Fringe Review: 3.05 Amber 31422


Welcome to our review for episode 5 of Fringe season 3 – “Amber 31422”.

In this review we give an honest opinion on the good and not so good aspects of the episode. We find out the answers that were provided and the mysteries that remain locked away. We take an in-depth look at the other aspects of the episode that made an impression on us, before rounding off the review with our final thoughts and episode rating.

THE GOOD

  • Parallels and Callbacks. The fringe case involving wall-walkers and ambered victims were excellent callbacks to previous episodes, all the while serving to deepen the mythology and character journey of both Olivia and Walternate.
  • The Humanizing of Walternate. That ticking sound Olivia heard wasn’t just a bomb, it was Walternate’s HEART! I was overjoyed to finally see the more delicate shades to Walternate’s canvass. His intimate discussion with Broylnate showed that he really does care for his world, and that he suffers from occasional self-doubt. Losing Boy Wonder not only cost him personally but it put him on a path that he doesn’t enjoy – one where he has to make extremely difficult decisions for the so-called greater good. As an advocate of character, I want every single decision to cost Walternate something – because I think it has to, in these circumstances. I am pleased to see signs of that at last.
  • Iconic. Some of the imagery used in this episode was truly iconic – from the Bra & Panties Tank™ scenes, to the gift shop travels, to the twins caught in amber – you can tell that they had fun coming up with these ideas.
  • Lance Reddick / Broylnate. I liked his portrayal of Broylnate in this episode. He wasn’t the focus but he played an important supporting role for both Olivia and Walternate, and I thought that Lance Reddick Reddick did some interesting things with the time he was given. While I wouldn’t say that Broylnate’s becoming conflicted, the wheels are certainly turning in his conscience to the point where he’s behind Walternate, but he’s also developing a level of intrigue and feeling for ‘our’ Olivia. Whats more, Broylnate is such a cool cat – with a cool hat. What’s not to like?
  • The Gift shop Travels. Probably the moments that saved the episode emotionally, for me. Olivia’s second voyage to the gift shop was really well done visually, but it also carried weight emotionally. I loved the fact that she remembered Ella’s birthday, and I enjoyed experiencing her break-through and the meaning behind it. It’s totally in-keeping with Fringe that the journey back to the other side is not just physical one – but an emotional/spiritual one. This is why it works so well – we see her travel, and that’s great and all, but more than that it’s the feeling that comes from it.

THE BAD

  • Hammer Time. While I was pleased to see the political and emotional aspects of the amber storyline explored, at times it felt as though I was being hit over the head with the parallels between the twins and Olivia’s predicament. As we know, Fringe delivers some truly brilliant parallels, the best of which are subtle. Having Projection Peter point out those parallels negated the effectiveness somewhat. A necessary circumstance of articulating Olivia’s rediscovery, perhaps, but I felt that Projection Pete could have been less on the nose.
  • Unconvincing. I thought the characterization of the twins was slightly under par by the standards set this season. I didn’t really believe that Joseph was this expert bank robber. For the most part, the emotional bond/angst between them didn’t really connect considering what they had both been through. Contrast that to Milo from a couple of episodes ago, who was totally and utterly convincing as a pill-popping probability machine, and his sister Maddy who really added to the emotional weight. And don’t even get me started on Henry.
  • Unsatisfying. I thought that Joshua’s ‘self-sacrifice’ was interesting and framed with iconic imagery, but ultimately it felt somewhat unsatisfying. It lacked real weight and tension. I would have liked more torment on Matthew’s part, and I felt the scene could have been a little longer, giving us the kind of emotional resonance that sacrifice deserves. I would also have liked more on what it was like for Matthew to have been trapped in amber for four years. On the whole, there was just something missing. That said, I understand that they probably wanted to save the emotional kick for Olivia’s final visit to the gift shop. But still..it didn’t quite land on that sweet spot.
  • Mother Done-ham. I assume we’ll get more on this in future episodes, but I found Mother Dunham to be a bit pointless in this episode. Did she really need to be involved? After that emotional reunion in the premiere I was hoping for more. She may have emotionally helped Olivia to find her next breadcrumb, but she didn’t do enough to warrant her two appearances.

MYSTERIES & QUESTIONS

  • Where did Joshua get the sophisticated amber cutting technology from?
  • Does Walternate know that Olivia is lying to him about not having travelled to the other side on her second attempt?

ANSWERS

  • Olivia has been back at work for just over a week.
  • The isolated tears in the fabric of the universe began to increase in frequency in 1989. Some of these tears expanded into micro black-holes.
  • The chemical substance used to contain these tears is called Amber 31422. The people trapped in the amber are in a state of suspended animation and can be revived, but at the risk of destabilizing the anomalies.
  • The Franklin Street station where Matthew was sealed was amberized in 2006.
  • Walternate has begun to realize that Olivia was treated with Cortexiphan as a child.
  • Olivia remembers who she is. World holds its breath.

FRINGE THOUGHTS

  • References to sleep and dreams is something we’ve been tracking for a while now (in light of their potential significance/thematic value), and Brandonate gave us the episode’s first mention by asking Olivia if she’s been having trouble sleeping, specifically if she’s been suffering with insomnia. He also uses the description, “lingering symptoms”.
  • I mention this because in many ways the whole Fringe story is about a lingering symptom – be it tears in the fabric of the universe, heart-break, child abuse, science in the wrong hands, etc. Symptoms are of course bookended by causes and cures. We know the cause of all the problems in our story (or we think we do, more could be revealed), but what will be the cure?
  • Bradonate is more subdued, less enthusiastic than Brandon. What is it that caused this version to have less light in his eyes?
  • Speaking of light in his eyes, Walternate smiled and the universe didn’t collapse! It’s not I found him to be completely insincere, but he was most definitely putting on a face that he thought would placate Dorothy Olivia. Oh the masks that people wear.
  • Nice double-meaning:

Walternate: “You look well”

Olivia: “I am, good as new”

  • You have to love the recurring themes on this show:

“With your permission we’d like to put you through a series of experiments to see if we’re right”

  • Instantly this takes us back to Olivia’s childhood Cortexiphan trials, where she was prepped by William Bell and Walter so that she could travel between worlds and ‘watch the gate’. Years later, Grown Olivia is once again experimented on, this time by Walternate in the universe that she once saw as a child to find out how she is able to travel between worlds.
  • Poor Olive – is there no escaping childhood? What I find interesting here is that unlike Bellie or Walter, Walternate offers Olivia a proper choice. Whether this choice is an illusion or not is another question (answer: ‘yes’, because Olivia is not fully informed), but I always like to come back to the importance of deciding your path because it defines everything else that follows.
  • In that context, while Olivia was given a rather tragic and burdened life largely through the choices of others, she now has the opportunity to reclaim her identity – to make her own kind of music. This is partly why her story is so heroic, because she’s actively and passionately chasing the Story Beast even when she’s been erased from the face of the earths.
  • It can also be seen that Walternate’s plan is also beneficial to Olivia discovering the truth about who she is. It’s mutually beneficial. Further illustrating the entanglement between the two universes. Maybe everything that happened here was fated?

