Fringe season 5 episode 10 review: Anomaly XB-6783746

Review Billy Grifter 30 Dec 2012 - 18:32

Billy salutes the acting in this week's Fringe and names it one of the best episodes ever...

This review contains spoilers.

5.10 Anomaly XB-6783746

I'm going to say from the outset that this was one of the best Fringe episodes ever, certainly of this season, even if in narrative terms relatively little happened.

Last week I mentioned that the uncommunicative Observer boy would become rapidly boring, and I'm happy to accept I got that entirely wrong. The trials and tribulations of getting him to respond proved a most interesting puzzle, but what I really liked here is that the time to save the world is getting rather short. Windmark is also becoming a worthy antagonist, determined to understand more about his foes, before calmly wiping them out.

I could talk about the tension-building queue to the interrogation room, the cool Observer tech that uses the resonance of past events in solid objects to replay them, or the story of Fringe at a blip-vert. But, there's only once scene worth talking about here, and it's the standoff between Nina and Windmark. In this, Blair Brown's work was just fantastic, as she calmly put Windmark in his place knowing her fate. "You're the animal" is her ultimate rebuff, and she delivers it with enough venom to kill an African Elephant.

Over the past seasons, Nina's character has been ambiguous as to her true allegiance at times, but we what we did know is that she felt strongly about Walter and William Bell. Now finally she gets to put Machiavellian schemes behind her, and emerge into the light. I sort of hoped her artificial arm would come into play, but it was a much more simple conclusion, designed to stick a finger up to Windmark in the only way she could.

His frustration was palatable, suggesting that there are some emotions the Observers can experience rather strongly. Having played her ultimate card, we then got a genuinely moving scene where Walter finds her, and is overcome with grief. This reminded me, if I really needed it, that while the writing of Fringe has been somewhat variable over the seasons, the acting has been superb. John Noble sells grief amazingly, and we feel his loss.

The finding of Michael presents us with a clue to why he's an anomaly, because he's the Observer that can feel emotion. But it also reveals the true identity of Donald, and the pivotal character that must make reappear to resolve everything: September.

What's clear from the flashback memories that he shows Walter was that September wasn't born an Observer, and that's probably why he acted to save Walter and Peter from drowning in the frozen lake. I'm still not sure what the relationship between Michael and September is - perhaps father and son - but whatever it might be it's probably critical to the final resolution.

And then, while I was entirely engrossed, the goddamn episode ended and I screamed 'NO!' as if I'd been disconnected from my oxygen supply while two hundred feet under water. Arrrgh! I wished more TV made me feel like that. I'd have paid hard cash to see the next episode right away.

In trying to think about the final three episodes, it's all going to be about which characters return to play their part. I'd really like someone from the parallel universe to show up, but I can't see how they'd fit into what's been built this season. I'll be slightly amazed if William Bell doesn't appear, but beyond that anything is possible, even characters we've assumed are dead.

But, and this really bugs me considering the momentum that was generated here, we've got to wait till the 11th of January for our next Fringe instalment. I keep reminding myself that all good things are worth waiting for, but I'd really like to know now what awaits us. The final two episodes will be shown a week later, and then Fringe is complete, sadly.

After this I'm supremely confident that it will go out with a bang, or knowing Walter something with a little more oomph.

Read Billy's review of the previous episode, Black Blotter, here.

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Can anyone help me out? I feel certain that the Observers' device, the one which picks up resonance in solid objects and plays them back, has appeared before in Fringe, way back in the early seasons. I seem to recall that the team used that device to play back a woman screaming from some shattered glass? Can anyone tell me which episode that was, or if it even was an episode? I might be going mad...

It was a device that Peter invented, and so is only now remembered by him and Olivia.
It
was originally intended as a gift for Walter so he could digitise his
vinyl collection, and has his electron microscope and turntable (which
Walter was rather upset about) as key components. In the episode 2 twin
girls were former Cortexifan subjects and one of them had spontaneously
combusted with her own pyrokenisis, while the other ended up being
rescued and talked down by Olivia. The point here is that when the 2nd
twin was abducted she partially melted the glass of her window with her
pyrokenisis and Peter realised that he could use his new invention to
read the microscopic pits on the glass to replay the sound that caused
them in the first place like the grooves on a record. The implication
is that while the observers have more advanced technology, an awful lot
of it is simply a refinement of what the Bishops can accomplish
themselves.

Great review.

It's been a great season so far, absolutely tinged with sadness throughout, and beautifully shot.

I'm sad also that it's ending but really happy that they get to end the show with an ending... you know what I mean.

Fringe has always been a show that I've really liked but the last few seasons have been exceptional, mostly because the core characters are so wonderfully realised and portrayed.

september not been born an observer? I thought the implication was that he was but for whatever reason he changed (perhaps he has a defect) and began to feel emotions, i would hazard a guess that he no longer has the observer implant.

I Have a Theory, fairly long, but bear with me about where this could be going. When Walter crossed over and took Peter from the other side, his actions caused huge problems on the other side. We saw in season 3 that the air quality in some areas had been degraded so much that it was toxic - what if the observers evolved because of Walter's actions that night - that's why they have all those air degradation devices like in 2036 Central Park? That could be why Peter is so central and why Septmber facilitated his return in season 4. If our universe Peter survived, then Walter would never have crossed over. What if Septmber somehow brought our universe Peter back to life using observer tech or altered the timeline somehow that he never died? The child observer may be our PETER and that's why Peter always looks funny at him, like there's some kind of recognition there that he can't quite put his finger on. It could be why the child showed Walter that night (when he crossed over) and September as Donald. Both Peters may be needed to defeat the observers and that's why Septemer said 'the boy must live' in both cases. If they both Peters are alive they could reset the timelines in both universes and Walter would never cross over, therefore the observers would never evolve as they have. Donald might be the guy who helped our Walter find the cure for Peter and that's why we see him put his on on Donald's shoulder - to thank him. Septmber would never have become an observer and distracted Walternate from finding the cure on his side. It would be a bittersweet ending in that Peter and Olivia may never cross paths, as Walter may never had the cortexephan trials if Peter was fully cured, but would also mean no observers. Did anybody else think that young, dying Peter looked a lot like observer kid with hair???

We also know that Nina was at the lakeside that night - maybe when the 'child' touched her face he showed her who he was and that's why she sacrificed herself to save him and the others.

here's a question regarding the ending, if they reset the timeline and the observers never existed, then why is peter there at all, surely september would never of been around to pull them from the icy water when walter took him from the other side and they would of drowned, loads of questions regarding this and how much the observers shaped time. If they never existed, the world would of been completely different

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