Fringe Series Finale Review: A Meandering Plot filled with Powerful Moments

Fringe Season 5 Episode 13: An Enemy of Fate

It’s extraordinarily hard for mythology-heavy shows with a sci-fi bent to end satisfyingly for fans. Look at Lost and Battlestar Galactica for starters. Chuck was the last show with a phenomenal finale that paid of its mythology—but in that show’s case, it was light on the sci-fi.

I walked into Fringe’s series finale last night not loving the last two seasons, not excited about what the producers seemed to be setting us up for and wishing for the days of season 2 and 3—I’m currently re-watching the end of season 2 right now, and wow, it is fantastic.

Unfortunately for me, the plot doesn’t make sense, and it meanders, in the series finale of Fringe. But wow, is it filled with incredibly powerful moments from all of the actors—none of which will get noticed come Emmy time.

All season long, I’d been hoping so much to see the other universe again. Remember when the war between the two universes was what the show was about? Instead, it seemed like fan service when Olivia used the other universe as a way to break into Liberty Island on her side to free Michael.

Sure, we got to see Lincoln and Bolivia aged and learned they have a child. But Walternate isn’t shown and instead thought of as an after-thought that “he’s off teaching at Harvard.” And while I screamed “NO!” when I thought Lincoln and Bolivia’s life was in danger, their appearances provided very little emotional weight. (Though I did laugh when Bolivia accused Lincoln of checking out her younger ass.)

What did carry emotional weight, however, were some of the final goodbyes amongst the team. Peter and Walter in the lab where Walter attempts to atone for all he’s done, while Peter calls him Dad, is a great moment. And later, Walter finally tells Astrid she has a pretty name—and calls her by the right one for perhaps the first time in the entire series. That’s something that was truly earned and impactful.

Broyles and Astrid both got moments to shine in the finale as well. And while I appreciated the insane level of callbacks to past episodes when Peter and Olivia used past Fringe cases to kill Observers and Loyalists to get a crucial piece of the device, it did seem like it was, again, just fan service.

There was a callback I was expecting the show to do, however, and when it didn’t happen, I couldn’t decide if they wanted me to make the connection in my head. Or if they honestly didn’t make it themselves.

Most of the episode we were told Walter had to accompany Michael into the future. We were given a lame excuse for why he couldn’t come back. But then off-screen, Donald/September said he would do it. He of course is killed before he gets a chance do it, meaning Walter must make the trip.

The sight of Walter taking another young boy by the hand and walking through the wormhole to the future is emotional and powerful. Not because Peter mouths the words “I love you Dad” but because I couldn’t help but recall the last time Walter did that—when he stole Peter from the other universe. I even hoped the show would show a flashback to that, but maybe it wasn’t needed.

Those scenes of love and forgiveness were incredible powerful and will likely stay with me a few days, even after I’ve completed this review and moved on to others. The pay-off, however, may continue to bug me.

If the Observers don’t exist, doesn’t that mean Peter isn’t saved by September in the lake?

I guess it’s just best to ignore that. Go with it. Go with the happy ending in the park with Etta, Olivia and Peter.

In season 4, arguably the show’s worst since the first, the show rebooted and most of our characters forgot all that came before—save for Peter, and eventually Olivia and then Walter this season. The show reboots yet again at the end of the series.

We the audience know the sacrifices of our characters. But Peter and Olivia don’t.

Or do they? In the final moments, Peter gets a picture of a white tulip from Walter in the mail after he gets home from the park. There’s an extra moment or two of reflection in his eyes. Is he remembering the future and what happened in that other timeline? Or is he just wondering why his father sent him that picture?

If the characters on our screen don’t remember all the pain they went through, but we do… does that mean the show didn’t mean anything? It’s something fans will continue to debate for a long time.

Like Lost, I didn’t love how Fringe ended. But with Lost, I tend not to look back on the mixed bag of a finale. I remember the raft, “Not Penny’s Boat,” “We have to go back!” and more.

With Fringe, I’ll remember Peter’s hospital bed admission that he knew he wasn’t from our side. The phrase “Mr. Secretary.” The first time we met the other Fringe team. Peter and Olivia, OUR Olivia, falling in love once Bolivia went home. Peter bringing the worlds together and telling them to knock off their shit and work together. And Walter and Walternate, bitter enemies, sitting on the floor next to each other just as the bridge is about to close.

Not September with hair. Or Michael getting ret-conned into being the “boy who must live.” I’ll try and forget moments like that.

