fringe season three: in which we meet our parallel universe

Season three brought about many changes for Fringe. As our Olivia was stuck in the parallel universe with no way to contact home for help and no one thinking to look for her, as Fauxlivia successfully replaced her. Changes outside the Fringe-world included a move halfway through the season from Thursday nights to Friday evenings at 9 p.m.–bitterly called the “Death Slot,” a sad place where FOX frequently sends amazing Sci-Fi shows to slowly die away (amazing shows have included Firefly, Wonderfalls, and Dollhouse). All this worry created a frenzy similar to avid fans bringing back Chuck  for season three with Subway’s help. Thankfully, Fringe was renewed for a fourth season, momentarily evading the cancellation which usually follows being put in the Death Slot.

As amazing as the first two seasons were, they almost felt like they were leading up to this season. And the ingenuity of the writers is clear in this season–from little, minuscule things like BIC pens to larger themes and ideas as intangible as hope, love, and forgiveness. This was definitely my favorite season of Fringe–it seemed to bring everything together in a way that satisfied even the most picky of viewers (not me. I’m already excited when the theme song begins playing. But more on the theme song later).

New Characters:

Because episodes showed an almost equal amount of the universes, many beloved characters previously killed off came back. It was fun seeing a different side of these familiar faces–a few differences are seen in the fact that Alt-Broyles has a wife and son, and Walternate is exactly what Walter feared he’d turn into. Although the Secretary of Defense, Walternate is a scheming man, and his skewed versions of justice are what push him into action.

Lincoln Lee: Played by Seth Gabel, Lincoln is the team leader of Olivia and Charlie in the other universe’s Fringe Division.  He becomes head of the entire Fringe Division partway through the season.

The Plot:

Our Olivia is trapped in the other universe, and Walternate is drugging her with Fauxlivia’s memories. Unfortunately, they are not successful in replacing her own memories. She eventually escapes, but the adrenaline she exerts forces some of Fauxlivia’s memories to replace her own. Only a select number of people know that the Olivia’s have switched places–even her mother, who did not die in this universe, and her co-workers to not realize what’s happened. Similarly, Peter has begun dating Fauxlivia in our universe–and no one suspects anything! Fauxlivia’s role in our universe revealed later in the season.

Both universes have the parts to make a “Doomsday Device,” believed to be buried by the “First People”, and was briefly shown on drawn out in the season three finale. Whichever universe successfully puts together their device can destroy the other one. Back to the parallel universe–Olivia’s memories from our universe have affected her job at work, and everyone notices these differences. Eventually Olivia remembers all of her memories and with the help of a friend, is able to briefly come back to our universe with a message to Peter before being captured. When Peter receives the message, he tests Fauxlivia–who fails his test, then drugs him before escaping. Once awake, Peter is frustrated at himself and uses his brilliance and quick thinking to capture Fauxlivia. Alt-Broyles helps Olivia cross back over to our universe, and Fauxlivia is rescued via teleportation by her universe.

Although Olivia is back in our universe, she is devastated by the fact that no one could tell the difference between Fauxlivia and herself. Fauxlivia is also affected by her time in our universe–she comes back pregnant. When Walternate finds out, he kidnaps Fauxlivia and speeds up her pregnancy, wanting Peter’s blood to try and activate the Doomsday Device. Baby Henry’s blood works; however, the Doomsday Device begins breaking apart both universes–something Walternate did not expect.

While this is happening, Olivia and Peter are tentatively beginning to rekindle their relationship in our universe. Of course, when things are going somewhat normally in the Fringe universe, that means something huge is about to occur. This is no exception. Bell–yes, the Bell that previously died!–comes back and takes possession of Olivia’s body–earning the nickname Bellivia (Bell + Olivia)–to the disgust and horror of Peter and the delight of Walter. After much confusion and hysteria, Walter tries to move Bell’s consciousness into a computer, as both Bell and Olivia’s consciousnesses cannot be in the same body,  but he is unsuccessful. At least Olivia is back!

