wendelah1: (Fringe Rewatch)
[personal profile] wendelah1
We're concluding the season five rewatch today. Thank you to everyone who participated. Thanks especially to [personal profile] sprocket, who stepped in to give me a hand when no one else could or would. Season five is unpopular, and justifiably so, but we forged ahead and finished it up. Hurrah!

The writers structured the fifth season as a sort of archaeological dig: the discovery of and lasering out of Walter's beta tapes of his plan to save the world from his ambered Harvard lab. They combined this with a treasure hunt: the search for the items needed to fulfill the plan. So when the Fringe writers decided that the best way to conclude the series was to have the damned plan not work because they were missing a piece of tech, I was pretty steamed. I was prepared for it this time so I'm less angry, but seriously folks, this stank.

Other than a failure of imagination, there was no reason to take up 13 episodes with this plot. Walter could have recorded the entire plan on one tape. The team could have watched it, made a shopping list, etc. The other problem I have with this episode is that with bullets flying everywhere, why didn't the writers just kill off all of the characters except Walter and Michael? They're trying to destroy the timeline so in effect, these particular versions of the characters are going to disappear. Why not have everyone be shot and die as heroes, one by one, as Walter and Michael walk into the future? That would have been dramatic and tragic! Most viewers would have hated it.

If you want to see a great episode about a group of heroes saving humanity from an advanced civilization that plans to exterminate it, watch Stargate SG-1's 2010. (When I'm done with this review, I might just go ahead and do that.)

Okay, let's move on to the good things. Yes, there were a few. The image of Walter and Michael walking into humanity's future was haunting and poignant. Micheal playing the little music box as Donald died, ditto, even if it was pretty dumb, since they were being shot at. The magic trick that Micheal performed was effective, even if it made no sense. Peter's last goodbye to his father broke my heart again. John Noble in that scene was magnificent, as always. Their relationship was always at the center of the Fringe universe for me. The writers successfully completed the arc for their characters, at least.

The final images, first of Etta running toward her parents, with pride and joy on their faces instead of sheer terror, and of Peter opening up the letter from his father with the white tulip, were moving. They brought the series back around to the beginning of the season, just with a different ending. "An Enemy of Fate" didn't salvage this disastrous season, but it was overall a satisfying series finale.

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Writer: J.H. Wyman
Director: J.H. Wyman
Originally aired: January 18, 2013

Synopsis:
The original plan fails and so they come up with another plan. It works. The end.

Most Memorable Quote:
PETER: So in order to maintain a future without the Observers... you and Michael have to live out the rest of your lives in the future.

WALTER: I know in my soul this is what I am supposed to do. I want you to give Olivia your daughter back. I want to give you your life back. As a father, how could I not do that for you? What I said on the tape about stealing time with you, I meant it. I wouldn't trade it for the world. You are my favorite thing, Peter. My very favorite thing.

Links:
Transcript
A.V. Club
IGN
HitFix
Many more review links at Wikipedia: [x]

Fanfiction:
I don't know. I didn't read much fic for season five. To be honest, I was too depressed about the whole thing. If you've written something, or have recs, leave them in the comments.
sprocket: The trusted assistant at work (Astrid Fringe)
[personal profile] sprocket
I suggested to [personal profile] wendelah1 that the rewatch would benefit from splitting "Liberty" and "An Enemy of Fate". The two episodes aired back to back, but have different writing and directing credits.

There's a software development aphorism about the first 90% of the code taking 90% of the development time, and the last 10% taking the other 90%. What I take away from this, as I watch "Liberty", is that sticking the landing is hard. The final episodes of a serial TV show have to be integrated into what has come before, closing the gaps between where viewers are when the writing room begins to break the final scripts and where the viewers ideally should be when the closing credits roll. "Liberty" is the last chance to resolve anything that is not "finale" material, and to set up the board for the final moves of the series.

At this point, the Plan has been revealed and its assembly is underway. But before it can be executed, the Fringe team has to rescue Michael from his detour into the Observers' hands. Meanwhile, Broyles' safety is brought into question and Windmark makes a trip to his superior in 2609 that says more about Windmark than about the information he communicates.

