Mark Watches ‘Fringe’: S05E08 – The Human Kind

In the eighth episode of the fifth season of Fringe, Olivia and Walter struggle with Peter’s horrible decision, and Olivia makes contact with an oracle who has a message of faith. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Fringe.

This was a good episode, but I think it’s the weakest this season. Which is not to say it’s bad or disappointing or superfluous! This part of the story needed to happen, and because of that, it does feel like the story was deflated a bit.

  • I entertained a non-sensical, totally absurd theory for about 60 seconds at the start of this episode: Olivia had Anil get that Observer implant for her so she could use it herself to stop Peter. Like, seriously, Mark: WHAT PART OF THAT MAKES ANY SENSE? I don’t know, I thought maybe she’d use it to bend time to catch up with Peter and follow him and… yeah, it’s an awful, awful, AWFUL idea.
  • Wow, how painful must it have been to watch posters of your daughter’s face being ripped away and replaced with Observer propaganda? The fucking worst, I swear.
  • What’s been so interesting about Peter transforming into an Observer is that we’ve gotten a very intimate look at how their brains operate, both physiologically (given the diagnostic model Walter ran) and literally. We saw how Peter was able to work through multiple hypotheses of time, we’ve watched him travel through space, and in the opening of this episode, we see him organize multiple timelines belonging to Windmark. It’s both impressive and terrifying. I’m also at a point where the mere appearance of an Observer is creepy as fuck, so I worried that Peter hadn’t factored in a variable that brought Windmark to Etta’s apartment.
  • “5:42 YOU ARE HERE.” 100% done, HOLY SHIT, PETER.
  • Okay, so that piece of Observer tech LITERALLY adds more wrinkles to the brain, pushing out emotional thought for logical thought. TERRIFYING. How would the team have dealt with this if Peter had allowed it to become permanent???
  • Anna Torv, my god, you are such a spectacular actress, and that moment when Olivia begged to go retrieve the magnet because she was “crawling out of her skin” was incredible. How do you convey such complex emotions so effortlessly? And for that matter, both John Noble and Joshua Jackson are out of this world in this episode. THIS SHOW IS JUST SO GOOD, AND IT PAINS ME TO KNOW IT’S NOT THE BIGGEST THING IN THE WORLD.
  • And that’s about as far as my excitement goes. Scott is great in her role, but did this show seriously just cast a black woman in the role of a mystical person of faith? Like, not one aspect of the role of Simone strays from a stereotype of black women in media that pops up ALL THE TIME. What’s so infuriating about Simone’s character is that aside from the mystery of who her mother met twenty-one years ago, there’s absolutely no depth to her character. She is an oracle, but she speaks largely in ambiguous terms, she gives Olivia nothing to go on, and there’s no foreseeable point to anything she says here. Okay, so she’s positive and full of faith. Is this meant as merely a contrast to Olivia feeling a lack of faith because of her experiences? Even if that’s the case, I don’t even know if that’s true from what we’ve seen this season. Even amidst the loss of her daughter – for the second time – she still finds hope to cling to and a reason to keep pushing on. So why is she being set up against Simone? Don’t they both inherently agree on the same premise? Unless Simone is a multi-episode character and “The Human Kind” was meant to just introduce her, I’m disappointed about how her character was written. Mostly, I just don’t get it.
  • Thankfully, there’s still a lot of great stuff in the Peter storyline. His fight in that building with Windmark is exciting and riveting, and watching this expert Observer go head-to-head with Peter scared me a little. It’s meant as a comparison to the death of Etta, as Windmark cruelly shows Peter what Etta’s last thoughts are. I truly believe he did this as a way to convince Peter to abandon his emotions forever, to push him further down the road towards full transformation. I wonder if this had actually happened, Peter would have lost all emotional ties to the Resistance force and his family and friends. Windmark was clearly pleased to see this happen. Well, he also wants Peter dead, so that might not be the case here, but I’m just thinking aloud.
  • I wonder if someone at that junkyard called the hijackers to let them know Olivia was on her way.
  • I wonder if Olivia knows she is the best ever because she built a gun out of found objects in that room. That was some MacGyver shit, y’all, and I fucking loved it.
  • So, was the entire point of Simone to remind Olivia that Etta was always with her, foreshadowing the fact that the bullet she wore was going to be used to kill the two hijackers? Meh. Still, that escape sequence ruled!
  • Well, Walter was used just barely more than Astrid. I’m still going to ask for more Astrid. This episode was more of a vehicle for Peter/Olivia, though.
  • Which means we need to talk about that last scene! Joshua Jackson really does his best acting in this arc, and hearing him methodically talk of what he plans to do with Windmark is chilling. You can tell his transformation is nearly complete, so it heightens the tension of the scene. Olivia has to convince Peter to stop this suicide mission because it is going to end his life. She knows this can only end in disaster. And that’s something I brought up in an earlier review: this show felt like it was going straight into unending tragedy. I suppose that’s why I do feel deflated. As uncomfortable and frightened as I was, this whole season has been so entertaining. Where do these characters go now? Peter willingly removed the implant, and a major plot just came to and end. What’s next?
  • That being said, I am still quite excited for this show, and I think the tiny plot crumbs the writers have been leaving in each episode are hinting towards something huge in the next couple episodes. Did Simone not tell something important to Olivia? What was the tortured Observer talking about when he said that Peter didn’t know something he already knew? Who is Donald, and where is the young boy from that pocket universe? I’m not at all ready to say that this season is taking a nosedive or anything like that. There are too many unanswered questions, and just because the Peter!Observer storyline has come to an end, that doesn’t mean another one can’t start up. If you’ll excuse the cheesy choice of words, I have faith that these last five episodes are going to deliver. The show hasn’t disappointed me before.
  • So, what do we think will happen to Peter post-Observer? Will he retain anything from the tech being in his body? He has extra wrinkles in his brain, so it stands to reason that they’ll still be there even after the tech came out of his body. Does that mean he’ll be able to combine the logical and the emotional in new ways? What’s he going to do at 5:12pm the next day?

OH GOD, IT’S SO AWESOME TO BE CAUGHT UP. Also, it’s agonizing because I don’t want to wait.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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