Fringe Episode 5.01 Review – Dandelion Wine

Sep 29, 2012 | 8 comments

Transilience Thought Unifier Model -11


Dandelion Wine

(The Simple Joys of Yesterday)

“Somewhere, a book said once, all the talk ever talked, all the songs ever sung, still lived, had vibrated way out in space and if you could travel to Far Centauri you could hear George Washington talking in his sleep or Caesar surprised at the knife in his back. So much for sounds. What about light then? All things, once seen, they didn’t just die, that couldn’t be.

It must be then that somewhere, searching the world, perhaps in the dropping multiboxed honeycombs where light was an amber sap stored by pollen-fired bees, or in the thirty thousand lenses of the noon dragonfly’s gemmed skull you might find all the colors and sights of the world in any one year. Or pour one single drop of this dandelion wine beneath a microscope and perhaps the entire world of July Fourth would firework out in Vesuvius showers. This he would have to believe.”

Ray Bradbury

Dandelion Wine – 1957



The Winds of Change

The first and last shots of the final season premiere of Fringe focus on a dandelion.  In the first, a dandelion has gone to seed, its time done.  In the last, a newly matured dandelion stands straight and defiant in the middle of scorched earth.  Soil proclaimed dead by the Observer, Windmark.

Episode 5.01 closes inside the detritus of an abandoned taxi as a depleted Walter Bishop, a devout disciple of science, led by the prism light of a windchime CD tree; looks for inspiration after being battered by the torturous mind probings of Windmark.

Not through science.

But music.


Walter and Trip Mix #6: Only You – The Search for Amazement


Each season Fringe undergoes a paradigm shift.  This season the shift is even larger.  For the first time the title credits do not dwell on science but on human rights.

Across graphics of a dark and restrictive world scroll words extolling:


  • Community
  • Joy
  • Individuality
  • Education
  • Imagination
  • Private Thought
  • Due Process
  • Ownership
  • Free Will
  • Freedom

Even the title card for Season 5 ‘Fringe’ differs greatly. Gone is the smooth machine tooled look of previous seasons.  This time an organic, battered but not broken, styling is in play.

Without these freedoms, the oppression of an Observer ruled world blocks the pursuit of the more esoteric pursuits shown in previous season title credits.  Freedoms taken for granted in previous seasons have been lost.


The fifth season will be about getting those freedoms back.  That is very exciting from a dramatic standpoint for, to paraphrase Jeff Bridges as the Starman from the 1984 John Carpenter film:


‘You are a strange species. Not like any other.  Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you?

You are at your very best when things are at their worst.’


What can be worse to than to be at war?  And what other scenarios can offer such a rich and dramatic soil against the scorched earth of 2036 for the actors and writers of Fringe?

Episode 5.01 has already given us glimpses of those possibilities with the ripping apart of the Bishop family and the poignant reunions of Peter and Etta, Walter and Etta, Peter and Olivia, and Olivia and Etta.  Reunions we are shown that are just the tip of the relationship iceberg.

There is much to look forward to as this more than capable cast should be handed their most dramatic feast to dine on yet.

We also see the fundamental difference between the Observers and us. They have lost the capacity for wonderment.  Music is just noise to them.  In 5.01 music is played as the symbol of hope and the catalyst, as mentioned at the top of this review, for Walter to get back up and to get back into the fight.

Season 5 is very much poised to take those themes and goals of the previous seasons that were used for personal interests and apply them for the greater good.  It is also should bring to the foreground the emotional core of the show that until now has been disguised behind cases of the week.

Episode ‘Patterns’: Add your own in the comments.

