Fringe: “In Absentia”
Etta's family gets to know their daughter in this week's Fringe.
October 6, 2012 3:28 pmMary W.
We’re starting back in the field, with three-year-old Etta and her parents. They call Etta back, but then the strange surge comes, followed quickly by Observers. Olivia and Peter run toward their daughter…
Cutaway to Olivia, waking up in a makeshift medical unit. People are hurt, traumatized by what’s happening. Olivia’s face is badly bruised. She sees Peter questioning a nurse about Etta and realizes her child is missing. She runs after him.
Yep, it was a dream.
Olivia wakes up in the future, very stressed out, but Peter quickly calms her. For them, Etta’s disappearance was two months ago. But they are resuming life more than twenty years after the fact.
Walter and Astrid are trying to use the unifier again. It seems to be making him speak out of sequence. He refuses to stop trying, despite Peter’s concerns.
Olivia suggests that perhaps Walter had some kind of documentation, but Harvard has been taken over by Observers. Walter, however, knows of tunnels beneath the building. They go to Harvard, where Peter opens a hatch (a nice throwback to Lost).
The team crawls through the tunnels, avoiding bursts of steam from faulty steam pipes. Walter quickly finds a ladder and leads the way up to a dusty, cobwebby hallway. Bad news awaits. The laboratory is half-encased in amber. Inside the amber is a Betamax recorder.
Footsteps approach. It is an ugly, bearded guard. They take him by surprise and accost him—it’s a loyalist. He’s carrying very little, but they don’t know why he was looking there. They need to act quickly, so Walter needs to make a laser to retrieve the recorder. They need to restore power to make the laser, and they have a convenient prisoner with knowledge of the current campus.
The prisoner finds himself in Etta’s clutches. And she is suddenly kind of freaky. Etta hooks him up to some kind of apparatus that makes him vibrate really fast, as strange as that sounds. When she’s done, he looks ten years older. Yikes.
We next see Walter about to smash a laser disc player to retrieve the laser. He takes it pretty hard, but it’s a success. Olivia goes to retrieve some more parts, and is shocked to find Etta aging the man she is interrogating. Olivia tries to give the man water, but Etta warns her that in his unstable, atom scrambled condition, water will kill him.
Hearing Walter calling her, Etta goes into the other room. Left alone with the prisoner, Olivia takes in what her sweet little girl is capable of. (It turns out that Walter needed the silver from Etta’s necklace chain for his machine.) The prisoner warns Olivia that his absence won’t go unnoticed. Olivia, however, is not impressed. She believes he came there to feed the pigeons infesting Walter’s lab, and that it is not a place where anyone would look for him. Olivia encourages him to tell the truth, but he warns her that the resistance does not let loyalists walk away so easily. The prisoner agrees to tell everything if Olivia will only tell his son of his death.
Etta returns, surprised to find her victim so talkative all of a sudden. He explains that everyone has access cards, and the science building still has the power grid. It is rumored that experiments are conducted there. He gives them his access code, but he warns them that they must pass ocular scanners.
Yep, you guessed it. They take an eye…out of a jar of formaldehyde. Walter happens to have a jar of pig eyes handy, and he knows how to alter it to match the guard’s eye.
While Walter works on the eye, the others paint codes on each other’s faces to match the IDs with which loyalists are tagged. With Peter dressed as a guard, he and Etta sneak easily onto campus.
Meanwhile, Olivia asks the guard while he joined the loyalists. He responds that one of his children was killed in a resistance attack on the Observers. He therefore joined the invaders to keep him and his remaining son safe.
Peter and Etta successfully scan the eye, but there’s a catch—they’re in a sector where the guard does not belong. An alarm is tripped, and the security post tries to raise him on his walkie-talkie. Olivia quickly holds it up to him, reminding him of their agreement. The guard answers that he is merely changing a fuse. They wonder why, but he tells them it was someone named Number 19. They tell him to change the fuse and get back to his post.
The door opens to Peter and Etta, and they enter the science wing. They see things through windows—strange experiments going on…including the head of Simon Foster, her friend from season four. The head blinks. Etta whisks out her gun, but Peter stops her. He promises her that they will pay.
While she waits, the prisoner continues to question if Olivia really believes the resistance can win. She assures him that they must.
In the science building, the power rerouting is successful. With the laser, Walter cuts into the amber, easily melting it. Peter and Etta return with no issue, but Etta is not in a good mood. She looses the prisoner and informs him he is traveling. She will turn him over to the resistance. Olivia tries to dissuade her, but Etta is not in an understanding mood. She tells Olivia the man has no son, and that he was only trying to manipulate her.
Olivia tries talking to Etta, but it’s no good. She’s been changed by the hardship of her world. Once Etta’s out of earshot, the guard gives Olivia his son’s name and address. Olivia promises that she will keep her word.
Once they get the recorder, Etta takes the prisoner away. She has him sedated in the back of her van. When he wakes, he’s outdoors somewhere. She’s waiting with a gun. He raises his hands and makes no move. She asks him if he really had a son, and he responds in the negative. He had been hoping Olivia would talk Etta out of executing him. He confesses that he became a loyalist out of cowardice. Etta tells him to get lost.
The man is surprised, but he’s doesn’t run. He promises to start working for the resistance. He says they can use his tattoo ID for their purposes. He also admits that the confidence in Olivia’s eyes made him feel like humanity was supposed to win. He asks Etta why she is letting him live. She replies it was the pity she saw in Olivia’s eyes for all humankind.
Back at the lab, the others check out the tape. It has Walter on it. He addresses the viewer by saying that if they are watching the tape, they have retrieved it from amber, the plan has failed, and he is probably dead. The parts of the plan, TV Walter continues, are recorded on a series of hidden video tapes. Ooh…that sounds like a quest.
Olivia’s phone beeps. It’s a video call showing the guard running away. Etta turns the camera toward herself and promises to be back soon.
The tape continues. TV Walter leaves them with a parting message. That they are humanity’s only hope, and they must retrieve the tapes.
|FIND YOUR GEEK RATING
out of 10