'Fringe' recap: Olivia follows the clues

First of all, remember the list that Olivia looked at toward the end of last night’s Fringe, the one containing her Jacksonville classmates? The last name on that list was “Ken T.” I hope to heaven that that’s not me, because I don’t want to find out it’s the Cortexiphan that’s been making my spelling so atrocious lately.

Now then: The hour began with a typically atypical occurrence. A sickly man consulted with a lawyer. He touched her, and a few minutes later, cancerous growths overtook her body and she died. (The woman was played by no less than Diane Kruger — Inglourious Basterds, National Treasure, and good friend of Josh Jackson’s.) Roll opening credits, and then Olivia was on the case. Sort of.

Olivia’s been having trouble sleeping; she’s torn about her new certainty that our Peter is the glimmering, alternative-universe Peter, and is tussling with the idea of telling him. She went to see Sam Weiss (Kevin Corrigan), the elliptical bowling alley sage, whose advice is… elliptical, although later in the episode, while playing a game of Clue, he tells her she’s a “soldier, a protector” — significant alt-universe language. Olivia struggled throughout the hour with her Peter quandry, much to the nervousness of Walter, a quality I’m kind of surprised Peter didn’t pick up on.

The sickly man, James Heath, eludes Olivia while infecting others. Eventually, in this episode entitled “Olivia. In The Lab. With The Revolver.,” Olivia realizes that all of his targeted people once went to the day-care center she attended as a child in Jacksonville, the site of Walter and William Bell’s drug trials. So what looked initially like a “Pattern” case became quite personal; Fringe is becoming, more than ever, as Peter put it this evening, about “this little family unit we’ve got going.” He meant Walter, Olivia, and himself, but Olivia reached out to the family’s wicked aunt, Massive Dynamic’s Nina Sharp, to see what she might know about what’s “killing Cortexiphan kids” and exactly who those kids are.

Olivia also wanted to run past Nina the news that she knows who Peter really is, and plans to tell him. Nina’s reaction was a superb bit of acting on the part of Blair Brown, who managed to convey surprise, shock, irritation, and dab of fear in one hard stare. This week’s episode stood up as a perfectly comprehensible hour even if you were new to the series, thanks to its medical mystery and fun side-moments such as Walter making brightly colored taffy. But is also wove in characters and names from previous episodes — Nick Lane, Nancy Lewis — and raised the tantalizing suggestion that the illness James Heath suffered from might be a malady that’s also afflicting parts of the alternate universe.

And how nice a touch was it that Clue-playing Olivia bopped Heath over the head with a candlestick?

What did you think of Fringe this week?

Comments (72 total) Add your comment
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  • Adam

    Just started watching the show a few weeks ago, got caught up very quickly (watched the 1st season in like 3 days) absolutely in love with the characters and the story and mythology of the show. Normally I am not one for “Sci-Fi” but when JJ Abrams is doing it it’s always entertaining as hell.

  • Ericalina

    This is probably totally irrelevent but how did Olivia know Timothy’s middle name when all she had was a list of first names and last initials? Was there something important I missed there (quite possible)?

    • Brian

      She remembered some of the kids and their names from actually being with them at “school.”

    • Dicazi

      I know people who go by their middle name, and others who have changed back and forth.

    • Dicazi

      Remember, she was on the list as Olive, not Olivia.

  • psb1962

    AS USUAL..THE STORY WAS SUPERB, THE ACTING FLAWLESS,AND THE EFFECTS GROSS…IN SHORT I LOOOOOVED EVERY SECOND!!!!

  • darclyte

    Good “monster of the week” episode.

  • LanaG

    Excellent!

    • Dimirik

      You can’t burn those PJs! I was just remembering *MY* two baby girls in those PJs. She is egtting so big. Come visit. We have break in march and Dustin will be gone. Please please come.

  • tony bogustello

    Ken – Nice no Diane Kruger shout out as the infected lawyer. Seriously…you’re better than that. It was a cute touch, having Joshua Jacksons superstar gf on for a split sec only to die horribly. I could watch Corrigan act all day. He’s amazing.

    • Ken Tucker

      You’re right, I should have mentioned that; fixed.

      • Jane

        And they are more than “good friends.” They’re boyfriend-girlfriend and live together.

      • Ken Tucker

        Oh, give me a break willya, Jane? ‘Twas just a little joke, joke…

      • lol…

        …@ “boyfriend-girlfriend” — ken, you don’t have to defend yourself against 14 year olds.