“I’m sure you understand what this would mean to our cause – we’d be able to defend ourselves against the other side”

  • There he goes again, using the word “defend” as the premise for his actions. The question is whether he truly believes that this is a war of defence. Personally, I believe him – to a point. But to understand where he’s coming from we need to take an objective view and place it in his subjective slippers. From his perspective they were attacked – a monster pierced a hole through his world, stole the family jewels, and left it on fire.
  • The Blight symbolizes the erosion of his world and his heart. A natural response is to hit back, to use whatever weapons you have to seek revenge – and if you can heal the problems of your world at the same time, then you can kill two pigeons with the same stone. But is Walternate ‘David’ or ‘Goliath’? He’s both.
  • This is why I’m not too quick to judge old Walternate. I genuinely feel for him. My current loathing of Walter is just as genuine. Will the tables of my heart turn? I’m sure they’ve got rotation left in them, but this is where I am with both of them at the moment. I believe it’s important to experience every step of the journey to fully understand the dimensions of the story. Truth is, both Walters hold parts to the solution – Walter needs to redeem himself and Walternate needs to forgive.
  • These are very human problems presented here in the form of two characters, but at it’s core I think the writers are illustrating what each and every person struggles with in their own right. Can you forgive others? Can you be redeemed? Indeed, can you forgive yourself? Can you redeem yourself?
  • This why I want Walter to demonstrate change. This is why I have such a hard time when he regresses by violently attacking shapeshifters (which by the way, is just one example of his failings) – because, for me at least, his character represents the redemption arc of the story. Sure, he might never change – that might be the point, but as a page-turner I want him to change for the better.
  • I can accept that he’s flawed – who isn’t – but that doesn’t mean that he’s above criticism. The man would sacrifice all of us to mend a heart that is probably beyond fixing (certainly with his current mindset) – I have a problem with that.

“But I know you’ve been through a lot, Olivia. So if you’re not up to it you should just say so”

  • Indeed she has Walternate. She’s been through the fabric of your universe, for starters. Worth-noting that Olivia accepts, because that’s in her nature.
  • Olivia’s very next move is to reach for a pill to help her cope with those nagging self-doubts about her reality. Note that she takes the red pill (more on that in our observations).

  • I’m still making my mind up about the portrayal of ‘Projection Peter‘. I like the fact that he’s there for Olivia (or rather, she’s there for herself through a representation of Peter), but if I had him rolling around in my head 24 hours a day I think I’d take the blue pill.

“And you can keep on telling yourself that you’re fine. But you’re not fine”

  • Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, Petah! :o
  • In all seriousness, I love this storyline. Seeing Olivia fighting for her own identity – and so creatively at that – carries a lot of weight. I love the way the subconscious/true self is represented here because I find it to be very accurate. Not the looking like Peter part, but the idea that Olivia’s strength is truly from within.

“I’m not a lingering symptom.”

  • But you’ll become a lingering smell if you don’t get out of that coat for a while! Goodness, Olivia must really dig that coat.
  • As mentioned earlier the resin was a great way to contrast amber as a weapon and form of containment. Is amber wrong? It’s a matter of context, though it would be extremely difficult to blame Walternate for its use.

  • I appreciated the scene between Walternate and Broylnate. The ‘Over There’ protagonist was finally given the sympathetic lens that has been afforded to his counterpart. Though it was a brief look, we got to see that his son’s kidnapping still affects him to this day.
  • Imagine getting him back only for him to slip down the rabbit-hole again? If not for his long-term goal to preserve him, I think the man would die of sadness. The scene also allowed us to see that he doesn’t enjoy the decisions he has to make:

“sixty-three civilians were trapped in amber that day [..] It sickens me”

  • Decisions he’s had to make because Walter kidnapped his son. Much like Olivia, Walternate didn’t choose the life he was given. And I know, who does, right? But it’s clear that many of his choices have been reactive ever since that fateful night. In many ways his heart has been trapped in amber, the pain stuck at that moment when he realized that his boy had been taken to wonderland. So it’s quite poignant to see why his outlook is transfixed on cutting the tether that joins the two worlds.
  • It did cross my mind as to whether Walternate’s stroll down memory lane with the news-cutting of Peter’s kidnapping was completely sincere. Did he take himself to that place emotionally to get Broylnate on-board? It’s possible, but I don’t think so. The scene was designed to show us that Walternate is as trapped as anyone.
  • Broylnate plays an effective part in Walternate’s humanizing. Previous episodes have illustrated the quiet respect between the two men, while suggesting that Broylnate may not be completely on-board with Walternate’s methods. And while that may still be true, we now get to see the pair more as friends. Broylnate goes from questioning Walternate’s logic in the previous ‘Over There’ episode, to now reinforcing his choices and blowing wind into his sagging sails (so to speak).

“It’s a tragic but small price to pay for the greater good”

  • I’ll be honest, I loathe that phrase – “the greater good” – ugh! But he’s right in that Walternate’s decision was one designed to protect the majority. That Walternate still sees a problem with his decision shows that his morality button hasn’t been deactivated. That’s not to say that he’s blameless – he’s knowingly kept secrets about the real nature of the anomalies and the quarantined victims being ‘alive’.
  • That Broylnate didn’t know about this is interesting. The speed with which he accepted the new information was also worth noting.

  • Just when I thought their chat was over, Walternate felt the need to further underscore his motivation:

“Nature doesn’t recognize good and evil, Phillip. Nature only recognizes balance and imbalance.”

  • We often talk about nature as a ‘character’, and we’ve seen plenty of evidence of her need for balance through the level of duality and like-for-like exchanges. While nature appears to have a wicked sense irony in the way she goes about things, it’s also important to acknowledge that she is without prejudice. Nature doesn’t care who did what or who stole who’s Slusho!, nature just wants her damned kidney back!
  • Nature may very well be the fairest participant in this story – and Walternate knows this, which is why he’s decided to reason his self-doubt by envisioning himself as nature’s enforcer:

“I intend to restore balance to our world..whatever it takes”.

  • Compare this with Walter’s claim that there was only room for one God in his Lab (prior to stealing Peter), and we end up with some very interesting character insights. Walter played god by denouncing the importance of God. Walternate’s doing it by siding with God (or mother nature, if you want). I don’t know about you, but I find that incredibly revealing on a character level.
  • Essentially we can trace their respective perspectives back to the way that they feel about their role in the problems. Walter knew that what he was about to do was terribly wrong, so he reasoned his actions by ignoring God, whereas Walternate feels terribly wronged, so he reasons his aggressive response by believing that he’s performing Gods work. Wow, Fringe..wow.

“The people entombed in amber are in a state of suspended animation”

  • As is Olivia who has been submerged in her own consciousness by the invasive memories of Altlivia.
  • Did Olivia’s CortexiPOWA! help her hear the bomb? Yet another occasion in which Altlivia would have died had she been in this situation?
  • I’ll probably spend more time on the Bra & Panties Tank™-propelled travel in the Observations Column, but I thought it was really well done.

  • What’s wrong Timmy, you’ve never seen anyone travel via the B&P Tank™ before? I kinda feel sorry for that poor kid though. Aside from getting grounded without pocket money for a month (snow globes aren’t cheap), for years to come he’s going to suffer recurring nightmares about the wet woman with the fiery hair, and no-one will believe him.

Mom: “What did she look like, Timothy?”

Timmy: “She was wet and her hair was red like it was on fire”

Mom: “That’s a paradox! Go to your room young man!

Timmy: “But mom, I saw her..and now she haunts my mind”

Mom: “To your room!”

