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'Fringe' recap: Epilogue

309_marionette_022 Last week, I went on and on about how “Entrada” was the end of the first chapter of “Fringe” this season. It did bring the story to a close. Peter finally figured out Bolivia wasn’t Olivia, but she jumped back to her universe right after he captured her, and our Olivia rode the loud sensory deprivation tank home. Everyone is right where they belong. End of chapter. Time to move on. How about some bugs popping out of people’s brains?

Then comes “Marionette,” the perfect epilogue to that first chapter.

I’ve always wanted to see more of what happens after the ending of a big action movie. Sure, we’ve defeated the evil alien mothership and saved mankind, but all our cities are blown up. Or we’ve fallen in love while escaping the malfunctioning homicidal robots, but whose side are we spending Christmas with? It isn’t often that you get to see how people move on from these huge events, but “Marionette” gives us just that. Bundled with a retelling of the quintessential horror/sci fi story.

After all the dust has settled from all the universe-jumping, Olivia tries to go right back to work. No one seems to think she’s ready, which goes to show how much they don’t know Olivia (no wonder Bolivia managed to fool them so well). Olivia made a promise to the alternate Broyles to try to fix their two universes peacefully, and she wants to get right on that. Plus, what else is she going to do? Sit at home in her apartment where Bolivia had been living her life?  

I apologize if this sounds at all sexist, but I think I loved “Marionette” because of how female the episode was. (Is that sexist? If not, I’m sure I’ll end up saying something sexist before too long). The best example of what I mean comes about halfway through. Olivia is in her apartment after taking a shower and notices Bolivia’s tattoo on the back of her neck. She goes to her closet only to pull her clothes off the hangers. She strips her bed and takes the sheets to her washing machine only to find a load already there.

How many guys would be that upset that someone else was wearing their old college shirt? None. Most use it as a napkin. But when Olivia holds it up, it is heartbreaking. An incredible detail about how she had been violated. A complete stranger (worse, an enemy) took over her life. Opened her mail. Had a relationship with the man she loved. Olivia’s reaction in this episode made her seem like an honest, real woman. Which you don’t see often in sci-fi television. I think the credit goes to the episode's writers Monica Owusu-Breen and Alison Schapker, who also brought us “The Plateu” (one of my favorites from this season).

Not that great female writers only give us character depth and emotional drama. They also think up some of the creepiest stuff you’ll see. The original reanimation of dead tissue story was written by Mary Shelley herself. These ladies take it to the next step. A depressed genius falls in love with a young dancer in his support group. After she kills herself and donates her organs, he collects them and puts her back together. That not creepy enough for you? How about a complicated machine he uses to make her dance? Disturbingly beautiful, like Cirque de Soliel. That not creepy enough for you? How about the crazy-eyed blank expression the girl has when this lunatic gets her back and running. I might need to go back and watch an episode written by guys just so I can get some sleep. 

Olivia’s final decision could have come off as a cop-out. She can’t be with Peter because Bolivia got there first. Coming from some female characters on TV, this might have made me roll my eyes (I’m looking at you Sookie Stackhouse). But after watching her deal with how much of her life had been tainted by her evil twin, her choice makes sense. When Olivia told Peter this is how it had to be, I felt just like he did. Like saying, “I’m sorry.” While sitting in a chair in the backyard of a crazy man’s house. Has to be one of the worst breakup locations ever.

Extras –- A few things I have to mention that didn’t really fit in anywhere. 1.) Did anyone else notice the heavy "Dexter" influence our crazy man had tonight? 2.) Walter craving pickled herring? My family has some Norwegian roots. Enough that Christmastime to me always means pickled herring. I need to run out and get some. 3.) The video chat product placement did stick out a little. Not painful. Hopefully they’ll find smoother ways to let us know how great Android phones are. 4.) They rush into a suspect’s home, but only check out the basement after they hear a noise? Really? These are insane scientists we’re working with. The basement would be the first place I’d check.

Astrid Action -– This is the episode where Broyles and Astrid seem to really become major characters in “Fringe.” They both seemed far more into the investigation than they had been in the past. Broyles making raids with Peter and Olivia. Astrid coming into Broyles' office with them for a debriefing. Then they also both got deeper, personal scenes. Broyles when he questions Olivia about his alternate universe life, and Astrid as she comforted Olivia and answered her questions about Peter with Bolivia. Even Gene the cow got a shout-out that seemed completely natural with the crazy science involved. Maybe all my whining to get these characters more screen time has paid off. What should I whine about next?

