FRINGE: 5.01 Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11 — REVIEW

fringe-501-transilience-thought-unifier-model-11-review

Our last visit to Fringe‘s Observer-ruled future raised several big questions — among them: the whereabouts of Olivia and the nature of Walter’s plan to defeat the Badservers. The first piece of the final puzzle answers one of those questions and begins to address the other.

One of the most noticeable things about “Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11” is how focused the episode is — plenty of ground is covered, but the major story beats are tightly woven and the drama unfolds at a steady pace.

Within that, of course, are exciting ingredients, vital context and one or two surprises — all blending together to make this episode not only feel like a relevant piece of the puzzle, but a fresh yet familiar story with characters who continue to find new ways to make you care.

There are, however, a few ‘soft spots’ that prevent a fully unified enjoyment. The apparent lack of observational skills from the ‘Observers’ seems at odds with their abilities, while the big Olivia/Peter moment didn’t quite work emotionally and Walter’s ‘regression’ may strike some as being a bit convenient. But these aren’t problems most Fringe fans can’t handle.

One of the other big questions going into the premiere, courtesy of the promos, was whether the opening scene depicting the Observer invasion was a flashback or a dream. We soon find out that it was a nightmare from Peter’s perspective. Fringe often delves into the past to contextualize its present and this was important in allowing viewers to see what happened on that other fateful day, which not only leads to Etta being separated from her parents but Olivia and Peter eventually separating through the grief of losing their little girl.

With the search for Olivia on, we get some more context building with the the incomplete Fringe team coming to terms with their new circumstances and surroundings. Some of the Peter and Etta scenes were a bit strange given the fringe-y circumstances that find the father/daughter paring at similar ages, but I have to say, Etta fits so seamlessly into the story and in some respects she stole the show.

I was stuck by the seeming casual attitude of Peter towards finding Olivia (granted, this may play into his guilt over their separation) so his assertion that “nobody wants to find Olivia more” had to be taken with a pinch of salt. It was Etta who, like her mother of old, was the consistent driving force throughout the episode, which makes me wonder whether our two golden girls are going to be ‘competing’, in a narrative sense, for glory.

We also discover the reason behind the team’s ambering after Olivia’s mission to retrieve the device to reassemble September and Walter’s plan came under threat. William Bell’s presence in the amber remains mysterious, however the BadserverCop retrieval of his (and Simon Foster’s) block suggests he might still be in-play.

Walter and Etta’s little catch-up at the market was a sweet moment that added another splash of emotion to proceedings, but one of the big surprises was finding out that Markham had “bought” the ambered Olivia. It was great to see an aged-up Markham in this new setting, however I initially thought he was hoarding Olivia to keep her safe.

Turns out, he “loved” the Dunhamnator from the moment she first walked into his bookstore, which is a nice callback but mostly felt a bit creepy (heaven knows what else he spilled on her ambered form).

Still, bringing the enigmatic and slightly tragic Markham back added color to proceedings and set up the following plot points which sees the team narrowly escape the Badservers, all except Walter.

His interrogation was a stand-out element of the episode, which I imagine the writers and director a lot of fun building (poor John Noble acted his socks off, but probably didn’t enjoy it quite as much). The Badservers’ psychic ability is well established in the story, but Windmark’s display was brutal to say the least.

It’s early days but the Windmark v Walter dynamic is already displaying signs of being another of the show’s classic mind-clashes. Windmark’s inability to comprehend music met by Walter’s “mostly it amazes me” was an effective way to illustrate their perspectives through something most of us can understand.

Human emotion is something our most loved Observer September has long been intrigued by on a different level. His own emotional ‘mistakes’ have greatly shaped the journey of these characters and, as we further discover, he has all but sacrificed his position in Observerdom by plotting with Walter to bring them down. In some ways the most traveled of all Fringe characters, he’s status is currently unknown, but even now he’s relevant to both the plot and emotion of the story.

Olivia and Etta’s reunion was even more convincing than I was expecting. Peter set a pretty low bar in “Letters Of Transit”, but trust the Dunhamnator to not only recognize her daughter but soak her in with all the love in this world and the next. I half joked that they might be competing for screen earlier, but so far they complement each other well and I’m interested to see where they go from here,

More immediate is the rescue of Walter, which sees the team introduced to Etta’s little band of resistance fighters and the titular Transilience Thought Unifier. There have been many devices throughout Fringe, many that serve as convenient plot devices — and while this one has a bit of that to it, it makes sense and thematically plays into one of the show’s core concepts of memory.

