This episode of Fringe starts with some back story scrolling up the screen. It foretells of a bleak future and what happened to make it be that way. The beings that have always been referred to as Observers remained true to their name, only watching key events in human history until 2015.
In 2015 they were no longer content to just watch events unfold before them and they took over. Although there were citizen revolts they led nowhere and resulted in much bloodshed. The people who made it through this period were dubbed "Natives."
Some of the Natives, after they swore their allegiance to the Observers, were given markings and branded as "Loyalists."
The original Fringe team fought against the Observer takeover but they were not able to overcome them.
Afterwards, the Fringe Division was cut down to lower numbers and their surviving function was to police the Natives.
The resistance was short lived.
Or was it?
In Boston 2036 a young blond haired woman raps on a door in a back alleyway. A man answers her knock and upon seeing her he greets her with "Agent," swinging the door outwards so she may enter the building.
She descends a staircase slowly looking inconspicuously around at the other occupants in the room. A vast majority of them are men who are pale, bald and dressed in dark colored suits. One of them is sitting in a chair and as a lady walks by him he forcefully grabs her arm and jerks her into his lap.
Another man walks over to the encounter he just witnessed. He does not have Observer qualities. He tells Mr. Handsy that his girl has another shift. Apparently the Observers have been "borrowing" the ladies at this Studio 54 for Observers and must not be returning them.
The seated Observer jumps up and flings his lady friend back into the chair. When he turns to face the other man he receives a punch in the gut and doubles over. Two men dressed in green military type uniforms run over and wrangle the guy who is getting out of hand. They both have writing in an unknown language on their right cheekbones so this marks them as Loyalists.
An older Observer by the name of Captain Windmark comes over and states that the Native is agitated. The Native furthers solidifies his remark by spitting in his face.
The Observer fixes him with a stare and the Native begins to tremble and his eyes seem to bulge out. Blood drips down the side of his neck. Suddenly there is a goopy sound and then the side of his neck is covered with blood. He slumps forward, being held up by the Loyalists.
The blond agent comes into view behind him and apologizes for his behavior. The Observer doesn't seem pleased about what just happened but the agent reminds him that since the man is a Native he is her jurisdiction and besides that if he is wiped there is a lot of paperwork involved and less kick backs for her.
He starts to give her the stink eye but when he tries to read her thoughts he just says, "I must say Agent, you are always exactly as you seem."
She takes the Native and they leave the club. He regains some of his composure outside in the alleyway, and through the conversation that takes place it appears that the Observers are not able to read what this Agent is really thinking, only what she wants them to hear.
The Native called her there to show her something and he leads her to the back of a van. She looks under a covering in the van and is surprised by what she sees underneath. The Native tells her that there were two more at the place where this one was, a younger man and woman but they couldn't all be moved at once. He is starting to tell her where the other two are when a popping sound is heard behind him and blood spews on the Agent's face. He collapses in the street. She grabs his keys and drives the van away.
There is an overhead shot of the night lights of the city. An announcement plays, "Attention: Curfew is now in effect. Agents, please return to your homes immediately."
She stops the van under an overpass and looks under the blanket again. As she pulls it back and shines a flashlight on what is below we see that it is Walter and he is encased in amber.
In the tradition of the episodes set in the future or past the Fringe opening credits contain different words and phrases than the usual ones for this Season. This has: Community, Joy, Individuality, Education, Imagination, Private Thought, Due Process, Ownership, Free Will, along with a huge gathering of people who are behind walls that are topped off with razor wire, and the word Freedom actually appearing inside the razor wire.
The blond agent, whose name is Etta goes back to her headquarters and meets up with her supervisor Agent Simon Foster. She tells him about the death of her informant (Rick, the guy that almost got wiped at the club) and blows his mind when she reveals that she has a member of the original Fringe Team. Simon had believed that they were either all dead at this point or even just a myth.
He is in such awe when he sees Walter he says, "I'll be a toe on a foot in a grave." In his hand Walter is holding an ambering device which shows that he actually did this to himself, as well as the rest of the team. It is so sad to see Walter contained in the amber.
