Thursday nights Fringe was the book end episode to an arc started last season, that of our Olivia being unknowingly left behind in the Red Universe, as well a prison of Walternate’s plans for inter-dimensional conquest. And while our poor red-headed heroine was getting brainwashed and made to believe she was sassy Alt-Olivia, her counterpart was over here batting home runs with her oblivious, all be it newly blinded by love boyfriend, Peter. Which leads me to say: Dude! How could you not notice your balls were scoring for the wrong team!? Alt-Olivia was just way too happy and smiley, not to mention dressing a lot sexier. Seriously, who in the world would find THAT attractive. Our Olivia’s I-am-sad-because-I-have-to-save-the-world-and-had-a-rough-childhood routine is much more charming.
So we start off right from the end of the previous episode where Peter has answered his cell and hears Olivia’s message – That his girl is in the other universe and he’s been sleeping with the enemy, who just happens to be cuddled up next to him after saying she’s never seen Casablanca and thought Ronald Regan was the star. BAM! Suddenly it all makes sense! She’s been acting different not because of your new love or insight gained through last seasons dimension hopping jaunt. She’d been a plant, and none other than by evil bio-dad Walternate.
So then, even though it’s after midnight he tells Alt-Olivia the call was simply a sales pitch for “unprecedented savings” so let’s go back to sleep. Wow, really Peter? That’s the best lie you, a con man, can think of? Maybe I’m just a bad person and can lie better than the rest, but I would have said it was a wrong number from a drunk chick. Believe me, it happens way more than I’d like to admit.
Peter waits two hours laying next to her, probably thinking over all the warning signs he missed, before stealthily sneaking away to snoop through her stuff when he is interrupted by Alt-Olivia. He then tests her with the Greek phrase Olivia first said to him in season two, “Be a better man than your father” (something applicable to both Walters). She fails miserably and flees, but not before doping Peter with a paralytic.
Now maybe it’s just me, but I thought the part where she asks him, “Are you going to kill me?” Alt-Olivia sounded just a little hopeful for something more than what Peter ultimately said. Has he wormed his way into her heart perhaps? Considering what Peter finds in her bag at the end, I think Alt-Olivia may actually have grown to care for him. The guy is a charmer, I’ll give him that. Remember two episodes back in episode 6955 kHz where in her oblique way Alt-Olivia explains herself to Peter – “If you knew that only one of our worlds could survive, and it was up to you and you alone to defend your side…You would have to do what you had to do. No matter the cost, to protect our world.” Alt-Olivia is more of a solider than our Olivia in that she takes orders better, but that may have been the closest thing to coming clean she ever got. And for our poor manipulated Peter it was the only real heart to heart he ever had with her. But was it done for her sake or Peter’s?
After this Alt-Olivia makes a bee-line for where the pieces to Walternate’s device are kept. Taking as yet one unknown breastplate-like part, she heads to the wimpy-whinny guy’s shop to get help for the return trip home.
Switch to Walter’s lab where our worlds Scooby gang are scratching their collective heads, before Astrid figures out they need to follow Alt-Olivia’s gift pastries back to the Broncs, i.e. where the wimpy guy’s shop is. It’s in this scene where we’re also treated to the best Walterism to date: “She tricked my son with her carnal manipulations and he fell right into her vagenda.” Astrid: “Vagenda?” Gotta love Jasika Nicole’s expression there.
Quickly enough they find the shop and the location of where Alt-Olivia is headed, Penn Station, and head off with the calvary to capture her and find out what she knows. Meanwhile Red Universe Broyles is having a crisis of conscience over Walternate’s plans to dissect Olivia before sending her body back to ours. And let me take a minute to say holy crap!! Alt-Brandon is a scary kind of monster! In our world he’s an awkward and eager young scientist I always thought cute. Not so much now after seeing him as the instigator for Olivia’s dissection. Is that what working for Walternate does? And another thing, why do Olivia and Alt-Broyles leave him pantless in the operating room? She already had a pair on so… er, was it a kinky revenge thing?
