Fringe Observiews 5.02 In Absentia ~ Fringe Television - Fan Site for the FOX TV Series Fringe

Fringe Observiews 5.02 In Absentia

      Email Post       10/10/2012 12:23:00 AM      

Welcome to the Observiews for Season 5 of Fringe. I call them Observiews because they are more visual observations than deep thinking reviews, if that makes sense.
Screen caps from this episode are taken from Dialog is from

All observations are mine and therefore could be totally off the wall and/or wrong. I have not read or looked at any recaps or reviews. I could also have missed a few things, oh well…

4.12 Welcome To Westfield
OLIVIA: “What's she like? The other Olivia. I'm just curious.”
PETER: “I don't know, she's, uh -- she's driven. She's very, very stubborn. She doesn't like to lose. But she sees the best in people, even when they don't see it themselves.”

And just to eliminate any confusion of which Olivia I’m talking about I’ll quote Nina from
4.16 Nothing As It Seems.
NINA: “I suppose every version of you is stubborn.”

And this came to mind as well from 2.19 Brown Betty.
FICTIONAL PETER: “So what made you wanna be a detective?”
FICTIONAL OLIVIA: “I don't know. Uh, I, uh... I guess that I just always knew what it was I was meant to do.”
FICTIONAL PETER: “And what's that?”
FICTIONAL OLIVIA: “To care for people.”

Yep, that’s Olivia and Etta recognized all of that too… at least at the end.

Glyphs spelled: FAITH
I was thinking back to 1.02 The Same Old Story
WALTER: “Faith, never a bad thing to have.”

And look, we can play the Observer game again. Here he is walking by with his briefcase. How exciting.
But I was excited too soon because they are still all over, lol.

Last week we saw Peter’s version of the Observers coming and taking Etta, Peter looking at Olivia.
This week we get Olivia’s perspective.
And obviously there was more to her than just resting. She got caught in the blast.
Olivia wakes up from the nightmare with Peter right by her side.
PETER: “For us, it's like it all just happened a couple of months ago. But it didn't. She's here, and we're here. We're okay now.”
Aww, he’s holding her hand.

Meanwhile in the kitchen Walter is talking gibberish, or is he?
WALTER: “Not the thing working can't it's not… two hours ago the Christmas Tree Macy's Sale to have a nap.”
I’m sorry Walter but now you do sound you’re half a fruitcake short of Christmas, lol. 
He is wearing the device but no one knows what that thing is doing to him. He did speak Swedish and Portuguese as well.

Olivia is in the bathroom getting ready.
How many times has Olivia looked in a mirror and seen someone else staring back at her? What must if feel like now, being asleep for 20 years, waking up to a world she knows nothing about, being taking over by the Observers and meeting her adult daughter. 
There are a few pictures of Etta from different stages of her life.

As Olivia joins the group Etta is trying to make her welcome and comfortable.
Love the looks between them. It's almost like they are feeling each other out but in a good way I think.

Olivia asks Walter if he maybe has written down things because he always documents stuff. He said he can’t remember but everything is possible.
I was thinking back to 1.10 Safe. Walter was trying to find what he had hidden in the safety deposit boxes.
WALTER: “I’ve seen it here somewhere, what I hid in those banks… it must be – I kept very thorough records.” Unfortunately they weren’t very organized.

The other incident that comes to mind still makes me mad though was 
4.14 The End Of All Things. Because of Dr. Bishop’s notes David Robert Jones knew exactly how to trigger Olivia’s abilities. 

Etta informs them that even if there were files, Harvard has been taken over by the Observers 5 years ago and it is impossible to get in there. But of course that's not a problem for Walter, since he has done "acid".
I just love how Walter's face lights up when he thinks of drugs. How I shall miss that. 

There are tunnels beneath Harvard and of course Walter knew about them.
I was thinking back to 4.19 Letters Of Transit. 
WALTER: "Neither Belly or I ever left ourselves only one way out of a room."

As the team looks for the tunnels, one Observer at the building is staring suspiciously in their direction.
Does he know they are there?

The hatch is found and Walter exclaims "Yahtzee".
Don't you normally say "Bingo"? Must be the "Unifier" messing with his mind.

