wendelah1: (Etta Bishop)
[personal profile] wendelah1 posting in [community profile] fringe_rewatch
The whole time I was watching "In Absentia," I kept thinking, there's just half a season left to finish off the series, and this is what they decided to film? My husband reminded me that we got some some good world-building, as well as Bishop Family drama, The Next Generation. I did like how Olivia's dream gave us her side of what happened the day the Observers arrived and Etta disappeared without having to do an actual flashback.

 photo 961f3c17-b98d-4c0c-a8e4-948f3fe206f3_zpsp2gnddwv.jpg
What did we learn? The post-invasion world has Loyalists and Resistance fighters. It's like a Fringe AU of Casablanca. I guess that was foreshadowed back in season four by "Letters of Transit."

The Loyalists get tattoos and wear badges and have access codes. They even dress kind of like the French police in Casablanca, with their brown uniforms and brimmed hats. The Observers use their prisoners for human experimentation, just like the Nazis. The Loyalists torture their prisoners for information and then kill them and the Resistance does the same thing. It's a world without mercy.

Unfortunately, it's not a world I wanted to spend the next eleven episodes watching, but it wasn't my decision. "This is The World. It is what it is."

Writer: David Fury, Joel Wyman
Director: Jeannot Szwarc
Originally aired: 05 Oct 12

Synopsis:
The search for Walter's plan to defeat the Observers leads them back to his lab at Harvard, which is under Observer control. They gain access through underground tunnels. Olivia and Etta have a family meeting about whether or not it's okay to torture your prisoners. Long story short, by the end of the episode, they unearth a video tape and a Betamax player. Astrid was right--Walter did record his plan--just not on paper. It's on a series of videotapes. To gain access to the plan, first they'll need to find all of the tapes.

Most Memorable Quote:
WALTER: Right beneath us, two and a quarter miles of tunnels that house the steam pipes that heat Harvard. They stretch from the Cambridge Electric Company plant on Western Avenue, to Soldiers Field, to the Law School, to the science labs. They made sure the entrances were well-hidden. Few have seen the mysterious passageways. (steps and hears a hollow metallic sound under the soil and overgrowth) Peter. (after clearing the debris, lifts and opens the access door to find a metal ladder down to the tunnels) Yahtzee.

Yep. He really said that.

Links:
Transcript
A.V. Club
Den of Geek
IGN
Entertainment Weekly
Seriable
Polite Dissent

Fanfiction:
By this time, I was already too depressed to read fic. Leave your recs in the comments.

I'm sorry this post is so late. The next couple will be as well, I'm afraid. If there is anyone who wants to take on an episode or two, please let me know.

~Wendy

Date: 2015-04-25 01:39 am (UTC)
sprocket: Red and yellow leaf image (Default)
From: [personal profile] sprocket
Our second episode in not-Vichy France. Somewhere in my first trip through the season I read a comment that the fifth season is in some ways best enjoyed as a standalone AU, the show writing its own fanfic... oh, here it is. When I watched 4x19 I said "I want to watch a whole show of this." And then they gave it to me! S5 is a totally different thing from what came before, I'm in basic agreement with the people who've said they regard it as a fanfic AU of Fringe, but it is a really great fanfic AU and the actors are totally on board. I'm still trying to adjust to this new "universe", complicated by the very limited time the viewers spend here.

While I appreciate that Fringe took pains to resolve what happened to Simon, I'm sad we didn't get more Simon-and-Etta (or Etta/Simon, if it strikes your fancy). I'm not thrilled by the horrific and creepy variation on Fringe's long history of not letting death get in the way of questioning suspects, but I'm appreciative of a moment of thematic continuity that goes all the way back to the pilot.

With 5x04 and Peter's Batman arc in mind, his words to Etta - there will be a time for vengeance and a time for grieving, but it is not now. They'll pay for what they've done, I promise - take on, how to say it? Irony?

The betamax plot coupons tapes. The TVTropes page seems highly relevant to discussing what a lousy idea these were. It's a blatantly artificial plot device which does not serve the needs of a season that really needs to hit a lot of emotional, thematic, and plot resolutions on its way out the door. Watching our protagonists watch recordings of Walter strikes me as time that could better be spent doing things. Having parent-child angst and 2036 culture shock. Ferreting out parts of The Plan. Giving Astrid a plot line. It would be easier to make peace with the tapes as a plot device if I liked how they were used, but the execution didn't strike me as terrifically brilliant, or the sort of trope-with-twist work that Fringe can do so well.

On the "humanizing your opponents" side, we've got... whathisface. Manfretti. Who we never see again, see "thirteen episodes". Fringe isn't a great inventor of new tropes, but what it does it use existing tropes in new and interesting ways. But Manfretti's "collaborators are people too" thread didn't quite take off for me.

Trivia:

"Sometimes Belly and I would wear swim trunks and Speedos." Walter, we're surprised you kept even those on. Naked Tuesdays, remember?

Is that a CGI betamax recorder in CGI amber?

I was convinced Manfretti's eye was coming out. This is Fringe, more problematic actions have been perpetrated by Walter. Good fakeout, show.

While I appreciate the drama of Walter smashing the laserdisk player, isn't it more in keeping with the postapocylaptic scene to disassemble it slowly and keep the components?

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