FRINGE Season Premiere Recap: 'Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11' - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

FRINGE Season Premiere Recap: ‘Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11’

September 28, 2012 by  

We’re back to the future in FRINGE’s final season premiere, picking up the morning after season 4’s “Letters of Transit” left off.

The only real glimpse of the 24 years we’ve missed comes from Peter’s opening dream sequence as he remembers the day he and Olivia were separated from Etta. He wakes up and goes to check on his daughter. It’s kind of lovely to finally see Peter get the chance to be a father since he had already lost that opportunity with the now-erased-from-existence Henry.

Astrid, meanwhile, has gotten a hang of things extraordinarily fast (I’m amused she already has an electronic game to play) and informs Peter that in 2036, they have egg sticks to eat. Is it terrible I want to try them? I know they’re allegedly disgusting, but I’m intrigued.

Walter, cranky over being allowed to oversleep (although he was woken up by an unknown glare from the street), tells the team that the day Olivia disappeared in 2015, she called him from Columbus Circle. Walter explains that Olivia has a crucial piece of the plan, because what she has combined with the device he retrieved in “Letters of Transit” was what was needed to unlock the complete plan to defeat the Observers. Apparently, September and Walter worked together on the plan and then scrambled it in Walter’s mind as a precaution against being read. (I wonder if this plan started to be hatched directly after “A Brave New World, Part 2” ended?) Olivia was sent to retrieve the device from New York, but two days after her disappearance, Walter ambered the group we saw in “Letters of Transit.”

The big red flag for me with that is that it’s understandable why Walter ambered his team. That makes sense if there was immediate danger. But what the heck did William Bell have to do with this? Was he the reason Walter felt forced to amber them? You’d think if he was there for any good reason, he wouldn’t have made do with cutting off his hand; he would have insisted on helping his old frenemy. But given where they left off last time we saw William Bell (you know, with Bell trying to use Olivia to destroy the world), it’s hard to imagine the Fringe team would welcome him with open arms.

The Fringe team heads to Columbus Circle, which, as Walter puts it, is a travesty. (Though the Observer’s faces as graffiti art looks pretty freakin’ awesome. The 2036 world the FRINGE team has built is devastatingly convincing.) The park has been paved over to build machines that pump carbon monoxide into the atmosphere because the air is too oxygen-rich for the Observers. Apparently our team got de-ambered just in time because the world is only a few years away from the effects being irreversible. Even more alarming is that the lifespan of humans has dropped to 45 years old. Astrid spots a massively ambered area and Walter admits it’s possible Olivia is trapped there. Olivia was in possesion of an ambering device at the time, and Walter notes he would have given Peter one, too, “if [he] hadn’t abandoned us.” (Seriously, I’d love to see a flashback of how Peter came to be with Walter and Astrid on that fateful day.)

Unfortunately, the people who were trapped in the amber were removed by “4-th gen” amber removal — so they were taken recently. But it’s not the Observers who have those people…it’s amber  gypsies.

Etta sends Peter and Astrid to go talk to the amber gypsies to see if they’re in possession of Olivia’s body. She gives them walnuts as a deal closer, because apparently in 2036, a handful of walnuts are worth nearly three thousand bucks. (Man, I really need to start stocking up on those.) The man in charge of the bodies lets them in, but seems suspicious

Walter and Etta share a lovely bonding moment, as he tells her how strange it  is to see her as a grown-up. He tells her that for him, it was only two months ago that he took her to the pier, and at first he’s hopeful she remembers, but she regretfully tells him she doesn’t. “To me, you will forever be a little girl,” Walter tells his granddaughter. She kisses him on the cheek.

Peter and Astrid investigate the bodies, but Olivia isn’t there. Peter offers the man running the shop money, but he stonewalls them. When Peter antes up the walnuts and tells the man that she’d be holding a device, the gypsy tells them Olivia has already been sold to someone else.

Apparently Markham liked Olivia more than I ever thought was possible, because not only did he purchase her ambered body, but he made her his coffee table. (Ew.) He tells a not-too-happy Peter that he loves Olivia and she was supposed to wake up and fall in love with him. Tragic, but so, so, so very creepy. Etta gets her first glimpse of her mother.

But things can never go quite so easily for the Fringe team: back at the market, the amber gypsy calls up an Observer tipline and says he has information to sell about people that are on Reward Wire. (And you thought those viral videos were just pretty between season ads, didn’t you?)

Peter and Etta put the ambered Olivia in the back of the van, as Walter explores Markham’s apartment. An Observer shows up and tells them “resistance is futile” and Etta saves her grandfather from being shot. She tells him to run and then shoots the Observer. When she reunites with Peter, Walter still isn’t there and they’re forced to leave when a group of Observer loyalists surround the building. Unfortunately, they do get Walter.