Down in the tunnels Walter was looking for something. Looks like the dragon is showing them the way.
There was one in 5.01 Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11 as well, was this the clue?

As soon as they entered the lab this is the first thing I noticed.
I thought back to all the great conversations that happened on a bench in the lab and since I only have 12 Observiews left (including this one), I'm going to reminisce a little.
The bench goes all the way back to 1.01 The Pilot. Olivia had conned Peter the con man in coming with her and helping with Walter.
Lol, "this might have started out as assignment but it became something more" (3.08 Entrada)

Then we have 1.11 The Dreamscape. Olivia had just been in the tank again and she found who she's looking for. Peter offered that he is here for her. 
In 4.09 Enemy Of My Enemy Elizabeth is crossing over to talk with Walter about helping Peter.
And in 4.22 Brave New World Part 2 Nina is having a conversation with Olivia.

Then the teams sees the rest of the lab. It's partially ambered.
Again I was thinking back to 1.01 The Pilot.
WALTER: "So much happened here. And so much is about to."

Walter figured out why he ambered the lab and where it started. Instead of writing things down he made a video.
And the blast pattern 
reminded me of 6.14 6B.

A Loyalist (Gael Manfretti) is roaming the building.
As they search his bag all they find is who he is and a bag of bread crumbs.

Although the team might be detected now they need to stay in order to find out what's on those tapes. On the shelf are a few books.
What I could make out was a book that says "Henry Kissinger". I'm not sure if he wrote it or if it is about him  and one book called "Before and After" And if this is indeed that book then it was turned into a movie as well. 

Olivia asks Walter if he could build a laser to get the video tape out of the amber. I love Walter's statement: If there is a will, there is a way. 

Because of the ambering of the lab, all the power is gone. The only way to get some is the Science building but for all they know it's not even the Science building anymore.
But... Etta has a way of getting information from the Loyalist.
And since Gael hasn't said much Etta compares him with an open book and that she's good at opening books.
It's funny cause so far I've seen quite a few books and even last week Walter was talking about them as well. 
She activates the device
He doesnt' look so good. 

Walter has to destroy a laser disc player in order to get the laser but he hesitates, lol.
WALTER: "Criterion collection, forgive me."

There is a pigeon flying through the lab and Walter comments that they still exist.
I was thinking back to 1.05 Power Hungry where Walter used pigeons to find Joseph Meegar.
And then again to 4.01 Neither Here Nor There where he kept a dead one in the fridge.
As the pigeon is flying through the lab, Olivia realizes why Gael is there. I'll get back to that. But Olivia still has her "1.04 The Arrival" skills. OLIVIA: "There are many things I'm not good at, too many, but one thing I can do, that I've always been able to do, that game, Concentration. Memory. Connecting things. Putting them together. See." Just love it!
Walter needs something from the office which gives Olivia the perfect opportunity to find out what Etta is doing.

Etta continues to torture Gael.
The top book on the stack is called "Broadway Babies"

And this is probably not what Olivia expected.
OLIVIA: "Etta what are you doing?"
Etta explains: "It's called an Angel Device. It stirs up and destabilizes every atom in his body. Full-charge steals around twenty five, thirty years. But this is a long way from a full charge. He's so disorientated by the process he loses the will to lie. Or he holds out until his heart fails. But most of them give us what we need to know."
A few things came to mind. 
- Angel Device made me think of 4.11 Making Angels 
where Neil Chung used September's device to detect which people need rescuing  from a miserable life. 
- destabilizes every atom 
I thought of 2.21 Over There Part 1
BRANDON: "Our cells need to separate on an atomic level. The problem is, when they come back together, they don't come back together with the same cohesion."
To which Walter response with: "As many atoms in each of us... as there are stars in the sky."
- stealing years kind of reminded me 3.07 The Abducted where the "candy man" was abducting children to steal their youth. 

