FRINGE Final Season Recap: “The Boy Must Live”

12 Jan

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Welcome to another recap of FRINGE!  Time for some info dumping…

We’re back after the holidays for the final episodes of Fringe, and things are shaping up nicely.  Team Fringe has found the Observer boy/”anomaly” Michael and kept him safe, but did so at the cost of Nina Sharp’s life.  Despite this sad turn of events, Walter gets a piece of information from Michael’s mindscan that proves interesting: Walter’s mysterious helper in setting up the “defeating the Observers” plan, Donald, is no other than the human-sympathizing Observer, September!  So, with that, let’s get into the home stretch…

The Tank Returns.  Peter is busy cutting out more tapes from the ambered lab in the middle of the night hen Walter appears, seemingly refreshed from his mind meld with Michael.  He suggests a way to find Donald/September: if the information is in his head, he can use the isolation tank to dig into his mind and find where he may be.  The rest of the team monitors Walter as he describes details of where he saw the oddly human looking September.  Its somewhere in New York from the details Walter gives, and the team take off.

Different Destinations.  While Team Fringe goes to find September, Windmark makes a trip into the 27th century (think Blade Runner minus the neon, flame stacks, and full of Observers) to talk to the Observers’ Commander.  He investigates the breeding tanks for Observers (in case you were wondering if Observers had sex, that would be “no”), and finds a connection to September.  Windmark suggests to the Commander that it might be useful to subvert September by traveling back further into the past and reconditioning him before he commits his plans.  The Commander disagrees, points out that the Team has been affecting him emotionally (he doesn’t put it in that terms, but its clear Team Fringe has gotten under Windmark’s skin), that they are inconsequential, and they must not interfere with their entry back into their past, due to the 99.999% chance of their takeover succeeding.  Windmark points out Michael had a  0.001% chance of ever surviving.

What Happened To September and The Plan Revealed.  The Team arrive at the apartment where September is, and find him there, full head of hair, stubble, and quite un-Observer looking.  He’s happy (!) to see Walter and the others, and especially Michael.  He sits them all down and explains quite a lot, so let’s break this down:

1) The Observers’ origins come from an experiment in 2167 to limit human emotions to increase intelligence.  That experiment created the Observers, and they kept cutting away emotions to heighten intelligence to such a level that mankind evolved into bald emotionless freaks born in tubes.

2)  Because of September’s involvement with Team Fringe, September felt a need Observers had erased from themselves: the need to create life fro themselves.  Spetmeber used his DNA as a donor to create a “son”: Michael!  He was an anomaly in the sense that he was like the Observers, but evolved to have human emotions he could show people through his freaky mindmelds (hence, the reactions from Nina and Walter’s mindmelds last week).  September hid him in our time from his brethren, and in the nick of time, as September was punished for helping Team Fringe by getting his Observer chip pulled and exiled to be a human.  He would argue it wasn’t really a punishment.

3)  And here’s where the plan fits in.  September found Walter and after getting a new name of Donald (based on Donald O’Connor, one of the stars of Singing In The Rain, which was September’s first movie viewing ever), they both conspired on the plan to stop the Observers.  Turns out time travel is involved, but not backwards, but forward to 2167, where Michael will be deposited to influence the scientist who inadvertently created the Observers to not do that, retroactively wiping the Observes from the timeline.

So, good news, at least to Olivia, who thinks the destruction of the Observers will actually bring back Etta.  But Peter is more wary, not knowing if the plan will work and if it does, what will actually happen sure isn’t reassuring.  So, got all that?  Ok…

“There is no ‘back there’.”  Donald/September knows what they need to finish the time machine, and has some future made parts he smuggled out before his Observer privileges were taken away, and takes the team to the place.  Windmark goes to Donald’s apartment only to find the ex-Observer thought ahead and removed an Observer tracking device in his body.  Also while searching the office, Windmark discovers Donald has normal human things, and plays a jazz record collection (which illicits a brief and quickly stopped reaction of tapping shoes from one of Windmark’s fellow Observers)  Donald also prepared for visitors by setting up an alarm system with a special defense system: namely the room being atomized.  Windmark and his Observer compatriots phase out and escape in time, and after using surveillance cameras to find the team’s van, order a perimeter set up.

The Other Part of the Plan.  Earlier in the episode, Peter was curious why alter seemed more centered than he has ever been.  Walter explains Michael showed him memories he had forgotten, even events that got erased (like most of the things season four altered), like the saving of Peter from the ice as a boy, Peter taking him from the psychiatric facility, and other things (he forgot Peter doesn’t like going number two in public restrooms).  What he doesn’t tell his son or anyone else until Donald and him are alone collecting the future tech is what else he saw in the mindmeld: the plan involves Walter sacrificing himself for it to work.  Walter isn’t sure if Michael meant to comfort him in doing what may be his last deed alive by showing him the good things he’s done with his life beforehand.  Even Donald doesn’t know for sure, but he knows that Walter was convinced that the plan would be his hope for redemption, and that he was willing to sacrifice himself to make it happen.

“Hello.”  Team Fringe says goodbye for now to Donald, who has to get other components for the device, only to find themselves having to split up and head out on foot to escape the checkpoints all over the place.  They make it to the monorail out of town, and then, Michael at the last minute, walks out of the train and has himself captured, which maybe saves the team from being caught.  While the team is unable to go back to save him, Michael is taken to see Windmark.  And like that, two more episodes to go!

–Fun Walter Facts: finds swim trunks “too constrictive” (much to Olivia’s shock), and watched Singing in the Rain with Donald for the neutered Observer’s first movie.

–Its funny to see how both Bishop father and son are now affected by this plan: Walter with probably ending up dead and Peter with getting his daughter back.  That is also depending on how this time travel affects their timeline.  I expect some tissues for the end.

–So no more videotapes, huh?  I wonder what other taped clues there could have been.  Maybe a video where Walter fell asleep high while filming.  I guess we’ll never know…

–I feel bad I watched the teaser for next week’s series ender because I may have been clued into another piece of Fringe’s past coming back.  I won’t say it, but the less you know, maybe the better.

–A interesting thread back to the past rephrases a pivotal line from the history of the show: September wasn’t referring to young Peter when he saved him from drowning in the ice when he said “The boy must live.”  He was talking about his “son”, Michael.

–Also, the “white tulip” drawing from the episode of the same name was saved by Donald from timeline eradication.  Well, the envelope at least.  Walter has the drawing somewhere…probably to be seen in the series finale, no doubt.

–Really love Donald/September cracked a joke about how small the future tech they collected was when Peter brought it up.

–“Walter, why did you remove your swim trunks?”

–Oh another note regarding time travel, I just saw Looper, and like I suspect the time travel theory Fringe has set up, I’m sure there’s some holes to this whole thing you could dissect to death.  BTW, Looper‘s worth checking out if you haven’t yet.

So next week, it all ends in a two hour event.  I don’t know how long the next (and maybe final post) on this final season of Fringe will go (or even if it’ll be on time, only because I expect to be a bit emotional afterwards), so share your thoughts on this episode and the season so far?  What do you suspect the end will bring?  General thoughts on the show?  Comment below…

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