Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fringe 5.04: "The Bullet That Saved the World"

“There was a time when we solved Fringe cases. Now I think it’s time we created a few of our own.”

Etta Bishop, we hardly knew ye. Sorry. Spoiler alert. Hurricane Sandy-induced cabin fever has me going a little loopy. All is well (for the most part) here on the Western Shore of Maryland, thankfully. Now my old stomping grounds north of Philadelphia, that’s another story, but at least the weather has calmed down enough now that the clean-up can start. So, back to your regularly scheduled blog programming (albeit a little behind schedule). We start the catch-up with the latest episode of “Fringe.” “The Bullet That Saved the World” sees our team continue their effort to uncover the pieces of September and Walter’s plans to defeat the Observers. It also sees, unfortunately, the end of Etta Bishop. Which is quite a shame, really. I was really enjoying watching the new Bishop family dynamic unfold. I can understand that the creative team thought our usual crew would need the emotional catalyst of Etta’s death to propel them forward, but really, isn’t the creepy observers enslaving humanity enough motivation?

The episode opens with Peter paying a visit to a kind of awesome, packed to the gills junk shop. The place is full of childhood nostalgia to anyone who had the privilege of growing up in the 1980’s. There’s even a Simon game that still works! Peter’s not looking for a game, though. He’s looking for a necklace for Etta (to replace the one they had to use to start the laser). Peter finds what he’s looking for, but trouble starts when he’s at the counter to pay and an Observer jumps in line behind him. The Observer starts to read Peter, and he sees images of Etta. Peter tries to throw the Observer off the trail by thinking about baseball, but it’s only partially effective. The Observer realize something’s up, and Peter runs. The Observer has some Loyalists give chase, but Peter goes down into the sewer. He tries to outrun an explosive device that gets thrown down after him, and he’s only partially successful.

When we next see Peter, he’s above ground, but unconscious. There’s a little kid looking over him and playing a harmonica, which is kind of creepy. Peter makes his way back to the lab and gives Etta the necklace, which is a pretty sweet moment. Meanwhile, Walter and Astrid free another video from the amber. Astrid has to clean it up before they can try to watch it, though. Back at the junk shop, an Observer talks to none other than Broyles. The Observer is playing Simon while he talks, which is really freaking hilarious. It appears that after all these years, Broyles is still in charge of the Fringe Division. The Observer questions Broyles on what he knows about Peter, but Broyles doesn’t say much. The Observer also informs Broyles that someone in Fringe Division recently failed a security check, and the fact that Broyles didn’t know about this until now is a very bad sign for Broyles.

Over at the lab, the team plays the video, and enough of it works for Walter to figure out that the next piece of the plan is hidden in the wall of the subway under Penn Station. Apparently when he was a kid, he thought that would be the perfect place to hide his comic books in the event of global nuclear war with the USSR. The team has to get through an Observer checkpoint to get to Penn Station, though, so they’re going to need a diversion. Walter thinks he has just the ticket in the basement of the lab. Apparently he spent quite a lot of time recreating the fringe events they investigated back in the day. Something he’s going will surely be nasty enough to create the diversion they’re looking for. It’s kind of gross and creepy, really, but that’s Walter for you!

We next visit an Observer stronghold, where an Observer is interrogating the Loyalist who failed his initial security check under Broyles’ watch. The Observer, despite the Loyalist’s best efforts, is able to get pieces about something happening at the Harvard lab. He also figures out that the “Loyalist” is actually a Resistance plant. He’s too low in the rebel organization to know much of anything useful, though. After the interrogation, the Observer confronts Broyles about how Etta deceived them. The Observers now know that some humans have developed sophisticated powers to mask their thoughts. The Observer gives Broyles a significant look during this confrontation, implying that Broyles may have learned to mask his thoughts as well as Etta, and he might be on the side of the Resistance.

Back at the lab, Walter has finally chosen the perfect device for a distraction. In another room, Etta and Olivia bond over the fact that Etta saved a bullet on a necklace from the abandoned Bishop house. Olivia says they used to call it “the bullet that saved the world.” Before they can talk more, though, Etta gets a phone call (from Broyles, presumably), that the lab has been compromised. The team has just enough time to re-amber the lab (so they don’t lose the tapes) before Observers and their Loyalist minions arrive to trash the place. When they do arrive, it looks like nobody was ever there. When we next see the team, they’re at Penn Station, and they’re using projectiles of stuff that melt people’s faces to cause the distraction and retrieve the tube of information from the subway station. Ewwww.

After they’ve successfully escaped, the team stops in a very industrial-looking area to take a look at what’s in the tube. There are all sorts of physics equation written on the paper inside the tube, and Walter doesn’t understand them anymore. This makes him very frustrated, of course. The group is about to leave, for a safe house presumably, when Etta stops them and says somebody wants to talk to them. A car drives up and Broyles gets out. There’s a very happy reunion, especially between Broyles and Olivia. It’s nice for the show to acknowledge that Broyles was Olivia’s boss first, presumably for a while before she even met the Bishops. The happy reunion is short-lived, however, as Observers start materializing everywhere. It turns out that a Loyalist put a tracker on the team’s car before they left Penn Station. Broyles grabs the tube with the equations and drives off (at Olivia’s insistence), and everyone else barely escapes. Obviously, the Observers are not happy about this.

The Observers keep following the team, and there’s a big shoot-out in a bombed out looking industrial building. Etta gets captured, and everyone else gets away (Walter just barely). Before the team can rescue Etta, an Observer forces a childhood memory out of her (he wants to understand why Peter got her the necklace), then he shoots her. When the team finds Etta, she’s slumped against a concrete pole, mortally wounded. She’s also got a powerful explosive device. She’s going to set it off to rid the area of Observers. Peter, Olivia, and Walter are all devastated, but they clear out and let Etta do what she needs to do. They watch from a distance as the building blows up and Etta presumably dies.

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