Fringe Season 5: 5 Questions About “Five Twenty Ten”

Just the title of this week’s Fringe episode – “Five Twenty Ten” – raises questions. What does it mean? Is it a 90210-esque zipcode? Is it the percentage of Olivia losing her cool when she finds out what Peter has done to himself? Or the collective number of Twizzlers that Walter has eaten across the whole series? Expect an answer – and five more sensible questions – under the jump.

How Do The Observers’ Powers Work?
If the Observers’ technical implants give them the ability to predict the most probably future, as Peter explained that he was doing to the Observers, exactly why haven’t the Observers gone on to completely destroy the Resistance and the Fringe team altogether? Yes, yes, I understand that there are the variables within everyday reality and everything, but still: With all of the Observers, they wouldn’t be able to account for the variables and “win”? Part of me wonders if they’re playing a slightly different game to the one that everyone thinks that they’re playing: What if they’re still manipulating things to ensure that they exist in the first place, by pushing events to the point where Peter becomes the first Observer? After all, you saw how he was acting this week, and now that he’s losing his hair…

Is That Really Just Marathon Man?
Color me somewhat unconvinced that Walter’s recollection of his meeting with William Bell and the mysterious other man with an accent really was just him getting mixed up with a memory from the movie Marathon Man. Sure, it was a funny/sad moment and all, but why didn’t anyone seem interested in pursuing it beyond that? I wonder if the man with the accent was the mysterious Donald…? Oh, and talking of William Bell…

Have We Seen The Last of William Bell?
The mention of Bell “selling [the Fringe team] out to the Observers” struck me, because… Well, what would Bell have received in return for that? The last we saw of Bell, chronologically-speaking, was in “Letters of Transit,” where he was trapped in amber and had his hand severed/stolen by Walter – Is it possible that he could have been discovered and de-ambered afterwards? Could he still have information on Walter’s master plan (Perhaps even more than Walter does, let’s face it) – and, if so, would he still be useful to the Observers?

Was That Really Walter’s Brain Implanted Inside Him?
Or, my William Bell paranoia, Part 2. For the second week in a row, Walter talks as if the “old” him that’s growing inside his brain as a result of the re-implant in “Letters of Transit” is another person. Of course, it is in many senses (Walter as he has become throughout the series is clearly a very different person from the one who worked with Bell way back when), and it’s a device that allows the Walter’s Brain Implant/Peter’s Brain Implant parallels to be all the more obvious as well. And yet, I find myself wondering: What if that wasn’t actually a piece of Walter’s brain that was re-inserted? What if it was William Bell’s, or someone else’s, and the idea of someone else taking over Walter as a result is just a little bit more literal than anyone has actually realized…?

What Has Happened to Olivia?
This one is less a serious question and more a gripe. Remember when Olivia Dunham was someone who would get things done, and wasn’t content to just stay in the background and say “Something’s probably wrong, but I will just be worried and not actually do anything about it”? I can understand some of the reasons behind Olivia’s passiveness – She is not only grieving for her daughter, but she is also twenty years out of time and in a world where she has, to all intents and purposes, lost everything already – but, even so… This Olivia just doesn’t feel consistent with the character from the last four seasons, and as the season continues, I find myself wanting the old Olivia back… or, at least, a new Olivia that would actually stand up to Peter and not just leave, distressed, when she realizes that he’s done the stupidest thing imaginable.

News From Our Partners

Comments

  • dave

    do you think that peter is September? i really hope not because that would be lame. However i have to admit that While you are right that Olivia hasn’t been main character at all this year (first it was Etta, now its peter) I am not fully hating this season. We have to wait 3 weeks now for next episode :(

  • Forensics216

    From what I understand of how the Observer’s “tech” and their abilities work, I think that their ability to predict what happens comes from their ability to “rank” possible futures. I think Peter used that ability and twisted it to his advantage, much like September did a couple of seasons ago (“give me the keys and save the girl”) to test Walter. Peter was able to manipulate the actions of those three Observers because he studied their movements for days and then started a chain event that would put the three together. How would the Observers be able to rank possible futures of a hiding, fighting rebellious, insurgent Fringe Team to manipulate them? There may be too many variables to control for there that make it too difficult to apprehend them, especially since they are (mostly-I’m looking at you Observereter) human and can be prone to reacting emotionally to things as opposed to logically (like in 5×04). That’s how I figure the Observers haven’t gotten them yet or, maybe I’m wrong and they have spent the whole season manipulating the team to where they are now.

