Letters of Transit
Season 4, Episode 19
Air date April 20, 2012
Written by Akiva Goldsman & J.H. Wyman & Jeff Pinkner
Directed by Joe Chappelle
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Cast | Transcript

"Letters of Transit" is the nineteenth episode of the fourth season of Fringe.


The FRINGE tradition of a mind-bending 19th episode continues as the story jumps ahead to 2036 when the Observers and the Fringe team engage in a game-changing battle.


In 2015, the Observers, no longer content with observing history, take over human society and transform it into


Observer rule.

a totalitarian culture; though members of the Fringe division attempted to fight the takeover, they were easily defeated, and the remaining Fringe division allowed to remain to police the human "Natives".


Simon and Etta.

In 2036, FBI Agents Simon Foster and Etta Bishop recover the body of Walter Bishop, having purposefully encased himself and others of his team in amber shortly after the Observer takeover. Though they are able to release him from the amber, they find that he has suffered memory damage, without the mental capacity to build a strange device of Walter's own design that is supposed to defeat the Observers. Simon and Etta talk to Nina Sharp, learning that Walter had William Bell remove a piece of his brain


Nina Sharp in 2036.

sometime in the past, which she postulates could be used to heal Walter's brain. However, the piece is still in storage in the old Massive Dynamic facility on the main island of New York City, tightly controlled by Observers who can read their thoughts, making its recovery difficult. They are able to make it to the vault in Massive Dynamics, and successfully restore Walter's memories (which causes Walter's personality to become aggressive and harsh), unaware they have alerted Fringe division and the Observers to their presence.

The Observers task Agent Broyles to continue tracking them via an implanted device in Simon's body.


The observer and the anti-matter device.

Walter explains that, according to the Observer September, the Observers had made the Earth uninhabitable by 2609, and traveled in time to take over the planet themselves. As forces corner the three, Walter sets up an anti-matter device to wipe out the Massive Dynamic building and their pursuers. Walter is able to lead Simon and Etta to where Peter Bishop, Astrid Farnsworth and William Bell have been encased in amber. They are able to free Astrid, but as Fringe forces approach,


Simon in amber.

they find the equipment to free the others has malfunctioned. Simon sacrifices himself to the amber to push Peter free, while Walter severs Bell's hand so they could be able to enter an unknown place. They escape the area as Broyles and his team arrive, though Broyles finds a piece of licorice, a telltale sign of Walter's presence.


Peter recognize Etta.

As the group travel away from the city, Astrid is shocked that Walter cut off Bell's hand, but he tells her to remember what he did to Olivia. Peter comes to recognize Etta as his daughter, wearing a used bullet as a necklace.

Notable Quotes[]

Opening Title Roll: 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 DIVISION was allowed to continue at a reduced capacity, but only to police the Natives. The resistance was quickly overcome... or so they thought.

Etta: We just removed you from amber, Dr Bishop. You were inside twenty years.
Walter: Twenty years? It's no wonder I'm so hungry. Do you have anything to eat?

Walter: These are not the droids you're looking for. Walter: move along.

Walter: Have you seen it?
Simon: Monkey feces? No. I can't say I've had the pleasure.
Walter: I wouldn't say that it was a pleasure.


  • Although credited, Anna Torv (Olivia Dunham) does not appear in this
    Sence observerqu

    Opening sequence.

    episode. This episode and Subject 13 are the only episodes where this happens.
    • This is the only episode of the show where the character Olivia does not appear at all. Subject 13 at least had Olivia as a child.
  • Although credited, Seth Gabel (Lincoln Lee) does not appear in this episode.
  • This episode uses an alternate title sequence using terms such as "imagination", "private thought" and "education".
  • The opening text scroll, with keywords capitalized or in red, is reminiscent of the 1982 film Blade Runner.
  • The opening scenes are a homage to the 1942 film Casablanca, which revolves around a nightclub owner, Rick, who obtains letters of transit in Nazi-occupied Morocco.
  • When confronted by the Loyalist guard, Walter says "I am not a number. I am a free man," a reference to the TV show The Prisoner, and "These are not the droids you're looking for. Move along," a reference to Obi-Wan Kenobi's reaction to guards in the movie Star Wars.
  • The Observers are more 'human' showing emotion and acting in ways not seen in the 12 from past episodes. This can be explained by the previously seen Observers being scientists sent to observe humanity.


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