‘Fringe’ Season Premiere Review: “Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11″
The battle against the Observers has begun, as ‘Fringe’ season 5 travels back to the future in its first episode of the final season, as the team struggles to recover Olivia Dunham from amber, before Walter's capture nearly derails their entire plan to take back the planet from their bald overlords.
Last season’s ‘Fringe’ finale “Brave New World, Part 2” saw the team foiling the universe-ending plans of William Bell (Leonard Nimoy), before Olivia discovered herself to be pregnant and September appeared to warn Walter of the coming invasion, so how does “Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11” get the final season started? How will season 5 of 'Fringe’ close out the epic saga?
Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Fringe’ season 5 premiere , “Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11!”
It’s a beautiful, idyllic scene, as some years past the events of “Brave new World, Part 2, Peter and Olivia enjoy a beautiful day in the park with a young Henrietta. Suddenly, fellow park-goers seems distressed, as a building flashes out of existence before their eyes! Observers appear out of nowhere, as Peter tries in vain to race toward his daughter, but quickly finds himself blacked out. When he comes to, Olivia is near receiving medical treatment, but young Etta is nowhere to be found!
Peter wakes in 2036, having dreamed the whole thing, and checks on the adult Etta to see her asleep safe and sound. Peter finds Astrid in the kitchen arguing with a futuristic Scrabble game before Walter interrupts to devise a plan to find Olivia. While it may have been years so, Walter last had contact with her in Columbus Circle after they’d sent her to Grand Central to retrieve a specific device. Said device would unlock a plan to defeat The Observers that September had hidden in Walter’s mind, but they can do nothing without Olivia. While Etta worries, Peter assures his daughter they’ll find her.
The team pulls up in whats left of Columbus Circle, as Peter observes over a fence what's left of Central Park. Etta explains that the Observers built carbon monoxide dispensing machines all around the world in order to make the atmosphere less oxygen-rich and more to their liking, regardless of the humans it effects. Wondering where Olivia might have disappeared, Astrid spots a giant glob of Amber nearby.
After Walter derisively chides Peter for abandoning them years earlier, the team inspects the amber to realize that numerous people have been carved out. By whom, you ask? Why, the Amber Gypsies, of course! The search next leads the team to the black market, where Etta offers Peter money (and walnuts) to buy back Olivia. The salesman gives Peter and Astrid a pass, but after they’ve gone hits an ominous red button When none of the chiseled cases contain Olivia, Peter describes Olivia to the dealer, and learns she’s already been sold. But to whom?
Why, hello 2036 Markham! The poor diminished fellow keeps Olivia in amber as a coffee table, before he’s interrupted by a knock at the door. Though he initially tries to shoo his visitors away, Peter and the others burst in to secure the room. Relieved to find Olivia, Peter shrugs off Markham’s pithy complaints of true love for his prize, while Walter admires the man’s collection of literature. Back at the black market, the salesman places a call to an Observer hotline with some very valuable information…
Peter, Astrid and Etta load Olivia into the van downstairs, while Walter muses on Markham’s collection of literature in the apartment. Just then, an Observer appears out of thin air, trains a gun on Walter, and tells him “resistance is futile” (ha!). Etta appears to subdue him, and does her best to fight off the agents, but fails to rescue Walter before the team has to speed off, guns a-blazing.
Back at her apartment, Peter and Etta blast Olivia out of her amber prison and stabilize the time-displaced Fringe agent. Peter greets her, but it isn't long before Olivia recognizes, and Peter introduces a grown-up version of their long-missing daughter. Incredulous, Olivia embraces her daughter, and corrects her that she was three when they last met, not four. Peter brings Olivia up to speed on Walter’s capture, and Olivia pulls out the device recovered from 2016. Without Walter however, they have no means of identifying, let alone activating it.
