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Published on December 9th, 2012 | by Alan Danzis


Fringe Season 5 Episode 8: Matrix call backs fill ‘The Human Kind’

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We had to get through one too many call-backs to The Matrix, but by the end of “The Human Kind,” it’s clear what Fringe is ultimately about: love between a husband and wife, love between father and son and love amongst your fellow man.

(OK. Fair enough. The clearly Matrix-inspired fight between Peter and Windmark was pretty amazing.)

You can split this final season of Fringe into thirds. The first third ended with the death of Etta. The second third now ends with the re-birth of Peter. And who knows how this final third will end.

Just as Windmark used memories of Etta to further enrage Peter and want to continue using his Observer tech to destroy Windmark, Olivia used those same memories to bring forth the last remaining shreds of Peter’s humanity. Something that even his father couldn’t do.

Peter was hurt in his fight with Windmark, and while he felt no pain, he felt no emotion getting stitched up from Walter. Even during that stitch-up, Walter strived to bring his son back from the brink – since the longer he used that Observer tech, the more likely the damage it was doing to his personality and physicality would be permanent – but he was unsuccessful.

That pair of scenes—first Walter trying to talk down his son, and then Olivia successfully talking down her husband at the end—were incredibly powerful. Unfortunately, there was a lot of bleh (that Windmark throw-down aside) in between.

Olivia traveled outside the city to get magnets. (Anyone else think of Jesse Pinkman during this scene?) She met Simone, who was basically The Oracle from The Matrix. Putting aside the nonsensical reasons for how she could sense and know so much about Olivia, the point was to show Olivia failing to trust humans that she should. Having paranoia where it shouldn’t have been.

So that when she came across what appeared to be an accident, she would lower her guard—only to get betrayed and kidnapped. While neither of those two separate groups did anything but service the plot, Olivia’s escape using a handmade gun and the bullet Etta used to wear around her neck (that “killed” Olivia last season) was pretty fist pumping.

Olivia later gives that bullet to Peter at the end of the episode. To convince him that Etta will always be a part of them. She’ll always save them.

(Plus, those posters all around town seem to be leading towards something too. Seems awfully odd that none of the Fringe team comments on Etta’s increased appearances in those propaganda posters. It’s as if they’ve already accepted it as truth.)

For a show that in the early stages of the show likened the relationship between Olivia and Peter as brother and sister, it was moving and near-tear-inducing to see them come together like that in the final scene as Peter uses a knife to cut the Observer tech out of his neck. (No side-effects though? Really?)

Peter will come back, which means perhaps a “happy” ending can be possible when the show finishes its run. At the same time, you can’t help but wonder how close to the edge Walter will now get. He pleads with Peter, again in this episode, to make sure he doesn’t become god-like and obsessed with his power and his science as he has in the past.

Windmark remains the villain of the show as Peter allows him to walk away so the Fringe team can finish the plan to destroy him. And yet, I can’t help but wonder if the ultimate plan will bring forth the “bad” in Walter.

Luckily though… Peter is back and will be able to save him. Right?

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