Friday, October 8, 2010

The Plateau Episode Review by Paul Burrows

This was a great episode of Fringe because every element was used to push the overarching arc of Olivia being trapped and brainwashed on the alternate side and slowly coming out of it. The antagonist Milo Stanfield is used very well to illuminate and push forward this idea, so are the reactions and conversations of Olivia’s coworkers and boyfriend. Milo’s abilities might also illuminate us on another group of characters the Observers.

I was a little surprised that Olivia’s reverting bad is happening so quickly, but I think that it’s really good that the creators are moving his story along like they are. The genius of this episode and of Fringe in general is that the villain isn’t just some random bad guy caused by just a cool scientific accident. Milo was created as a means to display the fact that Olivia’s memories were slowly coming back to her. It was great to see Charlie, Lincoln and Olivia interact and their playful banter, seeing Charlie again has been a real treat, but besides that it’s even greater because it all builds on Charlie’s growing doubt about Olivia being their Olivia. Then there was Olivia’s interview of Milo’s Sister Madeline and the intentional parallel nature of her and Milo and the growing divide in Olivia’s mind between the ideas of her dead/not dead sister. The best thing though and the catalyst of it all was the visions of Peter and Walter. Such a great way to bring Peter and our Walter into an episode that normally wouldn’t have them. Peter’s appearance reminded me of Ghost Obi Wan Kenobi in The Empire Strikes Back and return of the Jedi. Always appearing to her when she least expected to help nudge her along to where she needed to be, the final discussion at the end was the best part how he connected the dots for both Olivia and the audience. Milo was a good guy because it allowed Olivia to unknowingly put to test all of the deprograming that she had gone through in the episode, his brain was wired to only accept what he could see, only accept the known factors, just like Alternate Astrid he couldn’t predict the variables, his variable was Olivia’s war of personality. Milo’s mannerisms reminded me of Daniel Faraday on Lost a little, Daniel was all about Constants until eventually he accepted the idea of variables. Unfortunately Milo wasn’t so quick to change, but could Milo’s ability give us insist into another group on Fringe, The Observers?

Milo’s conversation with his sister Madeline reminded me of Peters encounter with The Observer and how the Observer would finish Peter’s sentences just like Milo’s finished his sisters. Now I know that part of the Observers abilities come from time travel, but both seem to have a cool analyzation of the world and the things that go on around them. The only thing that snapped Milo out of it was his sister showing him the toy horse from his past or holding his hand and at the end he had even slipped past that. It reminds me on in season 1 when the Observer is sitting in a cafĂ© just emotionlessly watching the destruction of a building and the people in it. He had to even eat raw meat and Tabasco sauce in order to even taste his food. Just a theory, but I’m wondering if its preview of the inevitable Observer themed season arc?

Either way The Plateau was a really good episode because every single element added to the main idea of Olivia’s brainwashing slowly coming unraveled.

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