Astrid doubles up...
Writers: Akiva Goldsman, JH Wyman, Jeff Pinkner
Director: Charles Beeson
THE ONE WHERE Alt-Astrid crosses over to visit her doppelganger, while a killer with the Observer-like ability to see past, present and future simultaneously is bumping people off to save them from miserable futures.
UNIVERSE Over here with a little bit over there – orange version.
VERDICT Having spent three-and-a-half seasons as a supporting player, this is Astrid’s chance to get some belated time in the sun. And it’s a cracker of an episode, revealing some backstory for the two versions of the character, while giving actress Jasika Nicole the opportunity to shine. She does an amazing job of acting opposite herself, utterly convincing as both the friendly version from this side, and the more withdrawn (but equally sweet) Astrid from the other world. This is the first time a character has met their double without suspicion getting in the way, and there’s something rather nice about that – while the revelation at the end that Astrid’s lied about her relationship with her dad to protect her alternate’s feelings is remarkably touching.
It’s also a great episode for Walter, who finds a kindred spirit in alt-Astrid, and has some cracking banter with Fauxlivia – their odd couple sparring (mostly driven by confectionary) could probably sustain a TV show on its own.
The strength of the character stuff doesn’t get in the way of the case of the week – even if a second “future visions” episode in a row has the slight whiff of overkill. Fringe has the unusual knack of making killers come over as sympathetic, and Neil’s desire to save people from the miserable future he’s foreseen provides a typically complex motive. It’s not, however, as complicated as the quantum theory-exploiting idea of murdering someone with a poison that hasn’t yet been created. Fringe is fantastic, but it sure as hell makes your head hurt.
SPECULATION Is anyone else wondering what’s happened to Charlie Francis in this timeline?
DID YOU SPOT? Olivia is so eco-aware that she drives an electric car – namely a Nissan Leaf. (Maybe that’s got something to do with the Nissan “Promotional Consideration” mentioned in the credits.)
ANOTHER WORLD Turns out coffee is a rare delicacy in the other universe – no wonder alt-Astrid is so excited about trying some.
WHAT'S IN A NAME? Walter rolls out a plethora of mispronunciations, with Astro, Aspirin and Asterix all filling in for Astrid.
OBSERVING THE OBSERVER Yet more in-plain-sight appearances, as the other (ie not September) Observers have worked out that Peter’s back, and that Neil was using a device September dropped at Reiden Lake. They also have a new power – seems they can now walk through glass.
Walter: “Kirk out.”