‘Fringe’ Season 5, Episode 10 Review – The Beginning of the End

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fringe season 5 episode 10 review Fringe Season 5, Episode 10 Review   The Beginning of the End

In this week’s episode of Fringe, “Anomaly XB-6783746″, Captain Windmark evens the score with the Fringe team, killing one of their most important informants, as the identity of the Observer child is revealed. How will September help Walter defeat the Observers?

Now that the Observer child is safe with Walter, Nina Sharp attempts to help the Fringe team find out what secrets the mysterious child holds. But as Nina takes everyone to an underground laboratory where Observers were secretly being tested, her loyalty to the Observers is questioned, and Windmark begins to investigate Nina’s whereabouts, revealing the resistance’s “other” mole in the Ministry of Science. When Nina is ultimately labeled an enemy of the Observers, Windmark closes in on her location, threatening to reveal the whereabouts of the Observer child. After a face-to-face meeting between Windmark and Nina, one life is saved as another is lost – and the identity of the “Donald” is revealed.

After weeks of watching the Fringe team gain the upper hand in the battle against the Observers, it’s now time for Windmark to even the score. In what’s essentially a game of “cat and mouse” between him and Nina Sharp, this week’s episode attempts to make a more earnest connection with past seasons by gambling that the use of familiar faces and past storylines will help better strength this season’s overall story – one that only has three chapters (episodes) left.

Fringe, as a series, has always been at its best when it’s mixing science and the preternatural with whatever case – or enemy – the team is facing.  Although many early episodes in season 5 traded the series’ familiar scientific exploration with some much needed (though barely received) exposition about the (current) future setting, recent episodes have proven that Fringe is at its strongest when it plays close to its series origins of science and technology – not galactic battles traversing time and space. Unfortunately, at this point, what remains of Fringe is an awkward mash-up of both, where entertaining adventures into the “fringe” are forced to be accompanied by tales of a future no one could have seen coming – or wanted to.

Nevertheless, as Fringe begins to take the final steps towards its conclusion, certain unfortunate handlings of familiar characters does (slightly) reveal the difficulty that producers are having in providing satisfying endings to its original characters – as the need to still “sell” this season’s storyline has resulted in more than a few sacrificial lambs having to make their exit. But this time, it’s personal.

fringe season 5 episode 10 nina Fringe Season 5, Episode 10 Review   The Beginning of the End

The death of Nina Sharp is contained within this episode and, for the most part, is as unsatisfying as the rest of her (few) inclusions in this season. Remember Broyles? He’s still around – somewhere. Like Broyles, Nina received the same half-hearted inclusion in Fringe’s final season. Although she was a confidant to Walter, a lover to William, and a protector to Olivia, Nina received the same type of unceremonious death that everyone else – including Etta – received this year. Despite the presented situation likely requiring her death, it was short, quick and uneventful to anyone who watched the series up until this point – though still (somewhat) emotional.

Now that there are only three episodes of Fringe left, quick side-steps – like the death of Nina Sharp – to attach some type of emotional connection the events at hand are still occurring. While Etta’s death was as shocking as it was surprising, she was still a relatively new character, and her death was too grand to serve any other purpose than to quickly progress the plot. Nina’s death, though played in a similar way to Etta’s, should have been more – if for no other reason than to allow viewers to see how, exactly, the series’ core cast could be handled during their exists (if they occur).

With only three episodes left, and four main characters, who else in the group will end up like Nina Sharp, slumped over in a chair and draped in sheets? When Fringe received its final renewal last year, fans were hoping for a satisfying conclusion to characters they followed for years. At this point, from everything we’ve already seen, a satisfying conclusion may no longer be possible. If anything, many now hope for any conclusion. Unfortunately, “any” might just be what you get.

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Fringe returns Friday, January 11 with “The Boy Must Live” @9pm on Fox. You can check out a preview of next week’s episode below:

 

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  1. This show is definitely feeling rushed. With only 3 episodes left I can’t see them defeating the observers in a satisfying way. Most likely they’ll be defeated in a quickly explained and questionable way that won’t make much sense. The way they handled Peter becoming and unbecoming an observer was too rushed and not very emotionally connecting. Also, if observers can travel through space and time, how have they not killed off all the rebels? Any time an attack happens they could just go back in time to that spot before the attack and stop it before it happens.

