wendelah1: (Olivia)
[personal profile] wendelah1 posting in [community profile] fringe_rewatch
In "Letters of Transit," Fringe gives fair warning about its final season, a warning I chose to ignore at the time. But now we know that it sets up the events of season five, and belongs more to that season than the season it aired in. I have no idea why the writers do these things.

We meet Peter and Olivia's daughter, we find out what the Observers are really up to, and we find out why Walter Bishop had those bits of his brain excised. What an arrogant asshole he must have been back in the day!

The title is a reference to the movie Casablanca. We get it, writers. The Observers are the bad guys now. The giant floating text scrolling by at the very beginning giving us the background info is a reference to Star Wars Episode Four. Damn it. WE KNOW! The Observers=The Evil Empire. Good grief.

 photo 4a56c343-e46a-43c1-aa59-304c4a760d33_zpsdkusjobe.jpg


Writer: Akiva Goldsman, J.H. Wyman, Jeff Pinkner
Director: Joe Chappelle
Originally aired: April 20, 2012

Synopsis: It's 2036. The Observers have taken over the world. Though nominally working for Philip Broyles who heads the police force charged with containing the native population, Agent Etta Bishop is secretly a member of the Resistance. For years, she has been searching for the original Fringe team and as the episode opens, she finds Walter Bishop and with the help of Simon,another member of the resistance, manages to free him from the Amber. Before her source can lead her to the other members, he's killed. Walter is brain damaged and can't help. Etta and her colleague Simon decide to travel into the city and break into the old headquarters of Massive Dynamic to retrieve the missing pieces of Walter's brain in the hope that replacing it will regenerate his damaged brain tissue. It works. He gets really smart again, and really mean. Eventually, we find Astrid, Peter, Walter and Etta reunited, and Simon sacrificed for the cause. But where's Olivia? Oh, and Etta has a special power: she can shield her mind from being read by the Observers.

Most Memorable Quote:
"They weren't all bad, you know. One of them even tried to help us. He was called September. What happened to him was... well, unexpected. He told me that, in the year 2609 A.D., they finally ruined the planet. They poisoned it -- the air, the water. And when it was fundamentally uninhabitable, then they traveled back through time, and took our planet from us." - Walter (to Henrietta and Simon, providing pivotal knowledge that explains the invasion strategy)

Links:
Transcript
Entertainment Weekly
The A.V. Club
Polite Dissent

Fanfiction:
Anyone? I didn't read much fanfic for this, or Season Five for that matter.
EDITED TO ADD: Into Your Hideout by CorwinofAmber.

Letters of Transit

Date: 2015-03-27 12:35 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] corwinofamber
Well I must have liked it, since I wrote my own fifth season after I saw it!

Into Your Hideout

I haven't rewatched it yet, I'll post more when I do.

Re: Letters of Transit

Date: 2015-04-05 03:47 am (UTC)
sprocket: Red and yellow leaf image (Default)
From: [personal profile] sprocket
Didn't know about this fic - looking forward to reading it!

Letters of Transit

Date: 2015-03-27 10:02 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] corwinofamber
Well, I rewatched Letters of Transit.

I still like it, on it's own terms. It's a good little character driven story, yet another step outside of the normal P.O.V. for Fringe. The problem is, where does it fit with the rest of the series? I think it's more evidence that the original Fringe story had been told by "The Day We Died."

"Letters of Transit" feels like a pilot for another science fiction series, because that's exactly what it is. Supposedly, a fifth season got okayed because of the strength of this episode. So it certainly has that going for it.

Would it have been so terrible if Fringe had ended with the third season?

But...no flying porcupine man! you protest.

Of course...what could I have been thinking? :)

We'll certainly argue the merit's of the fifth season soon, but personally I liked it better than the fourth. Flying porcupine man aside.

Re: Letters of Transit

Date: 2015-04-05 03:47 am (UTC)
sprocket: Red and yellow leaf image (Default)
From: [personal profile] sprocket
I think it's more evidence that the original Fringe story had been told by "The Day We Died."

Hmm... interesting! I usually think that the writers had a few plot ideas on their agenda, ideas which got rearranged as some plot ideas worked, and some things didn't work out as expected.

For example, the writers tried to crowbar God into the plot a couple of ways - Amy Jessup, Carla Warren - before hitting on "White Tulip". And the showrunners chose to arrange many plots William Bell around Leonard Nimoy's limited availability.

My guess would be the Observers were supposed to play a bigger or different role in the second or third seasons, but that plan was put on a back burner when the altverse took off so well. It feels like there was a lot of first season Observer plot that didn't get much payoff until September's late S4 infodump, when the writers were working on the assumption the fourth season might be the last season; and then "Letters of Transit" establishes the world of the fifth season, which is when we finally see "Inner Child" come back.

It's tough to tell how much of S5 was set up deliberately, loose ends to be tied off, and how much was the showrunners and writers looking at old "standalone" items in a new light. I look forward to looking at that during the S5 rewatch.

My initial reactions to 4x19 were heavily colored by my frustration with other mid-late S4 writing choices, so I had a tough time appreciating "Letters of Transit" on its own merits. It's possible I may still occasionally think of it as "Fringe does 'Days of Future Past'."

Also, as someone who watched 4x19 after being thoroughly spoiled... Etta. Was she an obvious not-twist on the first viewing? Or a genuine surprise?
Edited Date: 2015-04-05 03:54 am (UTC)

Re: Letters of Transit

Date: 2015-04-07 11:48 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] corwinofamber
I was surprised it wasn't Olivia they retrieved from the amber. Everyone was WHERE IS OLIVIA?!? on the internettubes after that.

Re: Letters of Transit

Date: 2015-04-08 02:18 am (UTC)
sprocket: Red and yellow leaf image (Default)
From: [personal profile] sprocket
Oh really! My first time through was in multi-episode marathons after the series had ended, so I got fairly quick answer (and maybe read some spoilers, cough). Watching that in real time must have been killer.

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