Viewers have already heard about Michael's uniqueness from September. Windmark gives that uniqueness and Michael's role in the plan a new spin, highlighting once again the dichotomy between the "emotionless" Observers and their apparently emotionally motivated actions. When Windmark identifies that Michael may be part of the Fringe team's plan to destroy the Observers, he is right... but he does not embrace the other possibilities Michael represents.

Commander: It would be to our evolutionary advantage to continue to study [the anomaly] further.

Windmark: A more prudent path is to destroy it. There is no greater danger than that which is unknown.


Is that intelligence or fear speaking?

Meanwhile, Walter Bishop, the poster child for recklessly turning the unknown into the known, is not the person to suggest a trip to the altverse. Olivia is. Kudos for the person taking the biggest risks being the person to suggest the risky plan. I have some ambivalence about the writing set-up, but I 100% approve of a check-in with the altverse. Despite some unusually ragged shots and cuts throughout the episode - someone was having an off day when they set up the blocking, or edited after shooting? - it was great to see the other side one more time.

I'd like to say that "Liberty" closes out Olivia's arc, but honestly, I'm not sure there's much to resolve at this point. Olivia came to Fringe a whole (if somewhat self-contained) person, found her assumptions about her colleagues and her own history shattered over the course of Fringe's run, and put herself back together while figuring out these "family" and "love" things that keep cropping up on this show. Although Olivia's done many things, she's been pretty much the same person since the pilot: a confident, assertive woman who is willing to go where the truth takes her. It's Peter and Walter whose histories are fraught, and who struggled to grow as people. When the two Olivias meet in this episode, there is recognition, and parallels, but they're not in conflict. Each Olivia knows who she is, where she stands in her world, and what her goals are in that world.

(Unless someone brings it up in comments, I'm deliberately leaving discussion of Broyles' part of the plot for "An Enemy of Fate", where Broyles gets more screen time.)



Writer: Alison Schapker
Director: PJ Pesce
Originally Aired: January 18, 2013

Synopsis: The Fringe team hatches a risky plan to recapture Michael from the Observers.

Most Memorable Quote:
blueverse!Olivia: You have a beautiful family.

redverse!Olivia: Thank you. Go save yours. Get your daughter back.

Links:
Transcript
A. V. Club
Den of Geek
HitFix
Pop Culture Nexus

Fanfiction: [personal profile] raspberryhunter wrote "Somewhere Over", a post-ep tag in the altverse. Full disclosure, I beta read this story.

If you're interested in fanvids, Slippery Slope is the Olivia Dunham vid that will fill the missing hole in your life.
sprocket: The trusted assistant at work (Astrid Fringe)
[personal profile] sprocket
The episode continues to struggle with the challenges many S5 episodes face (and don't always overcome). "Right, we were supposed to do all this setup... oh well. LOOK, HAVE FEELINGS." Walter's conversations with Peter and Donald/September address some thematic arcs and start pointing toward the final resolution - with two episodes to go, not a moment too soon - but don't always do a great job advancing the plot. This week's plot centers around Michael and September as keys to the final revelation of Walter's plan.

The title says Peter, or Michael, but this episode's flavor image is Walter, who gets a lot of attention this week. (He is also carrying a black umbrella in this episode, possibly in tribute to 5x09.)

Physical symbols abound this week: Walter's black umbrella calls back to the final password in "Black Blotter". September and Walter discuss Walter's missing white tulip. Windmark contemplates a set of September's curious: a Bible (for Walter's search for foriveness?) the snowglobe with Lady Liberty (hello altverse), the classic radio playing swanky big band music for Brown Betty... okay, that may be a reach. Many of these symbols revolve around Walter, pointing again to which character is at the center of the writers' fifth season concerns. As someone who really loved the first three seasons' focus on Olivia, I was disappointed the fifth season sidelined that focus in favor of Peter and Walter's arcs.



Writer: Graham Roland
Director: Paul Holahan
Originally Aired: January 11, 2013

Synopsis: With Windmark and the Observers closing in, the Fringe team seeks out the elusive Donald, aka September, to unravel the rest of Walter's plan.

Most Memorable Quote:
PETER: Is that it?
SEPTEMBER: You say that as though we're not carrying technology that can bend space and time into a Möbius Strip.

