Apr. 28th, 2015

sprocket: The trusted assistant at work (Astrid Fringe)
[personal profile] sprocket
This is an episode with all the plot. When the next tape directs the team into Observer territory, Walter reveals his secret collection of old Fringe trophies as he declares that there was a time when we solved Fringe cases. Now I think it's time we created a few of our own. His suggestion is embraced, just before a Resistance leak forces them to abandon the Harvard lab, and the team uncorks an old case of the week at an Observer checkpoint, allowing them to retrieve the next plot coupon: an unreadable equation. Walter's incipient meltdown is interrupted by a reunion with Broyles, which is interrupted by the arrival of an Observer. Broyles takes the equation while the Fringe team tries to lose the Observers in a warehouse district... but Captain Windmark catches up to Etta first.

Before getting to that, I'd like a moment to reflect on Olivia, Peter, and Astrid embracing the one of the biological agents the first season depicted as a creepy and unnatural horror. Fringe goes straight from revealing Walter's secret stash to the its weaponization, without much consideration of the associated role reversal. There was a time Fringe - especially Olivia and Astrid - looked for justice, or at least answers. Now they are the renegades outside the laws. [personal profile] wendelah1 was onto something when she compared the fourth season's iteration of the Fringe team to the Consortium. The kindest interpretation I can spin on the fifth season is a value-neutral approach to technology: the moral significance of a window into another universe or an aerosolized toxin is not inherent in the physical object. Instead, it's dependent on who uses it, or how it's used.

Etta's death is the Big Event of the episode. If it is affecting (which my personal capslock reaction to it suggests that, yes, I was very affected), it's because the rest of the episode knows how to play the audience like a violin. "The Bullet that Saved the World" is about love, and as we should be aware by now Fringe confuses feelings, especially love, with the physical forces of the universe. What caused the thing to happen? Love. Are you sure that's not a little ridic- EXCUSE ME OVERWHELMED WITH FEELINGS. HAVE AN ALTERNATE UNIVERSE.

The bullet Etta carried with her was the bullet that killed her mother. The world was not saved by killing a faceless villain, but by Olivia's death. The trick being that Walter gambled he could bring Olivia back to life, and won that gamble handily. The writers beat us over the head with that bullet as early as 4x19, and continue to use it as a symbol through season five.



Writer: Alison Schapker
Director: David Straiton
Originally Aired: October 26, 2012

Synopsis: On a trip to replace Etta's necklace chain, Peter narrowly evades the Observers, a vivid reminder of the hazards of 2036. The Observers capture and interrogate a suspected Resistance mole, temporarily driving the Fringe team from the Harvard lab. They retrieve another part of the Plan and hand it over to 2036!Broyles in an emotional reunion before the Observers pop up again, leading to a dramatic confrontation with tragic outcomes.

Most Memorable Quote: One for comedy:
WALTER: Don't you understand? This is Greek to me, except that I read Greek. This is... Aramaic to me. Not the Western Dialect, I do speak a little...

And one for tragedy:
CAPTAIN WINDMARK: He bought the necklace for you. For what purpose? I would like to know.

Links:
Transcript
A. V. Club
Entertainment Weekly
Polite Dissent
Pop Culture Nexus

Fanfiction: Long Lost Meeting, blazingphoenix, is an Olivia and Ella reunion tagged post-5x04.

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