There was a lot of hype going into this year’s weird 19th episode. After watching it a few times I am here with some thoughts on last week’s Fringe episode “Letter Of Transit” (Spoilers for the episode follow so make sure you watch before reading on):
The Start of Something New: Going into this 19th episode I was expecting something kind of standalone-ish. I mean I knew it would be a future episode so I was thinking it could just be a self-contained episode about a possible future (you know since these 19th episodes are supposed to be “wacky”). Instead it seems this is the future and the beginning of something that could be expanded upon in the fifth season. It ends sort of abruptly and it actually feels more like a setup episode and I’d argue won’t be quite as good of an episode if it doesn’t get continued. It certainly isn’t what I imagined the future to be like for the series, but that is part of the fun and the world represented here could be a cool direction for the show. And while I have been getting used to the new amber timeline thing, being in the future a little further removed from it might be good. There I won’t be bothered by the little differences from the first three seasons.
New Characters: This episode largely focuses on new characters instead of our normal team. Sure we get a small dose of Astrid, Peter, Broyles and Nina, but “Letters Of Transit” mainly focuses on Walter and two new characters, Etta and Simon. Etta was wonderful and I thought really nailed being Olivia’s daughter. Almost like she was doing an Olivia Dunham impression (I mean this in a good way). She had similar mannerisms and did a great job with it I thought as well as being a cool character. Henry Ian Cusick does a good job as Simon too.
New World: The world we are put into is a very different one than we are used to and it is even quite a bit different than the glimpse we got into the future in “The Day We Died.” I mean of course it would be different, but this is still pretty crazy. It’s bleak again, but this time the Observers have taken over. Just seeing the Observers in this role is strange, but also pretty cool. I have been wondering what the big conflict would be to end this show out. I think this feels suitably large and it doesn’t involve shoehorning in some new villain at the end. The fact that they have teased the Observers going in this direction back in Season 2 is pretty damn cool as well.
Badass Walter: After being removed from the amber Walter is not very with it. Almost childlike, but he still has his smarts as shown with what he does to Nina’s arm. But then after having a procedure to try and fix his brain he becomes different than the Walter we know. Somewhat reminiscent of the brief glimpse we get of Walter with his full brain back in the Season 2 episode “Grey Matters.” He is more assertive and not afraid to tell Etta and Simon they are being idiots. Towards the end, he takes out a whole building with an anti-matter bomb and just walks away. And he takes off William Bell’s hand which he will need later apparently. Walter was just getting shit done and it was pretty awesome to watch.
In Between: Assuming this future is a direct result of what has been happening this season, we find out about some stuff that has happened in between. The Observers take over. Walter ambers himself, Peter, Astrid and William Bell. Yep. William Bell is around… sort of. Apparently he did something rather unforgivable to Olivia. It seems a lot of people think she might be dead in this future. I am thinking she isn’t. I get that they have hinted at it happening in the current timeline and that some signs of that possibility are shown in this episode, but I am sticking with she is still alive. I am hoping suspended in some way so she hasn’t aged like the rest of the core team. I don’t know we shall see how this all goes and how they end up tying it into the current storyline.
Lots of stuff that I didn’t fit into the above sections:
- The Blade Runner style opening was sort of lost on me. I just figured it was a sci-fi style text crawl, but didn’t realize how close it mimicked Blade Runner since I have not seen that movie.
- Nina’s look is pretty crazy and Broyles is looking kind of rough.
- Is it weird Peter would name his child with Blue Olivia Henrietta? Like after the child he accidently had with her alternate? As the captain of the defense force for Olivia’s feelings, this seems kind of messed up.
- The red universe and its characters weren’t involved here. Maybe just no time for it. Maybe has something to do with what Jones does at season’s end. Maybe collapsing the universes results in some kind of merge? It seems after all the work we did to heal these worlds (like throwing away three seasons of history!) we might keep that universe around. Maybe after this season they are healed and separated again. Maybe I am making too much of this… only time will tell!
- Windmark (an Observer) is drinking water out of a flask. That particular sequence with Broyles was just great.
- Two codes in this episode. The one Walter puts in (052010) is the same as the one at Jacksonville and the date the last episode of Season 2 aired. The code Simon uses is 092112. September 21, 2012 is a Friday so it must be the date of the inevitable Fifth Season premiere. It must!
- Even if it was obvious to everyone that Etta was Olivia and Peter’s daughter, Etta and Peter’s reunion at the end was really nice. And I will say I didn’t pick up on Etta being short for Henrietta until they said it.
- I like the idea of Peter and Olivia working with their daughter to finish this show. Could be pretty great.
- I do wish Olivia was in this episode. Don’t worry guys she’s fine. She has to be… she must be!
- I assume everyone also made a joke while watching this that they saw the Observer this episode.
“Letters Of Transit” was pretty excellent and really a whole lot of fun. It also was a blast to speculate about which is part of the fun of Fringe. Should be interesting to see how this season’s arc finishes out and how they might transition back to this future plotline as the show progresses.