Filed under: Recaps & Reviews
Only a few episodes remain and Fringe continues to ramp up the excitement leading up to their 100th and final episode. Like in most television series coming to their end there is a combination of emotions riding high and characters saying goodbye. I've already said too much with my poor excuse for a rhyme so spoilers below for those yet to have watched this episode.
Picking up right after last episode the team is still trying to any information out of Michael; the child Observer. Knowing Michael is an integral part of their plan the Fringe team seeks out Nina Sharp again in hopes she might have some form of technology that would allow them to communicate with them. From the moment Nina is contacted from Olivia, Windmark and his Observers start to track them and uncover Nina's "treason" for aiding the resistance.
This episode felt oddly short to me. There was plenty of different things going on from start to finish, but for some reason those 42 minutes seemed to fly by after watching it. Perhaps the show has altered its pacing in relation to the few episodes remaining, or it could be the exiting of a certain someone that just left me as a viewer wanting more. Just to get it out of the way I'll address the elephant in the episode (room), and again a warning for spoilers.
Another of Fringe's main and original cast members says good bye to the show and in this episode it is Blair Brown's Nina Sharp. Nina in this fifth and final season had been like Lance Reddick's Broyles, downgraded from the main cast roster to a reoccurring guest star role. Including this episode Brown only made it into 3 episodes this year and in the previous two she didn't have a lot to do. "Anomaly XB-6783746" however not only gives Brown something to do but also some great scenes for a proper and fitting send off.
Before her departure Nina supplies the team with some important tech from a secret Massive Dynamic lab but more importantly her death acts as a trigger to get Michael to open up, even if he doesn't say anything. Nina has small scenes within scenes where she has a private conversation with each of the main three characters. Normally this would be an obvious hint at her character's fate but the show actually does a great job in spacing those moments far enough apart that they are so subtle you don't notice them until after the fact. Once you Nina and the audience watching on at home know what's going to happen to Nina they pit her against Windmark for a great farewell.
The scene between Nina and Windmark plays good enough that you forget it's a TV show and you think you are watching a movie. Those moments between the two bring a couple firsts that Fringe hasn't really shown before. Firsts like an Observer getting angry and scared; all in the same scene no less. The one-on-one Windmark thinks he is walking into doesn't go as planned, not because he doesn't leave with Michael, but because Nina basically sh*t talks him in a way that actually affects him and then kills herself to have the last word. Well actually it was more like so she wasn't read and he found out where Michael was hiding, but going out on her own terms was a very satisfying thing to watch.
On a side note relating to Nina's exit there is one shot in particular that stood out that I want to comment on. After the main three characters race back to the secret lab they shortly find Nina, dead in her wheelchair. They use an in-and-out of focus shot on a pool of blood with Nina's glasses lying in them, where we first see Olivia's reaction to finding Nina's body in the reflection of the pool of blood. The shot is beautifully executed and it is only enhanced by Anna Torv's brilliant facial reaction. Most viewers might have missed the genius in that one shot but for me, a big fan of this show, it just reiterates another reason why this is one of the best shows on television.
I'd be remised if I didn't at least tough upon what happened with Michael and what big reveal he helped shed light on. The tech the Fringe team risked their lives to acquired ended up being practically pointless after Michael started to trust the team. At the end Michael gives Walter, what some might call, a mind-meld that by simply touching Walter's face with his hand he shows Walter images and memories of Donald that they were looking for. I can't remember if I called who Donald probably was in my past reviews but it was a welcome reveal to find out that Donald is in fact September, the only known friendly Observer and the one was has appeared since the "Pilot" episode. Even though we are only shown images with no dialogue of September, we get confirmation that Donald is in fact September and a tease of him with a full head of hair. This could be a disguise September has been donning since the invasion or September was actually Donald first and he later somehow became an Observer. Whatever the case may be there are only 2 more weeks / 3 episodes of Fringe left so at this point on I only predict answers and action to follow.
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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.