Fringe S3: Olivia and … Olivia (again)

Last fall, I noted some issues I had with the storylines on Fringe.

In true Fringe fashion, the writers managed to make me tolerate the Faux!livia storyline quite a bit more than I feared. At the end of the day, the issues I raised still bother me even as I’m clued in to the hows and whys. As we watched our Olivia come back to her own universe though, I could only be happy with how they handled it.

Here was Olivia, clearly traumatized but trying to carry on with her life again. The cracks were there, but she tried so hard to be okay with the fact that some other woman had taken over her life and no one (Peter) noticed. I thought they did it all beautifully, and Anna Torv did a fabulous job keeping Olivia that strong woman we all know her to be, for all outward appearances, but showing those hesitations and those reactions to everything that had happened on our side when she was over there, trapped. It was so her, to put on a brave face in public and be so broken in private.

And this scene sums it all up.

There’s more, of course, and this post simply glosses over what is truly a layered representation of someone recovering from, well, a form of rape. Lest anyone think it’s over with this one scene, it will continue to bleed over into some other resolution as we learn what exactly is going on with Peter, which may or may not have played into his willingness to believe Faux!livia was Olivia, and we revisit the alt storyline later. Just because we can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there is a phrase especially true for a show like this. 😉

I can’t wait, myself. What about you? How do you feel the show is doing with all this?


  1. SunlessNick says

    This is as far as I’ve got in the series, but that scene really did tear me to pieces – no less so this time.

    • sbg says

      She basically said everything that I had been so upset about with Faux!livia stepping into Olivia’s shoes. It was spot on, and I like how they’re making things still be kind of rocky in their working relationship.

  2. Robin says

    I love how they’ve been dealing with Olivia reintegrating into her own life. All of her complaints and requests have been pretty reasonable, and the rest of the team have been doing their best to adjust to the new information.

    After the last episode (Reciprocity, 3.11), though, I was kind of gutted. Olivia and Peter were working through their awkwardness so well, and he was being so sweet about it, and now there’s this new cloud hanging over them. :( Not that I should be surprised, what with it being Fringe. I’m not sure how they keep managing to make tearing my heart out compelling, but they do.

    • sbg says

      I know. Sometimes I feel like one of those goofs who insist their friends punch them in the stomach harder and harder, and just keep coming back for more to prove they can take it. 😉

  3. M.C. says

    I just have this feeling that the writers of Fringe were sitting around thinking: “Olivia is awesome! We need more Olivia! How do we get more Olivia when the show’s already all about her?”

    Then they watched the 4th series finale of Doctor Who, in which the Doctor gets duplicated, and one Doctor has awesome adventures in the alternate universe with Rose while the other Doctor has awesome adventures in our universe with new companions.

    So the Fringe writers had an epiphany, deciding to introduce Faux!livia, in order to give us a double dose of Olivia’s awesomeness.

    I’m half expecting them to wip out the duplicator from Farscape, so that we can have yet a third version of Oliva. And I’m all for it, because you can never get enough of Olivia Awesome Dunham! *gg*

    Seriously though, I like how they are handling the storyline on Fringe. Actually, I think the show’s pretty much perfect except for the lack of development Astrid gets.
    It wouldn’t hurt to include a few scenes in which Astrid tells Olivia how the work affects her relationship with her girlfriend. Or how about Astrid being the only one who is able to have a relationship despite work? They could include a scene in which Astrid gives Peter tips like “My girlfriend still loves be, because I never slept with her evil doppelgänger.”

    • sbg says

      LOL, I’d believe it if the whole thing didn’t seem pretty well ingrained in the story already.

      Case in point about Astrid’s lack of development: I had no idea she even had a girlfriend, and I love her.

      • M.C. says

        Oh don’t worry, I just made up Astrid’s girlfriend ;))
        I read this interview in which Jasika Nicole is asked whether she wants Astrid to have a gay storyline because she’s an out actress. And she talks so sensible about how she would like any storyline that serves the character development.

