You do not even know how hard it is to not have this entire review be made up of keyboard-smash, OMGOMGOMG, thisfreakingshowiskillingmebecauseit’ssoawesome, etc., etc. But since I’m supposed to keep this short, here goes:
Picking up right from where last season’s “Letters Of Transit” left off worked exceptionally well, as did the baby-Etta footage we’d seen in promos finally being shown to be part of a guilt-stricken Peter’s dream. The quiet, regretful conversation between Olivia and Peter about what happened to their marriage after Etta was lost also served its purpose well: without irritating exposition, we know now that their relationship went through a terribly rough time after they lost their child, and we know what Peter and Olivia were doing before they had to amber themselves. And we see once again that this cast’s acting is of superior quality. I felt their continued love for each other, their guilt and sorrow, and their joyous disbelief at being reunited with Etta all throughout this episode.
My favorite parts? Well, the Dunham/Bishop reunions were fantastic. I loved Peter checking on Etta at the beginning. And I didn’t expect to cry while watching this – even TV that I’m really invested in rarely makes me cry – but when Etta and Olivia were reunited I definitely did. I wondered what Olivia as a mother would be like, and this was a beautiful and very in-character way to show it. This, and the Peter/Olivia conversation I mentioned above, gives me hope that even if we have to break our hearts by seeing them fall apart in flashback or memory, we’ll certainly see them coming back together in an awesome way in 2036.
One sour note was probably Markham’s protests to Peter once the team found Olivia in his apartment. They seemed over-the-top, even for a comic relief character like Markham, and the humor fell flat pretty quick. And I can’t accurately call watching Walter get tortured a highlight, either, although that’s just because it was so distressing to see him in pain. Captain Windmark, the head Observer, makes quite the evil villain. Now that he’s connected Walter’s vision of a little girl with Etta the Fringe agent, I wonder how long before she’s a true outlaw like the rest of her family?
And then there was the ending. Walter thinks he has failed to implement his plan right when they had all the pieces – and isn’t it interesting that it all comes back around to Walter’s fractured memories, after all this time? But then he finds music in a world without it, and a dandelion growing from scorched earth. Wonderful. It’s not quite a white tulip, but it will do.
So, how long before we find out exactly where Etta went when Peter and Olivia lost her? What is Walter’s now-lost plan to fight the Observers, and is there a reason that Walter’s rescue went rather surprisingly easily? What role will Broyles and Nina play? What possible new nickname can Walter give Astrid, now that he’s gotten all the way to “Afro”? I can’t wait to find out. What are you looking forward to seeing?