Friday, December 21, 2012

Fringe 5.08: "The Human Kind"

“Peter I've lost you before over this and I'm not going to let that happen again. Now, your thinking is way ahead of mine, I understand that, but the fact that I am here has got nothing to do with any of that, except feeling. And soon, you're not going to be able to feel anything, not for me, not for Etta.”

I have to admit, “The Human Kind” kind of threw me for a loop, much in the same way as the final season of “Lost.” I guess that shouldn’t be surprising considering both shows are under the Bad Robot banner, but I still don’t quite know what to make of it. I was glad that the very misguided plot of turning Peter into an Observer seems to have been rectified, but on the other hand, the solution to that problem seems a bit too simple. Almost as if the creative team said “oops…Peter as an Observer is depressing…nevermind.” There really wasn’t a lot of meat to this episode. The team (minus Peter) diligently continued on Operation: Betamax while Peter was continuing to try and rearrange Windmark’s future. It’s a little disappointing that we’re still getting episodes with so much filler so close to the end of the series overall. My mom has been watching older episodes of “Fringe” on the Science Channel lately and lamenting about how the show has changed so much in the past couple seasons. I guess it’s just made me grumpy about the show in general.

Anyway, the episode opens with Olivia meeting with Aneil, the team’s Resistance contact. Aneil has more Observer tech, and he turns it over to Olivia. The hope is that the Fringe team will be able to run tests on the Observer tech and get a better sense of what is happening to Peter. Peter, meanwhile, is in his lair, continuing to furiously plot out Windmark’s timeline. It a kind of confusingly cut sequence of scenes, some Observers, including Windmark, discover Peter’s timeline and figure out what he’s trying to do. The fact that Peter has “you are here” plotted out for when Windmark discovers the timeline is kind of creepy. At the lab, Olivia shows the rest of the team the Observer tech, and everyone is understandably very concerned. Walter calls Peter, begging him to come back to the lab, but Peter brushes him off. Olivia is shaken up by the whole situation (understandably), so she just wants to dive into the next Betamax tape mission. This involves going off in search of a very large magnet.

When we next see Peter, he’s still trying to change Windmark’s future in very small ways, believing that all of this will add up to one big change that will let him kill Windmark. This one is as simple of setting up a cup of tea so that Windmark will bump into it and miss the walk sign to cross the street. It turns out that Windmark, since he has figured out what Peter is up to (thanks to seeing the timeline), has been making his own tiny adjustments to the future. This culminates in a rather strange Matrix-like Observer fight between Peter, Windmark, and another Observer. Peter manages to kill the other Observer and get away from the fight. Windmark, however, is still very much alive. Peter feels no pain from his injuries, which makes sense considering what Walter has discovered through experimenting with Observer tech. Walter can extrapolate the changes the tech makes in the brain, and he can see that as certain abilities are enhanced, emotions are destroyed.

Olivia drives out to the country for her magnet, and she makes her way to what looks like a junkyard. Olivia asks for a magnet, and one of the junkyard proprietors goes and talks to a woman before giving Olivia an answer about the magnet. The conversation between the two junk yard proprietors is quite deliberately mysterious. They look at an image of Olivia, and the woman says, “that’s her.” It turns out that the woman’s name is Simone, and she tells Olivia about a man long ago who asked her mother to keep a magnet safe for when it would be needed. Olivia figures that the man must have been Walter. Olivia can’t leave with the magnet right away because she’s waiting for fuel for the truck that will transport the magnet. While she’s waiting, a little girl tells her that people have been saying Olivia is her reward wire. Olivia immediately goes into action, pulling a gun on Simone and warning her that there had better not be Observers on their way. Simone assures Olivia that the junk yard is legit, and just at that moment, someone arrives with the fuel for the truck.

As they walk to the truck, Olivia and Simone have a vintage “Lost” season 2 science versus faith conversation. With Simone on the side of faith, of course. Olivia isn’t impressed, and she drives off before the conversation can go much further and reveal how Simone knew Olivia would be coming. As Olivia is driving, she comes upon what looks like an accident scene. There are smoking cars on the side of the road. Olivia turns finds a child-size doll, and as she turns it over, two highwaymen ambush her. The whole thing felt very Rousseau-like. When they realize she’s a highly sought after fugitive, the highwaymen take Olivia back to their compound, and one of them calls the reward wire. The highway man demands that the Observers pay him up front for delivery of Olivia. Windmark actually agrees to this. As the highwaymen are trying to drag her to their vehicle, however, Olivia gets the better of them. She uses a bullet she got from Etta to shoot and kill them.

Peter shows up at the lab asking to be patched up from the big Observer fight. As he’s working, Walter tries to explain to Peter what the Observer tech is doing to his brain, but Peter doesn’t really seem to care. Peter leaves the lab as soon as Walter is done patching him up, which I found to be kind of disappointing. Safe from the highwaymen and Observers, Olivia calls Walter and demands to know where Peter is. Olivia finds Peter and starts talking to him about needing to hold on to Etta. Peter just desperately wants to be able to kill Windmark, and the Observer tech has made him rather single-minded in this goal. Eventually, though, as Olivia keeps talking, Peter’s memories of his family come flashing back like it’s “Lost” season 6 in the sidewaysverse and Desmond just crashed into somebody. Suddenly, Peter takes a knife and literally cuts the tech out of his head. What a lovely way to end an episode. Or not.

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