Fringe: Olivia Review -

TV Review

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  • TV Series: Fringe
  • Episode: Olivia
  • Starring: Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble, Jasika Nicole, Lance Reddick, Blair Brown
  • Written By: J.H. Wyman, Jeff Pinker
  • Directed By: Joe Chappelle
  • Network: Fox
  • Series: Fringe

Fringe: Olivia Review

Olivia’s not crazy, she’s just a little unwell.

By Kurt Anthony Krug     September 24, 2010

Fringe Review
© Fox/Bob Trate


After last season’s nail-biting cliffhanger, Fringe returns and picks up almost immediately where last season left off.
To recap: Walter (John Noble) and Olivia (Anna Torv) went to the parallel dimension – a.k.a. Over There – to rescue Walter’s son Peter (Joshua Jackson), who is a native of that universe. Walter crossed over and brought Over There’s Peter here as an infant not long after his Peter died. Peter found this out and was angered by this late in the last season. Over There’s Walter – alias “Walternate” (also Noble) – brought Peter over in the hopes to use him to destroy the main reality.
On the run from their doppelgangers, the heroes rescue Peter and William Bell (Leonard Nimoy), Walter’s partner who resides Over There, sacrifices himself in order for them to return to their home reality. However, the Olivia that crosses over with the heroes is Over There’s Olivia – alias “Bolivia” – while the mainstream reality’s Olivia was captured.
As the episode opens, Walternate, who is Over There’s Secretary of Defense and a ruthless, calculating S.O.B., performs experiments on Olivia. His goal is to use her powers against the original universe and turn her into a clone of Bolivia. Why he wants her to be a clone of Bolivia is not yet revealed. He won’t even tell the Over There’s Broyles (Lance Reddick).
Olivia escapes captivity, discovering she’s been in a secret facility located within Over There’s Statue of Liberty. She swims to the mainland and hijacks a cab, befriending the driver Henry (guest star Andre Royo, 2000’s Shaft). While Henry does not believe Olivia's claims of her originally from another universe at first, he eventually does. Olivia desperately heads for the opera theatre where her team returned to their original dimension, but it’s been quarantined, much to her despair.
She then battles Over There’s Charlie Francis (Kirk Acevedo) and Lincoln Lee (Seth Gabel), who was burned to a cinder last season (that was a good makeup job on him). The experiments seem to be working due to her adrenaline surge from being on the lam as she suddenly possesses Bolivia’s marksman skills that would put Marvel’s Hawkeye to shame. She also pines after a guy named Frank, even though she tells Henry she loves Peter earlier. She even accepts Marilyn Dunham (guest star Amy Madigan, Field of Dreams) as her mother, even though her mother died when she was 14.
At that point, Walternate’s conditioning is working and she willingly goes back with Charlie. However, Henry, whom she let go, isn’t sure about this and was seen waiting in the wings. He finally believes her and it would seem that maybe, just maybe, Olivia has an ally Over There.
Meanwhile, Bolivia – disguised as Olivia – over in the prime reality is getting closer to Peter, who seems to have forgiven Walter. The three then go to dinner. Peter and Walter are unaware of a viper is in their midst.
So far, this season opens up to a very promising start. The viewers get to see more of Over There as the bulk of the episode took place in that dimension with Olivia on the run. Torv turns in an excellent performance, playing a desperate person whose sanity is at the breaking point. She also has a good rapport with Royo.
Noble also turns in a sound performance as both Walternate and Walter. As Walternate, he is just a cold-blooded, evil man. As Walter, he’s a scatter-brained, eccentric scientist. He gets to play both ends of the spectrum here.
You have to hand it to the creators: They gave enough hints about Over There throughout the series, teasing the audience just enough. When it gets to that point, creators can either waffle and alienate their fans (The X-Files is guilty of this with its overall conspiracy plot) or they can embrace it and tell some exciting stories. Fringe is doing the latter. This series promises to be an exciting one. Odds are it’ll be a helluva ride.
NOTE: To really amp up your appreciation of the season premiere, be sure to watch the second season of Fringe, which is now out on DVD. Maybe that’s a not-so-subtle hint, but it’s also true because you’d be surprised at some of the things you forget, such as the reason why Walter is so scatter-brained is because Bell lobotomized him per his request, so he doesn’t become like Walternate.


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Chopsaki 9/24/2010 5:02:07 PM

It would be awesome if Olivia was actually faking the brain washing. Glad Fringe is back & Supernatural premiering tonight I'm a happy camper!

TheMovieGuy28 9/24/2010 5:57:47 PM


Chop, I totally agree with you. Fringe being back is awesome. It's nice to see that this show has such a valid fan base and actually tries to work with engrossing story lines. Plus the casting is spot-on, ya know? I mean turning John Noble from the loathesome Lord Denathor into Walter made me love the guy


And btw, this episode was def. B , A- material

TheMovieGuy28 9/24/2010 6:10:50 PM


Oh, hey Chop, did you notice how Walter seems to be acting funny around Bolivia, like he suspects something, or in the very least, he seemed fearful when he was sitting with her

Superboy93 9/24/2010 7:57:21 PM

Chop, I don't think Olivia was faking the brain washing.  There was a scene where she remembers painting the house with her alternate mother, sorry :(

littlemikey979 9/24/2010 9:57:46 PM


I am glad I started watching. I caught the finale of last season and am not going to miss anymore episodes. Wish I would have been watching from day one. I think you are right Superboy even in the cab ride you could tell she was "changing". I hope we see more of Henry the cabbie, he added alot to the episode and just seems like a cool character and tons of potential.

Chopsaki 9/25/2010 1:05:48 AM

Ya TheMovieGuy28, between Walter and Peter it shouldn't take them long to figure out there is something wrong with her.

obsidian 9/25/2010 4:11:15 AM

This episode was definitely an A.  From the red opening credits, to John Noble's Walternate looming over the proceedings like a Sith Lord, to Olivia's breakdown in the bathroom...this episode set the bar pretty high for the rest of the season.  I had my doubts about the mythology as they began to reveal it but Fringe seems to be one of the descendants of the X-Files whose mythology has the potential to overwhelm the 'creature of the week' episodes which eventually wear thin....

And how could I not love Bubbles in Fringe?  It's like the character just walked out of Baltimore and popped up Over There.

I still miss Lost.  I'm suffering through True Blood withdrawal.   But at least Fringe has given me some hope for the next few months.

death4sale 9/25/2010 8:10:19 PM

Who dubbed her Bolivia? This is the first time I've heard that name used. Every other site I visit refer to her as Altlivia. As for myself, I call her OliviAlt. And the entire time, I kept thinking. If you wanna prove your not the correct Olivia, show them that your drapes don't match the curtains. I'm pretty sure she didn't dye that a different color as well. If they did any kind of testing, wouldn't they have noticed the blonde hair down there? It sounds like I'm being a perv, but the question still remains valid. Would they think that OliviAlt decided to dye her pubic hair blonde out of impulse? Who here keeps hoping we'll see Anna Torv make out with herself? I've been thinking about it since they introduced OliviAlt. That's me being a perv.

SelectiveRealism 9/26/2010 5:59:12 AM

I think it is possible that Olivia is faking her brainwashing.  She could have realized that the injections she was receiving was to give her Altlivia's memories.  I think either that is the scenario happening or they are setting up for her original memories to override Altlivia's sometime down the road.

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