The team’s “Trojan Horse” rescue felt a bit easy but wasn’t completely ridiculous and allowed 2-Guns Peter some nice action hero moments. But coolness aside, one of the most enduring moments of this episode comes at the end, as we learn that Walter has essentially regressed back to an earlier state, memories key to defeating the Badservers “destroyed” during his mind-battle with Windmark.

This may seem like the show once again resetting its core characters to serve the plot, but the moments that followed, with Walter finding the very thing that had earlier danced across his mind, before his perspective locked onto an impossible dandelion growing from “scorched earth”, helped to bookend the episode and add a layer of emotional depth to Walter that has perhaps being absent for a while.

Let’s face it, he’s been all different kinds of broken throughout the series and no two kinds of broken are the same, but these few silent moments with him at the end underscores the intrinsic patterns that Fringe does so well. Sure, music, as Person Of Interest knows all too well, certainly helps carry emotion into endings, but a moment that captures regression and hope in a single speechless frame deserves a tip of the fedora.

RESISTANCE NOTES

  • Walter laments Peter for “abandoning” them, seemingly referring to his decision not to join he and Olivia in the fight to defeat the Badservers.
  • The Badservers’ built machines that pump carbon monoxide into the atmosphere as they’re not used to it being so pure — and these guys ruined their planet, surely not?
  • Walter calls it a “travesty”. Can’t argue with that, though it feels a bit rich coming from the man who ripped a hole in the fabric of the universe, leading to its degradation and near total destruction. I guess time in amber has left him hazy.
  • “Markham is dead. He died a hero’s death”. Reading one too many fairytales, Markham? Can’t believe he hid under the bed. :)
  • So good to see Peter kicking down doors again – how I’ve missed thee.
  • I can believe the reason behind Olivia and Peter’s separation but the emotion seemed a bit forced, irrespective of Peter’s waterworks (or maybe because of them), and it felt like they were talking to the audience as opposed to one another.
  • Walter’s almost manic laugh during the interrogation was a wonderful dash of madness from the mad scientist.
MYSTERIES / ANSWERS

MYSTERIES

  • Where is September? What happened to him?
  • How will Walter remember his plan?
  • What is at Bellie’s storage facility?

ANSWERS

  • Olivia and the team ambered themselves because they were at risk of being caught by the Badservers during Olivia’s retrieval of the device.
  • September helped Walter to scramble the plan to defeat the Badservers onto a Transilience Thought Unifier. The device reassembles and unifies specified thoughts, protecting them from those who might read minds.
  • Etta was separated from her parents when she was three years one month and five days. Olivia and Peter separated afterwards through grief.
  • Walter no longer remembers the plan or cutting off Bellie’s hand.
  • Walter initially intended to use Bellie’s hand to access one of his storage facilities.

9/10 Seriable Stars

Quotable of the Week: “Walter Bishop, if I only had a unifier I could unify these thoughts” (Windy)

Best Moment: Olivia/Etta reunion & Walter/dandelion

Outstanding Performer: John Noble

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Comments

  1. _lost_stef_ says

    Great review once again Roco, was looking forward to reading your thoughts on this episode.

    Have to say you’ve outdone yourself with this line “(heaven knows what else he spilled on her ambered form).” Im still laughing!

    look forward to next week :)

    Like: Thumb up 9

  2. says

    Roco, so excited to reading your reviews and observations this season–sadly the last for Fringe. (Although, I have been following your Revolution reviews and observation. Not so sure I’m sold on that show yet.).

    I loved this episode. I dare say you are always a bit harsh on Josh/Peter. I think the moments between he and Olivia felt authentic. Yes, I agree that it was a little slanted towards it being more for the audience than to each other, but still enjoyed it. I so agree that the Olivia and Etta scene was on the money. I loved that Olivia recognized Etta immediately.

    I’ll give this one a 9.5/10. Looking forward to reading your reviews.