It’s been a fun ride recapping Fringe in this final season. Leave your comments below. Curious what everyone else thought…

Fringe Season 5 Episode 11 Rundown: The Boy Must Live

Since at least the middle of season two of Fringe, the overlying plotline of the show has been about how Walter’s love for his son Peter and how it drove him to steal the Peter from another universe had intense ramifications for both universes and humanity itself.

In penultimate episode of the final season, “The Boy Must Live,” we learn of another father’s love and how that love could possibly save humanity. September became a father in the far off future and his boy became the Child Observer known as Michael.

In the future, through September’s exposition to the Fringe team – shows like Fringe and Lost are always fans of dumping a massive amount of plot mythology in the episode before the series finale – we learn how the Observers were created. A scientist had discovered how to turn off the jealousy part of human brains and replace that function with intelligence.

Over time, humans decided anger and other terrible emotions needed to be jettisoned as well, in favor of more intelligence. They even started to see love and compassion as wasteful too—leading to the eventual creation of the Observers. Highly intelligent, but with no good or bad emotions.

September was different. He became fascinated by mankind and in his travel through time, as he saw the love Walter had for Peter, he in turn had his desire to create a son in Michael.

Now, however, September has been banished by the rest of the Observers. He’s been forced to live as a human. He eventually adopts the name of Donald, from his favorite movie, Singing in the Rain.

More importantly—he tells the Fringe team the rest of Walter’s plan. The device pieces they’ve been gathering are not so much a way to destroy the Observers, as they are for getting them to never come here in the first place. They’re for building a device to take Michael into the future so that he can show he’s living proof that Observers can be both highly intelligent and have normal, human emotions. (Though, does no one seem bothered by the fact that Michael can’t, you know, talk?)

The audience learns (but not Olivia and Peter) that Walter will likely lose his life in his desire to take Michael into the future. Olivia, however, believes that by doing this, history will be rewritten and that the Observers will never come to take over. That means Etta will never have died and that fateful day in the park where she was taken will never happen.

(Unless of course that also means September will no longer have a desire to travel back in time as well, which means he won’t save Peter from the lake, which means he won’t be taken by Walter… owww, I think my head hurts.)

None of that matters, however, since Michael seemingly gives up to Windmark’s team at the train station at the very end of the episode. Windmark took his own trip to the future earlier in the episode where we saw him starting to show human emotion as well—anger. Which begs the question: how many other Observers are already capable of emotions?

Next week is the two hour season finale. (Side-note: don’t watch the promo if you don’t want a massive spoiler about who returns. While I’m excited by the implications, I wish I hadn’t known ahead of time.)

Fringe Series Finale Lead-in: 3 Things to hope for from the final episodes

Fringe Season 5 Episode 11 Lead-in

I haven’t reviewed or recapped the last two episodes of Fringe. Sure, some of it was due to the holidays, but at the same time—I haven’t had a ton to say.

While we lost Nina Sharp in the battle against the Observers in the last new episode, not much has happened worth discussing. Even the revelation of September as Walter’s mysterious partner, Donald, wasn’t that much of a surprise for a show known for genuinely surprising its fans.

Since the show went on a mini-hiatus before its final three episodes – a penultimate and then a two-hour finale – I’ve been re-watching the show from the first season. It’s remarkable to see how much the show has changed—mostly for the better.

But at the same time, there are a few things I’m hoping for in these final three hours as I’ve been re-watching the show from the beginning. (I’m currently on episode two of season two.)

1. A reference or a visit to the alternate universe

The show didn’t truly become epic until we not only learned that there was an alternate universe, but we learned that most of its inhabitants were not “evil.” That would have been the easy way out. Instead, they were just as emotional, conflicted and driven as our heroes. Plus, it would be nice to find out if Lincoln Lee is happy with Bolivia. And seriously… wouldn’t Walternate be able to help Walter in taking down the Observers? (Also, I know I won’t get it, but I would die for a reference to Charlie, John Scott and/or The Pattern.)

2. An explanation on what our characters remember and what they don’t

In one of the more recent powerful episodes of Fringe, Walter had hallucinations and memories of what happened to Peter when September rescued them from the lake and after Walter kidnapped Peter from the alternate universe. Yet, if you remember last year’s boggling storyline in which Peter was erased from our timeline, that never happened. Olivia eventually regained those memories—but no one else did. Or did they? Let’s get a full on explanation for that.

