The hunt is on for the three puzzle pieces needed to rid the world of the Observer occupation for good. It starts at Walter’s ambered lab, where he and Astrid unearth the third Betamax tape from amber. They start watching the video and, though it begins with Walter’s foray into medicinal marijuana, the part of the tape they can understand points them to Pennsylvania. Astrid stays behind to clean up the tape enough to get the remaining details on what they need while the others make their way to the coordinates given on the tape.

Walter and Olivia talk with Edwin, the ‘recordist’

They arrive in the Northern Pennsylvania woods where Peter spots someone watching. They make their way into a clearing and are soon surrounded by armed men, all with bark-like lesions across their skin. When they reach the settlers’ base, Edwin, the de facto leader, recognizes Walter. He leads the scientist to a high tech library, which houses historical events since the Invasion. These people are the recorders: those that will maintain the record of mankind’s downfall. Edwin tells Walter they need to go, lest they want to end up like the others but he tells the younger man no. Edwin searches the records to see if Walter ever set foot in the area. Meanwhile River, Edwin’s son meets the Fringe team and his hero worship comes out in the comics he’s written. It’s an underlying message, the difference between heroes in our mind and those in our lives. Back at Harvard, Astrid has worked out that they are looking for a mine and sends this updated information to the team.

Back in New York, two loyalists show Big Boss (they lead Observer) a holo of the Fringe team changing a tire in N Penn. In the woods, the team searches the mine and Walter hypothesizes the potential root cause of the settlers’ skin condition. They find a body complete covered with the condition and begin testing it to gather conditions of the mine. An apple tablet (this is quite the interesting future, sustenance-wise) reminds Peter of one of the few fond memories during their search for Etta. Olivia feigns ignorance of Peter’s nostalgia, though we know her photographic memory remembers it all. Edwin interrupts their testing to show them some information he found on a man that visited the area five weeks after the invasion who removed rocks with a reddish hue from the mine. Walter is perplexed at why he would want rocks, a question further exacerbated when Edwin adds to things how the man was taken away by Observers. During the talk, Olivia and Walter are infected by the air toxin though they catch it well before it becomes a permanent fixture. As they remove the infection, Etta gets a call from one of her operatives, warning her that the Observers have found her location and they only have a bit of time before they need to go.

The team studies the mine shaft and the secrets it may keep.

While Walter gathers the materials for the lining needed to traverse the mine, Olivia confides her shame to Peter for her failure. She wants to forget the past but Peter has to remind her how lucky they are to have a second chance. Etta interrupts preparations to inform the group that the Observers coming. Edwin is more than a bit distressed, telling the team that they need to leave. Peter goes to chat with Edwin. Peter gives a heartfelt plea with Edwin to help them as he has a relationship with the settlement down the road that has the materials necessary to finish the suit. He tells Peter just how much he has to lose, but ultimately decides to help. He talks to his son, River the difference between being a coward versus a hero. And while their entire existence has been about preserving history, there is a time when one needs to make it.

After quite a bit of work on her end, Astrid sends the remaining portion of the video that explains the need for the quartz rock as a valuable energy source for the final weapon. Edwin gives Peter and Olivia the information they need to trade but it must be too steep a cost as he gives them the wrong directions and makes his way down to the mine, willingly sacrificing himself for the greater good. As the team makes their way out of camp, River takes the mantle as the village recorder, marking down his father’s place in the history of this brave new world.

‘The Recorder’ highlights the case of those that will versus those that will not. In war, sacrifices must be made and those that often are relegated to the sidelines must make a choice on whether to stand by or take action. While not the strongest of episodes, ‘The Recorder’ does provide a glimpse into those on the outskirts fighting to maintain themselves in an uncertain future. In the overall story arc, the Fringe team has made the first steps to taking the fight to the enemy.

Did you miss an episode? Check out our recap of last week’s ‘In Absentia‘.