The Grand Unified Theory of physics is the holy grail of modern science. In it, the principles of General Relativity are brought together with those of electromagnetism or Quantum Mechanics. Scientists are seemingly close to bringing these principles together but on Fringe what was so far apart are now united in several different ways.
It seems "unification" was one of the major themes of this fifth season opener of Fringe. On one hand hand, we have Olivia being reunited with the Fringe division and her family. On the other we have the Borg like unification of the Observers where "resistance is futile". We also have the disunity of Walter's mind that was purposely partitioned in order to foil the Observers. The irony there is both Walter and Windmark seek it's re-unification.
Let's start with one the more enjoyable aspects of Fringe and that is their references to pop culture. Who'd of thought the Observers were fans of Star Trek? Actually, they are probably more fans of the Borg than they are of the uplifting message of Star Fleet and their optimistic future. The Borg were all about the homogeniziation of various cultures into one single minded superior race. Their take on unification was one by force something they have in common with the Observers. Certainly the Observers consider themselves the superior to our present class of humanity. Although, according to Windmark, they do tolerate music. I'm not so sure the Borg would be so tolerant. But at least the Borg offered their catch phrase as a warning before you were assimilated the Observers just march right in.
I was going to save this "observation" for my next post but since the tie in to the Borg was so notable I thought I'd mention it here. Pictured above is the Alice Krige version of the Borg Queen. In the Star Trek movie "First Contact" She referred to Data as "hearing her song" or at least when a Borg unit died she could no longer her their song. I'm sure its a reference to the telepathic harmonic of the Borg and their single mind. It's a bit ironic that the Observers have no need for music and merely tolerate it. The Borg on the other hand relish in their common song and use it as a greater symphony of communication. For his part Walter Bishop imparted the importance of music and how it helps you alter your perspective. Something Windmark and the Observers fail to appreciate. One wonders if the Borg would bypass the Observers for this lack of appreciation.
The theme of unification continued with the Olivia being re-united with her daughter Henrietta. It was a poignant scene that stood in stark contrast with Peter being re-united with Olivia. There was no physicality to that reunion. I think I picked up a vibe of remorse between Peter and Olivia but it was obvious that damage had been done. Walter referred to the aforementioned "damage" when he accused Peter of abandoning the team in time of crisis. It's apparent this is a different Walter as the old avuncular version would have realized the sacrifice needed to protect a love one. Wasn't that the theme of several seasons of Fringe? How far would you go to save a loved one? Has Olivia changed? She and Walter stayed on mission while Peter separated himself from the group in order to save Henrietta. Its possible these fissures will persist and they may effect the outcome of the battle to defeat the Observers. I'm thinking the divide might be so great that a sacrifice will have to be made in order to set things right. This does not bode well.
Lastly, the re-unification of Walters memory is at issue. Its been indicated that these memories are lost forever (specifically, the plan to defeat the Observers) and that hope is lost. Walter mentioned to Windmark during his interrogation that music helped change your perspective if need be. During the same conversation Windmark taunted Walter with the loss of "hope". This may be a leap but I think both subjects were deliberately connected by the Fringe writers. Witness Walter sitting in the cab listening to the Yaz CD. To me he was gaining a new perspective to the memories that were lost due to the brutality of his torture. I think the music will provide Walter with the inspiration to re-connect with his memories and hope is not lost after all. Bad call Windmark.
One could also extrapolate from this that Walter may realize that the harmonics from music will provide a clue to re-unite with September. Perhaps the "Beacon" operates on a certain wavelength that will allow September to harmonically converge with it and restore the plan to Walter and the rest.
Unification may be the key to which our Fringe heroes learn to sing together again. Lets hope that they reach this conclusion before Windmark does and they can orchestrate a brave new world.
Next up, Fringe Fries and more observations!