        So I think the writers need to sit down with Jasika and take some of her input for the show. Because right now Olivia Dunham is my favourite female character on tv, next to River Song on Doctor Who (she’s a time-travelling archaeologist, I simply have to love her *g*).
        But why settle for one great fleshed-out female character on Fringe when you can have two? This is why they need to develop Astrid. They already get one bonus point for casting a non-white actress and they would get another one for making the character not-straight.

        And I just realized that my post is kind of OT… I hijacked a thread about Olivia and only talk about Astrid… Go Astrid! lol
        Seriously though, I like the Olivia/Faux!livia storyline. It’s way more nuanced than the male version on Doctor Who, which was all about the romance: the writers wanted the Doctor to be with Rose, but they also wanted him to be heart-broken, so they introduced the alternate Doctor.
        But on Fringe the storyline was used to develop Olivia’s character. Just compare the clip you posted to this scene:

        • sbg says

          Whew, I thought I was losing my mind. I know I didn’t catch on with Fringe right away – scheduling conflict and I really didn’t like Olivia at first because they had her with her partner and I thought, “Oh, here’s another pseudo kick-ass chick character…”. So I could have missed something.

          Astrid could be WAY more than Walter’s sidekick and gofer, for sure. Even Alt!Astrid kind of got the short shrift.

          Like any show, Fringe has its areas to improve. They could utilize Astrid and Broyles a lot more, I think. They’re both awesome. I think in trying to keep the story as tight as possible, sometimes the non-core characters suffer for it.

          • SunlessNick says

            I really didn’t like Olivia at first because they had her with her partner and I thought, “Oh, here’s another pseudo kick-ass chick character…”.

            One of my favourite early Fringe moments was how that was reversed: when Nina Sharpe questions Olivia’s professionalism, Broyles says that yes she was in a relationship with her partner – and that despite her feelings, when she found evidence that he was a bad guy, she followed that evidence, and was the one to stop him. and therefore they can trust her not to flinch.

            Similarly, when Olivia credits her emotions for her drive to investigate cases, and protect or find justice for the victims. Men get to be “driven” rather than “emotional,” and it was nice to see the distinction exposed as bullshit.

        • SunlessNick says

          I read this interview in which Jasika Nicole is asked whether she wants Astrid to have a gay storyline because she’s an out actress.

          I didn’t know that, and I was wracking my brains about Astrid having a girlfriend too. The only thing I remember hearing was that Anna Torv, John Noble, and Joshua Jackson all pulled for her to get bigger role, which I found neat; I would like her to be a fourth lead.

          Seriously though, I like the Olivia/Faux!livia storyline.

          An interesting thing is, from the way Anna Torv played Altivia – her private moments as well as her relationship with her colleagues – she comes across as less one-note evil than your average evilverse doppelganger. Certainly less so than Walternate. And I could easily see her feeling a twinge of guilt if she knew quite how much pain she’d caused Olivia; only a twinge, but a twinge nonetheless.

          (I had hoped that the blue team might flip her, and she’d become their agent in the redverse, but I’ve kind of given up on that one).

          • sbg says

            (I had hoped that the blue team might flip her, and she’d become their agent in the redverse, but I’ve kind of given up on that one).

            I think, given time, that might have been easier and was definitely plausible. You’re right – there were moments where I think Faux!livia started to see the grey instead of the black/white scenario she was fighting back in her universe. Here she was among people who were, according to everything she’d ever been told and knew, evil monsters trying to destroy her world and it turned out they weren’t evil and they had no idea they’d been causing so much damage. If that wouldn’t cause some uncertainty…

            Of course, then you take Walternate, who is purposely dead set on destroying the world that isn’t his.

  4. sbg says

    Yeah, Nick, it was a case of me expecting to be underwhelmed. I get so sick of shows telling us a female character is kick-ass instead of just showing it, therefore she is that I tuned out before I could see Olivia was, in fact, a bona fide kick-ass character.

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