Denial and Acceptance – H on the stages of life in Fringe’s “Immortality”

If you’re anything like me, gentle viewers, the “big reveal” from last night’s episode was not so much what you could call a surprise. The rumour has been circling the net for weeks now, and everyone from the show’s producers to lowly bloggers have been teasing and sidestepping and playing on viewing’s anxieties about the issue with that gleeful sort of sadism unique to the entertainment world.

I know a lot of us have all ready gone through our stages of denial, to fearing this would turn our beloved show into a schlocky soap opera, to acceptance, and now finally to the stage where we are once again choosing to put our trust in the writers to tell the best story they can.

Because once again, Fringe writers, you have yet to let me down.

So yes, ladies and gentlemen, it’s official: the other side’s Olivia (or Altlivia if you prefer) is pregnant. And Peter’s the daddy. Just in case you were still clinging on to the last shreds of your denial. And yet what I most feared about this reveal–that it would somehow feel like a cheap trick meant to manipulate our feelings as viewers–never really came to pass. Instead I can now see how this storyline is going to have very real and very immediate consequences for the fate of both universes.

I’m filled with new questions: how does Olivia feel about her pregnancy? She seemed surprised, but I want to know if this was any part of her mission on our side (“initiate phase two” anyone?) Obviously Walternate feels like this pregnancy is his new trump card to get Peter back to his universe, but how will it affect Olivia’s loyalties? We know she has feelings for Peter–does this strengthen them? Weaken them? Does she even have a choice in whether she wants to keep this child or not? Of all the things that creeped me out in this episode (and this was a bug episode–there were a few) the thing that got to me most was how quickly Brandon and Walternate heard about Olivia’s pregnancy? Do they have such ready access to everyone’s medical records? Just how much of a corrupt dictatorship in the other side living in?

I told you I had a lot of new questions.

A few other things:
-“Immortality” here seems to refer both to the discovery that Olivia’s got the new generation of Bishops a-gestating away, but also to the scientist Armand Silva’s consuming desire to be remembered for his scientific breakthroughs–whatever the cost. It’s interesting that Olivia questioned why Silva was willing to kill people for his experiments if he really wanted to save people. A few months ago, Olivia was willing to make those same sacrifices in our world to save hers. A great dose of irony–or a reflection of how much she has changed?
-I’m glad that Brandon and Walternate discovered that the cortexiphan trials weren’t working because the test subjects were too old. I was afraid the writers were going to forget that little detail, but instead we got a opportunity to see just which line Walternate isn’t going to cross. For now at least. Unfortunately it seems all bets are off for his future grandchild.
-I continue to love watching Lincoln and Charlie and Olivia working as a team together, the adorable knows no bounds. And I cannot wait to see what Lincoln is like on our side.
-I was really rooting for Frank and Olivia, and their last scene together just about broke my heart. He’s such a lovely man. But I was still somehow pleasantly surprised at how honest Olivia was about the truth of her pregnancy–no matter how much it obviously hurt her to lose him. I honestly do love this side’s Olivia almost as much as I love ours. She has a clear sense of duty, but has so much integrity and love for everyone around her. You can see why she wants to save her broken world so badly.

I just hope Olivia makes it out of this pregnancy–and this entire situation–all in one piece.

-H

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