FRINGE Recap: ‘Five-Twenty-Ten’
November 16, 2012 by Marisa Roffman
This is what I want from a FRINGE episode.
It may be oversimplifying things, but Nina Sharp was very much needed this season. I get that she’s one of the “minor” regular characters, but look at what she brought to this episode. Heck, at the very least, thanks to her presence, we touched more on the Bell/Walter dynamic, which is so much a part of the DNA of the series.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
For as much as Peter’s newfound Observerness was mostly glossed over last week (in favor of Walter’s time in the pocket universe), the impact of his hasty — and destructive — decision played out this week in “Five-Twenty-Ten.” While in “Through the Looking Glass and What Walter Found There” ended with Peter alarmingly seeing the world in a very computer-y blue tint, the show picked up this week with things not much better. The younger Bishop watched a few Observers (and we got glimpses of what he saw happening in the very near future) and roped Anil into his plan to swap out one Observer’s suitcase for one Peter wanted him to have — but still kept Anil at arms length about what he was really up to.
Peter returned to the lab — with a trade for more fuel for the laser — and brushed off Olivia’s concerns about where he was and his lack of sleep. Walter freed tape 5 from the amber and realized the next items he needed were in one of the old Kelvin Genetic labs he and Bell used to have. Tape!Walter told the 2036 team that Bell was storing two of the Observer cylinders in his secret room and could be unlocked by Bell’s hand print. Thanks to Walter’s lingering confusion/memory loss, he thought that was the reason Bell was ambered with them, but he (and viewers) were told that pre-invasion Bell contacted Walter, wanting to help defeat them…and then he betrayed the group to “gain favor” with the baldies. Apparently, he called Peter up in Boston to get him to return (and sent Olivia to get the thought unifer) and by the time Peter arrived, Bell was with Astrid and Walter. But then the Observers found them, they realized Bell led them to the group — it’s curious they didn’t wait until Olivia was there to confront them and nab all of them at once — and then Walter ambered them. (My question: did Bell betray them twice? Or was bringing the Observers to them the same betrayal Astrid was talking about? Given William Bell’s nature, anything is possible.)
The team traveled to the lab to find the outside destroyed. Thanks to Peter’s (admittedly) useful Obsever-y tech, he was able to see where the doors should have been. He told the group, but Olivia was more concerned about the blood coming from his ear. Peter got a call from Anil and he was frustrated to find out that the sequence of events he predicted didn’t come to pass. He told the group he was going to see Anil (while blaming it on the other guy), and Walter speculated Nina Sharp might be of use since she worked for the Ministry of Science. (Yes she would, Walter. How kind of you to finally realize that.)
Olivia, however, wasn’t buying what Peter was selling. After he tried to charm her by saying, “You’ve got that look on your face…the look that says, ‘I’m worried about you,'” she fired back by asking if she should be. He smoothly lied, but Olivia didn’t seem to believe him.
Nina reunited with the Fringe team, and her “I never thought I’d see you again” to Olivia broke my heart a little. Poor Nina…Olivia was a woman she thought of as her daughter. To lose her (and everyone else) for several decades? How tragic.
The reunion did also shed a little light on what Nina does know and who she was involved with: Nina noted “Etta was very special to me” (something we got a very, very, very brief glimpse at in season 4’s “Letters of Transit”) and that Broyles was the one to tell her about Etta’s death. (Guessing Etta’s death hit him hard, too. Hopefully we’ll touch back with him sooner versus later.)
While Nina didn’t have a device to help the team clear the rubble from the building, she did note that the Observers had created something that sped up molecules in a controlled area — which would essentially make the solid matter evaporate. She told them she’d meet them at a different part of the building in ten minutes.
For as angry or resentful as Walter and Nina may have been with each other over the decades, there’s always been this underlying level of affection between the duo. It was nice to have her apologize for telling Etta and Simon how to re-implant the pieces of his brain he had previously demanded be taken out. It wasn’t totally necessary, but it was a nice touch. She inquired whether there had been any changes to his personality, and viewers didn’t even need to have seen last week’s episode (where Walter lamented that) to know the answer — the look on John Noble’s (Walter) face said it all. Walter downplayed it, but he asked Nina whether she saw any of that in him. She told him she didn’t, but he’d know better. When Nina asked if Walter was worried, he insisted it’s different this time: “I’m different. I have Peter. He won’t let me become that man again.”
And I have to admit, that made me tear up. Walter’s blinding, unquestioned faith in his son is lovely — and would usually be warranted — but viewers know that Peter likely won’t be able to help Walter if he continues down this path. It’s possible Peter’s revenge quest could end up taking down both Bishop men.
Peter and Anil met up in the park and went over what went down. Peter realized the Observer was on his com, which was a variable Peter didn’t see coming. Peter insisted he’d now switched the briefcase himself and told Anil to go to a building and to call him when two Observers — Royce and Mueller — arrived at 6:17.
As Astrid and Olivia are schooled on the gadgets that would let them into the building where Bell’s storage space was, Nina told Walter she wasn’t entirely sure Peter would be enough to “save” Walter from becoming the man he once was.
Nina reminded Walter that love isn’t always enough: she wasn’t enough for Bell “because nothing can compare to that feeling, that kind of power.” Walter coldly told her the real reason she couldn’t hold on to Bell was because he never loved her; he only loved himself. That didn’t sit so well with Ms. Sharp, who said she did now see traces of the man he used to be.
“The Walter I know would never say anything so cruel,” Nina told him.
But Walter still insisted he’d be fine: “I’ve come a long way: I love my son, he loves me. That will save me.”
Olivia interrupted the tense conversation to say they were ready to go. Nina warned them the Observers monitor things closely, so they’d only have a few minutes between setting off the device at the building before the Observers came to see what was going on.
