If you have not yet seen this episode of Fringe, then, please, do not read any further, as this does contain spoilers. I didn't think that this episode is as good as the last one, but it was still great, following a great pace this season with which I am very happy. Over the summer, as I seem to say a lot, Lance Reddick said that this season would be a lot more mythology-oriented than last season, and so far, I can definitely agree with that. Sure, it may be that the "science" involving Milo Stanfield is seemingly "stand-alone," but I don't see Milo's story as being the primary story here; the primary story is Olivia's brainwashing procedure, and just as I thought, she is definitely not faking; she really does think that she is Bolivia. First of all, Bolivia's personality is definitely there (she is all smiles and bubbly, for example, and is wearing light colors such as white and lilac purple), and Olivia would have no way of knowing how to play Bolivia's part. This is why I can't understand how Peter doesn't realize that who he thinks is Olivia is actually Bolivia; Bolivia doesn't play the part of Olivia very well at all. When Olivia first walks into Fringe Division, I wondered if maybe, after all, she is faking, because a look on her face kind of says, "I can do this," but then she recognizes Charlie (I think it is appropriate to call him Charlie at this point and not Scarlie, because for all intents and purposes, he is Charlie) as being someone who owes her $70.00; she knows details that she shouldn't know but that Bolivia would know.
In this episode, Walternate, as promised, tells Colonel Broyles why he is keeping Olivia here. He says, "If we can learn what she already knows," and Broyles finishes his statement by saying, "We can begin to defend ourselves." The key word here is begin. Walternate, as we saw in the Season 2 Finale, is a liar, since he obviously has not told Broyles about the Shapeshifters. I find that interesting, because he seems willing to tell Broyles everything else. What assurance does he have that Broyles won't tell the rest of the team the truth? Is he even telling the truth as to why he is keeping Olivia here? Why doesn't Walternate just telleveryone what he is up to? What does he fear? Is it because he knows that what he is doing is immoral? Is it because he figures that they will react the same way Broyles has, that they won't be on board with the idea? It's obvious to me that the writers want us to like Lincoln Lee and Charlie (who, by the way, is still injecting himself with something; this must be why he was bald in the second season finale, after all). They don't want us to see them as "bad guys." Walternate is another story, but the team is made up of good people (not Bolivia so much, though). Charlie, for example, is suspicious, and I think that it may be him (and possibly Broyles, too) who will help Olivia. At the end of the episode, Olivia is on the ground, gasping for air, and Charlie comes to her rescue. Foreshadowing, perhaps? That really would be beautiful. Charlie helped her once by telling her that "you're going to be fine," and now, he helps her again, in a matter of speaking.
So, it is confirmed in this episode that on the Other Side, technology is so advanced that pens have become obsolete. This is why Milo uses the pen to cause the murders; he knows that the pen will grab attention. I noticed, by the way, from spending some time in the Fringe Podcast chat room Thursday night that I was not the only one who was reminded of the Observers, and my boyfriend said that he reminded him of the Observers, too. During the scene in which Milo's sister tries to get him to come to his senses, he finishes her sentences, knowing what she was going to say, and, obviously, this is something that we have seen the Observers do. Is this what the Observers do, analyze every piece of data and then map out probabilities in their head? After Fringe Division arrives to the "scene of the crime," if you will, Lincoln Lee says, "No sign of environmental degradation." So, I guess that that gives us a little more insight into what caused the Blight and why coffee is so rare. Additionally, as we learn in this episode, avocados are rare, too. I find it interesting that in certain areas, the quality of the air needs to be checked before it is decided whether or not additional oxygen is needed. Is this due to the "environmental degradation"?
The Ivan Medical Group brought two thoughts to my mind - Massive Dynamic and INtREPUS Pharmaceuticals. As far as INtREPUS is concerned, as I have said before, it's very possible that INtREPUS is linked to Massive Dynamic somehow, as it has been featured in two episodes, episode 1.06, "The Cure," and episode 2.16, "Olivia. In the Lab. With the Revolver." In this episode, Ivan's goal was to increase intelligence, and what I couldn't help but think is that isn't this, more or less, the goal of Cortexiphan? Is the Other Side building their own soldiers? My understanding is that the Other Side's version of soldiers was the Shapeshifters, but perhaps there is more to their agenda than just the Shapeshifters. At the beginning of the episode, Blair Brown's name is listed, so I was expecting to see her, and I was so excited. I thought, finally, alter-Nina! However, no, we did not see alter-Nina in this episode. I was expecting to see her when Olivia and Charlie go to Ivan, thinking that maybe she owned that place, but nope, no Nina, needless to say. It's more likely that Blair's name is listed just because she is considered to be part of the "main cast." I wonder how long alter-Nina is going to be held off, because unless she is dead (which would be disappointing), we're going to have to meet her, eventually. On this side, Brandon works for Nina, so since he works for Walternate on the Other Side, does Nina work for Walternate, too? Is she who was communicating with Gnarlie via the typewriter at the beginning of Season 2, who is communicating with Bolivia via the typewriter now?
In this episode, despite the fact that Walternate insists that the "treatment" being given to Olivia will work, that she will eventually reach a "plateau" and will, at that point, for all intents and purposes, be Bolivia, Olivia seems to be coming around a little bit. She sees Peter and Walter, which, I think, is her unconscious trying to tell her who she really is. Then, when she is talking to Milo's sister at Milo's sister's house on Long Island, she talks about her relationship with her sister, even though in the second season finale, we learn that Rachel was never born on that side. Her memories are merging, and that brings me to my prediction, my theory, if you will. I think that eventually, Olivia will come completely around and know who she really is, but she will remember having been Bolivia, so she will use what she learned during that time to pretend to be Bolivia until she can make it back here, which Charlie may help her do. Based on the ending of this episode, it would seem that she is now confused, unsure of who she is, but I do think that her identity as Bolivia will hold a little while longer. I love Peter's line at the end of the episode when Olivia tells him that he isn't real; he says that "real is only a matter of perception." That is definitely a memorable quote. Overall, it was a pretty good episode. We definitely got an intense and creepy soundtrack this week, if nothing else, and I give it 7.5 Hallucinations.