The Fringe Podcast Episode 520-Anomaly XB-6783746

Dec 23, 2012 | 4 comments

In episode 520 of The Fringe Podcast, we discuss the season 5 episode entitled, “Anomaly XB-6783746.” We talk about Nina’s death, the performance by Blair Brown, and the quality of the writing. We also talk about what we learned about the Observer boy, Michael. We discuss the various images that were shown when Michael touched Walter and the revelation that September is Donald. We also talk about Astrid, Nina and Broyle’s roles this season, and we speculate on how the story might end.

We also share information about our Fringe finale party. Come join us for the finale!

Send in your theories and feedback by calling our voice feedback at 304-837-2278 or emailing us at

[soundcloud id=’72391229′]


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  1. Questions

    So this is season 5, and we have 3 lead characters, Olivia mainlead, and Peter and Walter.

    I have been watching Fringe, and I have seen plenty of storylines for Peter to tell his backstory, in every season, and even more for Walter.
    They had multiple scenes to talk about mother, wife, childhood, st Claire tec etc.
    The reason why people connect with them is because the viewer knows their past , they know how Peter grew up , they have been told the Elisabeth story endlessly, and St Claires ,

    And we have Olivia:
    all we got for her were some facts, 1 line about the stepfather, another about her mother being beaten, and in the pilot 1 line about an uncle.
    They brought in a sister and a niece, but they never talked about their parents
    We never saw Olivia on a photograph with her parents
    Olivia never had a scene to talk about how her mother was,
    We do not know the name of her father, he does not exist
    Walter and Olivia have a history, that has never been told, except for a few lines, and just Walter doing the guilttrip,
    Olivia said in S4 finale that she was still that girl being used by Bell and Walter, and she calls herself a anomaly, all sigsn that nothing has been done with that storyline.

    Olivia Dunham is this great character solely because Anna Torv has managed to bring this across brilliantly., so we know what a horrible life Olivia had, but they never did it in a real storyline

    Olivia has been used as a plotdevice for Walter and Peters story, the brainwash, Bell, memory loss/gain was all for Peter,
    Cortexiphan is for Walters story, they never did anything actively for Olivia, like going back to Jacksonville, asking questions, confronting Walter, I mean really confronting Walter.

    No one seems to care about that, no one seems to be interested in that,

    so why is it that we get the Walter and Peter story told over and over, and nothing doen with Olivia???

    Why is it that Olivias so-called growth had to go via being lied to by Peter, dumped by Peter and to need him and want him see season 3 and 4 and 5?

    Question 2:

    Season 5 Wyman has decided to erase Olivia while we watch, her iconic things were:
    -FBI agent/fighter action : gone to Peter
    -cortexiphan : gone
    -chosen One, hero : gone to Peter since seson 3
    -child observer Empathy : gone to Walter in this episode
    -the tank : gone to Walter the next

    her being a loner because of her past, all gone as she has to be the little woman behind Peter.

    How would fans of Walter feel if Olivia would now be:
    – the scientist, -eat red vines -do LSD- call Astrid funny names – get his oneliners etc

    How would fans of Peter feel if Olivia would now have:
    – IQ190, -language, -Wire expert, – bomb expert, – his connection to Walter, etc

    Walter and Peter are still allowed to be themselves, so why not Olivia?

    Season 5 Olivia is used in the same sort of way as season 1 and 2, only then she was the go-between and at least had an active role as FBI agent,
    still everyone agreed she was underused, and no matter how brilliant Anna Torv played her, with no backstory some people could not connect, did not like the character , blamed the actress, no reason at all, should have blamed the writers.

    This season Olivia has been reduced to the wife of Peter mostly, she has no storyline, no part of the big picture, is not allowed to be pro-active and assertive take innitiative,
    she is a trained FBI agent with a huge expertise and on top a very damaged childhood thanks to Walter/Bell and the stepfather, all wiped away by Wyman.

    If he would do that to Walter and Peter there would be outrage, but now nothing, so why?

    • Response

      Hi Questions,

      The points you bring up are in no way undeserved. Unlike many shows (i.e. medical dramas, sitcoms), a lot of the current issues faced by the characters rely on their histories, which, as you pointed out, we got plenty of for Walter and Peter. But yes, Fringe has fallen short of the “personal information” element of the characters in many ways, and, ironically, it seems like we get more of a history from the things we don’t need to know about (such as Peter’s “debt” with Big Eddie, the photographer following him, and the woman he met at the diner in Dreamscape). All that aside, as much as information about Olivia’s parents, for example, would be cool, I don’t know if it would really change the story for me. Olivia was morphed into a very specific, and dynamic, character, independent and detached from the world, especially after she joins the Fringe team. She grew up with an abusive step-father, and a mother who just took it until her death. Her step-father, meanwhile, goes on to submit Olivia to invasive experiments by scientists. Sorry, but I don’t think that would be something I would want to talk about. The fact that she doesn’t talk about her past or confront Walter about the past speaks more volumes about her character than if she were more open about her past. When we do get information, take season 3’s “LSD” episode, it’s useful… Peter references the last time Olivia felt happy or safe and is able to find her, hiding in her own mind, based on that information.

