6

In the last season of Fringe the Observers became cruel monsters.
Why were they so cruel? They got high-tech, they were even able to observe the Big Bang.
Does a lack of emotion create that cruelty?

17

They were not cruel in the sense of "enjoying causing pain". They were apathetic: their capacity to have empathy with other human beings was removed. They would commit acts that seem cruel to us, but only because they were logically necessary to achieve their goals. They didn't seek to harm the past humans, the just didn't care if that's what happened.

You would not claim that someone who took apart their computer and extracted the hard drive for forensic examination was being "cruel" to the computer. To the Observers, with their entire emotional and empathetic capacity removed, that's exactly what they were doing.

Indeed, in the final episodes, Windmark begins to demonstrate signs of actual cruelty towards the Fringe team, being willing to take needless risks if it means the opportunity to harm or kill them. Even he recognizes this as his baser emotions starting to re-emerge. This kind of behavior is not typical of the Observers.

2

To add to Michael's answer: the Observers are mostly lacking empathy, which is perceived as cruelty by us normal humans.

Notice how the Observer "commander" (from the year 2609, shown in the final episodes) explicitly warns Captain Windmark that the fugitives are "irrelevant" to the plan, and that his obsession with them is an anomaly. Later the same character suggests "disassembling" Donald's son in order to study how he works; again this is not done out of cruelty, but to study a potential threat.

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