‘FRINGE’ 5×02 Photo Recap: “In Absentia”
Episode 2 of Fringe‘s final season was a strong follow-up to the sob-inducing, life-affirming premiere. It featured father-daughter bonding, makeshift laser beams, Lost references, eyeballs, and so much more. We got to see a darker side of Etta, which I was kind of taken aback by, even though it makes sense that she would be a little hardened. I mean, she lives in a world where “egg sticks” are considered a suitable breakfast. How depressing is that? At least Walter seemed in slightly better spirits this week. That might have something to do with his return to his old lab. And he got to play with a laser. That always makes me feel better when I’m having a bad day.
The episode began with another flashback to the day Etta disappeared. The sight of the Observers making their way across the field is still chilling, even watching it for the hundredth time (taking into account all the times I watched the season 5 preview).
I just want to point out that it would be way easier for Peter to comfort Olivia when she has nightmares if they were sleeping in the same bed. I mean, that’s just pure convenience, people. Who cares that their daughter and Walter are in the next room?
Speaking of Walter, he was playing around with the thought unifier to try to jog his memory.
Challenge accepted! Who’s afraid of a few pesky Loyalist guards when you have a family of Bishops armed with automatic weapons and finely tuned sarcasm? My favorite part of Operation Take Back the Lab was the nod to Lost when Peter opened the hatch to the tunnel. It was just like when Jack and Locke peered down into the mysterious hatch in season one of Lost! I love it when my favorite shows wink at each other.
Eventually they arrived at Walter’s lab, which looked pretty good, considering it hadn’t been used in over two decades. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was still a half-baked batch of macaroons in the oven from when Walter ambered the place.
Speaking of twine, how’s that quest for a photo of Nathan Fillion holding twine coming along, Bloggess?
So yeah…apparently Etta’s hobbies include making her own jewelry and torturing Loyalists. (Gulp.) It was slightly disconcerting to watch the adorable little girl who was blowing dandelion seeds at the beginning of the episode literally zap the life out of a guy without batting an eyelash. Is it possible to think something is adorable and sweet, and also be afraid of it? (Answer: yes—just Google “angry sugar glider.”)
By the time Olivia realized what was going on, Scruffy the Henchman was already looking like a card-carrying member of AARP. Since torture didn’t seem to be working, Olivia decided to try the other interrogation tactic of asking nicely.
Olivia also got him to tell her how they could break into Observer HQ. Unfortunately for everyone, it involved eyeballs. (Brace for ickiness.)
This mission required that Peter and Etta go undercover as Loyalists, which meant…
Since Olivia was sitting this one out, she got to have some more quality time with their gray-haired captive. She used her magical all-knowing gaze to psychoanalyze the crap out of him. You know how Olivia can just look at you and you feel like she knows your deepest secrets? It’s one of her many skills. But it didn’t stop Radzinsky (that was his character’s name when he was on Lost) from trying to manipulate Olivia. She really is like an angel from another world in this dark, depressing dystopia.
Meanwhile, Peter and Etta were doing their best impressions of Loyalists, strutting through the joint like they were totally supposed to be there, and not at all like they were actually Resistance fighters with an eyeball in their pocket.
They kept their cool even as they walked by some seriously creepy rooms, like the human testing room, and what looked like a brain garden. But Etta snapped when she saw what was in the third room…
Good thing Peter was there to hold Etta back, or she would’ve gone all Bruce Willis on them. Watch out, Observers! There’s nothing more terrifying than an angry Bishop-Dunham. (Except maybe an angry sugar glider.)
Walter was finally making some headway on his laser project.
Etta returned with a renewed sense of hatred for the Observers and everything they stand for. She was ready to turn Gael over to the Resistance so they could carefully return him to his natural habitat. Oh wait, they would probably torture and kill him, a fate that Etta found more than fair, considering they would do the same thing to a captured Resistance member.
After some soul-searching, Etta decided to just take him out to the woods and let him go free. You know, like you do with the racoons you find under your porch.
Etta and Gael had a nice chat about how Olivia is a magical unicorn who’s going to save the world. Then she released Gael back into the wild, like a rabid snake. (Can snakes get rabies?) I was glad to see that Etta wasn’t completely heartless, even though she has every reason to be.
Back at the lab, they finally managed to extricate the video camera with Walter’s homemade light saber.
Way to think ahead Walter. It was pretty clever to leave yourself a video explaining your complicated puzzle mission you left for yourself. Of course, you probably could have been a little more helpful in explaining everything, but I’m sure you didn’t have that much time, and the video was a little static-y at times, as you would expect from something that had been encased in amber for twenty years. This is just like Harry Potter! They’re on a quest to collect all the horcruxes! (Horcruxen? Horcruces? What is the plural of “horcrux”?) This is a great way to keep them busy for eleven more episodes while still ensuring that the focus doesn’t stray from the central plot. Great planning, J.H. Wyman!
I was a little devastated by the discovery that Simon is being used as a science experiment. It was encouraging to see him blink, though. He’s still sort of alive! Maybe next week the gang can plan another infiltration and they can steal Simon’s head and reattach it to his body. Or better yet, they can make him into a robot! Or just a talking head, like on Futurama. On the plus side, with Etta all angsty, it’s almost like she’s a teenager, so Peter and Olivia get to really experience what it would have been like to be there for her adolescence.
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 thank you for reading!
See the rest of my Fringe photo recaps here
*All images are property of FOX Broadcasting