Join us for our Fringe Summer re-watch, where we review every episode of Fringe during the summer hiatus. Comments are welcome as we dig into the connections made over three seasons.
"I think this world is in as much pain as it can stand. We need to restore hope."
This is it. This is the episode we waited for in agonies of frustration and suspense, for just over seven months last year. First over the course of the summer, and then week after week, through two short (but boy did they ever feel long) breaks, it all came down to Entrada - when Olivia finally, finally came home. But of course by the time she made it, everything at home was all wrong.
"Is this Peter Bishop?"
"I'm calling from New York. I know this is going to sound crazy but I just saw a woman disappear in front of my eyes."
“Who is this?”
"Her name was Olivia. She has a message for you: she's trapped in the other universe."
And with those words everything shatters.
Peter's face is fixed and still as he rolls over to look at the woman whose bed he's sharing. Until just now, he'd thought he loved her, dismissing the missteps and surprises along the way as by-products of learning a new lover. But as soon as he heard the stranger's words it clicked for him, the pieces fell into place, and it's only the ingrained con man that saves him from urge to skitter across the room in revulsion. Instead he lets her snuggle closer, making up some lame story as she drifts off, lying there next to her for nearly two hours before getting up to confirm the knot of dread and suspicion roiling in his guts.
She catches him of course, and fails the test he throws at her. They both know the game is up, but they continue to play it while feeling for their next moves. When she leaves the room he goes for her gun, but it's too late, she got it on her way out and now it's pointed at him.
Her voice when she asks if he's going to kill her sounds like she wouldn't blame him for trying. And he might be right to try.
She checks his pulse after he injects himself with the paralytic, unable to resist a last caress of his jaw when she does. She's as gentle as she can be, reassuring him that the effects of the drug will wear off in a few hours before making her escape. He's unable to respond, face frozen in a frightening, blasted expression.
When he's able to move again, he calls for help. He's had hours to sit and think about how stupid he's been,* how easily she fooled him. Hours in which to worry about his Olivia; is she even alive? Hours to think about how impossible it's going to be to get her back, and how much more impossible it'll be to tell her what he's done. Hours in which to learn brand new avenues of self-hatred. Walter tries lamely to cover for him in response to Broyles' probing, but Peter's having none of it. Bluntly he admits the nature of his relationship with Fauxlivia, welcoming any remonstration Broyles sees fit to dish out. But Broyles refuses to oblige, swallowing his surprise in favor of tacit sympathy for Peter's position, and a shared determination to get their girl back.
Walter is nearly in tears, unable to come up with any idea as to how to retrieve Olivia. Broyles enters with the disturbing news that Fauxlivia has stolen a piece of the machine, and if that was her mission, she may be going home. If she escapes, Walternate may be able to complete his device, but more importantly, if they lose Fauxlivia they lose their chance to use her as a trade. For all of them, the prospect of universal war is eclipsed by the much more personal threat of losing Olivia for good.
Walter's hysterical ramblings catch Astrid's attention when he places a pastry box on the table in front of her. It's from the Bronx. Following it to it's origin, Peter finds the typewriter shop next door, and from there the Fringe team is able to track Fauxlivia's movements to Penn Station. The ride to the station is painfully tense. To fill up the silence, Broyles questions Walter about the extraction point, both men casting worried glances at Peter, who's letting it all wash over him with a face like a wasteland, eyes red rimmed with grief. Concerned, Broyles tries to reassure him, telling him "Peter we'll get her. We're going to bring Olivia home." Deep in the nadir of despair, Peter is unconvinced.
Walternate and Brandon are making arrangements for switching Olivias. Brandon reveals himself to be a far bigger monster than Walternate when he suggests that they keep some of Olivia's parts for study, substituting their mass when they make the switch. Colonel Broyles has a meeting with the Secretary, drinking to the safe return of their Olivia. On his way out of Walternate's office, Broyles passes a screaming, struggling Olivia being manhandled out of a testing room. Deeply disturbed, he turns away.
He's unable to leave it be though, paying her a visit instead. When he arrives, Olivia is examining the markings on her face in the back of a spoon that came with the dinner she hasn't touched. She's huddled on the floor, heartbreakingly small and terrified. She shows him the marks, telling him they're going to swap her with her alternate, but they're going to kill her first, cut out her brain and study it. He's clearly torn, wanting to help her but convinced that his world is dying because of what hers is doing to it. She pleads with him vehemently, "Despite what you think my universe is not at war with yours. This all began because a man came over here to save a boy. And twenty-five years later I came back to save that same boy...if you let me go, both universes can survive. There must be another way, and I promise you I will find it."
Broyles asks how he's supposed to trust that she's telling the truth, that her side doesn't want to destroy his. Voice breaking, she tells him “If you don't trust me, then there is no hope.”
Left alone to meet her fate, Olivia is sedated and paralyzed but aware as Brandon prepares to vivisect her. She's unable to react as she hears the medical saw whir to life. And then Broyles is there, releasing her from the table, having spoken to his wife and made his decision. "You came back for me," she says hazily, too sedated to express more than mild surprise. "Don't thank me yet, I have to give you adrenaline," he says before stabbing her in the chest with the needle.
At Walternate's lab at Harvard, Olivia and Broyles fill the old tank, identical to the one on her side. As she's stepping into it a Fringe division swat team bursts through the outer doors, and Broyles explains that they tracked him through a subcutaneous tracking device. Before shutting her in the tank he tells her "Look I've seen war. But if what you're saying is true...in the end I have to believe in hope. Please make this worth it."