The Observer, Captain Windmark, visits Broyles. Broyles has some wrinkles but other than that looks pretty much the same. Windmark is not happy that there has been Native on Native killings occurring recently and is expecting Broyles to do something about it or he will be forced to step in and take care of it himself. He implies if this were to happen Broyles would not like the way Windmark would remedy matters. He also advises Broyles, "I like you Phillip, but be assured, bite my hand and I will put you down." During this conversation Windmark removes a flask from his jacket and takes a swig, offering Broyles one as well. Broyles refuses, saying "It's water. It doesn't do anything for me." Apparently Observers drink water like humans would alcohol.
When Broyles questions him Windmark explains that he got the job he has because, "I like animals." I didn't really get that, I'm assuming he's referring to the Natives as animals.
Simon is working some molecular magic trying to figure out how to get Walter out of the amber. In order for them to get Walter out without them getting stuck in there themselves Etta has to get some special devices that were being held as old evidence to help bust him out. The guy in charge of the evidence room (or more so, cage) drops some hints that people (he may as well have air quoted people to mean Observers) are starting to think that Simon might be walking the line a bit too much.
She takes the tech back to Simon and they get it powered up. It was formerly used as a crowd control device before things starting getting resolved with more violence, less peacefulness. Once they activate it towards Walter's amber block the block crumbles and he flies out of the back, the force of the energy expelled crashing him against the wall.
He starts to recover and they introduce themselves, explaining that he's been inside the amber for 20 years. Walter replies, "20 years? It's no wonder I'm so hungry. Do you have anything to eat?"
They get him set up with some Red Licorice, although they don't appear to be Red Vines. According to the stories they have read, these are Walter's favorite food. While Etta shows Walter a holographic blueprint of a creation that the original Fringe team was reportedly working on to get rid of the Observers he is busy asking "What do you call it?" Simon thinks he is talking about the blueprinted object but Walter admonishes him, chuckling out "No, no, no, no you silly-billy. This," indicating the licorice. When Walter starts repeating the word licorice to himself and giggling cheerfully, before asking Etta who she is as though they hadn't just met, they realize that something is not quite right with dear Dr. Bishop.
They do an MRI on Walter and find out he has brain damage. While in the MRI machine Walter refers to Simon as Peter.
Etta goes to visit the Ministry of Science building in New York and meets with Nina Sharp. Nina is now travelling around in a wheelchair and her hair is shockingly silver compared to her normal red. Under the guise of inquiring about new equipment for her division Etta seemingly incurs Nina's wrath for bothering her with petty details and during her lunch break.
However, upon a trip outside of the building it is revealed that Nina and Etta are actually working together. Etta tells Nina that they haven't been able to figure out from Walter where the others are ambered. Nina realizes the extent of Walter's damage when he doesn't even remember her, then he wanders off and amuses himself jumping and dancing around on a bench.
They ask Nina for help in getting Walter back in working order because they know that he and his team saved the world once before and are hoping that they can do it again. Nina says, "Yes, they did. But not without great consequence."
She tells them though, that Massive Dynamic has pieces of Walter's brain that he had William Bell cut out long ago. She thinks that if they can reintroduce the pieces that were removed it could help his brain heal itself. When asked why the bits of his brain were removed, Nina says "I don't think he liked the person he was becoming."
The catch to this plan (as if reintegrating brain tissue wasn't enough) is that the brain tissue is being stored at the old Massive Dynamic building in the city. And the city is chock full of Observers.
While Simon and Etta go to secure transit passes for their trip into the city Walter hangs with Nina. He fiddles with her bionic arm, seeing that it no longer works. Even though she tries to tell him not to worry with it his tinkering fixes the arm and she is quite happy to be able to move it around again. When told they are going to the city Walter says, "I do hope we are going to the circus."
John Noble again hits it out of the park playing yet another version of Walter. This version is childlike, but in a more hopeful way than before. The versions of Walter right after he came out of St. Claire's were childlike for different reasons, in the way that he couldn't function in society.
The rail station is teeming with Observers, all in their suits and hats, scurrying along with their briefcases. Walter is distracted by a candy cart for a few moments until he gets a good look at one of the Observers. He gets defiant and shouts "Monster!" while pointing at him.