    Well-loved.: Thumb up 15

  3. ramona says

    Is it just me or is there a hidden reason Olivia remembered losing Etta when Etta was just 3 years, one week, and five days old and Etta remembered she was 4 years old? Since Etta celebrated her birthday less than 2 weeks before she lost her parents, she was most likely to remember that she was 3 years old. What if the Badservers (or September) had something to do with these missing months in Etta’s life? Also, I think Walter’s “blond girl” is Olivia and not Etta as Windmark believed. For me Olivia is and will always be the central figure of Fringe. Peter, it seems, had to choose between being with Olivia and searching for little Etta and that led to their separation. Since Fringe is, for me, all about the consequences that happen due to the choices we make, I believe that Peter will be faced with a choice of saving either Olivia or their grown-up daughter, Etta. I find the scenes between father and daughter a little uncomfortable because they are almost the same age.

    Well-loved.: Thumb up 11

    • Adam says

      It could be. But the simplest answer is that a three year old isn’t too likely to remember their birthdate *and* year, and when the Observers (presumably) took her, they might not have cared to dig up her birth certificate.

      Like: Thumb up 4

    • Orionis Beta says

      I agree Ramona… I seriously DO believe that their mismatch recollections of their separation will come into play. In fact when Etta said she was 4, it automatically sparked a match in my memory… In fact, in one of the recent interviews with Anna Torv, the interviewer stated that Etta was four since she was missing and Torv corrected the interviewer too! I can’t remember exactly which interview it was, but it was a couple of weeks back (near the first week of september, I believe).

      Like: Thumb up 6

    • ramona says

      Update on my review: Olivia actually said 3 years, one month, and 5 days. So Etta actually celebrated her 3rd birthday just a little more than a month before she lost her parents. I work in a school with a preschool and kids can tell you if they are 3 or 4 years old. I’ve also been reviewing the episode in my head, especially the parts where I made a mental “bookmark” so I can go back and analyzed it. There was the time Etta was looking at her parents and I noticed how big were her eyes. It just occured to me that she was “observing” them. What if Etta was raised as an Observer by September during those missing months? Etta must be a highly advanced human if she had inherited her father’s (and grandfather’s) genius as well as her mother’s special abilities. There was also that time she made an excuse about being recognized by the gypsies. It somehow didn’t ring true to me. I think she wanted to stay with Walter and make him remember her face instead of Olivia’s during Windmark’s(?) mind probe.

      Like: Thumb up 2

  4. Charlie says

    “…(heaven knows what else he spilled on her ambered form)…”
    I gotta say… Ew! I hope he didn’t do that to Olive!

    Anyhow, great review Roco! I was looking forward to read your review. The most intriguing and fringey stuff I’ve found in this episode was Etta’s “Dad?” towards Peter. I know, I know, I’m a fool. But it just happened to be a little weird for me since they’re almost the same age!

    The rest it was great. Windmark Vs Walter is definately something I’ll love to see when they meet face to face again. I also liked how it was September who came up with the plan. Sure! Walter did his part as well but I’ll keep thinking September by himself came up with most of the plan because the observers are supposed to be greatest minds than the average (Including Walter’s).

    Didn’t quite feel the emotion behind Peter&Olivia’s conversation but I thought it was nicely done – I’m not too much of an emotive person. On the other hand, Olivia and Etta’s reunion did made me feel something :D

    Great episode. Looking forward for the next one! Bring it on, Windmark!

    Like: Thumb up 7

  5. Page 48 says

    Markham had time to play the “I was hoarding Olivia to keep her safe” card, and yet he opted for that most embarrassing confession. The dude needs to take a Mulligan.

    I hope they find time to show the moments leading up to the self-ambering. And, while they’re at it, I’d like to see how Broyles reacted. Did he emote? Did he put on some jazz? Did he and Nina raid Olivia’s liquor cabinet? Details, Bad Robot, details!

    Well-loved.: Thumb up 15

  6. Aria Mohtadi says

    Great review as always.

    I absolutely loved the final moments with Walt and the perspective music. The episode did fine in terms of plot consistency, but I agree that at times the emotion was targeted “at” the audience and not flowing through characters.

    The atmosphere of Amber gypsies’ market reminded me of Blade Runner; the scene could also have been played out as an homage when Walter met a replicant of sorts. :)

    Like: Thumb up 4

  7. Ryan says

    I really don’t like this whole observer “space nazis” plot line.

    The dialogue and writing seem to have taken a dive (“I’ve always loved you, it’s not supposed to be this way!” etc). Very frustrating the show seems to have changed from a thoughtful & interesting sci-fi to an ideological action movie. With space nazis.

