- Air Date: 11/2/2012
- Directed By: PJ Pesce
- Starring: Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble, Jasika Nicole, Lance Reddick, Blair Brown
- Guest Stars: Shaun Smyth,
Last week’s “The Bullet That Saved the World” started with so much hope, as the group reunited with Broyles (Lance Reddick), who has maintained an elite position in society despite doubling as resistance, but ended in tragedy, with Etta a casualty of war. Etta had survived twenty years as a part of the resistance, but lost her life only a few weeks after she found her parents. Really depressing stuff. FRINGE does a commendable job capturing the tremendous loss and sadness suffered by Olivia, Peter, Walter and Astrid. For once, Walter is the stabilizing force. He’s concerned for Peter and his adopted daughter Olivia, because the last time they lost Etta, they lost each other, almost irrevocably. Walter seeks to bridge the gap that’s already starting to form between them, as he finds a tape, this time one purely personal in nature, of Peter and Olivia celebrating Etta’s birthday.
Olivia and Peter can’t believe that they were brought back, and got to meet Etta, just to lose her. Olivia is shattered, unable to cope, while Peter aims for revenge on the Observers, seizing an opportunity presented to them with fierce vengeance in his heart. Etta can’t have died for nothing; she has to be the rallying cry of the Resistance and the reason they win. Fellow resistance mate Anil (Shaun Smyth) calls the team through Etta’s cellphone, the only way he knew he could contact them. They have captured an Observer! The Observers are hard at work on an air degradation system in New York, which they have completed in other cities across the globe, something that would cut life expectancy to 45. In this bleak dystopia, that seems generous even still. To build it, the Observers are sending technology from the future to the present through wormholes, and while Anil seeks to prevent one shipment, Peter has greater ambition: to destroy the shipping process, which would set the Observers back years. The only thing that feels off about this entire episode is the fact that Anil is listening and completely subservient to Peter and company to begin with. I know they are a part of the fabled FRINGE team, but they also haven’t been fighting for a couple decades and just lost Etta, the Resistance’s most important member.
Anil recovered a cube with futuristic origin and diabolical power that opens the portal to the future, and Peter sets to work on putting it together, despite Walter warning him that it could blow them all to kingdom come if clobbered together improperly. You know you’re a little off your rocker if it’s Walter telling you to chill with the experiments. Walter devises a plan to help Peter, while also trying to rein him in, as he also tries to convince Olivia to watch the tape and make an overture to Peter. But even if she does, is it already too late?
There’s no reining in Peter this episode, showing shades of his father in the face of a similar tragedy, as he interrogates the Observer, in another classic scene in this already brilliant season. This is some of the best acting I’ve ever seen Josh Jackson perform, and I worship the guy. Like last week, J.H. Wyman (the writer of the episode and series showrunner) promise us hope, and minutes later, dash it all. The ending is heartbreakingly brilliant, and puts the episode title in an entirely different light, one very ominous and freaky to ponder. If you’re not waching (or Observing?) this series, you’re letting the Observers win.