FRINGE: 5.02 In Absentia — REVIEW


Fringe‘s fifth and final season got off to an impressive start in “Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11”. But how effectively would the follow-up develop those carefully laid pieces? For the most part “In Absentia” succeeded, delivering tight through lines while honing in on the emotional fabric that will be integral to the success or failure of the season.

The episode makes no bones about shining the light of focus back on Olivia and extracting the theme of destiny from amber like Walter’s Betamax. This has its sticky moments for sure and doesn’t completely navigate the trap of contrivance, but measured performances and a sense of purpose in the storytelling enabled “In Absentia” to find itself.

It wont be the most memorable episode in the show’s final season, and question marks will be raised over the lack of subtlety in places and convenience of one or two developments, but it’s in the smaller moments that this episode shines brightest. The willingness to deal with complications between mother and daughter, for example, without taking it to the land of melodrama suggests lessons have been learned. The episode delivered such moments well and continued to exhibit focused progression that leaves the season looking quite promising.

One of the big themes to come out of “Transilience” was of course “perspective” – an idea captured through brutal torture and musical release. It felt fitting that we got another look at that fateful day that Etta was divided from the power of three. This time it’s Olivia’s take on things, a mother’s point-of-view confirming that Peter’s reliability is not overly in question.

Recurring moments are of course important in Fringe, and far from being indulgent the underscoring of this event further served as the catalyst for Olivia’s return to the throne. In truth, ‘Olivia’ has been MIA for a while now, perhaps since the third season when she fought bravely against incredible odds. And how the story has missed her. While the ‘diversions’ and ’roundabouts’ since have served their purpose (to varying degrees of success), the new storytelling focus becomes her.

The initial uncertainty between a mother trying to find her way in and a daughter struggling to see her world in new light, was plotted well throughout — but these weren’t the only tunnels being sought. The mission to the place where “so much happened” was a little convenient but facilitated the plot, revealing more context for Walter’s plan to overthrow the invaders.

Cynics might rightly ponder why the Observers didn’t think to fully investigate such ambered areas given what they know of the resistance, but mostly the episode doesn’t allow us to ponder on such weaknesses. Not that this was a break-neck, action packed installment, but it moved along and contained a strong emotional undercurrent.

The capture of Gael the Loyalist actually developed into a something more emotive than one might have thought possible. Through his capture we see Etta’s hard-edge come to the surface. She’s become someone Olivia had hoped she wouldn’t have to become. Most parents want the best for their children, but what good is that hope now to Etta? “You don’t know my world”.

Olivia, to her credit did well not to step on her youngling’s toes, even though the Lab must have started to feel rather small for the two of them. But neither did she step aside and do nothing. Her instinct to see the best in others and her strong moral compass, that always points northwest, came to the fore in the compassion that she offered Gael.

That’s not to say it was without contrivance, but her actions made sense — even though her morality is once again used as a weapon against her – “weakness” is what Etta claimed Gael saw in her eyes – those weaknesses have always been her strengths.

Peter and Etta’s mission to the Science Building lacked the genuine tension I was hoping for, though I got a kick out of seeing Peter in that hat. Still, it plays into the whole stealth tone of the season and served a function in revealing the Badservers’ experimentations, putting to bed almost any chance of Simon Foster making a present-day return. The youngest Bishop was obviously affected by this, but it closes the door on having to rescue him. RIP Agent Foster — when push came to shove you always delivered.

Throughout the episode Olivia exuded a certain confidence, a measured calm that ultimately brought everything together. Sure, she was wrong about Gael’s non-existent son but she was right to trust him. He, like Etta, saw something in her eyes. For Gael it was “certainty”, for Etta it was “pity”. It’s Olivia’s ability to impact hope in others that enables them to play towards the better parts of their nature. Admittedly it’s a bit gooey but overall it works.

This is why, young Etta, Olivia is still the central character. Not because she’s flawless, but because in spite of what she’s been through she’s able to fight beyond what should break her bad. That’s why it was good to hear the “Transilience” account of Olivia trying to fight the good fight while Peter searched for Etta. The loss of her daughter, like the loss and betrayal of John Scott, instigated her back into protagonist mode, and not a moment too soon.