Olivia wants to help Gael but basically is shut down by Etta.
ETTA: "He's not worth a single tear. Loyalists sell out their own kind like rats."
ETTA: "I know you just woke up, but look around you, Mom. Can't you see what the Observers have brought? This is war. And we're losing."
I can just see Olivia thinking that there's got to be a better way of getting information. 
I've said it before and I don't mind repeating it, Anna is exceptional in speaking with her face, haven't seen many others in the field who can do that. 

Walter needs Etta's silver necklace for soldering.
First I thought he wants the bullet, phew. I'm still waiting for the story on that.

In the back room Olivia is trying a different approach.
OLIVIA: "I don't believe that anybody's coming to look for you. See, I don't think that you're here because we were seen or because we triggered some sort of alert. I think that you came here to feed the birds. Look, I’m guessing you're probably not even supposed to be in this building, so even if you are missed, this would be the last place anybody would look. You need to tell her what she wants to know - now. You need to tell her before you get worse. You've already lost years of your life. Now come on. You must have something to live for. I'm trying to help you."
I've always admired Olivia for her compassion and empathy for people whether they were victims or criminals. And where others failed to get info, Olivia was able to go further. Earlier I mentioned the conversation Olivia had with Nina in 4.22 Brave New World Part 2.
NINA: "You've always had incredible compassion. It was your capacity for feeling that made William and Walter so sure that you were the perfect candidate for The Trials."

Or in 4.12 Welcome To Westfield, Walter is basically saying the same thing.
WALTER: "You were always very empathetic, even as a child. That's why you're such a great investigator -- you ability to empathize with the victims."

GAEL MANFRETTI: "Look... I'm not gonna survive this. And I’m not afraid to die, so I will tell her what she needs to know if you will go and tell my son I'm not coming home... And that I loved him very much. I don't want him to keep looking for me. I don't want him hoping he'll see me again. I've seen that too many times, people waiting for people who never come home."
Gail sounds very sincere and Olivia believes him. I'll get back to that at the end. 
And just as Etta is coming back to torture him some more Olivia makes that promise.
To Etta's surprise, Gael gives up what he knows.
To get in the building you need a two part code. One part is a number: 010567. I was trying to figure out what that number could mean, could be a date: 01/05/67 - doesn't ring a bell though. I did some searching and found two things that probably have nothing to do with it but thought they were kind of funny. The first one led me to this: Bell is just everywhere, lol. And the other one was that.
The second part of the code is himself or rather his iris.

As Olivia asks the team if they can beat an ocular scanner, Etta has to reveal her device. It was originally created to prepare Observers for time travel.
I don't blame them, beats having to carry a beacon around all the time. (4.15 A Short Story About Love)
I was also reminded of Alistair Peck from 2.17 White TulipHe implanted himself with Faraday mesh to create energy so he jump back in time. 
The portrayal of Gael being tortured looks similar to Peck traveling through time and also to William Bell as he disappears in 4.22 Brave New World Part 2.

Because of Gael's state they can't take him with them so they need a different plan.
Walter needs a sharp scalpell and his long-handled stainless spoon. Oh Walter, that's gross and you can't... but he can and rather easily. Urgh. 
I'm not gonna torture you and tell you up front that Walter uses pig's eyes. Phew!
When Walter was experimenting with the eye
of course 1.02 The Same Old Story came to mind. 
Also Gael's eye reminded me of the eye in 3.09 Marionette
Still shutter when I see this. 
Walter was also wondering what the term "in a pig's eye" means. This is what I found. 

Anyway, on with the story. Olivia is putting the bar code on Peter's face. She's not sure if she wants to understand this world. But...
that look on her face says so much. At least for me I see that nothing is lost in their relationship, that the attraction is still there and that she (he, both of them) is/are just waiting for the right moment. 
I'm a hopeless shipper and even if they still have to go through hell, I would like for them to be happy at the very end. 

Etta is next. To borrow one of the lines from 5.01 Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11.
Olivia: "There are just so many things that I want to tell her and so many things that I want to ask her." [But I don't know where to start]. My add-on. I think all versions of Olivia have had a hard time opening up to people, especially the ones closest to her. 

