Fringe
In Absentia

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Will You Still Need Me When I’m 64? (In Like Twenty Seconds)
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

This week again we open with scenes -- sequenced a little more linearly -- of the Bishop-Dunhams enjoying a sunny day in the park. It's a little more from Olivia's perspective, though. She's reading a book while Peter talks about how he could happily stay here forever. That's what they all say, right before an invasion! They call Etta to come over, because it's time to get her home and into a bath, and the cherub happily starts tottering her way over.

And then: Building disintegrates. Observers pop into view. I don't mind watching that again, because it is effectively unsettling to watch and you can understand the instant terror that grips people. Olivia breaks into a run towards Etta, who's standing still out of fear. It looks like Peter's just about to scoop her up --

And then Olivia wakes up in the first-aid station that got set up in the wake of the invasion. She can't hear well at first and then she gets her bearings enough to make out a frantic Peter asking a doctor about their daughter, who had been standing right in front of him. Also: Has anyone seen our Bugaboo stroller? Those things aren't cheap! He dashes out to find where the kids have been taken. Olivia, suddenly realizing Etta's missing, leaps up from her bed to chase after him, screaming Etta's name --

And then Olivia wakes up in 2036, sweat beading on her chest, Peter hovering above her. Breathing hard, Olivia covers her face with her hands and Peter could tell she was dreaming about Etta. "For us, it's like it all just happened a couple of months ago," he reminds her. But it didn't and they're all here now, and it's all OK. Well, I don't know about "OK," exactly. But I suppose if "domestic bliss raising their daughter" is at one end of the scale and "separated and encased in amber" is at the other, then I'll grant you that where they are now is probably somewhere in between.

Olivia smiles, but it's tough for her to be truly happy about the missing 21 years; washing her hands in Etta's bathroom, she sees a row of pictures of a growing Etta with presumably a foster family. I'm sure Olivia's happy her daughter didn't live out the past two decades in some near-future Dickensian orphanage though, right? RIGHT?

Peter strolls into the kitchen to find Walter wearing the thought unifier and muttering to himself. Astrid tells Peter it's having adverse effects on Walter, as though Walter muttering non-sequentially things like "Not the thing working can't it's not" isn't enough to clue Peter in. And we're sure this thing isn't just some peripheral device for 2036's PlayStation 7, right?

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