But let’s not overlook Etta’s growth in this episode  — it’s good that her relationship with her mother isn’t perfect. It couldn’t be and to try to make it that way without exploring the creases would be as contrived as turning the melodrama dial up to threat-level max. Her decision not to kill Gael serves her well because her earlier conviction was believable enough and she was ultimately able to believe in another way – her own little dandelion moment.

Of course, the tapes will also play a role in the battle for the future. A kind of Transilience fail-safe, Walter’s self-made ‘prophecy’ has a bit of the John Lockes about it — and he certainly enjoyed his inspirational rally cry — but it will be interesting to see how they play into the rest of the season. Certainly at this stage, I feel as though the first two episodes have been time well spent. And welcome back Olivia. I knew you’d come back..eventually.


  • Walter: “Few have seen the mysterious passages”. I’ll bet!
  • The idea that Olivia’s being fighting longer than Gael could imagine hit the right spot and added to her legend.
  • Some of the Peter/Etta scenes still feel a bit weird. Only on Fringe. And Once Upon A Time, I guess.
  • Peter: “The world has changed so much, it can be difficult to understand it”. Olivia: “I’m not sure I want to understand it”. While a shift in perspective helped Walter in 5.01, Olivia’s consistent moral point of view played its role this week.
  • Etta: “I know you like to be in control. So do I”. Peter may wear the hat in this family, but Olivia and Etta share the trousers.


  • The Badservers are running experiments on Simon, but what has become of William Bell whose amber block was also retrieved?
  • What is Walter’s plan to defeat the Observers?


  • Peter’s recollection of losing Etta is accurate.
  • Walter recorded parts of his plan to defeat the Badservers on video tapes before sealing the instruction tape (and later himself) in amber.

8/10 Seriable Stars

Quotable of the Week: “Why are you letting me live?” / “Something that I saw in her eyes as well. Pity. For all of us.” (Gael/Etta)

Best Moment: Olivia’s pride at Etta letting Gael live.

Outstanding Performer: Anna Torv

<<Previously | Next Time>>

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  1. A.Y says

    Yo Roco did you notice at the beginning of the episode they show the observer “August” that got old? they see him after the opening theme.

    Like: Thumb up 1

    • g33k says

      I didn’t see August after the opening theme, but I do know the Observer that the camera focuses on in the first scene just after the credits is the Observer who is usually in the background in most episodes when Micheal Ceveris isn’t a major focus in the episode. (met him that day on the location where they filmed some of these scenes)

      We finally got to see his face, instead of the back of his head as we’ve seen in Bloodline, Plateau, 6:02 am est, etc… Congrats Chuck! Ironically he may have done more scenes in Fringe then Ceveris by now! XD Opens up some interesting story possibilities I hope they follow.

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  2. YourPique says

    I also liked this one. Glad to see the Olivia & Etta dynamic…Olivia plays a motherly role so naturally.

    Olivia fell into the same trap again as Brave New World Pt 1 w/ Jessica. That dang empathy…

    Like: Thumb up 8

  3. RedVines says

    Yessss, Oliviia is back …. finally!
    I’ve missed her so much!

    … “Peter may wear the hat in this family, but Olivia and Etta share the trousers” : )

    Great review, as usual.

    Well-loved.: Thumb up 24

  4. Aria Mohtadi says

    Thank you for the great review.

    I liked this episode better than the previous.
    Sure, as you mentioned at times was contrived but it managed
    to bring some old Fringe themes into the mix.

    I mostly enjoyed the callback to “Same old story” (the aging device) and Walter’s “White tulip” effect with retrieving the tape. The main problem I had with the episode was that Gael (the actor who portrayed him) didn’t feel “aged” at all. It was only on the surface. But maybe I’ve got it wrong about how the device works on body cells.

    After watching Walt’s message being essentially directed at himself, I’ve got a feeling we see him redeem himself once and for all by the end of the show. I just hope they complete Walter’s amazing story the way he deserves to be respected.

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    • Jim says

      I felt the same about Gael at first, but then when I watched it again and saw how young he ACTUALLY was at the beginning of the episode… 😮 There was so much more life in him.

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      • Aria Mohtadi says

        Yes I agree.
        But the problem is with the actor’s voice I guess. I kept comparing the way he spoke to Leonard Nimoy’s voice! 😀

        Like: Thumb up 1

    • YourPique says

      I was trying to make callback connections as well. The aging device also has connections to The Abducted.

