Where would you be if there was a North and South Texas? Or if ball-point pens and avocados were so uncommon they would be considered rare? Why, you would be watching the newest episode of Fringe, entitled "The Plateau", of course.
"The Plateau" focuses on the real Olivia, post-brainwash, adjusting to being back in the field in the alternate universe's Fringe division. Since Walternate and Broyles are the only ones that know Olivia isn't from their universe it makes it a lot easier to blend back in, so to speak, with her former team members Charlie and Lincoln Lee (played by Seth Gabel). Just moments after re-joining the team, sure enough, a case pops up and Walternate gets to see if his re-programing works on our Olivia.
The writers may not have got to have as much fun with expanding the little details of the alternate universe as in previous episodes, but they did give some much needed back story of Charlie and Lee's relationship with the alternate Olivia. Charlie and Olivia seem to have a similar friendship in both universes yet she and Lee appear to have some kind of history that might play a factor in future episodes. With the alternate Olivia also having a boyfriend, Frank Stanton, there could be another love triangle in the mix if Lee's past with Olivia becomes more clear. Somehow I don't think the show's producers would bring back agent Lee's character after being a human BBQ at the end of last season just to show off Fringe's talented makeup artists. What I'm most interested in is when or if they introduce Lee in the prime universe and what kind of story arc he would have, because I don't think Gabel is going to the makeup chair for nothing.
This week's fringe event is entertaining but it's just a means to give Olivia, Charlie, and Lee some good banter and lay a better foundation for future episodes. The Fringe event being: a mentally challenged individual, Milo, becoming a savant after a series of drug trails. Milo becomes so smart he can factor in every variable and practically predict the future. Having this kind of character for just this episode the writers are able to showcase Astrid's position in the alternate Fringe team as a number crunching super genius.
Olivia still isn't completely brainwashed so there are moments wear she hallucinates seeing Walter and even talking to Peter. If the Walternate's brainwashing cocktail wears off it could make things more interesting for Anna Torv's character. Since she has already tried to make a run for it I can see her becoming a double agent and using her new position to her advantage if she gets her memories back. Charlie is already suspicious but it will still be a couple of episodes before he catches on. And if that's the case we just have to wait and see which Olivia blows their cover first, because you know it just a matter of time.
With the next episode being back in the prime universe, Torv will be working double time again. Only on Fringe would a character have to be careful when stuffing their face with avocados or doodling with pens so they don't blow their cover. You better stay away from the guacamole, alternate Olivia, if you know what's good for you.
Andrew Burns loves film and comics, and can be found writing about when those worlds converge. You can follow him on Twitter at @myAndrewBurns.