Links:
Transcript
A. V. Club
Den of Geek
Entertainment Weekly
HitFix
Pop Culture Nexus

Fanfiction: men fell with apples, and with apples rose by syllogismos is a September character study, after the Observers set him loose in the 2010's.
wendelah1: (Etta Bishop)
[personal profile] wendelah1
This was a little better than the last two episodes, though the pace drags every time they have another Important Moment Between Characters. Thanks to our team, the resistance just lost two more key allies and an important research lab. Given how carelessly they've been operating since they arrived in Observerland, I'm shocked there haven't been more casualties. I guess it's because we're pinning all of our hopes, as well as every damn plot line, on The Plan. There is so much more they could have done with season five, so many other stories they could have told us along the way.

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Air Date: 21 Dec 12
Written by: David Fury
Directed by: Jeff Hunt

Summary:
In order to communicate with the Observer child, the team enlists the help of Nina Sharp. She provides them access to a black lab that formerly belonged Massive Dynamic. After the rest of the team leaves to get an additional piece of tech, she is apprehended by Captain Widmark and his minions. Rather than be read by Widmark, she kills herself, but not before she has told him that he's creepy as fuck and not as highly evolved as he thinks. Not that this was believable in any way, but somehow she managed to hide the boy from the Observers and Loyalists who tore the lab upside down searching for him. But once our team shows up, they locate him easily enough. Long story short, at the end of the episode, all that they've managed to learn is the identity of the man known to them as Donald.

Most Memorable Quote:
CAPTAIN WINDMARK: He is merely a curiosity, and you are mistaken about him. He is no child. He is a chromosomal mistake. A genetic anomaly. Designate: Progeny XB-6783746. Like all anomalies, he was scheduled to be destroyed. But he went missing. It was a great mystery in my time. No one knew what became of him... until now. I would very much like to meet him.

Links:
Transcript
A.V. Club
Den of Geek
IGN
HitFix
Entertainment Weekly

Fanfiction:
I hope someone out there is working on a novel-length fix-it fic for season five.
wendelah1: (Etta Bishop)
[personal profile] wendelah1
Two stinkers in a row! The B plot in this episode, where they all go off and find the Observer Child, is fairly compelling. I don't think we ever get an explanation for why he's mute and in a state of arrested development.

The A plot is stupid and pointless. Walter turning into his old self is such a non-issue. The whole idea that one could remove a part of someone's brain and then put it back decades later is beyond ridiculous.

Carla Warren doesn't belong in season five, period. Blair Brown is a lovely woman but she is not convincing playing her younger self. They should have come up with another idea. Additionally, I am certain that the writer for this episode has never dropped acid in their life.

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Air Date: 14 Dec 12
Written by: Kristin Cantrell
Directed by: Tommy Gormley

Summary: Walter takes a tab or two of Black Blotter and hallucinates a whole lot of nonsense because the writer can't think of anything better. Oh yeah. They find the Observer child, who is another missing piece of Walter's plan to save humanity.

Most Memorable Quote:
WALTER: There's only room for one God in this lab, and it's not yours.

Links: Transcript
The A.V. Club
Den of Geek
HitFix
IGN
Entertainment Weekly

Fanfic: Maybe?
wendelah1: (Etta Bishop)
[personal profile] wendelah1
I consider this episode to be the absolute nadir of the series, full of portentous dialogue, gross sentimentality, and terrible plotting. We finally get to watch Badass!Olivia out in the field doing something useful, and what does the writer have her do? Give a self-righteous lecture to someone about their belief system, for one. Walk right into a completely obvious trap, for another. At least she was allowed to get herself out of trouble.

Peter becoming an Observer was the worst plot device ever. That horrible montage of flashbacks, culminating in Peter sticking a knife in the back of his neck, was the last straw for me. If this series had not been ending in five episodes, I would have quit watching right there.

Here's an idea: why couldn't Walter, Astrid, and Olivia have tried to reason with Peter, get him to see that defeating the Observers was the only way to truly avenge the death of Etta? Why does everything on this series have to come down to pseudo-spiritual mumbo-jumbo? That's what this country needs to hear: more anti-intellectual claptrap. Thanks, Fringe!

