‘FRINGE’ 3×01 Photo Recap: “Olivia”
You know what I love about Fringe? (Aside from everything.) It’s so rich and complex that every time you watch an episode you notice something new that you hadn’t seen before. When I decided to go back and do photo recaps for earlier seasons, I was super psyched to have an excuse to rewatch the series. But rather than start from the beginning (although I did recap the pilot), I thought I would start with season three. Mostly because I’ve been suffering from a serious case of Lincoln Lee withdrawal, but also because season three was one of my favorites. And what’s more fun than adding random ridiculous captions to an episode of Fringe? Doing it with the benefit of hindsight! Everything is more fun when you can look back and think, “LOL Frank your days are numbered buddy,” or “THEY MADE A BABY,” because let’s be honest—that’s what’s going through my head every time Peter and Olivia are on screen together. Of course I also have a problem with weeping uncontrollably whenever Lincoln appears, but I’m working on that. So hop into my time machine and take a journey with me back to season three, when life was simpler—there was still only one timeline, and the Observers were just a benign group of bald guys with an affinity for hot sauce.
PREVIOUSLY ON FRINGE:
Olivia was having a super fun time at Liberty Island Day Camp, where her days were filled with involuntary therapy sessions and various experiments.
I’m just saying, if you played MFK with Peter, Lincoln, and Charlie, it would be pretty much impossible to decide. Seriously, don’t ask me to do it, because I will just opt to become a polygamist and marry all three of them. But there’s really no question whom Olivia would choose, so it’s a moot point. And one that’s not even relevant to this scene. How did we get here again? Curse this cast and their distractingly good looks! Back to Olivia, who’s being monitored by Walternate as he attempts to brainwash her into believing she’s Altlivia…
Brandon went to go take out his frustrations on Olivia by injecting her with various life-threatening serums that would replace her memories with those of the other universe’s Olivia Dunham. Because hey, why not, right? (…Because Olivia will stab you in the neck with a syringe, that’s why not.)
So what does Olivia Dunham do when faced with a rocky seaside cliff and a team of well-armed pursuers who want to take her memories?
If she didn’t already have it in the bag, I would say that scene earned her the Badass of the Year Award. It just goes to show that nothing can stop Olivia Dunham. Not mind-altering chemicals, not giant cliffs, not even the personal humiliation of walking around the city in a hospital gown. Meanwhile, this cab driver’s life was about to change forever.
And thus began one of my favorite Fringe traditions, wherein Henry Higgins—the best cab driver/midwife/spirit guide this show has ever seen—assists any and all Olivia Dunhams in their various escapes, rogue rescue missions, and birthing of babies. Henry is seriously one of my favorite supporting characters, and if I ever needed to escape a government laboratory and cross over into another universe to be reunited with my would-be boyfriend, Henry would be the first person I’d call. (Assuming Olivia was busy.)
Back at Altverse Fringe Division HQ, everybody was super worried about Olivia because she was acting all crazy and whatnot. Scarlie broke the news to Linc that Olivia had flown the coop, and even though Lincoln was still working on his physical rehabilitation from being blown up, his main concern was Olivia’s safety. (BRB SWOONING.)
This is another scene that I appreciate so much more this time around because OMG SCARLIE AND LINCOLN ARE PERFECT HUMAN BEINGS. Seriously, can we get an Altverse prequel mini-series please? Thanks.
Olivia was changing into real clothes in the cab when she made a startling discovery: she has a tattoo! (Or rather, Altlivia has a tattoo.) Hey, she should just be grateful it wasn’t something embarrassing, like the Dave Matthews Band symbol, or—God forbid—the name “FRANK” with a heart around it.
Olivia was ready to just stroll on into the Opera House where she had crossed over before, but the friendly police officer manning the entrance was all like, “YOU SHALL NOT PASS,” and Olivia didn’t really understand why she couldn’t go in until some weird fog thing started swirling around, and then the whole place was encased in amber. Olivia stared pensively at her reflection, as people tend to do on Fringe when they’re contemplating big life questions and grappling with their identities.
