"Letters of Transit" Review
First off, we learn that the observers have broken free of mere observations and have taken control of the world. There’s a slow reveal of information, as we learn of “the purge” - a time in which the observers killed numerous humans and effectively set up a dictatorship. It’s nice to highlight the observers again, and I like the numerous mentions of September’s conflict. Likewise, the Nazi-esque society is unique and ultimately works well in establishing tone.
New-comers Etta Bishop and Simon Foster had a lot of work to do in a short amount of time, but they establish their characters well. Etta is especially strong, though I wasn’t especially drawn to Simon’s character arc (played by Lost alum Henry Ian Cusick). Regardless, there’s an interesting dynamic at play, and that’s all we can ask for in just forty-three minutes of screen time. I’m sure we’ll be returning to this world down the road.
My biggest problem with “Letters of Transit” is that the episode feels a little too ambitious in scope. The writers treat the story as another procedural; it ultimately feels like a freak-of-the-week story set in a universe we’ve never seen or heard of. The show could have slowed down and revealed the circumstances to us more gradually; as is, there’s a lot going on.
The fact that Walter Bishop even appears in this episode shows how quickly it moves. We barely know what’s going on before Walter (yes, the same one we know in present-day Fringe lore) is shot out of a block of amber and is giving orders to the new cast. And then we also see William Bell. It’s a lot to take in, and I suspect the episode would have worked better ending with Walter being extracted from the amber, with the rest of the time spent on better situating this new world.
In the end, however, I appreciate what the writers attempted here, and it certainly allows for interesting possibilities for Season 5. At this point, it’s a little early to make a call either way.
What about you? Did you like the new, future society? Or did you feel it too risky for Fringe? As always, feel free to share your comments.