Sunday, September 30, 2012

Fringe, Season Five, Episode One: Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11

It is the year 2015 and Olivia, Peter and Henrietta (ugliest name possible btw)  are having a nice day in the park, when suddenly there is a flare and the observers (note the first species of human) start appearing en mass.  In the next scene, Peter and Olivia are at a hospital because Olivia is clearly wounded. As she is getting treated, Peter realises that Henrietta is missing.

In the future, Peter wakes to find Walter asleep on the couch and gets up to check on Henrietta. When he leaves the room, she pulls out her necklace which has a bullet as a pendant. Back in the living room, Walter wakes and looks outside.  Peter goes to talk to Astrid, who seems to be working on some kind of word game on the computer and she offers him an egg stick.  Peter declares it punishment food.  Walter is upset because they let him sleep in and he wants to find Olivia.  He says that Olivia called him the day that she disappeared and he could hardly hear her.  Peter points out that this was 21 years ago and that she could be anywhere now.  Walter starts up a holographic image and says that Olivia has a piece of the puzzle that will unlock the whole.  It seems that Walter and September worked on a plan and it was scrambled in his brain to defeat the observers.  The device needed to unscramble the plan has been lost with Olivia. Peter tells Henrietta that she has to believe that Olivia is still alive and if she is still alive, they are going to find her.

The team take a black van to Columbus Circle and it is completely run down.  When Peter looks over a stone wall, he sees a machine that has been built to pump carbon monoxide into the atmosphere.  The natural air is too oxygen rich for the observers and in a few years, the changes will be irreversible. The change will reduce the average lifespan to about 45.  Walter says that it's around here that Olivia called him.  Astrid notices a huge area of amber.  They start to walk towards it as Walter says that they had discussed using Amber as a last resort to avoid capture by the observers.  Walter tells Peter he would have given him a devise to do the same, if he hadn't abandoned them. Astrid tries to assure Peter that Walter didn't mean it.  When they get to the amber, they discover a huge hole cut out of it and Henrietta says that amber gypsies are responsible.

The team arrives at some kind of black market.  Walter approaches a woman dressed in traditional Japanese  clothing and says, "I fell in love in Japan once, I almost married her."  What the hell is the point of this scene?  So far this woman is the only woman of colour that we have seen outside of Astried and we learn nothing about her, because Peter quickly ushers Walter on his way.  She is there to be nothing more than an exotic display and was absolutely not necessary to the story. Henrietta hands Peter some money and a handful of walnuts to pay for Olivia's release.  It seems that the economy is much changed, because this tiny handful of walnuts is worth almost three thousand dollars.  Henrietta instructs Peter to go ahead without her, fearing that she will be recognized as a member of Fringe.

Peter approaches the dealer and says that he and Astrid are looking for someone who was recently cut of  amber.  He assures the dealer that they are looking for family and are not loyalists.  Outside, Henrietta and Walter are talking and he tells her that she will always be a little girl to him, because for him it's only two months ago since he took her to the pier. Even as they share this moment, there is something about Henrietta that I do not trust.  Peter and Astrid go through the bodies trapped in amber and are unable to find Olivia.  They go back to the dealer and tell him that the woman they are looking for is a blonde and that she would have had an electronic device in her hand.  Peter has to offer up the handful of walnuts to find out that Olivia has been sold.

It turns out that the book store owner, yes the same character which has been around since the beginning of the show, is the one who has bought Olivia and he is using her body as a coffee table. When the doorbell goes off, he yells out that the apartment has been sanctioned and he invokes native rights 23D.   Peter calls out Markham, and Markham yells out that he is dead and died a heroes death.  Peter bursts through the door with a gun and Markham is shocked that none of them have ages. Markham says, "I loved her from the first time she came into my bookstore.  It's not supposed to happen this way. She's supposed to wake up and see me as her saviour - when I figure out how to wake her up."  Who would have thought it possible for Markham to get anymore creepy.  Also, the image of Olivia laid out like that is very reminiscent of Snow White in her coffin waiting for true love's kiss to save her.  Considering that Olivia has always been an extremely active character, I found this scene so very reductive of her person. Astrid points Peter to a gurney, Walter is fascinated by the books and Henrietta kneels to look at Olivia encased in amber.