Then we get to see the continuation of a conversation that happened off screen. Etta thanked Olivia.
ETTA: "When I said it was logical for me to go turn the power on instead of you. That I know protocol if something goes off track and that Peter should go because he's the engineer. I appreciate you respecting my experience. 'Cause I know you'd rather it be you. I know you like to be in control. So do I."
Like mother, like daughter. I said it last week already that I could see Etta being just as stubborn. And Olivia does show respect. I could see the off screen conversation go similar to this: 
4.16 Nothing As It Seems
AGENT LEE: "They're probably closed by now. We should get a move on. At this point, I have no choice. I need to call for reinforcements. I have to inform Broyles."
PETER: "If you call Broyles, he's gonna know that Olivia was working on the case."
OLIVIA: "I just spoke to Broyles. He's gonna have backup meet you at the facility. He said he'd deal with me later. So go."
Or maybe Olivia was remembering the situation from 4.06 Those We've Left Behind
Peter ended up wearing the portable Faraday cage because he is the scientist who knew what to do if something goes wrong. 
And no matter what Olivia thought, she still has my highest respect. 

So Peter and Etta are of to the Science building to turn the power pack on. As they are waiting at the elevator, this Observer stares at them.
Just like the other Observer sensed something in the beginning of the episode.

Back at the lab Olivia has another conversation with Gael.
OLIVIA: "Why does someone join the Loyalists?"
GAEL MANFRETTI: "Pain. There were Resistance Fighters near my building. They were gonna blow up a city bus full of them."
OLIVIA: "Invaders."
GAEL MANFRETTI: "My children were outside. One of them was killed. My oldest boy."
OLIVIA: "I'm sorry. I know something about losing a child."
I recall a conversation that Walter had with Olivia in 2.15 Peter
WALTER: "You can't imagine what it's like to lose a child."
I always thought that there was more to her expression than just surprise at Walter's revelation, like she has experienced that already as well, but... I'm probably wrong. 

GAEL MANFRETTI: "I'll never understand you people. You can't win. The world would be a much safer place if you just stopped trying to fight them."
A safer world? I don't agree with you Gael. And... the Fringe team will win, I'm almost certain. The one thing I don't know is at what cost. 

Back at the Science building Peter and Etta arrived at the checkpoint. After Etta successfully entered the code, Peter is attempting to beat the ocular scanner.
But since Gael isn't supposed to be in this area, security is alerted.
The walkie-talkie goes off at the lab. Olivia has to force Gael to answer and come up with a story.
He says that he had to change a fuse. At first the security guards didn't believe him but then Gael said that Number 19 told him. That must have impressed those two guards because they granted access for Peter and Etta.
Now, #19 could be a big wig Observer. I'm gonna throw a crazy theory out there. We know that Simon Foster was found in Amber along with William Bell. We also know as we find out later that experiments have been done on Simon but there is no sign of Bell. 
Bell always had a big ego and I can totally see him selling his services to the Observers/Loyalist. So here it goes.
Number 19 could be an episode reference and ultimately leading to William Bell. 
In 1.19 The Road Not Taken, William Bell is mentioned in conjunction with ZFT and of course Olivia gets more confirmation that Bell and Walter experimented on her. 
In 2.19 Brown Betty, William Bell was communicating with Nina from an alternate universe. 
In 3.19 LSD, Bell had taken over Olivia and the team was trying to get her back by going into Olivia's mind. Bell was all over the place. 
And in 4.19 Letters Of Transit, Walter cut off Bell's hand in order to gain access to something. 

So there you have it, lol.

Anyway, it worked. Peter and Etta are making their way to the power station. Before they get there, they are passing labs.
The first time I saw this shot in the promo for 5.02 In Absentia, and looking at it in close up, I thought this for sure looked like Olivia or maybe I should say Anna. I still think it does but I'm glad nothing was done to her. Phew. 

But then Etta sees Simon.
No wonder she wants to take retribution.
Peter assures her that there will be a time for it and that they will pay for what they've done. But first they need to turn on the power.

GAEL MANFRETTI: "Do you really think you can win?"
OLIVIA: "Well, we have to win. So that all the people that died, including your son, didn't die for nothing."
I think Olivia is getting to him. 