She closes her eyes against the gunfire and flips.
At Penn station, Olivia has met her extractor, and had harmonic rods roughly implanted in her body. Fringe division and swarms of FBI descend on the place and Peter spots her emerging from the bathroom with the shape-shifter, thundering "Dunham! Freeze!" in a terrible voice we've never heard before. Faux fires a few rounds and ducks back into the bathroom, coming back out with a civilian hostage. The woman's daughter sees her mother being held at gunpoint and begins to scream. Peter asks the woman what her daughter's name is, and when she can't answer, he kills the shape-shifter with a clean, perfect shot to the head.
Fauxlivia is taken, but has no idea where Olivia is or how to get her back - that wasn't part of her assignment. Peter's jaw clenches at the word, and she doesn't like the wordless betrayal on his face. Before she's led away, she tells him that what started out as an assignment became something more. “That,” he says, stepping close and cupping her cheek, “would be so much easier to believe if you weren't in handcuffs right now.” Swallowing, she looks down, unable to meet his gaze. After she's gone, an officer brings Peter the backpack they found in the bathroom. In it are the photo booth pictures of the two of them together.
Alone in the lab, Astrid goes cold at the sudden ominous creaking sounds behind her. She turns slowly, dropping her beaker in shock to see a soaking wet Olivia climbing out of the previously unoccupied tank. Olivia smiles at her tremulously, and collapses.
Fauxlivia sits alone in the back of the armored car, when the rods in her hands begin to glow. Broyles gets off the phone with Astrid to deliver the news that Olivia is back and en route to the hospital. Peter is on his way when Walter puts things together a bit too late, and there's an energy shock wave from the back of the armored car. Peter and Walter recoil in horror upon opening the door, and Broyles ignores Peter's hasty plea to stop, taking in the brutalized remains of his other self in Fauxlivia's place. Colonel Broyles sacrifice literally cost him an arm and a leg.
Alone, Broyles faces his own mortality in a horrifically weird way, closing the eyes of his other self.
Typewriter Guy finally gets the reward he's been waiting for. It's delivered in a single injection, through an old timey syringe. And the agent who delivers it gets the piece of the machine in return.
Olivia wakes in the hospital to find Peter sitting beside her. She smiles at him and he can't understand how he mistook her before. This is Olivia, the one he loves. The one he betrayed. "I'm sorry Olivia." he says, taking her hand in both of his, with no idea how to begin to explain.
"Don't apologize." she says, tired but happy. At home, at peace. With Peter.
"You were the only thing that got me through. If it wasn't for you I would never have made it back. You saved my life."
He can't tell her - not right now, not while she's so tired and weak and relieved. He kisses her forehead gently, saving the pain for another day.
Poor Peter. He's in emotional free fall right now, perhaps more so than when he found out Walter had stolen him as a child. He loves Olivia, came back for Olivia, had a relationship with her. Only to find out that it wasn't her. He is both the betrayed and the betrayer, and right now the latter role is foremost in his mind. He'll get over it eventually, self-loathing is more Olivia's style than his. But right now he really hates himself. He knows he'll have to come clean, sooner rather than later, and the thought sickens him. He's doesn't want to hurt Olivia, but he knows he has to, and he's afraid that it'll be the end of any chance they had. He's angry, and scared, and confused, and right now he feels that it's all his own fault. He's a miserable heartbreaking mess.
Poor Olivia. She's just come out of one of the most traumatic experiences imaginable. Trapped in a foreign world for weeks, brainwashed, used, experimented on, and nearly dissected - she's been alone and scared for a long time. But for now she's blissfully unaware that it's about to get so much worse. It's amazing she makes it out of this without ending up in the funny farm.
Poor Fauxlivia. I believe her. I think she did love Peter, at least a little. And she certainly didn't want to hurt him, especially once she got to know him. She was given a mission fueled by inaccuracies and lies, told that it was “us or them” and naturally she went into it thinking of everyone on this side as bad guys. Walternate told her “Don't be deceived, Olivia. They're monsters in our skin. They'll do anything, say anything to gain our trust. But they can't be trusted.” It was only once she was on this side that she saw she'd been mislead, that people n this side are no different than those on her own. And Peter's insistence on finding a way to save both worlds touched something in her that responded to her idea of right, and in the end she's willing to gamble everything on Peter's belief that it's possible. She's a good person who was put into an impossible situation, and she did what she saw as her duty to the best of her ability, even when it made her feel filthy inside. In her mind, she was doing what was necessary to save her world, and all the billions of people in it. And now she's home, and the old swagger in her walk is a lie. She's haunted by what she did to Peter.
Peter is a crack shot. I doubt the man in Johari Window was his first kill.
Astrid is again pivotal to solving the case.
Broyles seems to have no problem with the idea of Peter and Olivia being a couple. Is it different because he's not technically FBI?
If Fauxlivia stole a part from Over Here for Walternate's machine, how did ours become fully assembled? Am I forgetting something?
If Peter didn't exist...
It's unlikely the swap would have ever taken place, since the whole reason Olivia and the others went Over There in the first place was to bring him back. Colonel Broyles would still be alive. And Walternate would have had to find another way to retrieve the missing pieces for his machine, and another power source to activate it.
*This is me getting inside the character's head. I adore Peter. These are his thoughts.