Fringe Round Table: "The Human Kind"

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This week, the Fringe Round Table examines "The Human Kind," focusing on Peter getting his humanity back and how that might affect the final run of Fringe Season 5.

Below, TV Fanatic staff writers Sean McKenna, Carla Day, Carissa Pavlica and super fan Nick Shere put their minds together - without the help of Observer tech! - to try make sense of what went down.


How much longer to you expect we'll be searching for tapes before the team has what they need for Walter's plan?
Sean: I'm guessing by episode ten. It's going to be one of those close to the end things, where there's just enough time to use it before it is all over, even if we spent most of the season trying to find all the tapes.

Nick: Almost until the end? It's a big part of the structure of the season so far, and they don't have enough time to switch narrative horses.

Carla: They will find the last piece probably in episode 10, maybe episode 11 with that being when they put together the device or plan. And, then the last two hour finale will be using it to hopefully save the world.

Carissa: I wish it was going to be over sooner, but I'm guessing it will be down to the last minute. Another thought I had is that they won't find them all and will have to figure something out on their own. 

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What did you think about Simone and her story arc with Olivia?
Sean: It reiterates the question of faith, something that was discussed before. That said, it felt a little too long and drawn out for the episode even though I know it was trying to hammer the idea home.

Nick: It reminds me of "White Tulip." (Of course, everything reminds me of "White Tulip," doesn't it?) The conflict of a technologist's worldview with a worldview that assigns meaning and moral weight beyond the observable. That's really the essence of the whole series. That, and the challenge of good people trying to do better in the context of that conflict.

Carla: It was touching to see the faith that even that one person had in their plan and their destiny to save the world from the Observers. I loved it. Simone provided a breathe of freshness to the cruel world we had seen so far in 2036.

Carissa: Olivia needed to see someone who, even through the darkest of times, never lost hope. She found that person in Simone. That fate designated their paths to cross made the story even more remarkable, as timing is everything. It was exactly what she needed to make her plea to Peter.

Do you think Etta's divine intervention played a hand in Olivia's escape with the bullet?
Sean: Well, that just goes back to the faith question, the science question, etc. Emotionally it makes sense, especially in distinguishing Olivia and everyone from the tech heavy observers. Either way, it is her resilience and beliefs that will probably help them win it out in the end. I guess overall there isn't a simple answer to it all.

Nick: I thought of it in terms of "One Night in October" - the presence of a person changes the whole shape of the lives of the people they come into contact with, even after they're gone. 

Carla: I don't think it was divine intervention, but the symbolism was strong and emotional. Etta will always be with Olivia and Peter. She existed and will continue to exist in their hearts and is integral to their fight and success.

Carissa: First, I must say that Nick's ability to remember episodes by name astounds me. That's why he's here. But, to answer the question, the way everything with the bullet played out I almost have to believe there was something bigger at play. The fact it shot at all after everything it had been through, to flying right into his cranium? It almost made me believe, and I'm a born skeptic.

Did you expect Peter to take his Observer tech out so soon?
Sean: No, but I'm glad he did. It was cool seeing him use his powers to fight Widmark, but I'm glad he came back to the "good side." I was worried Olivia would have to take him out with that bullet, but instead used it to remind him of humanity and the love that he would lose if he kept it in.

Nick: No, but I was pleasantly surprised -- both because "save Peter from himself" would probably have made for a less-interesting finale and because it shows that the characters aren't (just) regressing emotionally and morally. Their connections with each other remain a humanizing force in their lives.

Carla: No, but I was thrilled it happened so quickly. There wasn't any more to be gained by Peter keeping the tech, but a human Peter can use that knowledge to help defeat the Observers. Besides, Olivia, Walter and Astrid need him, especially his wife. It's time for Olivia and Peter to heal together.

Carissa: As everyone else, I was genuinely surprised he removed it so quickly, but thrilled. I'm hoping my super couple is coming into their own as the series draws down to it's final episodes, with the help of Walter and Astrid of course. I just couldn't believe Peter would fight so hard to get back to Olivia only to leave her when tragedy struck again. When he saw her love my heart grew two sizes...wait...another story. 

Now that everyone is back to normal, what should be their next move?
Sean: I saw finally putting all the pieces together and then learning what they need to do with it to wipe all of the Observers out. Does anyone wonder if and when September might return? I still feel as if there's something missing that will dramatically raise the stakes in the next few episodes. Fight the future. Win the War.

Nick: Aside from continuing on with the tapes, it would be sensible to take the new insights they've gained into the Observers' tech and use it to build new weapons against them. For example, imagine if Walter could use what he knows about the implants to reintroduce empathy into the Observer viewpoint?

Carla: Get the last pieces of the device or whatever it is they are putting together to defeat the Observers. Put the plan into motion and kick some Observer ass. Then live happily ever after....

Carissa: My best case scenario is for Walter to devise a virus that will infuse the Observers with so much emotion and empathy that they will be overcome with understanding of the pain they have caused which will in turn be their downfall. They always seem so interested in feelings and why humans go in search of them and fight for them. It's time for them to find out and live with the consequences. Perhaps their own brain synapses will connect in such a way that all the fellow Observers they've known and lost will feel like family, now gone. I don't know how they can do it, but I'd love it to be big in scope and not bloody, but emotional.

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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Fringe Season 5 Episode 8 Quotes

Olivia: Expecting me?
Simone: I've been waiting many years for someone to come for that magnet. Come, I'll show you.

Peter: Trust me when I tell you, I am in complete control.
Walter: I don't believe you are in control. Son, you promised me. You said you would be there for me, do you remember, to keep me from slipping? I need you. I'm begging you. Please come back in and let me run some tests.