An Origin Story
Season 5, Episode 5
Air date November 2, 2012
Written by J.H. Wyman
Directed by P. J. Pesce
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The Bullet That Saved The World
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Through the Looking Glass and What Walter Found There
Cast | Transcript

*An Origin Story* is the fifth episode of the fifth season of Fringe.


The Fringe team responds to recent devastating events, and a key member makes a pivotal and shocking move.


Peter explores Etta's room while Olivia sleeps on her bed, Peter holds up an ID card of with Etta's picture on it noting the similarities between his daughter and his wife's faces. He finds a latch in a dresser drawer that reveals a hidden compartment in the wall stocked with weapons and explosives. He retrieves a couple of the weapons and places them in a duffle bag.

Meanwhile, in a New York City neighborhood, electricity begins to surge through different buildings. A group of loyalists along with a number of Observers arrive at the scene, the Observers retrieve a cube-like device and place it in the middle of the road. Once the device is activated, a portal opens and a number of covered palettes float onto the street when the portal closes it leaves a large burn scar on the surrounding area. The Observers check the equipment and note that it is "stable".

As Peter, Olivia, Astrid and Walter go through some of Etta's things, Anil contacts them on Etta's phone informing them that there's something they need to see. He ends up taking them to the site at which the Observers had opened the portal. As the team studies the area, Walter hypothesizes that they opened a wormhole from the future where their kind sent them more supplies. Anil believes that the supplies being sent to the Observers are components to complete the work on the Carbon Monoxide emitters that were built over Central Park. He tells the team that the same events have been reported overseas where the same emitters have been placed. As the team works to figure out a way to thwart the Observers plan, Anil informs them that he was able to retrieve the device that the Observers used to open the wormhole on our end and, what's better, is that he and his associates were able to capture an Observer as well.

Later, the team works to decipher an Observer booklet that was found on the captured Observer, which is supposedly a shipping manifest. Walter explains to Peter that, theoretically, when the wormhole is established it is stable at both ends. If they were to disrupt the opening on our end, it would convert the wormhole in the future into a black hole and cut off the Observers from their supply line for at least several years. Walter informs Peter that anti-matter is the necessary component to disrupt the wormhole's event horizon. The trick will be getting close enough to implement the anti-matter device.

At the lab, Walter presents a tape to Olivia, but this is not one of the tapes from amber. Walter found it on his desk; it is a recording of one of Ella's birthdays (before the Observer invasion). Walter tells her that she needs to watch it, but Olivia cannot bring herself to view it.

Astrid implements multiple decoding programs to decipher the Observer's written language and thus discover the time and place of the next shipment. Meanwhile, Peter interrogates the Observer to learn how to operate the device. By reading his physiological signals, Peter interprets the Observer's "tells" to determine whether he's assembling the device correctly. Based on the Observer's reactions, Peter determines that he has pieced it together correctly. As he places the final pieces in their respective places, Olivia contacts him and informs him she and Astrid have determined that the next shipment will arrive in 30 minutes at Lexington and 86th Street. They arrive to find electrical energy surging through the neighborhood and place the cube in the street, then take positions from a second-story vantage point to launch the anti-matter charge at the event horizon. As the Observers set up nearby they notice that a wormhole has formed a block away, yet their device had not yet been activated. As Peter and Olivia take up a position to fire at the wormhole, two Observers appear and attack them. Both of them are dispatched in time for Peter to launch the anti-matter charge at the wormhole which causes the window to implode on itself, sucking the palettes that had arrived as well as a nearby parked car into itself before collapsing completely.

Shortly after, the team is about to depart when they see another wormhole opened with the same palettes arriving safely. Confounded, Peter exits the getaway van and departs on foot determined to get answers. He returns to the warehouse where the Observer hostage is being kept and interrogates him more aggressively. The Observer notes that the theories behind the concept of a person's "tell" don't apply to the Observers. When Peter was watching for a dilated pupil, which would indicate a positive response, the Observer was, in fact, noticing a fly on the wall which triggered the same physiological response that Peter was expecting to see. The Observer suggests that, because of emotion, Peter saw what he wanted to see. Peter assaults the Observer and tells him if he had their technology he would be ten times the men they are. Subsequently, Peter operates on the Observer, flipping him over on the apparatus that he's bound to so he's face-down to the ground. He removes the implant located near the Observer's brain stem, killing the Observer.

Later, Peter is in a bathroom making an incision into the back of his neck. Pausing a moment, Peter places the Observer's implant into the incision. The implant attaches itself onto Peter's spine and disappears from sight.

Meanwhile, Olivia is watching the video of Etta's birthday. Olivia allows herself to feel the emotions associated with the loss of her daughter and calls Peter, asking him to come home because Etta would've wanted the two of them to survive the pain of losing her again. She tells Peter she loves him, which he reciprocates. He stares into the mirror after the call ends.

Notable Quotes[]

Astrid: Hey, I ran into a bit of a fire hazard so there's no tape yet.
Peter: What is that?
Astrid: You see that white tubey thing? That is a propane tank for Walter's hibachi. And that see-through blob over there? That is a gallon of ethanol.
Walter: Abner, why did you leave the propane tank there in the first place?
Astrid: Someone wanted to cook bratwurst.
Walter: Well, why is the ethanol there and not in the cupboard?
Astrid: Because someone wanted to use the ethanol to clean the hibachi before they cooked the bratwurst.

Peter: I can feel you banging around inside there. But it doesn't matter what you find out, 'cause you and I both know... you're never walking out of here. Whatever the closest thing it is to fear that you can feel, I know that you're feeling it right now. You're not the only one with a skill for reading people.
Captive Observer: You don't even know what you don't know.
Peter: We'll see.

Walter: I heard you... when you were talking to Peter. You told him that you were afraid. He assumed that you meant you were afraid for his safety, and of course you are, but I think we both know it's more than that. You're afraid that you will lose each other again. I'm trying to tell you that I see what you see. And that's why this tape is so important. You must watch it and remember what you both had, what you still are, and you must hold on to that. You must face this pain together. The pain is her legacy to you both. It's proof that she was here. I have experience with this - - this sort of pain, and you can't escape it by building walls around your heart. Or by breaking the universe. Or by vengeance. You lost each other once... but you have another chance.

Peter: Can you feel that? The pain of a piece of you being torn out? That's the pain a father feels when he loses a child.


  • 'Ask Alice' in graffiti on the wall behind Anil as he explains the wormhole to the Fringe team is a reference to the next episode 'Through the Looking Glass and What Walter Found There.'