The power returns to the lab. Because the lights could be seen from outside though, Walter needs to turn them off and he does it in his fashion.
It still works. He ordered it from Television in 1.18 Midnight
I thought it interesting that it also turned off the record player. 
The song playing on the record player is “Nights in white Satin”. The recording year was 1967. "67" is part of the code Gael gave Olivia, hm. 

Walter has fun lasering.
How invigorating!

Peter and Etta return. Olivia asks what happened and Peter filled her in.
Olivia knows something about losing a partner as well, more than once actually. First John Scott and then Charlie Francis

OLIVIA: "Etta. I'm really sorry about Agent Foster."
HENRIETTA BISHOP: "Freedom has its costs. Simon knew that."
OLIVIA: "Where are you taking him [Gael]?"
HENRIETTA BISHOP: "He's useless to us now. I'm turning him over to the Resistance."
OLIVIA: "He says no one ever comes back."
HENRIETTA BISHOP: "And Resistance Fighters don't come back when they're taken in by Loyalists. HQ will get whatever else they can from him and dispose of him, and the World will be a tiny bit safer."
OLIVIA: "Look, I know you're upset right now, but he did give us the code."
HENRIETTA BISHOP: "Yeah, of course he did. It's natural human instinct. To live as long as possible. It's the same quality they use to turn us into slaves."
OLIVIA: "He joined them in order to protect what was left of his family, you know, his son."
HENRIETTA BISHOP: "He's a liar. That's what they're trained to do. He has no son. He gave you the code because he saw in your eyes a weakness. He saw in your eyes that you could be manipulated, that maybe, maybe he could convince you to let him go. But that's not gonna happen, Sweetheart."
Being united with your daughter for only a few days and you're already pulling your hair out? 

OLIVIA: "Etta, I understand how hurt you must be."
HENRIETTA BISHOP: "You don't know my world."
OLIVIA: "You're right. I don't know your world. But I had hoped for you that, wherever you were, you weren't hardened by what had happened to you. And it's not that I don't see what the Observers have brought, I do. But what concerns me more is what they've taken away."
HENRIETTA BISHOP: This is The World. It is what it is."
And to make things worse. 
GAEL MANFRETTI: "143 Dunstable Street. Number Seven. His name is Oscar."
OLIVIA: "I keep my word."
GAEL MANFRETTI: "I know you do."

Etta said that Gael saw a weakness in Olivia's eyes, that she can be manipulated. Again, I wouldn't see Olivia's compassion as a weakness. It's a strength to be compassionate in a situation like this. I probably would be more like Etta as well. Gael seemed genuine to me and if he's lying why would he give her an address, knowing she most likely keep her promise. Because we know, Olivia keeps her promises. 
I had to put this whole conversation in there because it was just too good not to. 

As Walter and Peter retrieve the camera from the Amber, Etta releases Gael.

HENRIETTA BISHOP: "You don't have a son, do you?"
GAEL MANFRETTI: "No. I was hoping, right up until the last minute, that she could somehow convince you. You were right about me. I became a Loyalist because I’m a coward."
Wait, what? You don't have a son? Why did you give Olivia an address? Or are you lying now? Is this a trick? Is he going to keep his word?
HENRIETTA BISHOP: "Get out of here."
GAEL MANFRETTI: "I'm gonna fight. For the Resistance. I want you to know that."
HENRIETTA BISHOP: "You don't have to lie anymore. I already let you go."
GAEL MANFRETTI: "Well, that's why this time I'm hoping you believe me. I mean, this can come in useful. There aren't many Resistance Fighters with an active Tat I.D. You said 'I saw something in her eyes'. You were right. There was a certainty that I've never seen before, and I don't know how to explain it other than to say I felt... for the first time... that we were supposed to win. Why are you letting me live?"
HENRIETTA BISHOP: "Something that I saw in her eyes as well. Pity."
GAEL MANFRETTI: "Pity for who?"
HENRIETTA BISHOP: "For all of us."

