Fringe: The Bullet that Saved the World
by Ashley Binion
Welcome back fellow Fringe fans! After a week off, the series came back with an episode-ending shocker that made it worth the wait.
Warning: MAJOR Spoilers Ahead!
“The Bullet That Saved the World” was by far this season’s best episode and one of the best of the entire series. Since this is the final season, with a condensed episode order of thirteen, I was expecting grandiose episodes and amazing storylines harkening back to Season Three greatness, but it really hasn’t been that way. This episode is exactly what I have been waiting for from the show.
With that said, let’s dive on in! It started off with Peter buying Etta a replacement chain for her bullet necklace at a pawn shop. But it didn’t turn out to be that easy. While at the register, an Observer came in and began to read Peter, pulling out an image of Etta. Peter soon changed his thoughts to baseball, causing the Observer to become confused and alert the Loyalist soldiers who were with him. Peter eventually lost the soldiers and escaped.
Back at the Harvard lab, the rest of the gang was still trying to free the tapes from the amber. When Peter returned, there was a sweet scene in which he gave her the necklace. They watched another videotape that steered the team into looking for a tube of plans that Video Walter hid in Newark Penn Station. Of course, the train station ended up being heavily guarded, causing the team to figure out how to get in. But leave it to Walter to have a plan! Apparently, he had kept artifacts from old cases down in the lab’s basement or storage room.
Down in the basement of the lab, Walter kept artifacts from old Fringe cases. It was hilarious to see how much Astrid was totally grossed out by it. For fans, it was a museum of the show’s history and was a nice nostalgic moment. (Side note: Did anyone also notice Peter was wearing his wedding ring around his neck during the scenes in the lab? I thought that was kind of interesting.)
I am going to try my best to place the artifacts that were shown. The most obvious was the window into the alternate world, which was from “Peter.” Another one I saw was the porcupine man from Season One’s “The Transformation” and Season Four’s “Nothing as It Seems.” Also, the frog car was from “Night of Desirable Objects.” Finally, I believe that the brains were from “The Box.”
Even though this was a pretty heavy episode, there were some light moments, courtesy of Walter. The scene where they were down in the basement shooting the gun was hilarious. You could tell that John Nobel and Joshua Jackson were having a blast filming those.
We finally found out the bullet Etta kept carrying around was from “Brave New World,” in which Olivia was shot in the head in order to save both universes and foiled William Bell’s plan. This is where we get the title of the episode “The Bullet That Saved the World.” Etta went back to their house, which had been ransacked by looters, and found the bullet in what was left of her mom’s jewelry box.
It has been a while, but Broyles was finally back in this episode. The Observer, who oversees the new Fringe Division, Windmark, summoned Broyles to the pawn shop, where Peter caused the commotion earlier in the episode. He was also summoned to an interrogation of a Loyalist soldier, whom was suspected of working with the Resistance. The turncoat soldier fought the interrogation as long as possible before giving up that the former Fringe team was using the old Harvard lab and there was another mole codenamed “The Dove.” Once The Dove came up, Broyles reached for his weapon and began to block his thoughts from the Observer. Broyles was successful in keeping his secret, that he was indeed The Dove, from the Observer. As a result of the information being spilled about the old Harvard lab, the Loyalists assaulted the lab forcing the team to re-amber it.
Of course, the biggest Fringe callback was when they actually implemented the old-school fringe event. The event came from “Ability” when Jones implemented the substance that closed all of a body’s orifices. The assault on the station went like clockwork, they bombed the Loyalists and Observers with the orifice closing gas and father and son found the plans. This, of course, made me wary for the rest of the episode because in the Fringe universe, there is no way something would go that smoothly.
I loved the subsequent reunion scene between Broyles and Olivia. In earlier seasons, their relationship evolved from a professional one, to one that was somewhat of a father-daughter dynamic. Etta didn’t only facilitate the meet just for a reunion, she needed weapons.
Within the quite moment of the reunion, Observers appeared causing the team to scatter. They ran to a nearby abandoned building, where they all split up. A shootout ensued and Olivia and Peter spilt up from Etta and Walter. Walter ran away to keep the plans safe. While she was looking for her grandfather, who was hiding in a trunk, Windmark found her. He cornered her and found out that Peter bought the chain for her and wanted to know why. She let him in and showed him the day of the invasion and that love was the reason. As Windmark was taking it in, she tried to stab him with a knife from her boot, but was unsuccessful. He then shot her. Etta’s family rushed to her side and she ordered them to leave her, as she had already armed an antimatter bomb.
While watching this scene, the epic scene at the end of Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan when Spock sacrificed himself for the rest of the crew, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few,” came to mind.
All three of the family members had a different reaction, Olivia, while in shock, told her daughter she loved her and took the bullet necklace, Peter was hysterical, uttering he couldn’t leave her again, while Walter sat their silently weeping. They were forced to leave her. It was a truly heartbreaking scene.
The Observers reentered the building to check if the team was still inside with Etta, but they were nowhere to be found, then the bomb went off. Somehow, Windmark escaped. I guess he had to survive in order to give the Observers a recognizable face for the audience and an overarching big bad.
The family watched as the bomb went off with Olivia still in shock, Peter still in mourning, and Walter stoically watching. Olivia and Walter walked off leaving Peter to continue to look in the distance. It was a powerful image.
It was extremely brave of the show to kill off Peter and Olivia’s daughter only a third of the way through the season. As a fan of the Peter and Olivia romance, I embraced Etta’s character wholeheartedly, and she will be missed. However, this makes the fight for humanity that much more personal for the Fringe team.
The glyph code for this episode was “wound.”
What did you think of Etta’s shocking death?
Rating: 4.5 out of 5