Episode 5: An Origin Story
Episode 6: Through the Looking Glass and What Walter Found There
By: Carlos Uribe
Fringe is a show about a small team of people who are trying to save our world from the Observers.
An Origin Story:
An Origin Story deals with the immediate fall-out from Etta's death. The characters have had time to begin to process this information and to begin the steps of grieving. The first step for Olivia is denial and for Peter it's anger. It's these initial reactions to grief that drive the rest of the episode which in turn will lead to the rest of the season. There is no tape this week. Actually that's a lie. There is a tape but it's one of Etta's birthday. It has nothing to do with the quest but as a way for Walter to try and get Olivia and Peter to confront their loss so that they can begin to move on. The episode has to have a mission because it can't just be an episode where Peter and Olivia cry over their daughter. The emotional impact of the episode is only heightened by the weekly mission. The rebellion brings up to our heroes that the Observers are shipping some important materials for their enviromentally-destrucrtive machines. These materials will allow them to finisht he machines and ensure that the lifetime of humans are cut in half. The rebellion hopes to disrupt one of these shippings to be a general nuisance. Peter wants revenge for Etta's death so he comes up with a more devious idea. They're going to attempt to shut down the shipping lane in the future which will be more than a nuisance. It will be a disturbance that the Observers will have to fix.
The entire episode is them trying to figure out how to do this. The characters have a box that can open a worm hole that leads to the shipping lane that they need to destroy but they don't know how to use the box. Peter's solution is to try and interogate an Observer in order to get the truth. He knows that the Observer isn't going to say anything but his belief that there's any humanity in them leads him to think that there will be subconscious thoughts. Peter is able to build the box. The other piece of the puzzle is what do they do to the wormhole. Walter comes up with a theory that if they use an anti-matter explosive inside the worm hole then that will create a black hole in the future and it'll cause them great damage. They proceed to do this plan and they actually succeed in sending an anti-matter weapon into the worm hole. It explodes and it seems like their plan worked. It didn't because they soon see another worm hole coming up and new supplies coming in regardless. They think they've failed when in reality the Observers probably took time to repair their operation and then sent the supplies into the past at a different time in the future.
The idea of failure persists through Peter and the other characters. This was supposed to be a winning blow against the Observers and it didn't seem to make an impact. Peter believes he's left with one choice. He goes to the Observer and he takes out the technology that gives him his powers. He proceeds to IMPLANT HIMSELF WITH THE TECHNOLOGY! My mouth is pretty much wide open at this ending. Peter's grief for Etta causes him to go to extreme places. He tries revenge and fails so he decides that he'll put himself on an equal stage with the other Observers. His decision is completely character-based. His father had destabilized the universe to ensure his son's survival. Peter takes a drastic action in order to avenge his daughter. The two are similar in this regard. The reason that Fringe is so fantastic is that it takes it's characters to the extremes because of their human flaws. An Origin Story is a beautiful episode that deals with loss and changes how the rest of the season is going to go for Peter.
Through the Looking Glass and What Walter Found There:
An Origin Story was a pretty big episode but Through the Looking Glass has the series slowing down a bit for a pretty cool episode. It's an episode that shows us how the characters are changing even if it doesn't really advance the plot forward. Let's take Olivia. The last time they had lost Etta had driven her away from Peter. She dedicated herself to her job because she believed that she deserved this and there was no hope. She had tried to forget her daughter and she didn't try to deal with the situaiton. She ran away. She has now truly lost her daughter a second time and she's grieving. She's now trying to deal with her emotions rather than trying to run away from them. She's trying to get over this loss. She's trying to ensure that this doesn't come between her and Peter. She's trying to be there as he grieves and to try and understand what he's going through. She's trying her best to hold on to a man who fell apart so much that he has implanted himself with Observer technology. Olivia might not know this but her emotional response to the situation is what matters.
Peter is changing. He begins the episode by looking at a holographic image of her daughter. When Olivia looked at footage of her daughter for the first time, it wasn't holographic but an old video. It was something that seemed a lot less artificial. Peter's way to try and see his daughter is more technological and distant. The blue hologram flickers in and out. Peter is starting to see the very world differently due to the technology. He's starting to see things as less human and more electronic. It's no accident that he grieves throug his daughter's blue hologram and ends the episode seeing completely in blue. Peter is starting to lose his humanity. It's chilling to see him at the train scene trying to connect with his father as his movements remind one of the Observers. Peter has gotten the powers of the Observers but at a major cost. The other characters might not realize this yet but Peter is no longer the same person that he used to be.
Walter himself is finding himself to be different. He has had his mind repaired in Letters of Transit but he's starting to see himself becoming someone else since that operation. There's enough evidence in this episode to suggest that. He goes by himself to an apartment building to retrieve the evidence. He attempts to be self-sufficient. When he meets someone in the pocket universe, his first thought is to use him and he goes with it. This person he uses becomes an acceptable loss. He's starting to think about other people and the world the way that the Walter from the other side saw the world. He's starting to perceive the world the way he saw it before he cut out his brain. Why did he cut out his brain? It's because of how he viewed the world. He's starting to become the person that he tried to escape and the emotional rock that's supposed to keep him grounded is now secretly losing his own humanity. It's true that not much might have happened in the episode because it was more of a way for the series to breathe and allows us to catch up to where exactly the main characters are and what they're doing. Through the Looking Glass is a genius epsiode about the characters on this show.