After a bit of a step backwards in the previous episode, the writers get back on track with this tense installment with more connection to the overall mythology. Much of that is left to the last few moments, like many of the first season episodes, but there are plenty of scenes throughout the hour devoted to the progression of the season arc.
The development of organic suicide bombers is particularly chilling, because it speaks to a certain amount of desperation. Not that it hasnât been clear in the past that the situation is dire, given the activities of ZFT and perhaps Massive Dynamic, but here we have a military leader (however bent) who has decided that the best option is to weaponize humanity itself. This is something that is done when other options seem likely to fail.
There is now the implication that the Observers are agents of this other universe Alt-Fringe, however similar it might look to Fringe Prime. I seem to recall hints and allegations during the first season that Alt-Fringe was a universe that had fallen into ruin through the misuse of technology. The denizens of Alt-Fringe certainly seemed to be less healthy on the whole, but it didnât seem like they were all variations on the Observer theme.
Instead, it could be that the Observers have been altered to allow them to cross over into Fringe Prime without the side effects that have affected Walter and Olivia (and whoever else has crossed over without certain precautions). This would fit the picture as it has recently formed, and would still explain some of the differences in biology.
The question seems to be this: was Alt-Fringe always a universe where technological advancement outstripped ethical concerns, or was the course of that worldâs progress changed by the interference of Bishop and Bell? The fact that the Observers are monitoring Walter could simply be that he is an important part of Fringe Primeâs development of a defense, but it could also be tied into his past activities.
Speaking of past activities, this episode managed to shed a little light on Peterâs time in Iraq, which was always mentioned earlier in the series but never quite explored. It was good to get a glimpse of that side of him, and to be reminded that heâs capable of being more than just sarcastic comic relief. As the conflicts begin to heat up, that capability to survive in hostile situations will be important.
A lot of time was spent on Oliviaâs road to recovery, which was a nice touch. I particularly liked the end, when she was goaded into letting go of her cane. Iâm certain that there is more to this process than meets the eye, especially sine Nina Sharp was the one behind it all. Did she do that of her own accord, or did she get orders from William Bell?
All in all, this was a good solid episode with a compelling set of plot threads and good amount of character development. The hint of larger implications at the end gave it just the right final flourish. This is the kind of baseline episode that they should be shooting for each and every week.