Fringe Season 5 Premiere Recap: Three Years, One Month and Five Days

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Fringe Season 5 PremiereFox’s Fringe opened its fifth and final season with idyllic enough a scenario – Peter, wife Olivia and a young Henrietta savoring a day in the park.

And then the world changed.

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Observers materialized on the horizon, striding across the grass. Peter ran as fast as he could to his daughter, with Olivia close behind.

But they were too late. Cut to quick flashes of some sort of triage tent, an atmosphere of panic. And then…

Peter wakes up, some 20 years later, in the year 2036. We’re now picking up the storyline of Season 4, Episode 19, as Peter walks down the hall and checks in on his “little girl,” Etta, here a young woman. All that’s missing is her mother, his… wife?

Confabbing with Walter, the genius scientist recalls that before he was ambered, he sent Olivia to retrieve from New York City the gizmo that September, during their season-ending chat, said Walter would need to decode the instructions implanted in his brain — Fringe Season 5 Premierea guide to defeating the Observers. But as Olivia was on her way, that day, the call went dead.

Peter, Etta, Astrid and Walter get themselves to Columbus Circle, Olivia’s last known whereabouts, where Etta explains how Central Park had been paved over to make room for machines that pump Observer-friendly carbon monoxide into the air. They find a mass of amber that likely held Olivia, only to find slabs cut out of it. “Amber gypsies,” Etta notes.

At a gypsy marketplace, Etta gives Peter $3,000 worth of… walnuts? … to find and buy back the  slab containing Olivia. Not before sounding a private alarm, the proprietor points Peter to the guy who long ago “bought” Olivia: Wee Edward Markham, the collector of rare books and such last seen in Episode 4×16!

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Markham, once confronted at his apartment, where Olivia is serving as a fine cocktail table, discloses that he has big plans for his prize – if he were ever to reanimate her. (“I loved her from the first time she came into my bookstore,” he shares.) But Peter et al have no time for waxing romantic. Alas, the gypsy market guy has triggered a Level 4 alarm, sending a pack of Observers to Markham’s building. A shoot-out ensues, with Peter, Etta and Astrid eventually racing away in their truck, while Walter is captured.

Once safe, Peter and Etta free a disoriented Olivia from the slab. As she lays eyes on the young(er) blonde across the room, Peter confirms: “I found her. More to the point, she found us.” Then, to Etta: “Kiddo, come meet your mom.”

Gazing up the daughter she last saw at age “3 years, 1 month and five days,” Olivia is overcome with emotion. “You’re beautiful.” “So are you, Etta returns, as mother and daughter share an firm, long embrace, Olivia looking over at Peter with incredible awe at their fortune.

Olivia has the gizmo required to unscramble Walter’s thoughts, the Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11. Problem is, now they don’t have Walter. Instead, he is being held by the Observers and getting interrogated, and then some, by the boss man, Captain Windmark. “I’m very interested in you,” Windmark says, before the men debate over the merits of music. Walter suggests music can foster hope, but Windmark says Walter shouldn’t seek any for himself: “Nothing grows from scorched earth.”

Etta leads Peter and Olivia to sort of bunker where some fellow resistant fighters keep tabs on things. While Etta updates her colleagues, her parents find a moment to reflect on the very rough patch they hit after their little girl was taken. “We didn’t save the world,” Olivia notes. “Not even by half,” Peter nods. “She’s still trying, though.” To the heart of the matter, Peter says, “I never thought Id see you again…. I know what you thought of me, when I wouldn’t leave Boston to come to New York,” leaving her to go it alone. “We lost our child,” Olivia recalls. “And in the grief, we weren’t capable of being what we needed to be for each other.” So Olivia went to New York to fight the greater fight, while Peter stayed in Beantown to keep looking for Etta “at all costs – including us.” Later, Olivia remarks on how much she wants to say to and ask her long-lost daughter. “And you will,” Peter says, acknowledging that the whole situation is like a “beautiful dream within a nightmare.”

Windmark presses Walter to reveal his thoughts, to the point that Walter’s eyes bleed. The resistance he’s facing convince Windmark that a fellow Observer placed and coded vital bits of information in his noggin. “Put them together for me,” Windmark commands, but Walter wont relent, and bleeds more. Latching onto a stray thought, Windmark asks: “Who’s the little blonde girl? She’s helping you,” as Walter collapses. Shortly thereafter, Etta, Olivia and Peter – playing “dead” thanks to some one-time-use tech — infiltrate the Observers compound, create a distraction by attacking their air filtration system. (Adorable moment: Peter saying, “That’s my girl!”) They grab Walter, leave guns a-blazing, as Windmark pieces together the identity of the girl he found in Walter’s noodle.

Alas, Walter is much worse for the wear, and seems to have lost, among other memories, the ones embedded by September. So now they have the gizmo, and they have Walter, but it’s a dead end. And there’s no telling if his assaulted brain can heal itself. “I’ve failed the world” a frustrated Walter wails.

