After 5 years on the year, Fringe will finally come to an end next week. And in this week’s penultimate episode of Fringe, “The Boy Must Live”, Walter’s plan to defeat the Observers is finally revealed, while a former ally reunites with the team after 21 years.

Now that the identity of Donald is revealed to be September, Walter visits the isolation tank to pinpoint his location and does so, thanks to some help from the Observer child. September – now human – reminds Walter about his time traveling plan to defeat the Observers, requiring Walter to sacrifice himself in order for the plan succeed and revealing how important the Observer child is to cause. Meanwhile, Windmark finds out about September and the Observer child, and Windmark stops at nothing to gain control over the key to Walter’s plan.

With only one (two-hour) episode of Fringe left, the pieces to this season’s puzzle are now coming together, finally revealing Walter’s plan to defeat the Observers – which may or not return everything to normal. This, above everything else, is the core story for the season – a story which took 10 episodes (read: hours) to fully reveal itself. After weeks and weeks of watching an Observer battle which is, essentially, outside of past seasonal story-arcs, a hint at a “time travel fix” may be the light at the end of the tunnel that fans have been waiting for. Still, suspension of disbelief may be required.

Piece by piece, Walter’s plan has been coming together – slowly. Now, thanks to September, the few remaining (though extremely important) pieces have already been collected. With only one episode left, being able to see everything come together is rewarding, even if September’s “I’ve got the rest of the required items” convenience is a bit disconcerting. Still, in the list of faults for Fringe season 5 this one is at the bottom; while it would have been nice to truly see the future Observer world (not just The Matrix version of it), the fact that it’s bringing the story back to Walter provides reassurance to fans that the core series storyline has remained intact throughout various travels through time and alternate universes.

The Observer child, though interesting in regards to the Observers, has unfortunately yet to fully reveal itself. Aside from explaining how humans decided to trade emotions for a higher intellect, thus creating the Observers, the Observer child serving as an anomaly (intelligence and emotions) better helps develop the Observer storyline. However, the Observer storyline isn’t what’s going to interest fans the most.

Fringe season 5 has always felt like a stand-alone miniseries of a show championed for 4 years. So even though the Observer child September are providing some much needed information about the Fringe team’s foe, that information wouldn’t have been needed if a time jump didn’t occur in the creation of season 5. Fortunately, the hint of potential time travel and focus on Walter is what will pique most fans’ interest.

Ever since the beginning of Fringe, audiences have been following the wonderfully chaotic, deeply emotional journey of Walter Bishop as he travels through time and space, all in an attempt to come to terms (or fix) a decision he made to save his otherworldly son. This story of struggle, no matter when or where Walter may travel, has remained throughout the series’ run. Although its appearance hasn’t been as strong in season 5 as it has in past seasons, Walter’s battle with himself and his past decisions still remain – and this is where much anticipation for the finale comes into play.

Although the Observers will likely be defeated, and the Observer child is likely to change the course of the future forever, it will be Walter’s story which will illicit the most emotions, and rightfully so. Because before there were Observers, before there were cartoon adventures into Leonard Nimoy’s brain (in Olivia), there was a brilliant man in a psychiatric hospital who simply wanted to save his son, not matter what the cost. Could it be that, in the finale episode, Walter will have the pay a real price for what he’s done?

Fringe series finale airs next Friday on Fox. You can check out a previous of next week’s episode below: