In the future, the Observers rule and humans that survived the purge serve them. There are still a small number of people fighting for the resistance, and one of them has discovered one of the original Fringe team in the form of Walter protected in amber. As the resistance attempts to get rid of the Observers, we get a glimpse into a rather dark dystopian future.
Nearly 25 years in the future, the Observers have taken over and rule humanity with a rod of iron, using Fringe agents as a regular police force against "natives". A small group of resistance-friendly Fringe agents, including a young woman with special abilities and a special connection to the original team, work to free the original Fringe team from amber to help them fight the war.
In 2036, Earth is a totalitarian society ruled by The Observers. In 2015, they overthrown the governments and killed great part of the society in a purge. The Fringe Division only exists to control the "Natives" and The Observers are capable to read minds. The Fringe Agents Henrietta "Etta" Bishop and Simon Foster retrieve the amber-encased body of Walter Bishop, who also encased the Fringe team, to protect themselves from The Observers. They rescue Walter but he has brain damage; however Nina Sharp warns that parts of his brain are stored in the old Massive Dynamic building and may restore his capability. However the Fringe Division has tracked their movement and told The Observers. Will they succeed to escape?
- A scroll opens the episode....
"They came from the future. At first, they only watched. Arriving at key moments in human history. We called them OBSERVERs. But in 2015 they stopped watching... and seized control. Citizen uprisings proved bloody and futile. Those who survived became known as "Natives." In an attempt to show their allegiance, some Native factions became "Loyalists" and were marked by the Observers. The original Fringe Team fought the invasion, but was quickly defeated. Fringe Divison was allowed to continue at a reduced capacity, but only to police the Natives. The resistance was quickly overcome... Or so they thought."
An Olivia look-alike visits a secret club were Observers strut around in suits and take the women they want. When a man tries to resist, one of the Observers uses a Jedi mind trick to squeeze his brain. The Agent intervenes, knocking the man out and saying she'll deal with him to avoid the paperwork and loss of her kickbacks. The Observer reads her mind, then says she's always exactly as she seems.
Outside, the man, Rick says he had to provoke a fight so the Observer would try to "wipe" him rather than read his mind. He asks how she was able to mask her true thoughts from the Observer and says they'll kill her if they ever find out what she can do.
He takes her to his van to show her something. She's excited and wants the others, but Rick wasn't able to move the younger man and woman from the city. Rick is explaining when suddenly someone shoots him from behind and runs. The Agent grabs the keys and drives off. She examines her cargo: It's Walter frozen in amber.
(The credit sequence is different, including words like joy, free will, due process, ownership over masses of people inside a prison. Freedom is the last word we see.)
The agent returns to work to talk to her fellow agent, Simon. They have a coffee chew. She tells him Rick was killed by Loyalist. She had an open order with him that she never canceled, for any info on the missing team. He tells her the original Fringe team died 20 years ago and they aren't coming back to save us.
Then she tells him about Walter. They see him holding an amber device -- he did it to himself and his team.
An Observer pays a visit to older Broyles. He offers him a swig of water from a flask. The Observer takes out a hologram device that displays a dead man. He's not happy about Native on Native killing. It's the fourth this month.
"Bite my hand, and I will put you down," he tells Broyles. Broyles promises him a suspect. Broyles asks what he did in the future to get himself such a crap detail.
"I like animals," he says.
Etta and Simon try to figure out how to get Walter out of the amber. It goes from gas back to solid too quickly to get him out safely. They could try to grab him, but they'd get trapped as it reformed.
She goes to requisition old level 2 tech. The agent at the inventory warns her people "in the city" are going to be asking why Simon would want it and she should be careful.
Simon and Etta test the equipment, then hook it up to the amber and fire. It blasts Walter out of the amber, which instantly re-hardens when he's out of it. Walter wakes up. They tell him he was inside 20 years.
They tell him the records indicate he discovered a way to get rid of the Observers but they were caught before they could use it. Walter is spacy and forgets meeting Etta.
