FRINGE Recap: 'In Absentia' - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

FRINGE Recap: ‘In Absentia’

October 5, 2012 by  

For as much as went down in “In Absentia,” there isn’t a whole lot to recap, so instead, I wanted to focus in on a couple of things that have been nagging in my brain in the days that have passed since I first saw the episode…

Peter’s Dream Versus Olivia’s Dream.

Let’s get hard-core nerdy here, mmkay? We’re all friends. Or, you can silently judge me as I put my fedora-ized conspiracy hat on, because something doesn’t feel right about the way the last two episodes have opened up.

Last week, I wrote, “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.)”

But with this week’s opening, not only was it again different, but in Olivia’s dream, there were several other differences (different clothes, picnic blanket, etc.) that were apparent. You can watch part of Peter’s version here and Olivia’s dream here, but something still rings massively off. And I don’t buy that as lousy continuity because this show is one of the best ones out there with that. So between those things and Etta thinking she last saw her parents when she was four when it was actually when she was three…something’s wrong.

The Bishop Family is Reunited and it Feels So…Kind of Awkward, Because Etta is Not Really a Little Girl Anymore.

“She’s here and we’re here. We’re okay now,” Peter told Olivia after she woke up from her nightmare. But are they okay? Really? We didn’t get any massive progress (or update, period) in how Olivia and Peter are doing. They’re not fighting, but they’re also not together, so it’s kind of awkward.

And then there’s Etta. Lovely, wonderful Etta is kind of a badass who, while desperately wanting her parents in her life, also is very much a grown-up who has survived in this world without them for many years. And when a Loyalist wanders into the newly-rediscovered fully-amberized lab (more on that in a moment), Etta takes him into a room to get what she needs out of them so they can unamber a camera which may be the key to unlocking Walter’s plan to beat the Observers.

It seems that in 2036, there’s an “angel device” which is “second-gen Observer tech to prep them for time travel”…and Etta promptly uses it on their Loyalist friend, Manfretti, to see if they can find out what’s in the Science Building. (The Science Building contained a fuse needed to power a laser Walter and Astrid wanted to use to free the camera from amber.)

Olivia is a little aghast at what her daughter is doing to their prisoner and tries to give him water, but Etta informs her that would kill him. Manfretti wins Olivia’s sympathy by telling her about his son who is waiting for him, and he tells her the passwords she’ll need to get into the Science Building: the code 010567 (which just happens to be FRINGE showrunner/co-writer of the episode J.H. Wyman’s birthday) and says they’ll need to pass an ocular scanner. Thankfully, they don’t cut out his eye and manipulate a pig’s eye to be what they need. Etta and Peter go to the building undercover and when the ocular scan triggers a response from security, Manfretti lies to his bosses and says “19” had him there to change a fuse.

The Lab is Back!

It may be minor and all amber-y, but it warmed my heart to have the Fringe team back working in there.

Simon is…Alive? Maybe?

As Etta and Peter are going to their destination in the Science Building, she freaks the frak out when she spots Simon’s decapitated head in one of the science rooms..and he blinks at her. Is he alive?! Like, can he be saved? Because one of my wishes for this season was to see Henry Ian Cusick’s Simon fighting with the full 2036 team. (Look, I realize there is probably about a 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000000000001% chance of it happening. But I am HAPPY with my denial.) Also, how did Peter and Olivia learn how much Agent Foster meant to Etta so quickly?

Manfretti Has a Heart.

Etta originally plans to turn Manfretti over, but eventually she takes him out to a field where she releases him. He promises he’ll help fight the cause from the inside.

“You said I saw something in [Olivia’s] eyes,” he tells Etta. “You were right. There was a certainty that I’ve never seen before. I don’t know how to explain it other than to say I felt, for the first time, that we were supposed to win.”

So now we have a Loyalist on our side. Hmm…

Trust the Tapes.

Finally, the Fringe team is able to free the tapes from the amber and while there is some damage (nothing as bad as the reels in the Swan Station in LOST, but they’re certainly not perfect), the team is able to watch Walter’s message to whomever might find them.

“I trust that the same will that brought you here will keep you going,” Tape!Walter says. “It is important you follow the tapes. You must begin this journey right away. You are humanity’s only hope. Now, you must retrieve the first tape.”

And with that, we have our mission for the foreseeable FRINGE future…

Other thoughts/theories/etc.