One of the Military Police with the cheek markings comes up to see what the trouble is with what he assumes is a prisoner. Simon explains that they are Fringe Agents and are taking Etta's grandfather to see his wife's grave as this is the anniversary of her death. They maintain that he is on the crazy side and is on a day pass from the home. Walter sails right along on the crazy train by rambling about not being a number and then laughing somewhat hysterically. He follows that up with, "These aren't the droids you are looking for." Finally after the snarky MP lets them go, Walter finishes with, "Move along," as he looks him dead in the eye. Walter snags a candy bar on the way by the display he had seen earlier.
I still don't know whether Walter's actions here were contrived or actually him being him.
As predicted, in the city there are more Observers everywhere. They go to the building that used to house Massive Dynamic. Walter gets deja vu and Etta explains to him that it's probably real memories because she's sure he's been there before in the past. As they cross the underground parking deck they unknowingly trudge through a laser alarm that alerts someone on Broyles' team to their presence.
Inside Massive Dynamic they find Walter's wayward brain tissue and have a rather gross conversation comparing it to monkey feces and then talk turns to the taste of brains. Simon gives Walter some medicine to knock him out for a bit so that when they inject the dissolved brain matter into his head it will hopefully bond more quickly. While waiting for the meds to kick in to make him go night-night Walter reveals, "I love LSD!"
Riffing on the fact that Simon's name is like the game, as he starts to get drowsy Walter says, "Simon says 'Go to sleep now Walter.'" They plunk him in a chair and then wait to see if their experiment will take hold.
As they wait they share stories of what is called "The Purge." This is what they call the period in 2015 when Observers worldwide started going to people's houses, removing them and then killing them in the streets. Simon was in college when this happened and his parents were killed. It was at that time that he knew he would not rest until the Observers were overthrown.
Etta says the last time she saw her parents she was four years old. It's been so long that she doesn't even remember what they look like. As she speaks she fingers her necklace.
Walter sits up suddenly and groans. In a matter of seconds he completely sheds his bumbling persona and is all business. His voice holds authority and stature. Right away he recognizes the object that Simon is holding (the blueprint device) and takes it from him. He asks relevant questions like what year it is and if the Observers are still around.
In the parking deck the Military Police and an Observer have arrived and they are following the convenient path of footprints on the floor. The Observer tells them to "Shoot first, I'll read them later."
While looking at the blueprint hologram Walter tells Simon and Etta about September, explaining that he was one of the good Observers. Walter says what happened to September was "unexpected." He goes on to say that September told him "that in the year 2609 AD [the Observers] finally ruled the planet. They poisoned it. The air, the water, and when it was fundamentally uninhabitable they travelled back through time and took our planet from us."
After Walter says he can build the device depicted in the blueprint Etta brings up finding his team so they will be able to help him. He stares at her for a long moment and then starts to say, "You--" but is cut off by the dinging of an elevator. He realizes that they must've tripped an alarm and calls them both idiots for not disabling that system beforehand.
Then he walks over to one of the bare white walls and places his palm flat on it. A second later a circle of light appears underneath his hand. A piece of the wall slides over into itself, giving them an opening to leave. Walter explains, "Neither Belly or I ever left ourselves only one way out of a room. Come on."
Team Observer and MP arrive almost directly after they leave the room. Walter, Etta and Simon are running down a maze of hallways when the Observer pulls out a ray-gun. He pulls the trigger and it issues a kind of energy wave that causes both Walter and Etta to careen into the corridor's walls and fall to the ground. Simon helps Etta up and Walter shouts out the directions they need to follow.
They continue on, not realizing that Walter did not follow them. They backtrack to see where he is and find him in another room assembling a cylindrical object. He takes the battery from Simon's watch and uses it to power the gadget while telling them, "Resistance must take place at any opportunity. We are insurgents and this is anti-matter. You're smart, you do the math." The contraption he has put together begins to emit puffs of white smoke from the top of it. They hurriedly exit the room and find a way out of the building.
The Observer and his police escorts walk into the room that Walter left his little present in. A look of panic crosses the Observers face and the scene cuts to a street with the building off in the background. Walter mentions his team was ambered close to where they are now. There is a fizzling sound and both Simon and Etta spin around in time to see the building they just came out of flash blue and then blip out of sight. Walter doesn't even turn around, he just walks in the opposite direction telling them to hurry.
In what looks like an underground tunnel Etta is now standing in front of a wall of amber. On the left and right there are two figures, but it's hard to make out who they are. In the middle a large chunk is missing, from where Walter had been cut out earlier.
