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Fringe 3.17 - Stowaway - Review

Fringe 3x17 – In Which Bellivia Wants to Be Milked By Astrid and Peter Finds the Missing Linc

So this week dealt with the consequences of last week’s cliff-hanger and we spent a whole episode getting up close and a bit too personal with Bell in Olivia aka Bellivia, even though he wasn’t of much use in terms of the actual case. The case in question revolved around a woman who couldn’t die…then did. This week had its ups and downs and didn’t quite hit all of the notes I’d have liked, but there were some really fun moments:



THINGS THAT MADE ME HAPPY:

All the Awards - Okay, so I saved most of my gushy adoration for this week, and since I wasn’t doing these reviews when Anna Torv first started playing Altlivia, I never really got the chance to comment on how fantastic she is at pulling off the dual roles. But this episode was just a confirmation of her supreme awesomeness. Besides the voice, which she maintained really well throughout the episode, her nuances, her laugh, her oh-so Belly brow raise (which I found strangely arousing, but let us not digress) were all done to perfection. But the true moment that made me go, “Okay, all the awards!” was the fleeting seconds in which we got our Olivia back and the subtle changes in her face and posture. My first reaction was, “Oh, hiiiii, I missed you!” forgetting that the actress had been in the entire episode, which really stands as a testament to Anna’s acting skills. If her name is not on this year's Emmy ballot then there is something seriously wrong with our universe.



The Bellivia Effect - The various reactions to Bellivia was a highlight of the episode for me. I thought Joshua Jackson played Peter’s extreme discomfort and passive-aggression towards Bellivia really well. Walter’s giddiness at having his friend back despite the freakishness of the situation was hilarious and once again underscored Walter’s somewhat shaky ethical code. Their constant giggling and verbal highfiving like nerdy college kids was both amusing and disturbing as was Bellivia’s flirtation with Astrid.

Now, this was all well and good and caused me to giggle like crazy until I put on my Peter lenses and realised that William Bell is a creepy old dude wearing Olivia’s body, and making inappropriate jokes about her bra. Not cool, Belly, not cool at all.

If we
thought Walter was morally ambiguous, this episode showed us that Bell is even more so, as seen by his lack of sensitivity towards the whole situation. After all, it was Bell who first quoted T.S Elliot, “Only those that risk going too far can possibly know how far they can go.”

The Missing Linc - So we finally got to meet “our” Lincoln Lee, who as it turns out also works for the FBI, though like most of the characters on our side, has a bit less swag than his alt-counterpart. The ‘Clark Kent’ glasses was an adorable addition, as was his slightly befuddled manner. I loved his introduction into the team, particularly the scene in which he entered the lab, with Gene on one side, Peter bringing Walter and Bell coffee and a jazz tune playing in the background. I thought it had a wonderfully absurd feel to it. I especially enjoyed his blossoming bromance with Peter, who I think needs some male bonding. They had great chemistry and so I’m really hoping to see Agent Lee again in the near-future.



THINGS THAT MADE ME NOT SO HAPPY:

Death in the Family – I admit, I just wasn’t gripped by the case this week. I thought Paula Malcomson (another Lost alum) was great as the grief-stricken Dana Gray, but the storyline bored me. Basically, she couldn’t die, and then she did. The explanation as to why she did eventually die was puzzled over, but never really solved. ‘Magnetic molecules’, ‘struck by lightning’, ‘electromagnetic charge’, these terms were thrown around the episode, but I felt the narrative was rather sloppily explained. Eventually, Bell suggested that perhaps the true reason for the death was that her life’s purpose was unfulfilled until that moment. She needed to be alive to save the people on that train before she could die, thus reintroducing a concept that is not unfamiliar in Fringe - that of fate.



Science and Randomness – “As a scientist, I like to believe that nothing just happens. That every event has some meaning, some sort of message. You just have to listen closely enough to hear it.”



This is not something that made me ‘not happy’, I just find highly ironic that Bell prefaced this statement with ‘as a scientist.” He’s clearly taking a ‘man of faith’ stance here, referencing Jung’s synchronicity, which is probably the closest ‘scientific’ definition of something as obscure as fate or destiny. Jung believed in there existed a synchrony between the mind and the world of perception which explained meaningful coincidences. But no evidence has ever really been found to substantiate this claim. And as we know, science is based on an element of randomness, things that ‘just happen’, so Bell, looking for “some sort of message” is interesting because, like Walter in “White Tulip” he is looking beyond science at metaphysical concepts like fate. And fate of course, throws a spanner in Sam Weiss’ works for it implies that the ‘fate’ of our universe is not to be determined by Peter’s choice, but by something larger at play, which is an fascinating concept and one which I hope will be delved into and explored.

END NOTES:

There have been mixed feelings regarding the Bellivia twist and this episode saw a huge dip in Fringe’s ratings which is pretty catastrophic considering the precarious condition the show is currently in, but personally, I find the Bell twist fantastically engaging, and I really think it just takes the show to a new level of sci-fi cool, which is why I was willing to overlook the more problematic elements of this episode and give it a solid rating.



RATING:



8.0 Haematite Rocks

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