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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Fringe 5.2: Saving Our Humanity

Fringe 5.2 gives us another top-notch episode in the future battle against the Eternal Bald Observers, who are now our masters.  As I said last week, I very much like this continuing story - much better than the standalone episodes of Fringe seasons past, often with just a touch of a deeper, continuing tale.

Tonight the main battle is really between the humanity in Olivia and the lack of, or less of, in Ettta, who has been hardened in her constant warfare with the Observers.  She without hesitation uses a horrible aging device as an instrument of torture on a human collaborator.   We can well understand her resolve.  Later in the story, we see the impact on Etta of seeing the head of her partner Foster, who fell into Observer hands.  Peter has all he can do to keep her from opening fire in the Observer labs, which have blown her and Peter's important mission.

Olivia understands this, too.  But she wants something more for her daughter - a reservoir of human decency, which makes the fight against the Observers worthwhile.  For as the cliche has it, what's the point of fighting against a monster, if you have to become a monster yourself to win the fight?  Except in Fringe this gambit feels fresh and emotionally effective.

Etta is an excellent character, and well played by Georgina Haig.  She has elements of both Olivia and Peter - as she should - and a toughness all her own, borne from years of fighting the Observers.  When tonight's episode ends with an act of mercy by Etta, Olivia felt good.  So did I.

The other good thing - actually, cool would be a better word - is Walter addressing himself and our group in the future on videotape (Sony Betamax!) made in the past, just before Walter ambered the Harvard Lab.  The scene had a Hari Selden feel to it - and it was nice to see that, even in this future incarnation, Fringe is still offering homage to great 1950s science fiction - in this case, Isaac Asimov's Foundation series (hey - that's two blog posts in row here that I mentioned Foundation!).

And, actually, there was one more very good thing in this episode - an Observer, who looked like September, who looked at Peter as he and Etta were entering the Observer building. Given Observer time travel ...

See also Fringe 5.1: Paved Park and Shattered Memories

See also Fringe Returns for Season 4: Almost with Peter ... Fringe 4.2: Better and Worse Selves ... Fringe 4.3: Sanity and Son ... Fringe 4.4: Peter's Back, Ectoplasm, and McLuhan ... Fringe 4.5: Double Return ... Fringe 4.6: Time Slips ... Fringe 4.7: The Invisible Man ... Fringe 4.8: The Ramifications of Transformed Alternate Realities ... Fringe 4.9: Elizabeth ... Fringe 4.10: Deceit and Future Vision ... Fringe 4.11: Alternate Astrid ... Fringe 4.12: Double Westfield / Single Olivia ... Fringe 4.13: Tea and Telepathy ... Fringe 4.14: Palimpsest ... Fringe 4.15: I Knew It! ... Fringe 4.16: Walter Likes Yiddish ... Fringe 4.17:  Second Chances ... Fringe 4.18: Broyled on Both Sides ... Future Fringe 4.19 ... Fringe 4.20: Bridge ... Fringe 4.21: Shocks ... Fringe Season 4 Finale: Death and Life

See also Fringe 3.1: The Other Olivia ... Fringe 3.2: Bad Olivia and Peter ... Fringe 3.3: Our/Their Olivia on the Other Side ... Fringe 3.5: Back from Hiatus, Back from the Amber ... Fringe 3.7: Two Universes Still Nearing Collision ... Fringe 3.8: Long Voyages Home ... Fringe 3.10: The Return of the Eternal Bald Observers ... Flowers for Fringenon in Fringe 3.11 ... Fringe 3.12: The Wrong Coffee  ... Fringe 3.13: Alternate Fringe ... Fringe 3.14: Amber Here ... Fringe 3.15: Young Peter and Olivia ... Fringe 3.16: Walter and Yoko ... Fringe 3.17: Bell, Olivia, Lee, and the Cow ... Fringe 3.18: Clever Walternate ... Fringe 3.19 meets Inception, The Walking Dead, Tron ... Fringe 3.20: Countdown to Season 3 Finale 1 of 3 ... Fringe 3.21:  Ben Frankin, Rimbaldi, and the Future ... Fringe Season 3 Finale: Here's What Happened ... Death Not Death in Fringe 
See also reviews of Season 2: Top Notch Return of Fringe Second Season ... Fringe 2.2 and The Mole People ... Fringe 2.3 and the Human Body as Bomb ... Fringe 2.4 Unfolds and Takes Wing ... Fringe 2.5: Peter in Alternate Reality and Wi-Fi for the Mind ... A Different Stripe of Fringe in 2.6 ... The Kid Who Changed Minds in Fringe 2.7 ... Fringe 2.8: The Eternal Bald Observers ... Fringe 2.9: Walter's Journey ... Fringe 2.10: Walter's Brain, Harry Potter, and Flowers for Algernon ...  New Fringe on Monday Night: In Alternate Universe? ... Fringe 2.12: Classic Science Fiction Chiante ... Fringe 2.13: "I Can't Let Peter Die Again" ... Fringe 2.14: Walter's Health, Books, and Father ... Fringe 2.15: I'll Take 'Manhatan' ... Fringe 2.16: Peter's Story ... Fringe 2.17: Will Olivia Tell Peter? ... Fringe 2.18: Strangeness on a Train ... Fringe 2.19: Two Plus Infinity ... Fringe the Noir Musical ... Fringe 2.21: Bring on the Alternates ... Fringe 2.22:  Tin Soldiers and Nixon Coming ... Fringe Season 2 Finale: The Switch

See also reviews of Season One Fringe Begins ... Fringe 2 and 3: The Anthology Tightrope ... 4: The Eternal Bald Observer ... 7: A Bullet Can Scramble a Dead Brain's Transmission ... 8. Heroic Walter and Apple Through Steel ... 9. Razor-Tipped Butterflies of the Mind ... 10. Shattered Pieces Come Together Through Space and Times ... 11. A Traitor, a Crimimal, and a Lunatic ... 12, 13, 14: Fringe and Teleportation ... 15: Fringe is Back with Feral Child, Pheromones, and Bald Men ... 17. Fringe in New York, with Oliva as Her Suspect ... 18. Heroes and Villains across Fringe ... Stephen King, Arthur C. Clarke, and Star Trek in Penultimate Fringe ... Fringe Alternate Reality Finale: Science Fiction At Its Best

"As a genre-bending blend of police procedural and science fiction, The Silk Code delivers on its promises." -- Gerald Jonas, The New York Times Book Review

"Daddy, this is the best book I've ever read!" -- Molly Vozick-Levinson, age 12 at the time

"cerebral but gripping" -- Booklist

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