"Olivia" (3.01) - season premiere

After having seen the third season premiere of Fringe, I am burdened by a vast array of mixed emotions that don't want to wait to be resolved. Before I say anything about the episode, though, I would like to do my usual and provide a spoiler alert; if you haven't seen this episode yet, then please don't read this until you have. Okay, well, after having seen the many promos and sneak peeks, I had a general gist of how this episode was going to unwind, and I therefore was a bit disappointed. When I saw the first scene, in which Olivia is being questioned by the psychiatrist, I was not the least bit surprised that that was the first scene, because after having seen that from the promos and sneak peeks, that's the scene with which I was expecting it to open. I agree with Clint of the Fringe Podcast, in that after seeing the second season finale, "Over There," this is not the path that I was expecting the third season premiere to take. What I was expecting, what I was hoping for, was for her to, yes, escape, but to do so in a much more epic way. The second season finale ends with Olivia trapped on the Other Side in a dark, windowless cell, and she was terrified. The last time that we saw Olivia terrified in a dark room was when she was a child, and consequently, she set fire to the place. That is what I was hoping to have happen in this episode, but that part of the mythology is still being dragged out, which is a bit frustrating.

How she
does escape, though, really reminds me of how she escapes from Loeb in "Bound" (1.11). She convinces the man giving her a spinal tap to let her sit up since she is thirsty, and she therefore breaks the glass over his head, beats her captors up, and runs out of the place. I remember being disappointed with that, because at the end of "Safe" (1.10), she is napped, and the series then went on hiatus for almost two months; then, when it came back, Olivia set herself free within the first fifteen minutes. Obviously, this was a bit different, because she is not free, and she is, in fact, trapped on the Other Side, apparently now believing that she is Bolivia, which drives me absolutely insane, but she escaped from her cell. I can't believe that it is working; how, exactly, is she going to regain her memory? When will she regain her memory, and when she does, will she remember being Bolivia? Will Bolivia's memories remain? Over the summer, I saw an interview in which one of the cast members (I can't remember which one) said that Season 3 is really going to be about Olivia discovering herself, learning more about herself, and right now, I don't see how that is possible since she technically isn't herself.

I do feel an undying need to talk about the amber, especially since that is what the glyphs spelled during this episode. It is a pretty epic scene, but it kind of confused me, because I thought it was decided in "Over There, Part 1" (2.21) that a Quarantine was not necessary, and initiating one was therefore abandoned. Is it because Walter, Peter and Bolivia returned to our side, something that Walternate was not anticipating (unlikely since he asked Bolivia very early on to switch places with Olivia)? Also, in "Over There," it seemed to me like Fringe Division was responsible for initiating Quarantines, but in this episode, it seemed to be just your everyday street cops. Do they work under Walternate's provision, as well? If so, he seems to have a great deal of power, too much, in fact. Once again, we see Olivia demonstrate an incredibly powerful memory. First, she memorizes the code in order to escape from Walternate's facility, and then, she memorizes every bit of information on Henry's Show Me. It is a bit murky, though, because I have to wonder, whose memory skills were we seeing - Olivia's or Bolivia's?

I really, really liked Henry, and unfortunately, I don't think that we will be seeing him again. I think that he was purely an episodic character, but he was very likable. What hell Olivia put him through, the poor guy. However, there is definitely much sympathy to be had for Olivia, as well. There are three different scenes that especially made me feel really sorry for her. The first is the scene in which she talks about Peter to Henry, a scene that makes it very clear that she misses him. The second is the scene in which she walks into the bathroom stall and cries. Lastly, I felt really sorry for her when she discovers that Massive Dynamic doesn't exist on the Other Side, and she says that she is stuck there (the blimp crossing overhead is an epic scene). Something that doesn't make any sense to me is though is that she expected alter-Nina to help her, had Massive Dynamic actually existed on the Other Side. If it had, alter-Nina would not have been
this Nina, so why would she have helped Olivia? What help did Olivia expect alter-Nina to be? How did she expect her to help her return home? I wonder how she will get home. The only way that I can think of is our Fringe Team getting another group of Cortexiphan subjects to repeat the whole process over again, but that would be kind of dull and boring. Been there, done that.

So, why exactly was Scarlie bald in the second season finale? In episode 1.19, "The Road Not Taken," Olivia gets a glimpse of the Other Side, and she sees Scarlie, who has hair. Then, in the second season finale, he is bald, and now, he has hair again. Does it have something to do with the infestation that the team refers to in the second season finale? I think so, because in this episode, after Charlie cracks a joke pertaining to Lee's disfigurement, Lee shoots one back about Charlie having been infested with worms, but why does he have a scar? If you can think all the way back to the second season premiere, "A New Day in the Old Town," Charlie, shortly before he dies, tells Olivia a story about being shot at, so on the Other Side, was he shot in the face, something that left him with a scar? Why did Nick Lane have a similar scar, then, which leads me to another important question - why did Lincoln Lee recognize Nick in the second season finale? Why does Walter want Olivia to believe that she is Bolivia? Is it, perhaps, so that she will help the Other Side travel to this side? Is
that how she will return home? It is very disappointing, but not surprising, that Walternate refuses to tell Colonel Broyles (who is hiding from his team his knowledge that Bolivia is actually Olivia) why he is trying to implement Bolivia's memories into Olivia's, but I'm sure we'll find out soon enough. It's probably what I have suggested; that would make sense. Also, take note that Walternate does not seem the least bit broken up that Peter has gone back to this side. Peter was nothing more than a tool, but Walter loves him very much.

