Fringe Review: What Makes A Hero?

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"The Recordist" was what I hope will be my least favorite Fringeepisode of the season. There was so little to it and it really took the story nowhere in the overall scheme of things. It was quit disappointing.

What we did have was essentially a lesson on what being a hero means to different people. We learned a little about what happened to Olivia after the invasion and the folklore of the Fringe team through the eyes of a young boy hungry for heroes in what he considered a dull life.

Finding a Mine Shaft

Little by little we're learning about what drove Olivia and Peter apart. I didn't expect motherhood to be her reason for keeping the fight against the Observers alive instead of searching for Etta with Peter, but in a strange twist, that's exactly what drove her to walk away from Peter's quest. 

So certain that the cortexiphan trials had somehow ruined her as a candidate for mother of the year, she didn't fully appreciate what she had, and when Etta disappeared, the only logical conclusion she could come to was she had been punished for not fully appreciating what she possessed. Furthermore, that punishment would continue with either the death or a nearly similar fate of her daughter because to find her alive and well would be a reward Olivia just didn't deserve.

Because of the amber, all of those feelings were still incredibly fresh to Olivia, making it very difficult for her to get close to Etta. How could she forgive what she felt just months ago and somehow form a meaningful bond with a grown woman? Especially when the child she was really was out there, just waiting to be found? I think those choices haunt Olivia now, but Peter was trying to give her some room to forgive herself and grab onto the second chance they've been given.

Both Etta and River, the son of the recorder of history, looked upon the original Fringe team with awe, imagining themselves running side-by-side and fighting battles against The Observers with them. To them, they were, and are, heroes. When everything fell apart on their mission and the recorder gave up his life to make history instead of recording it so that his son could have a better future, that resonated with Olivia.

She realized that even though the justification for her choices might not have been ideal, people do have to put themselves in the path of danger and fight for a cause, even if it means losing everything they love. But she's been there and done that. Now she has her entire family with her and they can all fight together. A great second chance, indeed.

Other things of note:

  • Walter was back to his antics with his discovered bong and the goofy sunglasses. I love that guy!
  • Whatever the affliction those poor people had, it had me itching and uncomfortable for the entire hour. What a horrible way to live.
  • It was really cute to hear Etta tell Oliva they fought all kinds of imaginary battles together. Exactly what a little girl would do!
  • I'm kind of missing the larger casts. It hurts even when Astrid stays back at the lab. Anyone else?
  • Those Fringe comics River made were really cool. I wonder if they'll go up for sale in a charity auction or something after production ends. 

What did you think of this week's episode? Somehow I expect the comments will not agree with my assessment. The bad news is we have two weeks until the next new episode. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for some action, excitement and big reveals!


Editor Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (891 Votes)

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


The episode was okay. Nice scenes with Olivia and Peter.It was also strange because I think the weird skin people are actually the ancestors of the observers. Perhaps the weird skin disease will ultimately result in their descendants becoming pale and hairless, and having mental superpowers.


★★★★☆TV I was only annoyed a little by the tape playbacks. Considering Astrid informed the team with another playback.*Redundant*


@JP I ,obviously, did that's why I made the comment.

Strawberry fields

I actually liked this episode. In the previous two there was so much action and no time for characters to interact with each other. I was waiting for the show to slow down a bit and let those people actually TALK about how they are dealing with everything. I mean, come on, they just woke up in a totally different world and met aduld Etta. It's freaky. Now we finally know something about what happened to Olivia after Etta disappeared and I think it's great. There should be more stuff like that on "Fringe", instead of focusing all the time we have left on war with the Observers. I like the skin disease too, because it reminded me a little bit of the good old days, when Fringe team was dealing with creepy cases. I missed that.


Fuck whoever decided to cancel Fringe. I apologize for being rude, but seriously, there are a lot of stupid shows on T.V & it saddens me that such a great series was cancelled. -------------------- @fortyseven : I don't think that you've considered the fact that it's just the beginning of the end. There's 13 episodes & this is just the 3rd. @Rae : I'm surprised you said that. What surprises me the most though is that. you couldn't focus during the weird skin disease scenes, considering that it might be the least sick 'thing' in the Fringe series.


Strange that now all the media that were raving about 419 are already negative,
I recall some (TV guide) that Fringe should dump Olivia/Anna and replace her with Etta/Georgina like 419,
If one thing is certain that Olivia is the driving force on Fringe, as is Anna. I hated 419, and so the setting of this season, Over There was original and wasted in season 4. Wyman said this was 13 epi film, so epi 3 must be seen as colouring the human landscape. I do hope that 5.04 is the gamechanger, certainly for the hardworking cast and crew, they deserve a great final.


Standout scenes Olivia and Etta (to short) and Olivia and Peter,
Father-son love is overkilled on Fringe, what about the mothers? I really do not like adult Etta, but since she is there, give Olivia and Etta great writing by the ladies Schapker and Breen and let them go on the road together, Olivia in charge. They should have put this season in 2015-16 I keep watching for Anna Torv, through her great acting I sense all is not going to be well for Olivia.


After past 2 strong episodes especially from last week's, this episode wasn't my favorite either, but, it wasn't bad as well. There are just 2 scenes that made this episode for me:
1. Peter and Olivia scene. Glad to get more insight on Olivia and on why their marriage fell apart.
2. Seeing Gene ambered in the lab! Any one else scene that?! :D


I really liked this episode. Haunting story and well done.


With only 13 episodes why is there so much procedural crap and filler?

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Fringe Season 5 Episode 3 Quotes

Peter: Walter, you stored the tapes out of order!
Astrid: Shocker.

I don't think I should travel. My feet are swollen from standing in front of the amber all day. I should stay here and regroup. What?