      Like: Thumb up 3

  5. Jim says

    Great review, Roco! I’m still not sure yet if Peter’s recollection of losing Etta really IS entirely accurate, but… I’ll save that for when you’ve posted your Observations. 😉

    Ok, fine. I wouldn’t have noticed if someone else hadn’t told me anyway. :p In Peter’s ”flashback” from 5.01, he was wearing a blue shirt and they were on a red blanket. In Olivia’s flashback, Peter was wearing brown and the blanket was green. If you look closely, you can see that they digitally altered it. I have no idea what it means.

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    • mesa says

      I’d say they just reshot it using different clothes and blankets. A continuity error, but will be chalked up as the idea that memories aren’t reliable (each flashback was from a different person).

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      • Jim says

        I don’t know, if you look closely in some of the shots it looked like the ”outlines” of the shirt and blanket still have their original colors when they’re out of focus!

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          • Jophan says

            It may be that neither Peter’s nor Olivia’s memory is correct. Etta may have been taken from them in some other way, and the mostly-consistent memories are the results of some sort of brainwashing. The story is consistent but their visualizations are not.

            Personally, I expect that Bell was behind Etta’s abduction; it was not an accident due to the confusion surrounding the Observers’ entrance. Creating a second-generation Cortexikid through exposure in utero may have been the real goal of the universe-merging runaround last season.

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  6. Peanut says

    It’s good to have Olivia back. Etta picks up that she & her mommy are both control freaks–pot meet kettle. So far, Etta seems much more like Olivia than like Peter.

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    • williamreturns says

      I don’t know… I’ve been seeing a lot more similarities b/c Etta and Peter. Etta talks. A lot. Just like Peter; Olivia barley talks. And she is con-manish, too, just like her dad. She’s also been kind of a Smart Alec too, like Peter.

      Well-loved.: Thumb up 19

      • Sam says

        I agree with williamreturns here. She’s more like Peter. Even look-wise I don’t find her that similar to Olivia. I know a lot people are ready to believe Anna Torv actually gave birth to Georgina Haig but I don’t really see the resemblance apart from the hair.

        Etta really proved she’s her daddy’s girl when she called that Loyalist sweetheart! But we’re starting to see that she has some of Olivia’s goodness in her too.

        Well-loved.: Thumb up 16

  7. Sam says

    “This is why, young Etta, Olivia is still the central character. Not because she’s flawless, but because in spite of what she’s been through she’s able to fight beyond what should break her bad”. You said it! Our heroine is indeed finally back.

    Great review :)

    Well-loved.: Thumb up 23

  8. says

    Another excellent review. I agreed with almost every word. :-)

    It is fantastic to have Olivia back. I know you don’t think she’s been with us since season 3. I’d say the ‘badass’ part of her had been less apparent, but I don’t see that as not having Olivia for one and 1/2 seasons. With that said, I do think this final season will see a fully realized Olivia. An Olivia will bring both a vulnerability and emotionally open (to a degree) person, along with the dominator part of her personality.

    Acutally, I heard an interview where Anna Torv said that this year she’ll be able to devote all her attention to Olivia, since the last 1 1/2 seasons, she had to also play Altlivia. I think this singular attention will benifit the Olivia character tremendously. In that same interview, Anna said it has been really difficult for her to find the right balance in playing Etta’s mother — I think she found it. :)
    I’ll give it an 8.5/10

    Well-loved.: Thumb up 19

  9. says

    One more thing I find interesting. It seems that it’s Olivia that has the special connection with Walter. A carry over from season 4 perhaps. In the premiere, she’s the one that tries to settle him down when he realizes he can’t remember and it is Olivia who reminds Walter that he always takes notes.

    Just something I found that ties season 4 to 5 in terms of relationships.


    Well-loved.: Thumb up 12

    • Sam says

      Yes, an interesting observation! Because with Peter gone it was Olivia who took care of Walter. We’re still in that alternate timeline and everyone except Olivia and Peter only know about this current one. I really do love the fact that it’s consistent with season 4 and Walter shooting her in the head hasn’t changed anything 😛

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      • williamreturns says

        Olivia doesn’t remember being the one who took care of Walter, she doesn’t have those memories any more; only the original timeline memories.