Anna Torv truly is a genius when it comes to acting. She is indeed making a case for an Emmy nomination (something that is long overdue to John Noble, as I'm sure that everyone reading this agrees). She is an outstanding actress, and this is exactly what she proves in this episode, and I'm sure that next week will be no different. Next week, titled "The Box" (which, I would like to point out, is also an
Alias episode title) looks like it's going to be a ridiculously epic episode, and I amvery excited. Was anyone else, however, taken aback by having seen Peter in this episode? In a recent interview, Josh Jackson said that Peter would not be in the premiere, yet there he is near the end of the episode. Granted, it was the very end of the episode, but still, he was in the episode. It's very possible, and easily understandable, however, that Josh confused that scene as an episode 3.02 scene, since it's so short, and that is, in fact, probably what happened. That final scene is so bittersweet. It's adorable how Peter tells (B)Olivia that while he was being questioned, the only thing that was on his mind was kissing her, which he demonstrates by kissing her, but, of course, we know that that is not his Olivia, that that is Bolivia, which is pretty heartbreaking. She is leading him on, pretending to love him since Olivia does, and she seems to be perfectly okay with that. It's just part of the job, right? I wonder how this is going to play out, because both the cast and the crew have hinted at a love triangle between Peter, Olivia and Bolivia, so what exactly will happen when Peter realizes that this is Bolivia? There was definitely a spark in the second season finale. "I think I like yours better."

So, apparently, Olivia is not a good shot, which really surprises me. Three times, we have seen her shoot a Shapeshifter right smack in the middle of their forehead. I am, of course, referring to "Momentum Deferred" (2.04), when she kills Gnarlie, "Grey Matters" (2.10), when she kills the Shapeshifter making his way out of the back of Newton's van, and "The Man from the Other Side" (2.18), when she kills the Shapeshifter posing as a cop. In fact, the shot that she made in "Grey Matters" was from pretty far away, and I remember thinking then that she was a damn good shot, but I guess that Bolivia is better. When Walternate reviews the footage of Olivia making those amazing shots, though, he comes to the conclusion that Brandon's (I love/hate how he works for Walternate, which makes me wonder if Nina does, too) "treatment" is working, and this doesn't make any sense, because how does he know that Olivia isn't a good shot, too? I mean,
technically speaking, they are the same person; they just have strikingly different personalities due to strikingly different lives. Granted, Bolivia probably is a better shot due to more advanced training, but how would Walternate know that? Why would he assume that? Also, when Olivia tells the psychiatrist that she works for the FBI, the psychiatrist accepts this. However, Fringe Division is Department of Defense on the Other Side, which is not FBI, correct?

This season's intro does have new fringe sciences listed. What really surprised me is that one of them was not "First People," because it was my understanding that this season, we were going to find out what was meant by "First People." Of course, I'm not saying that we won't find out what was meant by it just because it's not in the new intro, but it does really surprise me that it was not in the intro
if in fact we are going to find out what that means. Anyway, the sciences listed in the new intro are pandemic, transhumanism, speciation, singularity, wormholes, reanimation, neural networks (is this like the Ghost Network, I wonder?), telepathy, transcendence, retrocognition and biotechnology. I am also very surprised that "Parallel Universes" is not listed in the new intro, because it was last season, and the show is more about parallel universes now than it has ever been. I wonder if next week, we will see even more fringe sciences listed, if these were just exclusive to "over there." I do have to say that I kind of miss the blue intro, and I think that we'll be getting the blue one back next week, since I think that it will be red for the "over there" episodes and blue for the "here" episodes.

I am
really looking forward to this season as a whole; I think that it is going to be one heck of a thrill ride. We meet Bolivia's mother in this episode (an incrediblypowerful scene), Marilyn Dunham, and word on the street is that she will be in episodes 1, 3, 5, and 7, at least, so via Bolivia's mother, I am hoping that an opportunity to explain more of Olivia's past will be seized. Maybe, we can find out who her biological father is, who her stepfather was (assuming Bolivia also had a stepfather), how Olivia's mother died when she was fourteen, etc. Over the summer, Lance Reddick said that Season 3 will be a lot more mythology-oriented, and based on the way it's being staged, I can see that this is clearly the case. Next week's episode looks like it's going to be even better than the premiere, and there are quite a few events that I am looking forward to unfolding. What exactly is going to happen between Peter and Bolivia? How has Peter and Walter's relationship changed? When we see Walter at the end of this episode, he seems to be under the weather (eating the cream from Oreos, of course), so is Peter being hard on him? Something that I remember reading is that this season, we're going to see the Peter that Peter was before he joined Fringe Division, so I'm hoping for answers surrounding Big Eddy, as well. Then, episode 3.03 is titled "The Plateau," but my lips are sealed from here on out, and I close by giving "Olivia" 8.5 Hijacked Taxis.

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