Fringe 5×03 “The Recordist”: Reactions from a First Time Viewer

Damn you, writers, and your stories of minor characters that are outward expressions of the inner turmoils our primary characters are experiencing. So, raise your hand if you fell in love with Edwin and River Massey! Their family story was the perfect backdrop for further exploration into the Bishop family dynamic. Olivia finally gave an explanation for her emotional distance and began expressing her love for Etta openly. My heart fluttered at the end when Olivia and Etta were in the car sharing a loving a mother/daughter moment. Olivia is breaking down those Wyman walls. Yes, I’m gonna call them Wyman walls because Joel is the architect who built them. Well…technically, Olivia built them, but Wyman created Olivia so yeah…Wyman walls. Curse those Wyman walls.

Whereas episode 2 was an exploration into Haig’s character, Etta, episode 3 returned the focus to Peter and Olivia- as a couple and parents. And man oh man, those scenes are heartbreaking to watch. One of my favorite moments in episode 1 was the talk Peter and Olivia had about losing their child, and there was a repeat of that this time. Parental relationships has always been the heart of the Fringe and it was nice to see the show return to the theme, even though it makes me bawl my eyes out and leaves my heart with permanent, emotional scars.

  • Aw, Walter, go easy on Astrid, it’s not easy to laser through the amber. Seriously, why is he eating grape vines? I don't know
  • Is Walter taking drugs in his “How to Save the World” video? hee hee Peter and Olivia are laughing and Etta is surprised to find out her grandpa is a druggie.hee heehee hee

  • Yes Etta, your mom has a killer memory. It’s one of her many, many talents. You and I should grab coffee one day so I can tell you all the awesome stuff I’ve seen your mom do.

  • Oh Walter, he thinks he has a blood clot. laughing I’ve missed his Walterisms! Hello, person behind the trees. GAH, Olivia and Etta are having a mother/daughter moment. Etta: “You know, I use to imagine this- going on missions with you. You have no idea how many battles we won together.” cryingcryingSo many feels!! Etta, I really hope you wrote down some of those missions you went on with your mom, so you could publish them on the interwebs as fanfiction. Olivia: “You know, it’s a lot to live up to.” No, it’s not Olivia! You’re her mom. That’s everything.

  • My heart still flutters when I see Peter and Olivia with their grown-up daughter. They have a daughter! How does Mr. Bark Face know the Bishop-Dunham clan? He just said they haven’t met in the traditional sense, so how did they meet? Was it via hologram?! Please let it be hologram. praying
  • Edwin records history of important events and River is an expert on the Fringe Division. This may be the second coolest family- the Bishops being the first, of course. Walter: “Why didn’t you evacuate?” Edwin: “What we do here is important.” big hugI LOVE THESE GUYS SO MUCH! I love characters who believe recording events is sometimes just as important as living them, because it is. Where would we be if no one recorded humanity’s heroic acts?

  • River is the coolest kid ever, and he represents the fandom! HE AUTHORED FRINGE COMICS! applauseapplauseapplauseExcuse me, while I go hug my TV screen, hoping he receives it. It’s Olivia with baby Etta. big hug big huglove struck Please, Fringe crew, please show us a scene of Polivia with baby Etta. So, where can I get my copy of River’s graphic novel? “I wish I was around during your time, when there were real heroes.” I am totally going as “River” to Comic-Con.

  • More of Astrid and Walter’s comical bickering. big grin They are like C-3PO and R2-D2 in this apocalyptic world.

  • Ugh, major facepalm. The Loyalists recorded the Bishop family fixing the van.
  • Yowzers, they found a dead corpse in the mine. This is like The Goonies. The Loyalist just called Anil! YES!! There is a Loyalist working for the Resistance.

  • An apple in tablet form? Food is so strange in this world. Walter must be miserable. Aww, Etta! She is sitting down watching her parents interact. She is just soaking it all in. She misses seeing her parents together as much as she misses her relationship with each one of them.

  • Ummmmm, Walter you probably shouldn’t pull the arm like that and let the spores fly freely in the air for everyone to breathe. Just sayin’.no talking
  • Who the eff is Donald and how is he connected to Walter? I don't knowAwwww, Peter, the loving and worried father, immediately checks on Etta after Olivia and Walter have contracted the skin disease.

  • Peter and Olivia moment! Time to grab the tissues! Really, Etta? This is the second time you interrupt your parents having a moment. Give them some Polivia time. Don’t worry I’m not upset. I know you have no clue they are having an important conversation.

