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‘Fringe’ – Amber 31422

As if alternate versions of characters weren’t enough, now there’s twins.

This review may contain spoilers.

“Fringe” is back with a new episode and the greatest scientific anomaly of all time — identical twins.

Okay, maybe identical twins aren’t really the greatest scientific anomaly of all time — especially not in “Fringe” canon — but the show certainly tried its hardest to make sure that most of the audience had a more difficult time telling Shawn Ashmore (Iceman from the “X-Men” trilogy, Eric Summers from “Smallville”) and Aaron Ashmore (Jimmy Olsen from “Smallville,” Troy Vandegraff from “Veronica Mars”) apart than usual.

“Amber 31422” was kind of like “The Parent Trap,” only with crime and grown men instead of broken up parents and summer camp. But the real thought-provoking aspect of the plot was the fact that the people who have been subjected to the ambering process are still alive and very much aware of their settings. Sure, it was mentioned by picketers earlier on in passing, but now we have confirmation from Walternate (John Noble), who claims he did it as a way to protect the Other Side from being destroyed at an accelerated rate. Ever alt-Broyles (Lance Reddick) found it appalling, despite the fact that he still reluctantly followed Walternate’s orders.

Mr. Secretary can be so convincing, can’t he?

It’s his convincing nature that also gets Olivia (Anna Torv) to go through with taking tests necessary for him to figure out how she’s able to cross between universes. Unfortunately for Walternate, these tests coupled with Olivia’s mind-Peter (Joshua Jackson) only help to remind of who she truly is. So it’s no surprise that she doesn’t tell him when she’s able to cross over at the end of the episode.

What Worked

Somehow, Lincoln Lee has managed to become one of the most likable characters on the show. It will be an absolute shame if he can’t stay on the show once this arc is over, especially since his chemistry with Charlie and Olivia is just off the charts. We’ve never seen the version of Lincoln from our side, but hopefully we will eventually. It’s fascinating, the way he’s seamlessly involved in this story, despite the fact that we still have no real idea who he is or why he would be a part of the Other Side’s Fringe Division and not our own.

What Didn’t Work

Honestly, the entire parallel between the twin storyline and Olivia/Fauxlivia came off as quite a bit heavy-handed. Olivia’s mind-Peter worked well the first time around in the show, but he actually grew more grating as this episode progressed. It was a big stretch to compare Matthew and Joshua to Olivia and Fauxlivia, because the former two were twin bothers — no matter how alike they look, they are still completely different people are the end of the day. The latter are literally the same person, only with variations based on the environment’s in which they were raised.

The episode itself wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, and it’s primarily because of the convoluted nature of the mystery of the week. The season’s been phenomenal so far, so hopefully next week’s episode in our world will put the show back on its path.

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

“Fringe” stars Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble, Lance Reddick, Blair Brown, Jasika Nicole. “Amber 31422” was written by Josh Singer & Ethan Gross and directed by David Straiton.

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Could they be a Rut-ro! Shaggy
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