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Fringe Season 5: 5 Questions About “Black Blotter”

by  in Comic News, TV News Comment

In last week’s episode of Fringe, Peter rediscovered his humanity and Olivia apparently rediscovered her spine. But does that mean that things are headed back to normal for the show? Well, judging by this week’s episode, apparently so (as long as animated dream sequences are included). Five questions about “Black Blotter,” coming right up…

Was The Monty Python Sequence The Greatest Fringe Scene Ever?
So, let’s just get this out the way first, shall we? Good Lord, but the animation in which Walter remembered “Black Umbrella” was completely unexpected and hilariously wonderful: Accurate for Python fans, but also something that makes complete sense given Walter’s age and cultural references. And I thought that playing Donovan’s “Hurdy Gurdy Man” was both obscure and wonderful enough…

Who Is The Other Walter?
A running theme this season – and, really, the whole series – is the danger of intellectualism over emotion. The Observers, after all, are so smart that they have no emotions, and as we found out last week, that’s apparently the reason why “we” are going to win (if you believe Olivia). This week, we find that Walter may end up going the same route, but without the aid of technology artificially stimulating his brain… I’m somewhat unconvinced by this as a theory, in large part because it seems to deny the idea that our emotional experiences make us who we are as much as our intellectual education: Is it really believable at this point that Walter would sell out those that he loves for the Observers’ approval? Perhaps that’d be the case if the Observers had just appeared and hadn’t done everything that they have done (Not the least of which is killing Etta), but now…? That seems such a cynical, plot-device-y way of thinking, it just sticks out as being odd and unnecessary.

Why Is Michael The Way He Is?
Actually, talking about the Observers and their artificial evolution: Why is Michael the way he is? Haven’t we been told that the Observers have their abilities (and perhaps their looks) because of the implants? Surely Michael doesn’t have an implant, so why hasn’t he aged in 20 years…? (Also, a random thought: Is Michael a young September? That may explain September’s loyalties, in a strange time-travel-y way.)

So Why Did The Radio Start Working Again?
Why I’m asking questions that may remain unanswered forever at this point: Why did the Fringe team suddenly get the radio signal, if it’s been transmitted every day for the last 20 years? Did Walter fix the radio in between episodes?

What About Donald?
Okay, by this point, we’re definitely headed towards a massive revelation that Donald is (a) still alive and (b) someone we already know/have already met, right…? There have been more than enough Donald hints dropped, and his absence is so unexplained, that it has to be leading up to some kind of big reveal, but what?

And here’s an extra question, just because it’s the Holiday Season:
Should We Consider The Timelines Comments Important?
Out of nowhere, we got two different references to the fact that Peter comes from, and Olivia remembers, a different timeline this week, after that concept having gone entirely unmentioned for some time: First, the reference to Sam Weiss (For those who don’t remember, he was the urban shaman in the bowling alley who helped Olivia in season two), and then Olivia’s original meeting with Michael in the original timeline. Coincidence, or some strange and subtle pointer that we should be remembering the possibility of altering timelines for future episodes? Could time be changed so that Etta lives… or that the Observers never existed at all?