  • dandelions in bloom, Bishops in the park, Etta blowing the seeds away
  • Peter’s dream makes him check on Etta – who has bullet from S4 finale
  • Walter hears ‘chimes’ and sees CD prism reflections
  • Astrid, 3D Scrabble and naughahyde
  • Walter and September have a plan – and a new Machine?
  • Eggsticks! Yuck!
  • Central Park converted to a carbon monoxide factory
  • Walter chastens Peter for abandoning them
  • Amber Gypsies
  • Black Market ala Blade Runner
  • $3000 walnuts
  • Walter and Etta, carousels and a kiss on the cheek
  • a lovesick Eddie from the bookstore has Ambered Olivia
  • the Bishops are reunited: Peter, Olivia and Etta
  • Walter distracted by books – Asimov reference (should have been Bradbury)
  • Observer apes Star Trek Borg – ‘Resistance is futile.’
  • Walter & Windmark mind wrestle
  • music amazes Walter and bores Widmark
  • Wndmark’s nothing grows from scorched earth
  • Windmark’s – Observers as you call us
  • Walter is partitioned
  • Windmark sees images of young Etta
  • Simon Foster mentioned, William Bell too plus his hand makes a cameo
  • Peter’s proud – ‘That’s my girl,’ as Etta dispatches attendant.
  • Proud parents: ‘She’s beautiful.’ ‘A most beautiful dream inside a nightmare world.’
  • Save the man.  Save the future.
  • It’s not always the red wire.
  • Walter is rescued.  The Bishops band together to kick ass!
  • Windmark knows little girl is Fringe Agent Etta Bishop.
  • Shades of Peter and the Machine, Transilience Thought Unifier is tuned to Walter
  • Walter has lost the plan
  • Walter awakened by the CD Light Prism
  • Trip Mix 6 – Only You
  • a dandelion stands on scorched earth – shades of the red rose in a vacant building lot from Stephen King’s – The Dark Tower


Scorched Earth Dandelion. ‘Hope is a good thing. And good things never die.’
Andy Dufresne: The Shawshank Redemption

With most of the expositional burden dealt with now, the amount of telling us character related story points should be minimal.  Going forward we should be shown those moments. The focus switch this season means that no longer will there be a paralleling storyline of the case of the week.  This season, in every episode, what ever happens will directly involve and impact the characters.


Science holds the answers but people together provide the solutions.

People and their capacity to wonder.



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  1. Steve M

    What an absolutely frightening and beautiful episode. The best start to a season yet.

  2. Lou AKA olddarth

    Totally agree Steve! And very promising too.

    Very excited to see how things play out.

  3. Inter-dimensional Dave

    What’s this, Old Darth blogging at the Fringe podcast site? Isn’t that like crossing the streams ala Ghostbusters? Or, did you move from one dimension to another?

    Always good to hear from you Lou!

    You “observed” Walter being awakened by the light prism of the reflective CDs. The episode started out that way also. At first I thought it was more signature JJ lens flares but as the episode closed we saw there was a greater connection. Do you suppose the reflections or light flares are meant to reveal the chromatic nature of light and there is a clue to the nature of Walter’s plan to defeat the Observers in that spectrum?

    Chromatic nature is also a reference to music wherein it is a scale of music for pitches and semitones that can exist above or below each other. I bet Windmark will wish he didn’t disparage music so much once he (or we) find out how crucial music is to re-building Walters memory of the plan. I think we will see more hints or clues about light and music to come. Sound reasonable?

    Nice post Lou!

  4. Lou Sytsma (@OldDarth)

    Hey Dave!

    Thanks for the kind regards.

    JJ Lens Flare – I love it!

    Imagine if the solution to getting rid of the Observers is the world singing together We Are The World!

    And yes those beams are awfully close to crossing.

  5. Fringe fan

    “Walter distracted by books – Asimov reference (should have been Bradbury)”

    I suspect that the Asimov reference may be an acknowledgment to his book “The End of Eternity”. There are some similarities to observers story arc.

  6. Lou Sytsma (@OldDarth)

    Thanks for the heads up Fringefan!

  7. AMIE

    I adored this episode and I am so glad someone noticed the nod to Ray. Thank you for articulating what I was unable to.

  8. Lou Sytsma (@OldDarth)


    A time travel reply!

    Thanks for the kind words.


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