A quick review of last night's "Fringe" coming up just as soon as I visit the Statue of Liberty gift shop...

Ryan McGee has a pretty thorough recap of the episode up at our Monkeys as Critics blog (including footnotes about all the differences between Over There and Over Here, like the Cary Grant/Humphrey Bogart switch), and I just want to note a couple of things about "Amber 31422."

First, I'm glad they didn't string out Olivia's self-discovery too long. It was fun for an outing or two to see her believing herself to be Fauxlivia, but after that, it just turns into an Over There spin-off of "Fringe." And while the Over There universe is in some ways more entertaining (but lacks crazy Walter and Peter), I want to see the story keep moving forward. Now we get to see both versions of Olivia working against the forces of the universe they're stranded in, and that should be fun.

Second, I continue to like that Over There isn't painted as just a dark mirror of our universe. Lincoln and Charlie are good guys (and do we know anything about the Lincoln of our world), as is Broyles (even though he knows the truth about Olivia), and even Walternate's motives are understandable: his son was stolen and his universe is literally falling apart due to Walter's actions, and he's trying to find a way to protect it.

Third, the actual Monster of the Week story was fairly weak. They've done the idea of stolen lives better before, as recently as the shapeshifter episode from before the baseball hiatus. And I felt Olivia and we were already being beaten over the head enough by the Peter hallucination without needing such an obvious parallel to her problem on top of that.

And fourth, like Ryan, I watched Olivia go into the sensory-deprivation tank and mostly felt amazed at how much the show has transformed itself from those early season one days when the writers seemed afraid to embrace the fringe-y aspects of their own show. So, so much better now.

What did everybody else think?

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