Did “Letters Of Transit” deliver the overarching story goods, or was it a self-contained installment with little relevance to the central story? Read our review..
- The look and the feel of the episode was a significant plus point. From the opening backstory crawl, to the dystopian surroundings, to the aging prosthetics on Broyles’ face — I thought it was well conveyed.
- The opening 10 or so minutes were the highlight for me. It was a compacted but immensely absorbing peek into the future trajectory of the story.
- The episode shares some connective tissue with the current storyline. It also deals with consequences of future events in the story, expanding the narrative even further and leaving some potentially interesting storylines in-play.
- The fact that this future wasn’t pulled from a dream (ala “Brown Betty”) makes it more tangible and relevant to the overarching story.
- The episode didn’t exceed my seriable expectations, but it didn’t disappoint them either. This is important for my overall enjoyment of the episode at this time.
- It’s probably no secret that ‘goofy Walter’ is my least favorite version of the character, so that period of the episode represented something of a lull for me.
- I wasn’t as invested in Simon Foster or Etta as much as I felt the episode required.
- The drama connected with extracting Walter from amber and finding the rest of the team was surprisingly lackluster at times.
- I’m chuffed that the episode has some relevance to the overarching story, but I’m worried by the likelihood of yet more baby melodrama with lil’ Etta.
- The ending was a bit jarring and it will be disappointing if we don’t get to fight the future to its proper conclusion.
The scrolling intro set intriguing context for the episode, and will have been particularly helpful for those coming into “Letters Of Transit” having not observed the promotional hype.
The setting and themes present in this near-future evoked many pop culture fedora-tips. At times, I was surprised by the level of authenticity. The opening shot of Etta walking through the street like a young Olivia Dunham was pretty awesome. It’s too far early to bless her The Ettanator, that has to be earned, but we’ll keep it on ice.
It’s interesting to see how aggressive the Observers have turned by 2036; they’ve gone from a skewed stance of non-interference to blanket control. Much like LOST, I guess the science team were the first wave? (indulge me).
It’s a useful pocket of the story to explore given the power that the Observers have always had at their disposal, to see them abuse that power not only offers a cautionary tale but directly explores the consequences of it.
The warning signs were always there with August and September adjusting futures and making people ‘important’. What’s interesting is that while December and his cohorts have done their fare share of meddling, and are now viewed as antagonists, their ethos conflicts with these ‘new-age’ Observers who are running things in 2036.
Going into this episode, I wondered whether perhaps their totalitarian rule was a short-sighted attempt at preventing humankind from destroying itself — the whole “native on native” concept — but it seems more to do with the fact that they destroyed their own future and fancied taking ‘ours,’ as Walter so eloquently put it. It seems the Observers (some of them) have learned very little from observing the past, or perhaps too much.
I thought Captain Windmark was one of the most intriguing characters introduced in this episode, an intense Observer who would crush the likes of December with his eyes. Interesting that he’s not named after a month, though it was explained in “The End Of All Things” that they are the designated names for the science team, so it makes sense.
The Windmark/Broyles scene was a particular highlight, providing insight into the political juggling that Broyles is still doing in 2036, fighting bald oppression from behind a desk, but doing it admirably. It also expressed Windmark’s lack of humanity, with the notion that “killing cannot stand..” on his watch. Very by-the-numbers and all-too believable.
I get the sense that while Broyles complies with Windmark’s rule, he does so as a buffer — fighting the ‘good fight’ in the best way he knows. As Windmark put it: “your Division is in charge of native crime. Was you rather I was in charge of native crime? I don’t think you’d like my methods.”
Extracting Walter from amber was a bit of a laborious process, but I guess it could have played less effectively had it happened too quickly. The amber in itself was a neat callback that adds to the mini mythology of a substance with such close ties to both Walters.
In some respect, I could have done without the Walter ‘brain damage’ storyline and subsequent mission to rescue the grey matter, but it’s significant to see him now ‘complete’ in that department, particularly as the loss of his memories made him a better man in many respects. The reemergence of a pre-brain surgery Walter offers quite remarkable potential going forward. Assuming there is a forward button on this piece.
