Thursday's episode of "Fringe" took place in the alternate universe and centered around a case where a set of twins (played by real life twins Aaron and Shawn Ashmore) had apparently switched identities when one of them was caught in Amber (the other universe's containment system for anomalies). Only, it wasn't really about that at all.
The writers of "Fringe" regularly do an excellent job leading the viewer to the conclusion they want us to reach without resorting to hitting us over the head with a hammer, and last night was a perfect example of that. While Olivia was dealing with the switching twins -- and getting helpful advice from Head Peter -- she was also dealing with her own identity issues, which is what the episode was REALLY about.
For those not caught up on "Fringe", remember, our Olivia is still on the other side, but has been brainwashed into believing she's their Olivia. Head Peter has been showing up in visions, trying to convince her otherwise, and the twin plot only served to underscore that, as Olivia had to figure out which twin was which and how and when they'd switched. I enjoyed seeing Olivia go back and forth between believing in herself and being unsure of herself and the case twisted and turned, and as Peter would pop in and out of her mind.
While the case was going on, Walternate was preparing a method to send Olivia back to our side, ostensibly to work as an operative there (which Fauxlivia is already doing). She does it once and is quickly brought back, but near the end of the episode, Head Peter convinces her to try it again, telling her things about our side that she could only know if she was really from there. When she crosses back over, she again ends up in the Statue of Liberty gift shop (remember, on the other side, the Statue of Liberty has been turned into a Department of Defense office/lab). For the second time, "Fringe" used the image of the World Trade Center -- or this time, the lack of the towers -- to signify Olivia's awe/confusion about her location. She gets brought back to the other side, but she tells Walternate that the trip didn't work, indicating that either she no longer trusts him or that possibly the brainwashing has worn off.
I wasn't sure "Fringe" would be able to handle the split universe thing this season, but it's done it just fine so far, and I think this week's episode was my favorite of the season.
For more coverage of the 2010-11 television season, visit the AdamReisinger.com TV Reviews home page.