‘FRINGE’ Photo Recap: “Letters of Transit”
Here’s the thing about Fringe: There’s only so many times they can crank up the level of epic-ness before we run out of words in the English language to describe it. At this point I feel like I need to make up a word to describe the mind-blowing, jaw-dropping, heart-stopping, earth-shattering awesomeness of this show. So here it is: extrasplendinifferous. That’s my new word. This season of Fringe has been extrasplendinifferous. And this week’s balls-to-the-wall future-set episode was no exception. “Letters of Transit” could easily have been the first part of an epic sci-fi movie. Or a spin-off series. Or a graphic novel companion series. Or an amusement park ride. THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS. That’s another great thing about Fringe—just when you think, “What could they possibly do that they haven’t already done? We’ve got multiple universes, rebooted timelines, flying porcupines… Where else can they take this?” they pull something huge out of their magic hat of fantastic ideas. You thought David Robert Jones was a problem? WRONG. The Observers taking over the world, now THAT’S a problem. I’m sorry Fox, but how are you gonna watch that episode and not give Fringe a fifth season? HOW, I ASK YOU.
The episode started off with some scrolling text explaining how the Observers had taken over the world in 2015. Whenever a movie or TV show opens with an expository text intro, it’s basically a way of saying, “HEY. THIS THING YOU’RE WATCHING IS SO EPIC THAT YOU HAVE TO READ ABOUT IT FIRST.” (See: Star Wars, The Hunger Games, A Knight’s Tale). Then, out of the fog came a mysterious figure with a familiar strut. (Seriously, her walk is like a mix between her father’s swagger-jaunt and her mother’s gracefully confident stride… Or maybe I’m just reading too much into this and she was just walking like a normal person. You be the judge.)
At this point, I was freaking out. I had heard all the theories as to who this beautiful young blonde woman was (because that’s how the Fringe fandom rolls), and I chose to believe the most fangasmic one of all: that Georgina Haig’s character was Peter and Olivia’s daughter. Which I am still in total shock and awe of, by the way. THEY MADE A BABY TOGETHER YOU GUYS. Sorry, I’ll try to keep it together until the end. But let’s get back to the creepy new world of Observerdom…
This place had a kind of sterile-chic speakeasy feel to it, like a cross between The Great Gatsby and The Matrix.
Except he didn’t really because Observers can’t read Etta’s mind due to some mysterious ability of hers which she clearly inherited from her mother. I’m so proud!
Well, I hope Rick wasn’t anyone’s new favorite character. He certainly made the most out of his short time on Fringe. He spit in an Observer’s face, clued us into Etta’s “special” ability, and he left her with the best parting gift ever:
It’s a Walter Bishop starter kit! Just add water. (Or, you know, whatever it is that counteracts Amber.)
Another clue that this is a super epic episode? An awesome new title sequence. This one was full of phrases like “individuality,” “imagination,” “private thought,” “joy,” and other things that the Observers took away.
And prepare for another freak-out: HENRY IAN CUSICK IN THE HOUSE YA’LL. Be still my heart!
Henry Ian Cusick knows a thing or two about the future, since his character Desmond Hume on Lost was gifted (or cursed, depending on how you look at it) with the ability to see flashes of events before they happened. I apologize in advance for the excess of Lost references that might follow.
Oh Walter… After all these years, his primary concern is still food. But can you blame him? He hadn’t eaten in 20 years. Miraculously, they still have licorice in 2036, unlike liquid coffee.
Turns out Walter’s neural pathways weren’t exactly in mint condition… So whom do you turn to when you’ve got a batty original Fringe team member from the past who needs a brain boost? Nina Sharp, of course. Nina is now 90% robot apparently, but she has a fancy new wig that’s very Devil Wears Prada.
Clearly Simon has never seen Fringe, or he would have known that Massive Dynamic having a piece of Walter’s brain in their fridge isn’t even remotely weird by this show’s standards. Simon and Etta went off to get what they needed for Operation Retrieve Walter’s Brain Matter, while Nina stayed to babysit Walter so they could spend some time catching up.
Walter is adorable when he’s crazier than usual. Unfortunately, his temperament was significantly less cheery when Simon and Etta took him out in public in full view of the Observers and their Loyalist guards.
Simon came up with a great cover story about Walter being Etta’s nutty grandfather, which was hilarious because HE TOTALLY IS. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that Desmond Simon was ahead of the game. He even used his patented Magic Smile to convince the uppity guard to let them go without any trouble. Even the Observers’ Loyalist lapdogs are powerless against the dazzling charm of Henry Ian Cusick.
They made it into the Massive Dynamic building, where they tripped the alarm. Suddenly Broyles was being alerted of the break-in. And he did not seem pleased. (Does he ever?)
Meanwhile, Operation Retrieve Walter’s Brain Matter was going relatively according to plan.
While Walter slept off his Diazepam/brain boost cocktail, Simon and Etta had some great share time. Simon talked about his parents, their involvement in the Resistance, and that time he was stuck in a hatch pushing a button every 108 minutes. Whoops, sorry, I forgot which show I was watching…
Walter’s back! And as sane as you could hope for, really. But time was of the essence because the creepiest of all the Observers was coming for them. I call him T. Rex because he looks like a cross between a Tyrannosaurus Rex and one of the Gentlemen from Buffy.
And for a second, I thought of this:
But then they found Walter fiddling with some probably-dangerous physics toys or whatever one uses to make an antimatter bomb.
Answer: blow up a building with antimatter.
From there, Walter took Simon and Etta to where he was Ambered so that they could get the gang all back together.
OF COURSE the de-Ambering device would conveniently break before they got Peter out… No offense to Astrid, but why the hell did they de-Amber her before Peter? I guess they had to because it would have been way less dramatic if Simon sacrificed himself to get Astrid out instead. But before we get to that, who invited this guy?
Desmonnnnnnnd! You magnificent Scotsman, you. Always willing to get blown up by giant pockets of magnetic energy or freeze yourself in Amber to save the real main character… In related news, I really want to rewatch Lost right now.
Broyles, the other Lost alum on the show, found Simon stuck in Amber, as well as a clue to Walter’s return.
On the way back, Astrid seemed concerned that they had left Bell in Amber, but Walter didn’t regret it for a second.
Okay, that’s two episodes in a row in which Walter has carried a severed hand around with him. WHAT IS THIS SHOW? I love it. But you know what this show does even better than dismembered body parts? Heartwarming moments between fathers and their children!
HER NAME IS HENRIETTA. It’s so perfect I could cry. (And I did, actually.) Henrietta is like the child of the entire Fringe fandom. We made this baby you guys! And she’s wonderful. I hope we get to see some more of her. She and Peter and Walter should go fishing together, and it would be the most adorable thing ever featured on television (including the Puppy Bowl). What did you guys think of this episode? Was it dystopian enough for you? Who is the creepiest Observer? If they’re advanced enough to figure out time travel, why can’t they grow eyebrows? If you can answer these questions, or if you have any other thoughts about the episode, this recap, or Henry Ian Cusick, leave a comment below, or tweet us @PopCultureNexus!
As always, thank you to FringeFiles.com for providing the screen caps of this episode, and thanks to TV.com’s brilliant Price Peterson, whose hilarious Vampire Diaries photo recaps were the inspiration for my own. And thanks for reading!
*All images are copyright of FOX Broadcasting