It was a strange bit of storytelling when Fringe showed us a seemingly disconnected flash-forward near the end of the fourth season.
Letters of Transit depicted a strange future world in which the observers will have decided to simply take over the Earth, and a small band of resistance is all that stands between them and complete domination of man.
Interestingly enough, there are several details and revelations made in the final two episodes of the season which were essentially spoiled by the events of this disjointedly inserted episode, especially the conclusion to the season arc.
It seems obvious, however, that this is the planned arc for season 5, but in an interview with SFX, producer J.H. Wyman was asked point blank if season five would be about the observer take-over.
“Yeah, I think it’s safe to say you will [see that]. Part of our storytelling is about reveals and re-contextualizing what you think you know and what you’ve seen and putting it in a different mind frame for the viewer.
“It’s good to say that future is important to our storytelling but it’s not the be-all and end-all. The critical question is always why do we do flashbacks or flash-forwards and for us there is always a reason. Does ‘Letters Of Transit’ have further implications? It does. You need to understand what it is, or was, in order to fully grasp the thematic things we want to tell this year.”
This, of course, doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ll be spending the entire season in the future. It may take half the season just to catch up to the point we saw in that flash-forward. We have to figure out how Bell gets back in with the Fringe team, and see how the invasion began, and why the team decided to amber themselves. Of course, they could pick up in 2036, and just tell the rest of the story in flashback or whatever. They only have a half-season left to tell the rest of the story they want to tell, so they might need to rush some of the plot points.
However it happens, I’m looking forward to this fall, when we get to see what happens to the Fringe crew. It’s been a great series so far, and I’m really happy they’re getting the chance to give the show a proper ending.