‘Fringe’ Season 5: ‘The Recordist’ Recap – Red Rocks & Heroes

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fringe season 5 the recordist Fringe Season 5: The Recordist Recap   Red Rocks & Heroes

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.

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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.

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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.

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Fringe continues next Friday with “The Bullet that Saved the World”, @9pm on Fox

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  1. Feels like the writers are having a hard time giving Olivia something to do ;)

    Despite that, I liked the episode. Didn’t see the sacrifice coming, but I knew something bad was going to happen. We’ve been seeing what life is like for people under Observer control, so it’s nice, but I can’t wait for the team to start confronting Observers face to face

    • you are way off.
      Watch from the beginning. It all there since the begining, what the observers are doing, and it is mentioned several times that, most notably Season ONE episode 19 “The Road Not Taken”, Clint Howard directly tells what is going on and that William Bell founded MD to experiment with impunity to prepare for “the coming war” and create super soldiers to fight with renegade’s from the future who have come back to change the timeline.
      Don’t b**** if you don’t know what you’re talking about. Go back and watch the actual show. You people are so myopic that you comment about how “this season is different” of this episode is “not part” of larger narrative when really youre just too short sighted and in need of momentary stimulation to even grasp how much awesome is happening in front of your eyes. later you’ll see the reveals. Sometimes it feels like you people arent event watching the same show am i the only one with all the episodes or what?

  2. As an avid Fringe fan, I am very disappointed with this season, as it feels very much like the “add on” that it is. The finale to the fourth season would have made a good finale for the series, but after the show was renewed for another year, it just feels like the writers are grasping. Have they forgotten that the Observers are time travelers?! I guess now that they have come to earth en masse, they can no longer do that?! If they can still travel through time, it should be relatively easy for them to defeat the Fringe team. But of course, the Fringe team is relying on a series of VHS tapes to learn the way to defeat the Observers?! VHS tapes?! Are they serious?! I’ll stick with it until the end, but very disappointed so far!

    • The VHS tapes just shows the hilarious side of Walter. He often relies on outdated tech b/c that is what he is comfortable with. The one good thing about not being so digital is that it is harder to track, I guess. When he was smelling that bag of weed and said he thinks he’s too weak to travel, that was the classic Walter.

    • you are way off.
      Season ONE episode 19 “The Road Not Taken”, Clint Howard directly tells what is going on and that William Bell founded MD to experiment with impunity to prepare for “the coming war” and create super soldiers to fight with renegade’s from the future who have come back to change the timeline. Don’t b**** if you don’t know what you’re talking about. Go back and watch the actual show. You people are so myopic that you comment about how “this season is different” of this episode is “not part” of larger narrative when really youre just too short sighted and in need of momentary stimulation to even grasp how much awesome is happening in front of your eyes. later you’ll see the reveals.

  3. Additionally…I could have missed it…but has it even been explained WHY the Observers went from being altruistic at best, unobtrusive at worst, to invaders and task masters? Has the Fringe team asked this question or discussed it yet?

    • Observers would not change anything pre-invasion as any changes would lead to the creation of a new ‘branched’ universe. Once they invade however, this creates a new branched universe anyways, so no point holding back after that. The full explanation as to ‘why’ the observers invaded (other than their own survival) is no doubt being saved for the climax of the season, after all it is one of the sole remaining mysteries, and to dispel it this early would leave us with nowhere to go, no?

  4. Good points, Jeff. I’m also disappointed. The whole Betamax tape angle reminds me way too much of the DHARMA Initiative VHS tapes in LOST. “But you see, they’re Betamax tapes this time!” Big deal. And I find it really frustrating the way each episode has thus far focused on personal relationships. This time it was Mother/Daughter. Last time it was Father/Son and Mother/Daughter. I might be alone on this, but I don’t watch Fringe for the human drama, or the chance to see families reunited. This isn’t Stairway to Heaven.