Simon asks Etta about the odd behavior between her and Walter back at Massive Dynamic but she doesn't say anything except that Walter's not playing with a full deck.
At the Boston Federal Building Broyles has a video conversation with the policeman that talked to Simon and Etta when they were taking Walter through the rail station. After the call is concluded he has one of his other Agents turn on Simon's internal tracking chip. He also tells him to assemble a team.
While they wait for the amber busting tools to warm up Simon divulges to Walter, "You know, I think you're just what we've been waiting for. Someone to show people that we don't have to just accept our fate. That we can fight back, that we can use our will and our imagination to make a better world, a better life." Walter responds, "In that case, a little more focus and a little less pontificating and we might have the job done by now."
Their equipment is ready and they use it to blast Astrid out of the amber and into Walter's arms. He greets her with "Hello, Astro." Then there's a problem with the machine and they are unable to get it to sync with the other piece that allows them to disintegrate the amber. Simon realizes that his tracker must've been turned on and this is somehow affecting their progress.
Astrid comes upon a block of amber that is currently housing William Bell. Walter walks up to her and whispers, "Shhh" and brandishes a small silver tool.
They only have enough power to turn the amber into a gaseous state for a few moments. Simon begins a countdown and tells Etta, "We need him," with a small smile as she starts to get teary.
Broyles' team comes upon the ambered block and Broyles sees that Simon is encased inside. On a shelf he finds a piece of red licorice and realization dawns.
On the subway train Astrid is asking how Walter could leave Bell in the amber. In answer Walter says, "You remember what he did to Olivia. Even you can't be that compassionate." Astrid questions how they will get access without him. Walter quiets her and reaches down into his duffle bag, pulling out a round cut-out of amber. There is a severed hand inside. Walter puts it back and says, "We have everything we need."
Etta is staring out of the back window of the train car as she is playing with the object on her necklace. We finally get a look at what it is and to me it looks like a bullet slug.
Peter walks up beside her saying, "I'm sorry about your friend. We'll do everything we can to get him back. I promise."
They look at each other for a long moment before Etta speaks, "Do you know me?"
Peter squints a moment and says, "I don't know how I could. I've been stuck in that amber for over 20 years, you barely look old enough ..."
Etta's eyes are filling up with tears and all of a sudden Peter realizes something. He says, "Henrietta." A statement more than a question.
He starts to touch her face as she says, "Hi Dad." Then he wraps her up in a hug and they cling to each other.
Yep, the end. Bad Wo-Bot comes zipping across the screen to say it's so.
So now of course the big question. What the hell happened to Olivia? Is that thing that Etta is wearing around her neck the bullet that killed her?
This episode is supposed to be kind of a possible set-up for Season 5. Still no word on that by the way. Although there was a commercial during the show that said there was a contest that involved winning a trip to a Fringe fan event that is being held this summer. That gives me hope.
Tonight was the Live Tweet with Jeff Pinkner, Joel Wyman and Joshua Jackson. Jeff Pinkner was on during the East Coast feed. Joel was on during both and Josh was on during the West Coast.
Joel responded to one of my tweets which was very exciting for me. There was a live tweet earlier this year and he responded to two of mine. (Under my older Twitter name.) I just love the way that the producers and cast of this show interacts with the fans. It's easy to tell that they are fans too and that makes all the difference in the world.
This was my tweet:
I don't know how to embed the actual tweet and make it look pretty.
@JWFRINGE @JPFRINGE -The Observers are freaking me out this episode. They R always mysterious &now they have a mean streak!
@FringeTalk_Blog #FringeLiveTweet Right? Creepy.
Expanding a bit ... I don't like that these Observers are out to get everyone. What's up with that? I'm used to September who understands human emotion.
I liked this episode. As usual I would like to have more Peter. At least usually when we don't have much Peter we get a lot of Olivia. But this one was definitely interesting and now we've seen a possible future and met their daughter.
I had automatically assumed that the younger man and woman that were with Walter was Olivia and Peter. I didn't realize until after Astrid popped that Olivia wasn't around.
What did you think? Did this episode blow your mind and leave you wanting more?
Next Fringe recap: Episode 4x20 - "Worlds Apart"