    Quote of the episode sums it up : “I tried writing science fiction once. Once.”

    Like: Thumb up 9

      • Ryan says

        Glad I’m not alone. It’s a complete tonal change. I read up online after the last episode with the “OMG freedom” intro sequence, and it was deemed an “oddball” episode, so I let it slide. Last night I tweeted one of the writers and his reply suggested that this is pretty much it from here on out.

        Join the unwashed masses I suppose.

        Like: Thumb up 3

        • Starman says

          Whenever a show changes to this extent there are always viewers who would have preferred that the show stayed the same. The Fringe writers were certainly capable of churning out more procedurals or more Alt-Universe episodes (and I will miss the Alt-Universe and those characters), but that would have simply been recycling what they’ve already done. Instead of grousing we should be celebrating that the show is using its last season to do a different kind of story than any they’ve done before. The Observers were really the last part of the show’s mythology that hadn’t been thoroughly explored, so I think they made a good choice for their last storyline (a bold choice, but a good choice nevertheless). Plus, the characters are so interesting that they could be thrown into any imaginable setting or situation and I would still want to know what happens to them next.

          Well-loved.: Thumb up 10

          • Ryan says

            I agree, good choice to explore the Observers.

            Still, the way it’s been plotted, is a betrayal to the shows own logic, and a complete change of style. Turning goodies into baddies, it’s like professional wrestling. Black/white thinking.

            If “The orig. 12 obsrvrs were scientists unwittingly used as scouts for the invasion. They didn’t change”, and they can see the future, wouldn’t they have seen the invasion coming?

            Space Nazis, psychic time travelling fungus, waterskiing over a shark in a leather jacket, eh.

            Like: Thumb up 1

            • Starman says

              I don’t think it was ever made clear that all of the Observers’ original science team members were “goodies.” Aside from the now-deceased August, September was the only one who showed any compassion and actually tried to help the Fringe team. The rest of them didn’t seem to care about humanity one way or another, and it’s possible some of them were aware that they were laying the groundwork for an invasion. I’m sure there will be an explanation in this final arc as to why the Observers who invaded seem to differ from the scientific team in their behavior and attitude toward humanity.

              Like: Thumb up 2

  8. Peanut says

    Double the joy. “Fringe” is back, & Roco is reviewing. Yeah! Looking forward to seeing more of the Etta character–seems to be more what I expected of a postapocalyptic character than Charlie in “Revolution.” Bound to be some interesting dynamics with her parental units. Impressed with Walter’s portrayal.

    Like: Thumb up 1

    • Carla says

      Oh my god, that’s so true. I was thinking that the whole time I was watching, ’cause I had watched the pilot o Revolution the day before.

      Like: Thumb up 0

  9. Sam says

    I’m not one of those bitter Fringe fans who gave up on the show after season 4. I was really excited for the final season but the premiere was very disappointing and I’m actually quite baffled by all the positive response.

    For some reason they’ve forgotten Olivia is supposed to be the lead character and have given her role to Etta and Peter to play. The emotion just feels forced to me. I’m not buying Peter and Olivia as parents or their overflowing love they have for their “perfect little soul” because we simply haven’t seen how they got there. We’re expected to just assume and accept a lot of things.

    I don’t care for new characters. Not at this point when we only have 13 episodes. Even if it is Peter and Olivia’s daughter I’m not going to instantly fall in love with her just for that reason alone. I don’t like all the heavy focus on her.

    Dialogue seems a little cheesy. I feel like Wyman is just trying too hard this season. I’ve never been impressed by an episode he has written (by himself) or they way he talks about the show. But now he’s the sole showrunner with a few writers who mainly worked on season 4 only. This right here is exactly the reason why Fringe is no longer the show it used to be. I really really want my show to finish well. I want to be blown away by the final season. But right now I don’t see that happening. For me at least.

    Well-loved.: Thumb up 22

      • Sam says

        I don’t think he fully understands what went wrong with season 4. My main problem was that the alternate timeline made seasons 1-3 irrelevant. Also what they did to Olivia’s character. Making her this desperate woman who wants the memories of another version of herself because that’s who Peter is in love with.

