Wednesday, 8 December 2010

'FRINGE' 3.8 - "Entrada"

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

"Entrada" brought both Olivia (Anna Torv) storylines to a fitting conclusion: Fauxlivia's cover blown by Peter (Joshua Jackson), forcing her to call for an emergency extraction; while our Olivia made a last ditch effort to escape her captors and return to her native universe, before Walternate's (John Noble) scientists dissect her body for medical science. "Entrada" moved with the speed and purpose of an express train, with no narrative fat on its bones, to end the first third of this fantastic season on a blissful high.

It's still disappointing that prodigious Peter had to be told that the Olivia he's sleeping with is a mole from "the other side", but I enjoyed his actions to confirm the ruse (trying to hack into Olivia's laptop in the early hours, only to be caught red-handed, then using the moment to confirm Olivia's fake-identity using a Greek maxim she should be aware of). Even better, Fauxlivia was clever enough to realize her error, quickly getting Peter on the end of a needle to paralyze him while she made her escape. From there, things progressed briskly, with Fauxlivia on the run (calling home for a return to her own universe), and Fringe Division giving chase, eventually discovering the bizarre typewriter that can be used to communicate between realities.

In said dimension, our Olivia's scientific value has expired and she's being prepared for dissection, before her dead body is transported back to her universe in exchange for her counterpart's (as the multiverse likes to keep balance, like a set of scales). Only Colonel Broyles (Lance Reddick) was in any position to help Olivia (who has his sympathy because she protected his son from danger), but, having been conditioned to believe an inter-dimensional war is brewing, could Broyles put aside his prejudice and believe Olivia's claim that hostilities can be avoided because her universe don't have violent intentions?

"Entrada" was a fitting resolution of the binary Olivia storyline, which has worked brilliantly as a means to divide stories between two worlds and character groups. Anna Torv has risen to the challenge magnificently (playing alternate versions of her character, often pretending to be their own opposites!) , the writing has more drive, focus and direction, and even the freak-of-the-week storylines feel fresher because of the milieu they're now part of. Fringe isn't as welcoming to newcomers as earlier years were, but three years in I think it's a wise decision to focus on the loyal fanbase. It's certainly done wonders for awkward characters like Broyles, whose alternate version has a much more interesting family backdrop. It was therefore a terrible shame that Colonel Broyles was killed by replacing Fauxlivia after she made her return trip, appearing dead and hideously mutilated in the back of a police van. A nasty death to aide the return of Walternate's agent.

Overall, it remains to be seen how season 3 will develop from here. There's a risk the writers have concluded a great idea prematurely, meaning the show will revert back to its earlier format, but I'm hoping episodes will continue to jump between universes -- even if this means the alt-Earth plots will be exclusively told from the perspective of the "enemy".

  • Good luck explaining things to that girl who saw her "mother" shot in the head, obviously unaware it was just a shape-shifter.
  • Why hasn't anybody from "the other side", sent to do reconnaissance, reported back saying: "y'know, only a few people here even realize there's another dimension, and those that do never want to crossover because of the damage it would cause, so I think we should cut these guys a break and work together"?
  • There's a new word to add to your vocabulary: vagenda.
  • I had to chuckle at the ridiculousness of Olivia entering that isolation tank to return home, as the process surely demands a quiet and relaxing atmosphere, but she was mid-escape and there were armed guards closing on her location. Breathe... relax... happy thoughts...
WRITERS: Jeff Pinkner & J. H. Wyman
DIRECTOR: Brad Anderson
TRANSMISSION: 7 December 2010, Sky1/HD, 10PM