Fringe Review: Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11 ~ Fringe Television - Fan Site for the FOX TV Series Fringe

Fringe Review: Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11

      Email Post       9/30/2012 04:48:00 PM      

“Resistance is futile.”

While we’re all sad that Fringe has only 13 episodes left, there’s something to be said for the showrunners knowing when a story is going to end, in time to craft a beautiful ending. In the past, one of Fringe’s strengths is that it forces us to ask questions. But its greatest strength has been that it reminds us that questions can change, as in last season’s switch from “will they or won’t they” to “who are they, and is identity a stable category?”

This season, with its focus on the darkest of timelines and the possibility of a dramatic, scorched-earth finale, the foremost question in my mind is, “Can this future be changed?” I like the vagueness of it: a changed future could imply that the Fringe team returns to “our” time, and Peter and Olivia raise Etta. But a changed future could also imply that the anti-Observer revolution is successful, and this future world can start to remake itself. (And re-stock coffee and chickens, because tea and “egg sticks” sound almost as bad as the obliteration of freedom.)

That might not be the right question, though. Perhaps we will learn that changing the future makes it worse (again). That our world is inevitably on decline. That our choices are between fast destruction, like that averted in last season’s finale, and slow death by carbon monoxide poisoning. It seems unlikely that a show would end with the destruction of the world as we know it, but Fringe is at its best when it is committing impossibilities with wild, joyful abandon.

Regardless of where it ends, the journey looks to be fascinating. I’ve seen a few reviews that have kvetched about the similarity of this dystopia to others (Bladerunner, especially in the market scene), but I like it. Gray, sad, slightly dirty, with a combination of old and new “tech” used by the numerous people who live on the border between law and revolution.

The characters, too, continue to fascinate. Olivia and Peter have a new set of relationship problems that stems from their different reactions to the loss of Etta. Etta has to learn how to be parented—by people who don’t look that much older than her. And most heart-breaking? Walter, who regained so much mental power in last season’s “Letters of Transit,” only to lose it yet again, attempting to keep the plan for revolution safe from the Observers.

Peter, Olivia, and Astrid were all business in this episode. They had a few moments in which they reacted to the horrible future they had a hand in creating (“Not by half…”), but it was Walter whose reactions gave us a chance to really think about everything that has been lost: the pleasure of music, the destruction of cities, the egg sticks. The most beautiful scene in the episode was Etta kissing Walter, acknowledging him as her grandfather, even if she can’t remember him. The most tragic scene was Walter finding music, and hope, amid a cityscape nearly as ravaged as his brain.

What a Miserable Future:

• Why would someone pay $3000 for walnuts? Are they good for anything other than a quick snack, or on salads?

• The Markham scene was so odd. May he die a hero’s death, no matter how creepy the Olivia-as-coffee-table thing was.

• Every time someone says “William Bell’s hand” a line from a Pearl Jam song goes through my head: “Who’s got the brain of JFK, and what does it mean to us now?” Is anyone else having this problem?

• If you watch the promo for the rest of the season closely, I think you can spot a much-loved actor. The back of his head, at least.

• My work schedule is fairly busy right now, and while I’ll try to post reviews as soon as possible, they might not happen until Sunday.

Four out of four dandelions.

Josie Kafka reviews Fringe, The Vampire Diaries, and Game of Thrones for And she, like Peter, is not a loyalist.


Anonymous said...

IMO the most beautiful moment was Olivia seeing Etta, and how she reacted to that, the shock, the disbelief, the old grief, the pain, everything that she managed to hide , as Olivia does, all there in her eyes and face,
truly awesome acting from Anna Torv.

Too little Olivia Dunham, and too much Etta taken her place.

If they want Etta and Olivia and Peter the entire season, bad choice,
Peter has nothing mature, Olivia has it, always had that more mature than her age, being damaged and abused does that to people,
but I do not want Etta center with Walter for the last season.

Wyman only writing for Noble, he gets all the interesting storylines, again.

I thought Olivia and Peter were also getting their own arc, looks like it will be another round of Olivia and Peter, and another version of will they won't they.

