Welcome back fellow Fringe fans, its the last glorious season of Fringe and its time to look at all those delicious cookies, Easter eggs, homages and inspirational eye candy! This week is going to be a two for one affair as I couldn't find time to post a Fringe Fries last week. Sooooo busy!
As in the first episode of Fringe, "In Absentia" starts with a flashback to the day the Observers invaded. (I wonder if the people of that time have a name for that fateful day? "Bad Baldy Day"? Uh, nope.) Olivia's recollection of the day is played back slightly different than Peter's. This time around we get a clear audio of what people were saying as opposed to the muted cries of Peters flashback. Is there significance to that?
Olivia's spider sense must have been tingling that day as she seemed to sense something was wrong. If I remember correctly, Peter reacted to the building vanishing (anti-matter as in Letters of Transit?) while Olivia looked for Etta. She called to Etta but it was Peter, again, that reached her first. The significance of which is Peter is the one her lost her also. Its going to be a while for him to live that one down.
The above capture is our first clue as to who raised Henrietta in the absence of her real parents. Who are these people. Why are they so happy? Would you be happy in a post Observer invasion from the future? I think not. I suspect Henrietta raised by Loyalists. You don't get that kind of stability as pictured above unless you've kowtowed to your new masters. Gael Manfretti has told us as much. Henrietta keeps the pictures so she obviously harbors an affection for them. So where are they now? Dead I suspect. Etta may have gotten her job with the Fringe Division because of her Loyalist upbringings but she's with the resistance because of what the Observers did to her surrogate parents. We'll see how this plays out.
This is an easy catch for all Fringe bloggers and fans alike. Walter remarks he's been "looking for you" when he spots the red dragon on the post. He played Dungeons and Dragons back in the day, right? Right. But if we look a little deeper the Red Dragon takes on a more sinister meaning. JJ Abrams loves all his literary references, see the series Lost, so what could be the significance here? Red Dragon is also the name of a novel by Thomas Harris dealing with the character Hannibal Lecter. The book is a prequel to "Silence of the Lambs". The writers may have not been overtly referencing this work but part of the theme of the show dealt with bondage and torture which was the steak and potatoes to Lechter. OK, throw in a little fava beans also. Yum.
Lets move on to Gael Manfretti. A self professed liar and an admitted coward. But despite his Observer leanings and Loyalist affiliation he does retain a measure of humanity and compassion? The answer is yes. This is evidenced not just by his proclamation to fight with the Resistance by the end of the episode but by his name and actions. The Gaels were the speaker of the old Celtic language that was used by the early Irish and Scots of the northern UK. If there is any people that have felt the oppression of occupation it is those two peoples. Both have a long history of resistance and if want a movie reference or two see "Braveheart" and "The Wind That Shakes the Barley" for some fine examples. As for Gaels actions, he only went to the lab to feed the birds. Care to guess what Walt Disney's favorite song was from his movies? "Feed the Birds" from Mary Poppins. Its a sad and lovely song and it speaks to Manfetti's buried humanity.
Walter yields the hammer of Hephaestus!
Indeed Walter is the modern day blacksmith of the gods. Hephaestus was the Greek god of metallurgy, volcanoes, fire and technology. His Roman equivalent was Vulcan. From his hands sprang the weapons of the gods and his symbols were the hammer, anvil and tongs. Interesting that tongs also appeared in this scene when Astrid wielded them to fetch eyeballs for Walter. (Yum, again.)
As this modern day god Walter is tasked with inventing the improbable but no hurdle is insurmountable for this son of Zeus. Witness as he brings destruction to his laser disc player only to bring forth the volcanic fury in a single beam of fiery light. All hail Walter!
I've always been a big fan of Greek mythology and it dates back to my early childhood. I'd like to think there is a fan amongst the writing team for Fringe.
I was sitting at work thinking I was so bored I could shoot myself when I remembered the brief "bullet" scene between Walter and Etta.
Walter was in the early stages of his DIY laser when he approached Henrietta about her necklace. "Don't you wear a necklace?" he said (or something to that effect). (Walter needed the silver for his contraption.) Henrietta claimed the was something wrong with the chain or the clasp and produced it out of her pocket. I've noticed that she has stopped wearing the bullet necklace now that Olivia is around. She had been fondling it madly but now it is secreted away in her pocket.
I'm thinking this was the bullet that Olivia was shot with at the end of last season and Henrietta's kept it as a keepsake of sorts . Now that her mother is back she may think that Olivia would find the whole thing creepy so Etta has hidden it. But there may be more to it than that. I blogged extensively on that bullet at the end of last season claiming it had some special properties thanks to William Bell. Specifically that it was infused with Nanites. (You can read the end of those posts starting here.) Also the fourth episode to this season is titled, "The Bullet That Saved the World" so there may be something more to this slug than just a morbid keepsake. We'll have to keep an eye on this.
Speaking of Astrid. Walter called her "Astral" at one point. Earlier, Walter had claimed getting into Harvard was easy for someone who took drugs and since the music of this episode was provided by the Moody Blues (Nights in White Satin) it reminded me of the Moody's song, "Timothy Leary's Dead". Leary was a Harvard professor that promoted the use of LSD (a favorite of Walter's) and in the song's lyrics Leary was known to "fly his astral plane". And for all this time I thought getting into Harvard required a big brain and a bigger checkbook. Maybe I should expand my mind a little. This was a nice tie in to previous episodes and memes.
So what was the Star Wars reference in this episode? Walter watches himself on the Betamax video and hears his voice from the past tell him that, "You are humanities only hope." Kind of like Princess Leia beseeching Obi Wan Kenobi, "Help us - you are only hope." Only Walter follows this with, "It is your destiny." Whoa. Those words were spoken by none other than Darth Vader himself and he was telling Luke that the Emperor had foreseen his downfall by Luke's hands. "Join me and we will rule the empire together!"
So is Walter both Luke and Darth Vader or is he Darth Vader and Darth Vader? It must have been strange to see himself and then hear his past self tell him it's his destiny to save humanity and overthrow the Emperor, I mean the Observers. Was this part of the plan? I mean really, who else would Walter entrust to save the world but himself. He just didn't know it. Or did he? Is the hand of September evident here? Part of the plan may have been to make sure Walter was steered by Walter into finding Walter. September is a time traveler. September may have known that the plan would have been lost so there had to be a plan B. And Plan B is the alternate way of putting together the pieces of the puzzle.
OK this is getting a little long so just two more points.
The Trojan horse lives!!
Thank you Fringe for throwing me a bone. The screencap above is from episode one of this season wherein the team is discussing how to get into the Observer facility to rescue Walter. Peter has to pharmaceutically feign death and he knows they can only do it once. Hence the above quote.
Do you know how long I've pursued the Trojan Horse angle? How about all of last season. My sister had pushed me to follow all the horse clues and there were plenty of them. So where does the Trojan Horse pop up? This year! That's OK! I'll take it. Thank you Fringe.
Lastly, I hope many of you Fringe fans are watching the other Bad Robot show out there, Person of Interest. In the last episode the rescued Finch was greeted by his new companion, "Bear". Bear had dutifully brought forth a rare first edition by Isaac Asimov and had nearly consumed it. Finch was horrified. Do you know how rare those books are???!!!
In the first episode of this season Walter spies an Asimov and asks Markham if he can keep it. Markham glumly replies yes before the Observers burst in. Take care of that book Walter! Don't let the Observers keep it and don't let the dog chew it!