Thursday, December 02, 2010

Fringe, Season 3, Episodes 7-8

Apologies for flaking out last week, guys. Holiday travels plans and all. But before we get into last night's episode, I want to get down a few lingering thoughts on episode 7, "The Abducted," which I really, REALLY loved.

Clearly I have been enjoying Red Fringe more than Blue Fringe this season. Not that Blue Fringe has been a slouch, but I've been more captivated by our Olivia, her struggles to get back, and of course my beloved Red Fringe Team. This episode did a lot to deepen Alt Broyles (something that obviously paid off in this week's episode). And it once again gave Walternate the slightest twinge of humanity, which is the exact right amount. He's still the bad guy, and there's nothing that says we shouldn't have a guy to root against, but the show has been very careful not to strip away his humanity. He's the bad guy, but he's still a guy with feelings -- like empathy for Broyles, who we learn also knows what it's like to have a son taken.

The monster plot, with the child-abductor who's using them to steal their youth (how's THAT for a metaphor?), was terrifically frightening (those MASKS). I do like when Fringe scares the crap out of me. But it's Alt Broyles learning to trust Ourlivia that ends up being the most important part of the episode. It certainly gives tonight's episode it's big emotional wallop.


I've been neither effervescent nor harsh about the Peter/Olivia relationship chemistry. But it probably says something that I was FAR more emotionally invested in Alt Broyles's tragic efforts to aid Olivia than I was in Peter's heartbreak over the truth about Fauxlivia. It's kind of a loaded scenario, I'll admit. Broyles and Olivia got to be cool and secretive and resourceful (when is an adrenaline shot to the chest NOT awesome?), while Peter and the gang from our world were always several steps behind. But even in execution, how much fun was it watching Olivia try to explain two-plus seasons of weirdness (cortexifan!) to Broyles in ways that all seemed to amount to "kinda, yeah!"? I'm going to be sad to see Ourlivia go back to blonde, but I think this excursion to the alt world has brought Anna Torv's performance out in a way that won't regress.

As always, here's where I hope that this isn't the last we've seen of the Red Fringe team. Not when Lincoln's finally gotten himself burn-wound free! I was hopeful that Alt Broyles was going to take back with him the idea that Our World isn't trying to destroy his, and that the next time we see the Alt World that germ of an idea will have taken hold on some level (we've already seen political unrest at the fringes -- pardon the pun -- of Alt World life). But with Broyles dead, it looks like Olivia's going to have to fight the "we're not enemies" fight from our side. After all, she saw quite a bit on the Red side of the divide. I can't believe she's not going to want to save that world from snow-globe-metaphor doom.

I love this show, you guys.

More Fringe on Low Res:
Fringe 3.1 "Olivia"
Fringe 3.2 "The Box"
Fringe 3.3 "The Plateau".
Fringe 3.4 "Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep?"
Fringe 3.5, "Amber 31422"
Fringe 3.6, "6995 kHz"


Robin said...

We can't stop saying "carnal manipulations" and "vagenda."

JA said...

Oh my god YES Walter's speech! He called her Mata hari! And the sad eating of the baked good! I was rolling on the floor. That scene was CLASSIC.

Loved last week's episode, the Candyman creeped me out completely. As for this week I too had trouble with it any time they focused on Peter and Olivia's supposed heart-tugging love affair - I don't get why they feel the need to push that. Nobody that I know that watched the show wants that or buys it i what I've always loved our Olivia for was her damaged aloofness. And her line about Peter being the only thing keeping her going made my heart ache for Ari Graynor and her daughter, who Olivia just had a touching moment over what, two episodes ago? So easy to forget when they're cramming this bad romance (ugh, sorry) down our throats.

That all sounded more bitter than I intended, I still adore this show, but that thread just seems so unnecessary and below what the show's normally up to.

Joe Reid said...

Well, and the thing is, Peter and Olivia had really good partner chemistry, and it's frustrating when a TV show refuses to allow male and female characters to have friend chemistry and let it stay as that. It's why I live in constant fear that somebody is going to force a Liz Lemon/Jack Donaghy romance on "30 Rock."

And you know I'm with you in Ari Graynor yearning.

Anonymous said...

When is an adrenaline shot to the chest NOT awesome? NEVER, that's when.

I have to say, I was impressed with the portrayal of Peter being haunted by betrayal, but you're right--it didn't hold a candle to Alt Broyles and Olivia tag team action.

Vagenda almost gave me a laugh stroke. I had to rewind it 4 times before I could pay attention to what followed.

Kirk Hamilton said...

Awesome episode. I totally agree that Peter & Olivia have great platonic chemistry, and I have to wonder why the writers felt like it had to be more than that. Oh, well. Hopefully the return to the status quo will throw enough of a wrench into things that we'll focus on other things for a while.

I thought Torv did a really good job in this episode; her begging with alt-broyles was pretty hardcore, and the look of relief on her face when she came out of the tank and saw Astrid (just before passing out) was something else.

Bummer about alt-Broyles, though. It was great to see him come through for Ourlivia (as well as to see poor Lt. Daniels finally get some morally sound advice from his spouse), but it was too bad that he had to go down for it.

At least we'll always have that scene where he played piano.