6 Reasons Olivia is the Most Desirable Object

So last week was all about Peter taking charge. He popped his collar and we duly tipped our hats. But we kinda missed our Olivia, all stuck in a bed and barely able to pick up her gun. I knew that inter-dimensional travel was dangerous, but I didn’t expect her to be such a wreck! With that in mind, I’ve decided to dedicate my ‘raw and immediate’  thoughts from the second episode of the new season of Fringe to agent Dunham.

So without further ado, here are the 6 Olivia-related Things I Learned From Night of Desirable Objects.

All about Olivia1.) Olivia is on another level

Olivia returned from the parallel Universe with her powers of observation heightened – her super hearing already helping to crack cases and solve crimes (if only she could hear Evil Charlie’s thoughts, huh). Coincidence? Not a chance – her entire journey (barring the odd detour) is part of the plan, she’s on the path laid out for her. The super hearing and impending headaches are par for the course – side-effects from the clinical trials which kept those childhood abilities locked away until the time was right. The fruit of Bell’s labor now coming home to harvest.

Yes, Olivia’s had it rough, but I sense that the hardest part is yet to come! Is she strong enough to mentally cope? Put it this way, she’s gonna need her family (and obviously I DON’T mean Rachel :P).

2. Olivia is very much a student

I’ve always loved the relationship between Olivia and Nina. They remind me of Alice and the Cheshire Cat. Nina wants to help Olivia, but she doesn’t mind putting a few obstacles in her way first. She really gets off on it. Night of Desirable Objects helped push through another aspect of their relationship – one of master and prodigy – Olivia’s cane serving as an allusion to Nina’s own ‘handicap’, from which she has no doubt drawn enormous strength.

Nina certainly sees a bit of herself in Olivia, and Dunham can’t quite work out whether Nina friend or foe. My hunch is that the pair are more closely related than I would have thought likely prior to this season.

3.) Everyone loves Olivia (except you know who)

Everyone loves Olivia. Peter loves her, Walter loves her, Phillip loves her, Nina loves her. Just about the only person who doesn’t is Evil Charlie (and even ‘he’ found it a wrench to kill her in last week’s episode). But Olivia trusts him, completely. When they were having their conversation in the car, I was watching Olivia for her trademark ‘something’s not right with this dude’ expression. But there was nothing, only a slight clenching of the jaw which can be put down to her resistance to being dependent on another person.

Last week, I was unsure as to who would be the one to take down Evil Charlie – would it be Peter ‘taking charge’, or Walter having a pop? Nah, this episode told me that it will indeed be Olivia who will turn the lights out on her former partner, who’s not actually her former partner.

4.) The realisation of Charlie’s death will shape Olivia into a soldier or a warrior

Olivia may be a target but I don’t fear for her life – not one bit. Curiously, this inevitability doesn’t diminish the Charlie subplot in my eyes – it’s all about the journey and how they complete his arc. The most significant part of having Charlie not be Charlie is how this affects Olivia. Not only through losing her closest friend. Not just because she will feel responsible for leaving the ‘door’ open open returning. Not simply because she has been deceived. But by how she uses this experience going forward. Olivia is an emotional melting pot, so when this Charlie thing finally hits the fan..let’s just say that it could shape her outlook on this Universe battle thing. This will be good for some, and not so good for others..

5.) Olivia false advertised

Scenes that look cool on ‘sneak peeks‘ don’t always turn out that way. Olivia getting dragged through a grotty wall by a Mutant Ninja Mole-baby was one scene I had earmarked in my preconceived ideas of this episode. But in actual fact it was one of the weaker elements of Night of Desirable Objects. Seriously, Olivia being incapable of loading her bullets last week was much more exciting (I sincerely mean that).

6.) So far, Olivia is still the most desirable object in Fringe.

Peter got to drive and kick down a few doors, but Olivia – even when not feeling herself – is the driving force of the show. She’s a complicated bonfire of a character who has a knack for being able to do more when doing less. I don’t even think Walter can do that with such good effect. She may have hobbled and stumbled her way through Night of Desirable Objects, but her journey is so watchable. I’m invested, damn it. If we were in a battle with our parallels selves, I’d put my chips on Olivia to save the day (and Evil Olivia to be the end of us).

We’ll post our review for “Night of Desirable Objects” on Saturday.


  1. Elliot says

    Are you trying to convince yourself, D-Roc? Honestly, I don’t know why some see it as a competition, when Bad Robot say it is a story about the three of them, and we are this year getting more stories about Peter, the way we got them about Olivia last year. Let them tell the stories they are planning, and enjoy the season!

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    • says

      Hi Elliot.

      Hmm. I don’t quite get the connection between my post and your point? But I’ll try to clarify.

      I’m quite happy to let BR tell their story – my enjoyment of the season is based on how much I enjoy the season. Not on a requirement to enjoy it.

