'Fringe': Insight and intel about tonight's Peter/Olivia/BOlivia love triangle episode

As you might expect, romance on Fringe can be a very odd thing. In this peculiar sci-fi world, when you can’t get a hunky guy out of your head because you dig his cheese so much, you really can’t get him out of your head, because he is literally in your head. This was the perplexing plight of FBI agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) in season 1; after the death of her FBI agent boyfriend/fiancé John Scott (Mark Valley of The Human Target), Olivia realized that her dearly departed’s consciousness had somehow lodged inside her brain. (Or something like that. It was a cool idea, but kinda confusing, too.) She had to spend an epic session inside what’s become her private “Me time” place — Walter Bishop’s sensory deprivation (think) tank — to evict her not-necessarily-unwelcome psychic squatter. Basically, it was Fantastic Voyage meets Love Story meets The Exorcist, without the barfing and the crucifix and the priest and the Satan and actually pretty much all of The Exorcist except the exorcising part. Again: I think.

Of course, the defining romance of Fringe has become the relationship between Olivia and Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson), the genius, sardonic son of the even more genius-ish and extravagantly quirky Walter (John Noble), whose envelope-pushing experiments from long ago have been the cause of so much strangeness in the Fringe world. Olivia and Peter started becoming close early last season as the trio began to gel as more than just a sci-fi crime-fighting unit, but as something of a family. After Olivia returned from a life-threatening jaunt “over there,” i.e. into Fringe’s parallel world, Peter realized he had stronger feelings for her than he had been allowing himself to feel. Over the course of the second season, Olivia realized: Ditto. To be honest, I was among the many Fringe fans who, at the beginning of the series and even into the second season, hoped the show would resist having Peter and Olivia pull a hooking-up Mulder and Scully, only because it seemed so cliché. And yet, two seasons later, I’ve been converted: I find their relationship to be winning and I’m rooting for it to succeed. Via email, I asked exec producers Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman if it was always their intention to bring Peter and Olivia together. “Yes, we were thinking so,” they say, “but we never wanted to force the issue. We wanted the relationship to evolve over time, organically. These are two characters who, for many reasons, needed to FIND each other. Forcing them together quickly would have rung false.” The take-it-slow approach has made the difference — as well as the performances by Torv and Jackson.

But this is Fringe, and so this season has thrown a patently freaky complication into the budding Olivia-Peter relationship in the form of another a woman — specifically, the “Over There” Olivia, dubbed “BOlivia” by fans. Olivia and BOlivia have swapped places this season, with BOlivia serving as an undercover agent helping to advance Walternate’s cause to save the deteriorating “Over There” world” via mysterious, possibly catastrophic means. As part of her subterfuge, BOlivia — who is happily married in her “Over There” life — has had no choice but to play out the evolving Peter-Olivia romance, which went to a new level of intimacy the last time we visited this storyline wayyy back in the days when the San Francisco Giants were still a bunch of scrappy ballplayers that had never won a World Series as a franchise in more than 50 years. (Or: Not since Oct. 14. Nearly a month ago!) Yep: Peter and BOlivia knocked boots. How will Peter realize that the woman he thinks is Olivia is actually her nicknamed-after-a-country doppelgänger? And as for BOlivia, will this Vertigo-meets-Casino Royale loony love affair spark a change of loyalty within her secret agent’s cloaked heart? And can I ever write a sentence without pop culture allusions that I will never really explain? All questions, TBD.

Tonight’s episode is entitled “695 kHz.” Here’s the Fox synopsis:

“Back ‘Over Here,’ the Fringe Division investigates a bizarre phenomenon when 15 people up and down the Eastern Seaboard all suffer retrograde amnesia from listening to their shortwave radios on the same frequency. Much to Walter’s dismay, Peter presses on with piecing together the mass destruction device. Just as alternate Olivia and Peter’s chemistry deepens, the anticipation of Olivia’s return escalates.”