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        • Rick Terry says

          Regardless of whether she remembers it anymore, Walter still remembers it. So any amount of care Olivia gives Walter will surely impact him positively.

          Like: Thumb up 7

          • williamreturns says

            That is a really good point, Rick Terry. I hand’t thought of it that way, really. I think I will look back at that point when I find myself getting frustrated about 4th season repercussions, (which I is often, I’m afraid) thank you!

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        • says

          Actually, I think she does retain some recollection of her amber self. If I remember correctly, Broyles says she has about 40% of it. In any event, I like it. :) Although, it makes me wonder if Peter and Walter will rebuild their relationship before the end of the series.

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          • Rick Terry says

            You’re right I just re-watched that particular episode the other day. “40% of Olivia Dunham is still better than 100% of most agents…”

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          • williamreturns says

            I think at that point in the season she just hand’t fully lost all of the memories. We later see that she doesn’t even remember Lincoln giving her the medallion.

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    • RedVines says

      Good observation, I’ve noticed that too.
      Olivia and Walter special connection is still evident in their behaviour, you can easly read it on their faces.
      Regardless of whether they remember of the previous timeline (Olivia probably doesen’t remember, Walter does), I think they formed this strong relation when peter left them alone after Etta kidnapping.
      I hope in the next episodes we will learning something more.

      Like: Thumb up 5

  10. June08 says

    Superb review Roco. You’re definitely the best Fringe reviewer of all universes!

    And I must say as I said last week than I missed deeply Olivia as the Dunhamnator and lead character since Marionnette, so like you, I’m glad to have her back at the front as it was in the first two seasons because she is the main reason I got attracted to Fringe so intensely.

    I found the Olivia/Etta scenes amazing and excellently played by both Anna and Georgina on a completely different level: deepness and compassion for Olivia, hardness and anger for Etta.

    One doubt remains: did the loyalist lied about his son or not?

    If he did, is the address he gave Olivia a trap?

    What do you think? Will this play out in the future or is it just a loose end?

    Well-loved.: Thumb up 17

    • says

      “One doubt remains: did the loyalist lied about his son or not?
      If he did, is the address he gave Olivia a trap?”

      I took it that he lied about his son but, as he said, was hoping up to the last that Olivia would sway Etta.

      Oh, and thanks for the kind words.

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  11. Underseer says

    Cynics might rightly ponder why the Observers didn’t think to fully investigate such ambered areas given what they know of the resistance, but mostly the episode doesn’t allow us to ponder on such weaknesses.

    Cynics? I don’t think questioning illogical or inconsistent elements in a plot makes you a cynic. I think it simply means you’re not a sycophantic fanboy.

    Otherwise I don’t see the point of discussing anything if we’re all going to pass over major plot holes without comment. Let’s all be fanboys! Yay!

    They have to explain why the Observers aren’t doing the blindingly obvious to defeat the Fringe team – simply hopping back in time to where they know they’d be and killing/capturing them all.

    Like: Thumb up 6

    • says

      Perhaps cynic wasn’t the best word, but to be clear I’m not saying that we shouldn’t pick holes in the plot holes. Heck, I’ve done my fair share down the years. 😉 Though obviously those who are not so inclined to this episode might find the conveniences more glaring.

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      • Underseer says

        Hey Roco, looking at what I wrote above, I think it sounded a bit harsher than I intended. Your two sites are definitely not fanboy sites, which is why I like them, you don’t hesitate to point out holes.

        I was thinking more of people who seem to focus only on the relationships in the story, and ignore the plot mechanics. Relationship stories with sloppy plot mechanics have a name: soap operas. I think the best sci-fi balances both elements.

        Also while I’ve been negative about the plot holes, I do still think this season is already an improvement on the last, so far anyway. I like the 1984/Blade Runner-esque feel it has.

        I just feel that if I had the ability to time travel, and you didn’t (as in: Observers, who can, vs Fringe Team, who can’t), any move that you make I can then undo by going back in time. So some kind of limitation to the Observers’ time jumps has to be introduced.

        It’s like Superman with his weakness of Kryptonite. If he had no weakness, no villain could stop him and there’d be no story.

