Fringe Round Table: "Letters Of Transit"

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"Letters Of Transit" offered viewers a look at one possible future in the Fringe universe.

How did staff writers Sean McKenna, Nick McHatton and Carissa Pavlica - along with Fringephile Nick Shere - feel about it? They have gathered below to discuss what it all might have meant. Read on. Chime in.


Favorite scene or quote?

Nick S: Come on, it has to be "These aren't the droids you're looking for." Followed closely by "We are insurgents, and antimatter. You're smart, you do the math." One of the great things about alternate futures is that a show gets to be both more zany and more epic, and in this episode, they did both.

Sean: I agree with Nick, there were so many great Walter quotes and I loved, "These aren't the droids you're looking for." Honestly, the episode was so cool in showing us the future (possible future?) that it may seem like a cop out, but I really enjoyed the whole episode. Just so many exciting things to see and mull over even after the episode ended.

Nick M: I'm totally breaking from the mold here - "These are not the droids you're looking for." Honestly, everything Walter did in this episode was pure gold. So just me put down for everything.

Carissa: Seems we're all stuck in amber here and it's nice to be with friends. I can't pull out any one thing because it was really to be viewed as a whole. Taken in parts it just didn't make sense. "These aren't the droids you're looking for" jumped out at me and made me giggle, as did Walter's Fringe quotes about eating brains and his babbling about licorice...oh, hell, Walter was just awesome.

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Did the Observers live up to your expectations?

Nick S: I'm not sure. They seem a lot more human than I was expecting, based on what we've seen so far. I wonder if this shows a change in how the observers operate, or whether it's just that they sent back a different caliber of Observer at first, or whether they've started to pick up more human traits after coming to stay in this period in history.

Sean: They're still creepy as ever and having them in control is an interesting concept. I actually thought it was funny that water got them drunk, but they acted a lot more "human" didn't they? They simply worked as the new "bad guys."

Nick M: I've always thought they were benevolent people, just watching the human race. So to watch them be the bad guys, and go all Tron: Legacy on the city sent me for a loop. I'm glad they made a passing reference to September, who has always broken the mold from the rest of the Observers.

Carissa: Frankly, I'm confused. I was under the impression that Observers are future humans, which is fine. But why all men, bald, white, lacking emotion. "They" mucked up our world in 2609. If Observers are humans, aren't they, in fact, the ones who mucked it up? Did I totally misread the memo? The Observers aren't just a different strain of humans? Help me!

Walter: better with or without his own brain feces?

Nick S: It was interesting seeing the re-brain-fecalated Walter, because we've only seen that side of him once before, briefly, when Newton had him hooked in. Walter 1.0 is a somewhat scary guy.

Sean: It was entertaining seeing both sides. Walter was so whimsical and childlike and then wham, let's do science! John Noble is a great actor.

Nick M: I'm always amazed at just how many versions of Walter John Noble can play. The fact that he still hasn't gotten an Emmy nomination at the very least is such a poor reflection on the voting body. I'm gonna go with upgraded Walter since we see very little of that version, and it's always fun. He's still fun, he's still whimsical, but in very different ways. He's not afraid of making tough decisions, un-upgraded Walter would probably released Bell from the Amber entirely, but fully functioning Walter only took his hand. He knew what Bell did to his family, and wasn't about to let that happen again.

Carissa: I like Walter's choice to have his brain removed and I hope it never comes to the point that he has to put it back. He was like the first version of Walternate we knew. I like the softer, wackier side of Walter than the rough and tough fully brained one he became. It was amazing how the change was instantaneous upon his waking. Certainly this will be Noble's year for award nomination, right?

Thoughts on Etta?

Nick S: Where does her ability to resist the Observers come from? Is it inherited from Olivia, a by-product of the cortexiphan treatments? (If so, are all cortexiphan subjects capable of passing on abilities to their offspring?)

Sean: She is so like her mother, I guessed it instantly when she first walked on screen. It's cool that she took up the Fringe mantle, but how did she get the mind blocking powers? Is she the only one that can do that?

Nick M: I think we were always supposed to think it was someone related to Olivia since their similarities were continually played up, but I was mind blown with "Henrietta." I loved her interactions with Walter, and the ending scene with Peter was heartwarming.

Carissa: They picked a great actress to play her, and her personality was like a combination of Olivia and Fauxlivia's. Even though her life was hard she wasn't, which was nice to see. She had a sense of humor and warmth and seemingly never gave up the fight to find her family. Perfect addition to the Bishop family!

Open forum time: What else did you think about the episode?

Nick S: I wonder about how this reflects on past episodes - especially Raymond Gordon in "Fracture," who I think up to now is the only person we've seen with a specific, stated opposition to the Observers. (There's also John Mosley, who may or may not have been an observer, but who I don't think indicated what his actual agenda was.)

Also, I wonder whether this means my guess after "End of All Things," about David Robert Jones's new endgame being to oppose the Observers, may turn out to be right...

Sean:  It really makes me wonder if this is the actual future or a potential future that needs to be averted. And William Bell and Olivia? What was with that? Overall the episode was very entertaining, but I wonder where this will actually fit into the show. Will we see more of 2036 or will that be the only glimpse we ever get? There was just so much to see, I really wish we had a whole extra couple hours to see more.

Nick M: I love and absolutely hate this episode. There was so much story to tell, and so much to get through, and it was almost all for naught since it purposely never finished completely. I really wanted to spend some more time in this world, and I hope the Fringe team continues to do so somewhere down the line in novels or another episode (Renew Fringe already FOX!). Now I'm wondering just how much we can take away from this episode in terms of story and continuity. Is this one of the reasons why September told Peter he had a child with the wrong Olivia? Is this why the Observers wanted to erase Peter from the timeline and correct their "mistake" of intervening in time? Because together with Olivia he could bring their eventual defeat? Is this episode a preview or setup for what could happen next season? Finally, the thing that Walter developed to defeat the Observers looked like the machine. In the Fringe comics he actually sent the machine back in time, I wonder if that is something similar?

So many freakin' questions.

Carissa: I'm with McHatton here. There was so much more that I wanted to know. A glimpse was not enough. I liked it, I enjoyed it and it was most certainly thought provoking, but my thoughts were too damn provoked. I want a continuation. A two hour special would have been more to my liking. Did someone miss the other memo, that this should be all about me?! William Bell shot Olivia? Is she dead? Part of me wonders if she's in a coma somewhere. And I want to know! But, if she was, Etta would have seen her, surely, and she said she hadn't seen her parents since she was four. So much more to explore. It's like I woke up in the middle of a dream and I can't get back to sleep. No fair!

Take a look now at what's to come on the Fringe season finale and meet back here for the next review as we (sniff... sniff... ) wind down the season. See you then!

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Fringe Season 4 Episode 19 Quotes

Broyles: Widmark. What did you do up there in the future to get yourself such a crap detail?
Widmark: I like animals.

I'll be a toe on a foot in a grave.