"Fringe" was a whole new kind of crazy in the episode "In Absentia." This episode felt very different from the last, but also not quite like it was before the great leap to 2036. The team's only hope is to find Walter's Big Plan to save the world. His first idea -- to use the Thought Unifier from the previous episode -- continues to fail. It only serves to make Walter (John Noble) speak out of sequence with a little Portuguese and Swedish thrown in. But then the team comes up with a new plan. This is the plan to find The Plan.
1. Find the old lab
Harvard, where the old lab is located, is now taken over by Observers, but Walter knows how to get in using tunnels. The tunnels begin outside any area where they can be observed, and they are able to use them to get to the lab. It has grown very old. An old video camera that Walter assumes must contain The Plan has been ambered.
2. De-amber the video camera while torturing a Loyalist
A man happens upon the lab, and the team nabs him. Etta (Georgina Haig) says he's a "Loyalist": someone who does the Observers' bidding. When they realize that the lab has no power, they decide to break into the old science building to turn it on, but they need to know what's waiting for them and how to get in using information obtained from the Loyalist.
Etta uses a device created by the Loyalists that inflicts a form of age-torture, making the Loyalist grow old really fast. He eventually breaks down after a talk with Olivia (Anna Torv), but Etta still plans to kill him. Olivia is flabbergasted that her daughter has become so hardened. She knows that they need information from the Loyalist, but tries to talk her daughter out of killing the man unnecessarily. Eventually, Etta lets him go when she realizes that her mother pities her.
Meanwhile, Walter reluctantly smashes his old Laserdisc player in order to retrieve a laser that will help them remove amber from around the video camera.
3. Fashion an eyeball made from pig's eye
The Loyalist explains that the science building has a security system using an eye scan, and the Loyalist is the only person there who has an eyeball that will get them in. Walter says it will be an easy procedure, and ominously asks for a scalpel and spoon right before a commercial break.
Of course, Walter would never pop a man's eyeball out, but doesn't have the communication skills to explain what he needs without completely freaking out everyone but Etta. Instead, he turns one of his many pig's eyes into a replica.
4. Use "The Clapper" at least once
Etta and Peter (Joshua Jackson) go undercover as Loyalists to break into the science building. The building houses disgusting, horrible, and unimaginable experiments. One of the experiments consists of Etta's friend's living head with no body, which almost causes Etta to botch the job. Once Peter and Etta find the power and turn it on, Walter uses The Clapper to turn off the lights in the lab so they don't risk being seen.
5. Find a new plan via Betamax tape
With the power restored, they are able to play the Betamax recording found in the video recorder. It shows Walter explaining that he's most likely dead, causing a mini heart-sink. Betamax Walter also explains that The Plan is in pieces on other Betamax tapes that have been hidden. The first step of the next plan is the find the next tape.
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