When the red credits role you know Fringe has something new in their bag of sci-fi tricks in story for the viewers at home. With the story being back in the alternate universe for the first time since the Olivia switch in "Entrada", this episode goes in an interesting direction for Fauxlivia starting to relive her old life. It now seems Fringe's cross-universe love triangle as expanded and gotten a hell of a lot more complicated.
"Immortality" is a perfect example of how in one episode Fringe is able to refresh their story-lines long before their episodes even start coming close to being procedural. Having two different worlds certainly helps that. The episode starts by reintroducing Frank (Fauxlivia's love interest on her side) as he returns from dealing with an outbreak in North Texas. Immediately Frank realises a change in Fauxlivia, but puts his suspicions a side as he plans to pop the big question. Meanwhile, the fringe division goes investigate a sudden reappearance of some extinct beetles that are found after eating their way out of a human host.
First my hat is off to Fringe's writers as they somehow have (yet again) taken this very cool science fiction show and added more dramatic elements to it without taking anything away from the genre. Since the beginning of this third season the idea of introducing and actually having stories in two different universes hasn't made for a single predictable episode. In this week's episode Fringe finally show the ripple effect of Fauxlivia's time with Peter has had with her life after returning to her own universe. Since the pervious few episodes have been about Peter and Olivia coming to terms with what happened on their side, it was fun to see what the writers had in store for Fauxlivia's character and they did not disappoint. Now I found it obvious that Fauxlivia was pregnant when she was having water when Frank was having wine, but I never had thought that this was the way the her story arc was going to take her character. Somehow don't see Peter sending child alimony to the other side if he finds out.
One character how is starting to the stand out more and more every time we see him is Lincoln Lee from the alternate universe. In "Immortality" it becomes blatantly obvious that he has (and has had for some time) feelings for Fauxlivia when he reveals Frank's plans to purpose to her only minutes after hearing about it. Lincoln might try and become more involved with Fauxlivia on a personal level with Frank now out of the picture because of her affair and the fact her baby on the way isn't his. Even if Frank stays out of the picture it still puts Lincoln in an all new Fringe love triangle between him, Fauxlivia and Peter. Lincoln's personal feelings aside, his new promotion as director of fringe division does bring some new possibilities for that universe. With the alternate Broyles dead it's going to be interesting to see how much classified information Walternate will disclose to Lincoln in his new position. Only time will tell, but in a recent interview with the show runners, Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman, they confirmed that the alternate universe wasn't going to be the only place we would see Lincoln Lee in as he will be introduced in the regular universe soon enough.
Perhaps one the most interesting twist in this episode was the first sign of Walternate having some kind of a conscious. When the breakthrough in his Cortexiphan trails reveals that the testing needs to be aimed at children rather than adults he immediately puts his foot down. This is obliviously the opposite view Walter and William Bell had as they experimented on dozens of kids, including Olivia. Walternate's decision to not harm children, even if it meant that he could reach his goal, gives his character some unexpected humanity. And the scene with he is realising making that decision not to cross that moral line reaffirms there might be some good in him after all. Even if he realises it at the same time while he is cheating on his wife by shacking up with his mistress. Now that Walternate is going to be a grandfather I think his emotions are going to be pretty hot and cold when comes to his person mission and this new family dynamic.
With so many possibilities to look forward to in coming episodes the little things in "Immortality" shouldn't get over looked. There was the seamless combination of practical makeup and some realistic CGI for certain moments when the beetle crawled out of the scientist's skin which was very well done. The slick idea of making the Empire State building into the city's airport since it still is used for blimps docking. But my favourite little parts in this episode had to be Fauxlivia teasing Charlie about the female Entomologist (bug scientist) having a crush on him. Fauxlivia's character being much more outgoing than the regular Olivia made for a lot of fun to watch as she used pun after pun when joking around with Charlie's new found admirer. Having these fun little moments are why I think this show is able kept itself fresh while still expanding the scope of their main story.
Andrew Burns loves film and comics, and can be found writing about when those worlds converge. You can follow him on Twitter at @myAndrewBurns.