“I know what Belly left me…he left me Massive Dynamic.”
– Walter

After the season premiere, “Olivia,” spent most of its time in the alternate universe, “The Box” returns Fringe to familiar ground, taking place entirely within Our universe. However, even in this well-known environment, there are a few new elements at play.

With Our Olivia trapped in the alternate universe, unbeknownst to Our Fringe team, Their Olivia has come Over Here to impersonate her. For Their Olivia, that entails learning everything she can about Our Olivia. She not only has to get up to date on pop culture and current events Over Here, but also has to memorize everything about Our Olivia’s personal and professional history. Even then, her impersonation isn’t spot-on. She might have the factual details correct, but she doesn’t know how to mimic Our Olivia’s mannerisms. She speaks faster and is more brusque than Our Olivia. She’s more dismissive and less professional, and she has a slightly cocky edge. Peter senses some of these changes, but nothing has really caught his suspicion yet. As far as he knows, Olivia is simply happy to be in a relationship, and this is how Olivia acts when she’s happy.

Peter, for his part, is happy as well. His relationship with Olivia is the one comforting thing in his life at the moment. He can barely look Walter in the eye, and he’s worried about the doomsday device that he can activate and that Walternate intends to build. As for Walter, he’s scared of that device. Normally, his scientific curiosity would prevail, and he’d encourage others to pursue a line of inquiry that would allow them find out more about the machine. But he fears that the machine could take his son away from him, and he can’t bear to lose Peter once again. Even though his relationship with Peter is tense at the moment, he would rather Peter be in his life than not at all.

Walter is also facing other new challenges. Though he and William Bell hadn’t spoken in years prior to last season’s finale’s events, he still took comfort in the fact that Bell was out there somewhere, doing whatever it is that running Massive Dynamic involves. But now, his dear friend has died, and for the first time, Walter is forced to confront a Bell-less world. (Alt-Bell was killed many years earlier in a car accident.) But Bell intends for Walter to take up his mantle; in his will, he bequeaths Massive Dynamic to Walter. Now, with just a single stack of documents, Walter has become immeasurably rich and powerful. Two decades ago, the temptation to abuse that power would have been strong. But Walter gained humility at St. Claire’s and in his two years working for the FBI. He knows that with great power comes great responsibility. Walter could easily exploit Massive Dynamic’s hi-tech tools for his personal gain. But it is far more likely now that he’ll use them for good (or for perfectly harmless wacky experiments).

The core trio of our Fringe family – Olivia, Peter, and Walter – is facing significant personal upheaval. Certainly Olivia’s is the largest, seeing as she’s trapped on the Other Side, but Peter and Walter are dealing with new elements in their lives as well. Travelling to another universe sure changes things, doesn’t it?

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