  • Would they really have experimented on Matthew for the rest of his life, Joshua? I get the allusions with Walternate experimenting on Olivia, but that idea doesn’t really hold up with me. If the general public found out it would open up a can of molebabies, but surviving amber seems like something anyone can do – Matty really isn’t all that interesting. It’s more surprising to me that no-one else has tried to free an ambered relative before now.
  • That’s the thing though, I think Joshua was seeking balance – he wanted to, “do one good thing”. I don’t think it comes from the most selfless place ever, but I guess you have to appreciate his sacrifice. It certainly foreshadows several of the show’s prominent themes and ideas, and possibly the personal sacrifice that may have to occur within Olivia for her to fully reclaim her rightful identity.

  • Also, how cool was the image of Joshua’s golden goodbye – not quite sealed with a kiss, but certainly with a smile. I thought the scene could have carried more weight, but it flirted with greatness.
  • As I’ve said before, the memories of Altlivia have formed a character in their own right, and a far more sympathetic one than the actual Altlivia who is sexin’ it up in the blue universe. Projection Peter is trying to restore balance, but this may come at a price. It’s not so much which life Olivia will choose – that seems somewhat inevitable, but it’s the cost of the internal fallout that really intrigues me.
  • I like Captain Broyles in both universes:

“Are you aware of how many protocols you broke? *deep lingering stare* Good work”

  • I get the sense that he’s talking to what we’d call ‘our’ Olivia there..and I have a feeling that ‘our’ Olivia knows that. You can see in her eyes that she’s found a potential allie who quietly cares for his agents in a similar fashion to the Broyles she knows. Well, that’s how I’d like to interpret that little scene – otherwise it didn’t need to be so drawn out with lingering stares.

  • As Projection Peter says, Olivia decided to keep Matthew’s secret because she can identify with being trapped. If before we saw cracks in the frozen lake of Olivia’s consciousness, now there’s a giant crater..with a fire burning inside. She’s listening to the voice within.

“The only difference is, no-one’s going to save you. Only you can save yourself.”

  • Indeed. As I’ve said before – only Those Who Help Themselves – or at least try to, can find out who they are. Livvy has to make a choice. She has to choose to leave this life behind, and I suspect that a part of her wont want to do that. Not only the ‘Altlivia’ part of her, but the part that has ever wished for a second chance in life, the part that mourned her mother’s death, the loss of Charlie – and the part that sometimes wishes she didn’t have to carry the weight of the world on her shoulders.
  • If the writers give the next stage of Olivia’s journey its rightful due, we should see that this choice will not be easy. Yes, Ella, R@chel and Peter represent her ‘real’ life, but this is a character who herself projected the very worlds, “reality is a matter of perception“. I’m afraid that this decision has to cost our Dunhamnator. :(
  • So, R@chel hasn’t been sucked into oblivion. She’s in Chicago and apparently back with her husband? Really? Whatever, it’s not like I care, just please water Ella.
  • The Bra & Panties Tank™ certainly holds mystical powers. Intrepid explorers are incapable of testing its alluring waters just the once per episode – oh no, they always come back for another dip before the end credits roll.

“About twenty minutes ago her brain chemistry spiked – it seems there’s some dormant chemical in her brain.”

  • Looks like Walternate’s on the path to finding out about Cortexiphan. But can he re-produce it? If so, will he by-pass the child experiments and adapt it to adult soldiers? It’s interesting to speculate his end-game considering he also has the Weapon in play. It makes me think that there’s another part of his plan that has yet to fully emerge.
  • It’s really interesting to see that Cortexiphan still resides in Olivia’s brain in chemical form. Apparently her body doesn’t reproduce it – rather it’s bound to her neurons. Theoretically, could it be removed?

  • Happy birthday Ella! You are seven, not sixty – don’t listen to mother. And don’t eat the cake that she fry-boiled for you.
  • It could be described as a coincidence that Olivia managed to remember Ella’s birthday, but I’d say it’s exactly the opposite. Her subconscious remembered and it was this internal knowledge that gave her the emotional push to tap those heels and cross over.
  • On a deeper level I think it implies that a lot of what we consider to be coincidence is actually driven by our underlying feelings and senses. As we’ve talked about in the past, the subconscious mind is capable of guiding us in all manner of ways, and often it gets us to where we need to be. It’s about trusting yourself. And if the universe wasn’t constantly seeking balance and shifting about the place, perhaps we’d be more powerful beings. Or perhaps that’s the point.

“It didn’t work, nothing happened, all I saw was black”

  • Do you think Walty believes her? Neither do I. Our heroine is back. God bless her, she never left us.

FINAL THOUGHT

Fringe returns with a strong episode choc-full of parallels and resonating features. A mythalone-styled case-of-the-week once again supports the central story, encasing it with extra meaning. This wasn’t a shapeshifting hero like the previous episode, but it played an important role in the overall journey.

The two most important things that “Amber 31422″ did was to paint Walternate with broader strokes and bring Dunham back home..albeit for just a while.

Best Performer: Lance Reddick.

Best Line: “Nature doesn’t recognize good and evil, Phillip. Nature only recognizes balance and imbalance.” – Walternate.

Best Moment: Olivia crossing over and dialling Birthday for Ella.

Episode Rating 8/10

You can find all of our reviews here. Our episode Observations can be found here.

Comments

  1. Anjali says

    I just found one continuity problem with Ella’s storyline.

    In the s2 finale, our Olivia tells Alt-Livia that Ella is seven. In this episode, she’s seven again? :)

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    • AM says

      True. But to be honest, Olivia has only been there, what, a few weeks??? When stranger ask how old my son is I round it up or down by a half… Like my son is four and a half (he is really four and 3 months). Olive just rounded up. IMHO

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    • Alex says

      I noticed that too! And Rachael and Greg are divorced/separated, aren’t they? Why would she be with him in Chicago?

      Come on, writers!!!

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      • says

        I’ve kinda gone on about this in other posts, but I’d rather Rachel not he mentioned unless there is a little more effort put into that detail. The writers include some of the tiniest nuances in each character; and the set designers never miss a chance to flood a scene with red, blue, green, or yellow (don’t forget a daisy, butterfly, or handprints) and the best we can come up with for Rach and Ella is the write-off ” they moved back to Chicago”?!

        You know I get it, it would have been a really quick reveal if either of them had been around to encounter Altlivia. However, could we have had a scene 2 or 3 episodes ago where we got to see Altlivia dodging Rachel or Ella, either in person or on the phone? For me, it would have been more satisfying.

        Okay, I need to stop, I don’t even know why I care so much… Oh wait I know why. It’s because I am so woefully disappointed that not a freakin’ person Over Here realizes that horrible imposter in their midst and I’m dying to see Altlivia face a real credible threat to her cover ( that she can’t just kill off).

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        • Peanut says

          Shapeshifters or bad robots must have infiltrated the writing staff. Just before Olivia leaves in Over There—Part I, it was a big scene with her hugging R@chel very tightly as she left. The ever-perceptive (tee hee) R@chel even asks if Olivia is OK. Olivia told R@chel that she was going on a trip & would call to let her know if she would be home for dinner, presumably dinner TOGETHER with Rachel & Ella. Of course, Olivia didn’t make it home that day (stuck in an alternate universe, pretty good excuse). R@chel should have been suspicious/concerned especially after finding out about Olivia’s giving Ella their mother’s necklace.