  • Okay, I need to take a moment and talk about this scene because it was beautiful. This is the explanation I’ve been waiting for to why Olivia is so emotionally distant with Etta. She feels responsible for her disappearance. She believes losing Etta was her punishment for not appreciating her little girl when she had her. This is her burden- be a hero to the world or give herself fully to her husband and child. I believe this conflict was a bit easier to manage before because Peter was on the journey with her. She knows Peter has a role to play in saving the world as well, but Etta is innocent. Etta is the child of heroes, but she will not be called to sacrifice herself. This raises the stakes for Olivia, so when Etta disappeared, she must have felt the burden lessen. She had to. Why else would she accept her daughter was dead other than the fact that it allowed her to focus on her mission? I refuse to label Olivia a quitter but she gave up on Etta. She gave up hope and accepted the very real probability that her little girl was dead. Even after all the Fringe cases she has witnessed and lived through, Olivia chose to ground herself in logic rather than expand her imagination as Walter has so ruthlessly encouraged Peter to do since Season 1. I am angry at Olivia for ending her search for Etta, but I understand why she did it. Without her baby, the pull to help the world was easier to accept.
  • Aww, River is angry at his father’s cowardice. sadsad It is not cowardice, River, He is protecting history and the people at the camp. Edwin: “I’m not afraid to die. I just don’t know how to say goodbye to my son.” His conflict is similar to Olivia’s. broken heartbroken heartbroken heartcryingcryingcrying
  • Oh no, Edwin is saying goodbye to River. crying “There’s a lot more to the word coward and the word hero than you think. It’s complicated.” I love Edwin! “There’s a time for recording history and there’s a time for making it.” I’m starting an Edwin fan club today! Who wants to be a member? I love the parental relationships on this show!
  • Wait a sec! The crystals are important because they can create a powerful energy source?! Oh no, I just got flashbacks of Season 4 when Bell was using Olivia as the energy source. worried Does that mean Olivia may become the source again? Will she die? nail bitingnail bitingI don't want to seeI don't want to see
  • OH MAN!! Edwin is entering the mine. I knew this would happen but it is still difficult to watch.
  • He did it. He got the crystals. applausesad Etta’s look at River. She knows what it’s like to not have parents. Olivia’s motherly instincts take over and she is comforting River. broken heart

  • Ugh, why are the Fringe writers so talented?!?! Edwin left River’s cube so he can see pictures of his life. “A hero died today, sacrificing himself in order to get the Fringe team the resources they need to save our world. Edwin Massey, the Recorder of History made history.”

  • Oh no!! The Loyalists have surrounded the Bishop family van. Ha, well played writers. They aren’t in the van.
  • They have a new ride. thumbs up

Thank you Fringe Files, “dunhamgetinmybed,” “hellyeahfringe,” and Tumblr for providing the screencaps and gifs.


A #HurryUpMary Update
Fringe 5×02 “In Absentia”: Reactions from a First Time Viewer
Fringe 5×01 “Transilience Thought Unifier, Model-11″: Reactions from a First Time Viewer
Fringe 3×09 “Marionette”: Reactions from a First Time Viewer


Posted on November 4, 2012, in Television and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Where else the writers of a show make a boy, that represents all the fandom? Only in Fringe! River totally represents the greatest fandom of all the shows, I’m sure they wrote this boy for us *—* (and I NEED A COPY OF RIVER’S GRAPHIC NOVEL! PLEAASE!)
    OMG! that moment when Olivia talk with Peter about how she feels about Etta and her punishment… Olivia suffering… I can’t, just can’t! D:
    And I’m totally in Edwin fan club with you, Mary. This guy is a little piece to save the world and let our characters safe. Love him.

    Can’t wait for the next review. The bullet that saved the world is the best episode from season 5 so far (despite all the pain and sadness and pain and OMG! I can’t hold my feelings! Ç_Ç)

  2. WOW-MARY JUST WOW…..this recap is exceptional as I love the way you broke down POlivia’s conversation! You know I was really shocked and angry that Olivia gave up on Etta so easily as well, but I also know that Olivia can be very conflicted… when Peter was describing Olivia to Altlivia he said “she is always trying to make up for some wrong she didn’t commit” (it is actually one of the things I love about Olivia as I can very much relate to that feeling)

    So I definitely think that she was possibly torn but most of all scared and we all know that ‘Our’ Olive does not handle fear very well so not knowing what to do she just ran….and because she is always struggling with that feeling of having to make up for something and not being worthy of a happy life, played a huge part in her role as a mother and I actually think was the cause of her long pause when she told Peter she was pregnant…..she was happy and excited but also terrified at that reality and could hardly get the words out.

    Anyway, I could be totally wrong in all this senseless rambling but it felt good to get off my chest…LOL! 😉 I am just glad that by the end of the episode Olivia decided to take Peter’s advice and as a result we got the ~EPIC-HAND-TOUCHING~ in the backseat that I had to rewatch like a bazillion times!!!!

    • I think you are absolutely right about the pause Olivia had before she told Peter she was pregnant. She was happy, yet scared. Like you said, I think she is scared of experiencing a happy life but I believe she is also scared of how being a mother will affect her own journey as the world’s hero. -M

  3. Exceptional recap, as always! Loved the Fringe comics, Peter and Olivia talk, and the moment when Olivia touched her daughter’s leg in the car… Keep up the good work, Mary and Louise…

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