Fringe

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Whatever People Say She Is, That's What She's Not

Previously on Fringe: the entire friggin' series. It's a full minute and a half of scenes that run the gamut from the first episode of the first season to last season's finale, a collection of clips that I imagine would somehow be both enlightening and utterly baffling to new viewers. Hilariously, pretty much anything that has to do with the short-lived Cortexiphan Kids is excised from any kind of explanation.

But for good ol' completely-appropriate-to-the-storyline, nothing beats having a character talk to a shrink, which Olivia does for about an hour and a half to open Season 3. Olivia seems kind of zombified, but it's not like she was always the giggliest agent of the FBI. The doctor, a matronly type in a blue cardigan, tells Olivia that she's just trying to help Olivia get her life back so she can back home to her job and family. "This is not my home," Olivia intones. "Because you come from another universe?" says the doctor, clearly having gone over this a time or two.

The doctor pleasantly says, basically, that given all the freaky shit Olivia sees as a matter of course in her job -- plus the bump on her ol' coconut -- it's not surprising that Olivia has come up with this fantasy as a way of processing the trauma. Olivia denies that it's a fantasy, so the doctor winds up throwing a little more background story on the table for all the new viewers who are joining us this year, right? Right?

We see that the practically catatonic Olivia has her arms strapped to the chair she's in, and she has on some kind of zip-up one piece mental-patient suit, I'm presuming. The doctor picks up a picture of Olivia with a woman and asks if this is Olivia's mother. "She looks like her, but it isn't her," says Olivia. The doctor holds up pictures of Alt-Charlie and Agent Lincoln Lee, so Olivia can deny that they're her partners. Or maybe we have this all wrong and the doctor is just playing "marry/fuck/kill" with Olivia, who is being NO FUN.

There's another picture, one of Fauxlivia or Olivialt or Bolivia or whatever nomenclature you prefer, and she's grinning while sporting a gold medal around her neck whilst holding a huge firearm. "And who is this?" asks the doctor. "Another Olivia Dunham. The Olivia Dunham from over here," says Olivia. Back in our universe, that woman's probably looking to unseat a Democrat in the midterm elections.

The doctor asks Olivia how all this "other universe" stuff likely sounds to someone else, and Olivia admits it sounds preposterous, but it's the truth.

Now the doctor wants to know who Peter is, and Olivia seems surprised until the doctor says Olivia mumbled the name "Peter" while she was under anesthetic. "Is he one of your friends? The ones who came here from the other universe?" And oh god, let's not get into the complicated status of Olivia and Peter's relationship, shall we? Olivia plays it cool, all "Peter is my colleague, a civilian consultant" and mentions nothing of the smoldering sexual tension between the two of them. "My team and I crossed over here to find him and bring him home," she said, like it's no different from the office CARPOOL or something.

The doctor is practically SMIRKING at Olivia's answers, and asks, "Where are they now? Peter and your friends?" Olivia says she doesn't know, but assumes they had to go home without her, and I half expect the doctor to primly say, "Well, then, they're not very good friends, are they?" but instead she says she knows it's really scary not to be in control of one's own mind, and Olivia tells "Dr. Anderson" that she is NOT crazy: "That is not my mother. My mother died when I was 14. The Charlie Francis that I knew was murdered. I have never won an Olympic medal for marksmanship. None of these are me. This is not my life." Dr. Anderson defensively asks, "You think I'm trying to convince you you're someone you're not? Why would I do that?" and Olivia says she doesn't know, but then we see that Walternate is watching the session on one of those fancy tabletop computers that aren't really THAT great unless they can also play Galaga.

Then geeky Brandon walks in, all cleaned up in a suit and tie, and Walternate tells him that the treatments aren't working, and please god don't let Walternate have some sort of erectile dysfunction in this universe, but it turns out that he's talking about transferring memories, which Brandon reminds him was always a "long shot at best," and Walternate wants to try again. Naturally, this is one of those treatments that could kill a person if it's done too often, but Walternate doesn't care, because they are at war with "another universe populated by creatures who have damaged the very fabric of reality." Jesus, "creatures"? That's a little harsh! I mean, we're not all Mother Theresa, but ... oh, hey, Jersey Shore is on.

Anyway, Walternate prattles on about how Olivia came here: "Somehow, she is equipped to move through universes. We need her to help us understand this skill because if we can do it, we can win this war." So ... you're making her think she's Fauxlivia? Isn't that the opposite of what you should be doing if you want Olivia to reveal how she travels between universes? Well, I'm sure all will be revealed in due -- ha ha ha! Never mind.

Anyway, blah-blah, if they don't succeed, nothing left to protect, blah-blah. So they're going to try again, even if they wind up frying a few (or more) of Olivia's synapses.

Olivia's curled up on the cot in her cell, when a soldier comes to get her. "Is it dinner already?" asks Olivia, weakly. Hey, maybe they don't have The Shawshank Redemption in this universe and Olivia can tunnel out through the wall!

Anyway, what could be better than dinner? More memory-transference experimentation! The soldier leads Olivia down the hall, with light flares from the hallway fixtures casting sharp lines across the screen. The soldier punches a code into a keypad by the elevator, and then the next thing we know Olivia's strapped down to an operating bed while Brandon gets ready to do sinister things, Olivia protesting feebly. Brandon and the other scientist don't exactly look thrilled about what they're doing, but they go ahead and inject her anyway with a blue liquid, into an arm that's already got more holes than a Chinese checkerboard. They pull out a vial of B-lymphocytes labeled "Dunham, Olivia," and Brandon hooks it up to the IV while the other scientist gets another syringe ready and injects her with an opaque white fluid. "I don't feel so good," says Olivia, gasping enough to make Brandon order the other guy to help him unstrap her.

It's a trick, though; once her arms are free, Olivia sits up, grabs the syringe and plunges it into Brandon's neck and knocks the other guy to the floor. She frees her legs, and because Brandon is still not dead, she beats him up a little bit more and takes off down the hallway. A patrolling guard gets a chop to the neck, incapacitating him. Olivia grabs his gun and makes for the elevator. Either she's memorized the code or she makes a REALLY lucky guess, and ducks into the elevator while a couple more guards fire at her and a "code blue! Code blue!" alarm blares over the P.A. system.

And then despite all of Liberty Island being alerted to her escape, Olivia still somehow manages to relatively easily duck out a side door and take off through the trees before coming to a precipice over a steep drop to the water below. She hesitates, but now there's a spotlight following her and soldiers who at some point may be able to catch up to the drugged, barefoot Olivia, so she doesn't have much of a choice. She looks at Manhatan (not Manhattan, remember) in the distance, looks at the brass or whatever Statue of Liberty behind her, and makes the leap into the water below.

And then we get the glaring-yet-beautiful red alternate-universe opening credits. I kind of wish the credits up until now had action shots from various episodes, because then they could put scenes from the alternate universe in now, and it could be all "a

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Fringe

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