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Welcome back to the year 2036 Fringe fans,Fringe Letters of Transit Futuristic Banner - Learn more at FOX Broadcasting

The situation is more than desperate! Good guy Observer September (Michael Cerveris), Broyles (Lance Reddick) and Nina (Blair Brown) are nowhere to be found.

The Observers are running wild literally looting our fair planet, poisoning the Earth’s air, all the while executing their foul plan to dominate and enslave all of humanity including you and me!

Fringe S5x03 - Anna Torv as Olivia in the year 2036Etta (Georgina Haig), Olivia (Anna Torv), Astrid (Jasika Nicole), Peter (Joshua Jackson), and Walter (John Noble) are struggling to survive against all odds in a world driven absolutely to the Fringe within all the potential realities of our own worst nightmares!

For goodness sakes Fringies, what has our world come too? More precisely, what the heck will happen to the planet Earth by the time the year 2036 becomes manifest? Is it The End of Eternity?Fringe S5x03 - Etta and Peter study the options to fight for freedom in 2036

Will Fringe be deigned to return after season five to become a series of big screen blockbusters? I will place my bet that this will be exactly what happens with a huge cliff hanger in the thirteenth episode of season five!

As Gerak said in Stargate SG-1, “We Shall See!”

Fringe S5x03 - Paul McGillion as historian Edwin MasseySpeaking of Stargate, Stargate Atlantis specifically, fortunately, someone dialed the Stargate from the Pegasus Galaxy heralding the arrival of Paul McGillion (Doctor Carson Beckett), now known as Edwin Massey.

Massey will save the day, our planet Earth and the year 2036 from a Fringe disaster perpetrated by The Observers whom have captured most of humanity in the process!

The evil that has become manifest by The Observers, led by the villainous Captain Windmark (Michael Kopsa) purveyor of prostitutes, poverty of spirit and purposeful impropriety is beyond all imagination! Fringe S5x03 - Michael Kopsa as the evil Captain Windmark

When in the heck will we BBQ this frakkin guy and his dastardly minions? This reviewer hopes such occurs in the 2013 world of Fringe!

Okie dokie, that concludes my review and analysis of “The Recordist”. Life is now complete! See you for “The Bullet That Saved The World” tonight on the FOX Broadcasting network when Lance Reddick returns as Agent Broyles!

Just kidding!

For your enjoyment, we include some fun Fringe video clips below interspersed throughout the review courtesy of the great folks at FOX Broadcasting, Bad Robot Productions and Warner Brothers including the latest edition of Noble Intentions for “The Recordist” starring John Noble and a 1960 movie clip that parallels the story arc in “The Recordist”!

The Recordist:

Fringe S5x03 - Connor Beardmore as River MasseyIn a brilliant episode penned by the gifted screen writer Graham Roland (who also is involved with series production as an excellent Fringe supervising producer), eloquently directed by the insightful Jeff T. Thomas, additional talented celebrities are featured as guest stars including young Connor Beardmore as River Massey, Shaun Smyth as Anil, Bojan Dulabic as “Bark Man” and Gaalen Engen as the “Bearded Man”.

Fringe S4x15 “The End Of All Things” - September with Peter BishopDid I mention the nefarious Captain Windmark yet? Oh, yes I did. Excuse me, but I was distracted preparing a special BBQ sauce to marinate him and all The Observers in!

This reviewer will of course make an exception for September (Micheal Cerveris), whom I am sure will enjoy rotating all of The Observers on a BBQ pit as we cook The Invaders whom have raped the planet Earth, not to mention their intent to do despicable carnal knowledge acts of the same ilk to our planetary inhabitants of a feminine nature!

Can we all simply agree The Observers such as Captain Windmark are despicable creatures who are more than deserving to be roasted slowly over a BBQ pit of red hot coals?!

Fringe S5x03 - Walter from the past on the aging TV from video tape

Previously on Fringe, our stalwart band of heroes had located what they believed was the first video tape left by Walter to guide the team in the event of his own expected demise at the hands of The Observers.

These aging video tapes will prove to be invaluable clues to find the tools needed to conduct the ultimate BBQ (mentioned above) for The Observers featuring the evil Captain Windmark as the main course of the feast to be served to save our world!

Using the ancient video tapes, replete with accurately displayed “video drop outs” with on screen static and audio distortions resulting in incomplete recordings makes for an extremely realistic set of sequences. For those unaware, video drop outs are caused in part due to magnetic recording “thermal degradation” from being bombarded by solar particles which cause all magnetic recording devices to ultimately fail.

