TV Show: Fringe
Episode Title: Jacksonville
Original Air Date: February 2, 2010
Episode Number: 2×14
After a violent tremor shakes a Manhattan office building to its core, leaving only one survivor who leads the Fringe Team to believe he is not from this reality. Walter surmises that what shook the building was not geologic, but rather something discovered by him and William Bell many years ago. With another catastrophe imminent, the team races to Jacksonville, the site of Walter and William’s experiments, forcing Olivia to face her mysterious past in an effort to save hundreds of people from certain death.
This is definitely in my top five Fringe episodes because we got a lot of backstory with Olivia’s time in Jacksonville and getting experimented on by Walter and Bell, we got a suspenseful case of the week that involved the alternate universe, and we finally got concrete confirmation that Peter is from the other universe. My reaction throughout this episode was a lot of this: 😱
So where shall we start? The opener is a good starting off point. As far as openers, this one was right up there. You’re instantly intrigued when the woman asks the man “Is that real coffee?” and it definitely makes you wonder right away what the hell is she talking about? And of course we then see the two universes colliding with unfortunate results. The man within a man was quite disturbing, but cool at the same time. Only on this show! Even Astrid couldn’t stomach to do an autopsy of the victim.
The whole team working on identifying which building it was that was going to get sucked into the alternate universe was a sight to behold. Again, great teamwork from everyone involved with Brandon leading the Massive Dynamic team. It’s always great to see him. It’s a good thing that Olivia was able to identify the building because I don’t think the team would have figured out which building it was in time to save the people inside.
It was cool to hear the differences between the two universes: the Pentagon and the White House were the ones attacked during 9/11, Nixon is on the silver dollar, double-decker cars, coffee is a rarity (can you imagine?)…just to name a few. In time we’ll hear more about these differences.
And now Olivia. I’m beyond thrilled that we got this episode because it explained so much more as to why Olivia is who she is and how she became this way. Whatever she went through with those experiments must have been traumatic enough for her to suppress all memories from her time in that day care because as she told Peter, even though she has a freakishly good memory, she doesn’t remember anything about the experiments. Either that or Walter/Bell drugged all the kids somehow so they won’t remember any of it.
It was pretty heartbreaking seeing Olivia going through the halls of the day care and seeing all these reminders of what happened to her. Her anger at Walter was more than justified and no one should blame her for acting this way towards Walter during their time in Jacksonville. Every time she had something to say to Walter, my heart broke for her (and for Walter a little bit).
“What the hell is wrong with you? You did this to little children?”
“Should we find more kids to scare?”
The second one was cold, but absolutely warranted.
Thankfully, one of the moments that she was railing at Walter led to Walter working out why the experiment didn’t work. It’s because Olivia is no longer afraid of anything and instead “channeled your fear into anger, which is why you are so good at your job.” It’s too bad Walter has no idea how to get Olivia to find her way back to that scared little girl so they all left Jacksonville with nothing to show for it.
Another heartbreaking moment was that shot of Olivia sitting in the same spot as Olive when she started the fire in that room. Then Peter walks in and Olivia tells him that “I’m not afraid of anything anymore.” Oh, Olivia. Let me hug you!
I have totally forgotten that Peter and Olivia almost kissed in this episode so I was so surprised when they were about to and then Olivia stops it from happening because she’s afraid. And this is when all the Polivia shippers threatened to throw things at their TVs. 😆
But then the writers throw the shippers a bone by having the two of them go out for drinks only to yank away said bone when Olivia saw Peter shimmering/glimmering. 😧 Seriously, that was one hell of a reveal. Even though we’ve already suspected this about Peter, it was still quite a moment to finally have it confirmed by the show. And I think what made this moment even better/memorable than it already is is the fact that Walter immediately knew what Olivia saw when she looked at Peter. Walter begging her “Olivia, please don’t tell him” just about drove me to tears. Just the way Walter said it and the confusion (and perhaps disappointment) on Olivia’s face did it for me. What a scene. Kudos to all three actors. Kudos to the writers and director, too. This was a masterful Fringe episode of the highest order.
And now, a few random observations:
– Peter and Olivia seemed very flirty on the phone in the beginning of the episode with Olivia telling Peter he and Walter won an all-paid for trip to NYC and Peter playing along. Walter’s “I’ve never won anything before” was cute.
– Olivia agreeing without a second’s hesitation to be experimented on again by Walter…I have no words. She is willing to do anything to stop Newton from whatever fight he’s planning on against our world.
– Loved that shot of Olivia from behind sitting by herself on the swing set. Also loved the scene where she touches Olive’s name on the height chart on the wall. I saw Nick Lane’s name there, too!
– Funniest part of the episode was Walter asking Peter to get the pretzels from his bag when Olivia’s vitals spiked. Peter and the audience definitely thought Walter was going to have some kind of trick/drug to help Olivia, but no, he was just hungry. 😂
– How cute was that shot of Olivia sleeping/resting in one of the small beds? She was all curled up in a fetal position like a small kid.
God, I love this show.