"The Recordist" was what I hope will be my least favorite Fringeepisode of the season. There was so little to it and it really took the story nowhere in the overall scheme of things. It was quit disappointing.
What we did have was essentially a lesson on what being a hero means to different people. We learned a little about what happened to Olivia after the invasion and the folklore of the Fringe team through the eyes of a young boy hungry for heroes in what he considered a dull life.
Little by little we're learning about what drove Olivia and Peter apart. I didn't expect motherhood to be her reason for keeping the fight against the Observers alive instead of searching for Etta with Peter, but in a strange twist, that's exactly what drove her to walk away from Peter's quest.
So certain that the cortexiphan trials had somehow ruined her as a candidate for mother of the year, she didn't fully appreciate what she had, and when Etta disappeared, the only logical conclusion she could come to was she had been punished for not fully appreciating what she possessed. Furthermore, that punishment would continue with either the death or a nearly similar fate of her daughter because to find her alive and well would be a reward Olivia just didn't deserve.
Because of the amber, all of those feelings were still incredibly fresh to Olivia, making it very difficult for her to get close to Etta. How could she forgive what she felt just months ago and somehow form a meaningful bond with a grown woman? Especially when the child she was really was out there, just waiting to be found? I think those choices haunt Olivia now, but Peter was trying to give her some room to forgive herself and grab onto the second chance they've been given.
Both Etta and River, the son of the recorder of history, looked upon the original Fringe team with awe, imagining themselves running side-by-side and fighting battles against The Observers with them. To them, they were, and are, heroes. When everything fell apart on their mission and the recorder gave up his life to make history instead of recording it so that his son could have a better future, that resonated with Olivia.
She realized that even though the justification for her choices might not have been ideal, people do have to put themselves in the path of danger and fight for a cause, even if it means losing everything they love. But she's been there and done that. Now she has her entire family with her and they can all fight together. A great second chance, indeed.
Other things of note:
- Walter was back to his antics with his discovered bong and the goofy sunglasses. I love that guy!
- Whatever the affliction those poor people had, it had me itching and uncomfortable for the entire hour. What a horrible way to live.
- It was really cute to hear Etta tell Oliva they fought all kinds of imaginary battles together. Exactly what a little girl would do!
- I'm kind of missing the larger casts. It hurts even when Astrid stays back at the lab. Anyone else?
- Those Fringe comics River made were really cool. I wonder if they'll go up for sale in a charity auction or something after production ends.
What did you think of this week's episode? Somehow I expect the comments will not agree with my assessment. The bad news is we have two weeks until the next new episode. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for some action, excitement and big reveals!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA), enjoys mentoring writers, wine, and passionately discussing the nuances of television. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.