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Fringe - Episode 3.13 - Immortality - Review

Fringe 3x13: In Which Folks ‘Bug’ Out and Walternate Wears a Robe

This week’s episode, our first glimpse into the alt-verse since the break, was all about sacrifice. The Fringe case dealt with a scientist willing to sacrifice lives for the ‘greater good’. This is not an uncommon theme in Fringe. We’ve seen Walter struggle with the ‘end-justifies-the-means’ debate on numerous occasions and in this episode, his counterpart, Walternate faced a similar ethical quandary. This was also our first look real look at ‘Altlivia’ (referred to from this point on as Olivia, ‘cause she’s in her own world now, haters!) in her element since the season two finale.


The F Team – Conclusion after watching Charlie pick bugs of dead guy’s body while Olivia squirms and Lincoln stands around looking attractive: I want a spin-off. I don’t know where the show is going, or what the writers have up their diabolical sleeves, but If CSI can milk it, surely Fox can organise a Fringe: Red Universe - with Olivia, Scarlie, Lincoln, Autistic-Astrid, Slick-Back Frank and maybe even Walternate. But not Brandonate. Unless he is mauled by a rhinoceros in the pilot. But I digress. My point is that the chemistry in the alternate universe is really great and the writers have succeeded in getting me to the point where I genuinely enjoy spending time with the characters there. So get me my spin-off, dammit!

Mona Foster - How adorkable was the scene with bug girl and her crush on Charlie? Without Walter as a constant source of comedy, the alt-verse needs to find different ways to make us giggle, and this certainly provided that. On one hand, it sort of poked fun at those generic ‘kooky’, bespectacled, lab assistant types that crime-shows seem to always have around and on the other hand, it gave us a chance to see Olivia/Charlie bonding and hear him call her “kiddo” which is both sexy and paternal aaand I’m gonna stop there…

Olivia Dunham - It was pretty much love at first sight with when I first met this Olivia. Something about the cargo pants/red hair/swagger really did it for me. Then she went all blonde-vagenda on us and it was hard to heart her without feeling like a traitor, but now with her back in her own world, I felt free to once again pursue my alternative love and oh, it was awesome.

The great thing about this episode was that it began to pull back the layers of the Olivia Dunham we saw “Over There” who was seducing Peter, enabling Walter’s food-addiction and engaging in witty banter with shape-shifters. Over here, she’s a woman who’s in love with her boyfriend, a dedicated fighter, a loyal friend. And at first glance it seems these roles weren’t particularly compromised by her time “Over There”. Other than a brief show of consternation when Frank mentioned her distance and a photograph of Peter, we didn’t really get much of Olivia’s feelings regarding her mission. Unlike our Olivia, she didn’t suffer any visible trauma or laundry breakdowns. I believe that this was purposeful. It’s a character trait. This Olivia is a soldier. She has learned to compartmentalise her feelings and emotions. When she was with Peter, she made him believe that she loved him and in turn, developed feelings for him. But now, back in her own reality, she is, to an extent, able to put the mission behind her. I believe that when she said yes to Frank, she meant it. When she told Lincoln she was happy while sexily jimmying that lock, she meant it. She might have thought about Peter, sure, but she was not as conflicted. I believe that she believed that given enough time, she would be able to put the whole Peter thing behind her. In certain ways, this makes her makes her more morally dubious than our Olivia, yet just as complicated.


Brandonate - I really really hate this guy. I hate his stupid lisp and his baby-teeth grin and his evil soulless eyes. I can’t forget how willing he was to lobotomise Olivia when she was all scared and fragile-looking. I have nothing intelligent or insightful to contribute other than I hope he trips and falls onto a tray of upturned scalpels. That is all.

The Secretary (exposed) - In what unfolded as one of Fringe’s creepiest scenes to date, we saw Walternate’s naked calves as he and his lovah canoodled in bed. Scarier still, was the moment I realised I had to rewind the scene to hear what they were saying due to the fact that I was distracted because Jocelyn Packard from Twin Peaks was massaging Walternate’s earlobe. What was interesting about this scene was that we saw flashes of humanity from the secretary in the form of doubt. We saw him out of his suit, as a man in a moment of insecurity. It was the writers’ attempt to humanise him, I’m just not so sure it worked. I would have preferred to see him alone in a moment of weakness, perhaps even calling his wife (who I assume is now an ex). This scene just felt a bit WTF to me.

The P Word - Altlivia Dunham is PREGNANT. There, I said it. We all saw it coming. I was initially filled will all kinds of trepidation, now I’m sort of curious. Firstly, she’s only six-weeks pregnant, so if we’re to assume that she’s going to carry Peter Jr. to term, will we even get to see a baby by the end of the season? Secondly, does this mean Olivia’s officially a MILF? Seriously though, I have no idea where this is going. I want to trust the writers. With the way ratings are looking I want to trust that they know what they’re doing. So, I’m gonna to make like an X-Files fan and BELIEVE.


Ever the Utilitarian, in this episode, we learnt that Walternate differs from his alternate version in that he was unwilling to experiment on children. He seemed adamant about this. Unlike the other scientist in the episode, there is a line Walternate is not willing to cross, even though it will benefit the greater good. Both Walternate and Silva have control over what they are willing to give up or sacrifice. By the end of the episode, Silva willingly gave up his life. Olivia did not. Her choices were taken away from her the minute she agreed to that mission. And as Frank walked out of that hospital room leaving Olivia alone and for the first time, truly vulnerable, it suddenly becomes apparent that she is profoundly changed she is by her time over there, and it is only now, at the end that she realises all that she has lost.

As this week's glyph suggests - ROMAD: "tricked into a job no-one else wanted", Olivia is now a victim as much as Peter is, as much as our Olivia is. And this seems to be the real theme. Unwilling sacrifice. “…and the expectation must be that they shall be unwilling...” straight out of the ZFT. So we've got Peter and the two Olivias as recruits/soldiers/players on the board. What this means, I'm not sure of yet, but at the rate the story's progressing, I'm guessing we'll find out pretty soon.


8/10 Skelter beetles

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