FRINGE Episode 19 Recap: ‘Letters of Transit’
April 20, 2012 by Marisa Roffman
For as bizarre as the 19th episode of FRINGE tends to be, what made “Letters of Transit” so freaking terrifying is that what happened didn’t seem impossible. It wasn’t a musical noir. It wasn’t an animated episode. It was simply in the future. Can it be prevented? I sure as heck hope so. Because while some of it was lovely, goodness, there is a lot to be worried about.
First of all, the Observers? Kind of freaking terrible. In the year 2015, the super scary scroll told us “they stopped watching.” They’ve taken control over our home and made life pretty terrible unless you pledged loyalty. Our team? The scroll says they were “quickly defeated” and we know they end up ambered. The Division was allowed to continue on policing the “natives” (non-Observers), and even though Broyles was still in charge, there were no other familiar faces. However, one determined young woman, Etta, kept searching for the original team. When the episode starts off, her contact has found one of the members — Walter.
Etta, with the help of another agent, Simon (played by LOST’s Henry Ian Cusick) frees Walter from the amber, and they have questions about the location of the rest of the Fringe team and the device to get rid of the Observers they were working on before things went bad. However, Etta and Simon quickly realize all is not well with him.
It seems Walter has brain damage, so they go to Nina for some help. She tells them that pieces of Walter’s brain are at the former Massive Dynamic — which unfortunately is in an area highly populated by Observers. Nonetheless, the team sneaks in and perfects an injection to fix Walter (who promptly passes out). However, before they’re able to get in and out, an alarm is tripped and Broyles (who apparently no one thinks to loop in?), and a team of Fringe agents is sent to find the intruders. Walter helps to lead them out and manages to explode some Observers with a trap.
When the new team gets back to the amber site, they’re able to rescue Astrid (!), but the device to help propel people out of the amber before it rehardens breaks. Simon sacrifices himself and gets himself amberized so they can get Peter out — but the group leaves William Bell (who is stuck in the amber with them) behind. (How amazing was that reveal?!?!?)
Later, while presumably going home after escaping from the amber, Etta asks Peter if he knows who she is. He’s confused at first, but it suddenly hits him — “Henrietta?” he asks. She confirms it’s her, when she replies, “Hi, dad.” And that’s where they leave it. (I see your evil game, FRINGE writers. I’m on to you.)
So that’s the gist of what went down, but there are a few issues I want to dive into deeper…
Olivia is MIA.
We got the vague tease that William Bell did something terrible to Olivia. We don’t know what it is, but Henrietta is wearing what looks like a bullet around her neck. As much as I missed Anna Torv (Olivia) in the episode, I do like the mystery of what the heck happened to Olivia. Is she ambered somewhere else? Did Bell torture her? Kill her? Cause her to break in some other way? Did her powers destroy her? The options are endless.
(Also worth noting that Lincoln was MIA, too…)
Tribe. Of. Bishops.
When we saw Future!Peter and Future!Olivia in “The Day We Died,” as happy as they were together, there was the regret over their lack of children. In this future, we may not know where Olivia is or if she’s even alive, but they have their little Henrietta. (Which is adorable, but kind of creepy that she’s named that. It’s not like Peter is without the knowledge of Henry now.)
And the reunion of Peter and his daughter? Made me weep. (Oh yes, I’m embarrassed to admit that. I’m even more embarrassed to admit I’m tearing up just writing about it.) It’s amazing that this character was unknown to us before this episode and by the end of the hour — and I’m guessing many of you realized who she was before Peter did — I cared SO MUCH about her well-being. Not just because she’s Peter and Olivia’s kid, but on her own characteristics, she interested me.
Got to say the casting of Georgina Haig was incredible. She was a fantastically plausible mix of Peter and Olivia. And she and Josh Jackson (Peter) killed their final scene together. Again, tears. (One of you had to have cried, too. Don’t leave me hanging here alone.)
The William Bell of it all.
Safe to say that when I talked with FRINGE executive producers Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman back in November about William Bell (and his last appearance in 3×19), I didn’t know this was coming. But what a lovely surprise, right?
Fight the future.
Can this future be changed? Last time we saw the future, Peter’s sacrifice changed things. Can this be prevented? I’d like to believe we’re not doomed to a world where many of our beloved characters spent two decades in amber, something tragic happened to Olivia and Observers took over the world. However, given that the show already showed us a future that ceased to be true, could they really do that again?
Quote of the night: “20 years? No wonder I’m so hungry. Do you have anything to eat?” Walter, reacting to the news of how long he had been in amber.
ETA: Because it’s been driving me crazy since I saw the screener, did anyone notice the number they used to key into the facility? “052010″…Walter used that combination in “Jacksonville.” I literally cannot tell you why those numbers stuck in my head, but we have no context as to why those are important, do we? It’s been driving me crazy that I somehow remembered those numbers two years later but I have no idea if they mean anything more. (I think at the time, I speculated it might have something to do with the finale date.)
Enough from me…what the heck did you think of “Letters of Transit”?!
Filed under Fringe Recap