Olivia has already taken the step (lousy lines, great acting by Anna), but something will happen that will drive them apart again

Sad that Wyman could not think of an original storyline for them,
I was convinced that September had a connection with Olivia, but all gone to Walter.

BTW. Fringe means what it is, on the fringe, outsiders, etc,
I find it strange that they keep celebrating Walter as the good guy, while he damaged so many people, including children, see Olivia,

and that him being crazy is a reason to care for him.

Yet a deaf guy gets shot from the back , a little person is being used as a bomb to die on railwaytrack,
and Markham, who was so smart and had an eye on Olivia in a funny way, has been made a creep.

And Olivia being used and abused by Bell and Walter, stepfather, and tortured and brainswashed atc, now the ultimate object, a table.
everyone was in amber in dignity, only Olivia was being used again.

Hoping for Olivia back central, as that will be my only reason for watching, I hated 419, and I dislike the nazi Observers, and Peter cannot handle a gun, certainly not 2,
that is Olivias task.
Peter is already the smart guy, the wirecutting guy etc, if he laso takes the gun , what is there left for BAMF Olivia?

45 said...

This kills me about you Olivia fans. You hate seeing anybody else DO SOMETHING. You hate seeing Peter be a MAN and act like one. You hate seeing him have some action and not seeing him sit on his butt throughout the entire episode. Grow up. I am so sick of you Olivia fans whining over the fact that NOT EVERYTHING IS ABOUT OLIVIA FREAKING DUNHAM.

Zepp said...

Thanks for your excellent post review, Josie Kafka. Decidedly, so I could watch this episode 501, the old Fringe team in 2036, went on to act as the "family Dunham-Bishop" without those rules FBI once, with the goals, first to survive and then finish Observers fascists. A group with a motto like, have to escape, to finish them off, or something tipo. And, this family of warriors also see who emerges with leadership and courage, Etta. Due to circumstantial issues, Etta, knowing of her current problems, I see that it becomes the center of attention, which was previously Olivia and Peter, to solve field problems. The problem is that even in matters of survival, this "family Dunham-Bishop," may supplant the personal questions among parents Peter and Olivia, and her daughter (who was 4 years old when she disappeared), a leader in these actions? Etta, seems unmistakable, is the leader of this group now formed, and that is mainly Olivia will accept this situation?

I do not know, but Olivia seemed a little lost, listless, helpless and without initiative. And other words, it has not seemed have woken up post amber, still be in that lethargy of sleep, I do not know. Peter surprised me positively, taking command of events with energy and detachment, along with her ​​daughter Etta. Olivia has in its memory a little girl of 4 years, and Etta is now a grown woman and formed personality, that's where I think the point of conflict between the two, mother and daughter, I think. Therefore I say that in this episode, Olivia also surprised me yes, but negatively.

Anonymous said...

I love this show, the characters, the actors, the writers etc. What i don't love is the first 2 trolls invading this blog.

Anonymous said...

these two trolls are so boring,45 is easily recognized by its rhetorical discourse. she is PaceyWitterlove on fringe forum and every week she makes a tumblr to disturb the fandom

pMaestro said...

I think it's especially poignant to see that Peter, just like his father, will do *anything* to save his child, when push comes to shove. So the question is: will he *be* a better man than his father?

milostanfield said...

Obviously they will need to fill in some backstory about what happened between September's last visit with Walter ("They are coming!"), what happened during the time before the takeover, and what happened to Etta after the takeover. Flashbacks within episodes would be the obvious way to do this, as they could be precisely located in the narrative to provide needed info.

But could they could do an entire flashback episode? I can think of pros and cons for this. I think it would be damn cool. They could do it like they did the 80's flashback episodes "Peter" and "Subject 13", even reverting to the original title opening credits that marked episodes in the BlueVerse, like the special 80's credits they did for the two 80's episodes. So our own time would be the "retro" from 2036 the way the 80's was the "retro" from our own time. Seeing those places and sets (the lab, Olivia's apartment, the Bishop's home) would actually be quite poignant now that we have seen what 2036 is like (EggSticks!).

