Fringe Season Five: Five Questions About “In Absentia”
Our second week in the year 2036 saw Peter and Olivia struggling to come to terms with what has happened in their absence, and just what their daughter has turned into. As we also try to get used to the future, we have some questions of our own. Five of them, in fact, about last night’s “In Absentia.”
What Happened To Etta?
This episode opened with a replay of Etta’s disappearance, but instead of the flashback we saw last week from Peter’s point of view, this week we saw it from Olivia’s. Things weren’t incredibly different, but it was enough to make me wonder: Is this going to be something that’ll repeat each week? Will we keep seeing variations on this week after week? And, if so, when do we get to see Etta’s point of view, and the revelation of where she actually disappeared to back in 2015?
Why Can’t The Observers Un-Amber Things?
They must have realized by now that Walter et al ambered important things that they didn’t want the Observers to have access to, and the fact that Walter’s lab was protected by checkpoints would suggest that they’d seen Walter’s lab at some point… So why didn’t they de-amber the lab? The Observers can travel though, and manipulate, time: Shouldn’t this be easy for them? Is there some reason why they don’t release the amber? After all, if Etta could do it, then surely it can’t be that hard. So what is going on here?
Are The Resistance The Good Guys?
“I’m not going to get to walk away from this,” says the captured loyalist, in the middle of being tortured by an apparently unrepentant – and definitely unsympathetic – Etta. So, we now know that the resistance are torturers, which… is slightly morally dubious. When Walter sees the device that Etta used to torture the loyalist, he asks “How could the resistance create such a barbaric device?” “We didn’t,” Etta says. “The loyalists did.” But, really, how can we believe her without any kind of proof? There is more to the resistance than meets the eye, I think (No “eye” pun intended). For that matter…
Is Etta A Good Guy?
“I know you like to be in control,” Etta told Olivia at one point. “So do I.” Was that a moment of bonding, or a subtle warning to tell Olivia to back off? Etta is certainly more hard-edged than Olivia expected, what with the torturing and the “Whatever It Takes To Beat The Observers” attitude (Seriously, that exchange with Olivia about her “weakness”? Wow). The question is, even if Etta isn’t working for the Observers (And, really, do we know for sure that she’s not?), is she someone that can be trusted by the Fringe team to do the right thing, even if we don’t know what the right thing necessarily is? Then again, she did let the loyalist go… Hello, moral ambiguity.
What Is The Plan?
“It will restore us,” said videotaped Walter from the past, introducing the plan – But what does that actually mean? Is it also time travel of some sort (After all, September helped come up with the plan, so that’s not impossible) that would mean that the Observers never invaded? Or just something that would remove the Observers’ influence moving forward? And, for that matter, how will the team find the next tape?