'Fringe' Season 5 Premiere Review: Into the Future with 'Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11'
'Fringe' Season 5 Premiere Review: Into the Future with 'Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11'
Laurel Brown
Laurel Brown
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
Fringe is back! The fifth and final season of this incredible science fiction show has finally begun! And what a beginning... Trips to the future, family reunions (Olivia!) and life-saving missions all appear in the Fringe season 5 premiere.

And now you can relive it all here.

Observers Can Ruin a Picnic Faster Than Ants

The fifth season of Fringe begins with a small time jump from season 4. If you recall, we last saw the Fringe team in the present-day, right after Olivia announced she was pregnant.

Well now it's 2015, and that announcement has become a little blonde girl named Etta. We see a carefree Etta running through a beautiful field while her blissful parents, Peter and Olivia, lounge nearby. Obviously, considering that this is Fringe and we're dealing with Bishops, doom is approaching.

And so it does.

As buildings crash to the ground in the background, Observers enter the beautiful field from every side. Sweet little Etta gets lost in the confusion...

Naugahyde and Egg Sticks

2015 quickly morphs into 2036. Peter, Astrid and Walter have all reappeared -- remember how Etta and Simon freed them from amber in last season's "Letters of Transit" episode? -- and are crashing at Etta's NYC safe-house.

We learn several important things in these brief moments of semi-domestic semi-comfort:

  • Walter's newly restored brain makes him very testy. He doesn't even find Peter's no-pants joke funny!
  • They have word games in the future but no naugahyde.
  • Walter has a plan to track down Olivia -- she called him from somewhere near Columbus Circle in New York City right before disappearing in 2015.
  • On top of the personal reasons to get Olivia back, they need to find her to retrieve a device that Walter needs to save the world.
  • There is some serious tension between Peter and Walter right now.
  • Egg sticks are disgusting.

Pollution Is Bad

Etta leads the team to what counts as Columbus Circle in dystopian 2036. It's kind of a mess. And instead of Central Park, we see a vast field of concrete that houses the local Observer base and carbon monoxide-producing plant.

Yes, the Observers like pollution as much as they like drinking water and melting people's brains. Jerks.

But this is not immediately important to the task of finding Olivia. Fortunately, they find a giant mass of amber at Olivia's last known location. Unfortunately, Olivia is gone, cut out by amber gypsies.

Squirrels Must Be Super-Rich in 2036

Retrieving Olivia seems at first to be a simple matter of trade. Etta provides $3000 of walnuts (roughly a handful) and sends in Peter and Astrid to make a bargain for Olivia. In the super-creepy amber showroom, Peter finds a whole bunch of ambered people but doesn't see his wife.

It turns out that the gypsy sold Olivia's amber to some guy to make into a coffee table. If that weren't creepy enough, the coffee-table guy turns out to be Markham, that odd little bookstore owner from past seasons.

Alas, things cannot just work out so well. Peter and the rest leave with Markham's address, but the gypsy calls in these wanted "criminals" to the Observers...

In the Future, You Can Watch Maverick Reruns

For all their nastiness, at least the Observers never take television away from humanity!

Old episodes of Maverick and yucky kisses blown to Olivia in his coffee table define Markham's current life. No surprise that it doesn't take much for Peter to convince pathetic little Markham to give up Olivia. But the Observers attack during the escape, causing all sorts of problems.

Peter and Astrid get the Olivia ice cube down to the van, but Walter and Etta are ambushed by an Observer. And hey! Observers are Trekkies -- "Resistance is futile" is an incredible last sentence in any sci-fi show.

Alas, he may be right. Etta manages to escape, but Walter disappears with another Observer.

Not Quite a Happily Ever After for This Sleeping Beauty

Etta and Peter get Olivia out of her amber, but all is not rosy. Olivia is somewhat distant with Peter and is totally overwhelmed by the sight of her daughter.

Why? Well, apparently Olivia dealt with losing her child by trying to save the world. Peter, meanwhile, kept searching for Etta at the cost of his marriage, his relationship with Walter and the Earth's continued existence. Like father, like son?

Thus,all is not well between Peter and Olivia back in 2015. They're still close and caring in this future, but the strain is there. At least the need to band together to save the world can (temporarily?) force a reconciliation and maintain Etta's dreams of a happy family life.

So Much for Walter's Brain... Again

Deep inside Observer Central, Captain Windmark the local Grand Poombah of Observers, questions Walter. The Observer (along with the audience) quickly learns that Walter and September had collaborated to build a device that would defeat the Observers once and for all.

But this doesn't do the Observer much good, because a) the device is in many pieces, and b) Walter's knowledge of the matter is also in many pieces. Walter can't recall the plan without a specialized Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11 (hence the title of this episode).

That doesn't stop Windmark from turning Walter's brain into strawberry jelly.

Saving Walter, Star Wars Style

Using a top-secret, make-you-seem-dead drug and Etta's Fringe Division clearance, everyone breaks into Chez Carbon Monoxide to release Walter from the Observers' clutches.

The plan seems to be a variation on the one used in Star Wars: A New Hope. The team sneaks in as captured prisoners, and the rescue (of Walter, not Princess Leia) occurs while the bad guys (Observers, not Storm Troopers) are distracted by Peter and Olivia shutting down the base's reactor.

Etta kicks some serious butt throughout this, and basically the entire escape is awesome.

A Hint of Problems to Come

Despite saving Walter, everything is still messed up for our heroes. Walter's post-torture brain mush can't remember the plan to save the world at all. The Observers learn that Etta is a secret rebel. It seems only a matter of time before the Observers end all hope for the future of humanity...

Then Walter goes to listen to some music. This sparks thoughts and ideas in the mad scientist. Maybe, just maybe, the heroes of Fringe can save the world one more time.

How did you like 2036? Do you think Etta is the most badass little blonde since Buffy (and Olivia, of course)? Can Walter fit together the mangled pieces of his brain to defeat the Observers? Are we ever going to see Simon again?

With only 12 episodes left of Fringe season 5, the answers should be coming soon! For now, follow Laurel Brown and BuddyTV for the latest on the show!

(Images courtesy of FOX)