At least she still had her trusty chauffer. Henry was more than willing to help her find her way home, and he even took an interest in her life. Even though Henry is a stellar taxi driver, he was clearly meant to be a bartender. He’s such a good listener, and he gives great life advice without sounding pretentious. He should definitely be a regular in the Altverse prequel series.
Another thing I love about Henry: he’s totally a Polivia shipper. Even though Olivia held him at gunpoint and he’s pretty sure she’s crazy, Henry is still like, “Chase your dream, girl! Go find your soul mate and never let him go!” Not in those exact words, but he was saying it with his eyes, I could tell. Also, how awesome is it that *SPOILER ALERT* (that means you, Mary) this is the first meeting between Olivia and the man who is the namesake of her boyfriend’s son, who is presumably the namesake of her future daughter? (Try explaining that one to someone who doesn’t watch Fringe…)
Olivia and Henry made a pit stop at a gas station, which was a huge mistake because we all know that Olivia should never be allowed to go to the bathroom at gas stations by herself (remember what happened in “A Better Human Being”?). Also, I’m surprised they didn’t make some comment about how if they were driving a Nissan they wouldn’t have to stop to fill up the tank because Nissans get such great gas mileage.
Olivia did not react to Lincoln showing up in the appropriate manner (which would have been to take him into the gas station bathroom and having her way with him). But instead she responded in typical Olivia Dunham fashion:
Seriously, what’s with the blimps? That aspect of the Altverse has always confused me. Don’t ask me why I’m so personally offended by blimps. I just don’t get why they’re all over the place in the Altverse. But enough of my ranting about blimps…because the only thing about the Altverse that annoys me more than its excess of blimps is Frank.
Boooo Frank. No one likes you. (Literally.) The one downside of rewatching season three is having to put up with the complete and utter blah-ness of Frank. But thank God all the other Altverse characters are awesome. Henry and Olivia had a lovely touchy-feely moment of bonding before she went on her merry way. He even told her that sometimes it’s okay to believe in what you can’t see or prove (like a boyfriend from another universe).
I love how by the end of this whole debacle, Henry was actually worried about Olivia and totally invested in her story. Kind of like us with Fringe. At first we were like, “This show is insane. What the hell is it doing in my cab?” But then we got tangled up in it, and now we’re like, “I LOVE YOU SHOW. I don’t even care that you’re holding my emotions hostage!” I can’t wait for Henry’s reprise as the Greatest Cab Driver That Ever Lived.
Olivia was disappointed when she realized that the address was not a safe house, but the home of her fake mother.
Oh snap! This janx is crazy ya’ll—even the second or third time around. And I love how Anna Torv so subtly and perfectly transitions into Altlivia. SHE’S SUCH AN AMAZING ACTRESS/HUMAN BEING.
Hey, remember when Walternate was all creepy and mysterious and sinister? Broyles seems as fed up with his cryptic creepiness as I am.
Peter was being debriefed by Senator No-One-Cares, who asked him all about Walternate and his plan and all kinds of other fun sensitive topics.
Peter, I love you, but you are seriously reaching Frank levels of stupidity right now. This is probably one of the most soul-crushing things ever to happen on Fringe, and that’s saying a lot. It seems less devastating now that we have some closure/finally a happy season finale for Polivia. Still though, every second that Peter thinks he’s with his Olivia makes my heart cry. But who cares because YAY ALTVERSE! This season is so awesome you guys. I’m so glad I’m rewatching it. And if you’re reading this, thank you for caring enough to read my delusional ramblings even during the Fringe off-season.
As always, thank you to FringeFiles.com for providing the screen caps of this episode, and thanks to TV.com’s brilliant Price Peterson, whose hilarious Vampire Diaries photo recaps were the inspiration for my own. And thanks for reading!
*All images are copyright property of FOX Broadcasting