At the end of season two of "Fringe," I wrote that while the show had improved markedly from its early growing pains, I was dropping it from the blogging rotation because I simply didn't feel the passion for it that many of its fans did. Then I watched the season three premiere, "Olivia" (with our Olivia stuck in the parallel universe) and next week's episode (with Faux-livia undercover on our world), and I think I'm sucked back in. A few thoughts on why coming up just as soon as you get my nanite wraps...

To keep it brief (since, as mentioned several times previously, this is just an absurdly busy week for me) and repeat a few points I made in Monday's podcast, swapping the Olivias adds tremendous urgency to both the story arc episodes and, particularly, to the more traditional Monster of the Week shows that were often problematic for "Fringe" in seasons one and two. It means that everything is an arc episode, in a way. And in playing two very different versions of the same character - each stuck in the wrong place, one desperately trying to get home and one wickedly impersonating the other - Anna Torv finally has the material to show what JJ Abrams and company saw in her in casting. I wrote a few times in the early seasons that Torv is the kind of actor who needs good material to make an impression, and where the early version of the show where she was asked to stand and look cool wasn't a good fit for her, Olivia in jeopardy and/or Fauxlivia in action gives her things to play very, very well. "Olivia" featured very little of John Noble as either version of Walter, yet Torv was so compelling that it didn't matter.

Plus I loved that guest star Andre Royo was more or less playing an alt-world version of Bubbs from "The Wire," cleaned up and driving a cab.


So I'm going to find room for "Fringe" on the DVR, and if I can't make time to review every episode (Thursdays are brutal brutal brutal), I can at least promise to check in as often as I can, particularly on episodes as strong as this one.

What did everybody else think?