We saw it in the look on his face as he turned away from Etta last week — her death had also meant a death of something in Peter. Maybe it was empathy, or hope, or a little bit of both with some love and fear of death mixed in. But nothing could prepare us for the decision he made during the last few minutes of last night's episode, where [SPOILER ALERT] Peter explored his inner Prometheus by performing surgery on himself, implanting Observer-tech in his brain. It was TERRIFYING. We have no idea what it will do to him, but it sure does set us up for a thrilling, potentially heart-breaking final eight, no?
"Why would we get her back just to lose her again?" was the unanswerable question hanging over the Bishop family during "An Origin Story." Walter, who had gone through this before, seemed to be adjusting okay. Olivia, until the heartbreaking final moments, was as emotionally raw as we've ever seen her. It was actually, in a weird way, refreshing. She does feel things! But Peter had some essential screws loose. He was fixated on letting the world know about Etta's sacrifice, and willing to go to extreme, not-very-Peter methods to make sure this happened. He was reckless. He pretty much went later-seasons Jack Bauer on an Observer, causing the bald guy unthinkable pain without batting an eye. This is not the Peter we've come to know.
An upgraded version of the old-school Fringe case-of-the-week was the background for all of this emotional drama, as the Observers had begun to transport future tech (from their time) to modern day, using a wormhole. Classic! If they succeeded in getting enough of the tech, they'd finish their fancy air-destroyer thing in Central Park, irreversibly shortening the human lifespan to 45 years. Luckily, Olivia had future FaceTime on her future iPhone, so she was able to get in touch with one of Etta's le Résistance friends. They met at the now-charred wormhole spot, where le Résistance FaceTimed his other friend, who had captured an Observer and stolen his gadgets and gizmos aplenty.
This is where things — well, Peter — started to get extremely messed up. The captured Observer had a cube that could open the wormhole, so if Peter could torture him into putting it back together, he could use anti-matter to turn the WORMhole into a BLACKhole, sucking the future Observers inside. (Deep breath. Just roll with it.) Walter and Olivia were very hesitant to go with this reckless plan in lieu of Walter's MUCH more thought out one, but Peter was insistent. So much so that Olivia pleaded with him to reconsider, saying she was worried about him. "Nothing’s going to happen to me," he replied. "I can do this. We can do this. Our daughter dedicated her life to freeing us, and now we’re going to dedicate ours to making sure that means something. When we win, when we beat them, I want everyone to know that Etta is responsible for the world being saved."
Walter overheard their strained conversation, and it was heartbreaking. Hearing Peter and Olivia emotionally negotiate Etta's loss must have reminded him of the mistakes he had made with Peter's mother after their son's loss, and their repercussions. He knows how Peter is feeling, but he also knows how those feelings can lead to the destruction of a formerly healthy relationship. Not to mention, a man's mind. So while Peter dedicated himself to his madcap mission, Walter tried his best to fix the only remaining constant in his life — his relationship with his family. He gave Olivia an old tape of one of Etta's birthdays, warning her, "You must face this pain together. I have experience with this sort of pain. You can't escape it by building walls around your heart, or by breaking the universe." Liv wasn't ready for the tape yet, but she was definitely listening.
In the end, Peter's plan failed. Since the Observer would never talk, Peter had used "tells" — facial ticks and such — to put the cube together, and the end result was minimal. "You don't even know what you don't know," said Mr. Observer, almost gleefully, when Peter raged back into the lab. Now, this is where things went from bananas to bats*** insane. Peter started going on about Etta, and how the Observer was nothing but a giant piece of tech. No substance. He said: “I would be ten times what you are if I had that tech in my head.” MIND. BLOWN. Because he was seriously considering it. And he made that decision pretty quickly.
In one of the most disturbing-slash-emotionally jarring sequences in Fringe history, Peter brutally cut the tech out of the Observer's neck, comparing the pain to the pain a father feels when he loses a child. It was a bloody mess. Then Olivia called in (rare) tears, lovingly asking him to come home, as their daughter would want them to survive this together. She had watched the tape, and realized the vital importance of keeping this family together. But it was too late. Peter promised to come home, then exchanged "I love you's" while he coldly jammed the tech into his own neck. CREEPY.
Fringe fans will, undeniably, have mixed feelings about this turn of events. Pretty much everyone has a soft spot for Peter, and watching him lose his humanity would be a devastating end for his character. But what did you think of the turn of events? Are you excited to see where it goes, or bemoaning Peter 2.0? Sound off in the comments!
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[PHOTO CREDIT: FOX]