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Fringe – Episode 301: Olivia

by on September 24, 2010

With the departure of Lost, Fringe is one of the few genre television shows that I still look forward to on a weekly basis.  I knew a little about the upcoming season, with alternating episodes taking place in each universe.  Was curious to see how it would all break down.  So, I managed to squeeze in the episode.

Previously….

When last we left the Fringe Universe: Peter had gone to the Alternate Universe with his Father, Walter Bishop (Walternate); The Fringe Team learns that Peter is part of a plot to destroy our universe; They use Olivia and other Cortextiphan Patients to go to the Alternate Universe to rescue Peter; They rescue Peter who figured things out for himself; Olivia kissed Peter to convince him to return to our universe; The Alternate Olivia (Bolivia) returned with Peter and Walter to the Original Universe pretending to be Olivia, infiltrating the Fringe Team; Olivia gets trapped in a cell in the Alternate Universe after rescuing Peter…

All caught up?

Quick Synopsis:

Olivia is trapped on Liberty Island. Walternate is using drugs and psychology to convince Olivia that she is the Olivia from the alternate universe, needing to use Bolivia’s skills in Fringe and Olivia’s powers to go between worlds. Olivia escapes and acquires a gun after being injected again. She dives into the harbor and swims to New York City.

In New York City, she hijacks a cab. She uses the gun to convince the cab driver, Henry, to not charge her for the fare, buy her clothes, and take her all over the city. All the while learning more about Henry and his family.

Alt Broyles has told the rest of the Fringe Team, specifically the alternate Charlie Francis and Lincoln Lee (who is recovering from chemical burns) that Olivia has had massive head and psychological trauma. They try to track down her whereabouts.

Lee finds her at a gas station, and it is obvious that they respect her as a leader and colleague. Dunham shoots a gas tank making it explode to get away, as she realizes that the alternate Olivia’s memories are creeping in. Charlie talks to Bolivia’s lover Brandon who tells him that Olivia’s mother is back in town.

Olivia finds her Mom’s house, thinking it’s a safehouse, and enters finding half-familiar things. Her mother confronts her, and the memories of the Olivia on the other side take over. The scientist that injected her says that the combination of the drugs and the adrenalin from escaping is what did it. Olivia now rejoins the Alternate Fringe Division.

On the other side, Peter is testifying for a congressional committee regarding his time on the other side. When he emerges he is greeted by Walter and Bolivia. He kisses Bolivia, thinking it’s the real Olivia. She somewhat pulls away, and the three of them go out for food.

Analysis:

This was the quickest way of telling Fringe stories from each universe, and probably for the best. But still seemed a little too easy to just inject Olivia, and then she thinks she’s the alternate Olivia.

Without Walter in the show, it just becomes the Olivia Dunham show, which isn’t a show I would watch weekly. Hopefully, Charlie, Lincoln, Brandon, and others start adding some more interest on the alternate universe side. Let’s see how it develops.

I didn’t understand the depth given to the cab driver, Henry, unless he is going to be used as a recurring character (ala Sam Weiss from last season). It was a little too much, just to have someone believe Olivia, when she didn’t need to be believed at that moment. A fine actor, and a decent performance, but seemed too much.

Olivia’s interaction with her Mom was really really good. Seeing the look on her face, as she gives into the falsehood, that returns her mother who died when she was 12. Was worth the whole episode for that.

Additionally, to see Olivia fall back into old patterns with Alt-Charlie, was very comforting. I really liked Charlie Francis, and was sorry to see him be killed last season.

And give credit where credit is due. All of the touches to the alternate universe differences (tho DOGS was a bit much), is really well done. And to take a show that already is in an advanced scientific/non normal universe, and create procedural cases focusing on Fringe Science in that world… well, let’s just say I’m at least impressed with the degree of difficulty they’re going for.

A solid B- episode. Memorable and important, but nothing that really made it stand out. Missed Walter, but am intrigued to how the season will play out.

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