fringe recapping: in absentia

Previously on Fringe: Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11

Thinking about the episode for a bit before writing is always interesting because some things begin to stand out more, and other things begin to irk me more. It’s like a probational period where I hem and haw about whether I loved the episode or I LOVED the episode.

This season is bittersweet for a myriad of reasons. Not only is it the last season, but there are a limited amount of episodes left: only 10! The other reason I am a little bit sad is because I do not know how this season– and the series — will end! I’m not talking about specifics here. I’m talking about the fact that I need the ending to be strong. Need. This is slightly horrible, but I almost wish that the season three was Fringe’s last season. That was a mindblowing season– and the season finale would have– and did — drive me crazy. I desperately need a deliciously amazing season finale. Need!

Onto the recap: And this who “toning down the fangirl thing isn’t working that well… but in my defense, I can only fangirl for 10 more episodes. Then I literally do not know what I will be doing with my time. This is one of my biggest worries in life right now. (As you can see, right now my life is pretty lackluster.)

Team Etta (as I have begun to call this new Fringe team): Etta seems to embody traits of both Peter and Olivia, which is kind of cool. Etta has suddenly become the protagonist, leaving all my “classic” favorite people in the back– the way, way back. The episode begins with Olivia suggesting that Walter might have written down notes on how to defeat the Observers. This means they must go back to their old haunting grounds– Walter’s lab. Which is, of course, right in the middle of one of the Observer’s HQ.

Upon their arrival they realize that  Walter ambered most of his lab. Visible through the amber is a video recorder; Walter must have been recording his notes! To get the recorder out, they must use a laser. That means they need electricity. Before they can decide the specifics on trying to turn on the lights, a human Loyalist guard comes in. Etta tortures him for information, using Observer tech that literally takes years of your life away, horrifying the Original Fringe team.

Gael, the Loyalist, was played by Eric Lange, a man known for his Sci-Fi acting chops in shows like Firefly, Chuck, and Angel. Between being tortured by Etta, Olivia comes in and uses her sad, sad eyes (and words) to get Gael to help them out. Etta and Peter dress up as Loyalists– and Etta and Olivia have a very awkward interchange which sounds like Etta really is the new protagonist. “I know you like to be in control. So do I.” 

Etta and Peter see Simon’s decapitated, blinking head on their way to the electricity room. Peter has to physically restrain Etta from going on a shooting rampage. They get the electricity on and successfully retrieve Walter’s recording. Olivia convinces Gael to turn his life around– with the help of her sad, sad words and eyes. In the end Etta wants to kill Gael, but ultimately decides to let him go free. Both Gael and Etta admit they want to be nicer because of the pity they see in Olivia’s eyes (You thought I was pushing the “Sad-eyed Olivia” thing too far? Joke’s on you!  My analogy was actually quite literal). Walter’s video shows that there are a series of clues they need to follow and figure out to solve the encrypted code to himself.

Thoughts, Problems, and Other Things: 

  • really, really, really, really hope that the main plot of this season is not Team Etta tracking down these clues. I may be expecting a little too much from Fringe (doubt it), but I want this to be an AMAZING last season. The best thing I have ever seen on TV.
  • Ella! (Not to be mistaken with Etta, Peter and Olivia’s daughter.) What the heck happened to Etta, Olivia’s niece! Blossoming Fringe cadet in “The Day We Died?” Star in Olivia’s life? (before she had a daughter and was killed off the show and her life, apparently).
  • Ella, brilliantly played by Georgiana Haig, is an amazing actress. Also annoying, but that might be because she disregards my Fringe team as being outdated and insignificant. I loved the scene where she see’s poor Simon’s head and has to be physically restrained by Peter. Sometimes I love her acting– or her character — and sometimes she just annoys me. I’m not sure how much I like her yet– but if she really is replacing Olivia as the main protagonist, I think I will like her less just because of her stealing-limelight ways.
  • Another thing I do not like about Ella is the fact that her role is not-too-subtly overshadowing the original Fringe team! It’s very similar to the beginning of last season, without Peter. (Which I might have already talked about).
  • It goes without mentioning, but of course Walter’s lights would be clap-on/clap-off lights! 🙂
  • Fringe is sometimes too-smart of a show, in my opinion. Instead of taking the time to explain things to other characters so the audience is always in the loop, the opposite problem always seems to be in play here. We found out the real reason behind Walter’s kidnapping of Peter as a child– and Walter was never given the chance to explain as simply and succinctly to Peter the real reasons behind his kidnapping as they did in “Peter.”
  • It’s sometimes hard to see Etta getting mad at Olivia for not “understanding the trials she’s lived through.” Yes, Etta’s life has sucked. But so has Peter and Olivia’s. Of course, there’s no way for her to know their history.
  • I also wanted Olivia to stop being so nice. Her snarky dialogue imagined in my head went something like, “Sorry your childhood sucked, kid. So did mine. I was tested on as a child, went to a parallel universe where no one realized I was missing– and my boyfriend slept with my parallel self, not realizing I was gone– and every single one of my partners has either died or left me. Including Peter.” Take that, girl-who-I’m-still-convinced-has-been-brainwashed-in-a-completely-exciting-Salt/Jolie-twist.


Etta: You’re a real open book. It’s okay. I’m good at opening books.

Gael: Where did you get that?

Etta : It’s not important. What’s important is that I have it.


Walter: [regarding Pigeons] Flying vermin. You’d think after twenty-one years the Observers would have found a way to get rid of them first. Or at least found a use for them. Maybe freeze-dry them and hand them out to The Poor as sustenance.


Etta: Simon?

Peter:  Etta? Etta, no, no, stop, stop. What are you doing? We have to keep on moving. Think of the tape. Think about what’s on it. Think about your future. There will be a time for vengeance and a time for grieving, but it is not now. Stop. Stop. They’ll pay for what they’ve done. I promise.


Gael: I’m gonna fight. For the Resistance. I want you to know that.

Etta: You don’t have to lie anymore. I already let you go.

Gael: Well, that’s why this time I’m hoping you believe me. I mean, this can come in useful. There aren’t many Resistance Fighters with an active Tat I.D. You said ‘I saw something in her eyes’. You were right. There was a certainty that I’ve never seen before, and I don’t know how to explain it other than to say I felt… for the first time… that we were supposed to win. Why are you letting me live?

Etta: Something that I saw in her eyes as well. Pity.

Gael: Pity for who?

Etta: For all of us.


Emily enjoys all mediums of speculative fiction, fantasy, and sci-fi–especially reading, writing, and watching them. A Fringe fanatic, she is convinced that one day she will meet her parallel self, aptly nicknamed Femily (Fake Emily), and save both worlds from their inevitable destruction.

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3 thoughts on “fringe recapping: in absentia

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