  • Katnisspeeta1258

    Oh yeah, poor Olivia, while Peter has ALWAYS been in the background while Olivia and walter were always in the forefront. Btw, last time I checked, Olivia is no longer FBI so she has no power over ANYONE. That’s why people are mad cause Olivia isn’t the most powerful person in the room anymore or the BABYSITTER. I mean HEAVEN FORBID that two grown men can’t take care of stuff THEMSELVES. People can’t just get over their Olivia love for a damn second and understand that PETER AND WALTER are not children and they dont need a woman to make their own decisions for them. Annoying feminist crap.

  • Whatthebucks

     Is this a joke?

  • vintown

    It is completely believable that the Observers would have de-ambered WIlliam Bell since they already de-ambered Simon and did weird experiments on him. 

  • Katnisspeeta1258

    It’s no more of a “joke” when Olivia fans hate to watch men be men and not scared little girls who wait until Olivia comes home.

  • Cybertigger

    I can’t help but think that it is coming to turn out the Peter is the original Observer and the entire series is nothing but a big loop. The Observers watched Walter save Peter becasue he was saving the first, just like the reason they can move through time is the same reason and way he was able to use the machine, etc…

  • Yves

    Although Olivia’s character has been lackluster so far it’s actually going to be her (and Astrid) that have to sort things out. If Walter gets pseudo-lobotomised and Peter becomes an Observer, the only humanity and sanity left will be the ladies. 

    In any case, this episode left me so disturbed that I literally had nightmares after watching it. I do think it’s brilliant in terms of poetic layering. Beyond everyone’s comment that Walter and Peter are having parallel but opposite experiences (losing themselves), there’s another layer: the gravity of what Peter has done in transforming himself into an Observer, for the sake of his child. This echoes what Walter did in Peter’s name. 

    I do have a terrible sinking feeling that Peter is the first Observer — perhaps this would have been the case in a future (prior to the Observer take-over as well) where he discovered or invented some tech to help him cross over in universes and through time (Observer tech). But perhaps due to all events being out of synch there was a possibility he would not invent this tech (laying out the possibility of an Observer-less future on Earth). The Observers — who were not on Earth at the time but ‘somewhere in time’ perhaps in a pocket universe couldn’t have that so they set about tweaking things so that Peter would go into the future in Amber and ultimately embed himself with the tech anyway.

    This last part is confirmed by scenes from the next episode when Widmarck says he had planned this all along. 

  • ND

    This is not a joke, just a serious troll!

  • sandwich eater

     I figured that their prediction abilities were like that guy in the one episode in Season 3 who could predict the future because he could solve complicated “differential equations” in his head.  It doesn’t really make sense mathematically, but it basically means that the Observers and Peter are able to predict the future based on the recent past, which is why Peter is “observing” the Observers to predict their futures.

  • ND

    You are right on with your thoughts about Olivia. This is something that I am seeing mentioned in many other reviews so you are definitely not alone. I would also like the old Olivia back.

  • maja

    I’m really sorry but I just can’t help it: you have to be f***** kidding, right?

  • september

    ok there trolly pants. come back when you turn 13.

  • Connerytl

    If Peter is the first Observer, then why did they want to erase him from time?

  • http://twitter.com/BeckyNBeck Becky Nunnally

    I think we are going to see that “old/new Olivia” in the next episode “The Human Kind”. I think she is gonna woman up and fight for her man (and his beautiful hair) and start kickin’ some serious butt. After all, this is the episode where she meets with her very own personalized Oracle. 

  • http://twitter.com/BeckyNBeck Becky Nunnally

    I was thinking about that as a possibility, then I thought of how the other Observers (all except September) wanted Peter to be “erased”, but everyone just naturally loves him so much that he re-appeared. If he was the First Observer, wouldn’t they all want him to be around so they could exist?

