After a massive fan outcry and pleas from both the actors and producers, Fox agreed to resurrect Fringe for one last season, making this limited 13 episode story-arc (set in 2036 after the Observers have taken over Earth) the final adventure for one of my favorite sci-fi shows.
Last week the Fringe team went through underground tunnels to reach Walter’s lab at Harvard. With most of it frozen in amber to keep its secrets safe, Walter and Astrid successfully created a laser to cut through it and retrieve a videotape. On the tape they discover that Walt did indeed have a plan to rid 2036 of the Observers, but this plan is recorded on additional tapes and subsequently scattered to ensure they didn’t fall into the wrong hands.
In this week’s episode of Fringe, “The Recordist,” they recover the next tape, third in the series and conveniently “hidden” in the lab. They’re told to go to a remote area of Pennsylvania to retrieve one of the key components they’ll need and after a funny exchange where Walter discovers a long lost piece of licorice and a bag of pot, they head out. But once there they get ambushed by a group of guys that look like they were puked on by a tar monster.
Their leader Edwin recognizes them as the fabled members of the Fringe Division. As a boy he and his group escaped after the invasion into these woods. Knowing that history is written by the victors, his father didn’t want the story of the resistance to be lost and created a sophisticated data collection system that has been cataloguing all things Fringe. He tells Walter they should all leave before they too get sick, but Walter insists on staying until he can discover the element needed for his plan.
The team locates the mine referenced on the tape and finds a corpse that’s been completely calcified and Walter deduces this mine must be the source of whatever’s causing the black skin growths. At the same time Loyalists discover footage of the team when they stopped along the way to refuel, launching a search for them that could lead the Observers to the camp. It becomes a race against time: can they find the element they need to assist them with their plans before they’re found? And can they find it and escape the area before they become afflicted with the same skin disease?
Chock full of the usual “race against time” suspense we’ve come to expect out of Fringe, “The Recordist” is also a touching episode reflecting on the bonds between a parent and child. Fringe takes a break next week and returns on October 26 with another action packed installment.