Sunday, October 7, 2012

Fringe Season Five, Episode Two: In Absentia

We start with yet another flashback of Olivia, Peter and Henrietta in the park.  It's the day the watchers make themselves visible.  When Olivia wakes at the hospital, she hears Peter trying to find a missing Henrietta (yeah still the ugliest name in existence). This flashback is from Olivia's perspective.  Olivia is awoken by Peter, who says that she was dreaming about their daughter. He says for them that it was like it all happened a few months ago.  Peter reminds Olivia that Henrietta is there and they are all together and okay now.  Olivia washes up in the bathroom looking at the pictures of what are clearly Henrietta and her adopted family.
Walter has the device on his head and the thought unifer is causing him to talk out of sequence. When Astrid takes it off, Walter gets upset and tells Peter he needs the machine, if he is going to make sense of his memories. Peter says that they don't know if there is anything left to retrieve, or what the machine is doing to him. It seems that Walter has been speaking Swedish and Portuguese. Olivia enters the room and asks how it's going.  Peter says that at some point in the past, Walter knew both Swedish and Portuguese but other than that nothing. Olivia points out that Walter always documented everything and asks if he wrote anything down. Walter says that he cannot remember, but anything is possible.  Henrietta says that even if they were files they cannot get into Harvard because it has been taken over by observers. The entire four mile radius around Harvard is apparently "a no go zone."

Walter brings up tunnels but Peter replies, "we don't have the time to dig tunnels or the manpower." Walter answers, "we don't have to dig them, they're already there." Apparently, there are steam tunnels under Harvard, which are used to heat the building.  The team travels through the tunnels, as the observers walk around above ground unaware of their presence.  They hear a loud banging noise and Walter pushes them out of the way, as a blast of steam comes out of a pipe.  When Walter sees a drawing of a dragon on a wall, he stops and says,"hey I have been looking for you."  When they make it to Walter's lab, they discover that the entire thing has been ambered.  They see Walters beta max recorder on a tripod and Walter says that he must have been standing in front of it when he ambered the lab and surmises that he was making a video.

As they are wondering whether or not the tape is still in there, a guard enters the room. Henrietta comes out behind him and orders him on his knees.  Peter asks who is and Henrietta cuts Peter off saying, "he's a loyalist; he's not going to tell us anything." Olivia searches him and finds nothing more than a big bag of bread crumbs. Peter wonders if this area is part of Gale's patrol and Astrid says, "for all we know, we tripped some sort of silent alarm." Peter points out that they are going to notice that Gale is missing at some point, and Henrietta says that they need to stay to find out the information on the tape. Walter says that he needs a proper laser because the device they used to free him won't work because the amber is too thick. Olivia asks Walter if he can make one and he replies, "where there's a will, there's a way."

Olivia and Peter check out the power and quickly discover that there isn't any. Astrid says that the substation is in the basement of the science building and that is the only way they are going to get power. Henrietta suggests that they can get there using the tunnels, but Astrid says, that they don't even know if it's the science building anymore, or any have idea of what's in there, or what could be waiting for them.  Henrietta replies, "we don't, but he does. I'm sure he knows plenty," before walking into the room with Gale the loyalist and closing the door.

Henrietta says to Gale, "you don't seem to talk much, but I am going to give you one more chance. What do you know about the science building?"  When Gale does not answer, she pulls out a device and says, "it's okay, I'm good at opening books."  In fear Gale asks where she got the device and Henrietta replies, "it's not important, what's important is that I have it."  Henrietta asks again what the science building is used for and then turns on the device.  Gale grunts in pain and when we see him again, he has clearly aged.  Henrietta says, "I don't think you want to waste anymore precious time."

Walter has a hammer raised to destroy his laseer disk player and is resistant to do it.  When Astrid calls to Peter, Walter says, "no no, it should be me." before destroying it. He clears off the table and Astrid says, "Walter I don't think this laser disk tube can generate enough power."  A seagull flies out of the lab and Walter quips, "flying vermin, you'd think that after 21 years that the observers would have found a way to get rid of them first, or at least found a use for them."  He then points out that he needs something else and when Astrid says that they are in her office, Olivia  volunteers to get them.

When Olivia walks into the room where Henrietta is torturing Gale, she is shocked and asks what Henrietta is doing.  Henrietta tells her that it is an aging device and that a full charge steals about 25 or 30 years. Olivia is clearly disturbed seeing this. Henrietta says that it makes him so disoriented by the process that he will lose the will to lie, or the will hold out until his heart fails, but most of them give them give up the requested information.  Olivia gets a bottle of water for Gale, but Henrietta says, "if you want to kill him, that's how you will do it. He can't have water yet, not for another three hours." Henrietta says, "he's not worth a single tear.  Loyalists sell out their own kind like rats. I know you just woke up mom, but can't you see what the observers have brought? This is war and we're losing." Peter calls Henrietta and she leaves instructing Olivia not to get near Gale.

