‘Fringe’ Season 4 Episode 19 Review: Letters of Transit

by Melody Simpson on April 21, 2012 · 8 comments

in Fringe

This week on Fringe, viewers were treated to a futuristic episode set in 2036, when the war between the Observers and the world is at its boiling point. We would need an hour to set up the future, so instead, the writers decided to give us a brief written recap to set the stage as the episode began. It would have been more enjoyable to see the culmination of events in 2015 that led up to 2036 in a two hour episode, but the writers know what they are doing… we’ll see what we need to see before the season is over, right?

So in 2015, the observers stopped watching and started taking action, naturally causing an uprising which then led to a purge and oppression of our people. It’s really sad when you think about it because the observers were like angels in the sense that they are present at every monumental moment in time… and then the observers fell from grace in a sense and decided to take matters into their own hands. Downfall always comes when you want something that does not belong to you and that’s exactly was it going to happen as our people take back control from the observers, who had good intentions until they abused and misused their powers. But we’re not quite there yet, to that point where we have our world back. Right now, in 2036, the survivors are known as “natives” and the latter, observer supporters, “loyalists.”

The original Fringe division has been defeated. Who else was very disappointed to learn of what became of them? They lost the fight. Hope was lost. Or was it? By freezing themselves in amber, they may have guaranteed a future victory. The Fringe division moving forward after 2015 was allowed to continue their work – only to police the natives but what a surprise the observers will be in for when they discover that the original Fringe division is back and ready to take back their world. Current Fringe agents, Etta (Georgina Haig) and Simon Foster (Henry Ian Cusick, Lost) were in for the journey of their lives once they discovered the original Fringe agents frozen in amber… well, at least Walter and Astrid. Was anyone else incredibly disappointed to watch an hour-long episode with no Olivia and barely five minutes of Peter? John Noble is amazing and all but no Olivia and essentially, no Peter seemed to be really too much to handle. An episode with barely any Astrid until the final five minutes of the episode is one thing, but it’s definitely noticeable when the two main characters we love most are essentially nowhere to be found.

Keeping in mind that Olivia is most likely dead in this future (or any future?), why couldn’t we have seen Peter sooner than we did? Was the cliffhanger that was given really the only one that they could have delivered at this point in time? A lack of Olivia and Peter said, what a cliffhanger it was! At first, some may have thought that Etta was Olivia’s niece but to discover that Etta was indeed Peter and Olivia’s daughter, their reunion was such a sweet moment to get to see. But how long after having Etta did she die and what has Etta’s life been like since her death and since Peter was frozen in amber? There are so many questions! We know the present and the far future but what exactly happened in the near future? Will we get those answers before the season (prayerfully not the series) finale?

Walter being reunited with an all gray, wheelchair bound Nina Sharp, with no recollection of who she is was one of the more exciting moments of the episode which had such a depressing tone, what with the oppression brought upon by the observers. One moment of light meant the world and this moment was a great light. Nina did seem more than ready to help out in any way that she could to get our Walter back, get the part of his brain at Massive Dynamic back where it belonged. Living through what she has, we cannot blame her. Who else wants future Nina to warn present day Nina about her present day shenanigans? Walter might be calling the observes monsters but just how much of a part did Nina Sharp play in this by enabling or keeping secrets in the past? Then again, could Nina or anyone have stopped the observers? If not stopped, at least a plan to be free in their prison until they are able to reclaim their world, their lives, their decisions. This brings up a great question as to what is right. Would you rather have someone come into your life and dominate every decision for your well being or would you rather do things your way, even if it means you fall? As we have seen, the observers have gone far beyond doing what’s best for the world. Now we are being taken advantage of. Where is the line? William Bell frozen in amber and no sign of David Robert Jones also brings up another great question…who are the real monsters?

What an outstanding episode “Letters of Transit” was visually, bringing us into the future Fringe world. It definitely was one of the most engaging of the season visually speaking. Story wise, the writers definitely need to have something amazing for us next week what with the lack of Olivia and Peter this week. Haven’t we been tortured enough this season with the lack of Peter and the nonexistent relationship it seems between Olivia and Peter? The Fringe glyph this week spelled out the word, quake. As we saw in this week’s episodes, there were clearly many shifts in power and reason over the years. But what will another shake up do for the future, past, and present? Our minds have undoubtedly been blown as so many great questions have risen out of this episode. There was an awful lot of information to process… almost too much too late in the season, yeah? Unless a possible season 5 is completely set in the future. That would be something. Perhaps the most important question of all though… where can I get some coffee chews?