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Air Date: 7 Dec 12
Written by: Alison Schapker
Directed by: Dennis Smith
Synopsis: Olivia brings home another piece of equipment needed to defeat the Observers, but not before walking into a trap. Peter takes the Observer tech out of his brain just in time. My God! He was already starting to lose his hair!
Most memorable quote: I can't think of a single line worth remembering from this hot mess.

Links:
Transcript
The A.V. Club
IGN
HitFix
Entertainment Weekly

Fanfiction: Let me know if you've read any, and I'll add it here.

All together now: "All you need is love, love. Love is all you need."
wendelah1: (Etta Bishop)
[personal profile] wendelah1
We're past the half-way point and I have to say, even the second time through, this is still a disappointment. Who these Observers are, compared to who they were, or least who they appeared to be, still doesn't add up for me. I feel like there must have been some intermediate steps that got missed/left out because of the abbreviated season and end of the series. Despite having a limited number of episodes, the storytelling is flabby. There are too many scenes of people having important emotions and talking about their feelings, and not enough action, which is true for the entire season, imho. The world-building is more about how it looks for the camera than about creating a coherent post-apocalyptic world. So far, Olivia hasn't been given much of anything to do except stand around and react to things. I don't like that. I don't like any of it.

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Writer: Graham Roland
Director: Eagle Eglisson
Originally aired: 16 Nov 12

Synopsis: Walter worries that he's going to turn back into his old self because the missing pieces of his brain were restored. In his quest to avenge Etta, Peter is becoming that which he means to destroy: an Observer. Olivia worries that she's losing Peter again. Peter is losing his hair! Meanwhile, the team continues to assemble the pieces to Walter's plan to save humanity.

Most Memorable Quote:
WALTER: My Bowie... he stole it. It's not enough that he institutionalized me, betrayed our friendship, but he pilfered my record collection as well!

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

Fanfiction: None that I could find. Leave suggestions in the comments.
wendelah1: (Etta Bishop)
[personal profile] wendelah1
Though the title is an allusion to Lewis Carroll's famous novel, apart from the obvious--both are about the adventures of the title characters after stepping into an alternate universe--the parallels end there. Alice finds her mirror universe by accident; Walter Bishop, with the help of "Donald," created his. Alice wanders around meeting the Red Queen and the White Queen and having madcap adventures; Walter is there on a serious mission. He's looking for something he has hidden there, something he needs to complete his plan to save the world.

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Whatever we might have believed, whatever we might have wanted, it becomes increasingly clear during season five that for the writers, Fringe is a redemption story, specifically the fall from grace and the redemption of one man: Walter Bishop.

Writer: David Fury
Director: Jon Cassar
Originally aired: 09 Nov 12

Synopsis: Peter and Olivia mourn the loss of their daughter. Walter de-ambers tape eight and takes off on his own to find the next piece of the plan to save the universe. Astrid, Olivia, and Peter take off to find him. When Walter is discovered by the Loyalists, Peter's Observer Brain Hack starts paying dividends and aids in their escape.

Most Memorable Quote:
OBSERVER #2 (to Peter): I know what you have done. You have made a grave mistake. You do not realize what is happening to you.

Links:
Transcript
io9
The A.V. Club
EW
Pop Culture Nexus Photo Recap

Fanfiction:
Please leave suggestions in the comments.
sprocket: The trusted assistant at work (Astrid Fringe)
[personal profile] sprocket
Fringe spent a fair amount of time trying to convince me Peter had the capacity to be an action-driven protagonist. They could have saved it for this episode.

My second thought at the end of "The Bullet That Saved the World" - the first being capslock at Etta's death - was "uh-oh. What grief-stricken reaction will a Bishop father take this time?"

"An Origin Story" delivered. Why blow up a shipment when you can destroy an entire pipeline? Why keep an Observer prisoner alive when you can kill him for the tech that will turn you into Batman?

There are a lot of moments to like or discuss in this episode. The dialog isn't always terrifically natural, but the actors work to sell the emotional content. As Peter elects to memorialize his daughter by embracing her cause, Olivia buries herself in work at the lab. There's some set design and direction choices at work that enhance this: for much of the episode, when they're separated, Olivia is in the amber-lit dark with Astrid, while Peter is in the resistance's brighter but desaturated Observer lockup.

