Fringe: An Origin Story

Posted by: Andrew Burns  //  November 3, 2012 @ 2:02pm

Filed under: TV Recaps/Reviews 

People say nothing is stronger than love, but revenge is a pretty damn close second. Olivia and Peter already had a mission to defeat the Observers and now after the death of their only daughter, Etta, and the hands of their enemy our heroes have more motive than ever.

After the last Fringe episode, where Etta is gunned down and left for dead long enough for Olivia and Peter to say their final goodbyes, I was wondering how the two parents would be able to carry on. Granted their circumstances are extreme but it would be reasonable for any parent to just shut down and question their purpose to carry on in life. A child or children for many parents becomes their sole reason for living once their offspring is born and losing them turns their lives upside down. This intro is going a little dark, so I'll skip over my rant on the series direction for the time being and go over this episode.

"An Origin Story" begins the morning after the loss of Etta. Olivia is barely hanging together, unable to do virtually anything while Peter turns to rage instead of grief. Hell bend on avenging his daughter's death Peter has an idea to hit the Observers where it hurts after they all get a call from the resistance. The resistance figures out that the Observers are essentially shipping machine tech from the future to the five major air processing areas around the planet. The one near them is set up inside the entire area of New York's Central Park (shown in the season premier) and if the air altering process in complete it will both be irreversible and will dramatically reduce a human's life expectancy to about 45 years. Learning of the shipments wasn't the only thing, the resistance also informs the Fringe team they acquired one of the devices to open the wormhole to the future, as well as an Observer captured and sedated.

The whole skipping over exactly how the resistance were able to capture and contain an Observer and his very important tech might have bothered me if it wasn't what happened next. Peter pretty much flicks a switch and becomes a soldier on a kamikaze mission and that Observer becomes his prisoner of war. A torturer with a death wish of his own is a scary mix and Peter goes to a place in himself not seen before on this show. I give a ton of credit to the actor who played the Observer in captivity because he made Peter's transition to a darker side that much more convincing. Even though Observers are practically emotionless, and near impossible to get a read on, watching his blank responses during the back and forth between Peter was chilling.

The concept behind the shipments from the future was pretty intriguing. Other than being in the future in this current season the series has never really touched on the more distance future where the Observers are thought to be from other than speak about it briefly. Even though the plan to turn their wormhole shipping tunnel into a black hole, which would limit anymore Observers from coming from the future, didn't pan out the idea is now on the table. That concept might very well be similar to Walter's still unknown device, making the most sense so far.

They didn't stop at the wormhole idea in this episode because there might be a huge shift about to happen in the show with Peter. Near the beginning of the episode the resistance member that took Peter to the Observer they had caught showed him a piece of tech embedded in the back of his neck. The guy mentioned their theory about how the Observers can do what they do is because of their tech. Not sure if it all comes from the piece in the back of their neck but after seeing the end of this episode it looks like we'll soon find out.

Since Peter still isn't thinking straight, and the rest of the gang aren't there to stop him, he pulls a Walter and self-experiments on himself by injecting the Observer tech into the back of his neck. Because this is the first real episode where the show ever mentions the Observers running on some kind of tech the possibilities for what is going to happen to Peter are unknown. It wouldn't be a stretch to see Peter have some kind of abilities at first but there are bound to be side-effects to make for some plot twists. If it is just the advanced tech that separates them from the rest of humans I can't ignore that all the Observers look relatively the same for a reason. Meaning there must be some kind of strict selection process when Observers are turned. Turned? That kind of makes them sound like vampires. If that's the case (not the vampire bit) Peter having the tech in him might affect him differently than the rest of the Observers. I am just speculating about will become of Peter but since the title of the episode is "An Origin Story" something is definitely going to happen.

The reason I preface this review with this dark line of thinking is because with Etta now gone there is no clear victory at the end of this battle. If the Fringe team is able to defeat the Observers it will only feel like half a win for them with her gone. Olivia has always been somewhat distant toward Peter ever since their reanimated reunion in this current future time period but after seeing her reaction to watching old home movies of her, Peter and Etta happy before the invasion I could see her character changing. Hearing a tearful Olivia begging Peter over the phone to just come home because she needs him sounds to me like she might be back to acting like last season's loving but strong Olivia character. But since this is TV and as much as we the audience wanted them to be fully back together I have a feeling this new Peter won't let that happen; at least for a little while.

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Tags: Fringe, Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble, Lance Reddick, Jasika Nicole, Blair Brown

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Andrew Burns loves film and comics, and can be found writing about when those worlds converge. You can follow him on Twitter at @myAndrewBurns.

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