TV Review: FRINGE 5.04 “The Bullet That Saved The World”

FRINGE picks up the pace with an exciting and tragic episode.

This week’s episode of Fringe, "The Bullet That Saved the World," was a fast-paced and emotional hour packed with action and suspense. This was easily one of the most engrossing and exciting episodes of the season, and it was also one of the most tragic, as Fringe Division lost one of their own before the end credits rolled.

Things kicked into high gear in the first few minutes with Peter running through the streets and sewers to escape an Observer and a Loyalist team. Peter evaded an explosion and risked being discovered for a few gallons of gas, but that wasn’t the only thing he was after. Our man wanted to replace the necklace he took from his daughter, Etta, in the last episode. Peter, like a good dad, wanted to give his daughter a simple gift. He risked his life to show Etta that he loved her.

Peter made it back to the lab to deliver the necklace to Etta, who hung it around her neck with a bullet that looked familiar to Olivia. The bullet was what Peter referred to as “the bullet that saved the world,” – the bullet Walter blasted into Olivia’s head in the Season 4 finale “Brave New World.”

This episode was full of fun little callbacks to past episodes. The bullet, the Porcupine Man’s corpse, and the gas from the Season One episode "Ability" all made appearances here. It was exciting to hear Walter say, “There was a time when we solved Fringe cases. Now I think it’s time we created a few of our own.”

The idea that Fringe Division would strike back at The Observers by recreating Fringe events is beyond cool. Even cooler is the idea that these characters are mining their past experiences and the knowledge they’ve gathered working together to help take the world back from the invaders.

Oh, and speaking of old things cropping back up in this future timeline, Broyles finally appeared this season and reunited with the team. The reunion scene was short, but it didn’t disappoint. I loved seeing Lance Reddick reunite with the cast here. I would have liked to have seen Broyles and Astrid see each other again, but I’m sure they’ll meet up soon.

We learned that Broyles is part of the resistance, and he’s basically a mole inside their well-fortified machine, which should come as a surprise to no one. Broyles found out the truth about Etta’s identity years ago, and he brought her under his command to keep her close. Etta taught Broyles how to scramble his thoughts and keep the Observers from reading his mind. Peter attempted to do this in the opening scene, but he failed. Apparently it takes someone even as sharp as Broyles about a year to learn how to keep the Observers from plucking thoughts and images out of someone’s brain. Peter was right when he complained that the Observers were always two steps or more ahead of them.

Peter expressed doubt and cynicism early in the episode after he was almost captured. The stress of attempting to hide his thoughts from the Observer in the store, and failing, seemed to open the floodgates to negativity for Peter. He wondered how they would ever win the world back when the enemy is so sophisticated and omnipresent. Peter even said, “I don’t know how we’re going to beat them.”

Etta promised to teach Peter to block the Observer’s thoughts, which brightened him up a bit. But he was disappointed to learn that the process could take more than a year to learn. And now, with Etta out of the equation, it’s probably safe to say that Peter’s morale has sunk lower than ever.

Etta’s death scene was difficult to watch. We’ve only known her for a few episodes, but I felt like I cared for her almost as much as Peter and Olivia, her parents, did. That’s a credit to the show’s amazing character development. While Etta didn’t get a lot of character development over the past few episodes, she was a compelling and interesting character, and her presence on the show added a great new dynamic to these episodes. She was our guide through this troubled future world, and her presence brought great joy to Peter and Olivia.

As viewers, we’ve come to know and love Peter and Olivia to a great degree. Fringe has done a great job of fleshing these characters out and making them deep, layered and somewhat troubled people. We want to root for them. They’re our friends. We hurt when they hurt, and we rejoice when they’re happy. Etta’s death had a huge impact on me because it had a huge impact on Peter and Olivia.

It was a tragic end to a fun and exciting episode. This episode also brought up an intriguing mystery: Who is "The Dove?" The easy money is on Broyles, but it’s more likely that he’s one of The Dove’s agents. Maybe it’s Nina Sharp, whom we haven’t seen this season. Or maybe our friends from Over There have found a way to cross over and fight the baldies? Here’s hoping we get more reunions this year. I’d love to see Walternate, Fauxlivia and, of course, Lincoln Lee show up to lend Fringe Division a hand this season.