Fringe returns after a short break with a doozey of a shocker, a trip down memory lane and a tearful reunion. Break out those hankies ’cause you’re sure going to need them after this episode!
Let’s take a closer look after the jump.
As we get closer and closer to the series finale of Fringe, it’s clear we’re going to start seeing some significant narrative risk-taking. In ‘The Bullet That Saved The World’ we say goodbye to grown-up Etta (Georgina Haig) in an emotionally charged episode that not only gives us a tearjerker of a scene, but also significantly changes the trajectory of the remaining fringe team’s quest to defeat The Observers.
I can’t say that I was surprised that Etta died, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t deeply affected by it. When Peter (Joshua Jackson), Olivia (Anna Torv), Walter (John Noble) and Etta all entered that abandoned warehouse, surrounded by both loyalists and Observers (who can materialize instantaneously) I was thinking only a miracle would allow the whole team to escape intact. I also made a prediction a couple episodes ago about Haig not making it through to the finale. This is the final season, people – we know that beloved characters are going to die. I just want any deaths to be for a purpose.
Etta’s death certainly achieves this.
There was much talk during the episode about how Etta is able to train humans to change their thoughts into a “labyrinth” thereby making it impossible for The Observers to “read” them. It’s not an easy feat, but Etta assures everyone that she’ll teach them what they’ll need to know in order to survive this new world. Famous last words. On the practical side, Etta’s death is a huge obstacle for our heroes to overcome – losing the only person on their team who has the know-how to make it in the totalitarian state. More significantly, her death have major consequences for Peter and Olivia, who have now lost their daughter for a second time. They’ve come across time and space to reunite with her, so this is heartbreaking.
Considering Olivia’s private demons concerning her role as a mother, it will be interesting to see how she deals with the loss of Etta moving forward. And Peter (poor Peter!) – it seems as though nothing ever goes right for this guy. Thankfully Olivia is by his side, as well as Walter, who knows all too well what it’s like to lose a child. Here’s hoping they’ll be able to reign Peter back into the mission rather than looking for blood (his clenched jaw in the episode’s final seconds – and the teaser for next week suggest otherwise). I can’t help but predict that Peter will go on a similar trip to Nutsville much like Walter did when he concocted the whole journey to the other side that started the series off in the first place. All this to say, Etta’s death is going to be a major catalyst for how the rest of the series plays out, and I for one can’t wait to see what happens.
From a viewer perspective, I can’t say that I was necessarily attached to Etta as I am to the rest of the fringe team, but she was growing on me. My heart ached primarily for Peter, Olivia and Walter as they desperately tried to help her in those last few moments. It was a brilliant POV shot as we saw the three of them frantically come to her aid after Windmark (Michael Kopsa) shot her in her chest. They look at her earnestly, telling her it’s going to be okay, knowing full well that it won’t be.
I must admit I had a much stronger emotional connection a few moments earlier, when we finally saw Broyles (Lance Reddick) reunite with the fringe team. I shed a few tears witnessing the special moment he shared with Olivia before they embraced. I loved how the show literally took time in this scene, taking pregnant pauses as the characters were overcome with emotion. It was just perfect when Broyles said his formal yet familiar “Agent Dunham” and Olivia responding through her smile and teary eyes with “Phillip”. I’ve always loved the relationship between these two, and allowing us to just experience the moment, we could process all those memories from episodes past, wondering how it must feel for Broyles to finally see Olivia again after 21 years.
Initially I had thought Broyles would be a villain (after all, the entire fringe team amberfied themselves and he was left behind all by his lonesome). 21 years is more than enough time for a grudge to develop. After this scene, I’m elated that I was wrong. I could pretty much tell throughout the episode that Broyles was a double agent through the small tells with his eyes, or subtle smirks when he found out the fringe team was evading The Observers’ pursuit. We know that Windmark has finally clued into the fact that humans can mask their thoughts and deny the Observer mind-scan, so it’s unclear what that means for Broyles moving forward. Windmark was mere seconds away from discovering Broyles’ car speeding away from the fringe team reunion. This being the show’s final season, I’m very sadly awaiting Broyles’ demise, which will no doubt happen in an act of heroism not unlike Etta’s sacrifice. It’s the last season! Get those hankies ready, people! I predict Olivia and Peter will be the only ones left standing at the end of it.
- As much as I absolutely adored the Broyles/fringe team reunion, Astrid’s (Jasika Nicole) absence was acutely felt. I really hate how she’s relegated to the lab, even though this episode clears up why it’s necessary that she stay behind much better than ‘The Recordist’ did.
- I am sad to see Etta go, but this is Fringe. Do we really think she’s going to be gone forever? I think it’s doubtful
- Loved Walter’s secret lair of fringe events past. I love these nods to us long time fans.
- We were playfully teased as Walter briefly mentions opening up the portal to “the other side” as a distraction for The Observers so the team can go into Penn Station to retrieve secret documents. I can’t help but hope that we’ll revisit this suggestion in a future episode and find out how Lincoln Lee (Seth Gabel), Fauxlivia, Walternate and Tight-T-Shirt Broyles are doing in the future Alt-world.
- The make-up on older Broyles is really stunning. I now understand why Broyles hasn’t been in every episode as makeup that good looks expensive.
- Broyles’ stare down with his Observer superiors is frigin’ fantastic. I never thought stare downs could be so intense and suspenseful, but there you go. This makes his soft smile to Olivia when they reunite that much more touching.
- I’m also loving how the fringe team has absolutely no qualms about killing Observers and loyalists alike. When the break past the Penn Station checkpoint, it’s a veritable bloodbath. Good to know they’re doing what needs to be done and there aren’t any moral debates about taking lives…
What did you think Fringe fans? Will you miss Etta? Do you think she’ll be back and if so any suggestions on how she might return? I’m thinking the only possibilities are time travel or in flashbacks. What do you think will happen to Broyles? Are we in consensus that Broyles is ‘The Dove’? Think Windmark is onto him? Do you think the fringe team will need to find another guide to help them complete their mission? Who do you think it will be? Anyone want to place any bets on who will survive at series’ end? Hit up the comments and let us know your theories!
Fringe airs at 9pm EST, Fridays on FOX.