        So now he thinks we don’t want him to be clever or show us any tricks. Just full on forced emotion. I wish he’d remember that Fringe used to have great balance. No need to upset that balance in an attempt to make the final season so soapy.

        Well-loved.: Thumb up 16

        • RKron says

          Olivia didn’t regain her memories just for Peter, you know. She did it for herself too. Remember when she talked to Nina about it? She felt “whole” being the Olivia in the past timeline. It wasn’t all for Peter.

          Like: Thumb up 6

          • Sam says

            I do remember that scene. Still felt like her main reason was so she could be with Peter. If that’s not how they wanted it to be interpreted then something wasn’t right with the execution.

            Well-loved.: Thumb up 10

            • RKron says

              At that point in time, she didn’t even know if Peter wanted to be with her anymore. If it wasn’t for Peter’s simultaneous conversation with September, the two wouldn’t even try to reconnect. Olivia made the decision knowing full well she might not be with Peter.

              Like: Thumb up 1

              • Sam says

                But she did know that Peter wanted to go back to his Olivia. That’s the Olivia she wanted to be. What was Amber Olivia missing from her life that the original timeline Olivia had? Peter! Everything else was the same if not better. Her stepfather was dead, she had found a mother in Nina, her time in the other universe wasn’t as traumatic, etc. So when she said she wanted to feel whole that’s what I made of it. Peter would make her whole.

                Well-loved.: Thumb up 11

                • Carla says

                  You know, for the first time I understand someone’s point about not being satisfied with what happened with Olivia on s4. I’m particularly not to fond of S4 but not because of the Olivia thing. The way I saw it, she was simply choosing to be herself. Because she was never another Olivia (like alt!Liv), she was always our Olivia but just without Peter’s influence in her life. Not having Peter in her life caused certain holes that made her feel incomplete but not necessarily for the romantic love (think Subject 13). The thing I think the writers messed up was that they made it seem like at first that her life was better without Peter, like you mentioned. But if you stop and look close it wasn’t that great. She often complained how she didn’t feel much, like her emotions were stunt. Her stepdad being dead wasn’t exactly a good thing. She killed him when she was 9. Knowing how Olivia is with her sense of what’s right and what’s wrong, that must have been a horrible thing in her life (and that might have made the whole difference). I remember I thought it was really cool when it happened, then I tweeted Jeff about it and he was like, ‘no, that’s awful, poor Olivia’ and I stopped to think and realized that indeed that’s terrible guilt for a kid to carry. That happened because she never met Peter in the field of White Tulips. The only thing she had going for her was her relationship with Nina. And she did make sure that was taken care of by asking her to try and build something with her again.
                  I believe the main problem with people who couldn’t accept that is that they romanticized too much Peter’s influence in Olivia’s life. It wasn’t that she just wanted to be with him, but that having had him in her life made a difference (like she said in the Nina scene, she felt whole). Just like I’m sure, having had Walter in her life made a difference. But I digress…. Not trying to convince you of anything. I’m just saying that for the first time I do see where you’re coming from. I just saw things differently. Talk about real being just a matter of perception, huh?

                  Like: Thumb up 6

      • Sam says

        I know. Every episode needs to count this season though.

        I’ll start to believe Olivia is still the focus once they make it clear what her contribution is going to be this season. Walter’s got the plan to defeat the Observers, September keeps saying Peter is important (and also gets to be Max Payne this season) and has to live and according to Wyman we’re not done with that yet so where does Olivia fit it into all of this?

        Well-loved.: Thumb up 14

        • Starman says

          While Olivia was certainly the lead character in Season 1, since Season 2 this has been a three-lead show (Olivia-Walter-Peter). Walter’s past actions were the cause of most of the major plotlines in Seasons 1-4, and Peter basically saved the Universe in Season 3, so they have certainly earned their lead character status. This new season is consistent with the last three in putting equal emphasis on all three characters, and I’m certain Olivia will have some significant contributions to make (and I thought the reunion scene between her and Etta was superbly done). Be patient. I for one love that the world on Fringe is always changing and watching the impact of those changes on the character dynamics.

          Well-loved.: Thumb up 12

          • Sam says

            I’m not saying Walter and Peter are any less important than Olivia.. Walter, Peter and Olivia have always been the core 3. But there is still a central character and that’s Olivia. It has nothing to do with importance. We were introduced to the world of Fringe through her and continued to experience it through her perspective. John Noble and Josh Jackson have both called her the central focus of the show on a few occasions in interviews. They’re aware of this too, it’s a fact!

