Saturday, January 5, 2013

Fringe 5.10: “Anomaly XB-6783746”

“So in reality, you’re the animal.”

This was certainly an emotional episode of “Fringe” as we said goodbye to the mysterious Nina Sharp. Nina has been a fixture of the show since its early days, although she seemed to vacillate between good and evil throughout the course of the series. I’ll miss Nina for sure, although there are only two more episodes left in which to miss her. In that case, I guess I’ll say that I will miss the show overall. It’s gotten the point where it’s pretty easy to see the gears of the show grinding towards the endgame. We also got another memory flood sequence ripped right out of “Lost” season 6. This time, the recipient was Walter, and it allowed him to remember something very important about the identity of Donald. More on that later, though, because I think it’s a more interesting plot twist than Nina’s death and don’t want to quite so blatantly spoil it. I wonder if the “Desmond wake up” moment will help Walter retain his old, loveable self in spite of his retored, kind of evil brain. Sort of like how Peter’s moment made him stop trying to become an Observer. I guess (the rather limited remaining) time will tell.

Not a lot really happened in this episode until the last fifteen minutes or so. The team has brought Michael the Observer kid back to the lab, but he’s not talking. As in he isn’t saying one word. Walter had been hoping Michael could shed some light on the part he was supposed to play in the plan to defeat the Observers, and the restored pieces of Walter’s brain are making Walter cranky and impatient. The team decides that they need to enlist Nina’s help to crack this particular case. Nina meets up with the team at the Ministry of Science, and she says that she can most definitely help. She’s got a device that could help Michael express his thoughts. It’s not at the Ministry of Science, though. It’s at a nearby, hidden Massive Dynamic “black lab.”

At the lab, Nina runs some tests and determines that Michael is indeed trying to communicate. She puts a sort of halo device on him, but it doesn’t end up translating Michael’s thoughts like everyone hoped it would. Nina figures out that Michael is thinking on a completely different level that humans in general just can’t comprehend. The only way to get around this is to have a second halo device. Michael might be able to communicate directly to someone that way. Nina doesn’t have a second halo device at the black lab, but there is another one at the Ministry of Science warehouse. And she’s fairly certain that the QA manager there, Hastings, will be able to smuggle it out for her. Unfortunately for Nina (and the rest of the team), however, getting that second halo device isn’t going to be as easy as Nina hoped.

The Observers have been looking into the incident a few episodes ago where the team broke into a building and caused some serious damage along the way. The break-in involved using some tech that was smuggled out of the Ministry of Science, so the Observers put the warehouse on lockdown. They’re telepathically scanning each of the employees, trying to figure out who compromised the facility. Hastings is in the line to be interviewed, and he’s looking mighty uncomfortable. By the time He’s up to be scanned, the Observers have figured out that Nina is on the side of the Resistance, and they’re pretty sure Hastings is her inside man at the warehouse. Hastings desperately tries to keep his thoughts to himself, but he ends up confirming the Observers’ suspicions inadvertently.

Because Nina (understandably) can’t get in contact with Hastings, Peter and Olivia decide to retrieve the halo device from the warehouse themselves. They successfully retrieve the halo, but they also see that the Observers are interrogating Hastings. Then a Loyalist goes into the interrogation room, tells the Observers something, and all the Observers disappear. This something was the fact that they were able to locate Nina when she stepped outside the black lab to call Peter and Olivia. Nina and Michael are in serious trouble, and Peter and Olivia need to get back to the black lab as quickly as possible. They’re too late though. The Observers find Nina (but not Michael, thankfully) and start interrogating her. They get some information out of Nina, but nothing that would betray Michael or the rest of the team’s location. Windmark, who is overseeing this whole mess, infodump’s a bit about Michael’s past. He’s an Observer anomaly and would have been terminated if the Resistance hadn’t snatched him up. Anyway, Nina is disturbed that she would even be able to give up as much information as she already has, though. Her resistance is waning, and she has to take drastic action. She gets her hands on a gun, and she basically blows her head off before the Observers can scan her again.

From Nina’s death on, the emotional pummeling doesn’t let up for the rest of the episode. The entire team (even Walter) is devastated to see that Nina has died. At first they’re worried that the Observers have taken Michael, too. Eventually, they find him, though, hiding in what looks like equipment the Resistance had been using to dissect Observers (ew). When he sees that Nina has died, Michael has the first emotional reaction that the team has seen from him. He cries one tear. The team then heads back to Boston, and Walter connects up to Michael through the halo devices. At first, Walter is impatient and still not very kind to Michael, but as he starts to understand what Michael is trying to communicate, he seems to soften. Most importantly, Walter asks Michael if he knows anything about the plan to defeat the observers. In response, Michael takes of the halo device and touches Walter’s face. That’s when the Desmond memory smack moment happens. Walter sees a whole flood of different things, the most important of which is Donald, aka Michael Ceveris not in Observer make-up. I guess this means that “Donald” was somehow turned into the Observer we have come to know as September? The mind boggles.

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