Fringe S5x03 - Walter sniffs from the bag of Marijuana at the former Harvard University labAfter sneaking into The Observers controlled Harvard University using underground tunnels revealed in the episode, Astrid, and Walter liberate a video tape from amber via laser at first believing it to be the first in sequence.

Literally right under The Observers laboratory at the former Harvard University, Walter liberates a large quantity of Marijuana from the amber!

Viewers who paid close attention noted that at the same time his video tape self is ingesting some of the “grass” while recording the “bread crumbs” that help his future self. This scene was not only humorous, but fantastically is a true “Walter-ism” worthy of his Fringe heritage! Simply excellent work by the Fringe writers!

Fringe S5x03 - Astrid says SHOCKER when they learn Walter's tapes are not in sequence

Upon viewing the liberated video tape, and this reviewer is certain 2036 Walter gleefully ingested some of the Marijuana, the Fringe team discovers it is the third video tape in Walter’s series of “bread crumbs” left behind.

One of the most enjoyable lines is delivered by Astrid; “Shocker!”, when they all discover that Walter secreted the ancient video tapes out of order.

Well of course he did! He is Walter Bishop for goodness sakes!

Fringe S5x03 - On the road again to Northern PennsylvaniaNevertheless, Olivia, Etta, Peter, Astrid and Walter ascertain enough information from the decaying video tape of “Where in the World of Fringe 2036” clues will lead them, a forest in a remote section of rural Northern Pennsylvania.

On the way to the Pennsylvania forest, our 2036 Fringe team’s vehicle has a flat tire. While stopped at the side of the road while changing the tire, one of The Observer’s surveillance devices records their location. Yikes!Fringe S5x03 - Australian actress Georgina Haig is an excellent addition to the cast as Henrietta Bishop

This reviewer must compliment Joel Wyman, David Fury and all the Fringe creators for the addition of Georgina Haig to the cast as Henrietta Bishop (Etta).

This talented actress adds the “willing suspension of disbelief” dimension required for internalization and believability regarding the horrendous state of human conditions that have befallen human kind in the year 2036. Well done! Bravo!

Arriving at the thick forested area in Northern Pennsylvania, Etta, Olivia, Peter and Walter are confronted by a group of rebel survivors packing automatic weapons.

Fringe S5x03 - Captured by the Bark People

Fringe S5x03 - Edwin Massey recognizes Walter BishopFortunately, Edwin Massey (Paul McGillion) recognizes the team, Walter in specific, commenting that they have not “aged a day” and escorts them to their encampment where Massey reveals a huge secret; He has been faithfully recording human history to document what has happened since The Observers conquered the Earth!

This specific sequence pays homage to a classic science fiction movie, The Time Machine based on the 1895 novel by H.G. Wells. Not the 1978 or 2002 re-makes mind you.

This reviewer is speaking of the best version, the 1960 vintage version starring Rod Taylor as H.G. Wells, Alan Young (Mr. Ed and featured in the 2002 re-make) as David and James Filby and a young Yvette Mimieux as “Weena”, the curious but clueless woman from the year 802,701 AD, where all human knowledge has been forgotten thanks to the cannibalistic “Morlocks” who like The Observers have enslaved the human race.

Fringe S5x03 - Walter and Edwin at the crystalline memory device readerWith clear reference to the Weena scene when she reveals the “Talking Rings” (magneto optical spinning disk data storage devices) that recorded human history for H.G. Wells to see in the year 802,701 during the 1960 movie.

Our 2036 Fringe team learns more about what I will refer to as the “Bark People” when Walter is taken to a secret facility with complete records from history since The Observers invasion began.

Are the “Bark People” to be equated with an early version of the Morlocks who also ventured underground to protect their technology? In the 1960’s classic movie, H.G. Wells learns enough from the “Talking Rings” or “Spinning Data Disks” that “talk” in The Time Machine movie to relate to the downfall of humanity after a third world war that devastated the Earth.

Fringe S5x03 - Walter and Edwin examine Fringe history at the crystalline memory display device

Although a rebirth of civilization led to fantastic accomplishments including the “Talking Rings”, this was before the human race was to become food for the Morlocks. The discovery was enough for H.G. Wells to make the ultimate sacrifice and return to save the world of 802,701 AD and his beloved “Weena”.

