Our Olivia is back, and she wants to go home. Alt-Broyles has a heart. And Peter now knows that he’s been doinking Fauxlivia and not the real Olivia. Those are the take-home messages of “The Abducted,” an exciting episode in and of itself, but even better as a set-up for what’s to come.

First, let’s talk about the case. A serial abductor known as “The Candyman” kidnapped children, used a special device to steal their youth, and then converted the youth into an anti-aging serum. It was somewhat of a flimsy case, compared to some of the more complex cases that we’ve seen on the show, but it did feature a great plot twist at the end, when Olivia realized that the Reverend was behind the entire thing. Also, on an emotional level, it was immensely satisfying. Lance Reddick got to flex his acting muscles for a change; he did some brilliant work portraying the emotional turmoil of reliving his son’s abduction. (It was interesting to see that Broyles’s marriage didn’t fall apart in the alternate universe.) Furthermore, the case reminded us that Walternate is still seeking justice for his son’s abduction. It makes sense that he would push for legislation that declared all child abductions Fringe events. On a more chilling note, it also showed us that Our Walter, the bumbling, sweet, old fool, could have turned into the cold, scheming Walternate, given the correct circumstances. There was some great work from John Noble here, allowing Walternate to show some vulnerability in his scene with Alt-Broyles, but keeping it calm and understated.

In the context of the show’s continuing storylines, it was nice to see Our Olivia finally return. I was a little worried that Anna Torv had forgotten how to play her original role, but she stepped back into it with such ease that I didn’t find it jarring at all. Her original traits and behaviours made a comeback: her ease with children, her willingness to stand up to her superiors, and her ultra-resourcefulness. I was pleased that the show didn’t drag the Fake Alternate Olivia plot line out too long, and now it looks like Peter has also figured out what’s going on. What that means for the show is unclear, but it seems to indicate that there will be at least one more episode involving crossing between universes. Now that Peter knows the truth, I expect him to do everything possible to rescue Our Olivia, who is now trapped on Liberty Island.

Fringe has been firing on all cylinders this season. The cast is doing some phenomenal work, the cases have a strong emotional undercurrent, and the underlying mythology is more interesting than ever. Fringe is no longer the monster-of-the-week horror show that it was back in season 1. It’s a shame that no one is watching, and this is likely Fringe’s final season, but I’ll enjoy it while I can. At worst, Fringe will go out kicking and screaming, and I’ll be glad that I was there for the ride.

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