Mark Watches ‘Fringe’: S05E05 – An Origin Story

In the fifth episode of the fifth season of Fringe, Peter lashes out in grief. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Fringe.

I don’t know how I’m going to be able to handle anything after this. I AM IN SHOCK.

  • The opening is so hard to watch. I know from experience (and I’ve talked about this before) that you become obsessed with the physical objects that a loved one leaves behind. Peter strokes Etta’s brush because it’s a sign she was once here. Largely, Etta’s death influences nearly every single scene in this episode, so the continuity here is just unreal. I know it’s difficult to get through, but I appreciate that it’s so openly acknowledged, that the loss these characters have all experienced is so present and real. Olivia’s words really are heartbreaking: Why get their daughter back just to lose her again? Ugh, my fucking heart, y’all.
  • Actually, the fact that Etta has photos of her childhood and teenage years with other people in them is just gut-wrenching. It’s another reminder that Olivia missed over twenty years of her daughter’s life.
  • Can I just point out that Doctor Who completely botched this same idea in series six? I won’t say more so that I don’t spoil folks, but yeah. Missing out on seeing your daughter grow up is a big deal.
  • Okay, so we’ve got the framing event for “An Origin Story”: What the fuck did the Observers just transport into our world, and where did it come from?
  • Oh, hey, Astrid is left behind and has like ten lines. What show is this? Right, it’s Fringe, which is almost comical in its refusal to use this character except to advance the plot. Look, it’s like canonical that I have to reference this once a review. I can’t break the pattern now!
  • Wow, Peter is extremely quick to propose something foolish and dangerous out of revenge. WELL. I called that, didn’t I?
  • So, shipments from the future. That’s not creepy. So how the hell is this going work?
  • Oh, you captured an Observer.
  • How is that even possible??? Wait, nevermind, I have more pressing questions to ask.
  • Mainly: PETER, HOW CAN YOU TORTURE AN OBSERVER FOR INFORMATION??? Like, that’s a genuinely important question! We’ve seen that they’re emotionless, that they can read your thoughts, and that they don’t have the same sense of humanity that we do. How can an interrogation work if the person being interrogated can read your thoughts?
  • Wait, I need to go back to Astrid. See, that scene where she comforts Olivia is proof that we need so much more from this character. Astrid, like Olivia, is a deeply empathetic person, and in that moment, she recognizes that Olivia has shut down for a second. She offers what help she can, and gives Olivia the space she needs to get through each minute. She is such a good friend, and I want more of her!
  • Oh my god, okay, so if Peter can pull off destroying this side of the wormhole, I imagine the Observers are going to be furious if their future world is sucked into oblivion by a black hole. That… that is not going to be fun. Oh god, what are they going to do?
  • You know, when Walter overhears Olivia’s frightened plea to his son and then brings her that videotape of Etta’s birthday, I thought this was foreshadowing a very clear direction that “An Origin Story” would take. I imagined that whatever little journey Peter went on would bring him back home, and he and Olivia would finally agree to take Walter’s advice and watch the video. It must be said that for all the mistakes Walter has made, how many times he’s been rude or inconsiderate, he still possesses an incredible capacity for being thoughtful and wonderful. That scene is evidence of it.
  • Thus, I was truly unprepared for the end of this episode.
  • All of the sequences with Peter and the Observer are fascinating on multiple levels, but it was so exciting to me because I was eager to see if the show would reveal more about the Observers. I wasn’t disappointed at al with what was revealed, but I mistakenly thought the episode title, “An Origin Story,” was referencing the origin of the Observers. HAHAHA. HAHAHAHA OH MY GOD HELP ME.
  • Yeah, this episode brought out the side of Peter we saw in “Reciprocity,” no? Only this time, he’s far more determined to be… really unsettling? He’s letting his grief take hold of him. That being said, the methodical way in which he gleams information on how to put together the cube is goddamn brilliant. He bases this on the fact that at their core, the Observers are human, and that they’ll still display the same survival tendencies as we do. Testing the autonomic responses of the Observer is a way to interrogate someone who has such extreme advantages over Peter, and I’m so impressed that he thought of this.
  • How unsettling is the comment about how humanity is nothing more than an anthill? Ugh, Observers, you are so creepy.
  • Okay, it isn’t answered, and I’m betting it’s a clue to a later plot, but what is it that Peter knows but doesn’t know?
  • So much of this season is a document of the subversive things a resistance group does to overthrow a majority force, and I have loved seeing all the different ways the Fringe team is approaching this. “An Origin Story” deals with sabotage, and the scene where Peter tries to collapse the future Observer world into a black hole is incredible. It’s thrilling, it’s scary, and then that Observer finds Olivia and Peter and UGH THIS SHOW IS GOING TO GIVE ME AN ULCER. I know it’s heavy-handed, but the image of an Observer boot coming down on Peter is chilling.
  • I actually didn’t expect Peter to fail, and so I experienced a bout of elation when the anti-matter grenade exploded and worked.
  • AND THEN EVERYTHING IN THIS EPISODE FALLS APART. Suddenly, the shipment is returning through a separate portal, and I DON’T GET IT. How is this possible??? What am I missing? Peter panics and runs off, leaving Olivia to discover the fact that the Resistance has already begun to portray Etta as the martyr she is. Oh my god, Peter, you missed it. It’s terribly ironic because while Peter is beating up the Observer, he yells that Etta will be remembered while the Observer will not. He has no idea! That’s what is so difficult about watching Peter’s descent into rage. He has completely let revenge take over, and he has ascribed meaning to something meaningless. He is misguided. And nothing represents that more than when he shouts at the Observer that if he had the Observer tech within him, he’d be ten times a better person than any Observer. Thus, the thought is planted in Peter’s head, and I am so fucking uncomfortable with this. Peter, you are boarding the Horribly Bad Idea Express right now. You have no idea what that thing in the back of the Observer’s head does. Does it restrict emotions? Give one the ability to travel through time and space? Become a Time Lord? Dude, you have no idea, AND YOU JUST PUT IT IN YOUR OWN FUCKING BODY. What is wrong with you??????? There is no situation where this is a good idea.
  • Even worse, Olivia does take Walter’s advice, and she watches the video of Etta, breaking down after a few minutes. But Walter said she needed to watch this with Peter, and now Peter is in New York, possibly halfway to becoming an Observer himself, and everything is awful.

I have no clue where this show is going anymore. What the fuck, y’all???

PS: These reviews (and the following Doctor Who ones) will ALSO be posted on the weekend. Please check the Master Schedule for when they go up! VICTORY.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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