Filed under: Recaps & Reviews
The second last Friday night of Fringe has past, bringing the sci-fi series closer to it's end. All the puzzle pieces appear to be in play and its just a matter of time before the final fringe event is solved. Before the last goodbyes begin a familiar face returns to the show.
This episode may be titled "The Boy Must Live", leading viewers to believe the focus is on Michael (the small Observer boy), however the reveal/return of the boy's father was the biggest highlight. When Michael touched Walter last episode audiences found out Donald and September were the same person, but in this episode we find out Michael gave Walter so much more than giving a name a face. I'll get back to that in a minute. Evidently the Fringe team finally tracks down September and he reveals what their plan was/is to them and how it involves Michael. With the exposition out of the way, the puzzle pieces all revealed, the team begins to execute the plan.
Ok so that was about as vague as a description as I could come up with without giving too much anyway.
For an episode with practically zero action sequences "The Boy Must Live" still stunned with a ton of stuff explained and verified; a lot in part from September himself. September with hair (or Donald as he was called all season) sits down with the Fringe team for a good chunk of the episode and drops bombshell after bombshell. For starters September explains that the Observers aren't aliens or creatures from some alternate universe but in fact a form of humans from the distant future. In the year 2157 scientists began experimenting on humans in hopes to unlock a higher intellectual form of people. These scientists started rewiring certain areas of the human brain that they deemed unnecessary or purposeless, like greed or jealousy, and reformatting them for higher cognitive thought. When that started to work those same scientists began rewiring and/or removing other things like love, compassion, and all other emotions that give human's their humanity until the thing that remained is what we call an Observer.
September's explanation fills in the majority of the gaps audiences at home have been wondering about and then the episode switches to Witmark for the rest of the unanswered questions. Witmark is still consumed by the fugitives (aka the Fringe team) and travels to a 2609 Manhattan to seek orders from his superior. Although Witmark's commanding officer in the future isn't anything special but another Observer, his trip in time uncovers the last of the lingering details about the bald invaders. In regards to who September actually is/was (time travel can be confusing) he was part of a 12 man/Observer science team sent back through time to record history. This explains his name and why there are more than 12 Observers; which we were lead to believe for the majority of the series. Next the origin of Michael and his connection to everything finally comes to light.
In the future the Observers had found a way to procreate without women, hence why there are no female Observers. With all newer Observers essentially created in a lab they have no parents, no family. Upon the creation of Michael, September used part of his DNA to create him, making him his father and also an anomaly because of the unforeseen outcome that had. Michael not only expresses all the same abilities the Observers do but he is also more intelligent, has additional abilities, and more importantly retains all the same human emotions that the Observers sacrificed to obtain their higher intelligence. The only reason Michael acts the way he does and doesn't come off as more human-like is because of his superhuman intelligence. With Michael being the perfect model for what the future of humanity could be, not the Observers, bringing him to the right moment in the future and showing those scientists in 2157 him as a template would stop the Observers as we know them from ever existing.
In a nut shell that is pretty much 'The Plan' Fringe has been hinting at this fifth and final season. Somehow bring Michael to the right moment in time and end the Observer invasion before there is one. The whole time travel business of if you change ___ then what happens to ___? Or will ___ still happen to ___ if ___ never did ___? You could pretty much go back to the beginning of this series and fill in the blanks with any character, event, or moment and make your head spin trying to think how a reset would affect the main three (Olivia, Peter, & Walter) if the plan is a success. The only way to find out what will happen and if viewers will have a headache figuring it all out is to tune in for the final 2 episodes this Friday.
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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.