Saturday, October 2, 2010

Fringe - "The Box"

Faux-livia (Anna Torv) lets Newton (Sebastian Roche) know who's the boss in this trans-dimensional operation.
Photo Credit: FOX
Review by Paul Steven Brown

Season 3 - Episode 2
"The Box"

While 'Fringe' can provide entertaining "Monster of the Week" episodes, it really clicks when the writers focus on characters and the show's mythology. Two episodes out of the gate and season three has been doing just that, and rather well, too. Last week's premiere was all about Olivia, who was alone and trapped in the other universe. This week we catch up with the rest of the cast, Peter, Walter, Broyles, Astrid, and even Nina Sharpe. Unbeknown to them, the Olivia (FOX refers to her as Bolivia, but I like Faux-livia) in their midst is actually the one from the other side.

Faux-livia has found fellow agent from the other universe, Newton, and the pair are on the hunt for parts to assemble the Peter fueled, doomsday device that Walternate wants to use destroy our universe. There are a few interesting mysteries surrounding this device. First why does it specifically need Peter to run it? He made a reference to it being some form of ancient technology, so where did it come from? And finally, why are there pieces of it buried under houses in our world? I wonder if this has anything to do with those strange bullet shaped devices from the first season?

We learned a little more about Faux-livia in "The Box". While she may have had a seemingly happier life and rosier outlook when compared to our Olivia, she's can also be pretty stone cold. She makes if very clear to Newton, a guy who is no push over, that she's in charge of their little operation. She's also not afraid of getting rid of a loose end by putting a bullet in their head. I did like the idea that she has to study up on our pop culture, since it can be very different from that of her world.

She's trying to get close to Peter so she can steer him into working on the device again by exploiting the feelings between the other Olivia and the younger Bishop. Her behavior is very un-Olivia like, with the smiling and getting Peter to dance with her in a bar, and I can't help but think that Peter's going to catch on at some point. He's no dummy and he's know Olivia long enough now to be aware of any personality shifts.

I'm not too convinced about the temporary nature of Peter's hearing loss due Faux-livia firing a gun close to his ears. That could really mess up someone's hearing permanently. It just seemed a little too fast and loose with the science in an attempt to resolve the problem. Also, Faux-livia's pulling him out of the way of the subway car wasn't really out of any feelings for him. He's needed to make that machine run and he has to be alive to do it.

It was great to see Astrid back. I'm glad that the writers continue to give her more to do other than just be Walter's lab assistant. She's become a surrogate daughter and I believe that she's closer to Walter than Olivia. When Walter learns that Walter Bell has left him Massive Dynamic (major development - I wonder what Nina got?), he goes to Astrid first. Not Peter, who is still mad at him for the whole kidnapping thing, and not Olivia, who he experimented on as a child. Other than that one drugging incident back in the first season, Walter's relationship with Astrid is one of the few that he hasn't found a chance to damage... yet.

I wonder how long the writers will maintain this opening arc. There are some pretty big concepts being dealt with and hopefully they won't resolve it too quickly. Right now, 'Fringe' is doing the the types of episodes that it does best. I hope they can keep up the momentum.

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