But later, Walter wakes from a slumber, walks outside and down the street, drawn to the glare off a “tree” of string and old-timer CDs. He clambers into an abandoned car, pops a disc in and cues up “Only You,” an early-’80s ballad by Yazoo. He closes his eyes, absorbs the music, opens them again, spies a dandelion sprouted from the grey asphalt, and ultimately smiles. He seems to have regained a small piece of his former self, reclaiming hope – via music — that maybe everything could turn out right after all.


Comments (53)

  • It’s Yaz, not Yazoo

    Comment by Stephaniep97 – September 28, 2012 07:29 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I love this show. It was a great season premiere. So sad at the same time thet it will be the last.

    Comment by Tamara – September 28, 2012 07:30 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I’m at least heartened by the sense that the entire creative team has truly taken the “last season” last-chance opportunity to heart, and seems to be creating, in every sense of the phrase, a love letter to the fans, instead of wasting it. (“Chuck” — I’m looking at YOU.)

      Comment by Annie – September 29, 2012 09:24 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Uh, no. Chuck’s last season was great. That last moment, with Chuck and Sarah on the beach — Perfection. Per.fec.tion.

        Comment by Matt – September 29, 2012 09:57 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Great way to start the final season. Sad it the end but at least its going out while we still love the show

    Comment by tvaddict – September 28, 2012 07:33 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Very cool and emotional episode. Loving it so far.

    Comment by Patti – September 28, 2012 07:33 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Loved it, even though the format this year is very different. Lots of great scenes (plus, we found out Simon is still around, even if he’s stuck in amber)

    Comment by PBJ – September 28, 2012 07:33 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • It was so awesome!!!

    Comment by Lee Fowler – September 28, 2012 07:36 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • loved da episode… so sad it’s da last season but i’ll enjoy every minute of it… i wonder what happened with etta all dat time?? in the preview for next season she seems really intent on killing… kinda scary…

    Comment by amazz – September 28, 2012 07:37 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • loved the episode! Seriously how the hell has john noble NOT won an emmy?!?!?? I was almost in tears for him during this episode

    Comment by jenna – September 28, 2012 07:49 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Right? What he did in that wordless final scene, the gamut of emotions….

      Comment by Matt Webb Mitovich, Editor-at-Large – September 28, 2012 08:26 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Word.

        Comment by DarkDefender – September 28, 2012 09:27 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • to your mother

          Comment by Kate – September 29, 2012 06:15 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • RIGHT?! I love Fringe, I truly do, but I’ve never really been all *that* emotionally drawn in – I mean on a gut-level, or in a visceral way. Last night, during that scene, I totally was, and it’s all John Noble’s doing. (Well, and that song. Always been a sucker for 80′s techno-ballads.)

        Comment by Annie – September 29, 2012 09:22 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • i was thinking the same thing!! maybe we should start a campaign so he’s at least nominated for the 2013 emmys … who comes up with the nominations, anyway?

      Comment by Deb Saine – September 28, 2012 08:30 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • At this point he deserves an oscar after that last scene and Anna Tov at least an emmy for the reunion with Etta

      Comment by anya harris 2 – September 29, 2012 01:54 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • If this episode is anything to go by we are i for one beautifully poignant yet thrilling ride.

    Comment by Amanda – September 28, 2012 08:18 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • the last scene was so perfect. “nothing grows from scorched earth” SO WRONG!! :)

    Comment by guest – September 28, 2012 08:23 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Oh my GAH!!! So many amazing things in this episode! The last scene with Walter in the car…..spectacular! And the conversation between Peter and Olivia about their split……I was so choked up. I can’t wait for next week’s episode, but at the same time I don’t want it to come since it brings us closer to the end.

    Comment by Alichat – September 28, 2012 09:23 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I was choked up, too. Brilliant acting on both their parts. Josh Jackson just gets better and better, and Anna Torv is one of the great underrated actresses on TV.

      Comment by B – September 29, 2012 02:27 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Pure awesomeness.. Sadly, one down – twelve to go. :(

    Comment by DarkDefender – September 28, 2012 09:26 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I was thinking the same. :(

      Comment by panda – September 28, 2012 10:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I held it in as long as i could, but for some reason, i lost it when they got Walter back and he called Astrid “Afro”. I don’t know, i just started crying hahaha.
    Olivia and Etta’s reunion was A+++. SO happy to have this show back for one last season :’)

    Comment by Den – September 28, 2012 09:32 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • At the end of the episode “Peter” (2×15), Walter tells Olivia “You can’t imagine what it’s like to lose a child”. Well i guess that no longer applies. Brilliant scene with Etta.

    Comment by Emy – September 28, 2012 09:41 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Interesting how Peter followed in Walter’s footsteps — nothing could stop him from finding his child. Be the better man than your father, Peter!

      Comment by Emily – September 28, 2012 11:02 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Wow, I didn’t link that all together…. So don’t want this to end :(

        Comment by jen – September 28, 2012 11:54 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • It was perfect.

