Black Blotter
Season 5, Episode 9
Air date December 14, 2012
Written by Kristin Cantrell
Directed by Tommy Gormley
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Cast | Transcript

"Black Blotter" is the ninth episode of the fifth season of Fringe.


In an attempt to recall a plan to defeat the Observers, Walter takes an LSD trip down memory lane. Meanwhile, Peter and Olivia trace a mysterious signal to the woods, where they come upon a grisly scene.


The radio previously collected by the Fringe team from the pocket universe ("Through the Looking Glass and What Walter Found There") starts to receive a strange signal, but when they look for Walter to decode it, they find that he has taken a dose of the hallucination drug "black blotter". Walter explains that he had taken the drug as the part of his preparations to have Nina Sharp remove the pieces of brain that contained parts of the plan to defeat the Observers but also made him a crueller man, a person he fears becoming again.

As Walter suffers from visions of his old lab assistant, Carla Warren and images relating to his first passage to the parallel universe ("Peter"), the rest of the team work with Anil to triangulate the signal from the radio. Peter and Olivia travel to the site in a nearby forest and find the decades-old remains of Observers and members of the human resistance, including one with Sam Weiss's identification. The two recognize that Sam and his allies were defending a makeshift transmitter tower that was relaying the radio signal, and locate where the signal is broadcasting from.

Walter is drawn by his hallucination of Carla to a spot in the lab where he had hidden a notebook containing many of his ideas, including the original design for the device to cross between universes. His vision of Carla claims that she died in a lab fire in trying to destroy the notebook, and cautions Walter against reading it again.

Peter, Olivia, Walter, and Astrid travel to a boat dock across from the island site where the radio signal originates, briefly stalled by a Loyalist force. Upon the island, they locate the signal coming from a house, where a man and woman are staying along with the Observer child ("Inner Child") whom Walter had hidden in the pocket universe with help of Donald. They demand a password, that would have been encoded in the radio signal before they allow the group to approach; Walter, through his drugged mind, is able to identify the password "black umbrella". The couple notes that Donald had left the child, whom they've named Michael, some time ago with the couple for protection, and activated the radio signal every five days as instructed.

The Fringe team returns with Michael to the lab. Olivia discovers that Michael still remembers her, despite having only met in the original timeline. Meanwhile, Walter, still in his drug-addled state, reminisces about his past and the damage that his more sinister side had done, and decides to burn the notebook. However, his hallucination of Carla warns that he has already done the damage, having recalled what he was capable of; when he next looks up, he finds he is looking at himself, a grim smile on his face. Walter snaps alert, finding no notebook and the lab empty.

Notable Quotes[]


  • Within the episode is a 75-second animation in the style of Monty Python's Terry Gilliam, representing part of Walter's drug-induced memory. The animation was produced by 6 Point Harness over a two-week period, working in the various idiosyncrasies of Gilliam's animations into this sequence. Elements such as a giant foot crushing the characters and a giant hand flinging them around is a direct homage to the same element used in Gilliam's animation for the Monty Python title sequences.
  • Blair Brown (Nina Sharp) is credited as Special Appearance By.
  • The meaning of the password "black umbrella" is revealed two episodes later in The Boy Must Live. Donald tells Walter that the first movie they saw together was "Singin' in the rain" and that he chose the name Donald after the actor Donald O'Connor. We are shown a poster of the movie on his wall, and on the poster, Donald is holding a black umbrella.
  • There is an animated frog in the boathouse.

Featured Music[]

  • "The Pusher" by Steppenwolf
  • "Hurdy Gurdy Man" by Donovan
  • "The Happy Wanderer" by Frank Weir


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