The two-part season finale, “Over There,” features many exciting moments, numerous questions that I suspect will be selectively answered, better-than-average acting, and plot twists that a ten-year-old could see coming.

Title: Over There

Cast and Crew

Directed by Akiva Goldsman
Written by J.H. Wyman, Jeff Pinker, and Akiva Goldsman

John Noble as Dr. Walter Bishop
Anna Torv as Olivia Dunham
Peter Jackson as Peter Bishop
Jaskika Nicole as Astrid Farnsworth
Lance Reddick as Phillip Broyles
Kirk Acevedo as Charlie Francis
Orla Brady as Elizabeth Bishop
Leonard Nimoy as William Bell

Cast and crew information may be found at the imdb

Synopsis

The Fringe force battle their counterparts in an alternate world, steal a high-tech machine, and learn that Peter’s actions could lead to doomsday.

We fail to learn why Bell dinged Walter’s memories.

High Point

1. I like the fact that each universe sees the other as evil and monstrous, for seemingly good reasons.

2. Anna Torv gives her strongest performances of the series here, playing opposite herself. She also shows us the differences among (1)Olive-here (2) Olivia-there (3) Olivia-here pretending to be Olivia-there and (4) Olivia-there pretending to be Olivia-here. That’s challenging to write, much less act.

Low Points

1. The misuse of the other Cortexiphan kids as plot devices, to be red-shirted when no longer useful.

2. I know, I know. This is a comic-book-style show, best enjoyed by people who either (1) don’t want to think through things too carefully, especially the science or (2) can simply accept the wild-eyed, fantastic premises.

Seriously, though. How does the alternate world resemble ours at all, given both the divergent histories and (more importantly, from the point of view of the story) the incredible technological advances?

The Scores

Originality: 3/6. Most of the story’s key elements have been used before, many times. Alternate realities are fine, but can we have a moratorium on alternate realities where the main characters battle alternate versions of themselves– who shouldn’t even exist, given the wildly divergent paths the alternate history has taken?

Effects: 6/6

Story: 4/6. The story begins well, and creates a fair bit of suspense. The second half has some strong moments, but the writers didn’t exactly surprise us with anything new or unexpected. They also force Peter’s decision regarding where he stays, but that particular McGuffin is fairly important to the story arc. Still, it would have been more powerful if he had an actual choice to make.

Acting: 5/6 Noble has always been the show’s strongest asset, and here he gets to play two very different versions of Dr. Bishop. I’ve been critical of Anna Torv’s acting in the past, but she has some of her best moments in this episode as both versions of Olivia.

The cast overall in this ep do a wee bit too much of the Blockbuster Action Movie Thing.

Production: 6/6 The producers took great pains to show often-subtle differences between the two realities.

Emotional response: 4/6.

Overall: 4/6. Five for the set-up, four for the the follow-through, and three for the conclusion.

“Over There” receives thirty-three out of forty-two.

Lingering Question #17

How did Olivia-There cross over? Does she receive special Cortexiphan treatment, or is Bell just that good at opening the gates?