Friday, September 24, 2010

Fringe "Olivia" Episode Review by Paul Burrows

Olivia was one of those episodes where I expected them to go down one path and they actually went down the one that I was a little fearful of, but there is logic to the choice and it should lead to some interesting stories. This episode was the part three of last year’s finale and as such is the one that wraps things up and points us in the direction of the new season and what an awesome ride it will be! The three things that stand out, are the differences between the characters in the two worlds, Olivia’s programing, and the taxi driver Henry Higgins.

We really got to see some of the minor Alternate characters in this episode. One of the biggest differences was Astrid, in the normal world she’s caring and puts up with Walter’s personality problems, but this Astrid is very proficient at her job and was able to hunt down the whereabouts of Olivia ruthlessly and without a second thought. Brandon the Massive Dynamic scientist in our world is kind of a “dude that’s cool” guy, but in the Alt-World he’s a creepy mad scientist without morals. Broyles didn’t have a difference in personality; except for the fact that he was lower key and casual dressed instead of the suits. Charlie was the same as his normal reality character and I was glad since he was my favorite minor character before they killed him off so it was great seeing him again. As for Olivia it was great how we were able to see both Olivia’s just in the Alt-World because of the brainwashing.

First off I actually wanted to see Olivia stay normal Olivia and continue to be on the run since that would have been cool, but there’s going to be some interesting things that will come out of this route also. It’s interesting to see though how many people really don’t know what Walternate is doing and even Broyles who does know some things is not allowed to know everything. It’s interesting to note that Olivia had been in captivity for three days according to Lincoln Lee, her Alt partner, so that was quite a bit of torture and brainwashing with all of her needle marks. The use of the medicine, her escape, Lincoln, Charlie and her Alt Mom was very effective in showing the process of her turning into the Alt-Olivia and her almost drunk laugh at the end was a little creepy. Which is why I’m glad that Henry the Taxi Driver was introduced.

Henry Higgins was the best thing about the episode because of the potential for what probably will happen during the first half of the season. The character Henry Higgins is the name of a stuck up old bachelor in the musical My Fair Lady who took a “Gutter Snipe”, Eliza Doolittle and refined her to become a Lady though the teaching of phonetics and other important things for becoming a lady. I liked how he didn’t believe her at first, but eventually came around. When I saw Henry at the end watching Olivia being driven away it made me think that he is going to be teaching or reminding Olivia of her real life just like Henry in My Fair Lady who taught Eliza how to be a real Lady. At the beginning of this review I mentioned that I didn’t like the fact that Olivia wasn’t going to be on the run this season, but the reason why the creators did this is because it’s the best way to set the show back to its established and successful mode of running things and still rotate back and forth between realities. This way Fringe can still have its freak of the week episodes with Olivia, Charlie, and Lincoln investigating strange occurrences in the Alt-World and Alt-Olivia, Walter & Peter investigating mysteries in the normal world. Plus the overarching story can keep progressing over the season.

“Olivia” was a good episode because it showed us more of the alternate characters, gave us some really good moments between Olivia and Henry Higgins and it wrapped up some things in the season Finale and set the tone for the rest of the season. Oh and make sure to watch closely both during the moment when the Opera House gets amberized and when Olivia visits the park where Massive Dynamic was supposed to be, there’s two Observer sightings in this episode.

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