One big con would be how it might disrupt the momentum of the headlong rush of this new "serial/movie" format. And with only 13 it would hard to squeeze a retro episode in, or a special "Brown Betty" or "LSD", with so much final story to tell. To work within these constraints the retro episode would not only have to provide needed backstory, it would also have to advance the main 2036 story as much as the other Season 5 episodes. A tall order. Also, although Fringe for the most part has been blessed with excellent child acting, there can be some risk working with child actors, so a retro episode centered on young Etta would also be a tall order.

If there was a retro "back to the present" episode, what would be your choice for one: the September/Walter preparations for the invasion, Peter Olivia and Etta together as a family, or Etta's life after she was lost to Peter and Olivia? Some combination? Or something else?

seedoubkeyou said...

I am not crazy about this whole future storyline, not one bit, but while watching this episode -- especially after Walter's comment on what a terrible future this was-- I found myself suddenly thinking of what Scrooge says towards the end of A Christmas Carol, "...Answer me one question." Scrooge asks." Are these the shadows of the things that Will be, or are they shadows of things that May be, only?"

Zepp said...


The Wyman seems already said that we would have a line in the episode "Brown Betty," or "LSD" in these last thirteen, let's wait and see. And its these basic choices, I wanted to know how and why Olivia, Walter, Astrid, Peter and William Bell were to appear in amber?! I understand that this technology the amber is of the other side, the alt-universe, Walternate's world, not the blue universe, our team Fringe. So I would want an episode like "back to the present," these occurrences that led everyone to "take refuge" in amber. Do they (Olivia, Walter, Peter, Astrid and Bell) were there to talk to Walternat and Fauxlivia, to place themselves voluntarily in amber?

That would be the "retro", I wanted to watch, now inside the final 13 episodes of Fringe.

Anonymous said...

I liked this first episode of season 5, but I'm really starting to wonder if Peter and Olivia really belong together, as their love story unfolds like a nightmare, I think Olivia would have been so more happy if she never met Peter, and also I think a third reboot telling the same thing over and over again = will they be together again is getting boring and unrespectfull for a real fans audience who were told that this final season would be a reward, what I see is just the same old story again again and again, just put them apart , and make Olivia be happy... Fab

45 said...

I'm sorry, Olivia would be more happy if she never met Peter? Unless I haven't been watching the same show as you, PETER was least of Olivia's problems. WALTER was the one who experimented on her, her stepfather abused her, John Scott betrayed her and the country, Olivia found out she was part of the cortexiphan trials, William bell possessed her, her daughter was taken from her.
Peters ONLY crime was the whole fauxlivia deal, other than that, most of Peter and olivias "problems" were things they had NO control over. Btw, PETERS happiness matters, too. He has been through hell for the last 4 years and it makes no sense for olivia fans to act like Peter is the bad guy.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to agree with 45 just this time. If Peter doesn't make her happy, the problem is hers, because he's wonderful. I have the opposite view, Olivia's rigidness and her incapability to be happy is what prevents her, and Peter by extension, from being happy. In the end, I agree with both 45 and Fab, they're better off apart, but for a different reason.

Anonymous said...

Polivia belong together, i believe that in the end they will get the happiness they SO much deserve. :)

45 said...

BTW, Olivia didn't "meet" Peter, she sought after him to get to Walter Bishop because her boyfriend was sick. SHE was the one who asked Peter to stay so Peter stayed. So stop with the peter blame game. Olivia and Peter are NOT perfect people and they have been through so much and losing a child is the topping of the cake. Peter decided to not give up on Etta (the same way Walter did but funny nobody criticized Walter for that) while Olivia decided to move on and keep fighting. None of them were "right" and instead of being all "resentful" towards each other, they TALKED ABOUT IT cause you know, they are adults.

Name me one couple who didn't have issues? Sure Peter and Olivia are always back and forth but most of them were for reasons they had no control over

Olivia's kidnapping (although they weren't exactly an official couple then)
Fauxlivia deceit
William bell (again, not PETER'S FAULT)
peter not existing (NOT HIS FAULT EITHER)
losing a child (we don't know the whole story yet)

Anonymous said...


Everybody criticized Walter for that.

45 said...

I must have not heard any of this, with all the John Noble deserves an emmy and walter is the best character eva posts.

milostanfield said...