            Doesn’t seem that way right now though and that’s what I was trying to say. She’s been put on the back burner lately. Anyway I’ll take your advice. Lets wait and see how the rest of the season plays out.

            Well-loved.: Thumb up 17

            • FLTY says

              the big mistake of fringe was taking the focus off of his protagonist, the third season was brilliant due to focus on Olivia but from the second half of the third season when focus of the story was peter fringe began to lose its shine and become strange

              Well-loved.: Thumb up 22

            • June08 says

              I completely agree with you.

              While I must say I liked this episode far more than the first episode of the fourth season, I realized at the end that, as it has been since the middle of season 3, Olivia has become Peter’s dependent and has been put in the background, d not only her character but it feels like Fringe suffers greatly from it…

              No wonder, Anna Torv ended up preferring playing Altlivia than Olivia…

              I will still watch Fringe with pleasure but will miss the Dunahmnator until the end unless the rest of the story changes that which I don’t see coming…

              Well-loved.: Thumb up 17

            • ML says

              Agree that I didn’t like how Olivia’s role in the premiere seemed the least significant of the group. It was one of the reasons the ep felt so strange to me. I hope Wyman knows what he is doing but he worries me. His dialogue writing is weak so I hope he’s getting some help through the season with the writing.

              Well-loved.: Thumb up 19

    • Dac says

      I also thought Olivia was underused in this episode. I’m assuming that it was b/c Etta is familiar with this “world” and Olivia is not. Hopefully, it doesn’t stay that way.

      And I also am not sold on Etta as a character either. And completely agree with your point there.

      Well-loved.: Thumb up 20

  10. YourPique says

    What I want to know…what WERE they doing from 2012-2015? September first warned Walter in 2012…he couldn’t have helped the Fringe team prepare just a little better in 3 years? I feel that Broyles could’ve gotten unlimited funding to build whatever they needed in that 3 yr timespan. Anyway, plot points, plot points, I know…
    Good review as usual!

    Like: Thumb up 8

    • Carla says

      Maybe they didn’t know exactly when they were coming. That’s why our Sep scrambled the info in Walter’s brain and hid the device for when it was time they’d go get it.

      Like: Thumb up 0

  11. sss says

    I think Walter, maked some fail safe to his plan using flashes of light from CD and music and he will remember, despite the fact that Etta said that loose of memery is inreverseble.

    Like: Thumb up 3

  12. jade86 says

    Olivia was the lead in season 1 but then things chanded a lot. The main characters are 3! Remember. And yes, this year we will finally know why peter is important but this time i think it’s something about Peter. Think about Olivia’s ability: they always told us she was the strongest, but we never got to see all those powers until the end of the fourth season. Now it’s peter’s turn: we know this speculated peter’s importance from season 1 and now we will finally know this other “peace” of the mythology but as i said before, it will only be something about Peter.

    Well-loved.: Thumb up 25

    • FLTY says

      Sincerely want this season focused on Olivia and Walter both are the best characters of Fringe.Peter was the focus of last season and it didn’t work, the story works best when Olivia is leading the plot

      Well-loved.: Thumb up 41

      • number six says

        To say that Peter was the focus last season is disingenuous, when he wasn’t in 6 or 7 of the episodes, when in half of the rest of the episodes, he was a token presence or just sitting there so that Walter and Olivia could react to him and lastly, but more importantly, when Lincoln, not Peter, was the real focus last season, which is what the producers themselves admitted in an interview.

        Well-loved.: Thumb up 28

    • Sam says

      Again I’ll say there is a slight difference between main character and central character. You can have several main characters and still have one of them be the central focus of the show. Would you believe me if you heard it from John Noble? Because he said this at THIS YEAR’s comic con. She is and always has been the central focus. Meaning that obviously hasn’t changed (or at least wasn’t supposed to).

      If she’s not necessarily your favourite and you’d prefer if Walter or Peter were the central figures instead that is a different issue and perfectly okay. And yes of course it’ll have something to do with Peter. That’s understood.