The remaining team members remove Olivia from the amber and she is reunited with her daughter. “You’re beautiful,” Olivia tells her daughter. “So are you,” Etta says, tearfully. Olivia says Etta was three years, four months and five days the last time she saw her daughter. It takes Olivia a few minutes, but she realizes Walter isn’t there and they have to break the news that the Observers have him. The good news? She has the device Walter sent her to get.

Because the future really is cruel, Walter is tied up. The Observer (Windmark) says he’s interested in Walter and doesn’t know why he’s alive. The Observer is intrigued by Walter missing music, because he doesn’t get why people enjoy music. Walter explains music helps you shift perspective. The Observer tells Walter “there is no hope for you. Nothing grows from scorched earth.”

Etta takes her parents and Astrid to another location where she has some friends in the hopes of figuring out the device. As they wait for her to clear them, Peter and Olivia have their first chance to really catch up. Peter admits he never thought he’d see his wife again, but he admits he knows what she thought of him when he wouldn’t leave Boston to go to New York with her. He says she was stronger than him because she saw that the world needed them and went to help, whereas he was unable to let go of the idea of finding Etta again. (Really? I don’t feel like either of them was in the wrong here. How can you blame this man for not wanting to give up on his daughter. He already had the burden that one child of his was lost due to his decisions and to give up on a little child who couldn’t take care of herself? I think everyone can understand that.)

Etta tells her parents they can come in to meet her contacts. Given that Annel says “it’s an honor” to meet the Fringe team, I wonder what stories have been circulating about the Fringe team and what they really did to deserve them. There was a throwaway line in “Letters of Transit” about those rumors (immortal, etc.), but just how hard did our guys fight?

It turns out the device Olivia was holding was a transilience thought unifer model-11 (episode title shout out!). They find out the device accesses specifically marked thoughts in your mind, but it doesn’t appear to be working. Astrid comes in to say they found Walter on the security cameras.

Meanwhile, the Observer gets really freaking cruel and starts trying to dig in Walter’s brain for info.
The torture scene is brutally intense, especially since Walter is never physically touched. But guys, if you’re going to get tortured, make sure to not let an Observer in your brain. It’s bloody and so very, very, very terrible. (It’s actually hard for me to watch John Noble’s Walter in that scene.) As hard as Walter tries to keep the Observer out of his mind, Walter has a vision of little Etta and the Observer is confused as to how a “little blonde child” could be helping the team.

Back at the compound, Peter and Olivia watch their daughter, and Peter notes it’s like “living this beautiful dream inside of a whole world of nightmare.” Etta finds the building where Walter is being held, but unfortunately no one has been able to break into it in the past. The guys tell her they’ve been working on this tech which could make their bodies appear dead. However, they intended to save it because once they use it, that secret weapon is blown…there’s the potential to Trojan Horse them. Etta and Olivia convince them the time is now to use it because Walter has the potential to save the entire world.

Etta uses her position as a Fringe agent to bring bodies of resistance agents into the compound. One person really is dead, while the other is a faux-dead Peter. He passes the scan and Etta is able to sneak him into the building.

At the compound, Etta finds out they know Simon was ambered; they think he was a double-agent working with the resistance, and that he was with someone named William Bell. (Did no one realize Bell was MIA until then?!) Unfortunately, she’s unable to find out where Simon’s body is.

Etta shoots the soldier working with the Observers (“occupational hazard”) and wakes Peter up from his fake death. The duo let Olivia into the building and mess with the air device the Observers need and cause a suitable distraction.

It’s just in time as Windmark was getting particularly harsh with Walter. When Windmark leaves to check on the air control issue, Peter and Etta break Walter free and with Olivia’s help, they’re able to escape. The bad news for Etta? Windmark has security footage of what Etta did and he realizes she’s the little girl Walter was thinking of.

The team takes Walter back to Etta’s home and when Peter questions what Walter knows about the transilience thought unifer, the device comes alive in Walter’s hands. Unfortunately, thanks to the Observer-related scrambling of Walter’s brain, Walter has no memory of September’s plan at all. And he’s absolutely horrified when Astrid shows him William Bell’s hand, which he had previously indicated was an important part of the plan. Etta tells them it’s likely the memories were permanently destroyed, so the plan is gone.

Once again, Walter is woken up by a glare on the wall, so he goes outside to investigate. He finds a bunch of broken and dirty CDs made into an art piece. He also finds a purse on the group and there’s an intact CD inside. (“Trip Mix 6”!) He sits down in a taxi and listens Yaz’s “Only You”…and spots a flower growing amidst the destruction of everything. Hey, Observers, sometimes things CAN grow in scorched earth.

