Fringe Season 5 Review “The Bullet that Saved the World”

Well, this one day old article is now completely moot.

One of the great things about this TV season is all of the bold moves across the dial. In a time where the viewing populace has grown accustomed to television shows doing things along a similar pace, many shows are taking great efforts to surprise their audience. Fringe’s surprise move was to put an end to Etta’s time with us. While I was admittedly surprised by the decision, it’s not quite the catastrophic move that the show wants us to believe that it is. Ultimately, Etta’s death only matters in the context of how it will affect her parents. Peter’s look at the end of the episode would seem to indicate a dark turn in his character. Taking the show to a darker place would be quite welcome. As much as we may want it to be different, trying to usurp the uber-powerful overlords is going to be difficult to execute without getting your hands a little dirty.

One of my favorite parts of this episode was the advanced use of Windmark. In the article referenced above, I complained about the lack of menace that Windmark generates when he’s on the screen. This week, the bald-headed Observer mastermind was all things menace throughout the episode culminating with his ice cold killing of young Etta. The death of Etta officially jump starts this final season. We’ve spent some time gathering magic rocks and cutting tapes out of amber, but the stakes suddenly seem higher. Etta’s death may have upset her family, but it’s a necessary sacrifice for the health of the final season.

Another good site to see in this episode is the appearance of Phillip Broyles. What Anna Torv expresses in that scene where she meets him is an expression of genuine warmth. The characters have known each other for years, but you can’t discount the fact that Torv and Lance Reddick have been working together for these four years. As a result, the look of happiness and warmth on Torv’s face comes off as entirely genuine and far more heartwarming than her scenes with her daughter. We’ve seen their history and the evolution of their relationship. The moment was fleeting thanks to a well-placed tracker, but that moment stood out in this episode. It’s a moment that the show really earned.

Aside from his moment with Olivia, the return of Broyles was fun to watch. Not only does he connect our heroes to the much larger world around them, but he brings some much needed gravitas to a show that continues to twist off into a very foreign realm. The fact that he earned Special Appearance By in the opening credits doesn’t bode well for his future usage, but I’ll be looking forward to the next time he visits.

There are still a lot of videos to be removed from the amber, but Etta’s death made this battle official. I hope you don’t shed any tears for her. We’re back to the Core Four with a seemingly overwhelming enemy to defeat. We’re right where we need to be.