At the campus formerly known as Harvard University, a serious case of the acid tripsies is going down. Wakened by the beeping from the radio found in the pocket universe (“Through the Looking Glass & What Walter Found There”), Astrid takes the radio into the main room and discovers Walter, more than a little out of it. In the other room, an exhausted looking Peter tosses and turns. He’s still having headaches from the Observer tech he removed from his brain. Astrid tells Peter and Olivia about the signal and the gang comes together, trying to ascertain if the message is from Donald or someone else. They bring Walter in on the conversation but, dropping acid as he has, he’s got his own demons to deal with as Carla Warren, the lab assistant that burned up in the fire years before, shows up.
Olivia suggests tracing the signal and Peter contacts Anil, who brings tech to triangulate the signal. The fringe couple drive out to the woods and after professing his gratitude and amazement at Olivia standing by him during his ‘I’m an Observer’ phase and sharing a kiss, they come across the remnants of a firefight where the skeleton of two Observers, a loyalist, and Sam Weiss are planted. (NB: for those who don’t remember, Weiss was the bowling alley owner who always helped Olivia with her inner issues and how to tap into her psychic abilities). They don’t find the origin of the signal but are on the right track when they discover a relay used to boost the signal.Peter and the team combat a team of loyalists
At the lab, Walter continues seeing visions of Carla who tells him that something else is hidden in the lab. Not long after, Nina appears; she seems to be the good to Carla’s bad. Nina wants him to ignore the direction Carla is pushing him towards—one of his old journals—a sentiment the green faerie affirms. “Perhaps just a peek,” he whispers before opening the journal. In a blink, he finds himself in a cab with Carla in the back seat. ‘Black Umbrella’ pops up into his head and when Walter focuses outside, he briefly finds himself at the Observer Precinct. But he’s tripping again; Astrid opens the door and they’re really at a dock to meet Peter and Olivia. They’ve located the origin of the signal on Thimble Island but before they can take off, they’re accosted by several Loyalists who, after a brief yet intense gun battle, they eliminate. On the island they come to the house where they meet Richard, his wife, and Michael, the boy Walter had stowed in the pocket universe twenty years prior (“Through the Looking Glass…”). After a tense standoff and the weirdest of acid trips by Walter, he gives the password as ‘black umbrella’, just what Richard was expecting.
The couple tell the gang about Donald and what happened at the onset of the Observer invasion. They promised Donald they would keep Michael safe until Walter returned. Though they are heartbroken to do so, Richard and his wife bid Michael goodbye and the gang takes him back to the lab. Olivia talks with Michael, asking if he remembers her, and he nods an affirmation.The group introduces themselves to Richard, Donald’s confidant.
Keeping to himself, Walter’s mind continues its back and forth on his past mistakes. He remembers a conversation between him and his wife, Elizabeth about the things he was doing, as well as Carla. The young lab assistant warns him of the forces he’s tapping into and the repercussions of his actions. His hubris at the time was deafening, finding no room for “her God” in his lab, as he was the only god there. He doesn’t want to become the man he was then and burns the journal as a way to wipe away that possibility but Carla doesn’t believe he can fight it. His Nina vision tries to reach him, to bolster his confidence in himself but can he really do it? “You’ve been him longer than you’ve been you,” Carla tells him and he’s left with that as a final reminder.
“Black Blotter” continued the drive towards the final showdown with the Observers. Though we’re still left in the dark on why, young Michael will play an integral part in the final battle. As an episode, “Blotter” is one part serious, one part trippy. Portions of Walter’s acid trip are silly to the point of taking away from the pace of the episode. What saves it are the portions of his trip involving Carla. These scenes are well done and touches upon the aspects of Walter’s persona he’d rather stay hidden. But as Carla tells him on more than one occasion, the part of himself Walter is so afraid of is a part of him and there’s no suppressing it. No, instead he will have to learn how to live with it and not allow the domineering and harsh parts of his mind to regain full control. In this final fight, Walter will have to find a way to mesh both aspects of his persona to create the best of himself. The team will need it if they’re to turn back the Observers. If Walter is unable to do this, everything they’ve done to this point may have all been for not.