3. A look at what drives the Observers

We have somewhat of an answer for why they decided to go from observing to directly impacting—their world is ruined in the future. But everything they’re doing in the current world is actually making things not only just as bad, but at an accelerated rate. If they’re going to travel all the way back in time, wouldn’t they at least want to make this world better in order to save themselves? Their goals – and in particular, Windmark’s – don’t seem to make a lot of sense. One more flashforward to the Observers’ future would be welcome and likely enlightening.

Fringe returns this Friday at 9 pm ET on FOX.

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

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?

Love Might Not Be Enough in Fringe Season 5 Episode 7: ‘Five-Twenty-Ten’

A possible theme for the season, if not the show itself, emerged in this week’s episode of Fringe: love might not be enough to stop certain men from becoming the very worst they can be.

When Walter had the pieces of his brain put back in after he was de-ambered, he realized that the hubris and the God-like tendencies that caused him to almost destroy two universes were coming back. But as he told Nina in this episode, he thought his love for Peter could stop his backslide into evil scientist land. And yet it doesn’t seem like enough, as he asks Nina to re-remove those pieces again. (We don’t get to see her answer, however.)

Peter, meanwhile, is slowly turning into an Observer in his quest to defeat them and avenge Etta’s death. Thus far, he’s only hurt the Observers (in a brilliant use of the first Fringe case from the pilot episode in season one) and hasn’t caused any civilian causalities—but even Olivia is slowly seeing the humanity slip away from him.

Playing robotic can be an easy and lazy way to act—but Joshua Jackson sells his slow descent into a logical, emotionless state as Peter shows Olivia his plan for killing Windmark at the end of the episode. He’s fallen so far that not only does he not have guilt about killing Windmark, he has no feelings about openly sharing his plan with Olivia.

Olivia’s love for Peter that is coming back after all that’s happened still may not be enough to pull him back from the brink.

It wasn’t enough for William Bell. After initially telling Nina that Bell didn’t truly love her, Walter uncovers the fact that no, he did. But that didn’t stop Bell from selling everyone out when the Observers arrived. Love wasn’t enough to make him a better man.

More of the plan is uncovered in this episode – including beacons that may help the team bring back September – but at what cost? Peter may have won a short victory in killing Windmark’s lieutenants, but at a cost to his humanity (and his hair!) The love he had for Etta led him to the decision of putting the Observer tech in his head; that tech, is now causing him to ignore and otherwise alienate those still alive that he loves.

Love made Walter cross over into another universe to try to save another man’s Peter. He almost destroyed the two universes because of that love.

And now, like father like son, a father’s love for his daughter is causing Peter to obsess over the Observers’ day-to-day activities, especially as Etta’s face continues to pop up in resistance banners all over the city.

“Five-Twenty-Ten” was a tour de force of acting for both male leads and it advances the plot, while raising the stakes for all characters involved. At the same time, it takes away hope. While we pretty much assume the Observers will be defeated by the end of the season, it looks increasingly likely that irreparable damage and harm will be done to the Fringe team by the end.

Because if love can’t help them… what can?

Donald? (Joking. I hope.)

Alternate universe wasted in Fringe Season 5 Episode 6

“Through the Looking Glass and What Walter Found There”

Well… that was a mean tease. Or maybe it was just me.

In this episode, Walter and team visit a “pocket universe” where Walter has hidden an important part of the plan — the child Observer from the first season. (Think the writers actually knew all along these random Fringe cases from earlier seasons were important pieces of the endgame? Or are they “retconning”? I’m assuming the latter.)

Before learning it was the pocket universe, I hoped and jumped at the excitement of Walter hiding a piece of the plan in the alternate universe. There was even a moment near the end of the episode where Walter talked with Peter about the man in the tapes. What a conniving and terrible person he was.

I started to get excited again after what had turned out to be a very lackluster episode. The boy Observer isn’t found, some random guy who got stuck in the pocket universe for decades was killed by mistake and Peter wound up kicking some Observer’s ass because of the tech he shoved in his head last week. At that moment, I thought Walter was about to say Walternate was the one in the tape.

Wow. What a twist that could have been. And the producers would have finally paid off the idea that when the two universes work together, things could be set right.

But nope. Walter was talking about himself. He was, in a terrific monologue, explaining what the show is all about. How Walter’s hubris and ego almost destroyed the world. And how now it appears his son, Peter, is heading down the same path. Using technology to save a child (Walter) to using it to avenge one (Peter) is always going to lead to sadness and apocalyptic outcomes.

