Fringe season 3 episode 3 review: The Plateau

Billy sees beyond the fringe, and realises that Anna Torv is twice the women she once was…

3.3 The Plateau

After seeing The Plateau, if the whole of Fringe season 3 is going to follow the same pattern, episodes will be alternating between our world and the parallel one for each story.

The season opener was mostly set in the parallel universe, then last week’s was set in ours, and this one is back in the alternate world.

There was a small clue in the opening scene, a beggar with a card saying “Veteran of Aruba” that gave away the alternate credentials here, otherwise it would have taken me longer to work out exactly what was going on.

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Michael Eklund plays Milo Stanfield, a man whose intelligence has been boosted with drugs to the point where he can predict the outcome of complex situations. How he uses this to kill people is ingenious, and to the agents of any other enforcement agency, they’d look like freak accidents, but to Fringe every scene of carnage tells a story.

From the outset, the story telling in this episode was excellent, with Kirk Acevedo (Charlie) and Anna Torv (Olivia) bouncing off each other’s characters in a very dynamic way. Charlie is probing for answers to Olivia’s breakdown, and suspects the truth, while Olivia pretends to be all business as usual, while hiding odd messages from her subconscious.

Unfortunately, I’d guessed the twist they’d planned for how Olivia doesn’t get killed by Milo long before that scene was presented, which slightly spoiled it for me. I guess writers want to signpost the way, but it’s all too easy to turn everyone viewing into Milo, and entirely blow the outcome. Here, that happened, and it killed what was, up to that point, an interesting story which developed organically.

With that part of the narrative done and dusted, there was only one charming end they could throw, in which was a curious referential nod to Blade Runner.

Milo’s sister, played very finely by Kacey Rohl, comes to see him in a government lab and hands him a small toy horse, to help him remember the past. In my mind, I connected this to the foil unicorn in Blade Runner, the clue that perhaps (depending who you talk to) Deckard is also a replicant. Given the duplicity of Olivia, and the struggle going on inside her head, there is obviously a connection there. Or am I overly analysing this? 

Having been pretty much convinced by those around her that she’s from that dimension, she’s suddenly flipped by a kissing apparition of Peter. If the entire plot of season three rotates around Walternate’s plan failing because she fell in love with Peter, I’ll be sorely disappointed. But I’m quietly confident that there will be more to it than that, please!

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Overall, this was a good episode ruined slightly by an obvious outcome, but still with many endearing aspects. It lacked any ‘Walter’ other than a single imagined version of him in a mental home, and relatively little Peter either. What it did have was plenty of time for Anna Torv to do her stuff.

I’d also like to think that either the director or the lighting camera man on this show really likes her, because they make her look very good, especially in close-up. From my male perspective, Anna’s a very good looking woman, but here she’s getting some professional cinematic support in looking spectacular these days, I’d suggest. Er, or I’m spending too much time watching her.

Season 3 remains strong so far, and I’m hoping that in a definite reference to the works of Philip K. Dick, next week’s Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep? keeps up the good work.

Read our review of episode 2, The Box, here.