want to turn the wormhole into a black hole." Walter confirms this and Peter says, "Excellent, Walter," as he pats him on the shoulder.
They are going to need an anti-matter device to throw into the open shipping corridor to blow it up. Luckily, they have some they took from Etta's apartment. Olivia raises the logical point that with Observers and armed Loyalists around they are not going to just be able to walk up and chuck it in like they would a penny in a wishing well. Walter says that by figuring out how to use the cube they will be able to be the ones to open the lane instead of the Observers. They just have to know when and where to be so the two time periods can connect. Hopefully they'll be able to figure that out with the shipping log.
They also still don't know how the cube works so Peter decides he's going to give talking to the Observer his version of the old college try since Anil was unsuccessful. Remember now, that Peter falsified his degree to M.I.T. so his version of so-called college try could have a very different definition than one may think. He confirms this by saying, "Anil has his way of doing things and I have mine." Olivia does not look very excited by this idea.
As Peter is packing up to leave Olivia tries to talk him out of going, but without really saying that. She mentions they will have time to devise something else and that Walter has his plan. Peter is determined to make the most of the opportunity they have at the moment. Peter says if they accomplish this they will have a real victory because so far, what they have is "pieces we don't know how to put together, a scroll with physics we can't decipher, a thought unifier that doesn't work and a box of rocks from a mine. That's what our daughter died for so far."
Olivia agrees that she does want some kind of actual win against the Observers. She's still hesitant though, and finally admits that she's worried about Peter and afraid. Peter assures her, "Nothing's gonna happen to me. I can do this. We can do this. Our daughter dedicated her life to freeing us and now we're gonna dedicate ours to making sure that that means something. When we win, when we beat them, I want everyone to know that Etta is responsible for the world being saved." Olivia says, "I want that too." Peter affirms, "Then we have to do this. And we can, Olivia. Together." By the time he finishes speaking he is cupping her face in his hands. Walter was just around the corner and has heard most of this conversation between Peter and Olivia.
This part brought back many reminders of previous times in the show where they had to work together, which in a way is always the case, but the times in particular I'm thinking of are: 6B (That's mostly because of Olivia saying, “I want that too” reminded me of the Mrs. Merchant conversation and "I want what you want."), when they had to work together before Peter got in the machine, and Season 4's finale when they were jumping onto the boat. I hope them being back on the same page, even in small ways like agreeing on things like this will help to heal the rift between them.
Peter removes the grate from the wall and gets ready to leave saying, "Wish me luck," to Olivia. She just smiles weakly.
Peter and Anil arrive at the hide-out where the Observer is being held. He's hooked up to an I.V. that Anil explains contains chemicals that are like natural anti-freeze which keeps the Observers from phasing to another location. Anil tells Peter that the Observers seemingly super-human abilities are actually being aided by tech. Anil shines an ultra-violet light over a spot on the back of the Observers neck and a dot gleams where the tech is located. Peter touches the spot and says, "Well, hello there."
Anil adjusts the concoction that is being given to the Observer so he will come to. To help him wake up just a little more, Anil gives him a smack across the face. Anil introduces Peter as, "his friend." Adding "he's meaner than I am, so I guess you know where that leaves you."
Anil leaves and Peter removes the cube from it's case. He tells the Observer, "You recognize this, right? You're gonna help me put it together." Peter says in order to find out more about the device he needs to know how to turn it on. The Observer remains steadfast, remarking that so far he hasn't given any information to his captors. He reads Peter, saying, "You believe you are more capable of success where others have failed." The Observer continues to read Peter and at first I thought he was probably getting dark, torturous thoughts from Peter's brain, but maybe it could also be the plan, because Peter tells him it doesn't matter what he finds out, since he won't be leaving there alive. Peter says "Whatever the closest thing it is to fear that you can feel, I know that you're feeling it right now. You're not the only one with the skill for reading people." In classic Observer double-speak the Observer answers, "You don't even know what you don't know." After all that I don't think I even know what I know, let alone what I don't. There was a lot of I know you know that I know that you know going on there.