I asked Pinkner and Wyman for a little more intel. They told me that the mind-wiping strangeness “may hold important clues” to the future of our heroes, and that BOlivia’s relationship with Peter does begin to cast this world in a new light: “As BOlivia gets to know our team better (and Peter), she starts to wonder whether they are quite the “monsters” that she was led to believe.” All of this is leading up to the show’s winter finale in early December, which I’m hearing is going to be a Must Watch Fringe event. What’s at stake here during the build-up? “BOlivia’s subterfuge is putting our team in jeopardy — and, possibly our entire world… while Over There Olivia, who now knows exactly WHO she really is, has to figure out a way to get home.”

Yesterday, we posted a sneak peek image of tonight’s episode that had Walter and Nina Sharpe (Blaire Brown) sitting on a bench and reading a note that couldn’t be seen from our angle. I asked you to guess what was on the note and offered six options. We polled you (and we know how painful that can be) (a little David Letterman for you), you voted, and here’s how it broke down:

A. It’s a love letter between Olivia and Peter: 2.1%
B. A disconcerting note from William Bell’s will: 49.37%
C. It’s a drawing, from the Observer: 39.72%
D. It’s Walter’s favorite cake recipe: 4.34%
E. It’s a prescription for medical marijuana: 4.48%

As you can see, our guessing game wound up being a close race between the most plausible of choices — but the biggest vote-getter is actually INCORRECT! The correct answer is indeed C — but (surprise twist and SPOILER alert!) I have it on good authority that you just may see elements and shades of all the incorrect answers throughout the episode.

I also asked you guys to humor me with some Fringe comedy by writing a caption for the photo that finished the sentence: “The note says… [Fill in the blank.]” Reader “Mike” posted a killer response that hit me in the sweet spot — which is to say, he made a Lost reference. “The note says, ‘Not Olivia’s boat.’” How can I NOT declare that entry the winner! And so I shall…

But I must also applaud this more on-the-nose Fringe quip from “Jeff,” who, for the record, is neither me nor my “Over There” alternate: “It’s a note from Bell saying, ‘Walter, if you’re ever in need of any assistance, Nina will give you a hand. Oops, sorry, my apologies, that came out wrong.’”

I also like this Star Trek-inspired line from “Leithen”: “The note says, ‘Dear Walter, I am, and ever shall be, your friend. In that regard, I must protest your preference for Twizzlers over Red Vines. In any universe, that is wrong. — Belly’”

And finally, “Tracy Bluth” thought she could take the competition by flooding me with multiple entries — an ambitious ploy that strikes me more of a Tracy Flick move than a Tracy Bluth maneuver. (Maybe if it came with a bottle of booze…) Still: I was amused enough — and appreciated the effort enough — to post my favorite of the three entries: “The note says, ‘I wish you had believed me. –JL’” Ah, it feels good to be known…

We’ll finally get to reader mail/theories next week. Ken Tucker’s recap of tonight’s episode posts tomorrow morning. (UPDATE: Click over to read Ken Tucker’s Fringe recap, now posted.) And are you watching The Walking Dead? If so, make sure you join Dan Snierson and me for our recap of Sunday’s (awesome) episode (yep we’ve seen it) on Monday.

Twitter: @ewdocjensen
Email: docjensenew@gmail.com

Comments (96 total) Add your comment
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  • Em

    It’s Fauxlivia. Why do you resist it? Embrace it.

    • Jeff Jensen

      SHE IS NOT A “FAKE” PERSON! SHE’S REAL! THERE IS INHERENTLY “FAUX” ABOUT HER! (Except the fact she’s pretending to be someone she isn’t… except she is… wait… huh? BUT CONFUSION PROVES MY POINT!)

      • Melissa

        I think I may be dense. How did BOlivia even come about? What’s the ‘B’?

      • Jay

        I wondered that, too.
        My best guess was the that the “B” stood for “Bad” as in Bad-Olivia.
        Or perhaps the “B” designates an A & B as in: Olivia “A” & Olivia “B”

      • MC

        You are correct on the last one Jay. They’ve said before that in the scripts, they referred to Bolivia as (B) Olivia, meaning she’s the B team, and then Bolivia came about.

      • Jill

        ‘Bolivia’ came from people calling her universe the ‘B Universe’ compared to our/Olivia’s ‘A Universe’.

    • wtfnyc

      I’m with Em — she’s “Fauxlivia” because we (the viewers) are “Over Here,” so to us Olivia is real and the “Over There” version is faux.

      • Bolivia

        The producers have always called me Bolivia.