It’s a wonderful little scene, but it’s almost too little too late after a meandering episode, which is shocking in a final season where the characters ought to me working a lot faster to try and stop the Observers. It was all made worse by the fact that it felt like a giant tease to me that we were going to finally find the alternate universe playing a role in the endgame of the show.

The fact that Walternate and crew still haven’t been brought up in conversation yet makes me think that plotline has been dropped for good. That’s a shame since anything involving them always made for a stronger overall Fringe episode. Plus, it seems like an awful waste of time for so much of the show to have been spent “over there” without a visit in the final season. (And I miss Lincoln.)

Through the Looking Glass and What Walter Found There wasn’t a terrible hour of television—but it felt like an awfully big waste of one.

Two other thoughts:
– Is the build-up to who Donald is also going to be a giant tease? We seem him in the tapes Walter is watching in this episode, but never his face. Which means they’re clearly hiding it for now. If it’s not William Bell or Walternate, I’m bound to be disappointed.
– Did Windmark really witness Peter with his “new powers”? And did he smile at that fact? Certainly looked like it.

All bets are off after Fringe Season 5 Episode 4: ‘The Bullet That Saved the World’

There is no happy ending coming for the Fringe team at the end of this season and show. They’ll likely save the world from The Observers, but the loss they have suffered in this week’s episode means no true happy ending is coming.

Because Etta is dead.

We the audience, know what this means for Peter and Olivia. But it’s tough for us to feel something since we’ve only known Etta for five episodes. We barely know what she went through when she was taken from her parents. (And now we’ll never know.)

And unless the writers “cheat” and Peter re-writes the world again, as they did last season, she’s not coming back.

Of course… you never know. Olivia has survived death before. A bullet saved the world and killed her in last year’s season finale—temporarily. Etta took to wearing it around her neck to remember her mother. And it meant so much to her, that Peter risked his life (and virtually everyone else’s) to go to a store to buy a new chain for it.

The Observers came closer than ever to catching up on what the Fringe team has been up to in this episode. At first, they’re annoyingly still melting through amber to get at Walter’s tapes in his lab. Eventually, they figure out that an important part of the plan is buried in Newark Penn Station.

In an incredibly delicious and exciting fan service call-back to earlier episodes of the show before the alternate universe came to dominate the show, the Fringe team decides to recreate a fringe event as a distraction so they can get into Newark Penn Station.

“There was a time we solved Fringe cases. Now I think it’s time we created some of our own,” says Walter.
Luckily they have additional help in the form of The Dove, a Resistance informant working with the Observers. Not surprisingly, he is Broyles and his reunion with the Fringe team is professional, yet emotional.

“Agent Dunham.”

“Phillip.”

Broyles is trusted with the recovered plan while the rest of the Fringe team tries to escape. It’s during that escape that Windmark wounds Etta in a way that carrying her out won’t be feasible. So she detonates a bomb that Broyles gave them so that Peter, Olivia and Walter can escape.

Before she dies, Olivia tells her daughter that she loves her so much—a nice touch knowing how unsure Olivia was of having a child as we learned a few episodes ago.

Tactically, Peter, Olivia and Walter have lost an important team member. Etta was even going to show Peter how to resist The Observers’ ability to read their minds.

And of course emotionally—they’ve lost a daughter and a granddaughter. But more importantly, in an earlier episode this season, we saw how Olivia could bring out the good in a coldhearted, war-ridden Etta.

With her gone now, what will that do to Olivia and Peter? They’ve tried to maintain parts of their humanity in the apocalypse that surrounds them. They wanted to show their daughter they didn’t need to give up their own morals to fight that war.

But with her gone? All bets are probably off.

Fringe Episode 5.03: dropped subplots plague ‘The Recordist’

“There’s a time for recording history. And there’s a time for making it.”

Some humans have chosen to fight the Observers. Others have chosen to submit.

And yet others have chosen to record human history going forward on data cubes so it won’t be written by the winners—the Observers. Pessimism aside – which does indeed run rampant amongst many humans that aren’t the “original” Fringe team – it does beg the question of whether documenting the end of human civilization is more important than, you know, saving it?
Then again, we need only look to our own tragedies in the real world and see how valuable documentation is. It hopefully prevents us from making the same mistakes. (Or at least tries to.) Think Anne Frank’s diary.

Except, in “The Recordist,” the first somewhat clunker of the final Fringe season, we can’t really absorb that impact because we spend so little time seeing what they’re documenting. We’re just told it will be important.