          My understanding is that R@chel & Ella had gotten their own place at that point but still lived in the Boston area. In fact, Olivia says that they should get together like that more often, which wouldn’t have made sense if R@chel & Ella had already moved to Chicago. At this point, had R@ch already gone back to her husband or acquired another husband & was just in town visiting? Because, otherwise, this situation does not make sense. Olivia knows Ella’s phone number in Chicago—but Ella & Rachel apparently weren’t in Chicago when she left, & I doubt that Olivia was calling up the brother-in-law (Greg the Jerk?) to chitchat so she probably would not have known his phone number if he had moved there before R@ch & Ella did. It was probably a new number too because Projection Peter said that Rachel’s husband had taken a job in Chicago, indicating a recent move—but how would “he” (internal Olivia) know that (even Projection Peter is special & can suss out information across universes?)? Then you would have expected Rachel to have had a serious talk with her sister the minute that “Olivia” (now Bolivia) was on the scene again. Guess the writers had to marginalize R@ch & Ella to help prevent the imposter from being detected.

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          • Cortexifan says

            Good point, but Rachel also has a cell phone and Olivia knows that number. Rachel also has been in Chicago during Brown Betty while Olivia was watching Ella. I would have liked to see some interacting between Rachel and Bolivia as well, but like you said the writers had to prevent the imposter from being detected.

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            • Peanut says

              I may be wrong about this, but I think that when Olivia calls Ella, she dials a Chicago area code, which would indicate that it was not R@chel’s cell phone or must have been a new cell phone?

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              • Peanut says

                I just looked again at the scene in the gift shop. The first number in the area code that Olivia dialed was “3,” which made me think that it was a Chicago area code (I used to live in the area, which is why I noticed). The rest of the numbers weren’t shown after that.

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                • real1 says

                  Projection Peter = Olivia’s internal mind , and her mind is mixing by her memories and Bolivia memories , so projection Peter was mixing the facts , it was Ella’s birthday , deep down Olivia knows that so she did remember it as how the projection Peter did it .

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                  • Peanut says

                    I was questioning not Olivia’s memory of Ella’s birthday but how Projection Peter knew that R@chel & Ella had moved to Chicago when it had never been mentioned before & presumably took place AFTER Olivia left for Over There so that information could not have been in Olivia’s memory (or that of Projection Peter). When last seen, R & E were presumably still living in the Boston area & expecting Olivia for dinner (Rachel’s yummy home cooking?)!

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                    • Cortexifan says

                      Peanut, I love your comments. You ask questions we all have. So will you humor me one last time?
                      In Brown Betty Olivia says: Rachel had to go to Chicago for the weekend. Maybe she was setting up the move then including leaving a phone number so Olivia can call if something happens to Ella. We don’t know how much time passed between BB and Amber. My cell phone number also starts with my area code.
                      Sometimes I think the writers leave out info because either they don’t think it is that important, don’t have access to the actors and/or they’ll asume that the fans can piece things together. On a side note Chicago is also the place Peter wanted to sent Walter to in Jacksonville.
                      Again, love your questions, keep them coming. Ok, I’m done now :)

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                    • Peanut says

                      Still would love the explanation about what happened with R@chel. The last I remember, Greg the Jerk was seeking custody of Ella because R@ch was an unfit parent. Then she either goes back to him (must have quite a reconciliation, if so!) or acquires a new husband in which case you’d think that custody of Ella was still an issue?

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  2. FinChase says

    Great review, Roco!

    The first time I watched the episode, I thought perhaps Olivia’s memories had not fully returned, but upon a second viewing, I think hearing Ella’s voice (who else smiled when they heard that?) opened the floodgates. When she was pulled from the tank, it seems to me that Anna Torv was playing it as if Olivia was flooded memories.

    I also liked seeing the humanizing of Walternate. I have trouble sympathizing with the man because of what he’s done to our Olivia (not to mention that he sent AltLivia off with no real idea whether she would even survive the journey), but I’ve always appreciated that he has a unique POV. I was struck in “Olivia” by the fact that he seems to really believe what he is saying. At least, he’s convinced himself of it.

    I do think Broylnate finally looked at Olivia as a human being and not a monster. That could come in useful if a time comes when he has to choose between reporting Dunham’s unusual behavior or not.

    I sort of liked the “twin” story. I didn’t really find it heavy-handed at all. BTW, the bank-robbing twin was named “Joshua” not “Joseph”. I loved the link back to “Safe”. I do agree that Mrs. Dunham was not well used in this episode, although it’s interesting to see that people over there seem to be much more alert when people they love are acting quite unlike themselves–unlike certain individuals over here! I’m still hoping to see another strong emotional scene between Olivia and her alt-mother. Will she traipse back home without another word like Peter did ?

    I’d give this episoe at least an 8.5. I rate it behind “Olivia” and “The Plateau”, but ahead of both Over Here episodes. I’m rather sorry that we are coming back Over Here this week.

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    • SF says

      “I was struck in “Olivia” by the fact that he seems to really believe what he is saying. At least, he’s convinced himself of it.”

      Fin, I have to say that I still don’t think Walternate is being truthful about most things. He holds things back so much, parcelling out his version of truth/why he’s doing things as he sees fit. As I write this, it strikes me that he is very much like Walter, who I used to blame his lack of coherent thought on his mental stability (or instability), but maybe this is inherent in Walter as a character on any universe: knowledge is power and he shares only what he has to, a step at a time. So while I understand a little more what Walternate is doing, what he wants is another question.

      Roco and Fin, I think Walternate is lying to everyone when he says he wants to restore balance to the universe – that would involve him forgiving Walter for taking Peter, and I don’t think Walternate is going to do that. He is an implacable enemy, and any time I think kindly towards him (which is rare) I think of how he said that if the AltLiv memory experiment didn’t take, then Olivia was no longer necessary. I think he portrays it as defending his world, but I think what he says and what he means, are different. His intent is to destroy ours – and he characterizes this and explains it by rationalizing it’s really defense. So excellent characterization in Walternate this season, but I still dont’ feel he is rounded out: Eliznate, where are you? don’t you ever phone your husband to call home?

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      • FinChase says

        SF, I said he believes what he is saying, that he is doing this for the greater good. However, that doesn’t rule out that he will lie to others to achieve his vision, and do whatever he believes he has to. That’s what makes him so scary.

        And don’t think for a moment that I’ve forgotten what he said about Olivia!

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    • T says

      “I do agree that Mrs. Dunham was not well used in this episode, although it’s interesting to see that people over there seem to be much more alert when people they love are acting quite unlike themselves–unlike certain individuals over here!”

      Keep in mind they all believe Olivia had a mental breakdown so they are all on pins and needles watching her to see if she is ok. I don’t think it is because they are somehow more perceptive than indivudiuals over here.

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      • mlj102 says

        I think that argument goes both ways. Sure, as you said, it could serve as a reason to make the alternate side more concerned for Olivia and watching her closely. But it could also be argued that because the alternate side believes Olivia just went through a mental breakdown, that would be an excuse for her acting differently and they would just attribute any inconsistencies to that and recovering from that, and so they would be a bit more lenient because she’d just been through that. One could say that it would take more to alarm them to the point where they say things like “she’s just not herself” or “what if she isn’t our Olivia?” But our side doesn’t have that excuse. Sure, Olivia went through a life changing experience crossing to the other side. But so did Walter. So did Peter. Yet they’re not making any life changing changes. But “Olivia” has changed drastically. And Peter can go as far as to say it’s almost like she’s a completely different person, but he can’t make the connection that it’s actually possible that she IS a completely different person? That’s just not practical. He should be more suspicious than he is.