        The writers call me Bolivia.

        Thomas Newton calls (called) me Bolivia.

        FOX made a promo video (Bolivia and Peter) that used my name correctly.

        The closed-captioning guys printed my name in the captions as Bolivia. Correctly, I might add.

        The only people that use my name incorrectly are some of the tools that write silly blogs, trying to manipulate my name into a cutesy (‘tarded) nickname.

        Oh – and my mom. She still calls me Olive… her prerogative – ‘scool with me.

    • AT

      The show’s writers call her Bolivia. It’s quite amusing to see it on the Closed Captioning.

    • Stef

      I’m with Em as well — just because she physically exists doesn’t mean she can’t be a fake. And indeed, she is POSING as the REAL over-here Olivia, which in my mind makes her the FAKE over-here Olivia, which makes her Fauxlivia. Also, I don’t really get the whole “BOlivia” thing either, but I think the writers themselves came up with that, so who knows.

    • Temp

      I was just about to say “dubbed “BOlivia” by fans.”

      not by any fans I know. Faulivia for the win! i never hear anyone call her Bolivia

      • Laurie

        Temp for the win! Great answer. :)

    • tracy bluth

      She’s Holivia to me.
      I totally agree Jeff- I hated the idea of an Olivia/Peter hookup in season one, but in season two I became a total shipper. Oh, and is it wrong how happy I am that Doc Jensen mentioned me in an article?

    • Col. Bakes

      It’s “Fauxlivia” by the fans… the Bolivia was probably from closed captioning titles, so therefore came from the show producers… but it’s gonna be “Fauxlivia”, “Faux The Win”!

    • Julie

      I prefer Alt-livia, myself.

      :: shrug ::

      • Lillian

        I like Alt-livia too

    • Maloveshockey

      It’s not what you call her or what we perceives she is or isn’t. What it is, is the waxing Olivia’s gonna put on Peter when she finds out her “all knowing type” love intent, thought with his junior instead of his thinking head. You have a cast of a brilliant father(albeit bumbling) and son duo, discovering shape shifters all the time, inventing and decoding, solving the inthinkable, and they haven’t realized that Bolivia ain’t the real thing? C’mon. Peter saw a free ride and he took it.

  • Owen

    Okay. Now that we’re again talking about the Mark Valley character from Season One, could SOMEONE explain to me who he was? He was an FBI agent who was working for….the shape shifters? Was he a shape shifter? Nina seemed interested in interrogating him after death (?) so did he work for Massive Dynamic? I missed how he fit into the whole alternate reality scenario…

    • Owen

      Oh, and though he was engaged to her, he tried to kill Olivia. And why was he engaged to her. Did he know she had been given the drug as a child and could cross worlds? Cause even the Walternate didn’t know that…

    • tracy bluth

      I’m still a little confused too. Unfortunately I think Valley and Torv’s divorce might prevent any more Scott appearances.

  • Drew

    Ourlivia and Otherlivia. This was used by Anna Torv in a interview and while I like Fauxlivia (credit io9.com) and Bolivia is OK…we should go with what the actor portraying the character uses. After all, John Noble first mentioned Walternate in a interview and it stuck.

    • Jeff Jensen

      I LIKE this. Next week, I’ll give the jargon a try!

    • Stef

      I’ve actually heard Anna Torv use “Bolivia” in an interview as well, but I like “Ourlivia” and “Otherlivia” better anyway :)

  • Justine

    The cast came up with Olivia B, which became Bolivia. I prefer Fauxlivia :) FRINGE is awesome.

  • Anjali

    Can’t wait for tonight’s episode!!

  • Carol

    Winter finale!! When does it come back on for the rest of the episodes? Do we have to wait till American Idol is over or something?

    • LostMom

      I think it’s around early March, if I’m remembering correctly from last season. Painful.

  • CC

    I don’t get the ‘Bolivia’ nickname. What does the BO stand for?

  • CC

    Oh ok, Olivia B = Bolivia. Meh. Fauxlivia is much better. Or the Ourlivia/Otherlivia thing.

  • dexterdog

    don’t be afraid Jeff, it’s “Dan and me”, not “Dan and I”

    • Jeff Jensen

      Fixed! Thanks!

