Review

Review

TV Recap: 'Fringe' Episode 510 - 'Anomaly XB-6783746'

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fringeFringe Episode 510
“Anomaly XB-6783746”
Written By: David Fury
Directed By: Jeffrey Hunt
Original Airdate: 21 December 2012

In This Episode...

The Fringe team can’t seem to communicate with Michael. He doesn’t have any tech in his neck,  but he doesn’t seem to have any empath skills. Olivia calls Nina, who can’t talk in her office, but calls back from a more private location. They arrange a meeting, and Olivia, Walter, and Peter show up in an alley with Michael. Nina leads them to a Massive Dynamic “black lab,” one that she turned over to the resistance when the Observers arrived. Inside the lab, in addition to the standard tech fare, three hyperbaric chambers hold dead Observers. The resistance had been experimenting on them, trying to figure out how they were able to read minds. They weren’t able to do much with the little knowledge they gained, but Nina surmises that using an e-cog device (the glowy mowhawky helmet thing) will translate Michael’s thoughts and electrical impulses into something they can understand.

Naturally, this doesn’t work. Nina believes that maybe the reverse will work: let Michael read one of their thoughts. That would require another e-cog device, but Nina has a friend at the Ministry of Science named Dr. Hastings who can help them. When they can’t get a hold of Hastings, Liv, Peter, and Walter break in to the archives to help themselves.

The reason they couldn’t get in touch with Hastings was that the Observers were interrogating him. They managed to read the sound waves off the walls in Nina’s office and discover she was in league with the resistance. Olivia sees Windmark finishing up his interrogation of Hastings. Once they grab the e-cog devices, Liv and Peter rescue Hastings, who tells them that the Observers know about Nina.

Nina’s comm device gets no service in the underground black lab. She goes topside to call Olivia. When she does, the loyalists pick up her location. Olivia alerts her that she has been compromised, and she cannot go back home. Nina is surprisingly affected by this. Back in the lab, she must hide Michael, for the Observers are coming. He first touches her cheek gently, and Nina gasps as her head fills with all sorts of images and info that Michael is feeding her.

Windmark, two Observer goons, and a handful of loyalists come to the lab. Nina is sitting there in the center of the room, waiting for them. Windmark interrogates her while the loyalists search the premises for Michael or the others. Nina has had a lot of practice in blocking her thoughts from the Observers, but Windmark is determined to break her down. Just as the mind meld is becoming too much for Nina, the loyalists interrupt. They have finished the search of the lab, and found no one else. Windmark tells them to restrain her (despite the fact that she is already a cripple) but she moves fast and grabs one of the loyalist’s guns. Windmark scoffs - guns can’t hurt him. “It’s not for you,” Nina tells him - and she shoots herself dead.

The Fringe team returns to the lab and are greeted with the sad and grisly scene. Walter is overcome; Olivia isn’t holding up much better. Peter notices security cameras in the lab, and calls up the footage. They see Nina leading Michael off-screen to hide him, and the confrontation with Windmark. Olivia turns so as not to see Nina die. Peter and Walter are both surprised to discover that Nina killed herself. “They were going to read her. She did it to protect us,” Peter says. They also notice that Windmark didn’t leave with Michael - he must still be in the lab. Olivia finds him in the bottom of one of the hyperbaric chambers, beneath a dead specimen.

Back at the Boston lab, Michael and Walter are hooked up to one another via e-cog. Michael seems to be able to answer Walter’s questions. But he stands, removes the helmet, and touches Walter’s cheek like he did with Nina. This time we get to see what Walter sees: essentially, his life passing before his eyes. But he learns something new, and very important: this Donald that they have all been chasing... it is September.

Dig It or Bury It?

Nina’s death was one of the most gracefully-portrayed I have ever seen on television. It wasn’t sappy or cloying, nor was it mechanical. It just was what it was. You don’t see Nina pull the trigger; nor do you see her bloody corpse. You see her glasses and a pool of blood on the floor, and you see her slumped figure from behind.

Walter Babble

Peter is concerned that Walter is starting to revert to “classic Walter:” the cold, clinical scientist of Peter’s youth. He asks Nina about her promise to remove those bits of brain once the Observers were defeated. Peter is nervous, and not comforted when Nina says that taking out those brain bits may not work, but if she doesn’t do it soon, Walter might regress permanently. So it’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation. Well, it was; with Nina dead, who else is qualified to do it?

Walter’s shifts are subtle. At the beginning of the episode, he tries to get Michael to eat some licorice, insisting it is good. He doesn’t take it, and shortly thereafter, Walter begins referring to him as “the subject.” But then when he found Nina’s body, his face just melted, and he was back to being crazy Walter.

Prophecies?

Fox is now at the point where they are counting down episodes. “Only three episodes left!” they taunt at the end of tonight’s episode. Sad. 

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