        Since I’ve gotten on this topic, I guess this is as good a place as any to share an additional thought I’ve had regarding Peter’s ignorance towards the changes in Olivia. Let me preface this by saying that I still believe that Peter should be able to pick up on the fact that alternate Olivia is not Olivia. He knows her and the differences are too fundamental for him to be ignorant to the fact that it’s not the person he knows. It really bugs me that someone else who is very different can come in and do a poor job at replacing her, yet no one seems to mind or notice. If those Over There (alternate Charlie, alternate Marilyn) can start to suspect that there’s something not right with Olivia, then we should see Peter (and others over here) doubting that it was really Olivia who came back with them. He knows about the other side. He met alternate Olivia. He knows Olivia has been acting differently. He should be able to put the pieces together. And it’s extremely disappointing that he hasn’t been able to do that.

        However, I had a bit of a realization moment that has helped me to be slightly more accepting of the thought that he doesn’t know. The other day I heard the song “When a Man Loves a Woman” and as I was listening, some of the lyrics started to pop out to me, and I realized that they applied quite a bit to the Peter/Olivia situation. It suggests ideas like “When a man loves a woman… if she’s bad, he can’t see it” and “If she is playing him for a fool, he’s the last one to know. Loving eyes can never see.” While I don’t completely agree with the idea that being in love blinds you to what’s really going on or what a person is really like, I do think this song has a point, especially where Peter and Olivia are concerned.

        It surprised me how this is exactly what Peter is doing. He may be picking up on some differences, but he’s completely blind to what they mean. As things are right now, Alternate Olivia is “bad” but he can’t see it. She’s playing him for a fool in that it should be clear that she isn’t who she pretends to be, but somehow he has no idea. And while he should be the first one to know, he’s likely going to be the last to know. And it’s all because he’s completely in love with our Olivia. And while I’m still mad at him for the fact that it could essentially be seen as a betrayal that he’s unable to know the difference, there is something to be said for the idea that he is so ignorant because he loves her so much.

        The ironic thing is that, while his love for her has made him blind to the reality that his Olivia isn’t really there, it’s that same love that she has for him that is helping her to figure out what’s real. So for Peter, love is blinding him to what’s real, but for Olivia, love is helping her to see and accept what’s real. Nice contrast, Fringe.

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        • T says

          “But it could also be argued that because the alternate side believes Olivia just went through a mental breakdown, that would be an excuse for her acting differently and they would just attribute any inconsistencies to that and recovering from that, and so they would be a bit more lenient because she’d just been through that.”

          I still need to re-watch the episode but it seemed to me that is exaclty what Marilyn is doing. I feel like you are making my point for me. Marilyn didn’t seem to be suggesting that Olivia was not her physical daughter but that she was not in the same frame of mind because of the mental breakdown. That is why she went to Broylnate, implying that Olivia went back to work too early (since work was the source of her supposed mental breakdown). Marylin does not seem to suspect that Olivia is not in fact her daughter.

          That being the case I am still reminded of the look on her face when she hugged Olivia in her house after convincing Olivia that she was her daughter. It was almost a “knowing” look that made me think she was somehow in on it with Walternate. That being the case, nothing since has given me that impression.

          “If those Over There (alternate Charlie, alternate Marilyn) can start to suspect that there’s something not right with Olivia,”

          Based on what I said above I think the only person in the altuniverse to suspect is Charlnate and if the alt universe is similar to our universe we have to assume that Charlnate has known altLiv longer than Peter has known ourLiv.

          Plus, like you said Peter is blinded by his emotions. No one views a situation properly (unbiased) when they are in it. If you take an ethics course they tell you, you do ethics before you get in a situation because after you are in a situation you can no longer view it clearly. Peter, although clearly he suspects something, is in the situation and cannot view it from exterior lenses like we can.

          “The ironic thing is that, while his love for her has made him blind to the reality that his Olivia isn’t really there, it’s that same love that she has for him that is helping her to figure out what’s real. So for Peter, love is blinding him to what’s real, but for Olivia, love is helping her to see and accept what’s real. Nice contrast, Fringe.”

          I like this!

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  3. italianstalian says

    what about when walternate spoke the same words walter did in the previous episodes! “Only those who risk crossing the line, know how far they can go.” that reallly jumped out to me!

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  4. Pierce says

    Some of the comments that stood out to me:

    In many ways his heart has been trapped in amber, the pain stuck at that moment when he realized that his boy had been taken to wonderland.

    It’s an interesting parallel when you consider both Walter’s emotional state being quite similar. Like you mentioned, Walternate’s heart has been trapped in amber since Peter was taken by Walter. In comparision, Walter’s emotions have been trapped in his guilt, which eventually drove him mad. In both instances, neither man has been able to truly move on from a similar pain…the loss of their son.

    Compare this with Walter’s claim that there was only room for one God in his Lab (prior to stealing Peter), and we end up with some very interesting character insights. Walter played god by denouncing the importance of God. Walternate’s doing it by siding with God (or mother nature, if you want). I don’t know about you, but I find that incredibly revealing on a character level.

    Essentially we can trace their respective perspectives back to the way that they feel about their role in the problems. Walter knew that what he was about to do was terribly wrong, so he reasoned his actions by ignoring God, whereas Walternate feels terribly wronged, so he reasons his aggressive response by believing that he’s performing Gods work. Wow, Fringe..wow.

    The parallells really are fascinating. I see the Walter’s actions and motivations being quite similar. Hubris and arrogance can’t be separated from either of their chosen courses of action. Walter denounced God’s domain, forging ahead in opening a door between universes knowing what damage might come, but he also acted on geniune grief of losing his son, and his desire to save Walternate’s Peter. Walternate is now trying to defend his world from further decay under the guise of restoring balance to nature by ignoring God’s domain just as Walter did, while also seeking personal revenge. In my opinion, one is truly no better than the other, however, it’s what makes Fringe such an compelling hour of television when one of our main characters is both a hero and a villian.

    Always enjoy your reviews.

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  5. SF says

    Did anyone wonder what the one twin was doing with his brother’s wife for those 4 years? Were they sleeping together? Did he pretend to be the other one? Or did they live side-by-side pretending to be married? Nice little similarity there to what’s going on in our universe with AltLiv and Peter.

    “This is partly why her story is so heroic, because she’s actively and passionately chasing the Story Beast even when she’s been erased from the face of the earths.”
    I dreamed last night about Olivia’s fight to get back to our side, to get herself back. It’s such a powerful story, and I like how you put it, Roco, that that is her hero’s journey.

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  6. Page 48 says

    Apparently, Bra and Panties aren’t suitable for visits to the gift shop. I assume she “chose” the gift shop because she needed that last minute gift for Ella, the girl who has everything.

    Olivia’s absence from the tank didn’t seem to be noticed by the boys at the lab. Didn’t they have a camera on her? I thought maybe this gift shop thingy was a virtual trip rather than a physical one, sort of a psychic awakening brought on by Walternate’s drugs and Projection Peter incessant whining. I mean, they were monitoring her vitals and all. How could she have vitals if she was AWOL? Obviously, if she was absent from the B&P Tank, then Walternate knows she’s lying about “nothing happened”. Either way, Walternate knows.

    If good twin was ambered for 4 years, presumably he is now (sort of) 4 years younger than his evil twin. If evil twin is freed 4 years from now, they’ll be even again.

    I haven’t seen anything in Broylenate to indicate that he has any sort of hostility issues with our Olivia. I think he respects her in the same way he does his own Olivia, so, yes, I think she does have an ally in the colonel, although he was a nano second away from having her ambered. In fact, I suspect she has allies in the entire alt-Fringe Division. She’s earned it.