In The Time Machine, the Morlocks were somehow altered genetically to create hideous characterizations of human beings. In “The Recordist”, Edwin Massey and his history archivist encampment are also being genetically transformed as result of exposure to a substance that is changing them into the “Bark People”.

Fringe S5x03 - Hideously disfigured Bark Person Edwin Massey in the crystalline memory data bank facilityWill we see the end result of the “Bark People” later in season five or a post season big screen movie by Warner Brothers? This reviewer certainly hopes this becomes our future Fringe reality in movies!

Speaking of data storage devices, Edwin Massey is the caretaker of a huge library of memory crystals documenting all historic events since the brutal invasion by The Observers. This is a fitting modern substitute for the “Talking Rings” and magnetic storage devices like video tape, USB memory sticks, and even optical storage devices, all of which are subject to “thermal degradation” and loss of data consistency over time.

IBM Research Lab Almaden near Silicon Valley - Tunneling Electron Microscope

Having worked in the Data Storage Industry for many years, this reviewer can reveal that keeping data on crystalline substrate and liquid crystal matrices are a reality today.

A proven, albeit elusive stable data device, the technology was originally discovered by IBM at their Almaden Research laboratories just outside of Silicon Valley California where this reviewer has delivered high technology Tribological data storage test equipment in the recent past.

Click to learn more about Crystalline Data Storage Technology - krystal_mediumCrystalline or Advanced Halographic Data Storage is already being perfected by the United States government for use in their “black programs”. The use of this specific data storage technique in Fringe is a perfectly utilized element, adding realism to the series in general and to “The Recordist” episode in specific.

Our heroes learn enough information from Edwin Massey’s crystal data library of history to continue their search for the weapon to eliminate The Observers Walter has alluded to in the video tapes.

Similar to The Time Machine, one of the characters in “The Recordist” will make the ultimate sacrifice to help the 2036 Fringe team, but I get ahead of myself in this excellent story arc under the guidance of entertainment genius and the talented Fringe Executive Producer Joel H. Wyman.

Fringe S5x03 - Astrid calls the Fringe team with information from the video tapes she fixed about the mine

The scene segues to Astrid looking at and fixing the decrepit video tapes subsequently sharing her discoveries with the Fringe team in the rural Pennsylvania forest where Edwin Massey has set up his historical library.

We “hear” Walter of the past hear himself in 2036 say “tape 6 or 7” and that he must find a “mine” after a typically hysterical Walter-ism about a “mime” named Marcel Marceau!

Fringe S5x03 - The Fringe team enters the abandoned gold mineThe 2036 Fringe team, with help from Edwin Massey, locates an abandoned gold mine where a high energy mineral that has been slowly adding to the poisoning of Edwin Massey and his stalwart dedicated band of history archivists.

Caused by the air pollution deliberately being injected into Earth’s atmosphere by The Observers for their hideous purposes on invasion, exposure apparently petrifies the victim as witnessed when Walter breaks off a chunk of a victim body with an unmistakable sound like tree bark crackling when broke off.

Fringe S5x03 - Back in Manhattan Windmark learns where the Fringe team isBack in Manhattan, evil Captain Windmark tracks the video clue from the flat tire to follow the 2036 Fringe team to the remote Pennsylvania forest. Can we say trouble with a capital “O” for the vile Observers?

It goes without says that The Observers are brilliantly presented by the creators of Fringe in the character portrayed by the talented actor Michael Kopsa!  

Another well deserved bravo and well done for one of the best portrayals of a villain in recent entertainment history!

Fringe S5x03 - Etta watches her parents together

Etta’s spies back in the Manhattan area give her a cell phone call indicating the 2036 Fringe team are being followed by The Observers.

Etta urges them all they need to get out of the Pennsylvania forest area as soon as possible. Walter is adamant they must stay to discover the energy source to power the weapon that will free the Earth of The Observers.

Several touching moments occur between Olivia and Peter. They discuss a restaurant called “Donovan’s” and her fears about losing Etta. It is heartbreaking as Olivia remembers thinking their daughter Etta had died back in the past. Olivia is still having difficulty believing she is with her family.

Fringe S5x03 - Olivia is thinking about her family before seeking out Peter

Fringe S5x03 - Olivia seeks out Peter

Peter, in true “Bishop” fashion consoles Olivia “The past is the past… our family got a second chance”. A truly enjoyable vignette that brings viewers back to why we love Fringe so much; The past is indeed the past. However, just not quite yet!