During the set of commercials that run during this break there is a commercial with an Observer who tells us, "Your loyalty is not expected, it is required. Report any occurrences of technology infiltration to Reward Wire immediately." While a website flashes on the bottom www.rewardwire.org. I'll leave it up to you if you want to go check out what it is. For a half second during the commercial "Keep Watching Fringe" flashes across the screen, like a subliminal message.
When the show comes back Peter has a small camera focused on the Observers right eye. The camera is feeding video to a screen Peter has sitting on a table with the cube and its parts around it. Peter wants to know what is the right order to put the cube together to make it activate an electric current.
Peter sits at the table with one piece of the tech in each hand, he holds them up but the Observer doesn't say anything. Peter fits them into the top of the cube. The Observer says, "You are pleased with yourself." Peter replies, "I'm feeling optimistic, if that's what you mean." Peter fits another piece in and electricity crackles as it slides home. As Peter continues to plug components into the cube the Observer starts talking, comparing humans to ants that the Observers don't care about. They don't care whether or why the humans want to kill one another, it is all insignificant to the Observers. He says just like ants humans are oblivious to their limitations. He finishes with, "You think the black over your head is dark skies, when it is really our shoe."
Peter quips, "You talk a good game, but the truth is, you're worried." He fits a sphere-shaped piece into a spot and the device lights up and starts to hum.
At the lab Olivia has Etta's necklace out and is running it through her fingers. Walter comes in with a video tape in his hand. Olivia, thinking it is the one from the amber, is surprised how quickly they were able to recover it. Walter lets her know it's actually something he found in his office, it's a recording of one of Etta's birthdays. Walter thinks that it's important for Olivia and Peter to watch the tape. Olivia looks perturbed and puts some distance between her and Walter, and leans on the table. She says, "Walter, I am holding on by a thread. You do understand that?"
Walter confesses that he heard the conversation between her and Peter before Peter left. Walter says he knows that even though yes, Olivia is afraid for Peter's well-being, it runs deeper than that. Walter thinks they should watch this to see a time when they were happy and affectionate with each other to make them realize that it's still there, they just have to hold on to it. Then he says, "You must face this pain together. The pain is her legacy to you both. It's proof that she was here. And I have experience with this - this sort of pain, and you can't escape it by building walls around your heart or by breaking the universe, or by vengeance. You lost each other once, but you have another chance." Even after Walter's plea Olivia tells him she can't watch it.
I thought this was a very moving scene between Olivia and Walter because I've been thinking that Walter knows what they are going through since he lost Peter (both of them actually).
Astrid comes in and by seeing the seriousness hanging off Walter and Olivia she knows something's up. She apologizes and Olivia tells her it's alright. Good tidings Astrid brings because her and Anil have cracked the Observer code. The book they have is indeed a shipping manifest and according to it the next one is due to arrive that very afternoon.
Olivia and Astrid leave the immediate area and Walter gently places the tape on the table top.
Back to Peter and the Observer -- Peter has another piece in his hand that if it goes in wrong will cause them to go 'Ka-Blooey'. The Observer says he really doesn't care what happens, if he dies - so be it. Peter explains that since his origins are human there is a part of him that will want to stay alive. Even if the Observer doesn't consciously care his body itself will give Peter the clues he needs to put the part in correctly. Peter carefully watches his eye as he starts to fit the object in one way. He reveals that with good news someone's pupil will dilate, for bad it will contract. He positions the piece one way and the Observer's pupil gets smaller. Peter turns it a quarter turn and this time the Observer's pupil expands slightly. That being the confirmation Peter was looking for, he slides the piece in.
His phone rings. It's Olivia calling to tell him that a new shipment is coming in around a half hour and wants to know if he'll be good-to-go. As she talks Peter readies another piece and lowers it into the cube. The Observer's pupil widens minutely. Olivia is still waiting on an answer from him and he turns a dial on the top of the machine. A light blinks green, green, green, red (The pattern!!!) and Peter tells Olivia, "I'm on my way."
The scene changes to a shot of a street. Blue electricity crackles in the air. Anil jogs out with the case and opens it up. On the other side of the road two Observers also bring out a case. Peter watches from a window as Anil activates the device. Peter cocks a large gun and Olivia tosses him an anti-matter bomb. (Shouldn't they be a little more careful with those things?) The Observers get ready to insert the activation piece into their cube. Before they do that there are some flashes of light and energy begins to gather. They realize something weird is going on. Peter has his gun at the ready, waiting for the portal to open.
