Fringe Episode 419
"Letters of Transit"
Written By: Akiva Goldsman, J.H. Wyman, and Jeff Pinkner
Directed By: Joe Chappelle
Original Airdate: 20 April 2012
In This Episode...
It is the year 2036, and humanity is living in an Orwellian regime, headed up by the Observers. In the year 2609, the Observers poisoned the earth and made it uninhabitable, so they came back in time and took it from humanity forcibly. They took control in 2015, and humanity rose up against the Observers. They failed, and millions were killed. Those that survived, called Natives, live under the rule of the Observers. Fringe Division remains, but with far less power. Their main job is to control the Natives.
A young Fringe agent named Etta is brought a treasure by an informant. That treasure is Walter Bishop, encased in amber. The informant knows where the rest of Walter's team is, but he is killed before he can reveal the location. Back at the lab, Etta and her partner Simon figure a way to get Walter out of the amber. Unfortunately, over 20 years in a frozen state has deteriorated his brain even further than it was in 2012. His short term memory is gone, and he is more childlike than ever.
Etta, Simon, and Walter visit Nina Sharp, now wheelchair-bound. She cannot fix Walter, but tells them where they can find a piece of Walter's brain - in the old Massive Dynamic building. Nina hopes that the brain slice can "encourage" Walter's brain to heal itself. The trio sneak in, find the brain slice, and inject it into Walter's brain - and wait. When he wakes, he is far more cogent than he was in 2012, since this was a piece of his brain from the William Bell years. With a more focused Walter, he can lead them to the rest of his team, and he believes he can build what Etta believes is necessary to kill the Observers. It looks suspiciously like the doomsday machine. Broyles - still at the head of Fringe, but at the mercy of Observer Widmark - gets an alert that there are intruders at the old Massive Dynamic building. He sends in the troops, but Walter, upon hearing their footsteps, rigs up a little antimatter bomb, and sets it to go off after he, Etta, and Simon are clear of the building. It disappears in a flash of bluish light.
Walter leads Etta and Simon to the rest of his team. The first one out is Astrid. William Bell is amber-ized there, but he lets him rot, still mad at what he did to Olivia. Astrid is surprised, but Walter reveals he cut off Bell's hand - still encased in amber - saying this is all they need. On a monorail out of the city, we discover that Peter was the other member of the team - and he is Etta's father. Helen Keller could have seen that one coming.
Dig It or Bury It?
I have to say, I could not get behind tonight's episode. The biggest issue I had with it was that it spent all this time setting up a future landscape - and went nowhere with it. I can assume that reference will be made to it at some later date, but the journey wasn't compelling enough to make me want to see the point of it. Are they setting up for a fifth season (just in case) which will show the beginning of the observers takeover? I refuse to believe that the entire episode was just a setup to introduce Peter and Olivia's kid. Because the moment I saw her on screen, it was painfully obvious. Sadly obvious.
Last time Fringe went to the future, it was the episode in which Olivia died. I assume that the bullet Etta wears around her neck is the one that killed her mom. But in that timeline, Olivia and Peter didn't have kids. Even if Liv had been pregnant when she was shot, it would have been a secret pregnancy and a fetus never could have survived - not even with Fringe science. So is this yet another timeline?
Walter is hungry from the moment he is released from the amber - after all, it has been over 20 years since he ate. Simon has red licorice all set for him. Walter would also like Ring Dings. Other fun things: he calls the Observers "monsters" - and screams it loudly in the train station; he acts like a child while the "grown ups" are talking to Nina - he balances on a bench, dances, and twirls, like a kid on the playground; when stopped by the guards at the train station, Walter takes great joy in repeating his favorite sci-fi movie quotes, including: "I am not a number - I am a free man!" and "These are not the droids you are looking for."
In The Future...
The world is a police state, with the Observers in charge and humans treated like Jews in Germany just before WWII. And instead of drinking coffee, you eat coffee chews. Coffee and human rights.
We are back in 2012, and Walter figures out that Jones is trying to collapse both universes so he can control the world. Or, as I like to call it, "Tuesday."