Review: Fringe – Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11
By Ashley Binion
“Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11” was the beginning of the end. It has been a long three and a half months since the season finale of season four. I have had some mixed emotions about Fringe’s start. Even though I was eagerly anticipating the premiere, at the same time, I didn’t want it to end.
Warning: Spoilers Ahead!
Previously on Fringe: Agent Olivia, mad scientist Walter, and his son Peter saved two universes from Dr. Bell, played by the fantastic Leonard Nimoy, in dramatic style. At the end of the episode, Olivia found out that she and Peter were pregnant, and September, an Observer, warned Walter that “they are coming.” Who? My guess: the Observers.
The episode started with the arrival of the Observers in 2015, essentially hyper-evolved humans from the future, which was prophesied by September in the last episode. The now-married Peter and Olivia were playing in the park with their daughter Etta when the arrival happened. During the pandemonium, they lost Etta. We are fast-forwarded to 2036 where season four’s episode “Letters of Transit” left off.
Much of the beginning of the episode was a search to find the missing Fringe agent who, like the rest of the Fringe team, had ambered herself. The former Fringe team eventually found her in Markham’s apartment. Oh, how good it was to see our friendly neighborhood bookstore owner again. (He was using her block of amber as a coffee table.)
According to Walter, September implanted a plan to fight within his head, but he needed the Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11 to unscramble it. Twenty years prior, he sent Olivia to retrieve it, but on the way, she lost contact (this is when she ambered herself).
While retrieving the block of amber, Walter was captured by the loyalists, the natives who work for the Observers. He was then tortured by an Observer named Widmark for information about September’s plan. Through the torture, Widmark ended up destroying the plans, but the Fringe team was to the rescue and saved Walter before his brain became totally useless. Widmark found out that Etta was the one who helped the Fringe team save Walter through video footage.
Even though he ruined the plans within Walter’s brain, I was glad to see the old Walter back. The new Walter with all of his marbles was rude and unlikeable.
Fringe is one of the few shows that knows how to tug at the heart strings, and this episode wasn’t any different. I enjoyed all of the family reconnecting moments, like when Olivia was reunited with her daughter, and when Etta kissed Walter on the cheek. With that said, it seemed somewhat awkward since they had missed over twenty years of her life. She is essentially a stranger to both of them.
The most heartbreaking scene was when Peter and Olivia talked about their relationship and how it dissolved after losing Etta. He kept looking for her in Boston, while she went to serve our country in the war against the Observers. Don’t look at me. I’m not going to take a side in who was right and who was wrong.
But I do have to agree with what Walter said, “What a miserable future.” Between the Observer rule, the carbon monoxide machines, native curfews, and the egg sticks for breakfast, it is a miserable future.
By the way, the glyph code in the episode spelt out “Doubt.” Did anyone notice the seahorse hanging from the rearview mirror at the end of the episode when Walter was sitting in the car listening to music?
How will the former Fringe team proceed now that Walter’s mind is almost useless? Will we see agent Simon Foster (played by Lost’s Henry Ian Cusick) again? (Gosh, I hope so.) Can Peter and Olivia’s relationship be salvaged? Were you surprised that Etta wasn’t somewhat angry at her parents’ long absence?
Overall, for a season premiere, it was solid.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars