Fringe 3X19 Lysergic Acid Diethylamide

22 Apr

 A new episode of Fringe is on tonight! For all of you who missed last week’s episode here is a short review…

Tripping on massive amounts of LSD, Peter, Walter and Bell traveled into Olivia’s mind with the intention of rescuing her from the depths of her own sub-conscious. Once inside, they were greeted by a hostile cityscape inhabited by the manifestations of Olivia’s deepest fears. Among those present were Nina Sharpe and her robotic arm, Brandon (assumedly the one from the altverse), and Olivia’s abusive step father. Realizing that Olivia is not lost within her own mind but rather hiding from these manifestations, Peter, Walter and Bell  travel by zeppelin to the Jacksonville Military Base where Peter is sure they will find her. Unfortunately, along the way they are attacked by a strange mystery man who attempts to derail their journey. In the process Walter is thrown from the aircraft thus being returned to the Harvard basement lab and his physical body.

When Peter and Bell arrive in Jacksonville, they promptly steal a motorcycle and make their way towards Olivia’s childhood home. With a sigh of relief, Peter opens the door to find Olivia waiting for him on the other side. He takes her in his arms but quickly realizes that she is a decoy. The true Olivia, who has been sitting at the kitchen table disguised as a younger version of herself, walks up and takes Peter’s hand. “I just needed to know it was you,” she tells him. Together they flee from the house as Olivia’s step father and the entire U.S. army follows closely behind.  Five year old Olivia is unable to keep up and Peter dives in front of a Hummer to keep her from being run over. The force of the impact jolts him back to his own body where he wakes in a wild panic and Walter attempts to calm him. “I lost her. I lost her,” he says with wide eyes as he clutches his father’s shirt.

Bell grabs Olivia and they continue to make a run for it until Bell trips. He tells her to go on without him but instead she turns towards the charging army and holds up her hand. “No more,” she commands. “I’m not afraid of you.” With those few simple words, her attackers freeze and Olivia is returned to her adult form. Bell explains that Olivia should have been safe within her own mind while he borrowed her body, but this was an impossibility because Olivia has never felt safe, anywhere. Lightning appears in the sky and Bell tells her it is time to go. He reveals that he will not be able to come with her because for her to survive, he must cease to exist.  Olivia then wakes up in Walter’s lab greeted by a relieved and smiling Peter.

Everyone rejoices until they realize that Bell’s consciousness was not transferred to the computer as they had planned. That is when Olivia reveals that Bell knew from the start that their plan wouldn’t work. He had never intended on returning. Walter the proceeds to lock himself away in his office where he can mourn the loss of his friend in solitude.

At the end of the episode, Olivia sits at her kitchen table sketching. She hears a soft knock on her door and opens it find Peter waiting there. The two exchange a long hug and she thanks him for coming to find her. “It’s not as dangerous as crossing over into another universe, but I try,” he responds with a smile. Peter then looks down at the drawing Olivia had been working on. It is the mystery man who attacked them in the Zeppelin. “Who is this guy?” Peter asks. Olivia shakes her head and very nonchalantly says she doesn’t know but she thinks it’s the man who is going to kill her. Then she takes a big bite of her buttered toast looking completely unconcerned. UMMM WHAT?

My thoughts…

It pains me to say this about my favorite show on television, but last week’s episode was not only my least favorite episode this season, it was probably my least favorite episode of the entire series. One of the best things about Fringe is its originality, so imagine my dismay when the first half of the episode consisted of Peter, Walter, and Bell descending into Olivia’s mind in a series of scenes all too reminiscent of Inception. Since when does Fringe have to borrow story lines? Should I be taking this as a bad sign?

In case you don’t believe me, here are a few screencaps to prove my point:

In addition to this episode being the unwanted bastard child of Inception, half of the episode was animated, and not even animated well. The result? This episode was completely drained of all emotion and intensity.  I know that animation and live action filming can be combined successfully, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows is a prime example, but sadly this episode was a failed experiment in my books.

My final reason for disliking this episode is that Bell disappeared into the ether without contributing to the ongoing plot in any substantial way. If you are going to go through all this trouble to bring Bell back from the dead, have it mean something! I understand that due to Bell’s possession of Olivia’s body she was forced to overcome her latent childhood fears. I also understand that during this episode Bell had a very meaningful conversation with Walter, the long-term effects of which are yet to be seen, but none of that actually required William Bell. Anyone or anything could have taken possession of Olivia’s body and Walter could have just as easily found a secret letter written to him by Bell. When this story line was first introduced I thought for sure that Bell would have some very important insight into their problems based on the extensive amount of time he spent in the altverse. I thought maybe he would help Walter regrow the missing parts of his brain or reveal an unknown facet about the machine or even the First People. Sadly it appears not to be so. But, then again, nothing in Fringe is ever as it seems.

Despite my dislike for this episode, there were a few shining moments I feel I have to mention:

1. Broyles: What?
     Peter: You’re bald… I think he’s an Observer.

2. During Olivia’s time in the altverse, we had the opportunity to get to know many different facets of alternate Broyles but until now, we have not had that same opportunity with our own Colonel Broyles. Therefore, it was exciting to see him reveal a softer side, even if it was just the LSD talking. I am especially interested to see if something is going to develop between him and Astrid. Was the hand holding a sign of things to come?

Then of course, there was this very interesting dialogue exchange that had me asking all sorts of questions:

Broyles: “You don’t see that? I didn’t see that. But now I know. And I know it followed me.”

Astrid: “What followed you?”

Broyles: “Death. I saw death. All of it. And it was me. Can you hold my hand?”

3.

4. But the one thing I truly loved about this episode was the redemption of Peter. When Fauxlivia replaced our Olivia, I’m sure I wasn’t the only person screaming at the television screen, upset because Peter couldn’t see (or maybe didn’t want to see) the obvious signs that something was wrong. But in this episode he proved that he really does know and understand Olivia. Not only did he know exactly where to find her within the recesses of her own mind but then he looked into the eyes of her decoy and knew it wasn’t her.

 “I can see it in your eyes,” he said. “It’s not you.”

To me this was a truly beautiful moment because he had the opportunity to prove to Olivia that he does love her and that she can trust him. Hopefully the strengthened bond between them will be durable enough to withstand the coming trials.

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