        They have to introduce the Observer’s Kryptonite – and that isn’t Bellie’s hyper-velocity guns or the new device to defeat them – it has to be something to stop them doing the above-mentioned corrective time jumps before the new ‘BBM’ device is even built.

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        • elisa says

          The observers kryptonite has already been implied: they can foresee all possible futures with time travelling, but they cannot predict the butterfly effect that overcomes by changing the timeline (undo what the fringe team does).
          That was discussed by September with Walter way back.
          The idea of the show is to show us that no matter what you do and try to change, somethings will still happen (free will versus destiny), like Olivia dying in every possible future.
          I guess you could say ‘destiny’ is the observers’ kriptonite.

          Like: Thumb up 3

          • Underseer says

            “…they cannot predict the butterfly effect that overcomes by changing the timeline (undo what the fringe team does)… I guess you could say ‘destiny’ is the observers’ kriptonite”

            No offence Elisa, but you’re missing the point I’m making. The ‘kryptonite’ I’m referring to is some mechanism that stops them from time jumping and capture the Fringe team at an earlier time where they know they’ll be located.

            Destiny, or as I’d prefer, the universe’s tendency to course correct toward inevitable events – that’s an interesting idea I also speculated on, on Fringebloggers. It may indeed be shown to be their undoing, but I’m not talking about destiny or the series finale.

            Even if the timeline change engenders events that the Observers couldn’t predict, they’re time travellers: there is no change they can’t go back in time to alter. September did this at the end of season 3. And while he also said is that they don’t know which of the possible futures will come to pass, obviously they do know what past has transpired, just as anyone does.

            If they show them attempting to go back to intercept the Fringe team in the recent past, but something – the ‘something’ being the ‘kryptonite’ in question – stops them, then the plot hole is sealed and I’m a happy camper.

            It could even be Olivia’s ability. Or Peter’s anomalous existence in the timeline, that creates interference that blocks them.

            Or any plausible-sounding plot device would be fine – as long as it’s something.

            I guess we’ll just have to wait and hope.

            Like: Thumb up 4

            • GFS says

              i said this over on fringe bloggers, and i think it applies here too:

              this how i’m choosing to look at the difference between the science team of observers and your standard observer of 2036:

              just like today, a team of scientists has technology and capabilities to do things that your standard person cannot. we cannot accelerate particles in the basement. the higgs boson was not going to be discovered in anyone’s kitchen. my tin tube telescope out back is never going to match the keck scope or hubble. the team of observer scientists likely had access to special tech that others do not.

              and yeah, it would definitely help law enforcement observers to be able to look and travel around in time, but maybe there are ramifications to that and they don’t want some loose canon like windmark mucking up the past and screwing everyone over.

              so basically, i’m just saying that the science team observers were able to do a LOT of things that your run of the mill observer just can’t.

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            • elisa says

              Ok, then! But they did do that (travel time to stop fringe team), when they eliminated Peter from the picture, in both timelines and it didn’t work.
              I don’t see the plothole. I see it as a poetic license: What would the show do? keep showing the observers going back in time everytime the fringe team does something? that would be very boring (and confusing) to watch.
              Plus, there is GFS’ theory, that these observers have less abilities than the team of scientists. it is strange that the observers don’t know that Etta is who she is.

              Like: Thumb up 3

            • Underseer says

              GFS: “just like today, a team of scientists has technology and capabilities to do things that your standard person cannot. we cannot accelerate particles in the basement. the higgs boson was not going to be discovered in anyone’s kitchen”

              Really? A global invasion force of Observers would be comprised of ‘standard’ Observers who concocted their weaponry in their kitchens? Because our nukes and global resistance, however ineffective, would be of less concern and require less resources to deal with than those involved with covert recon?

              Are you serious?

              Elisa: “these observers have less abilities than the team of scientists”

              Again: that makes no sense. A scientific expedition would have more abilities than a global military invasion force? The idea that the massive forces of global invasion – with the huge risks involved as opposed to merely observing (or recon) – would have less resources is simply not a plausible explanation.

              The largest number of scientists in our world today are employed by the military-industrial complex. They produce military tech for their employers, not the other way around!

              The problem here is that you’re filling in the dodgy blanks for the writers. They haven’t shown anything you’re asserting, so until they do, sorry but these remain holes.