@ Zepp

An amber "retro" episode would be a good choice, and dramatically exciting. Enough there to warrant a full episode, and advance the 2036 story because we could learn more about September and Walter's machine plans.

On the one hand, Olivia was either apparently under attack or caught up in something, and had to decide to amber herself suddenly and on her own in a defensive move, going through what so many innocent people in the RedVerse had to endure, suspended with one's last horrifying thoughts ("Amber 31422"). She probably knew that was going to happen. What thought would you carry if you suddenly had to amber yourself intentionally?

On the other hand, Peter, Walter, and Astrid may have planned their ambering in steps. If so, what were their thoughts and actions during this process? Since we know and love these characters so well, we would be right there with them and their feelings, so lots of character and dramatic possibilities.

And third, how DID Bell get into the mix? I have a feeling he was an unwilling participant in the ambering, but there's plenty of room for a classic Fringe twist there.
Amber tech has been around in the BlueVerse in some form ("Ghost Network", "6B") since the beginning, but since the original timeline now only exists in the experiences and memories of Olivia and Peter, that's all out the window. The Redverse probably shared amber tech with the "other side" during the detente of the S04 timeline, so the tech was out there.

One issue I have with amber is viv a vis the Observers. Given their advanced tech and near omniscience, they would surely know how to extract people from amber. Hell, amber gypsies, common street criminals, can do it. The baldies certainly know what an important threat the Fringe team represents and would know they were ambered. If I were the lead baldie I would be extracting everyone to find them. So somehow they must NOT have known the team was ambered, and could care less about extracting humans, since we are just animals to them. I dunno.
I personally would like to see Etta's life after her separation from her family. If this were a novel instead of a 13 ep TV/Movie, that would be a no brainer. We could fill in her character so she would be as well known to us as the other mains. We could also learn more about the world we are going to spend the remainder of the series in. But the mains would not be in most of it. Maybe an ep centered on Simon and Etta BEFORE the Fringe team is unambered would work. I may have to reluctantly give up on that and go with an amber retro.

Zepp said...

@ milostanfield

Yes, seeing that side, like you wrote the Etta would be the objective of most plausible approach to a retro, with respect to the stories now being told, I also agree. What we have just are scenes of a Sunday walk in the park, the arrival of observers, abduction (?) of Etta and an intense white light, and besides that, nothing else. Then only appear scenes, withdrawal of the amber, Peter, Walter and Astrid ... If we had a special episode, I think it would be this "segment of lost time", I think. The main figure, this episode could be the retro Etta, yes, no doubt. On the other hand, I also see the "arrival of Observers" at sunny park with if it was an act of invasion total, global, and not just to kidnap the daughter of Olivia and Peter. This timeline lost: "The little Etta, in the park" <---- | | -----> "Etta an adult, agent Fringe in 2036," is that could Wyman, used to make this special episode I think. This space of time is "open", does not have any references, and what you have is only its result in 2036, I think. Then, in my view would be that episode retro special.

I also like a lot of RedVerse. A hypothetical "escape" to the other side, to use the technology of amber, for Walter, Peter, Olivia, Astrid, aided by William Bell, could explain, somehow, this "time travel inside the amber" . Within this context, they could meet again with their copies, Walternate and Fauxlivia , as well as review the Lincoln and the taxi driver, Henry, is not it? No doubt that would be great!

Anonymous said...

I mean, if Peter was saved by his real father (Walternate), if september didn't disturb the course of things, Walter would have never crossed over and never disturbed the balance of universes, Olivia would have never met Peter, and certainly wouldn't have been treated with cortexiphan (in order to bring him back to his verse), so none approached by John Scott and Broyles and the Fringe Division, not killed twice once by Walternate (because of Peter's abduction) and by Walter the second time etc... What I'm saying is that I'm tired of this crapy relationship between P&O, and that they deserved to be happy, even if it means they are not meant to end up together, because their love affair is too ruined by too many deceptive situations, they should be united now or apart now, so they can move on, and win the battle against the observers. Fab

cortexifan said...

awesome review!
I kind of have the feeling too that we will somehow end up back at the beginning (beginning=relative term).

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