Season 5 Episode 2

In Absentia

Aired Friday 9:00 PM Oct 05, 2012 on FOX

Episode Recap

Olivia is dreaming of the day in the park when she and Peter took Etta there to play. There's a burst of light from the nearby city and Observers teleport into the park. Olivia runs to grab Etta, passes out, and finds herself in a medical tent as Peter desperately tries to find their missing daughter.

Peter wakes Olivia up from her nightmare and realizes what she's going through. He assures her that everything is fine now that the three of them are together again. As Olivia goes to the bathroom to rinse off her face, she sees that Etta has put family photos up on the shelf.

In the kitchen, Walter is using the unifier device to try and access the memories that Windmark destroyed. When Astrid tried to remove it, Walter insists that he needs to recover the plans that September planted there that they can use to defeat the Observers. Olivia joins the others and points out that Walter always documented things, and suggests that he might have written down the plans somewhere as a backup. Walter doesn't remember but figures that if he had, they would be at Harvard. Etta warns them that the Observers took over Harvard four years ago and have sealed the place off. However, Walter tells them that he knows about a route in through the steam tunnels.

The agents go to the Cambridge Electric Plant and Walter finds the concealed entrance to the tunnels. Avoiding steam eruptures, they get to the lab only to discover that Walter ambered most of it to keep it safe. He spots a Betamax camera mounted on a tripod within the amber and figures that he was recording something when he released the amber.

A loyalist security guard, Gael Manfretti, enters the lab and Etta captures him without a fight. He refuses to tell them why he was there and they find a sandwich in his pack. Walter tells them that they'll need a laser to cut through the amber to get to the camera but the power has been cut off. Astrid explains that they have to get to the power substation below the science building and Etta figures that Manfretti can tell them how to get in. he refuses to talk and she takes him into the office and attaches a device to his hand. He looks at it, horrified, but still refuses to talk. Etta activates it and Manfretti's molecular structure warps and twists, aging him a dozen years in a matter of seconds. Etta warns him that he's only wasting his own time and he needs to tell her what he knows.

Walter regretfully destroys his laser disc player to get the parts he needs to build a laser and then goes to work. Meanwhile, Olivia sees Etta through the office window, realizes what she's doing, and goes in to confront her daughter. Etta explains that she's using an Angel device to age and disorient Manfretti so that he'll tell them what they want. Olivia offers him some water but Etta warns him that it would kill him. Etta is surprised that her mother has any sympathy for Manfretti and reminds her that they're at war and that the loyalists sell out their own kind for a comfortable life with the Observers.

As they discuss the situation, Walter calls Etta out and asks for her necklace so that he can melt the silver down for solder. She removes the bullet on it and gives it over. Meanwhile, Manfretti warns Olivia that they'll soon notice that he's gone. Olivia points out the sandwich and figures that he came to feed the pigeons in the lab and that he's not supposed to be there so no one will miss him. She suggests that he talk and asks if he has something to live for. Manfretti doesn't believe she has the authority in the resistance to guarantee his safety and tells Olivia that he isn't afraid to die. However, he agrees to tell them everything if Olivia will find his son and tell him that he won't be coming home and not to bother looking for him.

Etta comes in and prepares to renew the torture at a stronger setting. Olivia nods her acceptance of the deal and Manfretti tells them that they need a two-part access code to get into the science building and access the power grid. He gives them the security code but explains that only his retina pattern will get past the security scanner.

Olivia goes out and tells the others what they've discovered, and Peter realizes that she's upset. They go into the office and Etta explains that they stole the Angel device from the Observers, who use it to prepare people for time travel. The loyalists took it and used it torture captive resistance members. Olivia warns that the weakened Manfretti won't be able to survive the trip to the science building so they need another way to get his retinal pattern there. Walter says that there's only one way and asks for a scalpel and a spoon.

Soon, Walter is modifying pig eyes from a jar in the lab and duplicating Manfretti's retinal pattern. Meanwhile, Olivia stencils a loyalist bar code on Peter's face after he dons Manfretti's uniform. She then applies another stencil to Etta, who thanks her mother for letting her go despite the fact that she has control issues... just like Etta does. Meanwhile, Walter finishes altering the pig eye and gives it to Peter. However, he admits that they have no way to know for sure if it works until they try it.

Peter and Etta go to the science center posing as loyalists, passing two Observers.

At the lab, Olivia asks Manfretti why he became a loyalist and he explains that he did it because one of his children was killed in a resistance fight against the Observers. She tells him that she know what it means to be a child, and Manfretti says that he wanted to be safe and blamed the resistance for fighting back. He joined the loyalists and ensured the safety of his remaining son. As far as he's concerned, the resistance can't win and the world will be safe once they stop fighting the Observers.

At the security checkpoint, Peter uses the eye and it registers as Manfretti's in the security control room. The loyalist guards call Manfretti on the radio and ask why he's out of his sector, and Olivia gives him his radio and reminds them that they had a deal. Manfretti tells the guards that he's fixing a fuse, but they're still not convinced until he claims that a ranking Observer told him to do it. They open the door and tell him to fix the fuse and get out. As Peter and Etta go in, Olivia accuses Manfretti of setting them up but he insists that he didn't know what would happen since he's never been there.

As Peter and Etta walk down the corridor, they pass rooms where Observer scientists are conducting experiments on human beings. In one room they are working on the severed head of Etta's fellow agent, Simon Foster. She goes for her gun and prepares to shoot her way in, but Peter stops her and says that they can take vengeance once they win. After a moment, Etta reluctantly backs down and they continue on their way.

Manfretti asks Olivia if she thinks that the resistance can win, and she tells them that they have to win so that the many deaths would have some meaning.

Once Peter and Etta reroute the power, Walter and Astrid start cutting into the amber. Peter and Etta get back and Etta goes into the office while Olivia talks to Peter. Once she learns what her daughter went through, Olivia goes to see her and offers her condolence on Simon's death. Etta brusquely says that it's the cost of freedom and then tells Manfretti that she's turning him over to the resistance for interrogation and disposal. Olivia objects, saying that Manfretti only wants to protect his son, but Etta figures that he lied to manipulate her. She insists that Olivia doesn't understand her word and her mother agrees, but says that she hoped that Etta wouldn't grow up hardened by what had happened no matter where she ended up. Etta says the world is what it is and goes to get the van. Manfretti gives Olivia his son's address and she assures him that she'll keep her word.

Walter gives Etta a sedative for Manfretti and she leaves with the guard, giving Olivia a comm device in case Walter needs anything. Meanwhile, Peter finishes removing the video camera from the amber.

Etta drives to a deserted spot and asks Manfretti if he really has a son. He admits that she was right all along and that he joined the loyalists because he's a coward. Etta stares at him and then tells him to leave. Surprised, he considers and then tells her that he's going to join the resistance, helping them with his active Tat ID. When she wonders why, Manfretti tells her that he saw the certainty in Olivia's eyes that they would win and believed for the first time that they were supposed to win. When he asks why Etta is sparing him, she tells him that she saw something in her mother's eyes as well: pity for all of them.

Walter examines the tape and warns that the casing was damaged by the heat of the laser. They play it and watch as Walter tells them that his plan to stop the Observers has failed and that he backed up the plan on a series of videotapes scattered across the land. To complete his plan, they must recover them. Meanwhile, Etta sends Olivia a live transmission of Manfretti running away and then tells her mother that she's coming back.

On the tape, Walter says that they must begin their journey and get the first tape.