Alt-Olivia's cover was blown at the end of the previous episode in a way that had most viewers more eager than usual to watch the next.
"Entrada" picked up where "The Abducted" left off, in Olivia's bedroom. The show had the decency to replay the conversation with the janitor from New York before diving into the highly anticipated awkward moments.
Having both Olivias running for their lives and achieving crossover in the same episode was brilliant. Even considering the many fillers in season 2, I generally find Fringe very good at advancing the season arc. Keeping alt-Olivia over-here at this point would have been a waste of time, so I am looking forward to more of her with Lincoln and alt-Charlie.
The regular cast of Fringe is excellent, but I have very early on been biased towards Noble and Torv. In this episode however, when alt-Astrid draws the attention of the Fringe division agents to the fact that Colonel Broyles is missing, she somehow makes a tragic and bitter moment sort of sweet(?) and takes ownership of that scene. It got me thinking that despite typically having less screen-time in an episode than Astrid would, I find alt-Astrid manages to convey a better idea on what sort of person she is.
I am among those who thought Olivia and Peter were doing just fine and didn't need what happened in "Over There 2". Right from the opening scene of this episode where he learned of alt-Olivia duplicity to the very last sequence where he apologized to Olivia, Peter seemed tortured. I guess it's because he kept asking himself why he didn't listen to those voices telling him how different Olivia was from before. I think his behavior affected some of the scenes over-here which seemed to be moving at a slower pace than they actually were. In contrast, everything over there seemed just right, as usual...
Alt-Olivia has been consistently used for plot devices while Olivia drives the plot. This is a pity, because it makes it easier for our Olivia to emerge as a more consistent and likable character. Don't get me wrong: Olivia has been for a while now my favorite character on TV. No, it is more because I thought the writers wanted to show us an alternative to our universe, not a less deserving one.
In this episode, even admitting her feelings to Peter didn't help: We saw that coming, and not in a nice way. Where to start? Switching from Franck (she is still technically living with!) to Peter was too fast, too easy. Plus, her new found feelings didn't make her waver from the mission which entailed killing quite a number of innocent people. And if you still had some doubts, the final sequence of the fourth episode with the hauntingly beautiful score playing when she was 'talking' to Peter and Newton was committing assisted-suicide should have sealed it. There is more, she spent 8 weeks over-here, and being far from stupid, she should have seen Walternate's war is pretty much a one-sided affair, but she conveniently turned a blind eye to accommodate the plot.
Oh and Franck, the one thing about alt-Olivia that could have tarnished Olivia-prime, was conveniently sent away to smallpox so that the latter doesn't share his bed. That made Olivia absolutely blameless even though in her case - with the wrong memory and all, it would have been more understandable than in Peter's.
Despite all that, I can't bring myself to really dislike alt-Olivia. I still hope the writers will use her better. There is clearly a lot of Olivia in her. And while they are at it, they should maybe start by getting rid of the Franck fellow and work with Lincoln...
The Highly Suspicious
I don't want to delve into how much safer Walternate's crossover methods are compared to Water's, but I would very much like to know how Colonel Broyles' body ended up being used for the exchange, him being at Harvard and all...
After receiving the phone call, Peter could have done a better job at exposing alt-Olivia. I somehow found it the weakest moment of this excellent episode.
Walter: "And I too fell prey. She used my stomach to get through to my heart..."