  • Hgarcia8810

    But how would that work? The Observers wanted Peter blipped out of existence. It was September that fought for Peter’s existential survival. And September is a sort of rogue, fighting for the survival of mankind and whatnot, as far as we know. And if Peter were to be the original observer, wouldn’t he have to procreate to pass that on and for it to be significant? Plus, it wasn’t evolution that turned Peter. It was tech and they already have that. Why would they need Peter?

  • kalorama

    I agree totally about the change in Olivia not being a positive one, but I pretty much saw this one coming (if not exactly the circumstances surrounding it) when Peter returned to the show in the “alternate” timeline last season.

     I thought it was a mistake (although predictable and inevitable) for Peter and Olivia to get together and I thought that his complete absence from the show at the beginning of last season and the change in the status quo that came as a result of the altered timeline resulted in more interesting iterations of the other characters and the most interesting version of the show since its inception. Oliva seemed tougher, more commanding, and less prone to doubt than in her previous incarnation, and Astrid got to be more than Walter’s nursemaid and  actually got to act like an FBI agent for a change. Then Peter returned and (again, predictably and inevitably) the whole show became about him trying to get Oliva back. And once he did, the new improved Olivia we got simply vanished.

  • Demoncat4

    if any one freed bell it would proably be nina or bell is part of walters plan all along and selling the fringe team out was part of it too. as for the implants. in walters that could be bell brain or walters real brain indeed or maybe bell is using walter as a way to like with oliva reform. oliva behavior could be do to not only her giref but due to the fact she is suppose to be long gone and its just peter and walter who run into etta. in letter of transit

  • Rcruz61

    Olivia is really, really out of her comfort zone (so are the others) so I’m willing to cut her some slack as far as not acting the way she used to in past episodes. However, when and if the situation demands it, I also expect her to rise to the occasion.

  • Anna

    Olivia has only 1 storyline , and that started back at the end of S3 and that is Peter, Peter, Peter.
    Wyman thinks that Olivia growth goes via being lied to and deceived by Peter in S3, but still running after him, being dosed by Cortexiphan by Nina and getting memories back and giving up everything for Peter S4 and now only being worried for Peter, who cares that Olivia lost Etta, that is all Peters pain.

    This season the last 3 episodes the lines she gets are I worry for Peter, I love you, I need you, I do not want to lose you,  words that a cliche woman in a cliche macho hero movie wouldsay, not Olivia Dunham.

    Read a recent interview with Wyman at Fearnet, and you know why Olivia has nothing else to do but care and worry for Peter, he wants us to show her emotions, and she has to be the Motherfigure of these arrogant egocentric men I guess.

    If Wyman wants to give emotional depth, do it via her past and being abused , let her confront Walter, but Noble only wants to play this horrible poor selfpity Walter,
    so Anna Torv is stuck with Peter, as she never got family in Fringe (except a nice and sister for a total of 15 minutes screentime)

    Wyman could at least give Olivia a Pro-active storyline in getting to know more about the world and her child, and the resistence (but that has been reduced to Peter)

    But see the interview, Wyman does not care for writing for Olivia, nor Anna Torv.
    Olivia Dunham is only this great character because of Anna Torvs amazing acting.

    BTw I hate this season, it is cliche upon cliche upon cliche, and bad writing.

  • Seamuskeaneart

    I keep waiting for Walter to travel back in time.
     Remember when they were reading the book of the first people, and we discovered the it was walter that buried the parts of the machine in the past.
    I only assume they will be returning to that plot point at some stage.

  • Yoursnayak

    this might be a silly question, but in 2015 where the observers started overruling us, whats happening to the parallel universe?..are the observers controlling them as well?..  I know that the bridge b/w both the universe was demolished in the previous season but that dosen’t say that they cease to exist.if the observers are ruling the parallel universe, why they don’t show Walternate and his team fighting against them and if not, dont you think the entire story related to parallel existence was a complete waste to the series?.