    • Mole

      Polite grammatical observations on an EW blog? How did I get “Over There”?

  • Anonymous

    Can I have Joshua Jackson please?

    • wot

      No. He’s mine.

      • tracy bluth

        Diane Kruger (sp?) is SO lucky.

    • taxgirl

      No. He’s MINE!!!!!!!

    • taxgirl

      Okay. I apologize for my momentary insanity. I’m quite jealous of Diane. Maybe Josh is mine in an alternate universe…ahhhh…a girl can dream.

  • Lorie

    Aww, Peter looks so happy. Can’t wait for tonight!

  • starbuck

    Fringe is amazing!!!

  • Stef

    Very cool about the note and what it is and that all the poll answer options might appear in the episode somehow (though, I did guess right!). Also, love that Mike’s answer to “The note says…” won! I was rooting for it. Love LOST and Fringe :)

  • PRbabe

    I hate to piss off the obsessive Peter and olivia fans but come on, look how HAPPY Peter looks in those pictures. Even if it is the wrong Olivia, he is HAPPY WITH OLIVIA folks. In other words, he could have dated ANY woman but he chose Olivia over them.

    However, its quite clear people care more about Olivia’s happiness than Peter’s.

    • wot

      No, no! I care about Peter’s happiness. He’s being duped by that woman. She doesn’t love him. The moment he realizes the truth will be so hreatbreaking! :-(

      • PRbabe

        Thanks, wot. At least somebody cares about Peter in this Peter/Olivia/Bolivia instead of bashing him.

      • lissarae

        I use Ourlivia and Otherlivia, I refuse to refer to her as Bolivia, all I can think of is the Country!

        Perhaps Otherlivia’s “cover” was to cozy up to Peter, to gain his trust and in turn, be able to provide intel she could report back to the other side, however, I believe that Otherlivia is genuinely falling for Peter, whether she wants to or not. Remember, in many, many ways, she is like Ourlivia, who clearly was falling for Peter before the old switcheroo occurred, and in my opinion, in ANY universe, the heart wants what the heart wants.

    • SWitbo

      I LOVE Peter and believe he’s going to be devastated when he realizes what a blind FOOL he’s been not to realize she’s not Olivia. I also find it unrealistic on the writers’ parts that he doesn’t have a clue. He’s too smart and observant for that.

  • Temp

    As I recall John Scotts memories/personality was stuck in Olivias mind in Season one, after they hooked her up to him subsequent to his death.

    Walter did this so she could “speak” to him to get clues about the crime he was involved in. Olivia kept pushing because she wanted to solve the case, even though Walter warned her it was dangerous.

    and he was right, olivia spent too much time linked with John Scott, and ended up absorbing part of his memory/mind into her own for a while, which was eventually worked out of her brain over time (See, not that complicated!)

    As to who John Scott was, Im trying to recall that myself. It seems to me they used the clues from Scott to track down and bust the german terrorist dude who teleported himself out of prison didnt they? So John was working for them, not the shapeshifters? That group was some type of group who was trying to duplicate Walters work to go “over there” … or destroy everyone with tech…or something. I really need to watch season 1 again.

    We also learned that Walter had created, or run, or somehow contributed to that terrorist group the german guy had run in season one, but due to Walters brain surgery he doesnt recall.

    So there are four sides…
    1.Good guys (Olivia, FBI, Main cast)
    2. Walternates side (Shapeshifters, Newton)
    3. Terrorists from season one who perpetrated “the pattern”(ZFT)
    4. The observers…who could be controlling anyone or anything at this point as we know nothing about them really

    I think John Scott was part of the ZFT conspiracy…I just cant remember what their true goal was…hmm

    • Dee

      I think their goal was to make an army to battle the upcoming war (which probably meant the war against the alternate universe, because Our Olivia was a supposed soldier by the weird dude :p)
      Though I like AltOlivia (because she is awesome:p) she’s not Olivia, Olivia. It’s kind of comparing apples and pears.. but the pears being a manipulated sort of apple *-) :p mmm..

      • Temp

        Right! ZTF german guy tried to make olivia activate her powers in that one episode, I remember now!

        So I wonder if ZTF will come back this season or next, our worlds hardcore mercenaries trying to stop walternate?

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