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Fringe - Episode 4.01 - Neither Here Nor There - Recap

Welcome back Fringe! It has been a long summer, but well worth the wait. I am so glad to see all of our favorite players back (and some still to come, later). This first episode felt a little odd, but given the circumstances, it was meant to be that way for us viewers.

Let me start by saying how much I love the new opening. The orange color is amber hued and some of the words across the screen are new and will no doubt come into play later in the season.

Let's get started...

Anna Torv is once again superb as Olivia Dunham, both versions. It is always intriguing to me how she can play two sides of the same person with such stark contrast and do them both brilliantly. It's a true testament to her talent as an actress when you have two characters, one reviled and one beloved played by the same person and both to perfection. A friend had mentioned to me and I agree with her that Olivia was making smart ass comments to Lincoln, the kind that Peter would normally make. Peter is with her always, she may not know it yet consciously, but he does have an influence.

When Olivia says to Faux "just because you walked in my shoes, don't think for one moment that you know me" it was wonderful. Anna managed to use both characters to her advantage, she knows what it's like to be Faux and she wouldn't presume anything. She is also much more guarded and the trust issue that Faux brings up hits a nerve and it shows. Anna's ability to convey her emotions through the slightest change in not only her body language but her eyes is one of her strongest points. Watching both Olivias is such a treat, because you see her at her finest. She is so great at subtly that speaks volumes. I also noticed that Olivia wore her hair down this episode, which to me indicated that she was a little more guarded. I love the fact that Peter's image flashed for a second at the end of their fight, almost like he was keeping an eye on them and would have intervened if he needed to.

Michael Ceveris that plays September is so fantastic. As emotionless as he plays it, his voice and the inflections he uses are dead giveaways. He may play it emotionless, but he certainly is not, he can't be. He is tied to the Bishop men for life, it is because of him that things got altered in the first place. He must right a wrong, but his reluctance is palpable. His rebellion is subtle but blaring.

Seth Gabel is so great and a wonderful addition to the team. The differences between the two Lincolns is night and day. I prefer the Alt-Lincoln (at least for now), we shall see how this one handles the craziness which is Fringe.

The new shapeshifters are creepy, but very cool. I had commented to a friend that they remind me a little of the Cylons from BSG. We shall see what the shapeshifters have in store for our Fringe team and who indeed is responsible for them.

It is so great to see Jasika Nicole out in the field, being the eyes and ears of Walter. It is great that the producers are finally utilizing her fantastic talent and character more. She has always been the great at being the buffer between the characters. She is underused as an actor and its lovely to see her flexing her acting muscles out in the field.

And now we come to the incredible John Noble. It is always such a treat to watch him as either Walter or Walternate. The man is pure perfection. He, like Anna, has that ability to totally separate the characters and give them each their own voice. Walter's line "You can't tell me there's not something different in here, this whole place has felt funny for the last week" was mind blowing. The subtle hints that Peter is still felt are there and they are heavy. The fact that you see Peter again in a flash in the lab is another sign that the he is still there, watching over those he loves. His Waletrisms are back in full force and they are as wacky and brilliant as ever. When he tells Astrid to check the victims anus, I smiled, good old Walter is back! It's nice to know some things never change. When he makes the comment of "sometimes you die twice" that was another huge reveal about Peter.

Olivia has lost her confidence, her spark that made her the soldier we saw in the first three seasons. Without Peter to balance her she is lost, she is lost without her twin flame to guide her. She is still holding back, Peter always gave her that extra edge and confidence to be the bad ass Dunham that we know and love. That hole in her life can swallow her up if she isn't careful. The family comment that was made by Lincoln is felt fully by Olivia, her sense of longing is written all over her face. She knows better than anyone what that means. Again, Anna is perfection, she knows how to get to those emotions.

One of my favorite scenes is when Walter is terrified of the 'man in the mirror' and comes out of the tank. His fear and paranoia is resonating off the screen, he thinks he's going crazy and may have to go back to St. Claire's which is a fate worse than death. Noble's eyes are so expressive, you saw the fear in them, you felt his body language come off the screen. He is a revelation, so brilliant in everything he does. When Olivia makes the comment about "he's never had anything to tether him to the world" she is also, indirectly, talking about herself as well. Peter was a tether to both of them and vice versa, they each changed the other in ways that are real and run deep.

The one line that is the most telltale is when Walter comments on the fact that victim Nadine Park had an engagement ring on and he says "I don't think there is anything sadder than when two people are meant to be together and something intervenes." again, clearly a reference to Peter and Olivia. This episode seemed to be peppered with hints of their past life and of hints to what was and possibly what shall be again once Peter enters their lives again.

The last part of the episode, Olivia mainly focused on the hole that is in her life. It was definitely there in Olivia's actions. The way she got her ass kicked by that shapeshifter indicated to me that she doesn't have that drive that she had with Peter around. Her confidence level was low and somehow she is incomplete without him. In the past as the season's went on you saw her grow stronger, because of Peter. Her whole motivation to get back from the other side was because of Peter, he was the void that fulfilled her life. Without him in her life that void has expanded and all but swallowed her again. The luster that was Olivia Dunham in the past has become tarnished because her light has disappeared, his name was Peter. Anna again is so great at utilizing her emotions. She can convey emptiness and longing better than most actors out there. She is real and it is the one thing that I can always count on watching her, she is living it not acting it. She had told Lincoln that sometimes finding answers lead to more questions, that I am sure she will have answered once Peter comes back.

When she faces Faux again, again the brilliance that is Anna shines. The body language, the smirks and glares, so perfect. The confidence and cockiness of Faux, versus the uneasiness and guarded Olivia. Two complete individuals, one brilliant actress.

Walter sleeping in the lab is heartbreaking. It is so sad to see this genius of a man be broken and scared. The lab is the only place he feels safe, the only place he can be accepted. The reaction again to seeing Peter in the TV, priceless. The genuine fear in his eyes, the body language again is real and visceral. Bravo John, bravo!

I am so happy that September chose not to erase Peter permanently. He is tethered to them whether he likes it or not. It was such an overwhelming scene, when he made the decision to disobey his orders and follow his gut (so to speak). September knows that the greater good will prevail and it will.

I found some notes that I took on previous seasons of Fringe and found something very interesting. In Season 2 episode 3 Peter said "I've been known to leave an impression" and it seems like he has, a faint one at that, but an impression nonetheless. That reveal was like a blinding light and it made me realize that the writers do always make things come full circle. That everything happens for a reason and that what is written will come to pass.

Hope you enjoyed this episode as much as I did and I would love to hear your feedback!

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