Fringe Review: Letters of Transit (

By:Kurt Anthony Krug
Review Date: Sunday, April 22, 2012

One of the series’ trippiest episodes occurs with a preface that the Observers invaded Earth in 2015 (they time-traveled from 2069 because they poisoned the planet as it’s later revealed in the episode). Now in 2036 – yet another alternate future in this series – Earth is ruled by these creepy-looking, bald-headed telepathic guys dressed in suits, ties, and fedoras. Under the rule of the Observes, the Fringe Division polices those who are called “natives” if there are any signs of resistance.

We get to see Broyles (Lance Reddick) and Nina (Blair Brown) 20-some years into the future. Kudos to the makeup artists for making them look authentically old. We also meet agents Etta (Georgina Haig, Road Kill) and Simon Foster (Lost alumnus Henry Ian Cusick, who’s currently co-starring on Scandal) who wish to rid the world of the Observers. 

Etta discovered Walter (John Noble) trapped in amber. Walter holds the key to turning the tables on the Observers as they “thaw” him out. In classic Walter fashion, the first thing he asks for is for some food. It’s painfully obvious after his “thaw” that Walter – who wasn’t all there in the first place – is off the deep end, so Nina suggests that the two put the piece of his brain that he requested be removed when the series began back in his noggin. 

Naturally, that’s easier said than done as they have to go back to the abandoned Massive Dynamic building in what is now a police state. But they do it and de-lobotomize Walter, who becomes abrupt, abrasive, arrogant, and aloof. You can understand why he removed this part of his brain as he was scared of what he was becoming – something further evidenced with his doppelganger Walternate (also Noble).

Other members of the original Fringe team are also trapped amber, including Astrid (Jaskia Nicole) and William Bell (Leonard Nimoy). Who did not see that one coming? Isn’t Nimoy supposed to be retired? Isn’t Bell supposed to be dead? Be that as it may, it was good to see him for a split second to provide that WTF moment. Walter is a real bastard and severs Bell’s hand in case they need his fingerprints to access various buildings.

But there’s a final one (as far as we know) who’s trapped in amber: Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson). He escapes with Etta. The big shocker was revealed that she’s his daughter. That was kinda, sorta obvious from the start when she demonstrated she could resist the Observers’ psychic probes. Then the episode ends. When next week’s scenes come on, things return to the present. Let’s hope the creators can revisit this storyline. Despite being named Best Drama by TV Guide and delivering quality episodes 4 seasons in, Fringe is a “bubble” show and may not be back for a 5th season.  

Mania Grade: A-
TV Series: Fringe
Episode: Letters of Transit
Starring: Joshua Jackson, John Noble, Jasika Nicole, Lance Reddick, Blair Brown
Written By: Jeff Pinker, J.H. Wyman, Akiva Goldsmith
Directed By: Joe Chappelle
Network: FOX