The general reaction to the shipping lane re-appearing was a little puzzling to me. The future is another time, not another place: if the original shipment and shipping lane were destroyed, the Observers uptime might have spent weeks, or months, rebuilding their launch site, or relocating to another physical site, to access the same temporal arrival window. Thoughts, anyone?

Olivia's silent reaction to the replacement of the Observer posters with the Etta "resist" poster was one of my favorite moments in this episode, and perhaps the entire fifth season until "Liberty". As Peter despairs that the plan didn't work, the world has shifted, without our protagonists even noticing.

The Resistance theme is still heavy-handed, but works hand in hand this week with Olivia and Peter choosing how to remember Etta and how to move forward on the plan to defeat the Observers. The appearance of Etta's poster, and Peter demonstrating that both sides of this conflict can embrace some pretty questionable means to achieve their end, both speak to that theme.



Writer: J. H. Wyman
Director: P. J. Pesce
Originally Aired: November 2, 2012

Synopsis: Olivia and Peter react to Etta's death, as the Resistance asks for help sabotaging an important shipment from the future.

Most Memorable Quote:
CAPTURED OBSERVER: Your assertion regarding the involuntary response of the body to physical threat was interesting but highly antiquated. It does not apply to us. In truth, there was a fly on the window. As my cerebral cortex registered it, there was a small irregularity in my heartbeat, causing a slight deregulation of my oxygen to my brain which in turn affected my oculomotor nerve. This oculomotor nerve is what caused my pupil to dilate. That's what you picked up on - my observation of a fly. But you ascribed meaning to something that was not there. You saw what you wanted to see. You believed what you wanted to believe, because that's what your emotions do. They ascribe meaning to something that is not there. They fool your perception as to what is real.

PETER: No. You're wrong.

CAPTURED OBSERVER: A dog does not smile, no matter how many times your kind might think it does. You put together the device because of your intuition and your knowledge and your experience as an engineer. You simply needed confidence. So, you made sure you saw what you needed in my reactions. [Pause] You blame us for her death, but it is irrelevant. She was here, now she is simply not here.

PETER: [Punches the Observer] Did you feel that? She is not simply gone. She will be remembered! Unlike you. If I kill you right now, no one will remember you. No one will miss you!

CAPTURED OBSERVER: ...miss ...me?

PETER: You are nothing but tech. I would be ten times what you are if I had that tech in my head. [Punches the Observer again]

Links:
Transcript
A. V. Club
Den of Geek
Entertainment Weekly
Pop Culture Nexus

Fanfiction: Taking suggestions in comments.
sprocket: The trusted assistant at work (Astrid Fringe)
[personal profile] sprocket
This is an episode with all the plot. When the next tape directs the team into Observer territory, Walter reveals his secret collection of old Fringe trophies as he declares that there was a time when we solved Fringe cases. Now I think it's time we created a few of our own. His suggestion is embraced, just before a Resistance leak forces them to abandon the Harvard lab, and the team uncorks an old case of the week at an Observer checkpoint, allowing them to retrieve the next plot coupon: an unreadable equation. Walter's incipient meltdown is interrupted by a reunion with Broyles, which is interrupted by the arrival of an Observer. Broyles takes the equation while the Fringe team tries to lose the Observers in a warehouse district... but Captain Windmark catches up to Etta first.

Before getting to that, I'd like a moment to reflect on Olivia, Peter, and Astrid embracing the one of the biological agents the first season depicted as a creepy and unnatural horror. Fringe goes straight from revealing Walter's secret stash to the its weaponization, without much consideration of the associated role reversal. There was a time Fringe - especially Olivia and Astrid - looked for justice, or at least answers. Now they are the renegades outside the laws. [personal profile] wendelah1 was onto something when she compared the fourth season's iteration of the Fringe team to the Consortium. The kindest interpretation I can spin on the fifth season is a value-neutral approach to technology: the moral significance of a window into another universe or an aerosolized toxin is not inherent in the physical object. Instead, it's dependent on who uses it, or how it's used.

Etta's death is the Big Event of the episode. If it is affecting (which my personal capslock reaction to it suggests that, yes, I was very affected), it's because the rest of the episode knows how to play the audience like a violin. "The Bullet that Saved the World" is about love, and as we should be aware by now Fringe confuses feelings, especially love, with the physical forces of the universe. What caused the thing to happen? Love. Are you sure that's not a little ridic- EXCUSE ME OVERWHELMED WITH FEELINGS. HAVE AN ALTERNATE UNIVERSE.