Spot the Observer – He wasn’t all that difficult to spot this week, but wow. What the heck was that all about? And who do you think the Observer was talking about? “I’m looking at him as we speak. He’s still alive.” Who? Peter or Walter? Just last week, I was saying that I’m ready for another episode about the Observer. Now it looks like the whole next chapter is going to be about bald watchmen. Can we just skip ahead to Fridays in January? Please?

-Andrew Hanson


"Fringe" recap: Coming Home

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Photo: Walter (John Noble, left) and Peter (Joshua Jackson, right) investigate a victim at a crime scene. Credit: Fox Television

Comments () | Archives (17)

It was actually Peter's MIT college shirt which is why it was so heartbreaking ..... evidence that they'd had an intimate relationship just brought it all crashing down for her.

Great Ep but why did Broyles refer to himself as Col. Broyles twice in the episode. Peter and Olivia seemed to find that odd but I found it very off putting. Solid recap as always.

She wasn't upset because Doliviaganger (as I call her) wore her college shirt. That was PETER's shirt. M.I.T? That's why she flipped out particularly at that part. And the Observer, did anyone one else think his phone conversation was really really ominous sounding? The "he's still alive" kinda make it sound like whoever was on the other end (Boss Observer?) didn't expect him to be.

Great review on the episode, but one thing -- I don't think that's Olivia's college T-shirt in the wash, it's Peter's. That's what sends her over the edge, that confirmation that he and Bolivia were involved.

Actually, I think the MIT shirt belonged to Peter, since he was there for a time. That just makes the scene all the more heartbreaking for Olivia. This is truly the best show on TV right now and it really sucks they are moving it to the death slot on Friday. Why can't the put this show on a day where it might actually survive?

Actually, I think the reason Olivia was upset about finding the shirt in the wash is that it is Peter's, not her's. Just hammered home the fact that not only did Bolivia wear her clothes and live in her house and take over her life, but she also took the man she loved before she even had a chance to really start a relationship with him.

I also think she realizes that everyone preferred the 'fun, freewheeling' Olivia that Bolivia was, and that bothers her. I can imagine that being addressed when the series returns as well.

Sorry to nitpik here... but the t-shirt was Peter's - he went to MIT. That's why Olivia was so upset when she pulled it out of the washer. Yet another reminder of Bolivia and Peter.

I found the subject matter of this episode really intriguing. An obsessive puppet master who knows every twinkle of his object of desire, juxtaposed to Peter - the man who accepted an imposter. Interesting indeed.

I'm so bummed we have to wait another 3 or 4 weeks! Geeze....

I liked your premise on this "female" aspects of this episode. It was one of the most twisted things I've seen on TV in a long time. That and the emotional heartbreak between Olivia and Peter. They've both had way too much pain.

Feminist? Nah. Men have feelings, too. I can't imagine a man NOT having a visceral reaction to finding his new girlfriend's pajamas in his washing machine just as he comes back from being tortured and brainwashed in an alternate universe. Olivia didn't overreact like a "girl". She started the day disconcerted about having Bolivia open her mail. Then she finds out she wasn't invited to her own relationship with Peter. Even after a shower, she feels Bolivia's ick all over her body (bangs and tattoo) and all over her clothes. That same ick covers her sex-stained sheets (literally and figuratively). And then she finds Peter's M.I.T. shirt in the wash... showing a level of everyday trust, familiarity, and partnership--that she was left out of-- that would sicken even the most detached individual. Bolivia violated her, and raped her of her sense of self. Olivia needs to express her anger. I'm sure she will eventually get over it, yes, but there's some serious healing that needs to take place first.

Cool thing about Fringe is that while the stories may be sci-fi, the characters are stunningly human. Poor Peter, all he could say was he was sorry because Olivia already argued his side for him!

I love when my favourite sci-fi show can prove to be the best written and acted show on network television, especially with "Marionette". I don't care that Fringe is moving to fridays, because if any Fringe fan is like me, they will follow it there. This move will just prove how hardcore Fringe fans are when ratings stay the same, or better yet, improve!

