A serial killer’s on the loose: who better to track him down than his doppelganger?
4.02 “One Night In October”
Writers: Alison Schapker, Monica Owusu-Breen
Director: Brad Anderson
THE ONE WHERE Alt-Olivia asks our Olivia to bring a forensic psychologist over to the other universe to help bring his serial killer doppelganger’s murder spree to an end.
UNIVERSE Over here and over there, in a post-Peter world – that means orange credits.
VERDICT Having largely ignored the other universe last week, Fringe gets round to exploring the implications of having two worlds joined by a permanent bridge. The serial killer case would be bread-and-butter if kept on our side, but putting the two Fringe teams in a position where they have to work together adds a new dimension (no pun intended) to the show. That means we get to see their different working methods and, more importantly, there’s plenty of opportunity for the two Olivias to show how much they dislike each other. Anna Torv makes the most of the chance to act opposite herself, making subtle distinctions between the two incarnations so that you can tell which one’s which even when they look the same. (Remember, our Olivia always buttons her jacket.) We also get another clue about why they’re so different – turns out alt-Olivia didn’t have an abusive stepfather.
That theme of two lives splitting off in two very different directions is brilliantly explored by the case of the week. When psychologist McClennan reveals that he had the sort of dark thoughts that could have turned him into a serial killer had it not been for his meeting the woman who became his guardian angel, it’s an intelligent exploration of the idea that two lives can take very different paths after one seemingly insignificant event – you get the feeling this could be a big theme this season. It’s just a letdown that the writers opt for the cop out route of making him forget his trip to the other universe. At least the revelation comes with the dark edge that, without the memory of his saviour, he could easily become the killer his alter-ego was.
On the other side, it’s disappointing that both versions of Walter are mostly absent from the episode: Walternate hasn’t shown up yet, and our Walter is still traumatised by those sightings of the man he doesn’t know is his son. Surely it can’t be too long, however, before the rest of the team realise that his visions aren’t just the ramblings of a mad man. We need answers!
SPECULATION It makes sense that alt-Olivia would still be with boyfriend Frank in merged universe – if Peter never existed, she can’t be pregnant with his baby – but why is alt-Broyles still alive? He died after helping our Olivia get home, something that had nothing to do with Peter – and without him, how did she get back? Speaking of which, what was our Olivia doing in the other universe in the first place, seeing as she went over primarily to rescue Peter.
We do know that the Machine did exist in this timeline, however, and that it created the bridge between two worlds – if only the protagonists knew they were missing one crucial component. Speaking of which…
DID YOU SPOT? The penny farthing in the background in alt-McClennan’s garage – we know from the season three premiere that the big-wheel-at-the-front design is popular in the other universe.
WHAT’S IN A NAME After years of struggling with Astrid’s name, Walter’s now having issues with Lincoln’s. This episode’s confusion takes a presidential theme as he gets called Kennedy: presumably Bush, Obama, Clinton and Eisenhower are next.
PETER Walter’s still having issues with his non-existent son – now he’s hearing his disembodied voice asking for help. Luckily, Broyles’ (slightly uncharacteristic) remark that he believes that people can leave an “indelible mark” does leave a door open for his return.
OBSERVING THE OBSERVER After last week’s talking appearance, he’s back to staying in the background, lurking at the hospital when Olivia visits the amnesiac McClennan.
NITPICK If we’ve got blue and red credits for the respective universes, shouldn’t they make purple, not orange, when combined?
Walter: “That awful woman pranced around my lab.”
Lincoln: “Awful woman?”
Astrid: “The other Olivia, the one from over there.”
Walter: “She bought my ignorance with baked goods.”
Fringe airs on Wednesday nights on Sky1 in the UK.