This struggle between humans and machine-dependent humans is one of the many things in this episode that reflected The Matrix moments. Of particular note were both Windmark’s appearance in Etta’s apartment building, and his fight with Peter. This resemblances served to draw the parallels between Neo’s quest to find his true self with Peter’s quest to do the same, by ridding himself of the tech and to regain his humanity.
But before broaching the topic of Peter’s journey into Observerdom and back, I have to give yet another thumbs up to Joshua Jackson’s acting skill. As the tech changed Peter’s brain, shrinking the part that deals with emotions, Jackson delivered a rendition of his character that was very different from the ones we have seen up to now: a Peter removed, detached, with an almost disturbingly clinical point of view shared in a robotic kind of way. Jackson has been a consistently good actor in this show, and I feel that he really went beyond the level of excellence that he himself had set.
Peter’s manipulation of events through the smallest of adjustments at the beginning of the episode was the second time Fringe fans were made to think about the butterfly effect. Season 3’s third episode “The Plateau” had Milo Stanfield manipulating the timeline with similarly small adjustments. Remembering how Milo was treating the injustices he was subjected to like a giant puzzle made me reflect about how Peter, too, was treating the injustice he was subjected to like an intellectual problem, taking fewer and fewer emotional factors into consideration. In short, Peter was becoming an intellectual scientist solely focused on achieving his objective of killing Windmark, whatever the price might be: hurting Olivia, Walter and Astrid and settling permanently into the land of the Observers. And this just might be the sole weakness of the Observers that hopefully the Fringe team might be able to use to its benefit. Thankfully, Peter did not have to pay the ultimate price, i.e. his humanity, but he will probably have paid the steep price of his relationship with Olivia. Who knows if she will ever be able to trust him again after this!
But because he is of the human kind, and because of the depth of his feelings for her, for Etta, for Walter and even for Astrid, Olivia’s words reached Peter. And so, the bullet that saved the world because of last season’s high stake risk taken by Walter, the same bullet which gave Etta hope all these years that she would be reunited with her parents, the very bullet that got Olivia out of a very dangerous situation mere hours ago, snapped Peter out of it. Replacing the Observer tech he had just removed from his own brain with the bullet was symbolic of the choice Peter had made. Because of this, this bullet might yet again save the world by bringing Peter’s much needed wits, brains and emotional stability back to the Fringe team.