Fringe recap: Dark Knight Rising

Peter Bishop goes to dangerous extremes to avenge Etta and vanquish The Observers in 'An Origin Story'
Ep. 05 | Aired Nov 2, 2012

Gleaming The Cube. Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) followed the white rabbit of grief down the black hole of vengeance in "An Origin Story" and landed in a dark, scary, graceless slick of Observer blood. FEED YOUR HEAD! FEED YOUR HEAD!

Liane Hentscher/Fox

The heroes thought they had everything they needed to turn wormholes into black holes. They understood how the cube worked. They knew the date and location of the next shipment. And they had the anti-matter, courtesy of Etta’s anti-matter batons. Peter and Olivia were nearly thwarted when a pair of teleporting Observers ambushed their ambush (how did they know?), but Peter was still able to fire an anti-matter missile into the wormhole. The mouth collapsed. Mission: Accomplished, yes? Peter: Victorious, no?

No. As Peter and Olivia raced away with Anil, they looked back … and saw that a wormhole had opened, and that a shipment was arriving. But… how? Shouldn't they have crippled The Observers' operation in the far future with their black hole? Peter was furious. Humiliated. How did The Observer beat him? He tore off to find the answers. Olivia was again left all alone. She also came face to face with the pain of loss she was trying to deny. Looking around, she noticed that The Resistance had pasted flyers everywhere with Etta’s face on them – a viral media rejoinder to The Observers’ massive billboards, featuring an archetypal, oppressively monolithic Observer and the slogan “The Future Is In Order.” Etta was now the iconic Che of the revolution. Looking into the face of a woman that looked so much like herself, Olivia only saw grief. And she could no longer resist it.

Peter blazed back to the safe house, which was about to become very unsafe for the hostile held there. Peter wrapped The Observer’s head in plastic and brought him thisclose to death by suffocation, then pulled the sheet away. Why didn’t it work?! Because: Emotion had blinded him. Because: He didn’t know what he didn’t know. Peter success in assembling the cube had everything to do with his skill, experience and intuition, and nothing to do with The Observer giving away secrets. The moment when his eyes dilated wasn’t an involuntary response to possible KABLOOEY! A fly on the window had distracted him; his pupils dilated and contracted as he focused on it. “You ascribed meaning to something that was not there. You saw what you wanted to see. You believed what you wanted to believe. Because that is what your emotions do. … They fool your perception as to what is real.”

Peter rejected this. He was in control! He had the bastard beat! He saw everything clearly! And anyway: His emotions weren't meaningless. They were real. Like his love for Etta. Like his rage over her death. The Observer continued to read him like a book. He saw into Peter’s mind, saw that he held The Observers responsible for Etta’s death, saw that he couldn’t accept that his little girl was gone. Forever. Peter cracked him upside the head with a gun and went on a rant that led him to a provocative, chilling epiphany. “She is not simply 'gone.' She will be remembered! Unlike you! If I kill you right now, no one will remember you, no one will miss you. You are nothing but tech! I would be ten times what you are if I had that tech in my head!” Peter’s eyes blazed with fury, the resolved into a decision. The Observer saw the choice coalesce in his head even soon, and his face wrinkled into something that resembled fear…

And so Peter took a scalpel and sliced open the back of The Observer’s head and yanked out the implant attached to his brain stem, the tech that made this white zombie astro-creep a more-human-than-a-human super-man. The violation of the surgery, the raping and reaping caused The Observer to violently seize, then die. Peter retreated to a bathroom, took a long look at himself in the mirror. Then he cut his noggin and tried to insert the implant. Feed your head! FEED YOUR HEAD!

He didn’t have to work too hard. The parasitic device seemed to activate, and burrowed toward Peter’s brain stem. As the tech took hold, Peter’s phone rang. It was Olivia. She was back at the lab, watching the video. On the screen, birthday girl Etta, playing queen of hearts, ordered her parents to kiss, the ripped open a gift. The Olivia of now wept. Etta was gone. Forever. But Olivia still had Peter, and Peter still had Olivia, and Walter was right, they needed each other, now more than ever. “Peter, I want you to come home,” she said. “I don’t want to lose you. Etta would want us to be together. She would want us to survive this. I love you.” Peter said he loved her, too, and hung up. He shivered from the rush of... whatever it was that the thing was doing to his brain, body, and being. He looked at himself in the mirror, observing his transformation with cold, dead fish eyes. The agony, the ecstasy. The horror, the horror!

And in this way, Singular events create Transcendent Men, be they next gen heroes who will lead us into a brave new world, or Darth Vaders who will march us into dystopia. Have we just seen witnessed “origin story” of how The Observers came to be? Time travel paradox meets Adam Warlock/Magus meets The Prisoner meets Memento! Is Peter Bishop Observer Number One?! A through-the-looking-glass development indeed. My prediction? These tapes that Walter left for the team to find? They're not a master plan to defeat The Observer, per se. They are a road map to Peter's redemption, which in turn might defeat The Observers. Each step along the way is producing history that will eventually teach Peter the error of his path, that will prevent him from becoming a full-tilt Black Hole Sun that will destroy all of us.

 “Black holes are the seductive dragons of the universe, outwardly quiescent yet violent at the heart, uncanny, hostile, primeval, emitting a negative radiance that draws all toward them, gobbling up all who come too close. Once having entered the tumultuous orbit of a black hole, nothing can break away from its passionate but fatal embrace. Though cons of teasing play may be granted the doomed, ultimately play turns to prey and all are sucked haplessly―brilliantly aglow, true, but oh so briefly so―into the fire-breathing maw of oblivion. Black holes, which have no memory, are said to contain the earliest memories of the universe, and the most recent, too, while at the same time obliterating all memory by obliterating all its embodiments. Such paradoxes characterize these strange galactic monsters, for whom creation is destruction, death life, chaos order. And darkness illumination: for, as dragons are also called worms, so black hole are known as wormholes, offering a mystical and intimate pathway to the farthest reaches of the cosmos, thus bring light as they consume it.” -- Robert Coover, A Child Again

Your turn: What did you think of “An Origin Story,” Fringe fans?

Twitter: @EWDocJensen

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