In the building that Peter and Olivia are in Peter turns to look over his shoulder to find an Observer has phased in behind him. He turns towards him and the Observer lands a kick to his midsection that sends him flying across the room. Olivia brings her gun up but before she can do anything the Observer is there and hits her across the face. The Observer continues to beat the shit out of Peter, foiling every attempt Peter makes to fight back. Outside, the portal has opened and the large white containers are starting to float out.
Peter's flat on his back and the Observer walks over. He stands by his head and raises his black-shoe clad foot until the shadow of it falls over Peter's face. (Callback to the ant comparison the other Observer was talking about.)
There is a click and the Observer turns to find Olivia leveling her gun at him. "Yeah, it is that type of gun," Olivia says to his unspoken question and fires. The Observer tries to catch the bullet but it slips through his fingers and embeds itself in his chest.
He goes down and Peter gets up. He grabs his gun and launches the anti-matter canister into the open portal. Wind begins to rush around and the boxes that had migrated out of the portal now start to go back in. A car, a bicycle and lots of trash also go in. The portal closes The Observers just look on as they usually do, but the Loyalists look a bit scared.
Olivia and Peter meet Anil back at the van and they speed off. They are all happy until Anil looks in the mirror and his face falls. They stop the van and get out. At the end of the alleyway they are in they can see that another wormhole has opened and the white containers are being fed out of them again. Olivia says, "I mean, we destroyed it. We created a black hole. How could they recover so quickly?" Peter just looks unhappy.
The gang calls Walter who doesn't understand why it didn't work. As he and Olivia talk, Peter turns and walks determinedly off. Olivia calls after him wanting to know where he is going. "To get answers," he replies. Olivia gets off the phone with Walter and follows him. She calls out for him and looks around but she doesn't see him. As she turns her gaze falls upon a poster on the side of a building. It's a huge poster of Etta with the word 'Resist' written vertically down the side. As she glances down the alley she sees duplicates of the poster every few feet, effectively plastering Etta all down the alleyway.
Peter goes to the warehouse where the Observer is being held. As he walks past the guy watching the Observer he says, "You can leave, I'll take it from here." He rips some plastic sheeting down from where it is hanging from the ceiling and stalks toward the Observer. He puts it over the Observer's head and starts suffocating him. (Ugh. I hate these kinds of death scenes.) The camera pans in a circle around Peter while he chokes the Observer. Right when the Observer can't hold on any longer Peter rips the plastic away from his face.
"Why didn't it work?" He practically growls. Man, does he look pissed. To sum up what the Observer tells him: The dilated pupil response that Peter based his final decision on was not because the Observer was subconsciously agreeing that it was the correct fit. It was because the Observer saw a fly across the room. When his brain took note of it there was a small irregularity in his heartbeat. That caused the flow of oxygen to his brain to be ever so slightly altered which affected his ocular motor nerve. That is what caused his pupil to dilate. He declares, "That's what you picked up on. My observation of a fly."
He goes on to say that because humans are driven by their emotions they often see what they want to see. He claims Peter was able to put together the device because of his skill, he only used his readings of the Observer to bolster his confidence about doing it correctly.
Then the Observer peeks into Peter's brain to see that he blames them for Etta's death. He basically tells Peter that Etta's death didn't matter, which of course throws Peter into more of a rage than he already was. He pistol whips the Observer, opening up a gash on his cheek. Now read this next part carefully. Peter says, "You are nothing but tech. I would be ten times what you are if I had that tech in my head." Peter stares down the Observer who is doing a head tilt at him. Peter pummels the Observer again and the screen goes black.
Okay, are you thinking what I'm thinking? He's not really going to do that is he? Well, read on friends.
The next scene shows Olivia lying down staring off. She looks over and sees the video. She sits up and slowly walks over, taking it out of it's cover. She pops it in the VCR.
The scene changes again to show black boots walking across the floor. We are back with Peter and the Observer. Peter is picking through a tray of medical tools. He selects a scalpel and small forceps. The Observer is now upside down, still strapped to his gurney. Peter holds the instruments in his line of sight and says, "You're wrong about emotions not being real. My feelings for her are very real."
