TV Recap: 'Fringe' Episode 505 - 'An Origin Story'



Fringe Episode 505
“An Origin Story”
Written By: J.H. Wyman
Directed By: PJ Pesce
Original Airdate: 2 November 2012

In This Episode...

Our team is desperately trying to hold it together after losing Etta. Peter is filled with anger; Olivia is still in quiet shock. Later on in the episode, Walter gives her astonishingly lucid advice on how to get past losing a child. He sees Olivia and Peter growing apart - again - and encourages her to be sure to mourn together. As they are packing up her stuff, Etta’s cell phone rings. Olivia answers, somewhat hesitantly. It is Anil, and this is the only way he knows to reach her. While Astrid hangs back to try to extract the next tape from the amber, Walter, Olivia, and Peter meet up with Anil.

The Observers have been opening shipping lanes from the future to bring back the air degradation tech that, if the project is completed, would limit human life spans to 45 years. It requires a tremendous amount of energy to open up one of these portals - judging by the amount of charring on the ground - and Peter sees evidence of a cube that must get the ball rolling. During the most recent delivery, the resistance kidnapped one of the Observers and took his cube. Peter theorizes that if they can open a portal, they can also destroy a portal. If they can turn it into a black hole, while sealing up the entrance in our world, it should destroy the Observers’ world and leave this world about as safe as it currently is.

First Peter must correctly assemble the cube. He goes to the Observer in custody, and naturally he is not helpful. Peter insists that since he at one point adapted from humans, he still has all the subtle physiological responses humans have when they experience emotions. He watches the Observer’s eye dilations and puts the cube together correctly - at least, it turns on and doesn’t blow up.

Astrid had been spending the better part of the day decrypting a notebook which turns out to be a shipping manifesto. They discover the next location for a shipment, and get set up. If the cubes are like telephones, the goal is for Peter’s cube to “answer” the call from the other universe before the Observers’ does. At that point, he will shoot one of Etta’s anti-matter bombs into the portal. It should suck the equipment back into the portal and destroy the other side. Olivia and Peter set up like snipers in a nearby building, but the Observers quickly figure out what is going on when they see the portal shimmering and preparing to open well before they even activate their own device. An Observer appears with Peter and Olivia. A fight ensues, and ends with Olivia shooting the Observer dead. Wasting no time, Peter is on his feet and shoots the bomb into the portal, which is nearly done delivering the goods. It has exactly the effect they wanted - it sucks the cargo back inside and seals shut.

Olivia and Peter meet Anil at the escape van. They barely make it down the street before a sight stops them: another portal, not far away, is open and delivering cargo. The black hole didn’t work. Peter is enraged because it should have worked. He goes back to the captured Observer, who mocks him flatly, informing Peter that he saw what he wanted to see. The dilation that drew Peter’s attention was actually the Observer’s reaction to a fly on the window. They exchange jabs about whether or not emotions are worthwhile. Peter insists that he would be far more powerful if he had a head full of tech like the Observers do... which gives him an idea. Naturally. He extracts the long tech node from the Observer’s neck, without anesthetic, which causes the Observer to convulse and die. With great pain, Peter implants the chip into his own neck. 

Dig It or Bury It?

This episode picked up a bit at the end - rage is always interesting. I have come to accept that 90% of this 13-episode season is going to be build-up to the series finale (two-hours, airing January 18th, in case you haven’t heard.) So there isn’t as much cool stuff from episode to episode. I am dying to see what kind of horrible side effects come with Peter’s new body mod.

Observational Wisdom

From the imprisoned Observer: “You don’t even know what you don’t know.”

Walter Babble

Walter calls Astrid “Abner” tonight. They argue over whose fault it is that there is propane and ethanol on top of the next video. Walter thinks she should have put them away; Astrid says he shouldn’t have tried to make bratwurst on the hibachi. 


Our team next heads into a huge old apartment building, which appears to fold and unfold on itself. It looks like an Escher drawing come to life, or, as Peter says, “Something Walter would have come up with while tripping.”