      I just wanted to touch on a couple things you said. First, from the season 4 finale you reference Olivia’s quote: “I remember being in that lab in Jacksonville when Walter and William were doing the cortexiphan trials… And now…years later, nothing’s changed. I’m still that little girl, and William Bell is still doing experiment on me. I’m just still being used.” Not to blow your comment out of proportion, but in my own opinion, she’s just describing how little control she has over the situation at hand. Instead of never having done anything with that storyline, they actually brought it to completion. In the previous timeline, her powers were not as developed because William Bell became a different person, but in this one he decided to create a new world, in which he needed Olivia to be the power source. Her comment in this scene, it seems to me, is more of a metaphor to set the stage for how she and the team would ultimately put an end to it (because she is not alone at all anymore… she has a host of people on her side, and she just needs to see that).

  2. Questions

    About the epside:

    See also above:
    We learned last season for convenience sake that Nina raised OLivia, not much done with that, because soon after Olivia gave up that life for Peter,

    Now we have Olivia and NIna, the had 2 scenes with 2 lines, and Olivia via the phone warning Nina,
    Nina had a longer conversation wiith Peter, about Walter, and the rest was with and about Walter.

    I wish they had done more with Olivia and Nina, I always loved the chemistry bewteen them, from the start.

    Olivias reaction to finding Nina ws truly heartbreaking, her face showed shock and horror and pain all at once,
    did not understand where Walter came from, he was nasty arrogant Walter, barking his lines, and all of the sudden he turned into other Walter, did not like that.

    Ninas speech was not correct in comparing Observers with reptiles, as if they were underdeveloped.

    The Human brain is developed in 3 stages, all still present, reptile, mammal and advanced to human,
    Observer brain looks more like where humans are going to with all that technology overvalued and dictating life, including conducting war from behind screens, when you see no victim and no blood, you have no emotion.
    And how do robots move?

    No interest in the final 3 episodes, Olivia will have no role to play, no interest in all those socalled important men and boys, the world is filled with them.

    We are heading towards everything will be about Walter and some more Walter and some Peter and some more Peter and Olivia just the victim, hey did it last season, and will again, Olivia having to say that she was still used by Bell and Walter, is not character development, it just confirms nothing was done with that storyline.
    See above:
    Olivia Dunham should not be the once a victim always a victim character, she started as the fighter and the survivor, and has been taking care of herself since childhood, that should have been her character growth , dealing with that abuse by Bell and Walter, confronting it and dealing with the abusive stepfather, set up in season 1 with the card.
    (just to not wanting to write for Olivia they gave her the killed him line in S4)

    I call that very bad writing for your female lead character.
    But writing for Olivia was never good, and the lines she gets, horrible.

    The best writers on Fringe for Olivia have been Schapker and Breen together, Akiva Godsman, some Jeff Pinkner it seems and the episodes where JJ Abrams was involved did at least still something with her storyline.

    JJ Abrans created Olivia Dunham, he is a fan of Anna Torv, Anna Torv created a beaustiful character, multiple versions, little material,
    I wonder what Abrans thinks of what Wyman has done to Olivia this season ( I think I know what AT thinks, see how little she has to say about Olivia and this season, rightly so, final season, and you are being used and treated like this)

    • Response

      Second, you spend a bit of time on the season 5 version of Olivia. You are correct, she does seem like a little woman behind Peter, but I don’t really think it is as one-dimensional as it seems. If you are looking for season 1-3 Olivia, you won’t find her, of course. What we’ve got is a broken and seasoned Olivia, a woman (technically a mother) who has lost her child twice, who has lost her husband twice, and is a fugitive from a domineering and powerful race of “advanced” humans. After all she’s seen and been through, I’m not surprised she’s succumbed to despair. She doesn’t have a role in the building of the device because she’s not a scientist, and because that is what this season is about, her character becomes much different. You are right, she is used to being the FBI agent and in the middle of the action. So here she is in a world that has wronged her too many times to count and confronted with a puzzle that is beyond her control or understanding and is trying to escape from the Observers who have already taken away her daughter and adoptive mother. Her emotions are in no way one-dimensional, but they often cause her to act one-dimensional. I actually think it’s one of the most intriguing aspects of season 5.

      All in all, this season is too different from the others to be put under the same microscope. At each stage along the way I’ve had to remove my own expectation and instead analyze what we have been given. Because I did that, I’ve been opened to a host of incredibly intelligent parallels, between the people native to 2036 and the Observers. I don’t want to tell you to just stop being so negative, because the questions are what keep us all coming back, but things have become too different now to subject it to simplicities like “we learned for convenience sake that Nina raised Olivia…” or “once a victim always a victim…” It has become so much more than that. The story is bigger than any individual character.

      Two Cents from an Opposing Viewpoint



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