Saturday, February 12, 2011

Fringe - "Immortality"

Dark laboratory. Check. Flashlight. Check. Redheaded heroine. Check. I wonder if they have 'The X-Files' in Fauxlivia's universe?
Photo Credit: FOX 
Review by Paul Steven Brown

Season 3 - Episode 13

One of the benefits of making a television series about two parallel universes it that the creators essentially have the opportunity to write two different shows. Now that the Olivias have been returned to their respective universes, we can get back down to the business of following them going about their regular, ol' abnormal lives. Since the climax of the big opening arc before the holiday hiatus, 'Fringe' has kept its sights set on the Fringe Prime universe. This week's episode takes us back to Alt-Fringe, all in it's red title sequence glory.

Oddly enough, this is the most Monster of the Week type of episode 'Fringe' has had since the move to Friday nights. The last three weeks have been a flurry of character and mythology building. One could argue that the lines blur a bit between MotW and myth hours when we get the chance to hang out "over there". While it was fun to see Alt-Charlie, Lincoln (still waiting to meet his Prime counterpart) and Aspergers Astrid, as well as finding out other differences with that world (no sheep apparently... they all died out), there really didn't seem like much was added to the big picture narrative... until the end.

Fauxliva is pregnant. I did not see that coming and it wasn't until the techs in ambulance pulled out the sonogram machine to hunt for bugs inside Fauxlivia, that I realized where this had all been leading up to. I can't help but feel sorry of the Frank. He has ended up an unfortunate victim in this crazy extra-dimensional saga. However, there needed to be a reason make Fauxlivia completely available for Peter to make choice between the two Olivias. Thankfully, the writers were a little more creative than killing Frank off, which I was afraid of once he was brought in as a CDC advisor on the case.

And what was up with Lincoln spoiling Frank's surprise marriage proposal to Fauxlivia? He doesn't know about her secret mission "over here", so he couldn't know about her feelings for Peter. Does Lincoln have some unresolved feelings for her? Here's an idea that'll mess with the space-time gods: what if Peter ends up with Fauxlivia and Olivia and Lincoln fall for each other. That's a lot of star-crossed lovin'!

Despite Walternate's creepy reaction to Fauxlivia's carrying of his grandchild, we started to see a little more compassionate side of Secretary of Defense this week. When Alt-Brandon pointed out that effectiveness of Cortexiphan improved the younger the test subject was, Walternate grew angry. This is an interesting turn of events given what we know of the two Walter Bishops. Our Walter had no problems pumping kids full of chemicals in an attempt to create soldiers against a possible parallel world invasion, and he certainly didn't give a damn about the otherworldly ramifications of stealing a boy from another world to fill the void left in his life by the death of his son.

Walternate, on the other hand, has been presented mostly as a cold tactician that is trying to save his universe, by any means necessary. He tortured our Olivia, was willing to sacrifice his son to the machine that would have destroyed our world, yet he draws the line at experimenting on children. He even confesses his doubts about his ability to do what is necessary to save Alt-Fringe to his girlfriend, a new character played by Joan Chen. Chen played Josie on 'Twin Peaks' which makes for two references since the hiatus.

While the central plot to "Immortality" may have been the weakest since the move to Friday nights, the very fact that it took place in the Alt-Fringe universe sustained my interest overall. Plus, the hour's fallout was a whopper. Still, the third season of 'Fringe' has yet to deliver a real dud, and that is a good thing.

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