The amber gypsy that Peter and Astrid went to see to find Olivia calls the observers and says that he has level four information and demands three times the vouchers for his loyalty.

Outside of Markham's building, Olivia, Henrietta and Astrid have managed to load Olivia into the van, when they notice that Walter is missing.  Walter is upstairs in Markham's apartment, going on about the books.  An Observer appears in the doorway and says, "resistance if futile."  Henrietta appears saying "I feel like I've heard that before," and then shoots the observer. I suppose we should be thankful that they acknowledged that this line came from Star Trek, but honestly, I found it ridiculous.  She orders Walter to run, but Henrietta gets back to the street, Walter is still missing.  Seeing that there is no choice, because they are now surrounded, Peter drives off in the van with Henrietta, Olivia, and Astrid.  Upstairs, Walter is running through the halls and is captured.

Back at Henrietta's, they release Olivia from the amber.  Peter rushes forward and tells her that she is now in the year 2036.  Olivia tells him that she ambered herself.  Over Peter's shoulder, Olivia spies Henrietta and Peter introduces her to her daughter. Olivia and Henrietta both have tears in their eyes, and Olivia tells her that the last time she saw her, Henrietta was three years, one month and five days old. Olivia says "there was not one moment that I didn't think about you," as the two embrace.  Over Henrietta's shoulder she asks about Walter.

They tell Olivia that Walter was captured this morning by the observers.  Olivia pulls out the device that Walter sent her to retrieve in 2015. It's interesting to note that though she and Astrid did have a sort of friendship, that Olivia has not bothered to acknowledge Astird's presence.  Walter has been handcuffed to a chair, when an observer enters the room and says, "we have been looking for you and your friends. I am very interested in you and don't know why you're alive."  Walter starts to think about classical music and the observer realises that Walter misses music.  The Observer says that he doesn't understand music and Walter replies, "mostly it amazes me.  Music helps you shift perspective; to see things differently if you need to." The observer asks if it helps to see things like hope and then points out that there is no hope for him because nothing grows from scorched earth. "You seem much more interesting as a human being than a vegetable, but all things being equal, I don't care which one you end up," the observer says.

In the Bronx, New York, Henrietta takes them to an apartment and instructs them to wait outside.  When Henrietta goes in she calls for Enell, and tells him that she needs his help.  Outside, Olivia says to Peter, "we didn't save the world."  Peter tells Olivia that he never thought that he would see her again. "I know what you thought of me when I wouldn't leave Boston to come to New York with you.  When I left you alone," Peter says. Olivia replies, "Peter we lost our child and in our grief we were incapable of being what we needed to be for each other.  That is all it was."  Peter answers, "You were stronger and you saw that the world needed us and you went to help them but I didn't have the will to give up searching for this perfect little soul that we made." This is a really touching scene and Peter cries, as he explains that he had to find Henrietta at all costs, including them.

Henrietta breaks the intensely emotional conversation between her parents to invite them into the apartment to meet Enell.  Enell examines the device that Walter instructed Olivia to retrieve and says that it's a transilience thought unifier model-11; it accesses the information in the mind and then unifies it. Peter realises that the plan was fragmented and hidden in Walter's hard drive by September.  Astrid calls them over because they have apparently found Walter and they decide to track him using traffic cameras.  Peter again points out that the device is the key to Walter's plan and is worried that he will give the information to the observers.  Enell says that he might have already and asks Henrietta if Walter knows that she is a Fringe agent.