Meanwhile in a dank room, Walter finds himself strapped to a chair as Captain Windmark of the Observers enters to interrogate him. Curious as to how he and his team survived all these years, Windmark reads Walter's minds to hear music, an attempt at keeping his mind blank. Windmark dismisses the phenomenon as meaningless rhythmic tones, but Walter fires back that it helps humans shift their perspective. Intrigued, Windfall prepares to probe Walter’s mind, adding that while he’d prefer the man retain his faculties, he won’t care either way.
In the Bronx, Etta leaves Peter and Olivia upstairs while she meets with more of her rebel friends, one of which was killed that morning. Peter and Olivia muse that they failed to save the world, though their daughter still tries, as Peter apologizes for leaving the team behind all those years ago. Olivia forgives him, given they lost a child together, and couldn’t be what the other needed after that. Peter presses that when Etta was taken, Peter couldn’t let her go, even if it meant sacrificing his relationship with Olivia.
Downstairs, Etta introduces Peter and Olivia to her rebel friends, who identify Olivia’s device as a “transilience thought unifier model-11," though it doesn’t seem to work without Walter. Meanwhile, Walter recoils in pain as the Observer probes his mind for answers, as the being recognizes scrambled thoughts placed into Walter’s head. Blood forms in Walter’s eye, as Windmark ruminates that only an Observer could have placed thoughts out of sequence in his mind. Windmark muses that it could take weeks to put together the thoughts in Walter’s head, though he assures him they will come out, and painfully. Walter’s mind flashes to an image of young Etta, intriguing the captain as to her identity…
Back at the base, the team zeroes in on Walter’s location as they formulate a plan to have Etta sneak Peter into the Observer stronghold as a dead body. The plan largely succeeds, arousing no suspicion from the guard, though the man does mention that Fringe team recovered from amber Etta’s traitor partner Simon Foster. Etta sneaks Peter upstairs, reviving him as she takes out a guard, her father happy to see she’s inherited her mother’s talent for field work.
Windmark continues his investigation into Walter’s mind, noting the physics in his mind to be far above human comprehension, and presses him to continue letting down his walls. Meanwhile, Peter and Etta meet up with Olivia, and deactivate the local carbon monoxide machine to disrupt the building’s operation. Windmark feels the destruction to the building, and departs Walter’s interrogation room before Peter and the girls burst in. Through hails of gunfire, they manage to liberate Walter from the building and drive off, as Windmark observers a recording of the event and realize that his own agent Etta was the littler girl in Walter’s mind.
Back at the apartment, Walter awakens overjoyed to see Olivia once more. Olivia hands him the seemingly useless thought unifier, which whirs to live the moment it touches Walter’s hand. Following his brutal interrogation however, Walter can’t seem to remember the purpose of the device, the plan to defeat the Observers, or even the purpose for keeping William Bell’s hand in amber. Walter departs disgusted with his failure, as Etta confirms that the Observer-defeating plans in Walter’s brain were likely destroyed in the interrogation.
Later, a glare in Walter’s window leads him to wander outside in his bathrobe, where he discovers an ornament of CDs hanging out of a broken down taxi cab. Reclining in the front seat, he places “Trip Mix 6 into the still-working CD player, which brings to life Yaz’s “Only You.” Walter listens to the song alone in the cab, observing a lone dandelion growing in the street, and smiles as something activates in his mind.
"Transilience" certainly had a lot of ground to cover for the final season of 'Fringe,' re-introducing viewers new and old to the prospect of an Observer-dominated future. There's more catch-up than development for the episode, though it proves nonetheless thrilling to have our favorite characters back, and focused on a singular goal. The status quo seems to have reset a bit as well, with Walter's scrambled brain, but we've already heard from the horse's mouth that 'Fringe's final season won't waste much time in its 13 episodes. Either way, 'Fringe' is at its most exciting yet.
What about you? Did you get your fill of freaking 'Fringe' fracas? What did you think about the premiere ? Join us next week for another all-new ‘Fringe’ episode recap of “In Absentia” on FOX!