FRINGE Recap: ‘Anomaly XB-6783746' - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

FRINGE Recap: ‘Anomaly XB-6783746′

December 22, 2012 by  

[This post contains spoilers for the FRINGE episode “Anomaly XB-6783746.” Please don’t read this until you’ve viewed the episode, or important aspects of the hour will be ruined for you.]

FRINGE fans, I think we need to observe (ugh, no pun intended) a moment of silence right about now.

Not only was this the last FRINGE episode of 2012, but this is the last hiatus the show will ever have, we got some answers…oh, yeah, and we lost one of our own.

Nina Sharp, the keeper of information, the riddle wrapped in the enigma (who still managed to be a badass 20+ years in the future while rocking a wheelchair), gave her life for the cause, to save the wee Observer (AKA Michael), and because she loved our Fringe team that much to die protecting them.

Here’s the thing: Nina’s death likely wasn’t a surprise to you as you were watching the episode unfold. It was clear Nina was in serious trouble before the opening credits rolled (when the Observers descended upon her office and realized she knew about Michael) and the second she rolled outside to call Olivia and accidentally made it possible for the Observers to track her, it seemed fairly obvious she was doomed one way or the other. But if she had to die, massive applause that it happened this way.

Nina was a badass woman until the very end. She joined our Fringe team for “Anomaly XB-6783746” when they told her they had Michael, and she took them to a Massive Dynamic black lab where she thought there might be useful tech to help communicate with him. When the tech didn’t work right and they realized they needed another piece, Peter/Olivia/Walter went off to search for it, leaving Nina with the wee Observer. After Olivia warned Nina the Observers knew she was a traitor, Nina was visibly shaken, and Michael, sensing her pain, reached out and touched her. She had a jolt, but the moment was interrupted when the Observers came. She helped hide Michael, and then faced off against Windmark as he judged her for keeping Observers as test subjects, read her — and she blocked some of it — and she taunted him about what she had learned about Observers from her research. (I’m sure if Windmark had emotions, he’d be annoyed about being compared to a lizard.) And then she paid him the ultimate “f*** off” move: she took a gun and shot herself in the head so she wouldn’t put Michael or her friends in danger by getting read. Once again, love overcame the Observers, because there was nothing Nina wouldn’t do to save these people. (Especially Olivia.) The self-satisfied smirk that Windmark was wearing when Nina brandished the gun at the Observers ever so faintly disappeared after her suicide when he realized Nina had gotten the better of him.

Do I still have dozens of Nina-based questions? Yes. Absolutely. Even if she had lived until the series finale, I still would have been left with questions. But I’m not unsatisfied. It may be helping that for as much as we knew this Nina, we really didn’t. We knew she was Olivia and Rachel’s caretaker when they were younger. We know (a little of) her story pre-Walter crossing universes in the 80s. But so much was a blank. In the old timeline, I had so many specific questions, where here it feels like my questions are broader, which is bizarrely helping with my satisfaction level.

But that’s nothing to speak of how traumatized I felt while watching the episode. Nina’s death was “sudden” (in theory), but something I had been steeling myself for. I was less prepared for Walter, Olivia, and Peter walking into the room and finding her body.

It took until my second viewing of the scene for me to realize how clearly you could see Olivia reflected in the pool of Nina’s blood. Anna Torv’s facial expressions as Olivia almost numbly processed yet another massive loss was heartbreaking. Walter’s panicked run, his face falling and his questioning, “Nina?” killed me. John Noble (Walter) plays anguish better than any actor out there.

And Peter. Peter who just a few episodes ago was willing to give up everything for revenge was their quiet rock, stroking his wife’s hair, comforting his grieving father. Joshua Jackson is often underrated, but he is really such a great presence on this show.

Thankfully, Nina’s sacrifice wasn’t wasted: Peter, Olivia, and Walter were able to retrieve the boy (who was hiding) and Michael shed a (literal) single tear over the loss of Nina. Way to kill me, kid.

Later, he and Walter were able to communicate. The big reveal? Donald is September. Again, not something that was likely a major surprise to many of you (and since last season ended with September coming to Walter’s lab to warn of the upcoming invasion, it certainly has been laid out for us), but how frustrating that the reveal was ruined by having Michael Cerveris’ (September) name in the opening credits.

Other thoughts, theories, etc.

