Now that the Fringe team knows what they need in order to defeat the Observers, it’s time for them to begin collecting these parts. This week’s episode, “The Recordist,” takes the Fringe cast on an outdoor trek to collect an important piece to their plan, where the environment is much more dangerous than the Observers themselves.
The adventure begins by the team reviewing the first video Walter had hidden in amber. Taking us back before they had ambered themselves, the video, slightly garbled, shows Walter (John Noble) enjoying some “medication” before explaining that they need to head to a forest in Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, the tape is too dirty to watch in its entirety, so Astrid (Jasika Nicole) stays back at the lab as Walter, Peter, Olivia (Anna Torv) and Etta (Georgina Haig) head out into the wilderness.
Arriving at what looks to be an empty forest, a small, disfigured boy peeks behind a tree, letting the team know that there are, in fact, people living here. Slowly venturing deeper into the forest, unsure if they’re on the right path, they stumble on what looks to be a group of survivors, all of who have similar disfigurements as the boy they had just seen. That child, as it turns out, is the son of the group’s leader, Edwin (Paul McGillion), and one of the Fringe team’s biggest fans.
Surprisingly, Edwin knows Walter, but not in the way anyone might think. Taking Walter into his makeshift, high-tech library, Edwin reveals to him that they have been recording human history since The Observers invaded. Not wanting to be involved with any Observers (or other humans), Edwin and his group chose this specific place to live: an environment that slowly poisons you, forcing your body to calcify itself if anyone gets too near to its source.
As Walter and Edwin continue to look through the archives, containing many articles about the Fringe team, Peter, Olivia and Etta spend some time with Edwin’s son, River (Connor Beardmore), enjoying their new found fandom. River, as it turns out, is quite the artist and has created a “Fringe Division” comic book, including all of their past battles – as well as a few he made up himself.
Now that Astrid has had some time with the video, she can make out Walter saying that they should be looking for a mine (not mime), somewhere in the forest. After questioning Edwin about any possible mines in the area, he notes that there is a former gold mine nearby, and the Fringe team continues their quest there. Upon entering the depths of the mine, they approach a well with a rope attached to it. Peter slowly pulls up the rope, revealing a dead body that’s been completely overtaken by a much worse version of what has disfigured the survivors.
After testing the environment around them, Walter comes to the conclusion that close proximity to whatever is down the well had caused the body to completely calcify itself.
While Walter studies the body, Peter attempts to reminisce with Olivia by bringing up the wonderful apple pie they had shared – following Etta’s disappearance. Giving the cold shoulder to Peter’s memory, Olivia explains to him about how she’s always wanted to be a mother, and that the loss of Etta so early on felt like a punishment for her as she can never forget those moments they went to search for her, all the while believing that she was dead. Peter encourages her not to give up and to take advantage of the second chance their family now has.
At this point Astrid had cleaned the tape entirely, revealing that they need 40lbs of red stones from the well for Walter’s plan. Not wanting to end up like the body they lifted out, Walter begins creating a suit that will allow him to enter the well unharmed. With the suit almost complete, Walter needs one final element, copper, to finish it. Unfortunately, the group of survivors doesn’t have any copper available, so they turn to a nearby camp to trade with. Forcing everyone’s hand even more, an informant inside the Observers phoned Etta to warn her that they know her location and are quickly closing in.
With only one night to collect the rocks they need, and still without the suit to do it with, Edwin takes it upon himself to become, like the Fringe team, a hero, and to give up recording history in order to create it. Sending Peter and Olivia off to trade with the nearby camp, Edwin intentionally withholds that the other camp doesn’t have any copper, instead using it to buy time for him to enter the mine himself, unprotected.
Because it was the only way to get what the Fringe team needs, Edwin sacrificed himself in order to bring the rocks to the surface. With rocks in hand, the team isn’t able to fully acknowledge the death of Edwin as the rest of the group forces them to quickly leave the camp before the Observers arrive. As the episode comes to a close, the Observers close in on the van the Fringe team had been traveling in. Upon opening the doors, an unknown man is in the driver’s seat, having found the vehicle on the side of the road. The Fringe team, instead, has found a new vehicle to travel in, taking them to back to the lab and on to their next quest.
Fringe continues next Friday with ”The Bullet that Saved the World”, @9pm on Fox