In Absentia

Episode Report Card
Daniel: B+ | Grade It Now!
Will You Still Need Me When I’m 64? (In Like Twenty Seconds)

Leaving doesn't really seem to be an option, points out Etta, because if the camera's key to helping Walter remember, they've got to get it out of the amber. The device they use to push people out won't work, since it'll just push the camera further in. Walter needs a laser. Fortunately, he can make a laser. I think I'd be a little worried as to what kind of dangerous kill-machine Walter's addled mind might produce, but that's OK.

What Walter can't do, however, is use a laser when there's no electricity. Flipping levers in the breaker box isn't helping either. "The ambering must have blown everything," says Olivia, and then Peter somehow deduces that the power is "blown all the way back to the campus substation," whatever that means, which Astrid says is in the basement of the science building. Etta says they can get there through the tunnels, but before our merry band of adventurers can embark on this quest, Astrid reminds them that they don't even know what's in the science building anymore, or what might be waiting for them. "We don't, but he does," says Etta, indicating Gael, and she closes the door so she's alone in the room with the loyalist. Olivia cocks her head at this little development.

Inside the room, Etta tells Gael that he doesn't talk much, but she's gonna give him one more chance. She asks what he knows about the science building. He doesn't answer. "You're a real open book. It's okay. I'm good at opening books," she says, and starts putting together a little handheld device with a knob and exterior lights. 2036 iPod? Whatever it is, Gael's quite concerned to see it, and asks Etta where she got it. She says it's not important, but what is important is that she has it.

She attaches -- painfully, it seems -- cords to Gael's hands. "What do they use the science building for? He still doesn't answer, but seems a little more scared now. And with good reason: After a moment, Etta turns the knob on the device, and Gael's body spasms -- he's really just a blur as he violently shakes. Etta stares at him impassively.

After a few seconds, she stops it and Gael has noticeably aged. Male pattern baldness has got its clutches in him, and his beard is flecked with grey now. "I don't think you want to waste any more precious time," says Etta.

After the commercial break, Walter is holding a small mallet above his head and begging the Criterion Collection forgiveness for what he's about to do. Hey, screw Criterion. They still owe us an apology for putting out an Armageddon edition. Astrid soothes Walter, reminding him they need the laser from the laser-disc player he's going to smash. Walter, his eyes screwed shut, still can't do it, but Astrid's calling for Peter gets him going. "No, it should be me," he says, and he smashes the player.

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