              I don’t like being spoon-fed in a story, but what’s happening here – and happened throughout season 4 – is that huge plot holes are left unaddressed. Otherwise I’d just trust that they would answer the problems. But after 4 the trust is gone.

              “I see it as a poetic license: What would the show do? keep showing the observers going back in time everytime the fringe team does something? that would be very boring (and confusing) to watch.”

              Except that there’s a vast difference between poetic licence and a gaping plot hole. Explain to me why a time travelling opponent wouldn’t “go back in time everytime the fringe team does something”? Because they’re stupid? Because they want their dying civilisation to lose – the stakes aren’t high enough for them to use every means at their disposal?

              I don’t think you’re really understanding what I’m getting at here: I’m not saying the writers need to show the Observers going back in time every time the fringe team does something, – because that would destroy the story. I’m saying all they need to do is show that there’s something preventing them from doing so.

              This would take a single sentence’s worth of exposition from any character to eliminate the hole. Hardly boring and confusing, in fact easy and quick. But without that one sentence, the story loses credibility.

              “But they did do that (travel time to stop fringe team), when they eliminated Peter from the picture, in both timelines and it didn’t work.” That was erasing a whole person – that didn’t ‘work’, it seemed to be implied by September, because of Olivia’s love. Does Olivia’s ‘love’ block time travel now? It didn’t stop them coming back in time to invade!

              And you forget that while they didn’t succeed in erasing Peter, overall it did work, since events led to the invasion, right? Why invade in the first place if you thought that a massive timeline alteration – that an invasion represents – wouldn’t ‘work’?

              So there’s no indication that further attempts at timeline alterations would be prevented by ‘destiny’.

              If they can’t simply go back to capture the whole Fringe team, even from where they were just half an hour ago in the past, why not? Because it wouldn’t ‘work’? Why not? Why not have Windmark ruling out a time-jump to capture them, because of ‘reason xyz’?

              Fringe has shown it can create very high standards in both plot mechanics and characterisation – unlike a soap opera – so it’s only natural to expect it to continue to do so. Since season 4, it’s slipped.

              If they answer these inconsistencies, nobody will be happier than me to admit I was wrong. 😉

              Like: Thumb up 4

              • elisa says

                OK, you’re rambling.
                You are missing the big picture and nip picking on the show. YOU are supose to realize that no matter what the observers change by time traveling, Peter, Olivia, Walter and Etta are going to fight them. That is the point! There is not going to be a sentence or a line in the show explicitly telling us that. You are supose to imply that by what has been shown so far.
                Why not? Yes, because it won’t work, because, I just told you, time has a way to correct itself. You just don’t seem to grasp the point of the show. If you don’t like the explanation, that is a different thing. But it is what it is!
                And eliminating Peter worked? Huh? The observers coming doesn’t have anything to do with Peter. It is there survival in this timeline that depends on Peter (and the fringe team).

                Like: Thumb up 3

                • Underseer says

                  “OK, you’re rambling”

                  Hardly a civilized or mature response.

                  A personal attack shows you’re not interested in civil debate. You demean only yourself with childish outbursts like this.

                  Don’t bother responding, this conversation is closed as far as I’m concerned.

                  Like: Thumb up 2

  12. says

    Quote from June08: “One doubt remains: did the loyalist lied about his son or not?”
    I’ve been wondering about this myself. He gave Olivia very specific information–an address, apartment number, and a name, Oscar–for someone who was simply making something up on the fly. I have a feeling that this will be addressed later, as Olivia promised him she would follow up on it.

    Like: Thumb up 4

  13. _lost_stef_ says

    Once again Roco what a great review, always look forward to reading these every week.

    Quotable of the Week: “Why are you letting me live?” / “Something that I saw in her eyes as well. Pity. For all of us.” (Gael/Etta)

    Best Moment: Olivia’s pride at Etta letting Gael live.

    Outstanding Performer: Anna Torv

    I have to say that these were also my fav parts of the episode and definitely felt that Anna Torv was terrific and a standout this episode.

    Looking forward to your next review :)

    Well-loved.: Thumb up 17

  14. Amanda says

    Great review!
    I loved this episode, this whole moral/war situation, something that could easily been left out in another show, but not in Fringe. I’m also very happy with the full return of Olivia. Anna Torv is better than ever, and I bet she will impress us a lot more.