I felt the impact of the mad scientist when he said to Olivia - ' I looked into her eyes, and I knew it wasn't her. I don't know what I brought back, but it wasn't her." UGH...Peter wanted to believe it in spite of his doubts, because he wanted to be with Olivia. But he wasn't with Olivia..it was AltOlivia, and he KNEW it. I mean..he knew it even if he didn't know it, you know? He just swallowed his doubt to be with her...and I don't blame Olivia one iota for saying "can't be with you, don't even want to wear my clothers or live in my apt"...it was so much more than being with the AltOlivia, another girl besides her. He didn't follow his instinct, and she did...and I FEEL her!

I feel a little bit bad for Peter, but...not so much, because I was yelling and hollering at the tv for weeks now, telling him to wake up and pay attention to his gut instinct, which we could all see he was battling with. Ugh...

Great show, great episode, and I'm with Olivia all the way. Jan 21st is a long, long long time man! Whew!

Actually, the MIT shirt that Olivia pulled out of her washing machine was Peter's shirt. We last saw that shirt in "Dream Logic." Olivia went to Northwestern, and AltLiv was wearing that T-shirt to sleep in during last week's episode. So I interpreted that scene as her finding more evidence of Peter and AltLiv taking over her apartment and life. Either way, I agree that it was heartbreaking. Anna Torv has just been on fire this season!

However, I have to say that I found it pretty funny that even though AltLivia may be a spy on a secret mission that involves billions of lives and is a "Mata Hari with a vagenda", and yet she still gets stuck doing the guy's laundry!

And here i was ready to comment on the t-shirt belonging to Peter. Good thing i read the comments first. Teehee.

Anna Torv should be given an Emmy and a raise! lol

Lol, it was peters m.i.t. shirt. olivia never went to m.i.t.

I believe the Observer is referring to Peter. The machine was intended to be built, and it will presumably kill Peter while also destroying our universe, thus healing the rift. The Observers are probably there to preserve order in some sense, so saying that "he's still alive" means that the process hasn't begun yet, and ominously forebodes that they're going to interject and start the process.

can we skip ahead to January and put the show anywhere but Fridays, please? what a stab in my heart just when my post-lost obsession went firing on all cylinders.
it was a great, if not incredibly disturbing, quieter episode following the last week's climax. i knew they would somehow tie the whole "i can tell it wasn't her just by looking into her eyes" thing back with faux-Olivia and Peter's fling. i do hope Olivia ask more questions of why those she worked with didn't sense it wasn't her. how can the writers not at least show us that he's as smart as he was supposed to be. they really did play Peter as too dumb by not having any suspicion, i mean, Olivia kissed him when she was disguised as faux-Olivia for gods sake.
i knew the observers would be back in the fold once they finish the universe-swap storyline, so i'm interested to see if it'll hopefully tie with that chapter.

I'll have to watch the episode again, but was Broyles there when the Observer mentioned "he is still alive"? As far as we know only William Bell and Peter have no corresponding double. And they both have been important in the universes. Bell somehow traveled between them (did he dope himself with Cortexiphan? do we know how he did it? I am forgetting something?) and was probably important for the evolution of the universe-hopping Walter and certainlyprevented Walter from becoming like Walternate through the subtle art of brain surgery. And, of course, Peter can end the world. What happens when there is only one of someone? Oh wait, there is also only one Charlie, and maybe only one burn victim Fringe Division guy whose name I can never remember...but Charlie is all a mess, what is it, spiders in his veins? Or Broyles was never at the scene with the Observers, in which case I don't know. (1) Observers saved Peter from the beginning, but maybe his only purpose was to aid Olivia in her escape from the other side (that relationship had to happen), so now he can die. (2) Observers saved Peter from the beginning, so it must be Walter they want dead. (3) Or maybe. on that yet unaddressed trip Walter took with the Observer, he was told he had to die or that he would have to kill his son at some point. Who knows...well I have waxed on long enough. Love this show, and all us fans better watch it live on Fridays for fear that it goes the way of Dollhouse (I am not comparing the two, it is just an example of a sci-fi show from the age of the DVR, versus X-Files, that was sent to Friday to quietly die).


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