It strikes me watching this episode of Fringe that Anna Torv needs to be commended for an excellent dual performance as two versions of the same woman. Sounds funny to put it that way, but it really is the subtle differences that separate Fauxlivia from Olivia that make this work.
Lance Reddick plays both versions of Broyles with the same deep intensity, whereas Walternate and Alt-Astrid are considerably different from their Earth-1 alter-egos. I’m not saying they’re not brilliant alternatives to the characters we know, but Torv excelled at playing the nuances between each character. Olivia, for instance was terrified and ever so slightly feral when about to be sliced and diced by an ambitious Earth-2 scientist. On the other hand, Fauxlivia took all of three seconds to realize her cover was blown and request extraction. Her finest moment was when she was finally apprehended, trying to persuade Peter that she’d developed feelings for him. As he cradled her face, she went from looking vulnerable to wretched in the space of a few seconds.
Entrada gave us a moment we’d been waiting for all season – Olivia returning home. Almost a little too tidily, Fauxlivia made her escape from Earth-1 as well. It would have been nice to see them face to face or some delay between the swap. The symmetry of the two crossing over within moments was a little too clean.
On Earth-2, Olivia’s fate is to be a live-action organ donor – her important parts are to be harvested and examined while the remainder of her carcass is to be sent back to Earth-1. Which is very medieval if you think about it. She manages to persuade Broyles to help her out – and he releases her from the lab, resulting in this hilarious screenshot:
There’s a fair bit of dead weight here as Broyles and Dunham go on an extended road trip to Harvard…because Walternate keeps a lab there still. I’m sorry, but I don’t ‘get’ the logic of that, that parallel Walter thinks the same way as his Earth-1 counterpart. And that Broyles would conveniently forget that he had a subcutaneous tracking device?
There also wasn’t enough explanation as to why Olivia was able to remain on Earth-1 this time – on past occasions, she got whisked back to the deprivation tank. What was the magic ingredient this time round?
Regardless, she’s back. It didn’t feel particularly satisfying, but she’s back. Let’s leave it there.
The stronger part of the story was in Fauxlivia discovering that her cover was blown, escaping Peter, then trying to return to Earth-2. The Fringe guys finally discover the typewriter shop (thanks to some casual sleuthing from Astrid). There was a wonderful stand-off at Penn Station between the Fringe team and Fauxlivia. Seemingly using a hostage to escape the building, Peter deduced that the hostage might not be all she was cracked up to be – and he was right, it was a shapeshifter.
However, Fauxlivia was already implanted with pitch rods to send her home. The displacement happened in the back of a police truck. But most gruelling of all, the charred corpse of Alt-Broyles had replaced her – which was a grizzly discovery for his Earth-1 counterpart. Fantastic scene where Broyle’s reached down and closed the eyes of his deceased doppelganger.
So, not quite as thrilling an episode of Fringe as it had the potential to be. Still, I was intrigued at how the show managed to veer towards an almost-inevitable war between the universes. There’s clearly strong feeling in Earth-2 about the damage that has been done – but a lot of it is down to the authorities and misinformation given to the public: it wasn’t an act of war that sparked the dimensional instability. And the people trapped in amber aren’t dead. And how will Broyles react to seeing ‘himself’ dead? He can’t get any more serious, can he?
- In the 70s, I innocently wandered into the wrong home and it was three days before I realized my mistake.
- It’s all because of that temptress. She tricked my son with her carnal manipulations and he fell right into her vagenda.
- I’ll take the pastry shop.