When we last left Fringe, our band of merry men (and a woman) crossed over into the alternate universe. One where Peter went missing, Walter wasn’t crazy, and Olivia was a brunette. Everything returned to normal except for one minor problem: the Olivia that came back to our universe was Alternate Olivia.
I got a chance to peek at the first episode, and season three seems poised to pick up steam. I will admit, it started out slow. Lots of “crazy” Olivia trying to convince people that she wasn’t crazy. Frankly, that “Who’s On First”-type bit has been used in every movie or TV show dealing with mistaken identity, stolen identity, twins, and dopplegangers. It’s a little exhausting. And of course, with the two Olivia’s switched up, I suspect we will go through this switcheroo frequently.
What I am having a hard time coming to terms with is what exactly does the Alternate Universe gain from keeping “our” Olivia? We know Walternate, despite his high-profile cabinet position, still has a bit of mad scientist in him, and is keen to experiment on Olivia. But Broyles and Charlie are all in on it, too. Even Alternate Olivia is in on the gag. It is like one universe is conspiring against the other.
I am a little worried that this season will get too wrapped up in the mythology of these two universes. I like Fringe best when there is a sprinkling of creature-of-the-week episodes. Since the first season, I have feared that Fringe would tip into Lost territory - ridiculous, pretentious, and tangled up in its own mystery. The producers have been pretty good about keeping Fringe from losing its way, but I am constantly paranoid. I suppose paranoia is a good trait when watching Fringe.