It also led to a nice bit with Nina, who when we first meet her seems as cold as her hair, though that’s all a front to prevent the Observers from reading her. This further brings into question Getta’s ability to block the Observers from reading her mind, which is most likely an ability passed down from The Dunhamnator — Cortexiphan Kid, indeed.
Simon and Getta got a bit more character development during the Massive Dynamic break-in. I connected more with Etta’s short backstory reflection — perhaps because her connection to Olivia and Peter was clear — but I’m glad we at least got something to explain Simon’s drive to vanquish Observer rule.
His exposition also puts a timer on when the Observers invaded. Hopefully the remaining story uses the future presented here to good effect.
The other standout moment from the episode saw Astrid extracted from amber and the trapped figure of William Bell. This implies that he is alive in this timeline after all, and that at some point he meets up with Walter and the Fringe team.
Interestingly, Walter leaves him behind but takes his hand, telling Astrid “we have everything we need.” This is one of the developments from this episode that could initiate a season 5 story arc, while Walter’s contempt for what Bellie did to Olivia is very interesting to note.
Simon’s sacrifice didn’t move me as I would have hoped, but it certainly moved Peter which is the important thing, I guess. In all seriousness, it’s difficult to feel too much for the character, but ‘broken wand’ contrivance aside, I like the way his journey rounded off and wouldn’t mind seeing him again. “See you in another life, brotha.”
Broyles getting to see his agent encased in amber was a nice touch — the momentary disappointment followed by the discovery of Walter’s liquorice and the flicker of optimism that flashed across his face. It’s just a fantastic visual that will live long in the memory.
I don’t recall it being explicitly mentioned but it’s implied that Olivia died (or something) prior to the amber, which ties in with September’s warning. Walter’s comment perhaps offers hope that she can be saved (though he may be referring to the creation of the device), and it’s interesting to see the final scene between Peter and his daughter Henrietta with this in mind.
If anything, this episode felt like Part 1 of a much extended story. Whether the show gets the chance to continue this story remains to be seen, but it’s certainly a sandbox I’d like to revisit.
- Windmark seems to think humans in the relative past are “animals.”
- Walter fixed Nina’s arm, showing that he still had scientific prowess even without his full faculties.
- Interesting when Etta lets her guard down for a moment prior to her meeting with Nina, enabling an Observer to read her mind.
- “Shoot first, I’ll read them later”
- “In that case a little more focus and a little less pontificating and we might have the job done by now.” If only Walter and the Fringe team of 2012 could hear that message RIGHT NOW.
- Etta has a crushed bullet pendant — this may have significance with Olivia’s apparent demise (or what-have-you).
- The Observers destroyed the planet in 2609 A.D. and traveled back to conquer Earth in 2015.
- The Fringe team discovered a way to get rid of the Observers — a device that Walter was unable to finish before he was ambered. He believes he can still built it.
- The Fringe team apparently “saved the world before,” this could hint that David Robert Jones *swoon* is defeated.
- William Bell was alive in this timeline. He was caught in the amber along with the Fringe team.
- Olivia is seemingly dead (or what-have-you).
- Etta is short for Henrietta. She is Olivia and Peter’s daughter. She was four when she last saw them.
- Something “unexpected” happened to September during the resistance
- Why, specifically, did Walter amber himself and the team?
- What became of the parallel universe. Walternate? Altlivia? (etc)
- So, William Bell didn’t die in this timeline after all: Did he escape death, or was it a cover up? Was DRJ involved in either possibility?
- How was Olivia ‘killed’ (or what-have-you)?
- How will Walter use Bellie’s hand?
Best Moment: Windmark putting the squeeze on Broyles.
Best Performer: Michael Kopsa (Captain Windmark)
Best Quotable: “I like you Phillip. But be assured, bite my hand, and I will put you down..” (Windmark to Broyles)