Walter tries to communicate with the ‘Observer child’, while Nina Sharp reveals a hidden lab full of useful tech…
With a promising start and a good finish, this episode of Fringe offers more of the same running-around-in-the-middle-after-a-piece-of-tech monotony that has bedevilled this entire season.
It is great to have Nina Sharp back again, but it confirms a worry trend in this final series: are old or once regular characters being revived simply so they can be killed off? Even newer characters such as Olivia and Peter’s daughter Etta haven’t escaped their doom, although in that case there is a dramatic argument for the decision. It seems key that the ‘Observer child’ dubbed MIchael will be key to the defeat of the Observers, but will he meet the fate of so many other characters this season?
The bizarrely inconsistent rules for the abilities of the Observers continue to annoy: one minute they’re teleporting from place to place, then when the plot requires that they turn up somewhere at a specific time, they decide to drive there… There was a nice piece of Observer tech demonstrated this episode with their machine for reconstituting sound waves from the past contained within glass. The ‘surprise’ reveal of who the mysterious ‘Donald’ is turns out to be no surprise at all, as (barring the introduction of a new character) there was a very small pool of possibilities.
Walter is very moody this episode, and the rest of the cast sometimes seem to be simply going through the motions. Is it possible that they are just as dissatisfied with the material they’ve been offered this season as many of the fans? Fringe has unfortunately become something of a chore to watch, a habit that many of the show’s dwindling numbers of viewers are keeping up just to get to the end of a five year saga which probably peaked at the end of last season.
Verdict: A once wonderful series has become something of a slog to get through…
Episode 10 ‘Anomaly XB-6783746’: 6/10
Brian J. Robb