Watch Fringe Fridays at 9/8c on Fox.

*Photo Credit: Liane Hentscher/FOX

  • fringe<3

    Did anyone notice that all the observers are male? Am I really to believe that in the future when they destroy their world and make it completely uninhabitable they all become male? With no explanation that’s a little too ridiculous.

  • Cary

    But then in the next episode they jumped back to the past, I wanted them to continue… and it looks like the next episode will again be in the past (episode 21). This episode left so many questions marks, I hope they finish it otherwise how annoying.

  • Sh0ckWave

    Sorry, but this is the sort of random scenario change that turned me off Lost. I don’t mind things ‘not’ being wrapped up in a neat little package, but don’t work for so long on a story and then offer zero closure. Season 3 of Fringe was pretty woeful and almost turned me off the show. Season 4 in comparison brought back all those great idea’s and episodial situations and story arc’s. So I’m dissapointed they’d throw all that away in a change like this. Maybe they haven’t got a fifth season and and lost a few actors so are doing what they can with the last few Season 4 episodes they do have .. but still, there was so much more they could do in the world they ‘have’ created rather then  to moving to a completely new setting for a couple of episodes. For example .. they never ONCE took a ride in a airship !! .. come on !!

  • Mert Aycil

    Etta is Olivia’s daughter, hence the apparent similarities. Sexism and oppression were themes in the episode, not a reflection on the writers – or have you been watching Fringe up until now being okay with the writers condoning murder (from your perspective)?

  • Mert Aycil

    Etta is Olivia’s daughter, hence the apparent similarities. Sexism and oppression were themes in the episode, not a reflection on the writers – or have you been watching Fringe up until now being okay with the writers condoning murder (from your perspective)?

  • cmpv

    All i can say is WOW. What an amazing episode. Really loved how they set up the future. Not seeing Olivia was frustrating at first, but i know the producers will make up for it in the coming episodes. I’m kinda sad about Simon, hope they rescue him later! But overall, wow, what a great storyline. Really loved it.

  • cmpv

    All i can say is WOW. What an amazing episode. Really loved how they set up the future. Not seeing Olivia was frustrating at first, but i know the producers will make up for it in the coming episodes. I’m kinda sad about Simon, hope they rescue him later! But overall, wow, what a great storyline. Really loved it.

  • 419fringe

    I did not like the episode for several reasons:
    The entire Observers as sort of Nazi so cliche,
     Interior idea comes from Mephisto old black and white movie from the twenties.
    Do not like the sexism and racism, degrading women, natives and people of colour.

    Fringe is SciFi, Over There is great because of the new feeling, sort of new world, this was set in 2036, or is it 1936?
    Observers as aliens? Why I so loved September with his mannersims, catching a bullit, and  in his suit doing his karate.

    A lot of things rewritten all to confuse it seems, like Bell, so he was declared death in red, blue and amber, yet another color timeline?

    So Walter comes out of Amber 20 plus later better than he went in?

    No Olivia Dunham is a disgrace, and I am disgusted about the way how.

    So they replace Anna Torv with an actress who copies Olivia Dunham pilot and season 1, this Olivia was created by Anna, I call this stealing of creative property.

    Etta is allowed to be more open, Anna Torv has to play Olivia closed off, orders from mr. Pinkner, but for the rest she just copies all the mannerisms, expressions etc created by Anna Torv.
    If someone would copy the writing of Jeff Pinkner, he would go to court.

    Funny thing is, Etta actress gets praise, where Anna Torv gets bashed, and some saying that she can channel Olivia so great, really? And who created Olivia Dunham??? Anna Torv .
    Without Anna Torv, there would not be this great Olivia, in so many versions.

    Anna Torv was hoping last year that she would go back playing the more open, Active, Fighter etc Olivia from the pilot, sadly this season has destroyed her character more because of the peter storyline.

    This episode meaning to set up season 5 could mean the end of Olivia Dunham, and Anna Torv on Fringe, I certainly hope not, she is fantastic, Emmy worthy.
    Without Olivia Dunham and without Anna Torv , there is no Fringe

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