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  2. I actually feel the opposite, i expected the show to have a very fast pace this season because of the mere 13 episodes as opposed to the standard 22, but instead they’ve slowly built it up, which i didn’t mind in the first handful, but now that we’re so close to the end, i don’t want it to all of a sudden kick into ultra gear and feel so drastically faster, or maybe i will enjoy the change? lol. I feel like this season is at a pace that would warrant 22 episodes, but they only have 13, so it’s kind of mind boggling.

  3. Josh said “it may not be a happy ending, and it may not be a good ending, but it will be an ending” (or something close to that, don’t remember exact wording). So that makes me nervous— but he used to be the king of disinformation, and Jasika says the ending will be really satisfying, and that makes me less nervous.

    This season has felt very slow-mo, with action/plot movement coming in small splashes. You could condense the important parts into less than half 13. I agree, too, that the earlier flavor of the series (before the redverse and the alt-worship started) was more interesting; it felt like they stayed too long in the altverse the way self-congratulatory rock bands used to do interminable guitar solos. But still I loved our main three characters, and have stuck with it because of them, and the rare quirkyness of the show, and the often stunning cinematography.
    I’ll miss the heck out of the show, and Fringe Division. And since it has always been about re-settings, if the ending doesn’t feel right to me I will just imagine it away, back to happier times for the Bishop tribe.

  4. Count me among the fans who liked Seasons 1-4 and who felt the conclusion to Season 4 would have made a fine ending to the series. This season is going to be quite forgettable. I wonder what the ratings have been…my guess would be that they have been steadily declining.

    • This season is indeed horrible, cliche in every way.

      Wyman has written this season for his favories Josh Jackosn and John Noble,
      and he is showing his disdain for Anna Torv.

      Multiple storylines for Peter and Walter, who already have their complete backstory told over and over,
      and Olivia Dunham has nothing, only being the worried wife of Peter.

      Ettas death was for Peter, Nina dies, focus on Walter, Noble doing his overacting crying, gets the credit,
      Anna is beautiful subtle heartbreaking as Olivia, gets nothing.

      They never did anything decent with Olivias backstory, season 5, and we never saw a thing from her family, no photograph of Olivia with mother and father (name???) etc etc etc.

      Olivia had a few things on Fringe:
      -FBI agent
      -the tank
      -cortexiphan
      -hero and chosen One (2.4 epi)
      -child-observer link

      -Hero and chosen One she already lost in season 3 to Peter
      -FBI agent and action person gone to Peter in season 5
      -cortexiphan only used for saving Peter or Walters storyline: they bring in his victims they have to feel sorry for him and then they die for him, so that Walter can feel even more sorry for himself.

      -Child Observer now gone to Walter, he needs everything the greedy bastard,
      -and to top it off the tank.
      The tank was Olivias in S1 and S3 Entrada, the tank could have been a way to finally do something with Olivias past.

      Instead Wyman has decided that at the end of the series no one will remember Olivia in Fringe, just as Peters little wife,
      and Anna Torv will get no credit for her brilliant acting in each and every second on screen, again this season, despite the lousy writing she gets.
      Wyman has been so full of Jackson and Noble it is sickening, he only talks about them, and to humilaite Anna even more, the last wrap was for his boy Josh.
      (as everyone knows that honour should go to number 1 on the call sheet Anna Torv, and even his Assist Director was shocked, as he pretended Anna was the last, only some Pacey fan got information from a crew member that it was in fact Josh Jackson)

      • My, My, My…as Walter would say. What’s the matter with you people, anyway? This is a TV series, not your life? (Or is it?) Just because it doesn’t meet your predictions as to how it might end, you trash it. Sigh! As I’ve said before, if you don’t like it, don’t watch it!
        Well, I have enjoyed it over the years, and I will enjoy it over the years again. A RARE OUTING. A DELIGHT FOR MY IMAGINATION.
        Drama, comedy, and SCYFY at its finest.