The tape is still playable.
RECORDED WALTER: "Whoever you are, if you found this tape, you've retrieved it from Amber. If you are watching this, then you know very well that the Observers have invaded. I am most probably dead, and unfortunately my plan to stop them has failed. I have documented all the parts of the plan on videotapes. You must recover each tape and follow the instructions on each of those tapes to retrieve all the parts of the plan. Once you do so, what you need to do will be clear to you. If successful, this plan will restore us and rid the world of the Observers. You were chosen for this. This is your destiny. I understand if you're frightened. It will not be easy, but I trust that the same will that brought you here will keep you going."

I was thinking about 3.06 6955 kHz  where they found the coordinates for the different parts of the machine. What Walter on the tape is telling them sound somewhat like that. 

As they watch the tape, Olivia gets a message from Etta. She really did let him go. And she is on her way back.
I kind of associated Gael saying he's a coward and then running away through a field with Wizard of Oz, which has been referenced in Fringe many times as well.  
Olivia made a difference in Etta's life today. Maybe this was the first step to a better mother/daughter relationship in the midst of the world they live in now. I just love that face. Olivia you never fail!!!!

Okay, one more look at the recording. 
RECORDED WALTER: "...but I trust that the same will that brought you here will keep you going. It is important that you follow the tapes. You must begin this journey right away. You are Humanity's only hope! Now you must retrieve the first tape."
That's a big charge to the team. But knowing them and what they have already gone through so far, they can find them and complete the mission. As I said earlier, there will be a cost to pay, just don't what it is. 
I also have a feeling that another machine will come into play and to rid themselves of the Observer, some time travelling to the past is necessary. This of course is just me speculating. 

Whatever the plan, so far it has been amazing following them. 

Have Faith!


panda said...

Excellent points cortexifan. Thanks so much.

Zort70 said...

Very nice observations as always.

I can't help feeling that letting Manfretti go was a big mistake and he loyalties won't switch so easily.

cortexifan said...

thanks. Yeah I have the same feeling. As i said I'm sure who he lied to.

milostanfield said...

I really like that they have made Gael's honesty and motives so ambiguous. He could go either way, fighter or nark, and with the evidence we're given it is wonderfully up in the air. Ethics and motives in wartime are unclear and contradictory.

I'm inclined to agree with Zort70 and cortexifan that he is unreliable because Gael is a coward, and cowards will always take the path of least resistance to self preservation. For an individual organism, flight or fight are both valid survival strategies.

But Gael is also a self admitted coward, usually the first step toward becoming more. The bravest person is not the soldier unafraid of battle, but the coward who does what needs to be done despite being scared @#$%less. So I'm holding out some hope for this character. If he can feel himself part of something larger than just being a surviving organism, he may become a fighter after all.

Besides, Eric Lange is the perfect actor to to play into this, and I would love to see more of him.

Anonymous said...

hi, great work as always, i read the first part of the code is Joel's birthday but I haven't check it

Anonymous said...

oh and my name is Cristina

Tim said...

Did anyone notice that as Peter retrieves the video recorder from Amber, there's a little heart burned into the Amber (on the screen left side in Amber as Peter moves off screen left)? I'm not sure the significance, if any. But the camera hung there a little too long, which makes me think they wanted someone to notice (as they always do). I don't have a timecode, but it's right as Peter pulls the recorder from Amber.

cortexifan said...

Hi, you are right. It could stand for Joel's b-day.
This is what imdb says.

I'll go watch it right now.

Zepp said...

Etta ; "You don't know my world."

Thanks cortexifan, however this great work, as always, thorough and complete. This episode, 5.02, presents us with a bit more personality from Etta. She's a distinctly bitter, sad and needy. It hurts visible by their abandonment, even if it was as accidental, which left her parents when she was still very small. Etta, who now, through an action itself, has his parents before him, does not hide his bitterness and unrest as angry person, that is. Certainly, Peter, and especially Olivia, circumvent know all these conflicting feelings of Etta, to put it in fraternal paths of personal harmony. But first, undoubtedly has the Observers ahead ...

Phi_pie said...

what if Etta has residual cortexiphan powers and, just like her mother when she got scared back in Jacksonville, caused a small blast that maybe sent her to another universe? that may explain the burn marks on Olivia's face.

cortexifan said...

that is an interesting thought. We'll keep it in mind.

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