It takes a bit of getting used to the new "Fringe" format. When you are abruptly transported from 2015 to 2036, you can lose your senses for a bit -- which is exactly what a "Fringe" viewer wants and hopes to have happen when watching their favorite mind-bending show. The episode "Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11" did not disappoint in the mind-bending arena, or any other.
Observers playing God
By 2036, the Observers have transformed our planet into a surreal, pollution-riddled, fake-food eating hell. New York resembles something you'd see after an apocalypse -- except people live there. The Observers must be true evil, since they don't care about cleanliness or having great shows like "Fringe." Instead, the future is littered with broken-down old cars and "Maverick" reruns. Oh, the humanity!
Need more proof the the Observers are evil? They can only survive when they are spewing carbon monoxide into the atmosphere and lowering the oxygen content. This causes humans to live to an average age of 45. They also have something called "egg sticks" for breakfast, which Walter (John Noble) and Peter (Joshua Jackson) both agree are disgusting. Ewww.
The quick shift of the show into the year 2036 is also a way to put viewers into Olivia's (Anna Torv) mind. Olivia has been abruptly transported through time after being tossed out of the amber prison, into which she had stored herself back in 2015 when the evil Observers first took over the world.
In the 2036 world, Amber Olivia was taken by "amber gypsies," one of whom notified authorities soon after the team -- which consists of Peter, Walter, Etta (played by Georgina Haig), and Astrid (played by Jasika Nicole) -- came to find her. She had been sold to the strange little bookstore owner, Markham (Clark Middleton), who was using her as a dual coffee table and object of affection. Another ewww. Thank you, team, for saving Olivia from that existence! Too bad Walter got caught in the process, however.
Olivia's return from amber marked the first time she had met her grown daughter. The last time Olivia had seen her daughter was in 2015, when Etta was only 3 years old. They shared a tender, tear-welling moment until Olivia realized that Walter had been taken.
The head Observer in the area, Captain Windmark (Michael Kopsa), has his way with poor Walter's brain. Hasn't Walter's brain been through enough already? Apparently not. Walter had used the episode's title gadget, a Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11, to disperse his thoughts concerning the Plan to save humanity from the Observers so that he would basically forget everything until a specific moment.
Captain Windmark contradicts himself by saying he'd prefer Walter retain his faculties but does not care if he becomes a vegetable from the torture he is about to inflict. Walter holds out to the end, despite Windmark's ability to pull out Walter's thoughts and destroy them.
It is not entirely clear how much information Windmark was able to gather until Walter's rescue from the Observer facility by the team, other than the involvement of Etta in their plans. Unfortunately, the Thought Unifier no longer works on Walter, as Windmark has destroyed the thoughts containing their plan.
Etta, the connection between heaven and hell
Etta has grown up in the Observer world. We learn only that the Observers took her from Peter and Olivia, which caused their marriage to begin falling apart. After their reunion, Peter and Olivia are on Cloud 9, while living in Observer hell. But Etta has grown up in this hell. What kind of evil tricks has she learned in order to reunite her loving family?
Watch the next episode, "In Absentia," of "Fringe" on Friday, 10/5, at 9PM EST on FOX.
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