        • I agree with you, if they don’t like it, don’t watch it. IMO I’m really sad the series has only 3 episodes left, at least I can watch the reruns or buy it later on

        • THANK YOU, FINALLY

      • Although I agree this season is crap, I believe that the main plot of the first four seasons actually revolved around the characters of Walter Bishop and William Bell. The character of Olivia was just a player, albeit a principle one, in their story. Now having said that, I also agree that the character of Olivia is but a mere shadow of what she used to be, and I don’t know why she has taken such a back seat to Peter Bishop. But again, it is, basically, almost an entirely new storyline from the first four seasons, as the central focus is the Observers, who themselves are strikingly different than they were portrayed in the first four seasons. I guess the writers had to throw together something after they got an unexpected last year.

      • I agree that Olivia has been shoved to the background in this season. Very disappointing.

  5. Speak for yourself, reviewer. I love this season so far (as I love everything “Fringe” and Bishop/Dunham related). If you were a true fan, I believe you would love it still. Of course, that’s just how I see it. Please, don’t use the term “fans” so broadly.

    • All he said about the fans was that they were hoping for a satisfying conclusion. I don’t think that’s a controversial statement. Or were you actually hoping for the opposite – a totally unsatisfying conclusion?

    • Being a “fan” of something does not equal mindlessly accepting any drivel you get served up. That’s the kind of nonsense that gives fans a bad name as witless sheep who’ll watch anything.
      Really liked this show, but I hated the future episode in series 4 – which was also largely ripped off from Dollhouse, where I didn’t like it either – and season 5 was awful. Should have ended with series 4.
      If being a “fan” equals mindless adoration regardless of quality, count me out as being a fan of anything.

  6. How will September help Walter defeat the Observers?

    http://www.lendmarkloans.com/

    • Yes, September will use a Massachusetts based Mortgage company, to save the world from the observers… I can totally see how doing that will use all the items they have saved up so far to gain victory…

      • HAHAHAHA, I thought the same thing!

  7. I hate to see it end at all! When it started it had x-file staying potential, but by the third season that all begin to change. Still, I hate to see the show go. Not much good on TV these days and a greater void will now exist after this show ends.

  8. In my opinion this season has been pretty good (on par with season 4, but not as good as seasons 1-3).

    The last 20 min or so of the last episode however, is some of the best Fringe I have seen in 5 seasons. The acting, the writing and the reveals were awesome.

    I am really looking forward to the final 3 episodes, looks like it will be one hell of a ride.

  9. Interesting how they made Donald September… was hoping it was the boy… but at least this ties together the front and back.

    I don’t mind what they are doing although I would like to see a cameo by Mark Valley in the finale to explain some of the Season 1 plots.

    So where does one go for sci-fi now? Alphas? Warehouse 13? Revolution?

    Will there be a season without JJ Abrams?

  10. Really disappointed with this season as the conclusion definitely is rushed. (Although this past episode was intriguing from start to finish)

    Olivia has nothing to do, and the plot’s pace still feels like we have another 10 episodes left. Season 1-3 was the best of Fringe, but I love the main four characters so I’m sticking with it to the end.

  11. Just think of this season(5) as a spin off and that season 4′s ending was the real one. Going to the future was a cop out and I called it (to myself more than anything (imo)at the end of last season.

    The Eta (hated the character) nonsense has made the real/main characters current story crammed/rushed – if they didn’t bother with her and started off from where she died at the start I believe the story would have been amazing. Even focused more on Astrid’s story in the future would have been more satisfying. I didn’t/don’t care for the Eta’s death creating an emotional catalyst for the main characters crap as it just really annoys me that she has ruined the flow of the season – putting Olivia in the back seat as it were.

    They could have used the time to fill in story holes from past seasons smartly like they had done the last few episodes.

    Sorry for the little rant but with the time invested I am a tad annoyed so far.

    • Walter and his hallucinations of his old assistant reminds me of Baltar and his hallucinations of Number 6 in Battlestar Gallactica.

  12. I’ve been liking this season. I like the slower pace, I think Fringe is better when it’s at a slow pace and not rushing rushing rushing around trying to please everybody. I wasn’t too keen on season 3 and 4. I’d sooner forget they even happened, I’m shocked Peter didn’t use his Observer abilities to go back in time and make sure none of that Bellivia stuff ever happened.

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