They run him through a CAT scan and see his neuropathways have degraded. It looks like he experienced some sort of trauma. Simon thinks it's because he was so close to the blast horizon of the amber.
Ministry of Science, Brooklyn, NY
Etta meets with Nina Sharp, asking about the touch screens for HQ. Nina yells at her for show for The Observers, then heads outside. She sees Walter. He doesn't recognize her.
She warns them the risks of trying to save the world, which the Fringe team did before, at great cost.
She suggests they use the piece of Walter's brain that Massive Dynamic has in storage to try to get his brain to heal itself. (William Bell had it removed at Walter's request.) It's in the city, which is wall-to-wall Observers.
Nina babysits Walter while Etta and Simon get the transit passes. He fixes her mechanical arm, but is still in a brain damaged daze.
At the train station, Walter makes a scene about the Observers. Then yells out "I am not a number, I am a free man!" (Reference to a 1960's TV show "The Prisoner"). This draws the attention of a guard.
Simon tells the guard that Walter is Etta's crazy grandfather and they checked him out of the home for the day. "These aren't the droids you're looking for," Walter offers. (From Star Wars Episode IV)
The guard lets them pass.
At the former Massive Dynamic building, they use a code to get inside. It's deserted.
At the Fringe Division, an agent tells Broyles there was a break in at the old Massive Dynamic. He calls his Observer boss, Captain Widmark.
At MD, Simon gets the samples from Walter's brain. "What is that, monkey feces?" Walter asks.
Simon gives Walter drugs and soaks his brain bits in something so they can inject it into Walter's brain. Walter thinks it sounds like fun. He passes out.
Simon and Etta wait. He remembers "the Purge" in 2015, when the Observers went from house to house and killed people. He realized his parents sent him away to college to protect him, they were part of the Resistance but were killed that night. That's why he won't give up until the Observers are gone.
Etta was only four the last night she saw her parents.
Walter wakes up. They introduce themselves.
Observers and guards converge in the MD basement. The protocol is to shoot first, the Observer will read them later. They head upstairs.
Walter examines his old plans for the Machine to get rid of the Observers. He tells them not all the Observers were bad. September told him that in 2609 AD the Observers ruined the planet then traveled back through time and took our planet from us.
Walter says he can build the machine. Etta asks him if he remembers where the other members of his team are. Walter looks at her and realizes who she is.
Simon figures out guards are coming. Walter walks over to a blank wall, puts his hand on it and opens a secret door way. Neither he or Belly ever left themselves only one way out of a room.
The Observer blasts through the wall, following them with guards. Walter tells Etta and Simon where to go but takes off the other way. They realize they lost him and find him in a side room putting an anti-matter bomb together.
They make it outside.
The guards and the Observer find the bomb.
Outside, Walter announces he knows where they were ambered. Behind them, the MD building emits a small blast and then completely disappears.
Etta looks at the people trapped in amber (who we don't see) and Simon asks her about the moment with Walter.
Broyles gets word that Etta and Simon are the ones with Walter and assembles a team.
In the amber tunnel, Simon tells Walter he's what they were waiting for. They hook up the de-amberizer machine. Etta is particularly excited. Astrid blasts out first.
"Hello Astro," Walter says.
Simon worries the de-amberizing wand is broken. He tries to fix it. Etta is anxious.
She looks at the amber -- William Bell (Leonard Nimoy) is inside. Walter shushes Astrid.
They hear teams approaching and Simon knows his tracker has been activated.
The amber machine is fluctuating. They can't create a stable field and blast William out. Simon has an idea. He stands next to the amber ready to shove.
Broyles comes down and sees Simon trapped in amber and Walter's telltale Twizzler.
Astrid asks Walter how he could leave William Bell there. He reminds her what he did to Olivia. Walter tells her they have everything they need and shows her a severed hand in amber in his bag.
Etta fingers a bullet around her necklace. Peter joins her, telling her he's sorry about her friend.
Etta asks Peter if he knows her. He says he couldn't, she's barely old enough.... Then he stops. "Henrietta?" he says. "Hi, dad," she says. He hugs her.