Fringe is back after a two week break with its fourth episode of the season entitled ‘The bullet that Saved the World’. The title is a reference to the actual bullet that Etta wears in a necklace which was used by Walter to shoot Olivia. This episode of Fringe tries to up the ante by killing of Etta (Georgina Haig) at the end, a decisions which I didn’t really agree with because I just started to get to know her.
As for the plot of ‘The Bullet that saved the World’…
While Peter (Joshua Jackson) is out collecting gas, he stops in a pawn shop, where an Observer attempts to read his mind. Though he uses Etta’s advice to mask his thoughts, the Observer does obtain an image of Etta and offers Peter a necklace to give her; Peter leaves quickly before he is caught by other Observers and Loyalist forces. Captain Windmark brings in Broyles (Lance Reddick), warning him of a possible leak in the Loyalist forces. Meanwhile, Etta uses the chain of the necklace as a replacement for the bullet one, and Olivia (Anna Torv) recognizes it as “the bullet that saved the world” (“Brave New World”).
Back at the lab, Walter (John Noble) and Astrid (Jasika Nicole) extract another tape for part of Walter’s plan, describing the reversibility of particles. The location of the necessary information is lost on a torn part of the tape, but Walter recognizes the story his past self was telling , pointing to a subway station deep inside Observer-controlled Manhattan. Entering Manhattan through the Observer and Loyalist checkpoints would be impossible, but Walter directs them to a secret basement below his lab where he had stored elements from all the past Fringe cases. They look for some way of creating a distraction from these elements.
The suspected Resistance mole is interrogated by an Observer; in addition to revealing the name “The Dove” as an unknown entity that set him up in the Loyalist forces, as well as the existence of the lab at the Harvard lab. Etta is alerted to this, and they are able to reamber the lab and hide in time before Loyalist forces arrive; to them, the lab remains as if it were still abandoned. Windmark considers that if Etta is able to hide her thoughts from the Observers, perhaps others can.
Walter, Peter, Olivia, and Etta use a chemical developed by David Robert Jones (“Ability”) to cause the guards at the checkpoint to suffocate, diverting attention long enough to recover the package from the subway tunnel. Once safe, they find the package contains an extremely complex physic equation that Walter cannot immediately understand. As they review it, Broyles arrives, and reunites with his former team, and explains how he was recruited into the Resistance after seeing Etta and learning how to block his thoughts from the Observers. Brolyes helps to arm them, but they soon find Observers and Loyalists converging on them, following a tracking device on their car. They give the sheet of equations to Broyles and cover his escape before racing off to an abandoned warehouse. As the Observers and Loyalists move in, the group is split up, and Etta is cornered by Windmark. Windmark interrogates Etta to try to understand why Peter gave her the necklace, and determines it is love. He then shoots her.
Peter, Olivia, and Walter regroup and find Etta, dying from the wound. Peter and Olivia try to convince Etta to let them take her out, but she reveals that she has armed an anti-matter device, and shortly dies after giving back the bullet necklace to Olivia. The group escapes, while the anti-matter device wipes out many Observers and Loyalist forces. They take a moment to mourn losing their daughter so soon after they were reunited with her.
For the first part this episode is rather slow, it carefully sets the characters in a surrounding before it starts to race to the end of the episode. all this is quite familiar to most Fringe fans, but this episode differs from those earlier ones in that the very small details in the start of the episode are of importance as they forewarn Etta’s death. Personally I do not agree that she had to be killed off, her presence also gave the show a big impulse.
In this episode we also learn a great deal more about the observers in that they are not as one-dimensional as we were led to believe, they genuinely seem to have a problem in understanding humans. The observer known as Windmark is an especially effective character in this season of Fringe as he tries to undo the Observers weak spot.
Jasika Nicole’s character Astrid is once again underutilized, I had hoped her character would step more into the forefront since her own standalone episode but that hasn’t happened.
That this episode brought a few old gadgets from past Fringe episode back was a very nice sign, certainly those early episodes are still fan favorites and few episode of either season 4 or 5 have managed to live up to those early ones.
Score; 9 / 10.