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October 10, 2015

'Fringe' Season 3, Episode 2 Recap

by Jason Hughes, posted Oct 1st 2010 7:15AM
Wlater Bishop, 'Fringe'['Fringe' - 'The Box']

This week, we had the standard 'Fringe' intro sequence to gently guide us back to the "Over Here" universe. You can tell the difference because there's a Peter running around in this universe, and no Charlie. Plus, Oliva's now a real ... well, but that's not nice. Suffice to say, she's going to be a real problem for the team. Oh, and I've come up with a name for her that I like: Altlivia. It's like Walternate, and it doesn't sound like the name of a country. Like it? Good, we're sticking with it.

Right away, Altlivia started taking control of the alternate universe's operations in this world. The writers and actress Anna Torv are doing a great job of carefully crafting this character with subtle differences to the original Olivia. These details will probably ultimately be what gets her caught, but so far she's proving very adept at talking her way out of trouble.

Especially with Peter, though she's diverting him with less of the talking and more of the passionate kissing and rubbing of body parts. Oh, and less of the clothing. That usually works. Tonight, she had a huge situation she needed to distract him from. Luckily, he was pretty distracted when he arrived at her apartment thanks to Walter finally trying to talk to him about the whole being-kidnapped-from-a-parallel-world thing.

I would have liked to see how she made sure he didn't glance toward the blood streaming from under the bathroom door when she pushed him out of her apartment. She might have had to undo her shirt to make sure she knew where his eyes were. Which is where the character is getting interesting. From what we know about her, Altlivia is not evil in the classic sense. So how far is she willing to go in seducing a man she barely knows to complete her subterfuge? Or do we think she's already taken that angle all the way?

From her perspective -- and understandably so -- Walter is the villain. The damage he caused to the alternate reality was simply devastating, and she's had to take on a very difficult job of trying to control what may very well be an uncontrollable situation. Destroying this world may be the only way for that one to survive, and if that's the case can you blame them for being willing to do anything to preserve themselves? Hopefully, the show will continue to emphasize that it is in some ways a matter of perspective.

Walternate comes across a lot more evil than they guy who declared that bacon-flavored pudding would surprise him. As much as I enjoy seeing John Noble with the more commanding presence and gravitas that Walternate carries, there's no substitute for the slightly off-kilter delight of "our" Walter. It was good to see him trying to do crazy things like make a cow produce chocolate milk.

It looks like the master plan that Altlivia is working on with Newton from this side is to have Peter either build the device Walternate's trying to build on the other side, or a similar device that will do the same thing: Destroy this world. At the very least, we know that getting Peter to start tinkering with the hypersonic soundwave device they found this week was a part of the plan, and that she's to "BEGIN WORK ON DR. BISHOP," whatever that means.

Framing this season with episodes from both universes inevitably converging into one massive climax at some point has to be one of the most innovative things I've ever seen. I'm not sure how accessible it could possibly be for newer viewers, but for those of us paying attention and keeping up, this has to be one of the most rewarding format experiments we've ever seen. Next week, it's back to the "Other Side" to check in on "our" Olivia to see if she's still in there somewhere, and if her taxi driver friend can somehow save the day.

It really is like watching two entirely separate shows. Imagine if 'Fringe' were a franchise show like 'CSI' or 'Law & Order' and we had 'Fringe' and 'Fringe: Over There' both on the air every week. Talk about groundbreaking! At least we can almost pretend we have that now.

As for "Over Here," that was quite a bombshell they dropped at the end of this episode, that we may not even get to touch on next week. William Bell left Massive Dynamic to Walter? The possiblities of that are just mind-boggling. It's as if in that one move, they're changing the entire dynamic (no pun intended) of the show ... again! Just imagine what they can do with the resources of MD at their hands. And just imagine what they could learn if Nina Sharp and MD can't keep their secrets anymore.

Or will Walter have to become an insider at Massive Dynamic and start keeping secrets from Fringe Division? Could he, even if they wanted him to? And with the resources available at Massive Dynamic, will Walter try and make bacon-flavored pudding? Actually, that might go over really well at tailgate parties.

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

[Follow Jason @ultraversion21 on Twitter.]

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Altlivia sounds like a zero calorie sweetener.

October 03 2010 at 12:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This episode I got the feeling that all of the problems of the other universe are not from Walter but from Walternate. I feel like they focused on it too much it just has to be a red herring. All of the "dont forget who started this war" and similar talk. Got to put a vote in for Fauxlivia, it just rolls of the tongue better. Cant believe she shot an innocent deaf guy but i feel she will come around eventually. Hope the real Olivia is not lost forever. Loving Fringe this season.

October 02 2010 at 3:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Z!'s comment
Jason Hughes

Might just have to put this to a vote next week! Fauxlivia v. Altlivia! Only one shall emerge victorious!!! (Is that enough exclamation points????)

October 02 2010 at 11:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Altlivia? Please. Fauxlivia forever.

October 01 2010 at 5:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Pat L.

I love this show in both universes. Why is this great show always ignored at the emmys?

October 01 2010 at 4:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Is it bad that I like Altlivia's personality to Olivia's?! I think this is great, you don't want to like her because she is trying to help destroy a universe but she is so damn charming and fun.

When we finally do get Olivia back what is going to happen with her relationship with Peter? She finally professed her love but Altlivia is the one that he is confiding in now. Will Peter fall in love with Altlivia before he realizes it isn't Olivia?

I didn't think this episode was going to be good from the previews. I thought it was going to be just another case of the week, I was pleasantly surprised.

October 01 2010 at 10:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I said it last week and I'll say it again - Fauxlivia! Flows as smooth as Walternate.

October 01 2010 at 10:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Great episode! I noticed that Altlivia didn't drink with Peter at the bar. I'm thinking Peter is wayyy too observant not to eventually pick up on these things. Really wondering how it'll all play out..something tells me it won't be typical, at all.

I've always thougth she was beautiful, but Ana Torv was stunning last night! Olivia usually has that dark, sultry thing going on, but Altivia is just full of life and awesome. EXCEPT WHEN SHE"S KILLING DEAF GUYS. That was a WTF moment..

Also, shout out to "Eric the Actor" from the howard stern show as the little guy that takes the box into the subway.

October 01 2010 at 8:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I always enjoy Fringe. It's great to see the battle brewing. However, there were a couple of things that just didn't make sense. How did Eric the Midget get down into the tunnel with the box? How would Altivia having sex with Peter (assuming they didn't receive the phone calls) get his to not see the blood? He was more likely to need the bathroom if they did.

October 01 2010 at 7:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Echy's comment

Well, just cuz ETM can't walk in real life, doesn't mean his character couldn't. How'd he get down into the subway?

And I think Altivia was just stalling with the makeout. Doesn't really seem too logical, but not that big of a deal to me.

October 01 2010 at 8:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What I meant was had to have opened the box on the platform and then he walked into the tunnel. Otherwise, the Fringe group and cops would have been affected by the sound like the people already in the train station. How was he able to open the box and not be immediately affected by the sound?

October 02 2010 at 8:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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