‘Fringe’ 5.10 Recap: “In Reality, You’re the Animal”

Maybe I’m just too jaded, but I have a hard time getting choked up when a major character is killed off on ‘Fringe’. The show has a long history of unwriting and retconning character deaths. Given the way that I fully expect the series finale to end in a few weeks, I don’t consider anything in the current storyline to be permanent.

The character in question is Nina Sharp, who finds herself a fugitive from the Observers in episode ‘Anomaly XB-6783746’ after helping the Fringe team find a way to communicate with Michael, the young Observer child. Because the boy is still uncommunicative, Walter gets very upset with his lack of progress and seems to be regressing back to his old personality. Nina helps out by bringing the Michael to a secret Massive Dynamic lab that she’s been using to experiment on captured Observers with the resistance. There, she tries an “e-cog” helmet that should read the boy’s mind, but his thought processes are too complex, even by Observer standards. Also, he doesn’t have one of their chips in his neck.

Windmark and the Observers get wind that Nina is up to something, and interrogate/torture her assistant Hastings until he gives up the location of the lab. Nina manages to hide Michael before the Observers arrive. In “Talking Killer” fashion, they explain that Michael was a “genetic mistake” and was scheduled to be destroyed, until he was stolen away by the mysterious Donald. Nina has a laugh at the Observers by revealing that her research has shown that the evolution of their brains is actually more of a de-evolution back to a primitive lizard state. She then pulls a gun, which is useless against the Observers, and kills herself.

The Observers conveniently leave her body there and wander away in time for Walter and team to arrive and find her. They also discover the hiding Michael, who cries for Nina (a very un-Observer-like trait) and either reads Walter’s mind or passes thoughts to him. This triggers a dream or flashback or something in which Walter realizes that Donald is the friendly Observer known as September, who seems to be alive (see, characters on this show never really die) and has hair.

The closer we get to the series finale, the more evident it is to me that that the season will end with Walter building his time machine/doomsday device from earlier seasons, which Michael will use to go back and prevent the Observer invasion, of some similar BS like that, thus negating the entire point of anything that has happened this year. Maybe I’ll be proven wrong, but that’s how I’m calling it now.

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