The bullet Etta carried with her was the bullet that killed her mother. The world was not saved by killing a faceless villain, but by Olivia's death. The trick being that Walter gambled he could bring Olivia back to life, and won that gamble handily. The writers beat us over the head with that bullet as early as 4x19, and continue to use it as a symbol through season five.



Writer: Alison Schapker
Director: David Straiton
Originally Aired: October 26, 2012

Synopsis: On a trip to replace Etta's necklace chain, Peter narrowly evades the Observers, a vivid reminder of the hazards of 2036. The Observers capture and interrogate a suspected Resistance mole, temporarily driving the Fringe team from the Harvard lab. They retrieve another part of the Plan and hand it over to 2036!Broyles in an emotional reunion before the Observers pop up again, leading to a dramatic confrontation with tragic outcomes.

Most Memorable Quote: One for comedy:
WALTER: Don't you understand? This is Greek to me, except that I read Greek. This is... Aramaic to me. Not the Western Dialect, I do speak a little...

And one for tragedy:
CAPTAIN WINDMARK: He bought the necklace for you. For what purpose? I would like to know.

Links:
Transcript
A. V. Club
Entertainment Weekly
Polite Dissent
Pop Culture Nexus

Fanfiction: Long Lost Meeting, blazingphoenix, is an Olivia and Ella reunion tagged post-5x04.
sprocket: The trusted assistant at work (Astrid Fringe)
[personal profile] sprocket
Hello Vancouver! I did not peg that Edwin should have looked a little familiar from other genre shows.

The resistance continues:

WALTER: I have Tape Number One.

OLIVIA: Have you watched it?

WALTER: No. I've only just liberated it.
(Emphasis mine)

Contrasted with the new season's new "us against the Observers" vibe, Fringe goes back to some familiar themes in this episode. Walter and drugs. The return of the station wagon. (How on Earth is that station wagon still functional? It must have been rusting in peace for twenty years.) Olivia's perfect memory. Edwin wrestles with being a good parent to his son River, as Olivia reflects on her choices after Etta's disappearance, and what it meant about her parenting aptitude.

In the spirit of embracing the show as it is, how does this week play into the larger theme(s) of the season? Edwin tells Walter, my father started this historical record. He believed our history, like that of all other conquered races before us, would be rewritten by our oppressors. Someone has to survive to tell mankind's story. There's a pretty bald statement of the war/resistance angle: resist by surviving and controlling your story. An interesting idea in the context of a story which has rewritten history within its own continuity, when Peter was erased at the end of the third season, and also in the context of Fringe's writing decisions. The show has a long history of treating its own history (canon) very flexibly when it has a better storytelling idea.

Parent-child relationships are huge in the fifth season. River and Edwin's relationship plays a big role in "The Recordist", in some ways paralleling Etta's relationship with Olivia, and with Peter. Peter and Walter bicker constantly through this episode, but pull together when there's problems to be surmounted.

Speaking of problems, the fifth season brings up the problem of sacrifice and dying for others over and over again. Simon jumps into the amber in proto-s5 "Letters of Transit", Edwin takes one for the team (and his son, or his son's hypothetical Observer-free future) in "The Recordist", and other sacrifices are coming up in future episodes. The fifth season uses willingness to die for a cause as a quick path to demonstrating commitment to resisting the Observers. It's a remarkable shift from prior seasons, where dying for the cause was usually a fate chosen by our protagonist's opponents (Thomas Jerome Newton, anyone?).



Writer: Graham Roland
Director: Jeff T. Thomas
Originally Aired: October 12, 2012

Synopsis: The next tape in Walter's plan directs the Fringe team to a mine in rural Pennsylvania, where they discover a settlement dedicated to the preservation of human history. The residents are plagued by a disfiguring skin condition, which isolates them from other humans. The condition emanates from the mine, forcing Peter and Walter to devise a safe way to enter the before the Observers and Loyalists close in - or before one of the settlement's number can sacrifice himself for Walter's plan.

