Spoilers for last night’s episode of Fringe coming up:*
While it may not have been the high point that the emotional “Peter” from earlier this year was, “Entrada” was a pretty excellent action-focused episode, in which the dimensional swap between Fauxlivia and Realivia came to a head. In the process, it demonstrated that Fringe‘s writers have made a compelling world out of Over There in a relative few episodes—and it was another example of what a strong series Fringe has become since its committed fully to its clash-of-the-universes storyline.
While I get the sense that some fans have been divided on the approach of switching between the two universes episode by episode this season, I for one have loved spending time in the parallel Land of Amber. (And I get the sense that Fringe’s writers have genuinely loved creating and populating it.) Still, it was probably about time to end the hunt-for-Olivia storyline and bring Realivia home.
And it was testament to the strength of the recent episodes that the event largely turned on the moving sacrifice of a character—Other Broyles—whom we’ve only very recently come to know. Even though this was a different man, with different experiences, from the Broyles we know, it was still thrilling to see him driven by conscience to Pulp Fiction Olivia with adrenaline and help her escape becoming a brain donor. (It was also a strikingly tender—if strikingly odd—moment seeing Broyles closing the eyes of his “own” corpse.)
Above all, though, “Entrada” was a strongly paced hour that used tension well throughout, from Peter’s unmasking of Fauxlivia by using the Greek quotation to his identifying and shooting the shapeshifter “hostage” outside the ladies’ room after challenging “her” to recall her daughter’s name. It also gave us the requisite dose of tech fetish, as the Fringe crew finally discovered the Magic Typewriter (by means of the Telltale Pastry Fauxlivia had bought for Walter) and used its ribbon to find Fauxlivia’s rendezvous point. And while it wasn’t as Walter-centric as some outstanding Fringe episodes, it gave him an all-time classic line: “She tricked my son with her carnal manipulations and he fell right into her vagenda!”
I’ll miss Fauxlivia as undercover agent, but I doubt we’ve seen the last of her, and it’s good to have our Olivia back. All in all, a satisfying hour and a good demonstration of how Fringe—one of the most improved shows of the past season or so—has grown into one of TV’s most entertaining dramas.
* Yes, this is another photo of somebody shooting something somewhere off to the right of your computer screen. I’ve decided to make that a thing. Could make illustrating any future In Treatment episodes difficult.