In the lab, Henrietta asks Walter what's wrong. Walter asks about her necklace and Henrietta says that the clasp is broken and Walter responds, "then you won't mind me melting it." Peter says that they just need he silver, so Henrietta detaches the bullet from the necklace.What is the significance of this bullet? Did I miss the explanation?

Alone in the room with Olivia, Gale asks how he looks and points out that his absence won't go unnoticed.  Olivia says, "I don't believe anybody is coming to look for you. I don't believe you're here because we were seen, or triggered some sort of alert. I believe that you came here to feed the birds. I am guessing that you're not even supposed to be in this building, so this would be the last place anyone would look.  You need to tell her what she wants to know. You need to tell her before you get worse. You've already lost years of your life. Come on, you must have something to live for. I am trying to help you."  Gale points out that she doesn't have the authority to do this and that a loyalist doesn't just walk away when they are captured by the resistance. Olivia asks how he knows this and he points out that she must be new to the resistance. Olivia counters saying that she has been around longer than he might think. Gale says, "look, I am not going to survive this and I am not afraid to die. I will tell her what she needs to know, if you can go and tell my son that 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 have seen that too many times, people waiting for people who never come home."  The acting in this scene is so good and you can positively feel Gale's desperation and Olivia's concern.

Henrietta walks into the room and picks up the device again and Olivia nods her head yes.  Gale says that everyone has an access code and that they cannot get in without one. Henrietta asks what's in the building and Gale says that the main power grid is still there but other than that he doesn't know.  He says that they don't ask what's happening but that there are rumors of experiments on everything.  He says his access code and then admits that the second part is him.

Olivia walks out of the room and asks if they can beat an ocular scanner.  She says that they have his code but that there are scanners at every point.  Peter says "that didn't take long. What's wrong?"  Henrietta hands over the device and Walter calls it barbaric and asks how the resistance could create such a device.  Henrietta responds, "we didn't, the loyalists did.  It's old second generation observer tech. It's designed to prepare observers for time travel, but as you can see, the loyalists figured out how to use it on us. No reason we shouldn't use it on them." Walter says, "as far as ocular scanners go, the only sure fire way is to bring him with you."  Henrietta points out that it is impossible because Gale is no shape to travel now that she has tortured him.  Walter approaches Gale and says, "I'm going to look at your eye. If we can't bring him with you, there's only one way. Olivia is shocked and tells Walter that he can',t but he responds, "sure I can," and asks Astrid for a sharp scalpel and a spoon.

Walter starts working on an eyeball and accidentally damages it and asks Astrid for another. She walks over and grabs another eye from a jar.  Walter says, "you know the Vietnamese consider pigs eyes to be a delicacy."  Astrid gives him another eye and when Henrietta asks if this will work, Walter assures her that this will work in a pigs eye and will be able to trick the scanner into believing that it is indeed Gale.

Olivia is working on Peter's face to give him a loyalist mark. Peter says, "the world has changed so much that it can be difficult to understand it." Olivia replies, "I'm not sure that I want to understand it." She finishes with Peter and then Henrietta sits in the chair. Henrietta thanks her for agreeing to let her and Peter go and turn on the power and that she appreciates Olivia accepting her experience. Henrietta points out that she knows that Olivia likes to be in control and admits that she does as well.

Peter goes to see Walter, who hands over the pigs eye saying that he did his best and that it has to be exact.  Peter and Henrietta are now walking through Harvard and Peter is dressed in Gale's uniform.
Olivia is sitting with Gale and she asks why someone joins the loyalists.  He says that he joined because there were resistance fighters near his building to blow up a city bus. Unfortunately, his children were outside and his oldest boy was killed.  Olivia tells him that she is sorry and that she knows something about losing a child.  Gale says that after that moment he joined to be safe and that he was angry at the resistance because it is hopeless. He does this job because he was given a safe place to live and now he doesn't have to worry about his boy. Gale adds that he does not understand the resistance and that he believes that the world would be a much safer place if they just stopped trying to fight the observers.

Peter and Henrietta get to the check point and scan the eye Walter gave them, but the observers contact Gale through his walkie talkie to ask what he is doing there, because apparently, this is not his sector.  Olivia picks up the walkie talkie and demands that Gale answer it and she reminds him that they had an agreement.  When they ask again what he is doing in the medical science building and remind him that he is supposed to be in sector seven, Olivia tells Gale to say that he is there to fix a fuse which has blown. They ask since when security changes fuses, and want to know who asked him to do that and Gale responds, "number 19."  They tell him to change the fuse and get back to his post. The door opens and Henrietta and Peter enter. Olivia says, "you know that if they went to that area that they would be questioned," and Gale replies, "no I didn't, I've never gone anywhere I wasn't supposed to be."  Okay I have to pause for a moment to ask with all of the security in that area, why don't the observers have a camera to see who is trying to access that area?  It makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever.  They might as well have skipped this scene, because it made the whole thing unbelievable if you ask me. It broke the aura of fantasy surrounding the episode.

