Fringe Review: Amber 31422 ~ Fringe Television - Fan Site for the FOX TV Series Fringe

Fringe Review: Amber 31422

      Email Post       11/07/2010 12:43:00 AM      

“Nature doesn’t recognize good and evil. Nature only recognizes balance and imbalance. I intend to restore balance.”

On my home site (instead of Over Here), a commenter discussing Supernatural recently mentioned that The Vampire Diaries, which I also review, had spoiled him on plot development. On VD, the changes come fast and furious, and missing one episode would probably be like missing about ten Fringe episodes. So even though this episode seems stuck in neutral, I think that we should be okay with that. We have our characters, our worlds (two for the price of one!), and some fairly interesting plots. Fringe isn’t running at a break-neck speed, and I’m okay with that. It’s still way, way better than FlashForward.

I’m also okay with the fact that twinning is our Theme of the Week. Again. The great alt-twin switcheroo wasn’t an incredibly compelling case, except when it delved into the similarities and differences between people with the same DNA but different selves or souls. The most effective scene was the tiniest one: when the wife revealed to Bad Twin just how upset she was, and she communicated four years of repressed anger in about 30 seconds. If—when—Olivia’s switcheroo is made known to her friends, what will the fallout be there? What about Fauxlivia’s friends and family?

I’m even okay with the tank. Gasp! I hated that tank in previous episodes, but the lack of John Scott made it okay. Without John Scott, and without Walter, Olivia’s experience in the tank is so impersonal: Walternate and Brandon were watching a screen, which gave them some distance, and all Olivia got for her troubles was a towel. I’ve included a screenshot from an early tank-scene: see how personal it is?

It’s practically a pietà, with the triangular structure formed by Walter and Olivia, as Peter and Astrid look at the almost-father/daughter pairing. Olivate may be friendly with Francis and Lee, but they aren’t as tied to her as Walter and Peter were, even in those early episodes. And the regulations of Over There Fringe Division keep them from helping her when she needs it most, even if she doesn’t yet know it.

Not only did Olivia brave the scary and impersonal tank, but she’s starting to get a stronger sense of her own position, courtesy of her inner Peter. It makes sense that she would wind up in the gift shop on Liberty Island, as it’s probably in the same spot as the DoD lab Over There, but the Symbolic Object of the Week is definitely the snowglobe that she broke, twice. The snowglobes don’t just parallel the amber, but also the divisions between both worlds that are more fragile than we might think.

The Cortexiphan from Olivia’s childhood, which is still in her brain, makes this breakage possible. I hope Walternate doesn’t decide to use her brain to mine the drug. I think he would, if he thought it worth the trouble. He’s not a friendly guy, that Walternate.

Bad Twin is, though. He attempted to restore balance in his own way, by sacrificing himself for his brother and his brother’s family. Walter’s distinction between good/bad, balance/imbalance seems rather pedantic, like the difference between justice and vengeance. At the end of the day, it’s about the choices we make, and how we can do the least harm and the most good. Bad Twin saw that, but Walter doesn’t: he’s using some nebulous concept of balance to justify a personal vendetta. There’s nothing more dangerous with someone who thinks they’re restoring the natural order, especially when that someone is in charge of the Department of Defense.

What I’m About to Tell You is Classified:

• Over There, twins have identical DNA but different retinal scans. Over Here, twins have different DNA, right?

• They seem to have skipped a stage in cell phone development. Everyone has earpieces, but they still have pagers. They must not text, Over There. That almost makes up for the coffee shortage.

• There’s a promotional thing run by Sprint about Fringe, in which you “decode” a message from Fauxlivia to her Over There comrades. This week’s code was: “Polar bears do exist, sir. But they have yet to mutate.”

• Astrid is very different over there, isn’t she? She avoids eye contact, depends overmuch on logic, and struggles to grasp some basic human interactions. Also, the beret.

• The safe-breaking technology was first scene in the episode “Safe” in Season One. I cannot provide a link to my review of that episode, as I will never review it.

Three out of four twins. Or do I mean quadruplets?

