Fringe Discussion: Olivia

Fringe has gone from a mediocre reinvention of X-Files to a popular show with its own vision. Anna Torv, often questionable as both a female lead and as a depiction of a top FBI agent, has also come a long way.

I still can’t make myself care very much about this show, but “Olivia” gave us a fairly strong season premiere.

The “fringe” science (the explanation for memory transfer was unnecessary and beyond ridiculous) and the underlying premise (alternate universe with a different history and culture, but the exact same people) remain absurd, but this episode features a strong opening sequence, good pacing, and a decent handling of Olivia’s identity dilemma. John Noble remains the show’s strongest asset, both as the familiar mad scientist and the evil Walternate.

-Will the two Olivias replace each other, in intent as well as addresses?
-(When) will the two sides work together against the greater enemy?
-Would Dogs make you laugh, make you cry?
-When will Olivia’s fellow agents realize they’re being played, too?
-What role will our cabbie-cum-poster-boy-for-Stockholm Syndrome play?
-Should we post discussions for The Big Bang Theory, which also had its season premiere last night?
-What do the rest of you think?

2 replies on “Fringe Discussion: Olivia”

  1. I’ve heard this season will mostly be one-over-here/one-over-there, switching back and forth each episode. I’m not so sure I’ll like that, as it means less of “our” Walter, Peter, and Astrid, which are some of the show’s major strong points.

    The alternate versions are interesting, but I’m hoping they find a way to make them more interesting over the long-term, so they don’t get tiresome and feel too much like a gimmick.

    I rather enjoyed tonight’s episode, though. It was a good setup for the season, and it should be fun to see where it’s going.

    As for multiple-universes-same-people, there are enough differences that I’d buy it. It sort of follows the same premise that other shows have taken with time travel. Namely that no matter how much history diverged between timelines, the universe wants the two timelines to eventually converge. (I forget the exact theories, it’s way too early)

    • I being really nerdy here, but we’re at a nerd site, so:

      Yeah, it’s a convention of pop-SF that alternate realities exist that have the same people despite massive differences. However, it doesn’t make sense. Even if we assume the differences between the two universe were recent, the character’s lives have taken different paths. They wouldn’t go on to have the same children, and history would diverge radically. In the Alterverse, the WTC still stands. That means those people are still alive, interacting, and reproducing. Different world.

      Walterverse did not spend years in a mental institution. Olivia’s mom didn’t die when Olivia was young. Again, these things would result in significant differences. Some of these would become greater over the years.

      But the differences aren’t recent. The level of technology evident in the Alterverse would have to be built on a different technological history. Even the Easter Eggs mess this up: if Dogs is based on the alterverse version of T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (1939), AlterEliot would have been a very different man, and again, interacted with people differently. And so on.

      It’s hard to see how the universes could converge.

      And no, this show doesn’t actually want us to think of these things, any more than they want us to assess the plausibility of their magical tech.

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