    Comment by panda – September 28, 2012 10:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Perfection. It totally justifies what i have always said about Americas 19-24 episode seasosn. Even the fantastic episodes are filled with filler plots/story lines/conversations. This episode was pure perfection, It plateaued at 100% excitement and satisfaction the whole episode. It never dipped, my interest or satisfaction level never dipped. Not one scene that didnt, for the sake of only have 13 episodes, have intense A-plot purpose.
    In a regular season it would have been 2-3 episodes until they found Olivia, but 13 ep season, they have her up and meeting Etta by minute 20. Fantastic. This season is the sweet spot that all TV should be. Part British style (mini series, 6-9 episode seasons) part American (longer seasons typically 22-24).
    I am so happy with my favorite part of the show, Peter and Olivia (and now Etta). The love story. And i was so scared with their teasing that they had major issues, but i am so happy with how it has turned out.

    Comment by M3rc Nate – September 28, 2012 10:32 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I have a dream of the future. Only my future is not so far away. In a few hours the ratings will be released and they will top every other show this week, and Fringe will get a 24 episode pickup.

    Ahh well, it was a nice thought.

    Comment by Sg. Grant – September 28, 2012 11:47 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • If the upcoming episodes any where near match this one, I will be MIA every Friday nite to the bittersweet end.

    Comment by Sherry A. – September 29, 2012 12:26 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • That was incredible!

    Comment by Jo – September 29, 2012 02:01 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Georgina Haig’s acting in the scene where Olivia came out of the amber was incredible. Even if Fringe’s writing wasn’t as good, I would probably still watch for the amazing performances.

    Comment by liddad – September 29, 2012 03:10 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Great season premiere! Very powerful episode with great performances….Loved the ending!How can this show end?? Every season is a reinvention! So sad….

    Comment by Ikernad – September 29, 2012 05:31 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • OMG!!!! John should get an Emmy and the Oskar and BAFTA and all the awards in the world, they all should get one…this season premiere was everything I wanted, the only one I was not disappointed with all others Castle, Bones NCIS were good but Fringe wad phenomenal. Sad we only get 12 more to go

    Comment by Nan – September 29, 2012 05:52 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Anna Torv and John Noble brought tears to my eyes.

    Comment by Danny – September 29, 2012 06:28 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Nah, too bland for my taste. I miss the old Fringe, more action, less (far less) crying.

    Comment by Alex – September 29, 2012 06:45 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I get what the producers meant about it being a long movie. It’s superb, simply put. I couldn’t find a single fault in the premiere, except I don’t know why Broyles isn’t helping our team a little more, but I guess we’ll have to be patient. So grateful for this last season, quand même. The part about music giving you hope, once tied in with the scene at the end, was probably one of the most beautiful scenes in the history of television. John not getting an Emmy at this point is CRIMINAL.

    Comment by ohlala – September 29, 2012 07:09 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • DVR’d it, started watching mid-show while channel flipping and came upon the Olivia-Etta scene; just a few moments brought tears to my eyes. Why no Emmy talk for her? These actors are so good, the material is intellectually compelling, I’d thing this would be a slam dunk. Alas, it’s science fiction; it never gets a break. If the rest of the series stays at this level it will be Battlestar Gallactica great (with a more satisfying ending I hope).

    Comment by robin – September 29, 2012 07:56 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I meant to type “…I’d think…”

      Comment by robin – September 29, 2012 07:58 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This cast has got to be the most solid on tv right now. And the writers know it. I really appreciated that with all the cool futuristic elements that could have overpowered, we still got an episode that revolved around our characters and their emotions.
    Also, dear god this show is gross. I always underestimate its fantastic ability to make me shudder. Tortured Walter made me want to cry and throw up. But in a good way…I think.

    Comment by Gilda – September 29, 2012 10:46 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Noone’s mentioning the most important part of last night’s episode…

    Astrid’s hair is freaking fabulous.

    Comment by Dan – September 29, 2012 12:11 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This episode was perfect. It was like poetry. I particularly loved the scene with Peter and Etta breaking into the facility. The father-daughter badass dynamic reminded me of Alias, and then there was Olivia…and we had the super family in action. When they grabbed Walter and the whole family escaped, it was just…wonderful. What do people watch on TV if they don’t watch this?

    Comment by tmelange – September 29, 2012 01:25 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • A show about “super-cute” guys shooting demons and angsting?

      Comment by Fred – September 29, 2012 05:39 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Definitely better than last season’s premiere.

    Comment by Liz – September 30, 2012 04:18 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Great episode. It’s amazing what this show has done out of just one previous episode, to explain this whole new scenario we’re in now.
    And I love that Fringe always provides some answers along the way, instead of a bunch of more questions (sorry ‘Lost’ – you were more confusing than anything else). So sad it’s the last season, but happy they at least get one :)

    Comment by Karen – September 30, 2012 02:02 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • From what I saw about Olivia & Etta in 5×2 promo, Mommy’s mortified with Etta’s behaviour but has she forgotten that her hubby Peter tortured and killed with equal pleasure those baddies who could change forms, a few seasons ago? Like father, like daughter: “Good girl!”… Olivia’s worrie about Etta as any ordinary mother would be but what did she saw when she died last season… she was hesitant about telling Peter about the baby

    Comment by anakl – October 1, 2012 04:17 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • We want more.

    Comment by Peter – January 20, 2013 01:23 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

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