Fringe Review 301: Olivia ~ Fringe Television - Fan Site for the FOX TV Series Fringe

Fringe Review 301: Olivia

      Email Post       9/30/2010 02:54:00 AM      

“You can’t just keep running.”

The Season Two finale left us with Peter and Walter back Over Here, accompanied by a woman alternately called Boliva, Oliviate, or Fauxlivia. Our Olivia (now with auburn hair) is stuck Over There as a pawn in Walternate game/war/vendetta. This episode’s focus on Over There, and on Olivia’s experiences, was exactly as creepy, disorienting, and disturbing as it should have been.

This episode is basically an escape-and-chase thriller, but that’s not why it is so strong. What makes it good is the series of conversations that Olivia take part in: with the psychiatrist, with Lincoln Lee, with her mother, and with Alterna-Francis. What makes it great is the extended conversation with the cab driver Henry, played by Andre Royo of The Wire.

Olivia’s conversation with the psychiatrist was completely open. She told her everything she knew, but the psychiatrist (who surely knows more than she is telling) didn’t support her assertions. As we find out later, though, Olivia’s memories are being altered so that she gradually becomes Fauxlivia. Walternate says this is so she can help the OverThereians figure out how to stop the destruction of reality. I don’t believe him. I think it’s revenge. I think Walternate wants to take something of Walter’s and make it entirely his own. If he gets to save the world, that’s a bargain.

Andre Royo and Anna Torv were basically re-enacting Collateral, in which Jamie Foxx plays a Magical Negro© who drives Tom Cruise around LA. But I’m willing to forgive this rather clichéd use of a fabulous African-American actor precisely because he is so fabulous. We saw last season, especially with episodes like “Peter,” just how wonderful Fringe could be when it took its time and allowed conversations and interactions to develop both the plot and the characters’ relationships. Here, that means that Henry starts to believe and/or trust Olivia, who continues to tell the truth as she searches, fruitlessly, for a way to get back home.

I think, but am not sure, that the major turning point for both Olivia and Henry came when she accidentally said “Frank” instead of “Peter.” It’s a sign that the memory-changes the Fringe Division is making are working. Henry caught her slip, and I think it pushed him over the fence into the realm of belief—and that’s why he followed her. But what I’m more interested in, at least at this very moment, is how Olivia herself reacted to it.

Olivia’s encounter with her mother, besides making me cry, was her personal turning point. She had realized her memories and skills (like sharp-shooting) were being altered. Lincoln Lee told her she couldn’t keep running, and she’d exhausted all the ways she knew of getting home. When she began to remember her mother’s home, her childhood home, and specific events in it, did she become Fauxlivia? Or did she realize that she could access both sets of memories (Fauxlivia’s implanted ones, and her own “real” ones) and begin to play the game?

I hope it’s the latter. I want Olivia to still be Olivia, fighting the good fight from inside the belly of the beast. Her conversation with Alterna-Francis, after her epiphany in her mother’s house, was a little off. It took her longer to laugh at his jokes than it normally would. Just shock, or something more?

Things Are Getting Weirder and Weirder All The Time:

• Henry made the “fist of power” at Olivia, which was also used on the protester’s signs outside of the newly-ambered opera house. Is he part of the resistance against the Fringe Division and DoD? How active is the resistance?

• So many great details about Over There, all of which are catalogued elsewhere. So I’ll just mention that Fringe has taught me that those big bicycle things are called “penny farthings”; the longest-running show on Broadway is called Dogs (sorry, T.S. Eliot); and JFK is still alive and politically active, which seems impossible, as he was born in 1917. Maybe it’s John F. Kennedy, Jr., who passed away in 1999 Over Here.

• No Massive Dynamics Over There, but Brandon works for the DoD.

• It looks like the credits will be red for Over There episodes and blue for Over Here episodes.

• Just a few minutes of Walter, Peter, and Fauxlivia. But we’ll get more of them this week. How long will this go on? It’s very interesting.

• It was implied that Henry’s daughter had died. Something Fringe-related?

• Beautiful imagery throughout, especially of reflections. I pondered calling Fauxlivia "Aivilo," but it sounds too much like an Italian pasta dish.

This was a great, understated episode (except for the exploding propane tank, of course). Fabulous mythology building, but even better character development.

Three and a half out of four penny-farthings.


fringeobsessed said...

Nice job, but you didn't comment on something that has haunted me for a week now-Lincoln Lee's reaction when our Liv told him at gunpoint that she didn't know who he was, and she wasn't who he thought she was. His eyes were wet as he knelt to put his revolver on the ground.

This smacks of a juicy FauxLivia/Lincoln backstory of which I think many of us are anxious to learn more!

Just how much does Lincoln care for FauxLiv?(He calls her 'Liv' which could possibly be inappropriately casual for a supervisor to address an employee?)
And has their 'relationship' ever been anything besides work-related?

I hope we will be allowed to find out.

Dennis said...

People used to think the same thing about Charlie and Olivia - is there something more there.

I wonder if the roles were reversed, if Charlie showed up at the bathroom, and Lincoln was standing in front of the propane tank - would she have taken the same shot?

fringeobsessed said...

That is a really interesting question, Dennis... :)

Josie Kafka said...

Fringeobsessed, that's a great catch. I noticed that he seemed upset, but not howupset. (Tiny TV.)

As excited as I am about seeing stories both Over There and Over Here, it's going to be hard to wait to see more Over There while we have Over Here episodes.

tsp1215 said...


I was thinking Olivia didn't kill Charlie because she still feels somewhat guilty for the death of the other Charlie. Also, I have a feeling that Charlie may become Olivia's ally in helping her get back.

Unknown said...

Is there some way the Charlie 'on the other side' is actually the real Charlie? Burnt guy made a joke about how Charlie had 'worms inside him' but wasn't that the real Charlie that had that happen? Are we going to find out he somehow killed the shapeshifter and made it over there as a spy?

Am I not remembering correctly?

Dennis said...

You are not remembering correctly. The real Charlie was killed by the shapeshifter, then put into a furnace.

Similar things happen in both worlds. Our Charlie got worms from getting stung by the "Unleashed" beast, but Walter was able to kill the worms.

It appears Scarlie had something similar happen, or maybe it was something completely different. But he didn't have our Walter to fix him.

acksõn said...
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