    • My mistake if the tapes are Betamax vs VHS, but I know that you get my point and feel my pain. The Observers are clearly now enemies, so you would think that a large part of the dialogue among the Fringe team would, or should, be about attempting to discern WHY they invaded, for what reason are they here? I just haven’t heard a good discussion on it yet, although perhaps I missed it? Still, it should be a continuing and ongoing thing. Plus, again, what happened to their time-travel capablities? Everything that is going on now would, or should, be mute if they still had them. Poor writing thus far, in my opinion.

      • If I remember correctly, the episode that was set in the future last season explained that the Observers destroyed their world and had to travel back to take over. I think they were observing to find a good place to travel back to. It really wasn’t completely clear, but hopefully they will tell us why.

        Remember, all but one of the observers were evil to begin with. One was trying to save Peter. Possibly he knew that Peter would save the other dimension as well as the world when they took over. But really, with the tech at their disposal, they should easily beat the Fringe division unless Olivia uses that power again. Remember, she was the one that was supposed to save everyone.

        • No, I don’t recall that all the Observers were evil to begin with. In two examples, named August and September, they were altruistic, with August saving a girl who was going to die in a plane crash and September saving Peter. The others were unobtrusive. Don’t remember any earlier signs of them being the invaders and task masters that they now are, and I’ve watched the show since its inception. Could you clarify, because I have heard this argument from others before, without any evidence…

          • September saves Peter on Observer orders as an attempt on their behalf to correct September’s mistake when he distracted Walternate. (Self-interest not altruism)

            August saves the girl (which could be considered altruistic, even though to begin with August argues that his actions are driven by the code of Importance – it is only after being shot that he recognizes that emotions were the cause of his ‘logic error’.)
            and in the process begins to awaken to emotion. This implies the Observers are rather emotionless creatures, more intellect than heart.

            So, to say they are good or evil is tricky, so I think it best we reserve judgement until after the finale. But if I had to choose one, i’d say emotionless would equate with them being evil over good. Lack of emotion = lack of empathy = lack of compassion = evil.

            • Of course then we have the plot holes relating to this.

              Such as, for a race who is unable to feel love, one would question whether or not they understand sadness. Yet in the scene from season 2 where Olivia rides the rollercoaster with Ella, the two commenting observers imply that they are empathetic toward Olivia’s future turmoil, and how sad it is. Kinda like two men who were born blind, debating their favorite colour.

              • Ok, they actually say -

                “Look how happy she is. It’s a shame things are about to get so hard for her.”

                Not as bad as I thought. Maybe disregard my last post.

  5. When did Walter become Dr. Pierre Chang?

    • Season 5, Episode 2

  6. Glad I’m not the not the only one who is dissapointed in the show. I don’t want to annoy the people who are enjoying it, but at this point it is so much worse than the stuff I like to watch that I won’t even admit to people that I watch it. There is little evidence that the writers are planning ahead, paying attention or even bothering to remain consistent. In fact, with what must be a diluted combination of committee writing and passing episode assignments out to various writers, I frequently see signs that they are not keeping track of the convoluted details, and that they would therefor like us to forget them and make it easier for them to do whatever they feel like any given week. Now that an end is in sight, relevance and cohesion should be second only to a dedication to quality. Such is not the case this season any more than last. The show feels rushed, uninspired, and thoroughly half-assed.

    At least there aren’t three or four different Olivias running around anymore. (Original, parallel, new original-sans-Peter and new parallel or is this a new new new one?, and of course last and least, Leonard Nimoy as portrayed by Olivia.). That was awful. And they brought Peter back, but apparently not for any good scenes.

    The observers are literally black-hat villains now as a purely lazy and uncreative choice to simplify matters. Same reason I expect no more parallel universe stories, since that would require some consistency and coherent attention to established detail and lore. (Not the show’s strong suit). Walternate was mysterious, then evil, then clearly not evil. Nimoy was all of that and then clearly a heroic self-sacrificing pal (setting aside the brutal experiments on frightened children, all of whom suffered terribly on the way to insanity, mental booby traps, and crushing anguish,) and then the man who would ruin everything, and now possibly the guy who can save everyone, but maybe not on purpose… How about Nina? I don’t even wanna run through her goofy flip flop history of ghoulishly unnappealing roles. Broils? He was criminally underused in the first season, and has been almost as neglected as Peter was last season. Now he is AWOL.