(Like what you’ve read? Or maybe just bored on the internet? Check out my reviews of Fringe, Chuck, and the Vampire Diaries at


Anonymous said...

There is more than one kind of twin. Identical twins are formed when a single fertilized egg splits, and therefore they have identical DNA. Fraternal twins are two separate fertilized eggs and are no more similar than any other siblings. And it is true that identical twins have different fingerprints and retinal scans. So, Over There twins are the same as our own I believe.

dharmagal said...

I'm sorry if you were trying to just dance around the idea rather than flat out say it;.I'm really bad at those kinda things online, but....

I can't recall where, but I remember in one interview, it was revealed that the Over There Astrid has Asperger's...which would explain quite a lot. Maybe working with Our Walter changed her more than we ever would have guessed? (Granted, Over There she has a pretty epic beret)

SebiMeyer said...

You start the review with the quote “Nature doesn’t recognize good and evil. Nature only recognizes balance and imbalance. I intend to restore balance.” and then complain that there is little characterization? Seriously?

That line alone IS Walternate. It defines him more than anything we have seen so far. It not only shows his mission statement (bringing order) it also implies he sees himself doing things nature does not, ie considers himself above nature.

vicky said...

I think is not only Astrid inhuman... all people over there are inhuman, they don't care about others people.. they never ask about Bolivia how is she...

Anonymous said...

why no safe review? you rippin on it? cause that episode is amazing

Josie Kafka said...

Anonymous, thank you for the info! I'm surprised more detective stories don't mention that. (After all, all my paltry DNA info comes from mystery novels.)

Dharmagal: yep, that's where I was going with that. But, for all we know, it might be thought of differently over there.

Sebi, where do I even mention characterization? Seriously?

Anonymous, I really don't like that episode. Do you enjoy it? (If you can convince me to like it...well, you will have convinced me!)

Anonymous said...

I'm not the same anonymous, but I'll try to convince you too.
That episode from season 1 was totally awesome! The idea that someone could basically walk through solid walls is just amazing!

The only thing I don't remember from the episode in season 1 was if there was a physical tunnel which people moved through. I thought they just climbed through a vibrating circle shaped part of the wall. (Correct me if I'm wrong.)

I can't wait for the next episode!

Josie Kafka said...

Is it really good? Am I mis-remembering? It aired before I started reviewing Fringe, so I wasn't as invested in it.

(By the way: you all may have noticed that, although I've been posting my reviews here, I haven't been commenting. Why? Because something about my Firefox won't let me post in embedded comment forms. If anyone else is having the same problem, try switching to IE. It worked for me.)

Matthew M said...

Anyone notice that in the opening credits(other side/red), "FIRST PEOPLE" is missing? Wonder why. I know in the interview clip on 'secrets of over there' they said we'd be learning more about them in the future. Also, rumor has it that a 3rd universe may be revealed (coded yellow), so what if that universe is even more advanced than the 'over there' universe as compared to ours? Maybe they are the real culprits and that's where the 'observers' come from.
Just thinking out loud.

Will said...

I haven't thought about the credits too much, but I think Red Universe has been changing the different fringe science names now and then in the opening credits. Can anyone verify?

Also, where did you hear about a Yellow universe? Sounds baseless, but you never know. I'm still not convinced that the observers are human, but then again, what else would they be?

Anonymous said...

Our Olivia is scoring mega points with her alternate co-workers. She's gained their respect. She's proven herself to be superior to Olivia Deux, who very well may have serious problems when she returns.

As far as Walternate...he's insane. No wonder Walter wanted Bell to remove the Evil Lobe from his brain. He recognized his potential to do harm and irradicated it. He would of become our own version of Walternate.

I'm also now curious about mutated polar bears.

Zort70 said...

Hi all,

Just dropping by to say I'm loving the new episodes.

In the UK we are getting them a few days after the US so it is nice to be able to view online sites without having to hide from the internet when a new series is on.

After seeing the episode I'm even more convinced the alternate Astrid is a robot / cyborg of some sort.

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