He moves around beside the Observer. Leaning over him, he uses the scalpel to make an incision in the back of his neck. The Observer starts to shake and grunt. "Can you feel that?" Peter asks, his voice deadly calm. "The pain of a piece of you being torn out? That's the pain a father feels when he loses a child." (He was a little less calm on that last sentence.) The Observer stops shuddering and sags forward against his restraints. Blood trickles down his collar. Behind him Peter is holding an approximately three inch metal rod that has what looks like a tiny antenna attached to it between his forceps.
Olivia is now seated in front of the television watching the video. Peter, Olivia and Etta are happily celebrating her birthday, giggling and talking about cake. Etta tells Peter at one point to "Kiss Mommy." Peter obliges, asking her "Good, Your Highness?" Olivia reaches out and caresses the screen and tears roll down her face.
Now we are back with the Observer and Peter. The Observer is still dead, still upside down and is accumulating a puddle of blood beneath him on the floor. There's is sad, verging on eerie music playing during this scene. Bloody footprints lead away from the Observer.
We find Peter standing shirtless in front of a mirror with a scalpel in his hand and poised at the back of his neck. He takes a deep breath and makes the incision. He puts down the scalpel and picks up the tech he removed from the Observer. He is shaking and grunting from the pain, but he takes another deep breath and steadies himself. He brings the tech around to the point on his neck where he cut himself. When he gets close it jumps out of his hand and ironically enough appears to enter his body right above the point where he cut his opening. That kinda sucks. He could've saved himself from self-operation.
Now he's shaking, grunting and holding his head. I'm afraid he's either going to have an aneurysm or turn into a werewolf. Then his phone rings, he digs it out of his pocket and actually manages to sound halfway normal when he answers. Because it is an important conversation here it is:
Olivia: Peter. [crying] Peter, I want you to come home. I don't wanna lose you.
Peter: It's okay, Olivia.
Olivia: Etta would want us to be together, you know? She would want us to survive this. I just -- I love you.
Peter: I love you too.
The pain comes on again and he lowers the phone. The entire time he's been staring himself down in mirror but he seems to take it to a whole new level here, reminding me of 'Reciprocity' at the end when he was doing the same thing. Which is fitting seeing as how he went all DarkPeter in this episode.
That’s it folks. We gotta wait til next week for more.
The Peter/Olivia conversation written out does nothing for it. Do yourself a favor, watch it. Wow. So emotional..
So here's my random stuff.
I had a brief moment during this episode of "What if people from the Other Side came over to help defeat the Observers?" I know that's (probably) not going to happen. I wonder what's going on Over There. Did the same thing happen? They were already pretty bad off before but they were supposed to be getting a little better.
Where is September? Did he die? Will we find out? And along those lines, how about Nina?
When Walter told Olivia, "I see what you see," was he referring to Peter going all BAMF (more than usual)? I just remembered that this Walter was not the same one who witnessed Peter slicing into the Shapeshifter in season 3.
Was the captured Observer just telling Peter that story behind his pupil response so Peter wouldn't know the truth? I actually lean towards no on that one.
At first I was of the opinion that Peter killing the Observer was more brutal than when he killed the Shapeshifter in 'Reciprocity' but now that I've sat here and thought about it for a bit I don't think that anymore. They both were brutal in their own ways. Peter got a pass on the Shapeshifter killing to me because the Shifter was threatening him. This time, well, hold on I'm changing my mind again. This time, I understand why he did it, but on some levels it's harder to rectify morally because the Observer wasn't attacking him at the moment and he was strapped down.
Did Peter stop to consider that putting that tech in his head might just make him drop fucking dead right on the spot?
If Olivia had called ten minutes earlier would Peter not be part Observer now? I am so glad that they have now at least said they loved each other, to each other. But what's coming next? Is Peter going to go all heartless Observer and not be emotional? Is he going to tell Olivia and the rest of the gang?
So many questions. What did you think? What was your favorite part or least favorite part? If you think you have answers to any of my random questions, let me know!
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Thanks for reading.
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