Fauxlivia, realizing that Walternate is only furthering the deterioration of their universe, tries to cross over to beg Peter for help stopping his father. She is captured and put in jail, similar to the season two cliffhanger with our Olivia. Our universe begins deteriorating as well. To try and slow down the destruction, our machine is moved in the exact spot the other universe’s is–on Liberty Island. Sam Weiss reveals that he is the descendant of the “First People” and helps our Fringe team uncover another diagram of the Doomsday Device–one that depicts Olivia. Because Walternate activated his machine, Peter is unable to get inside ours. However, Olivia’s telekinetic powers allow Peter to step into the machine.

The Cliffhanger:

Once inside the machine, Peter flashes forward fifteen years. The other universe–the one he was originally from–has been destroyed, but that has not solved the environmental problems or natural disasters. Walternate, who managed to escape his universe before its collapse, kills Olivia, who was Peter’s wife. Peter is understandably devastated. Together he and Walter realize that there is a wormhole in Central Park–one that goes back 250 million years. They send the Doomsday Device back in time, and Peter wakes up. He connects the two universes in a room–the room which the Doomsday Device is in. Outside, the Observers state that Peter’s purpose has been fulfilled–and because of that, it will be as if Peter “never existed.”

Wait, what? (A slow mind-exploding cliffhanger stated by the monotonous, expressionless September).

Fun Facts:

  • Although Fringe was renewed for a fourth season, the finale was seen by only 3 million viewers. Upon hearing the news that Fringe had been renewed, ecstatic fans showed their support in a very Walter-worthy way–by sending FOX boxes upon boxes of Red Vines. Aww!
  • Fringe has an amazing sound effects team–from background music, to the sound when switching between universes, these guys do it all. “The Firefly,” guest starring Christopher Lloyd, ended with an acoustic version of “If I Only Had a Brain,” sung by Jeremy Little. A touching rendition that perfectly describes Walter.
  • Besides the cool sound signaling the switch between universes, the opening theme’s colors changed for each universe they have been in. Blue for our universe, red for the parallel universe, one for the futuristic one, another for the flashback episode, and so on. As the colors change, so do the words, indicating different ideas of “fringe” science being tested.

Emily enjoys all mediums of speculative fiction, fantasy, and sci-fi–especially reading, writing, and watching them. A Fringe fanatic, she is convinced that one day she will meet her parallel self, aptly nicknamed Femily (Fake Emily), and save both worlds from their inevitable destruction.

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4 thoughts on “fringe season three: in which we meet our parallel universe

  1. Olivia says:

    I am a HUGE Fringe fan, so I’m so excited that you’re writing about it! I loved 3rd season, definitely the best yet, I thought. I’m always telling my friends to watch it, especially if they’re turned off by the more procedural style of the 1st season, because of how awesome the mythology is (way more thought out than Lost). I loved the adition of Seth Gabel to the cast (and continue to love him a little bit more every week). Also, can I just say, one of the best casts on television right now. I was extremely upset that Anna Torv’s AMAZING work in season 3 wasn’t widely recognized. She killed it.

    • Emily Morita says:

      Olivia. (I love your name, for obvious reasons). I feel you just wrote down all my feelings of Fringe into one comment! I agree with everything you said–about season three being the best, about poor Seth Gabel (I still like the parallel one better!), and about the amazingness that is Anna Torv. I don’t understand how she can portray over six different versions of Olivia and STILL not win an Emmy. But in more fun news… did you hear about season five? I’m excited! Even though it’s going to be the last one, I’m happy it will get a proper ending. And the last episode will be the 100th episode. I love it! : )

      • Olivia says:

        I JUST heard! I am beyond thrilled! I’m so glad Fox decided to give it a final season. For a show like Fringe, it’s just way better to let it have an actual ending. (kinda like Dollhouse, in my opinion). I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

  2. Emily Morita says:

    I have some friends who are sad that it’s the final season, but I really didn’t think that they’d get renewed, so I’m just excited that this bittersweet love-affair can continue into next year 🙂 I am kind of excited that they’ll be leaving at what is–hopefully going to be–an amazing high for their 100th episode. Next season looks amazing, and I can’t wait.

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