Monday, October 1, 2012

'Fringe' premiere recap: 'Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11'

Courtesy Fox
BY MELISSA HARKNESS

The fifth season of Fringe opens with a little girl playing in a park. She is blowing the little winged seeds off of a dandelion top. The scene widens and we see her parents, Peter and Olivia. Suddenly an explosive shockwave rocks the park and there are Observers marching across the green grass, with little Etta in the way.

Peter's nightmare reveals that Etta was lost in the initial invasion. As Peter wakes, we are comforted by the sight of Walter in his boxers on the couch, snoring.

The next order of business, of course, must be to find Olivia. Walter had sent her to retrieve a device that September had hidden in Grand Central Station. Apparently, September had been working with Walter to defeat the Observers. Walter has all the parts of the plan in his brain, but September scrambled them up so the Observers could not read his mind. The conversation ends when Walter inadvertently eats an egg stick and declares this a “miserable future”. Walter is very particular about his food.

The group heads off to find Olivia and are astonished at the devastation wrought on the world they knew.

Yes Walter, it is a travesty. The Observers have built carbon dioxide generators on every continent to increase the amount in the atmosphere. This will result in decreasing the normal humans (natives) lifespan to around 45 years. They soon find Olivia's last known location. Unfortunately, while Olivia was encased in Amber, she has since been cut out by Amber Gypsies. They find out from the Gypsies that Olivia was sold to Ed Markham, the shady bookseller from the earlier seasons. Ed is now old and deluded. The poor little bookseller thinks that Olivia will love him when he figures out how to wake her up. Needless to say, Peter takes her away, but Walter is captured by the Observers.

When Olivia is released form the Amber, the first thing she sees is Etta. Poor little Etta doesn't really even know how old she is. She was 3years, 1 month, and 5 days old when the Observers came. And Olivia has thought of her every minute since then. This touching reunion is interrupted, however, by her realization that Walter isn't part of it.

Walter is currently strapped to a chair being interrogated by Captain Windmark. Captain Windmark appears to be the highest ranking Observer we have met so far. He is determined to learn what Walter knows. So, Walter thinks of music to try and hide his thoughts. Which if course, the Capt. hears. Captain Windmark assures him that they do not understand music, they merely tolerate it.

Walter: "Music helps you shift perspective. To see things differently if you need to."
Capt. Windmark: "See things? Like hope?"
Walter: "Yes, very much like that."
Capt. Windmark: "But there is no hope. For you. Nothing grows from scorched earth."

Walter's interrogation goes downhill from there. Walter, who was already an unbalanced soul, is subjected to further mental invasion. Capt. Windmark is determined to find out the plan or turn Walter into a vegetable. He doesn't care which.

Meanwhile, the Fringe Team have gone to a resistance hideout looking for help to rescue Walter. We learn that Peter did not try to help them save the world after the Observers came. He stayed in Boston, obsessed with finding his daughter while Walter and Olivia went to New York. He couldn't stop looking for her, whatever the cost. Well, Peter is a Bishop after all. Both Walters did the same for him. Our Walter set in motion the destruction of both Universes to save him. While Walternate was perfectly willing to destroy our Universe and possibly Peter himself in retaliation. Hopefully, we will get to see which side of the family Etta takes after soon.

The resistance proves useful in locating Walter and identifying September's device.It is a Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11. Sounds like something Marvin the Martian would say, doesn't it? It's purpose is to unify the partitioned thoughts in Walter's mind to retrieve the plan that September placed there. Now, they just need Walter. After everything else, his rescue is pretty straight forward. Run here, shoot there, and they're out.

Back at Etta's place they show Walter the device, which lights up as soon as he touches it. Only to find that there are no thoughts left to unify. Walter doesn't remember anything about a plan, or even that he cut off William Bell's hand. He angrily throws the device away and leaves. Etta explains to them that Walter's memories have most likely been destroyed during the interrogation and will never return. At which point, everyone looks around hopelessly.

In the morning, we see Walter wake and wander outside still in his boxers and bathrobe. He finds a suncatcher made out of cd's next to an old taxi cab. He rummages around and pulls out a cd labeled “Trip Mix 6” and puts it in the taxi's cd player. The relief that washes over his face as the music plays is profound. Perhaps this is the shift in perspective that he needs. It is at this moment that he sees a flower growing in the street. A yellow dandelion growing in the Observers' scorched earth.

The next episode of Fringe airs Friday, Oct. 5 at 9 p.m. EST on FOX.

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