Friday, April 22, 2011

Fringe Season 3: Episode 1 "Olivia"

Brief Recap: The mission to retrieve Peter goes awry the moment Walter, Olivia and three of the Cortexiphan subjects arrived in the alternate universe. One Cortexiphan subject died upon arrival while the other two died using themselves as a distraction to prevent Olivia and Walter from being caught by the alternative Fringe team. By the eleventh hour, Olivia was captured. Fauxlivia took her place as she joined Peter, Walter back to our universe and William Bell disappeared in a massive bright light.

Spoiler Alert for those who haven't seen it. 

Out of the Facility and into the world of "Over There"
The episode opened with Olivia in session with the Fringe Division’s psychiatrist, spouting “coping mechanism” that her mind had settled in, in order to process the various incidences bordering to the fantastic that she frequently encountered through her line of work. However, Olivia steadfastly denied the life they were trying to make her swallow and so the conditioning ordered by Walternate continued. 

I thought it was fascinating and terrifying at the same time that Walternate and his team were able to distill memories in a form of an IV drop. 

Executive producers J. H Wyman and Jeff Pinkner took the writing helm and sent the brainwash procedure to the next level in this episode. I didn’t see that coming and I thought it was fresh take on brainwashing a person. I can’t wait what else they’ve cooked for this episode. 

Olivia’s quick-thinking and photographic memory served her well again as she raced for freedom from the Liberty Island facility.  I thought it sufficed to end the scene with Olivia jumping into the waters than have a scene with her swimming across the watery expanse. It  added the solitariness and gave the audience the feeling of determination coming from Olivia that she will take on the challenge to get off the island and marshal her wits in the next best safe place she can find. The scene moved the story swiftly too. 

Enter Henry, the cab driver portrayed by Andre Royo. At first I thought, he'll just be minor character and we won't be seeing Henry again. Well, I was wrong. I wonder if the writers will give him a small arc or will it go off tangent for the series if they do? Maybe. Hmmm. Will he cross paths with individuals who knew more about the Amber protocol? 

Director Joe Chappelle took care of the meeting with Olivia and Henry. He gave each character several close shots on their reactions. Despite the seemingly chance meeting and being in the wrong place and the wrong time, and at one time held at gun point, Andre gave Henry a sliver of sympathy to Olivia’s circumstances. He even offered to look up Massive Dynamic again because the building wasn’t supposed to be where it should be. I'm left to wonder why Henry became mysterious all of the sudden  as he waited at a corner block away after he drove Olivia to the Terrytown address, spying a black sedan swerving away with Olivia inside? Was he finally believing her? 

No Massive Dynamic = No Nina? 
Our Nina
Oh, this tidbit made me wonder where in the alternate universe would their Nina Sharp be? Is she tinkering in some other science lab too but not as famous as the one in our universe? Could the alternate Nina came into a different profession because her decision to be a scientist was somehow changed? Perhaps she was not even walking around in Walternate's universe or a maybe she had fall-out with Walternate towards the direction of the project and she left or he made her leave? So many possibilities.  

A Dash of Fauxlivia
Time was the essence and after a brief confrontation with the alternate Fringe Division team, Fauxlivia's marksmanship surfaced like second skin when Olivia shot the gas tank for diversion as they sped out of the area.  This was a shocking reveal for her that she was turning into Fauxlivia and it only heightened her fear when she mentioned the name of Frank (Fauxlivia's bf) instead of Peter when Henry asked about him again.  Olivia ended by asking how long it would take them to Terrytown and Henry estimated about  40mins. The question of time rounded the scene perfectly from the marksmanship to saying Frank's name. How much time will she be able to keep her own memories before it was overran by another?

Fauxlivia's Significant Other
The tattoo
Philip Winchester as Fauxlivia's doctor boyfriend gets more face time since in the last season, I think all I saw was his sculpt back with the tattoo. I wonder if there's more significance to this tattoo than being Fauxlivia having a smaller version on her nape.  I've always enjoyed his work on Crusoe  and looking forward to his other project such as Camelot. I have yet to see his previous guest appearance in Warehouse 13.

The Mom
Amy Madigan portrayed as Marilyn Dunham, Fauxlivia's mom. With their brief screen together (Torv and Madigan), I didn't feel the connection between mother and daughter through Chappelle's direction yet and I hope there will be some more when these actors share screen time again. 

Fauxlivia and Walter
Offering comedic moments was Walter in his lovable if odd self as he take on the Oreo.  He and Fauxlivia waited for Peter to finish up inside the federal building (I think). Fauxlivia commented about not having seen them for a long while ( Oreo or the shoes?) and we got a shot of Walter shoes. I guess that was it.  Hats off to John Noble for portraying Walter disjointed as he can be resulted from the parts of his brain extracted by Bell and now, embarking on a turn in his life as we find out in Episode Two: The Box.  

Fauxlivia and Peter

"No, Peter!"  I think a lot of the fans of the show screamed at their TV sets when this happened and subsequent closeness that I also made everyone's skin crawl. Yup, the story indeed gripped everyone.
Torv's portrayal of Fauxlivia appeared to me as an outsider looking in. Despite the character was trained to adapt quickly in situations, I felt some stiffness going around when she was interacting with the prime Fringe Division team and especially with Peter. It can't be my imagination? I'm not the only one at home who saw it too. 

Sure, she doesn't know these people yet and infiltrating into the personal lives of the team maybe be challenging than she thought. 

I was also having trouble accepting Peter wasn't at least bit suspicious of the apparent 180 degrees change of "Olivia" after returning to our universe. He has been shown as someone with street smarts, quick on his feet, highly intelligent, a gadget tinkerer, and observant. Maybe the trip to the alternate universe dislodged him more than he anticipated. I think his attention was very divided from digesting his own experiences after meeting his own father (Walternate) and his very much alive if a shade grayer dear mother then the weapon Walternate wanted him to operate, and lastly our Walter's reason for taking him. I don't think Peter has really ruminated that thoroughly too and his feelings for the real Olivia that made him return to our universe. A lot of issues. Lolz

Yeah, those could be the reasons why he wasn't aware of "Olivia's change" and agreed with Fauxlivia's own explanation of her change after seeing "my double made me re-arrange my priorities."

The Visuals
I find dealing with alternate universes still as intriguing from Sliders (which I think was the ultimate playground for alternate Earths) Star Trek, TNG, Smallville and this time Fringe takes on the interpretation.

Walternate's World
The series production design for this season was good as in the previous seasons albeit a little more complicated since we're watching two universes now with their story lines interweaving frequently than a few other times as seen in the first two seasons. 

Prime Universe
The varied visuals anchored the viewers to which universe we were dealing such as red for Walternate and blue for ours.  Walternate's seemingly ready for war, huh?  It was a resounding thumbs up. It also added visual excitement in the storytelling for me.

As plot lines continue to intertwine, it's choosing objects that were not present in our world but available to Walternate's grounds and at the same time propels the audience easily to the next transition.  In this case, airships are prominent in Walternate's universe. The Hindenburg tragedy was somehow averted in their side than ours.  

Next Episode thoughts on The Box. 


  1. Ei Raine, this is my favorite series now, and the only thing that can stop me from my stitching/crocheting! I love Peter, LOL!

  2. I like Peter too especially when he goes to gadgetry mode (builds a device out from scraps) and when he's with his dad even if it causes him to be mad at him. :D


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