With only three episodes left in the series, Fringe quieted things down this week while revealing Walter’s master plan to rid 2036 of those pesky Observers. – -
“The Boy Must Live” tried its best to be a sentimental episode, but with Walter no longer suffering the effects of “bad Walter brain” and Peter no longer tampering with Observer-tech, things are more or less plot-driven at this point. There were a few looks back – using the immersion tank, Anomaly XB-6783746 showing Walter memories from the Peter-timeline – but for the most part this episode was about the endgame.
One frustrating element, that often stems from Fringe’s mystery noir-style, is that sometimes these guys linger too long in scenes, especially during moments when they should be hurrying the hell up. It would be one thing if Donald never saw the footage of Windmark in his apartment, and didn’t know that the Observers were hot on their tail, but they all knew the bad guys were moments way from closing in. So the lengthy talking scenes, and slow-paced conversations, that followed only served to infuriate. Time has been of the essence more than ever this season, but dammit these guys just will never pick up the pace. Until it’s too late, of course.
So, to pick at nits here, the fact that Peter, Olivia and Walter found themselves surrounded at the end is no one’s fault but their own – and their molasses-quick retrieval of Donald’s hidden tech. I enjoyed spending time with Donald though, if not just for all the info about Anomaly-boy he gave us. The child comes from Donald’s own DNA and holds the key to showing Observers in the future the importance of emotion. In the same manner he showed Walter and cured him of his God-complex. So now what’s required is a device that can send the kid, who was hidden away in the past, into the future. And this time it’s Walter who must be sacrificed.
I was a little shaky on the reveal that September’s old line, “The boy must live,” was about Anomaly, and not Peter. Because, in retrospect, it still works better with Peter, seeing as how he needed to grow up to be able to use the Doomsday Machine and stop the two universes from collapsing. But at this point, I’ll take pretty much anything that connects this final season to bits and pieces from past episodes.
Some of the more interesting elements of this episode were the “nature finds a way” moments where The Observers found themselves being invaded by little flashes of emotion – from the one Observer tapping his foot to music to Windmark feeling anger and rage slow-boiling in his gut over the human rebels. A hate that his still-100% logical superiors don’t have. It’s clear now that The Observers still have room for emotion in their modified minds, but I suppose the key is making them see value in it. “Anger is a gift,” indeed.
As of now, Walter’s master plan is known, a new machine needs to be built and Olivia even mentioned the chance of Etta returning to them. Which I suppose means that, if The Observers never came back to invade, a new timeline would get created over the past fifteen years. But what would that do to the timeline(s) that came before it?
Overall, this episode was a little lacking, but I appreciated the nod to Walter’s White Tulip – aka his own personal sign of God’s forgiveness. Given that it now seems likely that the series will end with Walter’s death, that’s really the only door that needs to be closed in his series-arc.
Follow Matt Fowler on Twitter at @TheMattFowler