Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fringe - "The Abducted"

Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) has a bad hair day and plays with needles.
Photo Credit: FOX
Review by Paul Steven Brown

Season 3 - Episode 7
"The Abducted"

"The Abducted" is the penultimate episode of the current "Olivia Swap" arc that has been the driving force of the third season of 'Fringe'. We'll have to wait two weeks for the conclusion, due to the Thanksgiving holiday next week, but eight episodes seems about the right length. This has been the best season of the series to date, and I'd hate to see the creators deflate its power by milking a strong idea too long.

As with the past four or five episodes, we are treated to a Monster of the Week episode which is made more suspenseful due to the fact that the Olivia involved is not in her native universe. This week, we rejoin our Olivia. Some of the particulars of the case were easy to figure out, but there was a nice twist in the end involving the head of the church. Also, we got to learn more about Col. Broyles and how his life is different than our Agent Broyles (he's still married and lives with his wife and kids). I just hope I don't get his history mixed up with our Phillip Broyles.

There wasn't as much Charlie and Lincoln this week or even Computo-Astrid, but that may be for the best. I'm going to need some weening if we're not going to be visiting the Alt-Fringe universe every other week. Still, I hope we don't see the last of them. If Olivia's brief conversation with Broyles at the end of the episode is any indication, she may have earned some sympathy from the folks she's been working with, if Charlie and Lincoln learn the truth. There's always the possibility of the Lincoln from our side popping up, too.

I was glad to see Henry the cab driver, again. Andre Royo is a solid actor and it was good to see that Liv could get some kind of help on the other side. I loved the moment when he asked her where she was from. Anna Torv delivered the line "I'm from a parallel universe" with a perfect "this sound freaking crazy even to me" look. I'm really hoping that some of Fauxlivia's charm rubs off on her.

As with last week's episode, this one ended with a quick jump to the opposite side. Peter, despite being something of a genius, still hasn't figured out the Fauxlivia is... well... Fauxlivia. I mean, not knowing the ending of Casablanca? I could understand the ignorance if she was under the age of twenty, but most people Olivia's age or older know about the ending, even if they've never seen the movie. Hell, I didn't get around to seeing it until a few years ago, but I already knew half the dialogue. Still, Peter's phone call from the lady that Olivia met at the Statue of Liberty gift shop was exciting and made it really feel like this story was heading for the home stretch.

Other than being an utterly thrilling story, the real triumph of the third season of 'Fringe' has been the establishment of Olivia Dunham as a hero I can really care about. I liked the character before, but she was always a bit cold. As I've stated before, this made her realistic. Not everyone can be uber-charming like Peter or bat-shit, wacky like Walter. But now we've witnessed Olivia up against incredible odds. She has literally had to fight an entire world and it's been one hell of a ride.

By the way, I still get a kick out the red title sequence that lets us know that the episode will be taking place in the Alt-Fringe universe (blue being the standard intro and used this season when we watch Fauxlivia's adventures in the regular Fringe world). Last season gave us the retro '80s title sequence for that amazing flashback episode. If we ever get a yellow or purple one, then we know we're in a third universe, which shouldn't happen anytime soon if the creators don't want our heads to explode.

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