Fringe Review: Bishops, Blondes and Bullets

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Must every time the phrase "The Bullet That Saved the World" is uttered be in reference to a blonde Bishop? It seems a bit unfair that the entire fate of the world weighs upon the shoulders of the Dunham line, and perhaps solely because of what was done to it at the hands of Walter Bishop, but it would be difficult at this point to make a case against it.

The Team Doubts Broyles

It was the proverbial game-changer episode, as was hinted in the set interview with Joshua Jackson in September. The season was fairly lackluster up to this point, and it was an aggressive move. Sadly, the Bishop clan is rarely torn asunder by catastrophe, but instead their resolve is recharged and it's a signal to viewers that anyone in their way better hold tight because there will be hell to pay. The first time they were faced with this situation, when we weren't looking, they had hope. This time, there is only vengeance.

To ensure the most pain was received by the death blow, there were some meaningful moments between parents and child. We learned how Etta found the bullet necklace and why she wore it. She didn't fully understand its meaning, but knew enough that if it was retained it was for a purpose far greater than she could comprehend.

Seeing Broyles was great. Considering how difficult his life must have been over the past 21 years, they aged him subtly. Was anybody else confused by the original conversation between Broyles and Windmark? Twenty one years of studying the resistance and the Observers had no idea about the original Fringe team and the members that created it? That made no sense.

Were they so certain of their success that they erased the images of their foes from two decades earlier? If so, then that arrogance might hold the key to their defeat. It turned out Broyles didn't know that Windmark knew all along he had been friends with the original Fringe team.

Wasn't it wonderful to see Broyles and the group back together again? If only Astrid could have been there. Etta also got to see, so briefly, their two worlds touch. For mere minutes the team Etta had heard of for years was together again as they spoke about the plan. What a shame that it was the last reunion she would encounter. 

Not only was it an obvious sensational ploy for Peter to buy her the necklace on the very day she died, but also for the Observer in the pawn shop to read his reasons for buying it and for Windmark to want to understand why they would out themselves for something so inconsequential.

Naturally, Etta chose the most dramatic way possible for Windmark to interpret the meaning of love; by reading her. The one thing she had spent a lifetime hiding she allowed just moments before her death. Clutching her mother’s bullet in one hand and covering her wound in the other, Etta found herself destroyed by love. 

Olivia died inside. Her eyes went cold. You could see it happen. If there is a God, the Observers had better start praying, because Olivia will do nothing to stop now. She had her daughter ripped from her hands once, and didn’t know if she was alive or dead. This time she’s certain. There will be hell to pay.

The bitch of it is it will be hard to outsmart someone who can be at death’s door one second and out of harms way the next. Olivia, and her past with cortexiphan, has to be the ticket, together with Walter’s plan.  It will be interesting to see whether Peter blames himself for Etta's death since the Observer grabbed the image of Etta from his head.

If so, it could play out the opposite of the first time Etta "died." Olivia determinedly searching for a way to bring down her daughter's killers, while Peter second-guesses his choices in fear of what he might let on since the Observers can so easily read his mind. 

The Bishop family story is tragic from beginning to end. Even if they find some peace by saving the world, the tragedy will remain.

Other Thoughts:

  • I've been wondering where Lance Reddick and Blair Brown stood the season. if the special appearance designation is any indication they won't be on many episodes.  The only positive to Etta dying is that it might free up salary and space within the scripts.
  • Etta left the plan in Broyles hands. Will it be safe with him with Windmark onto his meeting, and knowing he can probably hide his feelings?
  • If this is really a three chapter final season, I can't even stand to think what the third chapter will bring.
  • Do you think they will take a chance and go back to the re-ambered lab, or was that the last we've seen of the former Harvard University? 


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (810 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


Etta's death totally took me by surprise. I figured she was gonna stay until the end, even though she wasn't listed as a series regular. It's funny I wouldn't have cared about her last year, but since we got to know her and all the sacrifices Peter and olivia made to search for her, it was so sad to see her die like that. Peter and olivia had it so hard in this series, killing their daughter seems rather cruel.


Hey Prutgardin - If you go to the bottom of the quotes page, there is a place where you can submit any quote you liked from the show and get the credit. Head over there and do it! I don't want to take credit from where it's due. :-)


There is a quote missing from your quote page: Broyles: Agent Dunham. I completely lost it when he said that ;-)


Elliott, I am well aware that Etta blew up the building. That she knew she was going to die and tried to take them with her. She still died for love. When did I say the Observers blew up the building? When did I say Peter loved Etta less than Olivia? From the start we were all lead to believe that he loved her more, that's why it was so difficult for Olivia to lose her when she was just able to admit to herself that she was worthy of having a daughter to love in the first place. Finally, I don't review the previews or spoilers. I review the episode. There are spoiler posts for those who want to read them.


Great review! You captured everything that was important and all of the puzzles they try to throw at us. Sorry Etta had to go but I am a believer in
happy endings and they may just be able to get them all together before the end. Good job as usual Carissa!


Wow what a bizarre, mistake-filled review. As though Peter doesn't love his daughter equally to Olivia, as though the Observers blew up the building in a trap (Etta blew up the building, duh). And it is not at all clear that Windmark knows Phillip is part of the resistance. And if you look at the promo for next week, it's Peter going all midieval on the Observers. But by all means continue your freaky insistence that Olivia is a victim of the Bishops and that she alone has true feelings or strength. You might not want to read Joel Wyman then though, he says this season is equally about the three of them, and nobody's journey (not even Olivia's) is more important than the others'.


Olivia is much more of a bad ass than Peter though. She's better at it.


I had a feeling something would happen to Etta, since I dont think the actress that plays her was listed as a series regular. I think Peter is about to a bit crazy, similar to when he hunted down and killed that group of shape shifters after the Olivias were switched.


Olivia Dunham has always been used for the story of Walter and or Peter Bishop, to give them depth, now they did it with Etta for Peter. Olivia had a bond with a character what could have become interesting, but once again that had to be destroyed, as the only real bond they write for is Walter and Peter and
Olivia will now once again have to run after Peter, like she has been doing since midseason3, see preview. I hope Olivia will be back in aa Active role, saving the world be important, but I fear she has been made into an Elisabeth, woman only there for her man.


Fringe is unbearably depressing this season.

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Fringe Season 5 Episode 4 Quotes

Peter: You had to give up your necklace so we could work on the laser. I wanted to make sure you got a new one.
Etta: Thank you.
Peter: Worth every bump and bruise kiddo.
Etta: Well, you know the expression. No good deed goes unpunished.

Olivia: How is it coming?
Walter: Fast as a snail! At this rate, we'll save the world in another 21 years!