Walter is being interrogated  and the observer wants to know who freed him and why. Walter is doing his best to keep quiet, when the observer realises that Walter is partitioned and that someone gave him information out of sequence to protect something. Walter is asked if an observer did the partitioning and is told that he needs to put the ideas together.  The observer says that Walter is fighting much harder than he thought possible and that if he only had a unifer, he could unify these thoughts.  The observer goes on to add that he could go through the trouble to find one, but it would take weeks to find a biologically specific key; however, the observer says that though it will be harder this way, he is determined to get the information out of Walter's head.  Walter's face is covered in blood from the strain of fighting the mental probing of the observer. Walter gets a flash of Henrietta and the observer asks who the little girl is and if she is helping Walter.  Walter passes out in the chair.

Henrietta is working on the computer and Olivia and Peter are off to the side gushing about how beautiful and amazing their daughter is. Henreitta finds the video of Walter being dragged in for questioning and Peter asks if anyone has ever gotten in there.  Enell says no, but they have been working on a tech, which will make their bodies appear dead.  Olivia, says that whatever Walters plan is to defeat the observers, she believes it will work, when it is questioned whether this tech should be used to save one man, when it has the potential to kill so many observers.  Enell says, "killing our enemies is one thing, and saving the whole world is another."

Henrietta drives Peter to the detention center and when he is scanned he is declared dead. Henrietta walks in with a guard, who tells her that they found agent Foster in amber with William Bell and that he was a traitor working with the resistance.  He suggests that she ask Wainmark about this.

Walter continues to be questioned and blood pours from his nose, as Peter is brought into the facility.  When a solider starts to take things off Peter's body, Henrietta shoots him. Peter and Henrietta take off down a hall, and pause to let Olivia into the building.  Peter decides to sabotage the machine that the observers are using to change the air.  Just as the observer tells Walter that they are done and that Walter's brain will make an excellent specimen, an alarm goes off and he leaves.  Peter breaks into the room and with the help of Henrietta, the two carry him out of the room.  Henrietta, Olivia, Peter and Walter get into the van, where Astrid is waiting.  Astrid and Walter share a moment and he calls her afro. This scene is clearly playing to the fanfic audience, who have long fantasized about a relationship between Astrid and Walter.  The observer plays back the tape of Walter's escape and sees Henrietta. He realises that she is the little girl who Walter was thinking about.  Personally, I don't understand how he made that huge leap.

Back at Henrietta's, Walter tells Olivia that he is so happy that she is alive.  Peter shows Walter the transilience thought unifier model-11 and says that it's long since dead, but when Walter touches it, the device activates. Olivia tells Walter that the device is meant to collect and make sense of the scrambled plan, which September put in his mind, but Walter asks, "what plan?"   Walter puts the device on his head and Astrid shows him William Bell's hand encased in amber.  Walter is disturbed, even when Astrid reminds him that he was adamant that they have Bell's hand to access one of the storage facilities. Unfortunately, Walter does not remember any of this. He says, "I have failed myself, I have failed the world. What has happened to me?"  Olivia tries to calm him and Walter takes the device off saying, "I can't do it, I can't even recognize myself," before leaving room.  Henrietta believes the parts of the plan were destroyed, when Walter was fighting the probe and that Walter will never heal.

Walter is lying on the couch, when he see a reflection on the walls again from outside.  He leaves the building in a robe and his underpants and finds a mobile of cds.  When Walter finds a bag, he sits in a clearly destroyed cab. He finds another CD and puts it into the cd player in the car and music starts to play.  He looks forward and sees a dandelion growing in the street. Clearly, this music is meant to trigger his mind into working.

As first episodes go, I found this one to be extremely anti-climactic.  I don't know what it is about Henrietta but I do not like her character in the least.  I also didn't like the moment between Astrid and Walter.  It continues to irk me that he can seem to remember the names of all of the White characters but for some reason cannot remember Astrid's name, though she is the one he has worked the closest with over the years.  How is it in the future, you don't need to at least turn a car over to get the cd player to work?  Wherever this time line in 2036 is going, it needs to move along fast and I hope it is not the vehicle the writers are using to finally deal with the observers.