‘Fringe’: ‘Five-Twenty-Ten’ review

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Joshua Jackson has definitely been studying Michael Cerveris’s performance as September very closely. In ‘Five-Twenty-Ten’, Jackson channels September’s memorable mannerisms (and the way that he speaks) with real success. It’s a magnificent display of acting and the clearest indication yet of the changes that Peter is going through.

Fringe continues to explore Walter and Peter in similar ways to last week’s episode, and brings Nina Sharp back into the picture to help the team follow more clues left on one of Walter’s tapes.

This episode’s secondary story sees Peter methodically hunt down two of Windmark’s top lieutenants. While the main plot feels like the type of thing we’ve seen a couple of times this season (with the added benefit of Nina), there’s some really intriguing stuff going on with Peter at the moment. He uses his newfound abilities to plan a biological attack (using the toxin first seen in Fringe’s pilot episode) that’ll take out the two Observers and he spends much of his time talking about “variables” and constantly lying to Olivia.

By the end of the episode, Peter isn’t lying any longer. It seems that the only reason he tells Olivia what is going on is that he’s simply not concerned with how she’ll feel about what he’s done any more. This is another big sign that Peter has lost touch with his humanity, and the chilling scene ends with Olivia retreating in horror. With only thirteen episodes in this final season, there was no way that Fringe was going to hold out on this reveal for long, but the way it is executed here is masterful.

As for the rest of the episode, it follows the team as they search for technology that was hidden by William Bell. We learn that Bell was working with them on the plan before, but that he betrayed them to gain favour with the Observers. This information makes it uncertain that they’ll even find what they’re looking for. ‘Five-Twenty-Ten’ is an episode of small victories, though, and just as Peter is successful at killing Windmark’s lieutenants, so are the team at finding the technology they need.

In order to find it, though, they need the help of Nina. She’s now working for Ministry of Science and is able to provide them with advanced devices that aid them in shifting the rubble around Bell’s hidden storage space. Seeing Walter and Nina back onscreen together is great, and she’s able to provide an interesting perspective on the changes that Walter is feeling. The arrogance and determined focus of Walter’s previous self is beginning to show itself even more, and Walter wants the pieces of his brain that are responsible for his personality change to be removed again.

The return of Nina is a welcome one, even if it is unclear just how much we’ll be seeing of her. Other than that, there’s not much in the main plotline to get excited about. Things are definitely moving forward, though, and some larger developments may be coming soon. The story with Peter is working brilliantly, thanks largely to an excellent performance from Jackson. How Olivia processes what she’s just learned has the potential to be very interesting, and how Walter takes the news will undoubtedly be fascinating.

Aired at 10pm on Wednesday 5 December 2012 on Sky1.

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