Meanwhile, Olivia and Peter continue to reconnect, and Walter learns the identity of the last visitor to show interest in the mine: Donald, associated with a scientist in Boston.

Most Memorable Quote:
Two contenders:

OLIVIA: You were talking about going up to Maine to this refugee camp that you'd heard about. And I was looking at you and nodding, and in my head I was thinking, I can't go. Behind you - you couldn't see it - but there was a wall of missing-person flyers. You know, with every day, the odds of finding our little girl the way we wanted to find her were getting worse, and we didn't talk about it. I mean, I... I couldn't put it into words then, but... I felt responsible.

and also

EDWIN: There's a time for recording history, and there's a time for making it.

Links:
Transcript
A. V. Club
Entertainment Weekly
Polite Dissent
Pop Culture Nexus

Fanfiction:
Olivia. In the Lab. With a Comic. by beautyofsorrow and Elialys.

Apologies for the late post. 5x04 will be up on schedule this Tuesday.
wendelah1: (Etta Bishop)
[personal profile] wendelah1
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.

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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
wendelah1: (Etta Bishop)
[personal profile] wendelah1
It's no secret that I didn't care for Fringe season five. Before this, I'd watched it once--while it was airing. Until now, I hadn't purchased season five and I'm a completeist. But a rewatch is a rewatch. I'm going to do my best to stay objective and not let this devolve into a hate-watch. For all I know, there are fans out there who thought this was the best season yet.
 photo ad428c3f-7aa9-49fe-b015-3bf58082b776_zps918ghxhy.jpg
After Fringe was renewed, TV Guide interviewed the executive producers, Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman, asking them what the fans should expect from this abbreviated final season.
"They are coming!" Can we assume that the "they" is the Observers, and you're lining up with what we saw in 2036?
J.H. Wyman: Yes.
Are you going to stay in the current timeline, or will we see some flashing forward and backward next season?
Wyman: Well, let's say that basically 2036 is extremely important to Season 5. It's crucial, but having said that, everything that you have seen in Fringe from Season 1 all the way to 4 is really, really, really, really important to what's going on in Season 5, and 2036 is part of that. It's a 13-episode sprint; there's no filler episodes. It answers some very bold questions. It culminates with a very satisfying type of crescendo that really is so important for the fans, that's the biggest thing. That's the only thing that's really important is to make sure that they feel absolutely satiated.

Emphasis is mine. That word, "satiated," bothers me. And what a strange criteria to choose when planning your final season. Here's one more quote.
Now that you know this will be your final season, what are you guys doing differently in your approach?
Wyman: The main concern is in no way shape or form are our fans going to be let down. That makes us feel really good that they're going to be able to see a conclusion that is emotional, that is epic, that is going to make sense, that they can emote with and go through our characters and watch them on their final journey and put this show away in a manner that is worthy to all the hours they've invested in our characters. The only thing it does is make the pencil be a little bit more sharp, that's all.

"Make the pencil be a little bit more sharp." So, they plan to make the writing crisper? More thoughtful? Better planned perhaps, since this is it. There will be no more. Well, let's see how they did, shall we?

Writer: J.H. Wyman
Director: Jeannot Szwarc, Miguel Sapochnik
Originally aired: September 28, 2012

Synopsis: Just as Olivia is liberated from her Amber prison, they are betrayed and Walter is taken prisoner by the Observers. They manage to free him but not before he is harshly treated and had his mind probed by Captain Windmark. When Walter puts on the Transilience Thought Unifier, the tech that Olivia had ambered herself to protect, they discover that his recent memories have been wiped, along with the plan for defeating the Observers. Etta suspects that her grandfather's memories were destroyed during his ordeal, and that they will never be retrieved.

Most Memorable Quote:
CAPTAIN WINDMARK: But there is no hope... for you. Nothing grows from scorched Earth. You seem much more interesting as a human being - than as a vegetable. But, quite frankly, all things being equal, I don't mind which one you end up. The choice is yours.

Links:
Transcript
A.V. Club
IGN review
HitFix.
Photo Recap at Pop Culture Nexus
Future Shock Blues - EW. That EW title is my review in three words.

Fanfiction:
Strangely, I'm working on something. But it's not done.

Please leave your suggestions in the comments.

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