Saturday, February 12, 2011

Fringe 3.13: Alternate Fringe

Fringe 3.13 was so good, fired so well on so many cylinders, that I had a profusion of possible titles for this review.   I chose "Alternate Fringe" because it gives nothing away (no spoiler in the title) and encompasses the range of this story.

It's all in the alternate reality.  We learn a few more delicious differences between their world and ours.  In addition to mass dirigible flight, all of Boston was ambered 2004 (not just Harvard Yard in 1989), and avian flu killed millions.

This last difference gets to the nub of the alternate story:  Dr. Armand Silva was close to developing an insect cure - from a certain kind of beetle - when the natural host of the beetle, sheep, died out (another difference between their world and ours).  The only other host for the beetle are humans.  This sets Silva on a course of infecting humans,  which leads to their deaths, but helps him perfect the beetle as an antidote to the avian flu.  He wants above all else to be famous - remembered in history - like Salk, Crick and Watson, Pasteur, who were as famous over there as over here.   When Silva dies, at the end, he asks that his named be spelled correctly.  (Another exponent of that wonderful line, "I don't care what the newspapers say about me, as long as they spell my name right" - ironically, or appropriately, attributed to almost a dozen famous people.)

An alternate title for this review could have been "spell my name correctly".  But fame was not all this episode was about.  It was also the first time we see our alternate Fringe team at work on the cases that our Fringe team works on over here.  Previously, alt-Fringe was devoted to fighting our Fringe.

But Fringe 3.13 also had some great parallel-realities-at-war elements, too.  We see that Walternate has some redeeming human qualities.  He won't experiment on children.  This is likely because he still feels his loss of Peter so keenly.  It's now a double loss - when Peter as a boy was kidnapped by Walter, and when Peter an adult left of his own free will.

And there's Fauxlivia, who's never been more appealing.   Frank, her long time lover, returns from a stint in Texas which has kept them apart for far too long.  He wants to marry Fauxlivia, and proposes.  She's clearly been thinking of Peter, but suppresses that, and says yes.

But it turns out that she's pregnant - we find this out in a neat twist which had us thinking she was infected with Silva's (I spelled his name right) beetle.   And you know whose baby it is.

When Walternate finds out, he's thrilled, and promises he'll take good care of Olivia (that is, Fauxlivia in our parlance) and his grandson.  She'll of course continue on the team, but now Walternate has an inducement to get Peter back over to his reality: Peter's baby.

We learned last week from Sam that Peter will have to choose which Olivia to stay with, which will determine which of the realities will survive.  The chances of the alternate reality just got very much better - as the series seems to do with just about every new episode.   (Hey, I wonder what's been on television over there ... Felicity, Alias, Lost, and ?)

See also Fringe 3.1: The Other Olivia ... Fringe 3.2: Bad Olivia and Peter ... Fringe 3.3: Our/Their Olivia on the Other Side ... Fringe 3.5: Back from Hiatus, Back from the Amber ... Fringe 3.7: Two Universes Still Nearing Collision ... Fringe 3.8: Long Voyages Home ... Fringe 3.10: The Return of the Eternal Bald Observers ... Flowers for Fringenon in Fringe 3.11 ... Fringe 3.12: The Wrong Coffee
See also reviews of Season 2: Top Notch Return of Fringe Second Season ... Fringe 2.2 and The Mole People ... Fringe 2.3 and the Human Body as Bomb ... Fringe 2.4 Unfolds and Takes Wing ... Fringe 2.5: Peter in Alternate Reality and Wi-Fi for the Mind ... A Different Stripe of Fringe in 2.6 ... The Kid Who Changed Minds in Fringe 2.7 ... Fringe 2.8: The Eternal Bald Observers ... Fringe 2.9: Walter's Journey ... Fringe 2.10: Walter's Brain, Harry Potter, and Flowers for Algernon ...  New Fringe on Monday Night: In Alternate Universe? ... Fringe 2.12: Classic Science Fiction Chiante ... Fringe 2.13: "I Can't Let Peter Die Again" ... Fringe 2.14: Walter's Health, Books, and Father ... Fringe 2.15: I'll Take 'Manhatan' ... Fringe 2.16: Peter's Story ... Fringe 2.17: Will Olivia Tell Peter? ... Fringe 2.18: Strangeness on a Train ... Fringe 2.19: Two Plus Infinity ... Fringe the Noir Musical ... Fringe 2.21: Bring on the Alternates ... Fringe 2.22:  Tin Soldiers and Nixon Coming ... Fringe Season 2 Finale: The Switch

See also reviews of Season One Fringe Begins ... Fringe 2 and 3: The Anthology Tightrope ... 4: The Eternal Bald Observer ... 7: A Bullet Can Scramble a Dead Brain's Transmission ... 8. Heroic Walter and Apple Through Steel ... 9. Razor-Tipped Butterflies of the Mind ... 10. Shattered Pieces Come Together Through Space and Times ... 11. A Traitor, a Crimimal, and a Lunatic ... 12, 13, 14: Fringe and Teleportation ... 15: Fringe is Back with Feral Child, Pheromones, and Bald Men ... 17. Fringe in New York, with Oliva as Her Suspect ... 18. Heroes and Villains across Fringe ... Stephen King, Arthur C. Clarke, and Star Trek in Penultimate Fringe ... Fringe Alternate Reality Finale: Science Fiction At Its Best

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The Plot to Save Socrates

"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book

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