FRINGE “The Plateau” Review

FRINGE "The Plateau" Review

FRINGE “The Plateau” Season 3 Episode 3 – It’s an odd number episode of Fringe, so we are heading back to Alti-Universe and Olivia. The Fringe team is facing a series of deaths due to unfortunate incidents and odd coincidences. Meanwhile, Walternate shares his plans for Olivia, if she lives long enough.

What happened in “The Plateau”

The episode opens up with a woman being hit by a bus after a series of small incidents cause the bus driver to run a red light. This was the second such accident in as many days, and the Fringe team checks it out. Lincoln (looking better than in the premiere – the nanites must be working!) finds the connection between the two crimes, ballpoint pens. It appears that ballpoints are really rare in the alternate universe. So finding one at each of the two crime scenes is very odd indeed, even though Alt-Astrid calculates the odds of the scenes being connected at 0.00%.

When the Fringe team is called to a third crime scene, Olivia sees a pen and then the guy behind all the crimes, Miles. Although he escapes from Olivia using Chinese takeout, we soon learn a lot more about Miles. He was part of a drug trial at a hospital that gave him super intelligence (like being able to understand the end of Lost intelligence), but was supposed to return him to his low IQ state at the end of his treatments. Miles is setting up these intricate deaths to eliminate folks running the drug trial before they take his intelligence.

Charlie and Olivia are able to find Miles’ house, where his sister tells them where Miles is hiding. The two are worried that Miles has set a trap for them, but Olivia decides they need to catch him before he escapes. As they near Miles’ hideout, we see how Miles gift lets him calculate all the different variables and determine what he has to do to escape. He decides to draw Olivia through a industrial worksite, which will lead to Olivia’s death via forktruck. All goes to plan, until Olivia side steps the forktruck and tackles Miles, while Charlie steps in to make sure he doesn’t get too far. In the end the government keeps Miles, who is now so intelligent he can only communicate with a computer.

Outside of the main case, some other cool stuff happened during the episode. Walternate confides in Broyles that he needs Olivia to continue to work in the Fringe team until Bolivia’s memories implanted in her mind will take hold. Walternate then plans to use Olivia’s ability to travel across universes to attack our universe. Speaking of memories, Olivia had a few flashbacks to her regular flavored universe counterparts, Peter and Walter. They appear to be signs of her original memories trying to fight the implanted memories.

What I Thought About The Episode

All concerns I had about the back and forth between universes this season on Fringe are completely gone. This episode was excellent and played well even if it was set in the alternate universe. I thought the case this week was pretty good, but having the action in the alternate universe setting really adds another layer of awesome. It feels like there is always something new to learn that jumps out at you in the alternate universe, and I like it!

The acting in this episode was really good, continuing the trend for this season. Anna Torv was excellent again, and great supporting roles from Kirk Acevedo (Charlie) and Seth Gabel (Lincoln). Really liked the interplay between all three of them, and Charlie and Lincoln had a great scene at Fringe’s headquarters were the rib each other about who Olivia likes most.

Lastly, I really liked how this episode was centered on a case while still moving along the meta-storyline of the battle of the universes. Through Walternate’s scenes we got to see both his plans for Olivia, but also a little bit of what Walter would have been like if not for the drugs and the varied mental issues. I’m curious to see if they continue this in a couple of episodes or if that one will be more meta focused than a case.

Things I Learned About the Alter-verse

The best part of Fringe’s two universe approach has been catching the differences between the worlds, usually blink-and-you-miss-it visual cues, but this week included some interesting topics.

– Aruba War? A vet panhandling at the beginning of the episode had a sign saying he was a veteran of the Aruba War. Possibly the alter-verse’s version of Grenada? Maybe Aruba had a stockpile of secret sunblock supplies?

– Air quality concerns? This episode had a number of moments where agents were checking air quality before grabbing oxygen canisters. Is the air quality that bad in the alter-verse? Or was this a dig at New Jersey (the crimes occur in the Garden State)?

– No ballpoints since kindergarten? Olivia taps into Bolivia’s memories and can’t remember using a ballpoint since kindergarten. Later in the episode a teen is shown a pen and doesn’t know what it is. During the episode it’s hinted that people enter data manually (like with touchscreens), but it’s still pretty weird.

– Avocados are rare and expensive? Frank, Bolivia’s boyfriend, cooks up some avocados for dinner. Olivia’s reaction to them as a special treat makes it sound like they’re very rare. A world without guacamole? Yeah I wouldn’t last long there.

What did you think of “The Plateau”? Are Olivia’s visions going to give her away to her coworkers? Let me know in the comments section below. Make sure you tune in to Fox next Thursday at 9 PM for Fringe’s next episode, “Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep?”.

Follow me on Twitter @josedaemons