  • They have Simon’s head…where is William Bell’s body (sans his hand)? Did he meet a similar fate?!
  • We briefly saw what I assume were pictures of Etta’s family. Very curious about the life she lived. She is very hardened and this girl could probably share a bunch of stories.
  • Still no Nina or Broyles. That continues to make me sad.
  • I found the episode much more action-y, and I liked it. I loved the emotional aspect of last week, but mixing things up is nice. And so far, this season does really feel like a cable series versus a network show. Interested to see how the last 11 play out.

Memorable quotes:

  • “That’s not a problem for someone who has done acid.” – Walter Bishop, ladies and gentlemen.
  • “When did I switch to grape?!” – Walter, upon seeing GrapeVines ambered in his lab. (This is a VERY IMPORTANT QUESTION. And next time Fox gives out show-related swag at TCA, I am taking it VERY SERIOUSLY.)
  • “I became a loyalist because I’m a coward.” – Manfretti
  • “I don’t know your world, but I had hoped for you, that wherever you were, you weren’t hardened by what had happened to you.” – Olivia to Etta.
  • “I know you like to be in control. So do I.” – Etta to Olivia

Thoughts about “In Absentia“?

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Filed under Fringe Recap


8 Responses to “FRINGE Recap: ‘In Absentia’”

  1. Donna on October 5th, 2012 10:24 pm

    Also… did you notice when Olivia asked the paramedic what happened, you absolutely cannot make out what the paramedic said to her?


    I think there is MUCH more going on in this new world than meets the eye…

  2. Marisa Roffman on October 6th, 2012 1:03 am

    @Donna: I did, but I associated that to potential hearing loss if there was an explosion. But hmmm…

  3. Sandy on October 6th, 2012 1:10 am

    Good catch on the differences in P/O’s dreams. I caught it too! Something is up.

    Time loop?!

  4. f on October 6th, 2012 1:19 am

    @Donna @Marisa Roffman Yep, definitely associated with hearing loss but still, I’m pretty sure he said “You were caught in a blast”

  5. Sarah on October 6th, 2012 1:24 am

    It probably is very important that the differences (albeit small) were there. The choppy frenzy of Peter’s plus the blanket was red and he was wearing a grey shirt. Olivia’s had a semblance of peace before a brash awakening of panic . The Blanket was red and peter was wearing a brown shirt. IT HAS TO MEAN SOMETHING. I don’t think there’s such a thing as looking too far into something in regards to Fringe.
    Also I have a lot of questions about how Etta grew up (so the pictures in the bathroom lead me to believe some nice people took her in and did the best they could), what made her want to be a Fringe agent-was it innate or was the discovery of who she was instigate it? Relatedly, when and how did she discover who she really was, how does she have the bullet that I’m pretty sure is the one that was in Olivia’s head at one point and does she know the story behind that. Did she somehow dug up internal old school FBI files to learn all this? And, yes, why did she think she was 4 when the observers invaded when she was actually just over 3. It all has to be answered! The questions are neverending!

  6. Micheal on October 6th, 2012 1:33 am

    Did you note that Tape!Walter didn’t give them any indication of where the other tapes may be, or where to find such information?

  7. JaniceG on October 7th, 2012 1:56 pm

    Hey Marisa, great article and love your reviews. Expanding upon my tweet, I couldn’t help but notice that Broyles looked eerily like Manfretti did with the cloudy blue eye and how he aged. I just went back and reviewed Broyles in 419 and he didn’t have the blue eye, but he did in The Day We Died (322). Hmm, and oddly enough, when looking for that scene I bumped into a scene where they are out in the woods looking for a lab (tie to upcoming 503?). Ok, this show is crazy and crazy good. Also enough with the “look in her eyes” lines. Way overplayed and I imagine that’s Joel and not the other writers. Love Joels creativity, but wondering about his writing. Thought Jackson, Torv and Haig were great this episode. Olivia showed such restraint and maturity unlike in earlier seasons. The Peter & Etta relationship is going to be special in the end. I like this Olivia and Peter.

  8. Marisa Roffman on October 8th, 2012 1:29 am

    @JaniceG: I love that theory…especially because if Broyles WAS aged artificially, that means he was probably ambered at some point. IF that was the case, that would be so rich…where was he ambered? Who released him? Why was he tortured? Either way, I feel like the reintroduction of Broyles and Nina is needed and will hopefully answer some lingering Qs I have about 2036.

    I’ve always been curious about Broyles’ creepy eye in 3×22 (and what happened in Detroit), but I figured those would be queries that might never get brought up again since that future was erased (and then that timeline went away)…if they somehow found a way to tie this to that, I’d be delighted.