This review contains major spoilers.
If you’ve not seen this story, then look away now, because something happens at the end of the show that has huge implications that it would be better to experience in viewing.
For those that have seen Immortality, you’re probably reeling slightly at the direction this show’s now taken, and the moral roadblocks that seem to be being constructed for Peter.
What this show is now quite good at is lulling us into a false sense of security, before pulling away the rug rather smartly. If you follow the show, like me, you probably got a slightly déjà vu feeling to the plot, as it rode the previously saddle worn concept of a scientist who has lost the perspective to realise that he’s killing people for science.
But the neat distraction is that this is an ‘over there’ story, and the alternate dimension has actually proved to be a goldmine since Fringe introduced this level of duality.
What the simple mad scientist story does is provide a framework to explore the path of Altivia since she returned to her dimension, the impact of her mission on her life, and ultimately, the unforeseen consequences.
I find it more than slightly disturbing that when Anna Torv plays Altivia, how much sexier she is than when she’s Olivia, but, it’s the same actress. I guess it’s the warmth the Altivia character has that’s missing from Olivia, but there’s something much more alluring about the other her.
Much of the content with her and her partner seemed to underline this, and that maybe Peter got the better version before she was unveiled as a fake.
It wasn’t until the last few minutes of the story, however, that the true purpose of this and its appearance in this particular story is revealed, and what a revelation!
I’ll be honest, I didn’t see this coming until just before the event, as I hadn’t really considered all the implications of interdimensional relationships.
When the baby bomb gets dropped, it just leaves a huge cavity of unanswered questions, not least how they’re going to inform Peter, as it’s not like they can send him an email? I’m sure they’ll find a way, as it’s now become a component in Walternate’s master plan to manipulate Peter into saving his dimension.
I also immediately wondered if it was actually possible for Peter to get Olivia pregnant, as it might not be feasible for people from different dimensions to procreate.
So, if Peter’s dilemma wasn’t big enough, he’s now got to choose between our dimension and hers, but also the potential of killing his own child. Who, if more time was allowed to pass, could be holding a cute puppy or kitten, one assumes.
The other very interesting new factoid we got here was that Walternate has some lines he won’t cross, in respect of using children in his experiments. I’m not sure how to view this information on the basis that he appears to have little or no compunction to stop arbitrarily killing adults in return for knowledge, yet it’s nice to know that even monsters have their boundaries.
On a more worrying level, Fringe dropped rather dramatically in last week’s ratings, terminating the trend of it bucking what Fox did in moving it to the Friday death slot. If it falls too far, then the show might get pulled altogether, with one of those horrible see-the-hurried-conclusion-on-DVD ends that Firefly was handed.
I’ve got a feeling that, even if it delivers the full season as promised, this is going to feel truncated from what the writers had intended, given the layering of narrative that’s been built in three years. I just hope that doesn’t happen, because Fringe most certainly doesn’t deserve it.
Read our review of episode 12, Concentrate And Ask Again, here.
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