    Broylenate telling her “good work” reminded me of Broyles’ “good work” pep talk in the pilot. Eventually, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear Olivia tell him, “I just want to go back to before”.

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    • LizW65 says

      “I thought maybe this gift shop thingy was a virtual trip rather than a physical one…”

      Exactly. I think it’s the same thing that happened in “The Road Not Taken” where Olivia flashed over to the AU for a few minutes and was able to interact with people there, but at the same time she never really left here.

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      • Inter-dimensional Dave says

        This is a tough nut to crack. Was Liv’s trip virtual or physical? When she “flashed” to our dimension she knocked over the sno-globe the first time. The second time she used the phone. Both physical not virtual acts. However, she didn’t disappear in front of Walternate as he is monitoring her vital signs and watching her on the video screen. So what happened?

        I can only deduce she made a copy of herself governed by the laws of quantum physics as laid out in the “uncertainty principle”. Somehow during the “flash” she became a “wave packet” of energy that could exist in two places at the same time but not quantifiably measurable to either.

        This theory runs counter to the dimension travel we saw in “Over There” parts one and two where no copies were left behind in the original universe. So, is there two types of travel now or just a plot device hole?

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        • mlj102 says

          I could be wrong, but I thought there was a great deal of static that appeared on the screen at the very moment Olivia crossed over. The connection suddenly became very bad. Consequently, they weren’t able to see if Olivia was still there or if she’d crossed over. Personally, I think the whole point of those exeriments and the whole significance was that she physically crossed over. Her “gift” is to cross between the two sides, so I believe that’s exactly what happened.

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          • FinChase says

            I noticed that static, too. I don’t think Brandonate and Walternate could actually see her. Of course, it could also be something like her trips over in “The Road Not Taken.” She was physically there enough to interact with people on the other side, but it was unclear whether she actually left this universe.

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      • Mr. Wizard says

        I agree, she went to the Statue of Liberty giftshop because it was the same location as the lab which, in the alternate universe is the Secretaries DOD/Lab … like when they all crossed over at the end of season 2 they went from the Opera house to….Yup, The Opera House.

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        • says

          Definitely. And she ends up in the exact same position both times…standing very very close to the shelves so that she knocks one of the globes over. Which would be consistent because presumably they don’t move the tank from experiment to experiment. She will need to make sure she’s in an appropriate spot when she does finally decide to head home.

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  7. Xindilini says

    What impressed me most of this review is the mention of Olivia’s tough choice in deciding which life she would prefer.

    The episode for me is also enjoyable because I got to see the scientist side of this Secretary. The tank room and its height makes for great framing. Almost makes it look like watching a movie.

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  8. runpaceyrun says

    Loved this comment from Roco…..
    “But you’ll become a lingering smell if you don’t get out of that coat for a while! Goodness, Olivia must really dig that coat.”

    You know what, i love this coat and i love Peter when he is wearing this coat. God bless the wardrobe department, the writers and producers for all thinking that Peter should wear this coat when he is “Projection Peter” Besides me loving it (and whats in it….yes i know im shallow) Olivia probably has a strong subconscious memory of Peter wearing this coat. I for one will be going back through season 1 and 2 to see what eps he wore this coat in…..and do the storylines have any bearing in what we are seeing now. If not, no drama…..Fringe rewatches are always good for the mind, body and soul. And seeing that coat again…well you know how i feel about that. Let shallowness reign supreme!!!!!

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  9. mlj102 says

    I don’t have much time, so I’m going to keep this short… Well, short is a relative term where I’m concerned. It will be short as far as my typical reviews are concerned, at any rate.

    “While nature appears to have a wicked sense irony in the way she goes about things, it’s also important to acknowledge that she is without prejudice…Nature may very well be the fairest participant in this story”

    This statement made me think how nature is a lot like certain characters we have seen depicted in Fringe, including the Observers, Milo, alternate Astrid, and the shapeshifters (at least as they were intended to be): unbiased, indifferent, and unburdened by emotional investment. Nature doesn’t care who’s right or wrong, who’s good or bad, who might get hurt in the process — all that doesn’t matter. All that matters is balance and order. I find this to be an interesting concept. In a lot of ways, that sort of approach is, well, natural; not to mention, simple and effective. But is it really the best approach? It certainly seems to work for those who use it, and in some ways it lifts those people up higher to make them capable of more. But I still think that those who allow themselves to be influenced by their emotions have a certain advantage that these others don’t. I look forward to seeing how Fringe will continue to explore this idea.

    I loved alternate Astrid’s reaction when she realized that Olivia had been right, after all. It was simple, but full of awe and astonishment. It’s like Olivia had introduced her to a whole new way of thinking of things which she doesn’t know how to handle because it comes more from intuition and emotion and investigation while the calculations she does are based solely on logic and reason and facts. And that has always worked for her. But as impractical as it may seem, she’s seeing that, time and time again, Olivia seems to always uncover the truth from her emotional approach. And alternate Astrid doesn’t know how to react to that. It’s fun to see.

    The more I see of the alternate Fringe team, the more I love them. I really like the strength of the relationship between them. It’s this really neat combination of loyalty and commitment, along with humor and playful banter. I love seeing how they interact. I loved how alternate Charlie and Lincoln both stood firm in insisting on a chance to go look for Olivia. They were both adamant that they had to at least try to find her. I really liked that.

    I was also very pleased with the continuation of Projection Peter in this episode and the progression as Olivia was obviously scared and reluctant to listen to him, but though she tried to ignore him, she couldn’t deny that he had a point. I absolutely loved the final scene between them in the car, when he finally broke through her defensive walls. The reasoning was great, the way she argued that he was simply in her head, and he completely turned that around by pointing out that, for that very reason, it meant that she knew things that she couldn’t know if not for being from our side. I have been really impressed and pleased with how the writers addressed that story.

    I’m surprised that you didn’t mention any of the contrivances in this episode. They weren’t many, but the ones I saw did sort of bother me. For example, what are the odds that Olivia crosses over to the gift store at the end, and no one is there? Not even a cashier. Maybe the shop was closed, but I doubt it — it didn’t look like it was late in the day or anything like that. So it just seems rather convenient that she crossed over and was able to make a phone call, all without anyone seeing her. Similarly, how convenient was it that she called Ella, and Ella happened to be the one to answer the phone? Unless Ella has her own cell phone, that’s quite fortunate that she was the one to pick up. Of course, I’m willing to be a bit more lenient on that one because I know when a child has a birthday, the parent expects people to call and wish them a happy birthday, so they have the child answer the phone most the time that day. But still. Convenient. Or how about the fact that Matthew just happened to be located on the edge of a quarantine zone so that Joshua would be able to go in and cut him out and save him? He’s lucky he hadn’t been caught in the middle of the quarantine zone.

    In general, I quite enjoyed this episode. Yet another successful, strong episode for Fringe. It was a very enjoyable episode to watch. It had great production and acting, an intriguing story, strong themes, good character development. It’s everything I’ve come to expect from Fringe.

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      • LizW65 says

        “For example, what are the odds that Olivia crosses over to the gift store at the end, and no one is there? Not even a cashier.”

        I thought it was made pretty clear that it WAS after hours–she turned up in the lab in the middle of the night demanding to be put into the tank again, and Walternate said something like “You’re not scheduled again until tomorrow.”

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  10. Phantom says

    Anna Torv is such a great actress that she even made me feel the moment when she crossed over for the second time, it’s just dramatic how she looked through the glass at NY, that scene was epic!

