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Fringe “The Plateau” 

Photo Credit: Liane Hentscher/FOX

This is a solid episode of Fringe this week. I wanted to start off letting folks know I’m not the most technical writer regarding the science behind Fringe but I’ll provide some of my reactions to the episodes. The story is becoming more complex and “The Plateau” doesn’t disappoint in continuing to offer more of the story that takes us on a wonderful journey.

“The Plateau” takes place Over There

Mystery-of-the-week: This week’s mystery is very fascinating. A man, Milo Stanfield, who is the subject of an experiment, develops the ability to predict the statistical likelihood of how to make things happen. He knows how to be 15,000 steps ahead of anyone. How he chooses to use this ability is what gets him in trouble. He goes AWOL from the hospital when they have to take away his new-found intelligence. This plot development makes me think of an old film with Cliff Robertson called “Flowers for Algernon.” In that film, the main character is an intellectually challenged man who’s given a drug that helps him to develop an average to above average intelligence. The tragedy in the movie occurs when the medication starts to wear off and he is aware that he’s losing his abilities. The ethics of this type of experimentation can definitely be called into question. How can the scientist arbitrarily decide that as part of the treatment protocol is that they have to take away the intelligence provided? I am relieved that Milo wasn’t killed as a result of what happened but now I wonder what kind of quality of life will he have now that he can only relate to the computer that translates his thoughts. Was Milo better off before the experimentation with his limited abilities and intelligence when he had a very close relationship with his sister, Madeline?


  • She returns to work in the beginning of “The Plateau” Alt Charlie seems a bit unsure about Olivia’s return. He banters with her but he does seem to have his eye out for things that might not be right about her. His conversation with Lee definitely reflects that mistrust. Interesting that in this alt universe, Olivia is closer with Lee than she is Charlie.
  • Throughout the episode, Olivia has some visions she chalks up to being hallucinations. The psychiatrists have told her she had a psychotic break and that is how her rantings about being from another world have been explained. I love the scene at the end, when her inner Peter is trying to keep her tethered to her own reality and she shares a kiss with him. I will have to admit, I haven’t exactly been a Peter-Olivia-shipper but they had some chemistry in that kiss they shared even if it was in Olivia’s mind.
  • I do like Bolivia’s boyfriend, Frank, the virologist. I feel suspicious of him though. Does he know he’s sleeping with wrong Olivia? Is he a mole for Walternate to keep an eye on Olivia?

Secretary Bishop (Walternate):

  • Colonel Broyles finds out the purpose of Olivia being kidnapped from her world. They want to know how Olivia is able to pass back and forth between worlds without any physical consequences. Once they’ve figured out how she does this or her memory degrades, then they will dispose of Olivia. The secretary dispassionately tells Broyles that if she’s no longer useful then she will be killed.
  • When I watch John Noble play Walternate, I see a separate character. He’s such a different Walter that you almost can’t see that they are related. We see a glimpse of this Walter in Season Two when they retrieved his missing brain pieces and they were activated to learn his memories of how he opened up the hole between this world and Over There. He was instantly more self-assured and seemed a bit mean.
  • Walternate’s interactions with alt-Brandon are a bit fun. He’s able to provide suggestions for working out some of the difficulties with what Brandon is trying to achieve.  Olivia will be returning to the sensory deprivation chamber à la Season One.

Differences between Over There and our present world

  • In the opening scene, the woman with the daisies gave money to a homeless man who was an Aruban war veteran. In this alternate universe, they went to war with Aruba?!?
  • The symbol for the United Postal Service is different. The present universe features the Eagle as the symbol of UPS. I’m not sure what in the world was featured as the symbol of UPS Over There. Does anybody have any thoughts?
  • When the Fringe team was traveling to Hoboken, New Jersey, they checked to see if there was enough oxygen in that area. The environmental problems that Over There is experiencing is so great, it’s obvious why Walternate has taken the stand he has regarding destroying the present universe.
  • One of the biggest differences is that people don’t use pens anymore. Wow, their technology has progressed to the point that no one has used writing utensils since they were in grade school. I suppose I can see that happening eventually so that’s a great touch.
  • How Colonel Lee is being treated for his burns is remarkable. He does have to be in a chamber for long periods of time. Unfortunately for him, he can only stay out of the chamber for eight hours at a time.

Final Thoughts

“The Plateau” was a solid episode that gave me some food for thought. Can’t wait to see how Olivia deals with her inner Peter and Walter. Her character has overcome tons of adversity before. I know she will figure it out and save the world!!

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