Olivia, Peter, Etta and Walter come across Edwin Massey and his team of documentarians (who are growing bark-like deformities all over their face) when looking for the first tape of a series of six (or seven or more) that has September’s plan for taking the Observers done.

(Side note: here’s hoping that every episode for the remaining season is not a search for a different tape in a different place.)

(One more side note: Astrid oddly stays behind to help uncover more of the tape, which is damaged. Even though they were indeed on dangerous ground at Harvard, it did seem like no one was going to come looking for the team… why couldn’t they all just stay behind and finish fixing the tape as a team, instead of leaving Astrid by herself?)

While in the woods, the Fringe team learns that someone named Donald attempted to retrieve something from the mine before he was taken away by the Observers. Since Walter says he doesn’t know a Donald, and we never find out his name, it’s likely we
will meet Donald again. Unless we already have. (William Bell anyone?)

The team is looking for special quartz rocks that will power the “machine” that will stop the Observers. Except, to get to those rocks hidden in a mine, you’re going to get completely covered in that bark-like substance and it will likely kill you.

A deus ex machina solution almost comes in the form of a second nearby camp that will provide another material to help Walter build a suit to let them enter the cave safely. But that’s quickly a side notion, since the episode is building to Edwin making a decision to stop recording history, and make some. He goes into the mine and gets close enough to the entrance with the quartz before dying.

(While impressing that notion on his son with the above quote.)

The sacrifice, while noble, isn’t emotionally effective. It may have been because the actor portraying Edwin isn’t as strong as, let’s say Eric Lange was last week as the Loyalist that Etta tortures. Or he just wasn’t written that strong.

The episode also had a ton of subplots that were dropped as well. That second town for one. The fact that the Fringe team themselves were starting to get infected with the bark-life infection. (Did what they develop disappear when they left? That’s left somewhat unclear.)

One of the best scenes, however, is when Olivia and Peter discuss what ultimately drove them apart. Olivia was conflicted about being a mother because of all the experiments done on her as a child. She wondered, after Etta was taken if that was punishment for that uneasiness she felt. That scene delivered, but also served to remind us to wonder why the heck Olivia and Peter hadn’t, you know, asked Etta what happened when she got abducted?

(That answer is likely coming. It just seems too derivative and hackneyed for the producers to hold it at bay.)
Progress is made in the Fringe team’s quest to destroy the Observers in this episode, but it also seemed like a waste of an opportunity to tell an interesting story about the other people in an apocalyptic story—the ones who watch and record. And hope to contribute to humanity by reminding us of what true history is. And was.

‘Fringe’ Season 5 Episode 2 Review: In Absentia

Season 5 of Fringe can’t truly be judged until we see how all the storytelling and planning comes together, as well as whether or not we feel the ending was earned and justified. (See Lost, season 6 for how to fail at that; see Chuck, season 5 for how it can work tremendously.)

But one tenet that will determine final judgment, of course, is what we think of Etta. She’s now a regular cast member and a central player. But we had never met her before one singular episode last season and so there’s a lot of ground to cover with her before the end.

Would she come out of the gates right away and make an incredible impact the way John Noble did with Walter even in the first episode? Would she grow into her role, as Olivia’s portrayer did? Or would she, you know, be lame?

Luckily it’s not the latter. And it’s seem more like she’s not going to need to grow into the role over time—she makes a huge impact in this episode and seems primed to do more later on in the season.

Peter, Walter, Olivia and Astrid only see a few years of the Observer’s rule over the planet. It’s pretty bad—of course it is. But they skipped a few decades and didn’t suffer the way others have.

So Olivia wants to believe a man, grieving over her son the way her own husband did, would make a difficult decision to join the enemy. It’s why she gives him the benefit of the doubt and wants to get him to change.
And it’s also why she’s shocked and appalled to see her own daughter torture someone else just to get information. More importantly—the torture she inflects, is permanent. It’s not like the pain will go away. She has now ruined that person’s life. And she didn’t seem that bothered by it.

We don’t see the entirety of the last twenty some odd years that drove Etta, raised initially by decent and loving parents, to this kind of decision. (Perhaps we will in future episodes?) While we see her grief over her partner’s, well, decapitation, it’s a brief moment and she had already tortured her prisoner by that point.
So, like Olivia and Peter and the rest, we still don’t know the horrors that Etta has seen. So we, likely, are sickened by the methods she takes. Maybe if we knew what she went through, we would sympathize with the hard choices she makes more.

