This review may contain spoilers.
The third episode season is the second week of “Fringe” on the Other Side and the continuation of Olivia’s (Anna Torv) story from the season premiere. Our Olivia is now imprinted with the memories of Faulivia, and she’s back in the field with the Other Side’s Fringe Division.
Charlie is worried and suspicious, Broyles (Lance Reddick) is still reluctant to have her on his team and Lincoln is just happy to have his friend (who he may or may not have romantic feelings for) back.
Olivia, on the other hand, is just confused. It doesn’t help that she sees hallucinations of Peter (Joshua Jackson) and Walter (John Noble), nor does it help that she seems to have forgotten little things that she should know as Fauxlivia (access codes, protocol, maybe even how to shoot a gun).
Baddie of the week, Milo Stanfield, is the result of a trial drug treatment gone wrong or right, depending on your perspective. Before the treatment, he has an IQ of 50 — roughly the IQ of an eight-year-old in the body of an adult. After one treatment, his IQ increases exponentially, and by the end of the experiment, he’s been given the drug five times. His IQ becomes so large that he is able to calculate the statistics of events that are presumably incalculable and predict what would have to happen in order to get a certain desired outcome. That’s what keeps him from having the treatments reversed, as well as what allows him to carry out his revenge on the people who tried to reverse it.
When it came down to it, though, Milo didn’t think to consider that the focal point of his plan to kill Olivia and Charlie would depend on Olivia actually being a Fringe Division agent from the Other Side. Fauxlivia knows Other Side protocol — Olivia does not. Milo couldn’t possibly have predicted that Olivia wouldn’t actually be from the Other Side, and because of that, he gets caught.
“Peter” leaves Olivia with this — “Real is just a matter of perception”
It would have been a miss if the writers went into writing Olivia (with Fauxlivia) memories as straight Fauxlivia, and luckily, we did not have to see that happen. “Fringe” has shown that no science is perfect, so it’s no surprise that the real Olivia (along with memories of the “real” Peter and Walter) is still buried in there somewhere. As we saw in the premiere, the treatments necessary to implant these memories weren’t perfect anyway — the fact that the only way they could even slowly work was through prolonged adrenaline was pretty much proof of that.
Kudos to director Brad Anderson for a visually stunning episode of “Fringe” from start to finish; his direction of the episode, plus the use of slow motion in the teaser and also the action scenes toward the end, only amplified an already solid writing effort. It helped that Milo Stanfield was also one of the most compelling “villains” of the week. These characters always work best when there’s that moral gray area, don’t they?
What Didn’t Work
Not really seeing the point of Fauxlivia’s boyfriend yet, especially since they’ve already temporarily put him out of the picture.
Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due
“Fringe” stars Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble, Lance Reddick, Blair Brown, Jasika Nicole. “The Plateau” was written by Alison Schapher & Monica Owusu-Breen and directed by Brad Anderson.
“Fringe” airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.