The third episode of Fringe’s third season continues to intrigue. Back in The Other Side, a mad genius bent on revenge set off meticulously planned chains of events that end in the death of those he perceives as doing him harm.
The series continues to enjoy using recurring images and situations (see my review of "The Box") I love the reference to the sensory deprivation tank. Walternate (John Noble) and Alter-Brandon (Ryan McDonald) speaking about it implies that, even if for now, it’s only going to be used on test subjects, Olivia (Anna Torv) is one day going to return to that tank. It’s probably a technique that will backfire, as Olivia’s memories are bound to break through in such familiar an environment.
I have to mention straight out that I did not like the kiss shared between Olivia and Hallucination!Peter (Joshua Jackson). It felt rather forced, instead of natural. It worries me that Fringe is might place too much emphasis on the Olivia-Peter romance, rather than their connection, which allows Peter to help Olivia in the episode “Bad Dreams” (Season 1, Episode 17). I’m going to indulge in a bit of script writing here: Halluciation!Peter should have said what he had to say, then just smile at her. In a cliché moment, Frank would have walked into the room at that moment, calling her name. Olivia looks from Hallucination!Peter back at Frank. By the time she looks back towards Hallucination!Peter, he’s gone. Again, this is quite the cliché moment, but I find it much better than the awkward kiss.
The Observer (Michael Cerveris) is spotted on the bridge, as Milo (Michael Eklund) throws the bike off it; the glyphs spell out the word: “Breach”. Is it in connection with the two fabrics between the universes, with Olivia’s imposed Altivia-memories, or rather with the integrity of both Fringe Divisions being affected?
One of the episode's main themes relates to that interconnectedness. Milo has become a genius able to calculate probabilities even with hundreds of variables, something any statistics student will tell you is already really hard enough with one two or three variables. Using this talent, Milo is able to create a perfect set of events, triggered by a specific, small act that triggers an intricate chain of events.
Interconnectedness is also at the heart of the series. Up to now, we have seen the two universes as being parallel; the breach made in 1985 by Walter has affected the integrity of the boundary between the two universes; that boundary is now slowly disintegrating. Walternate has been telling those serving on Alter-Fringe Division that to survive, they have to destroy our universe.