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Fringe: The Bullet that Saved the World


I spent this entire episode waiting for something, watching to see how Fringe would avoid doing the obvious, plotting out how the eventual something would be sad—but resolved, as clearly the Over-Therians were destined to return, so it would all work out. But, frankly, I was overthinking it.

I’m referring, of course, to the death (and I was referring vaguely to avoid putting a spoiler on the front page). I knew there would be a death, because I didn’t get a chance to watch the episode until Saturday night, but I didn’t know whose it would be. Georgina Haig has been listed as a guest star, and fan reaction was mixed: it seemed too obvious that she would be the one to die. Viewed from that perspective, most of this episode felt like set-up for Peter’s death: his near-miss with the Observers and their wacky bomb, for instance, felt like foreshadowing. And so, I thought, clearly Olivia would die, since everything was clever misdirection.

It wasn’t. Or, in a way, it was. Peter risked himself foolishly and sweetly to give something of very little actual value, and incalculable emotional value, to his daughter. He put it all on the line for simple paternal love. Etta’s death is a death for Peter, in a way—when he and Olivia “lost” her all those years ago, he never lost hope. Now, he has nothing to hope for. If that’s not some kind of death…

What will that death mean? Will Peter be able to move beyond his grief? Will it fuel his rage and, by extension, the revolution? Will Olivia, Peter, Walter, and Astrid be able to learn how to control their thoughts the way Broyles can? It’s hard to imagine they could do so if the episodes maintain the same pace they have: is a smallish (year or so) time-jump going to happen to get us closer to any sort of success for Team Free Will?

In such a sea of questions, it’s nice to have a life-raft (or a dove, if we’re feeling Noah about the imagery) to grasp onto: Broyles. As a high-placed double-agent, he has been and will be invaluable to the resistance. But as a familiar face and old friend who hasn’t died, hasn’t gone evil, hasn’t even gone ambiguous—like Etta’s necklace, that has a price above rubies.

So does the return, however brief, of old Fringe cases. It was a nice call-back to past episodes, and I’m happy that Fringe is willing to give us fans a little treat like the porcupine man. I look forward to Walter’s basement of horrors being useful again. I really, really look forward to it, especially as Team Fringe will need all the help they can get deciphering the indecipherable physics.

But let’s return for a minute to my perpetually failed attempts at prognostication. The window to Over There made an appearance, and I can’t help but think it popped us to remind us of the people who we might never see, but could still see. Am I the only one hoping for a bit of Over Thereness? And how fascinating would it be, to see Olivia (for instance) at two different ages?

What Is Its Purpose?

• Astrid: “Walter, there’s nothing in there but lab equipment and your easy-bake oven.”

• Olivia: “You really had no idea that he was doing any of this?”
Astrid: “I wouldn’t have slept at night if I did.”

• Astrid: “Walter! Technically, this is a weapon of mass destruction.”
Walter: “So is the mosquito that carries the West Nile virus.”

• Walter: “You electrocuted me.”

• Walter: “Don’t you understand? This is Greek to me! Except that I read Greek. This is Aramaic to me. And not the western dialect, which I can speak a bit.”

• Broyles: “Agent Dunham.”
Olivia: “Phillip.”

• Lot of good Astrid lines this week, huh?

• Ah, the pinko scare!

• Loved Walter and Peter playing skeet in an enclosed space.

• The Wikipedia article on “Kilroy was here” is rather fascinating. To me, at least.

Three and a half? Four? out of four donut holes, still spongy.

Josie Kafka is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)


  1. I did NOT see this one coming! In fact I hadn't even noticed Georgina Haig was a guest star until this episode... but I thought she'd be there for the full 13! How cruel!!! :o(

    I was sure Broyles was going to die... all those narrow escapes with the Observers! Would have been sad, but not this much.


    Peter is going to lose it...

  2. Thanks for the review, Josie.

    Is it too much to ask and say:
    You guys should've hidden the bomb so that The Captain would have been obliterated also.

    But I guess the writers didn't want to get rid of His Creepiness just yet. :-)

    Heart-wrenching moment though. :(

    Etta will be back.
    She. is. coming. back.
    I tell you.

    No more dead member of the Free Will Team (borrow, Josie), okay, JJ?
    And, I want Etta back.
    So, there.

  3. I think they were signaling pretty hard who was going to die, but I kept thinking, nooooo! And then when they did the Olivia/Etta scene with the bullet necklace, I knew it would be Etta. I'm not emotionally invested in Etta, so of course, it was Peter's reaction that got to me. Olivia was stoic, which I thought was in character.

    It all made me feel bad because it sort of hints that Peter and Olivia and Walter's future just died. It made me feel that they're going to lose in the end. I really don't want the series to end that way. Somebody tell me I'm wrong.

  4. Very powerful.


    Immensely pissed to loose Etta, understandable story wise, but watch out for Peter's fury now. The finale seems grim, but I'm still convinced a miracle will happen (i.e. happy ending).

    And I wanna rip Windmark's guts with my own teeth. Congrats Mister Kopsa, your acting class teacher can be proud of ya.

  5. This one left me a bit dazed. I was mentally prepared for something awful to happen to Broyles. After all of his Over There counterparts' previous self sacrifices for the greater good, I just thought that's where things were headed. Especially since Lance Reddick is now only a guest star.

    I was not prepared to lose Etta. It seems to so cruel to Peter, Olivia, and the audience to give us those wonderfully emotional reunions, only to have her back in their lives for such a brief time. I actually had a moment of giddiness watching them all work together as a family to get into the train station, and I can't believe that's all over. I think I'm still mentally in denial, because I have yet to shed any tears over her death. Perhaps watching the fallout for Peter and Olivia will get to me.

    The reunion between Broyles and Olivia, on other hand, brought a rather large lump to my throat. At least he lives to fight another day (for now).

  6. To echo celticmarc, very powerful. At the end of the episode, my wife and I just turned and looked at each other for a good two minutes. An episode of television that produces an emotional response is a very well done piece of work. And Billie, I hope you're wrong too - I don't want the series to end that way either. Well done, Fringe team - writers, and especially, actors.

  7. Wow.

    This one had a powerful emotional impact on us all of us.

    I'd like to open a parenthesis people ! Every single time (or almost) that I see an Observer, this comes to my mind :


    And also, I am proposing Etta's death as one of the top five, no, ten, moments of the entire series. Fringe deserves a top ten rather than a top five.....

  8. I actually think that was bad writing. Since:

    1. She did not conclude anything, got anywhere, completed any points, created something, or moved anything.
    2. A better reason to fight a rebellion is for a living daughter instead of a dead one.
    3. Her arc wasn't resolved. Not by far.
    4. There was no actual point to her death that contributed as much as the character itself.
    5. They killed the fresh blood, the catalyst for change.

    Sad and pointless. At least for me.


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