Meanwhile, at (a rather bright) 6:17, Anil watched as an explosion rocked the room the Observers went into, thanks to Peter’s swapped out briefcase. Anil called Peter and told him it was a success. Peter met back up with the group and continued lying (he claimed he waited for Anil for an hour and Anil had just called to say he had been stopped at a check point…but he had no clue why Anil had wanted to meet), and Olivia was so not buying it. (Smart girl.)
The team used the gadget to break away the concrete and easily walked in. Walter brought out Bell’s now-unambered hand and got into his storage. Peter found a safe (which Walter recalled Bell had installed to hold his most prized possessions) and Walter said the code must be the same one Bell used for everything. (Walter cited Bell’s “terrible memory”…”too much LSD, I suppose.”)
Walter couldn’t remember the code, but Peter talked to him calmly and told his father to relax and clear his head. Walter remembered the code: 5. 20. 10. (Hey, episode title name.)
The cylinders weren’t in the safe, but a little device was. Also there? A photo of Nina Sharp. Walter pockets that. When Peter touched the device that Bell had locked up, the two cylinders emerged from the ground. Perhaps it’s a trigger only Observers can use to summon the cylinders? Was September the one who was intended to use the device?
Peter and Astrid each take a cylinder, and the younger Bishop told Olivia, “It’s logical we split up.” Uh, that’s not human talk, Peter. She let him go, and Walter told her he wanted to make a stop before they headed back to the lab.
Walter met with Nina and gave her the picture Bell had of her in his safe: “I was wrong, he did love you. And it wasn’t enough…I’m scared, Nina. Every day that goes by, I feel him more and more. I’m losing myself. I’m becoming the man I was, just like before. Everyone that I care about will be driven away and suffer because of me.”
Walter insisted Nina needed to take out the pieces of his brain that had just been put back in. We don’t get to see her answer, but hm…
Meanwhile, Olivia went to see Peter and found what I’ll call the “walls of crazy.” (Most recently seen on HOMELAND and SCANDAL.) Peter found her and explained all the insanity was actually timelines for the Observers — for Windmark’s top guys. He said he wanted to use that info against them and bluntly told Olivia about what he had done:
Peter: The tech that gave them their advantage over us, I have it now.
Olivia: That thing in their heads? You implanted one in yourself?
Peter: I’ve been following them. They don’t know where I am, but I know where they are. Today. Yesterday. And the day before that. It gives me enough information to determine their probable futures. Mueller was going to get in a town car and be late to the meeting. Royce would have left. I needed them there at the same time. I made that happen.
Olivia: What have you done?
Peter: I used a toxin from Walter’s cold storage. The flesh-eating toxin that killed everyone aboard flight 627. Our first Fringe experience was their last.
Olivia: That’s why you knew they wouldn’t be coming for us at the storage site. You knew they would still be responding to your attack.
And then Peter pulled the Observer trick and mirrored Olivia’s words as she told him, “You can do this. This is…dangerous.”
But Observer!Peter was single-minded: “We’re going to avenge Etta. Windmark’s next.”
And Olivia left.
We then got a wicked montage set to David Bowie’s “The Man that Sold the World” of Peter being Observer-y, Walter in the lab, and Windmark walking on an elevator.
And then a clump of Peter’s hair fell out.
It’s going to be a long three weeks until the show returns.
What kept popping into my head during the episode was how the two Bishop men reminded me of other versions of themselves. Yes, Peter was very Observer-y (especially by the end of the episode), but his ability to smoothly and confidently lie to Olivia reminded me a bit of the man we met in the pilot: the con man who really was only concerned about himself and what he was doing. It was like the tech was wiping away all the emotional connections and progress he made over the years.
As for Walter, so much of what he said and did was shaded with the Walternate of seasons 2-3. Walternate did what he felt needed to be done, damn the consequences. He was hardened, he had confidence, he had hubris, he was everything Walter was not. In “Five-Twenty-Ten,” it felt like I was watching Walternate with bits of Walter mixed in. Incredibly unsettling to watch.
- Etta’s death has certainly joined the “Marionette” end scene as “painful scenes that are still in the ‘previously on’ segments for longer than my heart needs.”
- Did anyone else think that radio was going to turn on/start properly transmitting once Walter turned on the David Bowie record?
- Similarly, I was expecting something to happen when Windmark was in the elevator at the end. Whether it was going to be Bell (fresh out of amber), or someone else unexpected, I was braced for a reveal there.
- Joshua Jackson (Peter) is disturbingly good at being Observer-y.
- I loved the Olivia and Astrid scene where they talked about how Olivia and Peter were holding up. Poor Astrid was misguided when she thought Peter was doing better, but it was nice to see the two women actually talking about something important.
- How has no one spotted the Fringe team lately? They’re basically the worst hiders ever at this point. (Yes, I saw the man slow down as the team walked, but they weren’t stopped. Between that and Peter sitting in a restaurant full of Observers, they’re the luckiest fugitives alive.)
- Astrid’s face at the scientist who scolded her? Priceless.
- We still don’t know WHY Bell used “five-twenty-ten” as the code for everything. I wonder if this will be something that is forever a mystery…?
- Between Peter making Windmark his next target and the promos for the next episode, it almost feels like we’re gearing up for the series finale in the next episode or two. I’m glad we still have six more installments left.
- I hope we get a scene between Leonard Nimoy (Bell) and Blair Brown (Nina) before the series ends.
- Walter is going to be crushed when he finds out what Peter has done to himself.
Exchange of the night:
Walter: Belly, you monster!
Peter: What is it, Walter?
Walter: My Bowie! He stole it. It’s not enough to be institutionalized and betray a friendship, but he pilfered my record collection as well!
So, what did you think?
Filed under Fringe Recap