While the actress sells all the highs and lows Etta demonstrates in this episode, it was almost a bridge too far when we see Etta let her prisoner go, instead of turning him over to the Resistance which would outright kill him.

Almost.

What makes their final scene work, however, is that both prisoner and capturer are honest with each other. He admits he lied about the son because he wanted to survive. And he joined the Loyalists not out of some grieving parental act. No… he did it because he was a coward, and again, wanted to survive.

That decision and that viewpoint, was endlessly more fascinating to watch and hear, as opposed to what I was expecting the Fringe producers would do—have him pull out a weapon, twirl a mustache and call in the Observers to come collect Etta.

While our heroes get what they need to start what sounds like a treasure hunt for the pieces of a plan to take down the Observers, they are starting to come to grips with how truly awful this future is. Then again, maybe the victory isn’t what they discovered in Walter’s lab – which basically amounts to a Hero’s Call and gung-ho speech – but more the moral victory that was achieved when Etta chose hope and freedom over vengeance and death.

Two other thoughts:
– Weren’t they taking a huge risk with that laser when they were trying to cut through the amber to get to the video camera? What if they had miscalculated and burned it up?
– Sorry for the Lost reference above, but since Desmond and Razinsky were both in this episode, it seemed awfully appropriate…

Hands-on with ‘Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts 2013′ & ‘Hunting Expeditions’

Lions, and tigers, and bears! Oh, my!

This Fall, Activision is releasing two new hunting games: Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts 2013 and Cabela’s Hunting Expeditions.

Both titles are set to launch on the same day, Oct. 23. It’s an odd choice since the release date ostensibly pits the two Cabela’s games in competition with one another.

Cabela’s Hunting Expeditions focuses on recreating the feeling of a safari. Gamers hunt across North America and Africa, collecting trophies. Hunting Expeditions gives hunters access to a wealth of diverse animals. Instead of just hunting bucks and birds, players will also be able to hunt lions and elephants as well as rhinos.

The game rewards players with Gunsmith points, which allow you to upgrade your weapons. For players who are familiar with rifles, this will offer an added opportunity to customize your weapons to get the best kills.

Newly added is a Strategic view, which gives you a top down view of the area. In some of the past Cabela’s games, exploration has either been restricted or the domain of on-rails gameplay. But, the new Expeditions game will give gamers an opportunity to plan dynamic hunts, picking their ideal target.

Players will also be able to utilize their hunter sense to tell the difference between male and female prey. Hunter sense highlights your prey in a blue-green outline so that you can better target them. Well-aimed shots are shown via bullet-time animation.

Dangerous Hunts 2013 has a broader appeal. The game includes a story-mode, similar to the 2011 release. However, Fringe and Arrow scribe, Andrew Kreisberg, wrote this story. The narrative centers on two brothers who lost their father to a bear. Ten years have passed since the father was killed and the two are reunited for a hunt.

Animals now attack with a pack mentality. If you creep up on a pack of lions and shoot the male lion with a heart (or lung) shot, the pack will disburse. However, if you shoot one of the lionesses, then the pack will surround you. The game goes for a balance between realism and playability. The pack won’t immediately rush and devour you. Instead, the pack surrounds you. Animals typically attack you one or two at a time, giving you the chance to take them down. There is a small reset time between each lion’s attack so you never feel too overwhelmed. Players can also hold down a button and flick the thumbstick to dodge the lunging lionesses.

This game can be played with a controller or with the new Top Shot Fearmaster. This wireless controller is designed like a shotgun. The Fearmaster has two metal plates, one positioned below the barrel and the other by the trigger. These plates read your pulse. Gamers will have to learn to control their breathing. Once your heart rate is steady, your sniper scope will zoom in closer to the animal’s lung, giving you a better chance at a kill shot. The developers designed the gun’s software to adapt to different users. So as you play, it will become easier to control your heart rate. However, if you hand the gun over to a friend mid-game, he or she will have a more difficult time trying to regulate their heart rate since it has already adapted to your own.

Dangerous Hunts 2013 comes with a new Maneater horde mode. In this mode, you and a friend can team up to take down waves of attacking animals. It’s a nice addition to the standard Cabela’s shooting gallery. Typically, Cabela’s games are all about the rifle and shotgun. Having a chance to use a bow instead was a joy. Plus, the bow lets you kick butt like Legalos in Lord of the Rings.