      • Zoe

        Thank you SO much for IDing Diane Kruger! Through that whole opening, placing her drove me nuts! And then when a familiar name wasn’t in the credits, I thought, “well, it’s just an actress who resembles someone I can’t think of.” Nice cameo that now makes sense with the Jackson connection.

      • Brigid

        @Jane, let Ken call her a good friend all he wants, I’m still bitter she didn’t bring Josh Jackson with her to the Oscars!

      • Angie

        Jane, you need to get smacked a few times with the humor stick, because clearly, you don’t have any…

    • fairweatherfrnd

      Also, when she was trying to remember the doctor’s name, she mistakenly named him as Gorlami, which was Brad Pitt’s Italian cover in Inglorious Basterds!

      • Eric

        Aha! I was going to post a comment asking if anyone else caught that reference. Bravo!

      • dariogorlami

        I noticed that as well :)

      • Angle

        I find it very interesting that every faelme FRINGE fan I speak to about Olivia’s response to Peter not seeing through Altlivia’s poor portrayal of her is completely on her side, and in fact they don’t think she was hard enough on him. How could he look into her eyes and not see that it wasn’t really her? It’s not as if he didn’t even know she had an alter-self. I think I would know if something was off about my lover. Yet all the guys I speak to side with Peter and think she was too hard on him.One faelme fan I spoke to put it best, I guess we women all would like to think that our men really see us when they look at us.

    • Alan

      I was going “is she?” “isn’t she?”, especially since she wasn’t named in the opening credits, but with that slight German accent of hers, I was leaning towards the “is she”

  • Brigid

    I am more and more impressed with John Noble every week. He’s so subtly changed Walter’s facial expressions as Walter has sort of joined society more and more since he left the mental hospital. The subtle pained looks he’s been giving Olivia since she found out Peter is Peternate has been heartbreaking and amazing. Every week I cry out that he needs an Emmy nom!

  • Lori

    Agree wholeheartedly with Brigid. John Noble is awesome! I don’t think I would enjoy the show as much if it weren’t for him. He plays Walter so perfectly, brilliant beyond belief, flawed, hopelessly human, quirky, caring, and funny. I love Fringe!

  • Allyson

    I absolutely loved this episode. This show really does get better and better every week. I cannot wait for the musical episode.

  • Paco

    Im always impressed by how much i love Torv in the role of an FBI agent because she acts exactly as I would expect an FBI agent to act…unlike “Juliet” over in V. Awesome episode.

    • Q

      I strongly agree with this – right down to the joke about the “uniform.” She’s a worthy successor to Scully.

    • Lisa

      I absolute agree, Anna Torv truly touches me every week. Don’t get me wrong, I think the show is blessed with incredible actors – only the character Olivia and the way Anna Torv plays her touches me deeply.

  • Q

    I’m going to go against the tide here and say that I was a little let down by this episode. The writing was flat and much less clever than usual, and the “monster of the week” plot felt very forced. I did enjoy the interaction of the main characters, esp. Olivia and Sam, but felt like the mystery part was just a bit lacking this week. Maybe my expectations are still just ratcheted way up from last week!

    • GW

      I enjoyed it, but also thought it felt like a lower-budgeted episode. Maybe they spent too much money the week before.

  • Ames

    Very good ep. This is the most consistent show on right now, I believe. Only qualm? Peter didn’t include Astrid as a member of their little family. Ouch.

    • Brigid

      Well, it’s always Peter-Olivia-Walter in the show promos, and Astrid rarely is seen outside the lab interacting with them. And I remember seeing Astrid outside the lab when Walter “got lost” but I’ve never seen her go to Walter and Peter’s house.

      • Kristen

        I agree. I feel like Astrid should get more involved. She’s in the lab all the time and helps with every case, but she gets no love. I wouldn’t go to the house either if I were her!! lol

  • jenna

    Absolutely loved this episode and can’t wait to see how the rest of the season unfolds.
    I’m relying on Fringe to keep me intrigued after Lost is gone. It’s a tall order, but so far, especially this season, I’ve not been disappointed.
    And, I agree, Anna Torv has been excellent as a female lead.

  • LB

    Typical episode for the series. You could watch it as a brand new viewer and not be lost but also as a viewer who is aware of the mythology behind it and appreciate it. As a big fan of LOST it’s actually pretty refreshing to enjoy a series with a great mythology but not feel as though I have to watch every single episode in order to fully enjoy it and its mythology. (Last week’s episode being the major exception!)

  • jenna

    Forgot to add that I loved all the ‘Clue’ references, starting with the title; some fun stuff!

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