Fringe S5x03 - Touching moments between Peter and Olivia

Fringe S5x03 - Massey seeks out Peter to discuss a sensitive subjectThe next sequence to focus on is also heartbreaking. Edwin Massey shares his fear is not of dying from the petrifying “Bark People” condition, but how he will ever be able to say goodbye to his beloved son “River”?

Peter mistakes Edwin’s fear for what he really has planned, but it is touching to see that Peter has feelings unlike his brusque behavior in the early days of Fringe season one.

Paul McGillion as Edwin Massey delivers an outstanding performance when speaking to “River” about the decision he has made with the words “you are not a coward if you are afraid, you are a coward if you know what needs to be done and you don’t do it”.

Fringe S5x03 - Edwin Massey shares with his son River what he is about to do

This lesson in humanity is something many in life need to internalize. Sadly, not everyone is capable of making such sacrifices as Edwin Massey will execute “to do his part” to save the Fringe team of 2036 and all of humanity.

This scene brought tears to my eyes as I contemplated the selfish people I have met in my life who will do anything to further their devious agenda’s using foul mechanisms rather than “do the right thing” for the benefit of all. It is a sad, but true statement about the human condition of today, the past, but hopefully not for all of the future of humankind.

Fringe S5x03 - Edwin Massey is petrified after mining the mineralWalter needs copper to make hazardous material suits to extract the high energy mineral. Edwin knows the other nearby encampment does not have any copper and decides to use subterfuge to send the Fringe team on a wild goose chase while he enters the mine to extract the mineral Walter needs to stop The Observers.

In the course of events Edwin Massey sacrifices his life fatally exposing himself to the toxic substance in the final moments by mining enough of the mineral.

We observe him as a calcified, literally a petrified being, dead at the chains of the mine as the 2036 Fringe contemplates his sacrifice to help save humanity from The Observers.

Fringe S5x03 - River Massey looks at his Dad and Mom in the crystal memory data libray

In the last sequences, River Massey is in the crystal data bank of history looking at digital images of better times with his father and mother. We hear River Massey’s voice as he emotionally views the crystalline memory archive;

“Today a hero died, sacrificing himself in order to get the Fringe team the resources they needed to save our world.”

“Edwin Massey, the recorder of history, made history…” and a few moments later “Like other men, he (Edwin Massey) gave his life selflessly in the pursuit of freedom… and a better future.”

The episode concludes on a high and as we have come to enjoy often, a bit of a humorous Fringe note. The 2036 Fringe team is driving away from the archivist’s encampment in the van they came in. We know they must switch vehicles to avoid being taken captive by the Observers. But did they?

We witness The Observers minions stop the van. A near brain seizure and heart attack occurred in this reviewers mind and body. Have our heroes come all this way only to be captured once again?

Fringe S5x03 - The cool ancient station wagonNope! The 2036 Fringe team had abandoned the vehicle; Low and behold, they find an ancient station wagon that looks an awful lot like Walter’s from the early seasons of Fringe!

A huge broad smile broke out on my face as Walter Bishop donned a cool pair of “Men In Black” style sunglasses and said to Peter, Olivia and Etta; “Now, this is a ride!”

Fringe S5x03 - Walter dons the MIB style sunglasses

Where did Walter get the sunglasses? Perhaps Walter left them in the station wagon to begin with, only to be found by himself in 2036! Nevertheless, our heroes drove off to safety amid the ruins of an abandoned city!

In concluding this analysis of “The Recordist”, many fans are upset that only ten episodes remain.

I reiterate my theory that Fringe as a franchise will return as a series of movies by Warner Brothers, where the cast and crews can receive the Academy Awards they deserve after being robbed year after year at the Emmys!

Until next time; BBQ any of The Observers you encounter, except September!

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WR_Systems (Kenn)


  • avatar Lori says:

    Great review. I love that you referenced the long forgotten Time Machine movie and the parallels to Fringe. I, too, love how the writers pull out these past gems and bring them to the new generation. Nice Asimov nod, too. This director is hoping to see some movies (a la X-Files) in the future. Maybe I can be lucky enough to direct one! Always great analysis.

  • avatar Kenn says:

    Hi Lori,

    Thanks for the nice comment. As we discussed, “The Recordist” was a superb episode. I am sure the knowledge in the Crystal Memory Archive will play a role before the end of season five, much like the “Talking Rings” would have been for H.G. Wells upon his return to the year 802,701 AD in “The Time Machine” (1960).

    In closing, we do need Fringe movies!

    Best Regards,


  • avatar Yamashiro says:

    Awesome inkling!

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