    The relationship between mother and daughter is really trick, especially if you not a mother. But, again, Anna have been outstanding, an so Georgina.

    Wonder if there will be some Astrid episode, or, at least, some moment special for her. She seems a little bit like a foreign in this family.

    Something else I wonder… Did Etta and Simon had some sort of romantic relationship, or they’re just close friends/partners? It could be Olivia/John plot again, except the whole betrayal part.

    Well-loved.: Thumb up 16

  15. bdp says

    While I too agree that it’s nice to see the day Etta goes missing from both perspectives, as a way to show that either way you look at it, both parents share pretty much the same memory, leaving both reliable. I personally loved the differences more. While the events of the initial invasion were pretty much identical, it was the aftermath in the triage tent that I found most telling. That was where Peter and Olivia’s memories differed and I think they did so in a way that wonderfully expressed how they initially reacted to Etta’s disappearance as well as how they are continuing to cope with it now.

    If you look at Peter’s memory, his initial reaction in the triage tent is to check up on Olivia upon which he is told that she’s “resting”. He then goes off to find Etta, not letting anyone stop him. Olivia’s memory however, shows her wide awake in the triage tent and questioning what happened. And while she hears Peter saying pretty much the same phrases he says in his own recollection of the events, he never checks on her. Also Liv’s memory shows her constantly calling out to Peter and even chasing after him when he neglects to respond to her and charges off after Etta, neglecting everything else, including Olivia.

    I think it ties in wonderfully with the conversation Peter and Olivia shared in “Transilience”, as Peter admitted, he couldn’t find the will to leave Boston after Etta’s disappearance and therefore “abandoned” Olivia when she went to NY to fight the good fight. This seems very reflective of how in Olivia’s memory Peter seems to ignore her calls, focusing only Etta and running off to find her, leaving Olivia to leap up and chase after him in vain. The way Peter seems to see things is that while he too admits finding Etta was ultimately his number one priority, he never lost his concern or love for Olivia, as evidenced by him remembering his initial reaction to search her out and check on her. Yet ultimately Peter remembers her “resting” (most likely a reference to her ability to somewhat move on and go to NY to fight the observers, something Peter couldn’t do) and himself being the one to take action and continue to search for Etta.

    I think it’s a subtle yet very significant look at what the issues these two are going to have to deal with throughout the season in order to reconcile. They both have very different views on how the other reacted to the loss of their daughter and in order to heal they’re going to have to confront those views and be willing to accept and understand each sides response to their tragedy.

    Well-loved.: Thumb up 11

  16. charliefan19 says

    I am loving this season. It has such a different feel to it, but that’s fine with me after the very (imho) disappointing 4th season.


    The Peter/Etta scenes DO feel weird. Can’t help it! And it’s fun to see how Etta is like both of her parents. She obviously looks just like Liv and likes to “be in charge” but she is snarky like Peter. Love how she said “sweetheart” to the Loyalist; made me think of the Pilot episode. :)

    Fringe, you have done it again. poor Simon. :( I suppose, since this is Fringe and anything is possible, they can re-attach his decapitated head and restore life to…never mind. Sadness!!!

    I guess it’s inevitable….William Bell will be back. I will enjoy the time BEFORE Walter brings up “belly” again. Ugh. I prefer Fringe without him, and I would like to see the Fringe team save the day without Spock. They are more than capable.

    Question…I might have missed it in your review, Roco…but any thoughts on the glance exchanged between the Observer and Peter? Thanks for the great read, as always!

    Like: Thumb up 4

    • says

      “She obviously looks just like Liv and likes to “be in charge” but she is snarky like Peter. Love how she said “sweetheart” to the Loyalist; made me think of the Pilot episode.”

      Loved her snark, nice catch charliefan.

      “Question…I might have missed it in your review, Roco…but any thoughts on the glance exchanged between the Observer and Peter?”

      I just took it as the Observer sensing that something wasn’t quite right but ultimately not figuring out what, just a means of the show adding tension to the scene.

      Like: Thumb up 4

  17. Overkast says

    I’m I missing something…. on 419 Etta found Walter with peter, William, and Astrid and now in this espoised he Ambered himself in the lab alone?

    Like: Thumb up 0

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