      Well-loved.: Thumb up 33

  13. says

    Great review, Roco. You had me busting up laughing, too! I was thrilled to see Markham again and I’ve still got my fingers crossed we’ll see Sam again. The only thing that bothered me about the episode was exactly what you said – the lack of observational skills from the Observers. Especially if they view time in a linear manner, then they, essentially, know what is going to happen so I don’t understand why they don’t just stop it before it happens. Well, I suppose because then we wouldn’t have a show, would we? Lol. But I thought it was a great episode!

    Like: Thumb up 1

    • Carla says

      Well, I think they have the ability to travel through time. Those 12 observers did that, it was their job, let say. Once they came back in time maybe they stopped travelling so they can’t see the future anymore. They don’t always know it all, I think. Those twelve observers experienced time in a different way because they could travel. And there is also the thing about not interfering. If they change something they might affect their own future creating a paradox. Anyway, that’s my opinion. I rest my head on the pillow every night assured that things will come together.

      Like: Thumb up 0

  14. williamreturns says

    Oh ROCO… Windy. I love it.

    I’ve so missed your reviews! They are always the best. Okay, they are really the only ones I read. Other reviews… they just don’t have your style, humor, bluntness/honesty or insight. Thank you ROCO!

    Well-loved.: Thumb up 10

  15. Carla says

    Am I the only one who thought the Markham ‘I love her’ was funny? The poor guy. I loved the ‘twist’ though, because it would have been so easy to make the Observers have her and then spend the whole episode trying to get her back, but that would also be so predictable.

    I bought into the emotion of the Peter and Olivia scene. The way Olivia tried to keep it together really got me into it. Notice Peter did more talking but the camera still stayed on Olivia a lot. Just saying… I believe the reason people might not have connected is because we didn’t really get to spend anytime seeing them as a family (before or after they got separated), so we haven’t connected with that feeling to then be able to feel the loss. I don’t know if that was clear, but it’s like with Peter and Walter. First we watched them mend their relationship, and, later, we found out about Walter’s loss. We were able to feel that because we saw before how much Walter loved Peter. If we had seen the episode ‘Peter’ before everything else the whole Walter crossing over to save him might have felt a little distant and not so heartbreaking.
    I’m looking forward to at least seeing them remember those three years they were together as a family so that we can feel more connected and be able to buy the feeling of loss.

    Other than that, this episode was beautiful. It’s really hard to even remember the ‘soft spots’ in the plot as you called them. That last scene was just the most beautiful thing I’ve seen on TV lately. It was appealing to the eyes, ears and the soul.

    Great review, Rocco. Thanks for sharing.

    Like: Thumb up 5

  16. elisa says

    I can’t believe nobody anywhere made comments about this: the cicle storyline in fringe reapearing in the episode. ‘History repeats itself’ is a recurring theme in Fringe. And what we see is a Peter repeating the story of Walter (from the 4th season): peter grew up without his father Walter and Etta grew up without her father (and mother, in her case). The fact is BOTH lost their only child while very young, only to reconnect with them after they were grown adults. And both sacrificed their ‘marriage’, by trying to get their child back.
    I finally understood the point of season 4: this Walter did not raise Peter, just like Peter did not raise Etta.
    But here is the difference:
    rethinking what Bell said to Peter, way back: ‘be a better man than your father’, I think Peter was a better man.It depends on the reasons why he went into “ambar mode”. But I think he WAS better than he’s father when he ambered himself and separated himself from his daughter (unlike Walter, who wouldn’t quit trying to save his son, including, almost destroying 2 universes). See, Peter didn’t do that. He DID LET GO at some point.
    Of course, all this thinking changes if he ambered because there was no choice.

    Like: Thumb up 3

    • Carla says

      I noticed that too (the cycle). He didn’t amber himself though, Walter ambered them. And wasn’t a better man, because he chose to keep looking for her instead of helping Olivia save the world. Not that I condemn him for that. I would have done the same. And I can’t quite believe Olivia didn’t.

      Like: Thumb up 1

      • elisa says

        Well, Carla, we don’t know for sure what were the circumstances of Peter’s ambaring.THAT is still to be explained. But, so far, the story has showed us that they ambared when it was necessary to survive. I like to believe he chose to do that and not forced by Walter (no mention of that). The fact he chose to keep looking for Etta in one moment, doesn’t mean he didn’t come around and changed his mind. I know it is hard to accept a parent giving up on his own child, but the fact is the entire 3 seasons of Fringe were about Walter learning to let go of his son. He risked everything to get him back and payed a high price for it.
        I think Peter DIDN’T do that. No great sacrifice was made to get Etta back! Of course, this is still speculation, since we don’t have enough information.

