Fringe Round Table: "In Absentia"

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We learned what a difference having family can mean to a girl while watching this week's Fringe episode, "In Absentia."

Join some staffers Carla Day, Sean McKenna and Carissa Pavlica as they ponder how the familial ties have affected various members of the Bishop family and what we might expect as they hunt for the missing Betamax tapes during the final run.


How would you explain the personality of Etta using her family and Fauxlivia by comparison. How do you think she came to be who she is?

Carla: She became who she is because she didn't have her family around and she was in a dystopian world. We also don't know anything about what happened to her after the Observers took over. My guess is that she learned to do what she needed to survive. She's like nobody else in her family or Fauxlivia.

Sean: Clearly the times. The world Etta grew up in with the Observers in control is vastly different than the one Olivia grew up in. Even Fauxlivia was the way she was because of the world she lived in. You have to adapt to the settings to survive.

Carissa: She got a lot of who she is through genetics, but has had to use it differently due to circumstance. One of the things I'm most interested in seeing is how nurture will soften her as she learns what it is like to have family.

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Has motherhood changed Olivia?

Carla: Olivia hasn't changed in any demonstrable way. She was always a caring and empathetic person, though in comparison to Etta it looks like she is more so than before.

Sean: I don't think much. She still seems caring and compassionate to others like she's always been. I'm sure getting used to your now grown up child who's pretty cut throat might take some getting used to.

Carissa: I think it has, but only now that Etta is older and she has seen what a difference her absence made to her. She seems to ruminate on things with Etta in mind, and not just the case. I like it.

How long until Peter and Olivia find their way back to each other in a romantic sense?

Carla: It will be a long road, but they will get there by the end of the series. They have much more urgent matters to deal with than their relationship.

Sean: Hmm, I think it's going to take a while. It's kind of hard to stop and smell the roses when the Observers want you dead. Right now the mission to save the world is the most important, but I'm sure we'll catch glimpses here and there of Peter and Olivia's enduring love.

Carissa: They're already there, but are putting it aside to deal with the more important matters at hand. When they finally give in, it should be epic!

What did you feel about the fate of Simon Foster, and will that be the last we see of him?

Carla: Disappointed. I wanted him to join the rebel Fringe team in the battle against the Observers. Despite his current lack of a body, I predict he will play a significant role in the defeat of the Observers.

Sean:  I was shocked. I kind of wish he wasn't just a head, but I'm sure we'll see him again. There's no way the show would just toss that in and leave it at that. Right?

Carissa: Frankly, I was surprised to see him at all, so if all I get is an animatronic head, I'll take it. I'm betting they can do a lot with that head!

Does the idea of spending the last 10 episodes searching for puzzle pieces intrigue you or turn you off and why?

Carla: The episodes are split into a trilogy, so I don't think that the search will last through the whole season. Though, I saw episode 7 being filmed and they were still searching down clues. Something drastic will take place in episode 4 and then another arc ends in episode 8 with the remaining 4 being described as a 4 hour finale. The story will move at a fast pace, so I'm looking forward the National Treasure-eque search.

Sean:  I like that  we have a clear goal in mind for the season's arc in finding these puzzle pieces. It's certainly promising in the sense that the showrunners, writers, etc. know where they want to go and will be able to wrap it all up in a satisfying manner. Plus, I'm sure each episode will be packed full of main story and not random useless ones. I'm looking forward to the search for the tapes.

Carissa: I'm not sure yet. I don't have any information on arcs and such, so I'm waiting to see how it plays out. I think I might miss some of the more bizarre aspects of our fringe escapades, but then again, I'm usually pleasantly surprised (and wrong!).

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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