After leaving audiences on the edges of their seats for over two weeks Fringe returns to follow up on the phenomenal cliff-hanger ending from "The Abducted". Though the last episode set the bar pretty high this week's episode, "Entrada", did not disappoint. For the first time all season a healthy balance of both universes was shown to bring the Bolivia mole story-line to its fitting conclusion, while still leaving so much more to be explored.
"Entrada" doesn't waste any time, picking up right where the last episode left off with Peter getting the mysterious phone call that blows Bolivia's cover. Once she realises Peter knows who she really is Bolivia goes on the run and waits for her extraction back to her universe. Meanwhile in the alternate universe the other Broyles is conflicted between serving his country or become a traitor if he repays his debt to Olivia for saving his son and help her escape. After Olivia convinces the other Broyles that both universes aren't, and don't have to be, at war with one another he helps her escape. With both Olivias on the run in their alternate universes it becomes a race to return their own sides to securer their own survival.
This episode answers a lot of questions, but creates some new dynamics between characters on both sides. An answer that became clear was one part of Bolivia's mission being to locate a certain piece of the machine Walternate has been building on their side. Because there is two of everything the Fringe team (in the prime universe) assumes the reason Bolivia stole that one pieces was that it is a part of the doomsday machine that Walternate couldn't find over on their side. With Peter still looking like a very important piece to Walternate's big and scary universe-destroying-machine it's just going to be a matter of time before he figures out how to use the cortexiphan he replicated from Olivia and come back to get him.
Perhaps the most interesting dynamic to look forward to is how things are going to change in the alternate universe with their Fringe team. With the alternate Broyles being the only one on the other side starting to question Walternate's motives, his absence may or may not change some of the others' view of the prime universe. If Walternate doesn't assume the alternate Broyles' command, I could see either Bolivia, Lincoln Lee, or possibly Charlie running Fringe division on the other side. However, since everyone within the Fringe division for the alternate universe trusted their Broyles without question, some might not believe the obvious story Walternate will tell them; that Broyles was a traitor. It will also be interesting to see if Bolivia remains the cold-blooded type or have a change of heart after her time on the other side.
With "Entrada" spending most of its time being serious while concluding its Olivia swap story-arc, the episode still made time for some good ol' fashion Walter humour from the brilliant John Noble. Shortly after Walter finds out about Bolivia's true identity, in his anger, he uses the slang term 'vagenda'. In case you aren't up on your Urban Dictionary, it's when a woman, in this case Bolivia, uses her sexuality/lady parts to get what she wants. Personally, I actually laughed out loud when he first said vagenda and even harder after seeing Astrid's reaction to Walter's new lingo. Fringe may not be as big as some other major network shows, but it would be pretty funny if this term caught on in more everyday slang because this show.
Fringe is only about a third of the way into this season and already it seems like a brand new season with all the new possibilities "Entrada" has help set up. Unlike most TV shows in their third season, Fringe hasn't sunk itself into a rut after getting over the sophomore season hump. The writers have refreshed the series with new captivating storylines, while not 'jumping the shark' (so to speak) when introducing innovative directions to take the show. This show only seems to add to its characters with layer after layer so that the main story-arc and key characters both have a nature progression. Take the different angle started earlier this season for the main character, Olivia, for example. Since Walternate gave Olivia all of Bolivias's memories to brainwash her into willingly participate in his tests, she now poses as an even bigger threat than before for the alternate universe with her new knowledge of both universes. Only on a show like Fringe could a character become so complex, on so many different levels, while still keeping the show grounded enough for the average audience to enjoy.
Andrew Burns loves film and comics, and can be found writing about when those worlds converge. You can follow him on Twitter at @myAndrewBurns.