  • “I’m nothing if I can’t be a resource for you.” Nice foreshadowing, Nina.
  • Blair Brown (Nina) was absolutely incredible in this episode. I’ve always been in awe of her layers as an actress, but she was breathtaking in this episode as Nina went through so many emotions in the final hours of her life.
  • I’m so glad we got a Peter/Nina chat. That relationship has been largely overlooked in the new timeline, but Nina would have likely been Walter’s best hope. I’m glad she was able to impart a bit of wisdom before she died. Though it did nothing to quiet my fears that Walter will ultimately die, too.
  • Broyles is now the sole team member who can freely move out in the world…how long will THAT last?
  • Walter seems to be slipping into his old personality more and more. I so appreciated Peter forcing Walter to acknowledge Michael by his name versus “the subject.”
  • So the Observers dubbed the wee Observer “Anomaly XB-6783746″…I think I’ll stick with wee Observer/Michael.
  • Was what Nina saw when Michael touched her what Walter saw? Or was she surprised by something else?
  • So, is Walter screwed in terms of getting his brain pieces taken out?
  • Can we give Astrid something more meaningful to do? Please?
  • Is Donald September pre-Observerness? Post-Observerness? And if the team didn’t witness something terrible happen to September pre-ambering, why the heck didn’t they think to seek him out before? At the very least, he’d be an ally.
  • Good for Olivia for opening up to Peter about what she felt when she saw Etta’s face on those “Resist” posters.
  • Bittersweet seeing Olivia and Peter taking care of Michael because they were never a part of Etta’s life when she was that age. I wonder if Peter thought about Henry at all.
  • It dawned on me tonight that they still haven’t touched back on Olivia’s slightly mistaken memories. I wonder when that will pop up again?
  • Windmark needs a painful, slow, torturous death. Painful. Very painful.
  • This episode re-emphasized my desire for there not to be a reboot. Yes, right now it’s dark. Yes, it’s dreary. Yes, it kind of hurts to think about how much has been lost. But it needs to be for something. This pain needs to have weight, or what’s the point?
  • Update (because I’d kick myself if I left this out after thinking about it for hours): I love the show’s use of flashbacks in recent episodes. It’s reminding me of so many of the best moments the series has had so far, and while I don’t know if there will be room to use them in the last three installments, I’ve been impressed every time they’ve done it.

This is it, guys. The last FRINGE hiatus ever. Only the three-episode series finale/two FRINGE Fridays to go. Were you moved by “Anomaly XB-6783746”? Have any great theories about the final three episodes? Let’s hear them!

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Filed under Fringe Recap


12 Responses to “FRINGE Recap: ‘Anomaly XB-6783746′”

  1. Jim on December 22nd, 2012 6:42 am

    What an amazing episode. Blair Brown’s performance was just so amazing and heartbreaking. I will miss Nina.

  2. JaniceLG on December 22nd, 2012 2:43 pm

    I really loved this episode, from beginning to end. And let’s not overlook Chris Tilton (the music from the flashback scene was new and totally different for him…I loved it!).

    Here is what I love about Blair Brown, she LOVES this character and this story. Glad they gave her character and her as an actor a moment in the spotlight as Nina has been a central figure since the pilot. As soon as Olivia called, I knew something potentially bad would happen and as the scenes went on, that something terrible would happen. How her life ended to me was shocking. As soon as she grabbed the gun, I started weeping. But thinking about it, she did it for the love of her daughter (really, this was Olivia’s mother in the end, even if we didn’t see it on screen), for the love of Walter and so the team (inc. Michael) would survive/be protected. And Michael showed her the future and how this would all play out. In the end, she killed herself knowing it would be ok (whatever that means to her).

    I do think Donald came after September, but with Fringe you never know. I’m curious if Michael is somehow related to (son)/or is September. Don’t want to overthink it as it will drive me nuts. KUDOS to Michael Cerveris for creating such an interesting, rich, complex character. Michael deserves a ton of credit as he was initially hired for a bit part. After seeing what he created (mannerisms, quietness, clothing choice, etc), we have what we are seeing on screen.

    It’s nice to see Olivia continue to open up to Peter (and Peter willing to be engaged), but in the end, the POlivia relationship was just handled poorly all along. At this point in their relationship, Olivia should not be surprised that Peter would care for her (they have been together for 5+ yrs as couple). When he asked her if she was ok, she looked surprised (same as the forest scene last week). Now when they kiss or have a moment, the POlivia worshipers just about crumble. Even with their difficult journey, this should be a mature, adult relationship that weaved into the fabric of the show. Ok, I went of on a tangent there. But I do love me some POlivia!

    As much as I love Anna Torv and John Noble, Josh Jackson is COMPLETELY underrated. Personally I think he’s been more consistent than Anna for 5 years. We’ll see more of Josh than Anna or John in the years to come and he’s going to eventually land a HUGE, leading man role. He deserves it. But can’t wait to see what Anna does next. Hope she doesn’t disappear and gets back to work in guest roles in 2013. P.S. I would marry JJ in a heartbeat…smart, witty and more handsome every year.

    Given that Olivia states there will be a reset, makes me think there will not be a reset. I’m sticking with my prediction (not sure how it will happen), Olivia will be the only surviving member of the big 3. Walter will sacrifice himelf for the team, but Peter sacrifice will be required as well. Peter will be ok with this given he knows Olivia will be ok by herself and their unborn child. The last scene maybe Peter seeing the future where Olivia is happy, playing with her child at the park. Broyles will not survive and as an inside joke Astrid will (how many times have we heard Jasika say the first thing she does when she gets a script is to see if she dies).

    Sorry, I totally rambled this morning. Again, love your reviews Marisa.

