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Fringe: The Abducted

“We all have to make sacrifices.”

So now Olivia knows that Broyles knows what she knows. Walternate knows that Olivia knows what he worried she knew. And Peter knows what he didn’t know (despite my theory that he did know): he knows that what he thought he knew is wrong. The question is: when will Fauxlivia know what Peter now knows, and what will she do with that knowledge?

At base, Fringe is about loss. Remember back in seasons one and two, when Walter mourned the loss of his former lab assistant? We understand that differently now: Walter mourned the loss of her life because he knew the pain of losing a child. He saw his own potential pain (prevented by the theft of Peter) in the lab assistant’s mother, who nonetheless forgave him. Even back in our stand-alone days, most episodes dealt with the problem of loss and how different people react differently to it.

This week, we saw two models of how to deal with loss: Broyles nearly lost his son—and his son lost his health—but remained a strong man committed to taking care of the people close to him, including Fauxlivia, and now Olivia. Broyles’s strength was tested, but not broken. He did get his son back, although he thought (until episode’s end) that he might lose him for good due to the kidnappers’ theft of his youth.

Walternate was broken by Peter’s loss. Sure, he’s still strong, but it’s the brittle strength of a man consumed with revenge. He has nothing to lose, and that makes him horribly dangerous, because he has no loyalty and no compassion. Now that he knows Olivia is aware of who she is, and how to get back home, he will almost certainly kill her. Why not? To do otherwise would be to introduce unnecessary complications.

Broyles, hopefully, will prove to be Walternate’s foil. At the beginning of the episode, Broyles asked when “our Olivia” would come back, right after talking about the loss of his son: Broyles cares for his team and feels the pain of Fauxlivia’s loss. But now that Olivia has helped him with the most important thing, and (although Broyles doesn’t know it yet) risked her own escape to do so…well, who’s to say how that will impact his actions down the line?

All of that, of course, is pure conjecture. But it’s hard to review this episode without thinking about how the story will end: this is really the first part of a two-parter. Nonetheless, the mystery of the week was still a solid entry in the Fringe canon, even though the emotional story was more affecting (for me) than the mystery. I was impressed by the completely scary monster hiding in the boy’s bedroom. I suspected that would happen, and I was right, and that made it even more suspenseful. Damn knowledge!

What Does It Mean?

• Olivia drew on a previous case to figure out what the Candyman was doing, even though she wound up being wrong about the kids seeing an old man and a young one. Could I be equally wrong about what Walternate will do?

• That mask and what the kidnappers do to the children was quite reminiscent of the bad guys in Steven King’s Wolves of the Calla, who also wore shiny masks and brought kids back “roont” (ruined).

• Is it Ender’s Game that starts with a young boy with a thingamabob implanted in the back of his neck?

• I applaud the return of Andre Royo, cab driver extraordinaire and charming hydrophobe.

• Likely without realizing it, Broyles passed his own desire to protect his family on to his son, who didn’t reveal certain facts just to save his mom and dad.

• Olivia figured out the kidnappers’ identities because of the prayer they said in front of Broyles’s son, and through Andre Royo’s offhand remark. Broyles figured out what Olivia knew because of her slip of the tongue—FBI instead of Fringe Division. Does this parallelism matter?

I’m going to leave this unrated until we get the second half on December 2nd. How many of those new-fangled Red Vines do you think it deserves?

Josie Kafka is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)

11 comments:

  1. I loved every second of this episode. I always like stories where one of the main characters, or their families, become the victim. Broyles has always seemed a fairly distant character to me, but he really grew on me tonight. He came across as a man of integrity. He was all about protecting his family, and gave Olivia a nice little warning for her good work; proving that, despite his allegiances being elsewhere, he's still capable of rewarding a good deed.

    This episode also packed an unexpected emotional punch. I felt quite tearful throughout. I don't think I realised how much I was rooting for Olivia to get back to our world until she failed. It's kind of sad to think that Peter and Fauxlivia may soon be split apart. They seem such a cool couple. Fauxlivia's like Olivia was before she lost John Scott. Smiley. Happy. I hope Olivia's experience over in the parallel universe softens her up a bit when she gets back.

    Must.... go to.... bed. Can't...think...straight. Can't seem.... to... finish...sentenc

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  2. Have you done something with your hair, Paul? You look different.

    At the moment Fringe is my favourite show currently airing (although after a weak start Supernatural is making a strong comeback). All season the show has been on such a creative high it’s only logical that now Fringe is better than ever Fox are moving it to the Friday night death slot to make way for American Idol. Then again this might be a good thing. On a less competitive night, even Friday, the show might actually thrive. Long as it does better than Dollhouse we might just get a fourth (and likely final) season to wrap everything up properly.

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  3. Thank you for noticing, Mark. I have been tweaking the do. I also decided to put a T-Shirt on. Naked and bald (unless you're a baby) just isn't the look these days.

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  4. There's so much to like in Olivia coming back into her own, but some advance reviews of both parts together raised my expectations too much. The case was solved more easily that I expected, but it had to be in order to allow for the character bits, especially Broyles, and the escape attempt.

    I'm surprised Olivia decided the DOD was the right place for the attempt. I guess she thought she needed the drugs, but the tank? What happened to the soft spots? Are they all in amber?

    Anxiously awaiting the next episode.

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  5. Is nobody going to comment on Broyles Jrs acting? Okay, I will - best child acting I've seen in a long long time. He'll go far.

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  6. Is it Ender’s Game that starts with a young boy with a thingamabob implanted in the back of his neck? Yes, it is.

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  7. I love this season of Fringe jumping from over here to there was a great way to refresh the series and unlike previous seasons the pace never seems to drop.

    I only have two little niggles about the alternate universe.

    Back at the end of season one Olivia jumped to the alternate world and stole a file on a couple of pyro twins. The fringe department was indentical in both worlds yet now its a lot more advanced. Ill just have to pretend she leaped into a different universe than the one were seeing now.

    I want to see double decker cars driving around

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  8. Wow, you're right starscream. Besides, Olivia talked to Broyles, who didn't notice the hair color change. This could be explained by a different universe (they never explained why these two among the infinite (or at least, exponential) possibilities), but it's not very convincing when all other 'collisions' happened between the two. Anyway, Fringe is so much better now it's really easy to overlook.

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  9. Very good episode. But I'm sort of disappointed Peter didn't figure it out. What sort of genius is he?

    I just realized that Olivia rarely gets through an episode without getting wet.

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  10. Good that Olivia didn't escape, I wouldn't want to leave alt-Fringe just yet. It's a fascinating alternate universe. Unless we get to see Charlie, Lincoln and Broyles working behind the back of Walternate when she finally escapes to our world.

    Not seeing Casablanca is definately a sign of being evil. Just sayin.

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  11. When this one ended, I plunged right into the next episode. What an ending! Also a very strong episode throughout. I found myself feeling strangely emotional, too. Emotionally traumatized kids strike a chord with me, I guess.

    I loved the interplay between Olivia and Alt-Broyles in this episode. So great to see Lance Reddick getting to do strong work. Also delightful to see Henry the Cab Driver again! It was great to see Olivia thanking him for believing in her, then revealing her true origins before diving into the water.

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