Friday, September 24, 2010

Fringe “Olivia” Recap & Review (Season Premiere)

All photos from Fox

“She’s OUR Olivia now.” Well, The Secretary – AKA “The Walternate” may think this is the case, but somehow I feel that Agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv), trapped in the alternate universe, may still have the upper hand. Again, Fringe (Fox) does not disappoint, with an action packed and intense season premiere. It’s primarily set in the alternate universe, and subsequent shows will alternate episodes between universes so we can follow what is happening on both sides. In the alternate, Olivia is trying desperately to get back to her home universe. But, Walter (John Noble) and Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) think that the Olivia that came back with them is “their” Olivia. My money is on “our” Olivia, who is fighting to get back home, and may have what I see as an advantage – her real memories, and the memories and skills of her alternate. At least, I hope she still has her real memories. The alternate, “faux” Olivia is now in the real Olivia's universe, and may make real trouble for the unsuspecting Walter and Peter.

The episode begins with Olivia still trapped in the alternate universe, still confined, and now being questioned by a psychologist who seems bent on convincing Olivia she is really from “their” side. It is clear the Olivia is not playing along. We later find that The Secretary (John Noble) is having Olivia injected with a treatment that is supposed to give her the memories of the alternate, “faux” Olivia. He also wants to understand how she can travel from both universes.

Of course, Olivia is smarter than they think, and The Secretary orders her to be injected again in order to hasten her assimilation of faux Olivia’s memories. But, she fakes having a bad reaction to the treatment and escapes from the men administering it. She makes a dramatic exit by jumping off the high wall at Liberty Island, and swims to safety in the city. It’s not before she looks back and sees an almost brand new looking Statue of Liberty.

Soaking wet, she gets into Manhattan and hijacks a cab, being driven by a man named Henry (Andre Royo). She pulls the gun she stole while escaping and points it at him, ordering him to drive. She later tells him her hard-to-believe story about the government experimenting on her. He doesn’t want trouble for him or his family, so he goes along with her, even to the point of buying her fresh clothes when she orders him to do so.

Meanwhile, Lincoln Lee (Seth Gabel) is recovering from the burns he received while battling Olivia’s colleagues, and he wants work to help Charlie (Kirk Acevedo) track her down. It’s clear that they think it’s their Olivia they are working to recover, apparently being told she had some kind of psychotic break after the episode at the Opera House (in the season finale).

Henry takes Olivia to the Opera House, and it’s now being encased in amber to seal the hole between the universes, and she now realizes she has no way out. She also is spotted there, tipping off the alternate Broyles (Lance Reddick). While Olivia thinks over her dilemma, Henry gets a call from his wife.

Olivia asks him to take her to the address of Massive Dynamic, only to find it’s never been built there in the alternate universe. She orders Henry to drive away and later, when they stop at a gas station, Olivia breaks down in the rest room. When she exits, she finds Lincoln Lee waiting there, and Charlie not far behind. Lincoln Lee confronts her about her behavior saying she is just suffering the effects of a head injury from the incident at the Opera House. She aims and shoots at both men with amazing accuracy and escapes. She realizes that she now has the skill of her alternate, who was an Olympic marksman.

She gets an idea and gives Henry an address that pops into her mind – she thinks it’s some sort of safe house. Henry takes out the cab’s tracking device and they are off the grid.

Meanwhile, The Secretary thinks the treatment is actually working, because only Olivia’s alternate could shoot like that.

When Olivia arrives at what she thinks is a safe house, she later finds her alternate mother there, very much alive. Her mother believes Olivia is just suffering from a breakdown and tries to reason with her. Olivia resists at first, but then, in her mother’s arms, she seems to have all the faux-Olivia’s memories flood in. Later, when Charlie arrives for a visit, Olivia seems to treat him as if she is who Walternate wants her to be – the alternate.

The Secretary and the doctors discuss this turn of events, saying the treatments worked and that the adrenaline from her escape helped the transfer. The Secretary gloats, "For all intents and purposes, she is our Olivia now.”

Charlie drives away from her mother's home with Olivia in the car, but Henry watches from his cab. Olivia thanks Charlie for being a friend, and he thanks her for not shooting him.

The Secretary tells the alternate Broyles that Olivia should be OK to work on Monday, but doesn't tell Broyles what is really going on with her.

As we look up to the sky over the Capitol building, we see a blimp flying above, and in a poof, it’s gone. We’re now back in our own universe, with Peter on Capitol Hill telling the story of what happened to them, with a man taking notes. Peter tells them how the Walternate misled him into trying to get him to stay there, and the man asks Peter why he came back. We then see the faux-Olivia standing on the steps with Walter as Peter exits the building. Peter tells Olivia that the whole time he was in there, she was only thing he could think about, and he kisses her.

This episode sets up a whole host of new questions. Is Henry the cabbie really who he seems to be? Is he working for the other side, or, is he there as some sort of protector for Olivia? Has Olivia’s mind been completely taken over by the memories of her alternate, or, does she have the memories of both and will use that to her advantage? Will Peter figure out that the Olivia he thinks is the one who loves him is not who she says she is? And will Olivia find her way back to her real universe, or, will she be content to stay where she is and reconnect with her mother and force the others to come get her? One thing is for sure, this is going to be an interesting season.

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