Thoughts, theories, etc.:

  • There has to be more to Etta thinking she was four when she last saw her parents, right? Perhaps is she missing time?
  • In hindsight, it’s almost a little unfortunate how understated Peter and Etta’s reunion was in “Letters of Transit.” He gave up everything — including his wife — to search for her. You’d think after so many years he’d have a bigger reaction, even if he was in shock. (Of course, that’s in no way Josh Jackson’s fault…the odds of the writers telling him all of that backstory at that point in filming last year is slim-to-none.)
  • I’m very intrigued about the way the opening scene was edited. Clearly it was Peter’s nightmare, but there were distinct differences in how it played out — Etta being close to an outstretched Peter’s arms and then Peter and Olivia running to get their child. Was that just creative editing? Or was it him running through possibly bad scenarios in his dream state? (I’m probably reading way too much into that.)
  • It’s very curious Walter has so much resentment for Peter doing everything he could to save his child. Walter did everything in his power to save a child that wasn’t even technically his, so you’d think he’d be the most sympathetic one to what Peter was going through.
  • Broyles and Nina were MIA this hour. I missed them.

Walter says the darndest things:

  • “I’m aware I’m not wearing pants, Peter. I’m not an idiot.”
  • After trying an egg stick: “What a miserable future.”
  • “Afro, do you have any music?”

So, we’re 1/13th of the way through the final season of the show. What did you think? Was the future all you hoped it would be? Let’s play some Yaz, find some flowers, and discuss.

(And in a shameless bit of self-promotion, I hit up the FRINGE set this past week, so make sure to check back soon for more from the cast about what’s to come!)

Filed under Fringe Recap


7 Responses to “FRINGE Season Premiere Recap: ‘Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11’”

  1. Donna on September 28th, 2012 11:11 pm

    “It’s very curious Walter has so much resentment for Peter doing everything he could to save his child. Walter did everything in his power to save a child that wasn’t even technically his, so you’d think he’d be the most sympathetic one to what Peter was going through.”

    It makes a lot of sense to me that Walter (even this “yellow” Walter) would REGRET having not been there for Elizabeth in their mutual grief, and Elizabeth killed herself and Walter blames himself. So if Peter did the same in his grief, abandoning his wife (Olivia) for his obsession, I think Walter might not look kindly on it, because he knows what that cost him. In other words, Walter doesn’t look kindly on Peter repeating Walter’s own bad past.

  2. Scott on September 29th, 2012 5:54 am

    The reunion between Olivia and Etta was just perfect. Brilliant acting. And what can i say about John Noble, except where is his Emmy?

  3. Ella Press on September 29th, 2012 12:23 pm

    You know, I think there was something in that dream/nightmare sequence too. I noticed the jumps between Peter/Olivia running, and Peter with his arms outstreched. Hmm…

  4. durhamboom on September 29th, 2012 6:33 pm

    In hindsight, it’s almost a little unfortunate how understated Peter and Etta’s reunion was in “Letters of Transit.” He gave up everything — including his wife — to search for her. You’d think after so many years he’d have a bigger reaction, even if he was in shock. (Of course, that’s in no way Josh Jackson’s fault…the odds of the writers telling him all of that backstory at that point in filming last year is slim-to-none.)

    That’s because the scene was just 2 seconds long while Olivia and etta got a 2 minute long reunion. BTW, its clear that they downplayed their reunion to give Olivia the big one since it’s clear Peter’s emotional journey is NOT important. Also, I’m sure there was A LOT more to the scene than what was aired (just like the twirly kiss)

    Not sure why they bothered bringing Peter back. it’s all about walter and olivia and Josh/Peter is the least important character.

  5. Kelly on September 30th, 2012 11:18 am

    I love that Peter being put in a similar situation as Walter/Walternate would also be driven to abandon EVERYTHING to try to be reunited with his child (even though Peter is Walternate’s). Poignant. Perhaps that will usher in a deeper level of forgiveness from Peter on Walter/Walternates behalfs. I hope in syndication, Fringe achieves what Star Trek did & our beloved characters grow as iconic as ST-TOS.

  6. beckstar78 on October 1st, 2012 8:53 pm

    Just wow! Amazing episode and I”M ALL IN for this journey to the end of our beloved Fringe. I do admit to being a tad hesitant we were starting the shortened season finale in 2036, but no more. Also, the s4 finale i found too predictable, though the episode before it was great. This one had my heart pounding, the tears flowing and just so much excitement for what is to come.

    this whole episode should win an award.

    follow @emmyfornoble not my account, but we should give him and the show all the support it can get for it’s epic finale!

  7. beckstar78 on October 1st, 2012 8:55 pm

    Didn’t Peter already have his reunion with Etta in Letters of Transit last season?