'Fringe': Olivia and the team meet their doppelgängers

fringe-lance-reddick-anna-torv-320x180.jpgEver wonder what your twin would be like? That's exactly what Olivia and the team found out on the first hour of the two-part season finale of "Fringe."

With Peter kidnapped and taken to the other side (er, his rightful home), Olivia and Walter took it upon themselves to get over there, but it's not as easy as you think. After all, only Olivia (and Bell, to a lesser extent) has successfully traveled from one universe to the other without significant damage or change in physical form.

So when we're introduced to the other universe with glimpses of alternate Olivia, Charlie and Broyles and team leader Lincoln (guest star Seth Gabel), it's about to get rocky ...

We're thrown into the middle of the action in the other world, where the rogue-ish Fringe team are called to duty after an alarm goes off in Brooklyn. Team leader Lincoln discovers a breach in the fabric between universes and tells alternate Broyles that they might have to qurantine the area. He calls in alternate Astrid, who is very different from the Astrid we know, and it takes her a while to determine that the area should not be quarantined. (Quarantined, in this world, literally means blowing up a couple of blocks.) Alternate Charlie calls Olivia and Lincoln over to study a dead body with carcenomas all over his body. When they're studying a $20 bill, the camera pans to reveal our Olivia with Walter. Question is: How'd they get over?

We go back to 36 hours before, with Walter watching tape of Peter disappearing to the other side with Walternate. Meanwhile, Olivia is drinking alone at the bar when the Observer drops a packet off on a stool next to her. It's a page of text with a drawing of a Peter look-a-like and his eyes doing god-knows-what. Olivia finds out that after Walter saved Peter from absolute death those many years ago at Reiden Lake, the Observer made Walter promise that he would never bring Peter back to the other side. Why? Because of exactly what the image depicts. "My son is going to be responsible for the end of the world," Walter explains worriedly. Now their plan is clear: They must get Peter back and at whatever cost.

Broyles, Olivia and Walter go to Massive Dynamic for help in getting to, or rather passing to, the other side, since the two worlds are literally overlapping. The only problem that may arise? The atoms that are split during the passing through might not return to its original makeup. After Nina Sharp brings up Olivia's success in passing through to the other side, Walter says that by utilizing more cortexiphan kids, "their collective psychic energy" could allow them to get through. Olivia is reunited with fellow cortexiphan kids James Heath, Sally Clark and friend Nick Lane. At this point, they're able to control their powers while housed at a Massive Dynamic school of sorts. Quite a change from the first time we met each of these familiar faces in Season 1.

Their meeting with Walter is tense, but that's to be expected. But what is unexpected is Walter's heartfelt plea for their forgiveness, apologizing for the way in which they were treated as young children. Interestingly enough, as much as Walter regretted his past actions, he still has the mad scientist in him, a part of him still believing that what he and Bell did was needed. While the cortexiphan trio enjoy their last night before they "save two worlds," Walter and Olivia do the same, but the former spends it crying and being understandably miserable.

The next morning, Walter leads the cortexiphan kids onto the stage and they form a circle, with him standing in the center of it. It's a unique relationship between scientist and the subject, and it's subtly studied here. The four make it through to the other side (hint of this is when the zeppelin flies overhead), but of course, not all of them survive. (James ends up being the body the other Fringe team sees lying on the stage.) Sally, meanwhile, isn't feeling so hot. Nick's psychic ability is rendered useless. With the addition of the standard "Show Your ID" rule, the original plan of finding Bell is going to be a longer one than expected.

We find out Walternate's the Secretary of Defense in this other world, and that his office is located in a copper Statue of Liberty. Alternate Olivia, Charlie and Lincoln meet Walternate in his office. The Fringe team refers to the Reiden Lake incident in 1985 as the Zero Event, which was also the year the division was created. (How does this world know of the incident? Do they know that this Zero Event they refer to is Peter being taken from their world?) Interesting development. The ZFT manifesto, written by Walternate, turns out to be real and one that is likened to as an important document. Walternate says these ruptures in the universe aren't natural, but created by man. 

Meanwhile, Peter wakes up from his three-day coma. He walks into the kitchen and sees his mother (guest star Orla Brady) in the kitchen and has a heartbreaking reunion after so many years. It's a bittersweet moment shared between a son and his mother, and it'll be even more devastating when things come to a head in the resolution of this episode build-up. The two have some coffee (a delicacy in this world), and Peter brings up his mother from the other side and her inability to deal with many things in her life.

Peter looks at the blueprints his mother gave him to look at, telling him that his father was asking him for help. When Olivia, Walter, Sally and Nick arrive at the meeting place, they're met with the other Fringe team taking shots at the four. Nick is shot and ends up dying, saving Sally's life, but in the end, Sally explodes into a pit of fire after attempting to kill Lincoln. He's burned to a crisp.

Walter is shot by alternate Olivia, but passes out in front of a hospital. Peter continues to study the blueprints of the machine, which we later learn is already in place, and it's located under the Statue of Liberty. Meanwhile, our Olivia keeps a watchful eye on alternate Olivia and her boyfriend, but gets a (surprise) visit from Bell (guest star Leonard Nimoy). Bell tells Olivia that they are strapped for time if they want to save Walter.

So what is this machine and what is Peter's role in it? This episode set the pieces in motion for next week's ultimate showdown. I'm already counting down. 

Highlights & Observations:

  • Within the first minute of the episode, "Fringe" paid homage to a Season 1 episode where Charlie was almost killed by worms.
  • On the other side, they have no idea who President Jackson is. On their $20, it's Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • In the title sequence, one of the texts says, "First People," instead of the usual phrase. Also, what is the significance of the red color?
  • Walter believes that everyone once had the power that the cortexiphan drug he and Bell created creates. Interesting.
  • The map on Walternate's wall looks very different than what we've seen. I couldn't make out every difference, but biggest one I could see was that a chunk of California was completely gone.
  • Are we to assume that Nick appeared on the other side before since Lincoln seemed to recognize him?
  • Alternate Olivia has a boyfriend!
  • Everyone on the other side has a small tattoo on their backs. What is the significance?


What are your thoughts on the first part of "Over There"? Discuss below!

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