        Like: Thumb up 2

  17. Penny Laine says

    Great review, as always! I loved this episode, it definitely exceeded my expectations. I thought it was very well balanced, very emotional and yet very intense and focused on the mythology. I’m very excited for this season and the final war against the Observers.I didn’t like season 4, I thought it was a big miss, save a few episodes. But 4×19 made up for it when it introduced the Observer-ruled future. It was something I wasn’t expecting and I think it’s an extremely creative and compelling turn in the storytelling.

    “It was Etta who, like her mother of old, was the consistent driving force throughout the episode, which makes me wonder whether our two golden girls are going to be ‘competing’, in a narrative sense, for glory.” I did feel like Etta was too much on the spotlight. I like her character and I think Georgina Haig is an outstanding actress, but I hope they don’t try to put her in the same level as Olivia (who I still consider the lead, even if it’s just a tiny bit above Walter and Peter). It wouldn’t be fair to “steal” the final 13 episodes from Olivia, Peter and Walter.

    “His interrogation was a stand-out element of the episode” It was so intense! I thought it fit the episode perfectly, the Observers won’t have any mercy with Walter & co and it was the right amount of cruel to make a statement about what kind of regime the Observers have imposed.

    So here’s a random thought: The glyphs spelled “DOUBT”. I’m wondering what if it’s Etta the one to doubt? How did she know who her parents were? It’s also strange how she disappeared. If she’d just gone missing and ended up adopted it’s reasonable to think that the FBI would have found her… But if she was taken by the Observers it’s because they wanted something with her. They wouldn’t have just taken her away from her parents to give her to another family, just for the sake of pulling them apart. I’m inclined to think she was taken by the Observers for some purpose, so what if she’s actually working with them?

    Finally, I have to say I loved the two scenes you highlighted. The reunion was very emotional and it was good to see Olivia overwhelmed by emotion. And the final scene with Walter and the dandelion…. Just brilliant! Gave me goosebumps! I rated the ep 9/10

    Well-loved.: Thumb up 22

    • Penny Laine says

      I forgot about Nina… It’s probably more likely that the Observers took Etta but Nina managed to save her somehow and hide her identity from them. Etta being bad is probably a twisted plot, she does seem genuine! :D

      Like: Thumb up 2

    • Carla says

      I don’t think Etta was taken by the Observers. I think they just got separated. Judging by Windmark questionig ‘who is the little girl’ I don’t think they know who she is.

      Like: Thumb up 1

    • g33k says

      “How did she know who her parents were? It’s also strange how she disappeared.”

      I agree its strange she can’t remember their faces and yet knew her parents were these heroic people and kept quiet about it for years, even as an extremely young child.

      I’m wondering if September may have also placed some sort of mental suggestion in her eye like “your parents are ambered, find them” much like September placed his address in Peter’s eye. Walter did say it would have ended up being some sort of mental suggestion in his brain had it not been removed from Peter’s eye. Come to think of it – September had time to put a lot of “suggestions” in Etta’s eyes, if he survived long enough to repeat the process!

      Like: Thumb up 0

      • Carla says

        She looked for them. In my head she got separated from them in the middle of the invasion. Since the world was suddenly in war against forces too strong to handle, people weren’t exactly stopping to look for lost little girls. It’s the freaking apocalypse for all they knew.
        Georgina said Etta grew up with foster parents and later searched for her family (like many adopted children do). She probably learned about the Fringe team and deduced they were her parents. Maybe that’s how she found Nina and how she knew for sure they were her parents before she set out to find them. I believe that’s how she ended up with the bullet. It probably became evidence and was saved somewhere. She found it while looking for them and kept it as some sort of reminder of how awesome her parents were.

        Like: Thumb up 1

  18. Underseer says

    The Observers: flat monotonous voices. Not really human. Don’t like music and hate most forms of fun except making your ears bleed. No understanding of human emotion. Pale, lifeless looking and with dead eyes. Dress like they’re refugees from the fifties.

    Oh dear lord. I’ve just experienced a terrifying realisation.

    My high school maths teacher was an Observer!

    Like: Thumb up 2

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