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April 24, 2014

'Fringe' Season 3, Episode 1 (Season Premiere) Recap

by Jason Hughes, posted Sep 24th 2010 6:35AM
'Fringe' - 'Olivia'['Fringe' - 'Olivia']

Last year, the Fringe Division took their first foray into the alternate universe Walter had visited many years before, when he essentially kidnapped Peter from his home reality. While there, the team encountered alternate versions of themselves, and while they did make it back home, it was with the wrong Olivia Dunham.

So now "Over There" Olivia is in the "Over Here" universe, and vice-versa. All of a sudden, fans have a vested interest in knowing intimately what's going on in both universes, and the show's creators have come up with a crazy, but fun, way of doing it.

It seems impenetrable to newer viewers, but there will basically be two 'Fringe' series, each with their own title sequence. Some weeks we will follow the "Over Here" universe while other episodes, like this premiere, will primarily take place "Over There."


Initially, although J.J. Abrams promised that 'Fringe' wouldn't be as complicated or as difficult to follow as 'Lost,' it appears to be quickly heading down that path; particularly if it sticks with these parallel realities stories. When was the last time we saw this on a major broadcast network? Oh, that's right! It was last year in the final season of 'Lost.' Only this time at least both realities are real.

As we saw with the cast of 'Lost,' the 'Fringe' actors now get the opportunity to explore slightly different roles, particularly John Noble, whose fractured Dr. Walter Bishop in the "Here" universe is almost nothing like the commanding presence of "There" Secretary of Defense Walter Bishop. Looks like he'll have twice as many reasons to deserve an Emmy nomination next year. Kirk Acevedo got a stay of execution -- his character "Here" was killed off in the early part of the second season -- and now has the opportunity to be a series regular again, as Charlie Francis "There" is alive and well.

It should be interesting seeing how well the writers weave stories back and forth between the universes, and how quickly the "Here" team figures out they've got the wrong Olivia (dubbed "Bolivia" by the show's producers, but I'm not sure I can get behind such a goofy name for her). We'll see what works as we go along. Luckily, we don't have to talk about her much this week, because it was all about Olivia (Altivia?) from the "Here" universe, trapped in the "There" reality. Clear?

We even got the red-tinged "Over There" series intro sequence to emphasize which reality we'd be spending our time in. Right away, it became clear that Olivia's journey would be that of trying to escape. Escape her captors. Escape this world. And now, a much more challenging task awaits her. She must find a way to escape her own mind, which has been usurped by a treatment that has implanted the memories of the "There" universe's Olivia into her mind.

Essentially, she's lost herself and now fully believes she is the alternate Olivia. Or does she? I can't imagine it's a complete transfer, and even the scientist who developed it seemed uncertain as to how it worked exactly, as he only surmised after the escape that the adrenaline helped break down her barriers and complete the memory transfer and overlay. It's a good thing Olivia made a friend before it ended. It looks like she's going to need one who knows the truth.

By the time the episode ended, I was really hoping Henry Arliss Higgins was going to be more than just a one-off character. He went from the typical hijacked cabbie to a real sympathizer to Olivia's anguish and confusion. As someone who's gotten their life together, he said what helped him get straight was the faith and support of his wife. "Sometimes," he said. "You just gotta believe in what you can't see." Henry might actually have come to believe in this crazy story from this crazy lady who commandeered his cab at gunpoint wearing a hospital gown. And she may come to need him.

The real question was finally posed by Broyles toward the end. He asked Secretary Bishop why they needed this Olivia to think she was their Olivia, but Bishop only told him he'd know soon enough. They have to keep things cryptic, after all, so tht fans will want to stay tuned.

In spending some more time in the "Over There" universe, we find that the people over there are every bit as innocent as the people "Over Here." Fringe Division Agents Charlie Francis and Lincoln Lee seem to be genuinely decent guys, who appear to have been lied to as well about the identity of this Olivia. That makes them innocents in everything that's going on, though it's always possible they're playing a role to help ensure Olivia buys into her new fake identity.

At the end of the episode, when the zeppelin vanished over the Capitol and we were back in the "Over Here" universe, it was a bittersweet reunion with the Peter and Walter we've come to know and love over two seasons. For one, they're in cahoots with the wrong Olivia, who's intentionally infiltrated their time from the alternate reality. Then, she's allowing Peter to pursue his feelings for the Olivia he thinks she is with the kissing and the petting. It's all very frustrating to watch as a fan who's been rooting for those two to find some happiness in one another for the past two seasons. At what point will either Peter or Walter become suspicious that this Olivia doesn't have the knowledge of their time together?

Other fun things about the alternate universe:

-- They spell it "Manhatan"

-- The cab had an ad on the roof for the smash hit musical 'Dogs'

-- It's U.S. Mail Service, instead of U.S. Postal Service

-- GlatterFlug offers daily flights to the moon

-- Tom Cruise is "kicking a** on TV"

Thank goodness Fox has already committed to 22 episodes for this season of 'Fringe,' because it might just take every single one of them to untangle this mess.

'Fringe' airs Thurs., 9PM ET on Fox.

[Follow Jason @ultraversion21 on Twitter.]

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7 Comments

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AlmondJoy

Great first epi....other oddities "Over There":
blue negative blood type
Shexxon gas station
MLK/Eldridge Cleaver park

September 29 2010 at 3:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
edgore

I am still marvelling at the most original handling of a "will they or won't they" relationship in television history!

September 24 2010 at 6:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Europa

Someone from Walter's past who has the ability is going to notice the "glow" around Olivia, er, I'm sorry, Bolivia, :) and all hell is going to break loose. I'm thinking mid-season cliff hanger. ;D

September 24 2010 at 1:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
J

Was that the Titanic in the harbor in the distance? I think so.

September 24 2010 at 11:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
johngaltx

"The cab had an ad on the roof for the smash hit musical 'Dogs'"

"Now in it's 18th year!"

--------------------------------------------

Where did the Zeppelin go?

September 24 2010 at 10:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to johngaltx's comment
Brett Alan

The Zeppelin didn't go anywhere. It was just a fancy way of cutting from the other universe (where Olivia was tracked down at her mother's house) to "our" universe (where Peter was being debriefed).

September 24 2010 at 4:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Apotheos

Fauxlivia!

September 24 2010 at 9:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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