Let me start by simply stating that I think this is the best episode of Season 3 so far. Why? The dualism, the chain reactions, and the casting.
Plateau scenario 1: Walternate, the 'Other Side's Secretary of the Department of Defense, observes our Liv functioning on her first day at work as FauxLiv. He seems pleased, and assures a not-so-confident AltBroyles that soon our Liv will "reach a plateau and her new identity will become fixed." But Walternate did not count on any unknown variables.
Plateau scenario 2: Milo Stanfield was mentally retarded. His loving sister, Maddie, signed him up for an experimental drug study run by the Ivon Medical Group, a subsidiary of her work, Gregston Electric. In a true miracle, after only one treatment with a new neurotopic(a smart drug) Milo's IQ soared. After five treatments, Milo was thinking in terms of probabilities that even savants like Alternate Agent Astrid Farnsworth found unthinkable(ever see the movie 'Rainman'?). But the medical experts conducting Milo's study did not count on any unknown variables.
Milo Stanfield did not want to return to his former level of functioning. We learn through our Liv's question to the Chief Medical Director of Bryant Hospital that when the study nears completion the subjects are returned to their former level of functioning. (Hmm. Smells of the old book Flowers For Algernon, doesn't it?) Possibly it's that inbred sense of doom that sets Milo off and creating complex chain reactions that get rid of the people trying to ruin him-including our Liv, operating of course, as AltOlivia Dunham. But even smarty-pants Milo did not count on AltLiv breaking protocol and creating an unknown variable.
One definition of plateau is "a period or state of little or no growth or decline."
The best part of Over There for me is Scarlie(Please don't kill him off, Mr. Pinkner! Once was enough.) and that scene with Scarlie and Lincoln going alpha-male on who knows FauxLiv better was tons of fun. Scarlie tells us that Lincoln Lee thinks he has a vulcan mind-meld with FauxLiv just because he kissed her once, to which Lincoln replies, "How was I supposed to know she had a boyfriend?" Now I may not be a Milo Stanfield, but that sounds like FauxLiv encouraged that.
One more thing regarding chain reactions. Milo liked his. Our Liv gets them whether she likes them or not. I suspect the doorbell ringing(remember episode 2.04?) sent our Liv into that mouth-opening hallucination of Peter in the last few minutes of the episode. That was incredible, and any other juicy adverbs you care to insert. One warning, though. Past experience shows when Jeff Pinkner gives the P/O shippers a juicy bone like that, you can bet there's bad P/B stuff ahead. I've come to see it as his way of trying to soothe the blow that's coming. In this case, I fear that animal FauxLiv will devour our Peter. Soon. Talk about your unknown variables!
I think the actor Michael Eklund did an outstanding job as Milo Stanfield. Kudos to the casting people. This episode was designed to draw us into Over There, to get us to invest in the other Fringe Division characters and the craziness in their world, and draw us in it did. As usual we got at least two questions answered and thought up at least another dozen. Let's hope the writers haven't reached a plateau.
I give 'The Plateau' a 5 out of 5.
Ps. Is it my imagination or is the 'Over There' Fringe Headquarters in the shape of the Fibonacci Spiral?!