In the most recent episode of ‘Fringe’, Peter continues his evolution into one of the Observers that he hates so much. Also, we get an explanation for the handprint symbol that occasionally appears in the show’s commercial bumpers, but wasn’t featured the previous week when the other symbols were allegedly explained. Unlike the others, this one actually seems relevant and makes a little bit of sense.
Since implanting the Observer’s chip in his neck, Peter has not only taken on some of their powers, now he’s started behaving like they do. He spends a good chunk of episode ‘Five-Twenty-Ten’ observing the Observers. He also has the ability to predict what will happen in the future based on patterns in the activity of things happening now. He uses this to his advantage by switching out an Observer’s briefcase with another rigged with a bomb.
Walter learns on one of his tapes that those things we’ve seen drill up from under the ground in previous episodes are homing beacons that help the Observers navigate through time. For the next stage of his plan, Walter needs two of them, and it just so happens that William Bell stole and stashed a couple away in a storage facility. In order to get in, Walter needs Bell’s handprint. It’s a good thing, therefore, that Walter cut Bell’s hand off when they found him in amber.
Unfortunately, when they get there, the team finds the storage building mostly buried under rubble. To get through that, they need Nina Sharp’s help. She provides them with a “matter sublimation” device that will instantly evaporate solids into gas.
All this time, Peter has been lying to Olivia about what happened to him and what he’s been doing. He finally comes clean and shows her the timeline chart he’s made for Windmark (the chief Observer) and his top lieutenants. Olivia is scared both for and of Peter. Also, Peter notices that his hair is falling out.
Meanwhile, Walter tells Nina that he’s counting on Peter and his own love for his family to keep him from going completely to the dark side. However, by episode end, Walter realizes that love alone wasn’t enough to save William Bell, when he learns that Bell loved Nina. Walter fears losing himself, and asks Nina to cut those bits that he put back into his brain out again.
The episode has some decent character moments, a fair amount of suspense, and a spectacularly gross gore effect when Peter’s bomb melts off three of the Observers’ faces. My expectations for what constitutes a “good” episode of ‘Fringe’ have decreased significantly this season. For what it is, this one skirts by.