      My point is, I found out quite a few Olivia-related things from watching this episode. So that’s what I posted – my honest opinion. I’m not looking to please, or otherwise, any particular group here. You should know me better by now – I write what I think. Next week I might focus on Peter, or Gene, or Rachel. Who knows.

      I’ll save my thoughts on the episode for my review, but I have no problem with the character rotation system. I’m very much a fan of the ensemble.

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  2. Sue says

    I totally agree; Olivia/Anna is the heart of the show. My hope is that the show will continue to focus on Olivia as our lead character/hero!

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  3. says

    Absolutely loved the way Olivia was portrayed in this episode – both in terms of acting from Anna Torv and the way her scenes were written.
    Highlights for me:
    Olivia / Anna Torv
    1) First scene: Olivia’s hand shaking and the way she’s aware Peter noticed it. Dead subtle. Followed by the “ninja sword” exchange. Brilliant way to pick up from last week episode.
    2) The way Anna Torv manages to convey strength, vulnerability, confusion and determination throughout the entire episode. Amazing to watch.
    3) The scene between Olivia and Walter about parallel universes. Loved the way she stops Walter mid-sentence, in a touching, tender manner and the tone of her “appear to be?” question. Very restrained way to announce something ominous and scary.
    4) Olivia struggling with the steps leading up to Hughes’ porch. In pain, and still out of breath as she starts asking him questions. Great human and realistic touch. In the same vein, Anna Torv’s voice as she arrives during the “recreating the accident” scene in the lab: much more soft-spoken and vulnerable than usual.
    5) The scene between Olivia and Nina Sharp. Nearly half way through the episode, we discover something more about the extent of Olivia injuries as she gets dressed (again, in a very subtle way). The touch of humor with the doc: “What’s your name?”. The kind of “mother-daughter” relationship between the two women. Olivia gritty determination through physical and emotional pain. So much expressed with very little – within a couple of minutes.
    1) Joshua Jackson / Peter being caring and proactive. Nice to see.
    2) The overlapping dialogue and transition to Olivia talking to “Evil Charlie” in the car. Great way to create surprise and tension. Plus the complicity between the two and Olivia smiling – reminding us how painful the “Evil Charlie” revelation is gonna be for her.
    3) The “super hearing”. Presented as something creepy, confusing and terrifying for Olivia. Nice visuals as well with the flies.
    4) Olivia firing at Peter. Great reactions from Joshua Jackson and Anna Torv. Another way to show how edgy/scared/confused Olivia feels, and more great acting.
    5) The bowling scene with Sam. Actually thought the hippy guy with the ponytail was the “therapist” and how cliché that would be. Nice twist it was the other guy. Also, great minimalist and meaningful dialogue between the two.
    6) Can’t thank the writers/producers enough for showing the aftermath of Olivia’s car crash, both in terms of physical and mental trauma. How often do you see a TV character with scars from a previous episode or walking with a limp for so long? Brilliant human and storytelling continuity.
    The Bad
    – Hated the “monster-of-the week”, especially Olivia being dragged through the tunnel.
    – Not keen on Agent Jessup taking up precious screen time, especially with the “shorter” episodes compared to last season.
    What I’m looking forward to the most after the episode…
    – The consequences of traveling to an alternate reality for Olivia. The “headaches” and psychological effects. Her talking to Sam.
    – Where the “super hearing” is gonna lead to (consequence of Olivia’s visit to a parallel universe and/or first “power” resulting from the Cortexiphan trials?)
    – What’s about to happen with Olivia and “Evil Charlie” (ie. the “final” scene that can be guessed from trailers and promotional photos for Episode 2.04 and its repercussions for Olivia: heart-wrenching, just thinking about it)
    All together:
    Bad monster-of-the-week, but brilliant character study, thanks in great part to Anna Torv acting skills (still stunned by how she manages to convey so much with so little, and the consistency, quality and range of her performance).

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    • says

      I found Olivia struggling up the steps an excellent bit. Her out of breath as she questioned was excellent direction.

      I feel like Anna Torv is a good actor if she has something to do – some emotion she has to convey or such. I hope the cane stays for a while because I think we get better, excellent, performances from her.

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  4. Gil_Cdn says


    Very well said and I cannot agree with your more.

    I love Anna’s portrait of a “broken wing/shaken” Agent Dunham…I keep going back and rewatching all these scenes, heart-breaking everytime, her acting is simply superb and mesmerizing!

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  5. Daina says

    Speakng of evil oivia, I would love to see that chic fight:-) We already know she’s kick ass so I’d love to see her kick her own!

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  6. mike says

    Please stop beginning an entire thought with the word “So”…. its really disgusting how lazy most people write these days.

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  7. luvliv says

    Olivia is the reason Fringe is so captivating!! Anna Torv is an excellent actress and I’m glad she is finally getting recognition for it! She truly deserves it!! Thanks Roco, as usual!!

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