Henrietta and Peter walk through the hall and stop when Henrietta sees the Simon's head.  The observers are experimenting on humans.  Henrietta moves away from the door and pulls out a gun. Peter stops her and tells her she has to remember what they are doing there and that there will be a time for vengeance and grieving, but is not now. Peter promises Henrietta that the observers will pay for what they have done.

Gale asks Olivia if she really thinks that they can win and she replies, "well we have to win so that all of the people who died, including your son didn't die for nothing."  Peter and Henrietta have reached the power grid and manage to turn it on.  In the lab, Walter says, "let there be light."  Astrid tells him that they have to turn them off, or someone could see them.  He claps his hands and the lights go out and Walter starts the laser. Walter says, "invigorating do you want to go?"  Astrid's eyes are wide with excitement.  She grabs the laser and starts to burn a hole in the amber, as Olivia watches and Peter and Henrietta return.

Olivia asks Peter what happened, as Henrietta starts to unshackle Gale.  Olivia enters the room and tells Henrietta that she is really sorry about agent Foster and Henrietta replies,  "freedom has its costs and Simon knew that." Henrietta orders  Gale to get up and Olivia asks where she is taking him. Henrietta says that Gale is useless now, and that she is taking him to the resistance.  When Olivia points out that Gale says that no one ever comes back and that he did give them the code, Henrietta says that it's natural human instinct to live as long as possible and that resistance fighters don't come back when they are captured. Olivia replies that Gale joined the loyalists in order to protect what was left of his family - his son, but Henrietta is not swayed. "He's a liar, that's what they are trained to do. He has no son. He gave you the code because he saw in your eyes a weakness. He saw that you could be manipulated. He saw that maybe he could convince you to let him go," Henrietta says. She turns to Gale and tells him that this is not going to happen.  Olivia tries again and tells Henrietta that she knows how hard things have been for her, but Henrietta reminds Olivia that she doesn't know her world. Olivia admits that Henrietta is right and says, "I'd hoped for you that where ever you were that you weren't hardened by what had happened to you. It's not that I don't see what the observers have done, I do, but what concerns me more is what they've taken away." Henrietta replies, "this is the world, it is what it is." Henrietta orders Gale not to move and leaves the room. Gale gives Olivia his address and tells her that his son's name is Oscar. Olivia assures him that she keeps her word and Gale says, "I know you do."

Who is this Olivia who allows torture to happen and not say a word? Who is this Olivia who is passive and unsure of herself? I don't like what they are doing to her character in the least little bit. Olivia was always willing to do what needed to be done but she never participated in anything barbaric and given her own history of being experimented on by Walter, I don't understand why she allowed this to happen at all.

Henrietta asks Walter for a sedative and he says that it can be arranged.  She goes back into the room and hands Olivia a communication device saying that if Walter needs anything else for the laser that she will be able to get it for him.  She pushes Gales in front of her, as in the other room, Walter lifts the camera out of the amber.

Henrietta is driving the van and Gale is sleeping in the back.  When he comes to, he is lying on the ground and Henrietta is holding a weapon.  Gale immediately puts his hands in the air and Henrietta asks, "you don't have a son do you?"  Gale admits that he does not have a son and was hoping right up until the last minute that Olivia could somehow convince Henrietta to let him go. Gale says that Henrietta was right about him and that he became a loyalist because he's a coward. Henrietta tells him to go and Gale gets to his feet.  Gale says, I'm going to fight for the resistance, I want you to know that." Henrietta believes that he is lying but Gale tells her that he is hoping that she will believe him and tht his active tat ID could come in useful. He agrees that he saw something in Olivia's eyes - a certainty that he had never seen before and that he felt for the first time that they were supposed to win. Gale then asks why Henrietta is letting him live and Henrietta admits that it is something that she saw in Olivia's eyes as well - pity.  When Gale asks pity for who, Henrietta replies, "pity for all of us."

Back at the lab, Walter has retrieved the tape and Peter notices that the heat from the laser might have damaged the tape.  They put it on and it's a recording of Walter saying that he is probably dead and that his plan to stop the observers has probably failed. He goes on to say that he has left instructions on several tapes and that they must be recovered to retrieve all parts of the plan. Walter says if successful, the plan will restore them and rid the world of observers. The tape goes wonky and Olivia gets a message from Henrietta. It's a video of her releasing Gale and saying that she is on her way back. On tape Walter says this is humanity's last hope and that the first tape must be retrieved before the screen goes blank.