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    • BklynBetty says

      “it’s just dramatic how she looked through the glass at NY, that scene was epic!”

      Yeah – it also reminded me of Olivia looking through the glass of Bell’s office when she was first ‘pulled’ into the Other Universe – again, to the realization that she was somewhere *different*. Also, an ‘epic’ moment.

      The first time we realize that she is in one of the towers and the second time she is seeing the void in the skyline where they were. I know they’re very iconic and it’s a visually impressive way to distinguish one universe from another – but, i almost feel them as a character in their own right this season. Of course, there are 2 of them, and Fringe Looves twins. :)

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      • Aaronia says

        Interesting idea!! Imagine there is a moment when nature, looking for balance, sends us one of the twin towers to our world, wouldn´t it be interesting?

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  11. FinChase says

    “Iconic. Some of the imagery used in this episode was truly iconic – from the Bra & Panties Tank™ scenes, to the gift shop travels, to the twins caught in amber – you can tell that they had fun coming up with these ideas.”

    Great point. The scenes of Olivia floating in that tank, bubbles from the respirator rising around her, were almost as iconic as those from the original tank scenes. They sure do love putting Anna Torv in water, don’t they? :)

    “Did Olivia’s CortexiPOWA! help her hear the bomb? Yet another occasion in which Altlivia would have died had she been in this situation?”

    I’ve been wondering about this ever since I watched the episode. In “The Plateau”, while it was clearly her response as Olivia ignoring the auburn diamond that saved her from the bricks, I also believe that AltLivia might never have been in that situation at all. Milo zeroed in on Olivia as a threat and literally baited a trap for her. He completely ignored Charlie and went after her. Now this doesn’t surprise me, buried beneath AltLivia’s memories or not, we all know that Olivia is an exceptionally intuitive and persistent investigator, and I think Milo perceived this. AltLivia has so far shown no evidence that she has these abilities, so I think he might not have picked her out as the next threat to be eliminated.

    Now the ticking bomb is a different situation. Obviously, AltLivia would have been there with her team. It seemed to me that the writers deliberately left it vague whether it was Olivia’s super-sonic hearing kicking in or not. Lincoln eventually heard it too after she forced him to focus. AltLivia actually displayed a keen sense of hearing also in “The Box” when she heard the train well before anyone else. Perhaps a strong sense of hearing is just part of the Olivia genetic makeup.

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  12. Pierce says

    I loved alternate Astrid’s reaction when she realized that Olivia had been right, after all. It was simple, but full of awe and astonishment. It’s like Olivia had introduced her to a whole new way of thinking of things which she doesn’t know how to handle because it comes more from intuition and emotion and investigation while the calculations she does are based solely on logic and reason and facts. And that has always worked for her. But as impractical as it may seem, she’s seeing that, time and time again, Olivia seems to always uncover the truth from her emotional approach. And alternate Astrid doesn’t know how to react to that. It’s fun to see.

    mlj, thanks for bringing this up, I forgot to mention it in my earlier post.

    I really liked that scene not only for how it affected the alternate Astrid. The expression on her face and her reply about not following Olivia’s logic was played so well by Jasika. Her take on her alternate character is so unique when you compare how Astrid often approaches the cases our Fringe team investigates. There’s not only her emotional approach in corralling Walter’s craziness, but often picks up on Olivia’s train of thought and provides her with what she needs.

    We don’t know alternate Astrid very well, but the autism she’s affected by makes her high functioning, but emotionally removed from their cases. She thinks in logic and probabilities and it clearly uncomfortable introducing instinct and emotion into the equation, but she recognized in the end that it was a needed factor in solving the case.

    I also appreciated how that scene gave us more insight into the differences between the two Olivia’s. Like you mentioned, Olivia is driven by her emotions, which provides her a different perspective and drive while she’s investigating a case. An argument can be made that the personal connection a lot of their cases have to either herself or the Bishops may play a factor, however, I don’t believe that same instinct can be said for alternate Olivia. Just seeing the expression on alternate Astrids face as Olivia was challenging her logic makes me think the other Olivia doesn’t challenge her in that way.

    It didn’t dawn on me until this episode that Broylesnate is in a very unique position when it comes to Olivia. He knows she isn’t their Olivia, but I like Roco mentioned in his review, I saw some admiration and true concern when he told her she did a good job. You have to wonder if his growing concern for this woman he doesn’t really know won’t be what triggers a desire to help free her from the circumstances that Walternate has imposed upon her so she can return home.

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  13. says

    I like how with each Alt-verse episode, the Alt-verse Fringe team goes deeper down the rabbit hole, and sees the secret weirdness of their world just like our Fringe team did in season one. If anything, they are having more of an eye opener than even our side did. First, they find their ZFT book was a lie, they learn that the Fringe Events are really man-made, then they learn about their own exact doubles, then they learn that you can survive Amber. Their entire world just get keeps getting turned more and more upside-down, and it’s a great counterpart to what our Fringe team went through at the start of the show, learning about the Pattern and the Observers, etc.

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    • Pierce says

      Hadn’t thought of that, but you’re right their world is already in such disarray, but now internally, it’s affecting their division in unexpected way by the man they’ve come to put so much faith and loyalty behind. Walternate.

      My husband and I are relatively new to Fringe (started watching mid way through S2) and we recently went back and re-watched S1. It’s amazing to see just how often what the Fringe team discovered could have driven them apart at a moments notice when you factor in so much of it was connected to Walter’s old work. Further into the season there’s the revelation of what Walter and Bell did to Olivia as well as other children that’s driving the story currently. Olivia and Peter understandably hold a measure of resentment towards Walter and what he did. At the same time, they are fiercely protective of him. Sweet, long-suffering Astrid seems to love Walter all the more despite what he did, but I wonder as the alternate Fringe team continues to discover more and more of these disturbing truths about this war their fighting and Walternate’s actions in defending their world, will they be as forgiving?

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      • Page 48 says

        “My husband and I are relatively new to Fringe (started watching mid way through S2)”

        If you had to miss a season and a half, you picked the RIGHT season and a half to miss! Ain’t no doubt about that.

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        • Pierce says

          I, we, actually thought the first season was quite engaging. S3 is definitely riveling it, though. S2 started off a little slow, but the season overall was good. Different, but good. Watcihng Walter struggle with the eventual reveal about Peter really broke my heart at times.

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  14. Inter-dimensional Dave says

    I have to tell you Roco anytime I hear someone saying they are doing, “God’s work” alarm bells go off in my head. Walter didn’t trust God/nature and look what trouble that got him into. Walternate thinks he is acting for God when he claims he will return balance to nature. But at any cost??!! Nature abhors a vacuum and will heal itself in its own way despite the machinations of mice and men.

    As Walter could not endure the “silence of God” nor does Walternate have the right to speak for God. Trouble will ensue.

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  15. AnOlive says

    By far the best performer this episode was Anna Torv, she played 3 versions of Olivia in subtle shifts, with somevery complicated scenes.
    I am very pleased that Anna will get the chance it seems to keep on playing Olivia and Alt-livia,she is brilliant.

    Lance did nothing special, no idea why he got mentioned by Roco and Noble is just flat as walternate. Charlie and Lee with Olivia/Altlivia are a joy to watch.

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  16. GMM says

    I agree with the “greater good” comment. It’s really just a twisted way of saying the lesser of two evils, which I personally prefer. At least that way you are acknowledging that there is really not a good choice. Anyway, I sympathize with Walternate, but only to a point. I think that the real damage to his universe began with his experiments to get Peter back. Where is the “greater good” in that?

