“The Observers are Coming…” A look at the world of Fringe Season Five

They’ve been a constant mystery for the past five years, but now the OBSERVER’s are about to make the Fringe Verse their own… literally…

You’ve seen them at all of the significant moments in Fringe, from Peter’s return to Walter crossing over to the parallel universe – but now the OBSERVER’s are about to come to the forefront in the final 13 episode season of FOX‘s hit sci-fi show from J.J. Abrams and show runner J.H. Wyman.

The Road to Season Five: “Letter’s in Transit”

In Season Four, we were given a glimpse into the world that Fringe Season Five will be taking place in the 19th episode ‘Letters in Transit’ which is set in 2036; where we are introduced to an Observer controlled world where Humans (or Natives) are controlled and restricted.

I have to admit, when I initially watched the episode in the original run – and the episodes after it – ‘Letters in Transit‘ seemed out of place in terms of the story-arc being played out in the second half of the show’s fourth season. However, upon seeing the season finale it kind of made more sense in terms of some of the future episodes subtle symbology (for example Etta’s necklace – that was made of a real bullet – which finds its origins in the Fringe Season Four finale). 

The episode introduced us to the character of Etta (Georgina Haig), who is a member of the Fringe Division in charge of policing the Native population under the leadership of Agent Phillip Broyles (Lance Reddick).

Etta (Georgina Haig) and Simon (Henry Cusick) in the Fringe Division 2036 headquarters.

Etta, as well as her boss, Simon Foster (Henry Cusick) free Walter Bishop (John Noble) from Amber – in which he had been encased for a little over 20 years – in the hopes of discovering the fate of the rest of the original Fringe Division Team (Walter, Peter, Olivia, Astrid), who had begun developing a plan to get rid of the observers for good.

Upon hearing Etta’s discovery of Walter being in Amber initially, Simon is skeptical in her findings after hearing the stories and witnessing the events of the resistance and purges in 2015, where Human resistance fighters against the Observers were killed in a wave that was ‘bloody and futile’.

“The original Fringe team didn’t vanish. They aren’t missing. They died twenty years ago. They aren’t coming back to save us from the Observers…” 
– Simon Foster

But he is proved wrong when Etta shows him Walter encased in Amber and they are able to use older technology to free him. However, Walter’s brain is damaged from the trauma of being freed from Amber and so Etta and Simon must go into the heart of the Observer controlled city to the old Massive Dynamic building – following an idea given to them by Nina Sharp (Blair Brown) – where pieces of Walter’s brain removed by William Bell (Leonard Nimoy) have been stored – so Walter’s mind can be rebooted as it were… in order for him to help find the rest of the missing Fringe team and stop the observers.

They are successful in recovering Walter’s fragmented memory and reconnecting the neural pathways that have decayed, and so the three then go to the place where the remaining members of the missing Fringe team remain in Amber. Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) is not seen at all in this episode, and her fate was left open ended at the end of ‘Letters in Transit‘ as we discover that ‘Etta’ is actually Henrietta Bishop: Peter and Olivia’s daughter, but no mention of Olivia’s fate was given in regards to her status in 2036.

The episode left us with 3/4 of the Fringe Team freed from Amber; Simon now encased in Amber after freeing Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson), and Phillip Broyles left with more questions than answers after discovering a Red Vine (Walter’s favorite liquorice) at the scene of Simon’s Amber encasement.

Season Five: “The Resistance Begins…”

And so we arrive at the fifth and final season of Fringe, where the future must look to their past in order to save themselves from the oppression of an Observer controlled future. This final trailer released before the Season Five premiere reveals an epic rollercoaster ride that will probably leave viewers on the edge of their seats, as we take one last stand alongside Fringe Division.

Anna Torv (Olivia Dunham), Joshua Jackson (Peter Bishop), John Noble (Walter Bishop), Jasika Nicole (Astrid Farnsworth), Lance Reddick (Agent Phillip Broyles) and Blair Brown (Nina Sharp) all return for this season while Georgina Haig (Etta) has been announced as being a recurring cast member.

The title of the Season premiere is ‘Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11‘ (a mouthful, I know) and is set a day after the events of ‘Letters in Transit‘ and should hopefully help us to gain a little more insight into what happened between the end of Season Four, to the events of now – as well as helping to answer the question: What happened to Olivia?

Now, I know I haven’t given away much of anything major pertaining to the upcoming season. This has been bringing everything together in terms of  bridging the gap between ‘Letters..‘ and ‘Transilience..‘ (what can I say, I love timelines and at the moment you can’t get any more timey wimey in Fringe Verse than jumping between now, 2036… and possibly 2609) and getting to safe ground before the Resistance begins.

Over the course of the summer, FOX released some tantalizing teasers in regards to the Observer regime by releasing three short clips featuring the Observer know as “Captain Windmark” in regards to protocols put in place to govern and control the Natives.

Cerebral Scan Protocol:


Residency Protocol:


Travel Protocol:

These have recently been joined by some “Wanted” clips featuring members of the Original Fringe Team who were freed from Amber in ‘Letters in Transit‘ including Astrid and Peter and who are now deemed National Security Threats..

“Wanted: Astrid Farnsworth”


“Wanted: Peter Bishop”


Resistance is Now…

So, there you have it.

Fringe returns with a final 13 episode run with a rumored three part season finale that is set to end around February (I wonder if this means that we’re going to be having a mini-hiatus again… they were not cool last season – kind of like the Doctor Who break up this year) and the end of an amazing sci-fi show that has been as epic in terms of its cinematography as it has been in its storytelling.

Welcome to the Resistance 🙂 and enjoy Fringe Season Five…

Sources: Youtube | Buddy TV | Fringepedia: Letters in Transit |

Image Sources: Spoiler TV | Joshua Jackson.Org |

Header creator:  Article writer (quote from ‘Letters in Transit‘ – image credits as above)

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