  3. greenerpuddles on December 22nd, 2012 3:36 pm

    I, too, am trying to figure out if Michael is September. Wouldn’t he have to be given all he knows about their lives spanning dimensions and timelines? Will Michael now grow to be the “humanized,” or “hairy,” September, aka Donald?

    By the by, if Mikey had reached out and touched someone earlier in the episode (Walter, for instance), Nina would still have a big, healthy brain. Just saying. Bald , little sonofawhoknowswhat.

  4. Vi Aguirre on December 22nd, 2012 4:13 pm

    I think this whole timeline thing is a lot more important than I first thought. I was thinking last night that they seem to be giving us an ending without a “real” ending. I think these invaders where made possible by the new timeline, a timeline without Peter. I think September couldn’t ultimately erase Peter completely because he’s attached to him in some way. I feel that the original timeline will be back and that the fight will be for their original timeline. Something like that. =(

    Anyway, this season has been totally heartbreaking for me. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking on my part. =)

  5. Amy tvgirl222 on December 22nd, 2012 5:40 pm

    Marisa, I need to rewatch a bit – I’m not nearly as fresh on all the details as you Fringe Experts…but the thing that struck me in this episode was that when flashback September said “The Boy needs to live”….it hit me that maybe he meant “The Boy (Anomaly Boy) needs to live.” That he didn’t mean Peter all this time. I am not up on the detail….but if seemed curious to echo that in this of all episodes.


  6. Kelly on December 22nd, 2012 5:56 pm

    Great, my tears had subsided until I read Janice’s comments about Nina & BB. I was gutted last night. Just like William & Walter had ‘always’ left themselves with more than one way out of somewhere I thought she & Michael would have escaped. I lulled myself into thinking that her angst was caused by the difficulty to ‘run’ with her in a wheelchair. When Windmark addressed her my stomach hit the floor.

    But wow, what a send off. If she had to go, it couldn’t have been better.

    After my reaction to this episode, I am more than marginally concerned with my well being on January 18th. I think I’ll forego boxed kleenex for rolls of bath tissue. Sort of a tissue-matic…lol

  7. Lilian on December 22nd, 2012 10:01 pm

    While I wish all the team survived I knew there would be casualties and while I’m sad that Nina died I am glad she went out in her own terms.

    I always wondered what happened to September, Water referred to him in 419, he said that what happened to him was unexpected. I figure he was captured or die not that he became Donald.

  8. Scott on December 23rd, 2012 4:58 am

    I know we still have 3 more episodes left, but i want to say that i love Fringe and the actors involved. They are a wonderful cast and I wish them to have continued success post-Fringe.

  9. IndySwain on December 23rd, 2012 12:27 pm

    Cool thoughts all. Okay we all know the timeline is going to be reset. So let’s really dig back. You know that Olivia and Peter met when they were young in Jacksonville at the lab… We may be resetting the timeline back that far and we’ll see them grow up, go to Prom, and ultimately get together and have Etta and yes as many have surmised they park scene will be enacted, Peter’s mother may be alive again (why she’d have married Walter is a massive mystery) A lot of other folks may be back too. If Astrid dies at the very last minute it will be in service of the timeline and she may be back too. In fact Olivia has to die again too, remember she dies in all timelines…. we’ll see

  10. Doc on December 27th, 2012 2:59 am

    If the show weren’t nearing the home stretch, there are lots of plot expanding ideas, but at this juncture, its all about contraction. Correct me if I’m wrong but fox contracted for 13 episodes in season 5. Anomaly was #10. So we have 3 shows to go. Now that is really depressing.

    So speculating on how Nina’s energy comes back (e.g., channeled into Astrid) is kind of silly. In fact this topic feels a bit like pulling off a band aid one hair at a time. I’m curious about what lies ahead, but anticipating the hurt, of one of my favorite programs the last 4 seasons.

  11. Ray Roberson on December 27th, 2012 2:39 pm

    I have spent several contemplating.

    RE: Donald/September
    From Walter’s flashbacks courtesy of Michael, we see Donald/September as a hairy-headed young man. If we are led to believe that the Observers are scientists, the Donald was a scientist that Walter met prior to or after the Invasion. In fact, I believe that there may be two separate groups: the Observers (scientific and passive) and the Invaders (dictatorial and aggressive). How Donald became September may be an event we are allowed to observe to completion over the last three episodes – in a manner that we observed Peter changing.

    RE: Michael
    I view Michael now as a complete empath communicating through touch rather than thoughts. I have not resolved what his part in the plan is, but I am dutifully following what the writers are allowing to share without reservation.

    RE: Timeline reset
    The only possible – and positive – way I could see a reset would be to go all the way back and allowed both Peters to live. With that, the motivations for “crossing over” and retribution are eliminated.

    Happy holidays, all. The pain of losing this show approaches. At least we can prepare for that.

  12. Adam on January 12th, 2013 2:17 pm

    can somebody tell me what is the music Donald gives the kid observer