Okay so Broyles helps bust Olivia out, which I knew he would because hey, he’s Broyles. Of course I may have seen the tip of his head in the promo when Olivia is shown on the run. Now over the course of this season Alt-Broyles, who had only been seen briefly at the end of season one and a bit more at the end of season two, became a favorite character to me. More so than our Blue Universe’s Broyles. Red Universe Broyles had a family, fostered a great working environment, and just seemed more caring, more open…hell, more sexy. He was a moral man and I really wanted him to stick around and dare I say, replace our Broyles… *sniff*
Deciding to believe in Olivia and in her hopes for an outcome where billions won’t die, they head to Walternate’s old Harvard lab for the serenity of a deprivation tank (her ticket home). A side note, she takes a few bags of the drug Cortexiphan which Walternate has synthesized from studying Olivia’s brain chemistry. I’m hoping the fact that the drug works differently for each person injected with it and that it supposedly had to be administered in childhood to work, will be addressed in later episodes. I’d hate to see Walternate create an army of Cortexi-soldiers because THAT SHOULDN”T WORK.
On the flip side Peter and our Broyles capture Alt-Olivia after her shape shifting hostage is taken out by an incredibly well-aimed shot from Peter. A thing you may have noticed too is how the shape shifter, much like the one in episode Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, displayed some very human traits. He said he dreams of the other side sometimes but laments, “Sadly for my kind coming here is a one way ticket.” Olivia: “I thought your kind didn’t care.” What a bitch, sorry but can’t she see they are more than their parts. Course her bad attitude may make it easier to do her job. She who has since arriving in our universe has had to silence her emotions, silence any doubts over whether she has what it takes to accomplish Walternates aims. Who would want to see a spark of humanity in a machine when you yourself are trying to quash yours.
But before Alt-Olivia is captured she has harmonic rods inserted into her body, providing a way for Walternate’s team to snatch her out of our universe and into her own. My second favorite scene is shortly before she vanishes where Alt-Oliva, handcuffed and stoic, tries to tell Peter he was more than just an assignment. Unbelieving, Peter scoffs and watches her get led away. Moments later he finds a momentum of their time together in her bag and is left wondering if she was telling the truth. But it’s the last time he sees her, paralleling the movie they watched earlier, Casablanca. Which leaves us to wonder what to make of Peter’s reflection that all the best love stories are tragic. Which I will be the first to admit is totally true as most Japanese and Chinese know (okay only the females will). Think House of Flying Daggers or the tearjerker Tada, Kimi wo Aishiteru (ただ、君を愛してる). Alt-Olivia is then vibrated out of a FBI paddy wagon leaving behind the body used to take her place in the transfer, which had to be of the same mass and was originally meant to be Olivia’s. Instead it’s Alt-Broyles. Brutally chopped up to match Alt-Olivias weight. DAMN YOU J.J. ABRAMS!!
Prior to this Broyles had been shot and killed helping our Olivia into the deprivation tank where after some tense moments manages to flip back over to our side, thanks in part to a hefty dose of Cortexiphan, which promptly lands her in a hospital bed where she awakes to find Peter at her bedside.
I’ll admit I’ve never been a big fan of Joshua Jackson’s acting. I never liked the little smirk he so often sports, but I don’t think that anymore. Not after seeing the look of remorse and pain on Peter’s face as he stares into the face of the woman he unknowingly betrayed. After everything she went through to get back to him I don’t know how these two can ever come back from this. Of course I know they will… or they better at least way down the road. Olivia, ever the emotionally vulnerable one, after having declared her feelings for him last season only to find out he couldn’t even see she’d been replaced, and not only that but was happily in love with her, has got to be devastated (to be covered in next weeks episode yah!). And for Peter, who does he really love? Didn’t he say in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, “It’s like you’re a completely different person…don’t get me wrong I like it. The change is good, but it’s different.”
One more thing, I hope the writers let Alt-Olivia know what her Broyles did for our girl. Maybe it’ll allow her to question Walternate’s plans, because all his talk of war between the worlds and only one surviving has not yet been proven. Maybe that Sam Weiss, or should I say Seamus Wiles, will have some ideas.