    I agree that that the show should be delivering on its sci fi, but since that has been so episodically weak, inconsistent and lame, I would settle for some great relationship moments. At this point I would prefer some solid Peter/Walter dynamics to any clever twists I can imagine. The twists are just falling so flat, and the heart of the story is neglected while they present weak stories that look to be limping over the finish line.

    Oh and as for the daughter… She’s okay, but deeply generic like a lot of Abrams characters. She may as well be the lady from Alcatraz, or Revolution for that matter. There are two shows whose tremendous, insulting lack of quality shed light on why this Fringe experiment feels like a bust. Best avoided! Will this show ever have promise again? I doubt it. It’s difficult not to sputter indignantly at the the story, script and acting. I can’t even eat while I watch it anymore, lest I choke on the word “what!?”

    A few days after the Earth was invaded, aliens began the apocalypse and his daughter was abducted, Peter had himself some darn good pie. He remembers it like yesterday. Way to keep yer chin up Peter. His lady seemed gloomy though…

    Huh?

    • Why DO you still watch it?

      If you didn’t like two Olivias running around I am surprised you persevered. I feel the quality of writing, attention to detail, and inconsistent story lines have been consistent from season 2 on-wards.

    • Josh, great write-up. I couldn’t agree more. I love the show, but hate where it has ended up. I didn’t see your post before I posted mine below, but I think we have the same thoughts on what the show has become.

      Another fail is the relationship between Olivia and the daughter. Don’t get me wrong, Olivia is unique to say the least, but the moment she comes out of the amber she 1)catches her breath, 2) is introduced to her daughter, and 3) hugs her and in the middle of the embrace goes “where’s Walter?” Ummm…WHAT! are you kidding me? Where’s Walter? How about “Hi lovely and beautiful daughter who I love so much that was taken from me by invading “aliens”, it’s so nice to see you.” I mean, come on. If I was the daughter I’d be like, “how bout you go back in that amber.”

      It’s just not the Fringe that hooked us. It’s almost as if they realized at the end of last season that they are a SciFi show about fringe science that has one final season, so they decided to make it over the top scifi by throwing in crazy amounts of unnecessary scifi/fringe science stuff.

      • start over from the beginning. you will see clear evidence the writers planned WAAAAYYYY ahead. seriously. i’m 20 episodes back into the first season and season 5 was pointed to all along the way. Bell, the device, one guy even said it outright…that bell was trying to fight invaders from the future. your opinions are based in myopic analysis

    • again, watch season 2 episode 3.
      again. invasion planned long ago. g
      o rewatch it. love it.
      like i said, disregard your myopic analysis and watch it as a whole
      I’ll keep reporting back as i notice more things in early seasons that add to the proof this was all planned long ago

  7. Loved it! The Fringe team are now famous heroes in two universes, lol.

    Seeing Walter with the goggles on at the end (just like his comic book counterpart) was a nice touch. Although these first eps have been big on drama, I think it is building nicely.

  8. I could watch fringe 24/7.

  9. I don’t want to open a can of worms here, but for a final season this is tough to sit through. Fringe has been epic, we salivated at just the thought that another Fringe was only a week away for four years. But this season, like Anthony said, we already know what the end result is…to fix the aparatus to defeat the Observers, and now we are just watching them take the steps. Compared to the last four years, how boring. I truly hope they just blow our minds with something.

    Another thing that Fringe has done that I think hurt it in the long run was introducing the same actors as alternate characters too many times. We spent roughly three years (?) watching the Walter, Olivia, and Peter in our universe, to then be introduced to the alternate Walter and Oilivia (as well as the other characters) and then the show focused on them. Here’s the thing, even though they are the same faces, the alternate characters are completely different and we have not grown to know and love them. They look like the same person, but are entirely different…yet the show treated them like they were the same. In season four when they focused entire episodes on the alternate universe and the alternate characters I almost stopped watching those episodes because I didn’t care about them. I just felt it strange. And now they take the same characters from our universe and throw them into the future in a strange and foreign time. It’s just so all over the place that we really have to sit back and say, “ok writers, you’re really stretching it thin here. I’ll accept where your going, I hope it make sense to you because it doesn’t make sense to me.” The fact we even have to think like that isn’t good for a show. Unless this season gets better, I almost wish they concluded last year.

