Season 3 Episode 15

Subject 13

Aired Friday 9:00 PM Feb 25, 2011 on FOX

Episode Fan Reviews (13)

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  • Fringe does the time warp again. Following on from the season 2 classic 'Peter' we get to see what happened after Walter crossed over. This time the action centres around Olivia.

    'Peter' was a landmark in Fringe history delving LOST style into the past and revealing the backstory of how Walter crossed over in an attempt to save his peter, and consequently starting a war between parallel universes. Subject 13 takes place six months after the events in that episode and delivers another dose of powerful story telling combined with some amazing performances.

    You know you're in for a treat when the show opens with the retro credits (my personal favourite) and the story starts with young Peter who has been having trouble adjusting to life on the other side. Both young versions of Peter and Olivia have to deal with some tough subject matter in this episode and in the cold opener we see Peter trying to drown himself in Reiden lake in order to get back to the other side. The action soon moves to Walter's lab in Jacksonville Florida where he has been conducting the cortexiphan trials. It was a shocking moment when it was revealed that Walter had been experimenting on Olivia as a child way back in Season one and now we get to see how her ability developed as well as her first meeting with Peter.

    Olivia first crosses over as a result of the emotional stimulation of being beaten by her father but and though she doesn't admit this to Walter he figures it out. Walter then tries to recreate this in the test facilities, with a segment we see through the lens of his betamax video camera. This was well filmed and adds to the authentic feel of the episode, especially as it's in a 4:3 ratio. The experiment results in Olivia starting a fire when her ability is stimulated as we've seen from Walter's tapes of the experiments in previous episodes. The whole episode sees Walter trying to return Peter with the hopes that Olivia will be the key, but when given a choice between returning his son and sparing Olivia more violence at home he decides to stick up for Olivia. At the end Olivia briefly crosses over for long enough to provide Walternate with the giveaway clue to the missing Peter's location sparking off the war between the parallel universes. What's interesting about this episode is the choices Walter makes and how it was in his efforts to return Peter that he lit the fuse that he had made when his original plan failed.

    The actress who portrays young Olivia plays her part convincingly and there are some touching scenes between her and Peter at the end (though I find it hard to believe Peter doesn't remember meeting her in the future). Once again a good wig and a soft focus make the past believable also helped by John Noble's consistently awesome acting. The trauma resolves itself for both children with a threat from Walter against any further violence from her step father and Peter being convinced by his mother that he is not from the other side. Though it lacks the impact of the first episode where we seen into the past it's just as enjoyable and proves that the Fringe universe is an exciting one whether in the past, present or on the other side.
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