"In Absentia" (5.02)

I have some minor problems with this episode but not serious enough to give it a low rating; I ultimately, in fact, give it 8.5 Spocks in Speedos, and 8.5 is the same rating that I gave to last week's premiere episode. That is a good rating, in my opinion, and this is a very solid episode. I will start with the problems that I had with the episode. The very beginning of the episode is almost identical to the opening that we had last week, except there is some extra dialogue and it is from Olivia's perspective instead of Peter's perspective; this, to me, somewhat diminishes the effect that last week's opening how has. Even though this is really more of a memory than it is a dream, I am also getting tired of Fringe using the old "episode starting with a dream" trick, and I am also annoyed that this didn't really offer any new development, since, as I said, it was almost identical to what we saw last week. All we learn about Etta's disappearance (and we learn this from the scene in the bathroom that follows) is that she was apparently either fostered or adopted by a family.

Once again, it is mentioned that everything that happened before the team had ambered itself only feels like a couple of months ago for them, which I find very odd because the "Amber 31422" (3.05) episode of the series confirms that when someone is ambered, he or she is stuck having to think about the last thought that went through his or her mind when he or she was ambered, but their saying that it only felt like two months ago that this or that happened strongly suggests otherwise. This is, perhaps, another plot-hole; I'm not sure, or maybe, even though you think when you're ambered, you have no sense of time. If your brain continues to work, why don't your other organs? Why don't you need food or water? Walter's eye is still messed up, and I wonder if that is painful at all; my legs kept turning to jello when I saw it and gave that some thought, and speaking of an eye, I was happy to see from the Fringe Podcast chatroom that other people besides just me thought of Marshall being guided by Jack as he had to remove an eye from a body on ALIAS when they had to do something kind of similar with the Loyalist's eye during this episode of Fringe.

The Observers have taken over the Harvard lab, and I'm not sure why. Is it because, perhaps, they are aware that that was once where the Fringe team worked, and they are trying to ensure that no one is able to use it again? I got really excited when I saw that within the amber of the lab (which Walter apparently did even though he doesn't remember) because I had thought that the video was finally going to reveal the circumstances that led to the team working with Bell despite what he had done, but no such luck is found, as the video reveals no such thing, which is very disappointing, but hopefully, another tape will. As the team goes through the tunnels (which someone in the chatroom said do actually exist), Walter says that they can get so hot, sometimes up to 120 degrees farenheit, that he and Belly would sometimes go through them in swim trunks and speedos (hence my Bunsen Burner rating), which is very funny. I am also happy to have seen the clapper again, and this may have been the last time that we'll see not only that but the whole lab itself, which is a sad thought.

We see from this episode that Etta is very determined. To get the Loyalist to tell her how to get into the science part of the building, she uses a device called the Angel device, which is a really grim and frightening method of torture which, according to Etta, puts the victim's atoms in a violent state of chaos which causes rapid aging, shortening the victim's life. This reminds me of what the Wraith on Stargate Atlantis do; they place a hand on their victims' chests, which feeds on the victim's energy, causing the victim to age rapidly until they die, an incredibly painful process. We learn that this device, or at least the same technology, is what the Observers use(d) to time travel, but it apparently has much different effects on non-Observers. During the "August" (2.08) episode, though, Brandon says that they don't exactly time-travel; it's more like they see time happening all at once, like time isn't linear for them, so that is a bit confusing. "This is war," Etta says, "and we're losing." She says this as she tries to justify her violent actions to Olivia, who is her usual compassionate self, even in regards to the enemy. I wonder, though, why Etta calls Olivia mom but calls Peter by his name.

When Peter and Etta go undercover and pretend to be Loyalists in order to get into the science building, it got me thinking why Etta didn't have to wear a Loyalist uniform. Is it because the Observers already know her, or do women Loyalists not need to wear a uniform? I also wonder why Etta wasn't caught, since Windmark identified her as being part of the Resistance. One would think that once he did that, he would have notified all Observers and Loyalists. Also, here is a random thought - since the Observers are from so far into the future and have such advanced technology, wouldn't it stand to reason that they would have space travel capabilities? If so, why not just conquer another planet instead of conquering this period in Earth's history, and why this period? I wonder, as well, what kinds of experiments the Observers run and to what purpose. We know from the season premiere this year that Windmark had been ready (much like Brandonate had been ready to do to Olivia during season 3) to remove Walter's brain and study it, but what other kinds of experiments do they run, and why do they run them? Is it to learn more about this period of human history, to punish disobedient Natives, or both?

We see Simon's head in one of the rooms which appears to be on a different body, so I guess that one experiment is some sort of reanimation. Will we not be seeing Simon anymore? I don't mean to knock Fringe because I understand that their budget is low this season, but the CGI work on Simon's head is not realistic-looking at all. We see Walter not wanting to destroy the CD player to extract the laser to use it to cut into the amber, and this is right on par with what we saw last week about music, and I love how Astrid perks right up when the laser is offered to her; she loves the idea of being able to use it. We learn that the Loyalist lied about having a son, that he is just a coward and that that is why he became a Loyalist, out of fear. I like that we get to meet a Loyalist and that, once again, this is more complicated than good vs. evil. I have to admit that the promo for next week's episode doesn't look promising, and even though I'm sure it will end up being connected, it looks sort of MOTW. I wonder if from here on out, each episode will focus on finding a tape and am interested to know how they're going to going to go about finding each tape. Until "The Recordist" (5.02) next week, stay on the fringe.

No comments:

Post a Comment