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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
© 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.