    Also, does anyone else think that the weapon is supposed to be built on our side? Maybe Peter is supposed to build it over here so it can destroy our universe directly.

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  17. augusta says

    I really liked the episode — I thought the twins storyline was interesting in its own right (more info about amber and the politics), as well as providing a metaphor for Olivia’s state, and a catalyst for her “awakening”. I appreciate that the writers are taking this approach, rather than a monster of the week approach running side by side the story of Olivia’s journey…

    I have to say, though, that I didn’t buy Walternate’s show of remorse/regret over the use of amber. I saw the whole conversation as a manipulation. Walternate has an agenda, and I think he deals with people in this way in order to further it. I think the same thing happened when he was speaking to Olivia about the tests.
    Given what we know about what he’s been through, the position he holds, and the long-term goals he has, his manipulative tendencies make sense for the character. But I have to say that I’m a lot less inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt at this point in terms of his emotional state. i haven’t seen enough evidence that he does have a heart. He seems too cut off from humanity — we have yet to see a real relationship between him and anyone else on the show.

    I also wanted to mention something that was noted on another blog — it might be possible that Ella’s birthday over here, is the anniversary of Rachel’s death over there. Which could explain why Altlivia’s mom showed so much concern — to the point of going to Broylenate. IThis might be a leap, but it would make things make more sense (& i like that :). But then again, maybe Altlivia in our Olivia might have remember that… sigh…

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    • FinChase says

      Augusta, I had the same thought about alt-Rachel’s death/Ella’s birthday. I didn’t make the connection about the timing of Mother Dunham’s visit and lunch, though. That’s a really good thought.

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  18. Jophan says

    “I also wanted to mention something that was noted on another blog — it might be possible that Ella’s birthday over here, is the anniversary of Rachel’s death over there. Which could explain why Altlivia’s mom showed so much concern — to the point of going to Broylenate.”

    We know that Rachel died in childbirth over there, so Ella’s birthday and alt-Rachel’s anniversary of death should be the same day. If Mother Dunham and BOlivia had a standing appointment to get together on that day each year, it’s not surprising that Mother D. should be particularly upset by Olivia’s not remembering and blowing it off in favor of work. Somehow, I don’t think BOlivia is usually that work-obsessed.

    The funny thing is that I’ve seen lots of critiques of ProjectionPeter spelling things out too blatantly, but this bit of subtlety passed so many people by. I guess it passed Olivia by, too.

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    • Ann says

      To add to both Augusta and Jophan’s posts, I was scratching my head about the timeline to Rachel’s death too.

      But what got me thinking was how Olivia’s objection to ProjectionPeter (in the car) was worded in the present tense: “See, now I know you’re lying, Rachel hates Chicago”. An odd thing to say about someone that died several years ago.

      But consistent with someone knocking confusing ideas around in her head with an imaginary friend. After meeting a parent in a struggling marriage.

      And since I’m focused on split second storytelling, I also enjoyed, well, the mis-direct about the walking through walls. Trigger to past memories for Our-Olivia? Ooh… no. Turned out to be a bomb instead. Ah… abilities then. Cool.

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  19. says

    I’m glad I’m not alone with the whole premonition Peter thing, its just stupid that he helped Olivia in the case (like it was some half hearted homage to Randall & Hopkirk). I even felt the ending was poor this time, when Olivia got the skin sample from the twin to prove to him she knew what had really gone on. She seemingly had no intention to actually use it.

    Agree that the best line was “Nature doesn’t recognize good and evil, Phillip. Nature only recognizes balance and imbalance.” – Walternate.

    I would of gone with a rating of 7/10 myself, was a bit of a let down coming after the fantastic Newton farewell episode, having had to wait for two weeks.

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  20. aci79 says

    The episode was okay. There were so much anticipation coming into it. The only intense moments I felt through out the show was Olivia’s outward emotions and anguish toward her inner conflict and her attempts to pursue the case with her instinct against everyone’s doubt. Also the moment when she came back the second time. Such a good feeling to finally have our Olivia back. Walternate definitely has some powerful quotes, but for some reason I still don’t trust that guy. Glad to hear Ella’s voice. She is so cute and adorable. I definitely miss seeing her on the show. I am looking forward to see our Liv doing some undercover work to go home.

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  21. Residents Fan says

    “I have to say, though, that I didn’t buy Walternate’s show of remorse/regret over the use of amber. I saw the whole conversation as a manipulation. Walternate has an agenda, and I think he deals with people in this way in order to further it. I think the same thing happened when he was speaking to Olivia about the tests.
    Given what we know about what he’s been through, the position he holds, and the long-term goals he has, his manipulative tendencies make sense for the character.”

    I think that’s correct. Walternate keeps telling the inhabitants of the alt-Universe (and apparently Newton) that there is a “war” caused by the inhabitants of “our” universe, and they “need to defend” themselves. But
    the events we’ve saw in the series (like the “black hole” in New York) seem more like natural disasters than acts of war.
    Surely someone like Alt-Broyles might be thinking “If everything since the
    Reiden Lake incident was an act of war from the other universe, where are the soldiers from it?”
    And Walternate has spies in “our” universe, and he must know that almost nobody in it has even heard of the parallel universe, let alone want to fight a war with it (except the ZFT organisation in series 1).

    My theory: there isn’t a war between the universes yet, but someone (probably Walternate, but maybe William Bell, pre-St. Claire’s Walter or even
    some unknown bad guy we haven’t seen yet) wants to start one, for some
    yet unknown reason.
    This someone might be behind both things like ZFT and the Shapeshifters, using their activities to manipulate the two universes into fighting each other. I think this person might be behind actions such as the ZFT manuscript having its “chapter of ethics” removed (so they would become a terrorist organisation). This person might also have helped Walternate obtain the use of the shapeshifters Bell created.

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  22. says

    Hehe I’m almost curious if he’ll show up again, don’t get me wrong I can’t see as his role was that important to the story, its just he had great presence for such a casual moment. Made me think of a young Ben Linus.

    [start nutty theory]’Maybe a cortexiphan kid who Walternate created to learn how Olivia actually jumps, the whole gift shop was just some elaborate induced dream so this pesky kid can watch how she reacts to feeling shes in the wrong reality.'[end nutty theory]

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    • says

      “What’s wrong Timmy, you’ve never seen anyone travel via the B&P Tank™ before? I kinda feel sorry for that poor kid though. Aside from getting grounded without pocket money for a month (snow globes aren’t cheap), for years to come he’s going to suffer recurring nightmares about the wet woman with the fiery hair, and no-one will believe him.”

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  23. Zak says

    I’m just wondering, if we can assume that the ambering susbstance is the same on both sides, did we send a bunch of innocent people to die when our Fringe division released the bodies of all of the people on the bus in season two to be buried?

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      • BklynBetty says

        It was S1E3 The Ghost Network.

        I don’t think it necessarily has to be the *exact* same substance though. Assuming that ZFT got a hold of it through David Robert Jones’ connection to MD and Bell (Bell having been on the other side and likely either helped create it or had knowledge of it) – it’s within the realm of possibility that ZFT scientists altered it somehow to make sure it was deadly (so like them to want to make it ‘deadlier’ no?), or perhaps they were unable to recreate it with 100% accuracy.
        Anyway, maybe it is the same substance – molecule for molecule – but, i think if those people on the bus could have been saved – Walter would have realized it. I don’t know. Just a theory.

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