    This is just a Fringe Geek rant, but does anyone feel the same?

    • I understand you, I personally feel the same disconnect to the characters you describe.

      Thing is, I like that this show is different in that way. While I might invest less in the characters compared to say Breaking Bad, I find it is good fun whilst maintaining just enough credibility to keep me watching, and though the plot is a mess, I hold hope for a moment of explanation similar to Peter entering Septembers mind that may yet clear a few things up. Many things did not make sense prior to that scene, that now do, so surely the writers have earn’t a little faith.

      As far as your resignation with where the Season is heading, isn’t it kind of at odd’s with your admitted acceptance of the show’s demonstrated unpredictability?

      • Sambo, I completely agree. I guess I should have shown a little more love for the show to counter my frustrations. The show is so much fun, it fills the fringe science need in me :) I mean, nothing touches on this stuff like this show and I can only hope it sparks a new breed of shows.

        “As far as your resignation with where the Season is heading, isn’t it kind of at odd’s with your admitted acceptance of the show’s demonstrated unpredictability?” To address your question, I’ll say this. My resignation is at odds with the show’s demonstrated unpredictability, but only because it is the last season and I want them to give me the same as the past four years. And so far, with only 10 episodes left, I have been a bit underwhelmed with the episodes. I will say that the ending of episode 1 with Walter was absolutely beautiful, but I hope and have faith that they will make it more than just a connect-the-dots.

        • Yeah, I see what you are saying and I do somewhat share your fear for this season in that regard. But let us hope.

          • And hope we shall…let’s see what Friday has in store.

  10. This show’s writers are brain dead. They are ruining everything up since Jones’ death.

  11. I love this tv-show :)

  12. Am I the only one who considered the Observers were not some harmless force since the beginning? Am I the only one to currently have all the episodes and actually am watching the show to see old clues (which are all over the place)

    seriously too many to mention since season one episode one. Just like people blanketly claim you are not a real fan if you dont like parts, I’de say you have myopic vision if you are gauging THIS show episode by episode, or are assuming some villian or plot string was a one off, or if you think anything happening is unintentional or unplanned. You guys are missing out a great show because “you dont like” the observers invading, when if you watch from the beggining thats what this was ALL about. basically william bell and the fringe team have started time loops and derivative timelines in an attempt to prepare technologically and physically for the observers invasion.

    please watch from the begginging. the writers here are top rate. season 1 episode 19. the scene with clint howard says it all

  13. Am I the only one who considered the Observers were not some harmless force since the beginning? Am I the only one to currently have all the episodes and actually am watching the show to see old clues (which are all over the place)

    seriously too many to mention since season one episode one. Just like people blanketly claim you are not a real fan if you dont like parts, I’de say you have myopic vision if you are gauging THIS show episode by episode, or are assuming some villian or plot string was a one off, or if you think anything happening is unintentional or unplanned. You guys are missing out a great show because “you dont like” the observers invading, when if you watch from the beggining thats what this was ALL about. basically William ell and the fringe team have started time loops and derivative timelines in an attempt to prepare technologically and physically for the observers invasion.

    please watch from the begginging. the writers here are top rate. season 1 episode 19. the scene with clint howard says it all

  14. another thing no one is noticing is that the “Observers” where “a scientific team” observing “important events”….important is a relative term and means the event is of importance to THEM and their ilk…..which isn’t just a society of “Observers”, shown in the 5th season. They possibly never were benevolent “Observers”. The name “Observers” itself could be use of the Unreliable Narrator/Source trope. It was defined by Broiles,Bureau,Etc with the name passed to the Fringe team. Only the initial team of Baldies we just watching. Heck I think they are now identified as the invaders…and perhaps they’ll

  15. season 2 episode 3. again. invasion planned long ago. go rewatch it. love it

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